Standard Antares shape and features with a central pressure relief channel. Kium rails are lighter and stronger than titanium and provide vibration dampening. Carbon reinforced Nylon shell. ICS compatible. 275mm Long x 142mm Wide. 212 grams.
Strengths: - Comfortable
- Flexible riding positions
- Well made
Weaknesses: - None that I've found, though I'm sure some folks would like to buy up to a lighter, carbon railed version.
I started riding the standard Antares Kium two years ago and I thought I'd found the perfect saddle. The shape was exactly what I wanted and it "just worked" for racing or hard training. But ... whenever I went on a long slower-paced ride (like a century) at mile 40 I would love the standard Antares, but at mile 80 I'd start asking myself "does it have to be so hard?" My butt just wouldn't tolerate a saddle quite that hard and I'd start squirming to relocate the pressure on my sits bones.
So - even though I had no interest in the relief channel - I decided to try the Antares Versus because it's just a little softer. Perfect! I like it just as much as the regular Antares for shorter rides or harder riding, but I still like it at 100+ miles! I've done three centuries on it, and I really didn't notice my saddle at all until it suddenly occurred to me at the end of each ride "Wow - I'm completely comfortable at mile 100!"
I'm still in the "don't care" camp with regard to the relief channel, but I'll speculate that Fizik knew what they were doing, and that the relief channel becomes more necessary as the saddle gets softer. I say this because as your sits bones sink into the padding a little more, some pressure might shift to a place where you don't want pressure if the relief channel wasn't there. Overall, I really don't notice it - and that's good.
BTW, I've also ridden the Aliante on another bike for many years. I like the Aliante also, but it's a little too narrow for me - especially if you're hammering and sitting on the nose of the saddle. If you've tried an Aliante and have a similar opinion, the Antares might work for you. For the record, I'm 6'0", 160 lbs.
Strengths: . Well made
. Attractive (though a white option would be nice)
. Fairly comfortable
. Pretty light-weight for what it is
Weaknesses: . Width should be increased a bit near the back of the saddle, wide sit area is very minimal
. It is pricey
So far, so good. I had briefly tried a regular Antares, and while the shape was interesting, felt it hit me wrong when in the drops. But the Versus version fixes that with the channel, which does make a difference.
I had been on a Spec Toupe for some time, but literally wore out the padding, nothing left under my sit bones. Figured it was time to explore again. Tried the Aliante Carbon. Not horrible. Overly shaped and no relief channel, but well made and reasonably comfortable. Did note some numbness after while.
Then ordered the Antares Versus. Attractive, light, relief channel, and some width to it. I do wish there was a little more sit area, that it was wider overall on the back. The wide area is very minimal. I've only ridden this a couple times, but so far, it's pretty nice. Planning to stick with it for a while and see how it continues to work out. Have yet to do a longer ride (4-5 hours). Have not yet noted any numbness, so that aspect is great.
Strengths: Supportive and firm, no numbness, comfortable but performance-oriented.
Weaknesses: None. A carbon railed version would be awesome.
The Antares Versus is a great saddle that has just a bit more cushion than the standard kium or carbon braided versions, and has a channel for soft tissue/perineal pressure relief. I rode an Aliante for a few thousand miles and gave up on it because its curved shape put pressure on the soft tissue and made me numb after about 30-40 miles. The Aliante is a great saddle that works for many, but just didn't quite work for me. The Antares Versus (like the other Antares versions) is a wide, plank style saddle that supports your sit bones with its overall flat profile.
I've now ridden it on a few training rides and a century. I only had one short spin on it before the century and even then it was quite comfortable--and no numbness. It is the first time that I wasn't all sore and numb between the legs at the end of the century. My sit bones were a bit tender, but they are just getting used to where the saddle hits me--and much better there than between the legs!
Before buying, I asked in a discussion thread if anyone had tried it, and how it compared to the regular version. I was concerned it might be too mushy/soft (based on a review by cyclingnews.com), but that is definitely not the case. The foam is listed as "low density" (compared to "high density" for the other versions of this saddle) but it is still very firm. I think Fizik got this seat right. It is still very supportive overall--you perch on top of it, and definitely don't sink "into" the padding (at least for me; I am 5'11", weigh 165) and allows you to slide and shift back and forth. You just "feel fast" on it.
Some other observations:
-Some have complained about the wide nose rubbing their inner thighs on the Antares (the regular versions) and I recall being aware of that when I demo'd one. But I definitely don't feel it with this one (I think it is slightly more rounded on the bottom edges than the kium/carbon braided versions).
-Some have also felt the flare between nose and wide deck on the other versions is too abrupt and cuts into the back of the thighs. I too recall that with the regular versions when I rode them, but for whatever reason, I don't have that issue at all with the Antares Vs.
-Set up: I set the saddle about 1 degree nose up (clip board with iPhone as a level!) and it is pretty much perfect. Dead level would leave you sliding forward a bit, and nose-up further would dig into you up front. I may fiddle with it a tiny bit, but basically I think it was dialed from the first ride. Others have commented that they set their Antares ever-so-slightly nose up also, so it appears that is true with this one too. Women will probably want it a bit nose-down (as is usually the case).
In short, I give this a hearty five star rating. After trying several saddles, and almost accepting numbness as an unavoidable side effect of long miles, this saddle is a very welcome change to my rig. If you are having similar issues, give it a try.