What to do with all that stuff? Every one of us knows a person who is never prepared for what can happen on a ride. This person is all too quick to quote ’the rule #29’ as an excuse to why they have no spare tube or tools to fix their flat. While on bike fashion is a modern day dilemma, quoting a satirical list of cycling rules which prevents you from a means of carrying adequate self support supplies should not be happening. Do you just keep shoving stuff in your jersey pockets until the explode? No, that is ridiculous. So again, what to do with all that stuff? There is no clear answer that works for everyone but fear not, there are some good options out there.
If you follow my blog regularly or have looked through the build list on my Scapin, you’ll see I have an appreciation for fi’zi:k (Fizik from here on out.) With cycling products ranging from modest to luxurious and everything in between, Fizik focus on crafting quality contact point components. That sounds pretty good right? But what does "contact point components" really mean? Think of it this way, Fizik are concentrating efforts on improving the points of contact between you and your bike. These are your hands, feet, and posterior. To do this, Fizik have put together a really expansive list of products that could be somewhat overwhelming to many. They’ve got letters, numbers, and animals in their naming conventions. But it’s actually quite simple if you know what you’re looking at. Fizik categorize the range of materials and quality used in construction into letter/number groups. Heres a quick break down;
- R5 (entry point)
- R3 (mid tier)
- R1 (upper end)
- 00 (top end)
Each step up in number adds higher quality materials and craftsmanship in order to reach greater gains. Here is an example of their steps at work. The Antares R5 saddle has metal alloy K:ium rails and a nylon shell, while the Antares 00 at the other end of the spectrum has Mobius carbon rails and a full double carbon fiber shell. The difference in materials creates a stiffer saddle with better vibration dampening but also adds up to an 85 gram or a 40% reduction in weight between these two saddles. Greater gains as you go up the range.
So if the letter/number naming convention refers to a range of materials and construction, how does Fizik approach differences in shape and design? Well Fizik has what they call the “Spine Concept”. This spine concept aligns the differences in shapes and sizes of components to the different flexibilities of riders. All this in order to offer maximum comfort and performance. The spine concept is broken down into 3 parts. Heres a quick breakdown
- Snake - high flexibility
- Chameleon - mid flexibility
- Bull - low flexibility
Their website has a whole page dedicated to explaining this Spine Concept and helping you determine which profile you may fit best. However it’s not so simple. For example I should ride an Arione saddle based on my flexibility, but it’s too narrow for my sit bones. Personal anatomy and preference has me comfortably on the Antares 00 saddle. Again based on flexibility, I therefore should also be riding a Cyrano ‘snake’ bar that my fit calls for, but I prefer a compact shallow drop bar. However you’ll find me riding the Cyrano R1 ‘bull’ bar. So think of this concept as more of a rough guide than it is a steadfast rule. If you are drawn to the Fizik products you’ll have to experiment a bit to find what works for you. Good thing that any Fizik dealer should have a healthy demo and test saddle program for you to try.
Although the Fizik design philosophy sticks close to the contact point principle, they have stretched a little bit outside those bounds. Fizik has had a set of well designed saddle bags on offer for a while. Most recently they launched a 00 offering. This new saddle bag is fits in right alongside the rest of the 00 lineup with its use of high end construction, materials, and minimal branding. Honestly I can’t remember when I first saw the news of the 00 bag but I do remember not thinking much at the time. I thought it looked to be too much like the older TAKE or PAK pod bags that I was never drawn too. Though when I did see the 00 Saddle Bag in person I was intrigued and I picked one up to be able to put together a deeper write up.
design & construction
The Fizik 00 Saddle Bag is a rigid clam shell design (these types of bags are sometimes called "pod bags") made from 2 pieces of thermoformed Microtex with a padded inner lining. In the thermoforming process the manufacturer heats a sheet of synthetic material, in this case Microtex, until it is warm and pliable. It is then either compressed between a positive and negative mold, or the warm material is placed over a mold and pulled tightly over it with suction. As the material cools it permanently takes the shape of the mold. This process is sometimes also called vacuum forming but both are methods of thermoforming and this process is how the 00 Saddle Bag gets its rigid shell.
Addition resources - Thermoforming video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z6RgDJxZSs
Securing the two molded pieces together to become a saddle bag is a rubberized locking zipper. To be specific, the 00 Saddle Bag uses a 7F plastic coil type zipper. This means the interlocking teeth of the zipper are 7mm wide, made of plastic, and connect in a coil fashion. Zippers on garments and bags are an easy entry point for water as the adjoining cloth material (the tape) of a zipper is porous and exposed to the elements. On the 00 Saddle Bag, Fizik have rubberized the exterior side of the tape. By putting a thermoformed shell and rubberized zipper together in this construction, Fizik have created a weatherproof (not waterproof) saddle bag.
Unlike many of the Fizik saddle bags, the 00 Saddle Bag does not use the ICS (Integrated Clip System) to mount itself to the bike. While the ICS system seems simply intuitive, the 00 Saddle Bag was likely designed for those riding with Fizik 00 saddles because those saddles don’t have an ICS mount. Sewn to the exterior of the shell is the large rubberized strap. This 2cm wide wide strap is their TPR (thermoplastic rubber) closure system. TPR is a composite material made up of rubber and a woven plastic fiber material. You can see the woven threads if you flip the strap over. Rather than coating the woven fiber with rubber, the injection process embeds the rubber right into the fiber material making it a stronger composite material. The TPR strap is secured to the shell with a Box X stitch (detail pic available in the gallery.) The underside of the TPR strap has a hearty velcro that keeps the bag securely attached to the saddle when closed.
Branding on the 00 Saddle Bag is very minimal. The rubberized strap has a small yellow 00 branded band on the drive side. The end of the strap has an added textured rubber layer to help you open and close the strap. Here you’ll find a grey on black Fizik logo. All in all it’s very minimal and in keeping with the rest of the 00 product line
Unlike previous Fizik hardshell saddle bags, inside the Fizik 00 Saddle bag is a soft padded polyester liner. This will help keep items more firmly in place, less likely to rattle, and protect any valuables should you choose to put them inside. In terms of weight, the Fizik 00 Saddle Bag does well with a final weight of 66 grams. Since they don’t list weight specs on the website or commercial packaging I can’t say how that number compares to claimed weights. But for comparison sake, it is just a few grams heavier than a Specialized Micro Wedgie (64 grams) and not far off the ultra lightweight SpeedSleeve Ballistic Nylon Seatsleeve small (50grams).
The Fizik 00 Saddle bag definitely looks the part and fits in with the aesthetic of the rest of the 00 lineup. On the bike the Fizik 00 Saddle Bag holds securely in place thanks to that 2cm wide TRP strap. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to come off and drop your contents on the road right front of your friends. Yet the saddle bag does move and jostle a bit while under heavy riding. I do find it a bit hard to get it really taught with the one strap. And because of where the bag is designed to sit up and behind the saddle, there is no room for an additional strap around the seat post. However, it could use a wider strap going around the seat rails to remedy this problem. The high up out of the way position of the 00 Saddle Bag does keeps it out of the way so you won't be prematurely wearing out your bibs.
Being completely black, the 00 Saddle Bag does blend well into the bike and the branding is very discreet. It feels like a bit of a lost opportunity that the grey Fizik logo on the exterior of the rubber tab is not reflective for a bit of extra visibility. I know that’s a small nit but this is a blog about the details after all.
Fizik describes the volume of the saddle bag as spacious, but in reality I’d call it ample for the essentials. It’s a tight fit with a standard 700c tube, mini tool and a Co2 cartridge. Any other essentials like a Co2 head or tire levers will have to go somewhere else.
They’ve done well to help protect the insides of the saddle bag from the elements. It’s definitely weather proof but not waterproof. It will easily keep away tire spray that it will be prone to receiving especially with where it is perched. But it won’t keep the contents dry if you somehow submerge your bike.
Saddle bags may not be for everyone, but neither is riding unprepared or riding with overstuffed jersey pockets. Everyone has their preference. The Fizik 00 Saddle Bag is not the largest saddle bag on the market, the cheapest, the most expensive, the most advanced, nor the lightest. However it is a decent product worthy of the Fizik 00 naming and promises that it will work well and you won’t be the one begging and borrowing your friends supplies on the side of the road.