Fizik, the internationally active, Italian saddle manufacturer, is opening the 2006 mountain bike season true to their motto “Improve the ride experience for all cyclists”. Topping the list of this year’s priorities are innovative saddle designs, sponsoring young athletes, partnering various teams and maintaining close cooperation with Europe’s bike parks.Fizik
gives utmost priority to long-established partnerships. And the efforts the Italians have invested over the years on behalf of diverse teams have not been in vain: from the Fiat Rotwild team to the Vredestein Cannondale team (formerly the Siemens Cannondale team) and the Dolphin Team (formerly the Merlanduo Trek team), and as from 2006, Fizik are also working side by side with the Gravity Group Team, the Vario Chatel team and the BikePark.ch
Team. Looking ahead to the 2008 Olympics, Fizik has also set its sights on BMX. Full of world-champions, the One/Kenda BMX Team is one of the teams they support.
To Fizik’s way of thinking, it’s a matter of course to create customised team colours for successful cooperation, like the black/silver/orange for the Vredestein Cannondale Team. To provide teams and all other Fizik fans with even greater performance and comfort, Fizik has worked particularly hard on innovations for the different saddles over these past twelve months. (Please note: the team saddle in the designated colours is only available online at www.fizik.com
One of the outcomes is a brand new version of the Nisene model that has been on the market since 1996 and, as everybody knows, was named after the Nisene Marks State Park in Santa Cruz.
As from the spring of 2006, the Nisene HP Wing Flex will be in the shops under its new designation. In keeping with the motto “teaching old dogs new tricks”, the company has completely redesigned and enhanced this model in every way. Starting with the cover design, the Nisene is now equipped with Wing Flex technology, which means that the saddle adapts even better to the rider. Another new feature is the I.C.S (integrated clip system). Fizik’s love of perfection is not restricted to this saddle, however, and the Italians were unable to resist the temptation of upgrading the Gobi model from both a technical and an aesthetic point of view.
The modified Gobi saddle has been in specialist stores since the end of last year. The origins of its name are reflected in its special qualities. Named after the Gobi Desert, a landscape defined by sand dunes, steppes and valleys, it really lives up to its namesake. Whether you opt for the Downhill, Cross Country or Freeride, the Gobi is a good all-rounder. The Gobi is still available to buy with Wing Flex and Tail Flex technology. One special aspect of this saddle that should not be overlooked is the robust Cordura, which was already added to the rear flanks of the saddle in 2005. The sides of the saddle have been rounded off slightly more to create a smoother silhouette. There is also a brand-new colour combination to appeal to fans of Scotland this season: as from now, the Gobi model is also available in tartan.
Apart from these two saddles, the original Aliante Carbon model, now available in white for the first time, is another of the Fizik brand’s figureheads when it comes to mountain biking. The Aliante Carbon, already voted the world’s most comfortable saddle in a number of magazines thanks to its Twin Flex technology, has recently undergone some diversification, but without any changes to its basic structure. The third member of the Aliante family to be launched (alongside the Aliante Carbon with a titanium frame and the Aliante racing model with a carbon frame) is the Aliante Gamma. The “y” stands for the third letter of the Greek alphabet and a more appropriate designation would be hard to find. The Aliante Gamma is a more economical version, being made of nylon reinforced with carbon fibre instead of carbon. It is becoming increasingly popular with cross-country bikers as a unisex saddle.
(Note: Nisene HP 89 EUR, Gobi at 109 EUR, Aliante gamma at 99 EUR)
But this isn’t to say that all these innovations have resulted in less attention being paid to the current updating process across the biking board. On the contrary: The boom in bike parks in Europe has not gone unnoticed at Fizik. As from this year, the Italian saddle manufacturers are partnering a number of European bike parks. They include Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Portes du Soleil, Chatel and Oberammergau. Other bike parks are on the agenda. A special campaign for this year’s biking summer is still at the planning stage, so it’s still too early for the Italian company to give anything away. (More details soon!)
It’s not just magazines that are increasingly turning their attention to the subject of freeride. The number of contests is soaring conspicuously, as well. With last year’s launch of the Freek, Fizik has jumped aboard too. Cedric Gracia is not on tour as a Freek this year, but Gareth Dyer is still participating.
In addition, Fizik has recently recruited the two Vikings Trond Hansen and Niels Windfeldt, as well as Brandon Semenuk, a new talent from Whistler, the Freeride Mecca, who is already a household name for Crankworx spectators and Benny Korthaus, one of Europe’s best BMX riders, who has occasionally been seen on a Specialized 26" in the past.
Apart from these wild adventurers, the reigning 4X world champion Brian Lopes is still participating as a single athlete. His achievements last year are clear proof that he entered the events with the perfect gear in 2005, too. Now he’s looking forward to the SeaOtter Classics, where the 2006 season will begin for him.