By Brandon Bilyeu
- Comfortable over a range of fore/aft positions
- Works for relaxed and aggressive riding
- Firm and supportive padding
- Effective center relief channel
- Two widths available
- Reasonable price
- As with any saddle, this one won’t work for everyone
- Cover is a little slippery with some shorts
How obtained: review sample from Fizik
Available: retail, online
Website: Fizik Vento Antares R3
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 75+ hours
Saddles are a very personal contact point with the bike. Everyone’s body, and thus saddle needs, are different. What is comfortable for me might be the world’s most perfect torture device for you. That said, I will do my best to describe what saddles generally work for me so you can make an informed decision.
Fizik Vento Antares R3
This saddle falls into Fizik’s Vento series, which means it is designed for road racing. Fizik has several other series like Tempo for road riding and Terra for gravel. The Vento Antares also comes in one of four tiers from the 210-gram nylon-shell R5 to the 118-gram full carbon 00 (with the R3 and R1 in-between).
The 195-gram R3 I’ve been testing features a carbon reinforced nylon shell and Kium hollow alloy rails. Two widths are available, 140mm and 150mm, and my narrow sit bones are quite happy on the 140mm. In general, it is bad to have a saddle width too narrow for your sit bones while a too wide saddle is less problematic.
My testing conditions for the R3 ranged from repeated 30 minute all out efforts during a 24-hour relay race to 6+ hour century rides with plenty of climbing. Designed for racing, the R3 has a relatively wide nose to provide comfort when riding aggressively on the forward portion of the saddle. The softer nose padding and generous cutout kept numbness away when in the drops riding ‘on the rivet’. The rear of the saddle is also comfortable while riding in the drops as the shape allows for sit bone support, perineum pressure relief, and thigh clearance.
On longer rides I adopt a more upright position with my hands alternating between the hoods and tops. The R3 handles this relaxed posture just as well as a racing position. Hours in the saddle glued to one spot can cause comfort issues from pressure and shear. Standing occasionally is one way to give your butt a break, but the R3’s design gives another option. Sliding forward onto the nose of the R3 changes contact points for some relief with only a moderate loss in comfort. Some saddles, like the SQlab 612 Ergowave , are designed with a ‘sweet spot’ for comfort and are less comfortable if you move outside this zone. I appreciate the R3’s ability to provide comfort in multiple positions, especially for long days in the saddle.
Changing fore/aft positions on the R3 is made easy by an almost flat front to rear profile and a smooth cover. With some shorts I found the smooth cover borderline slippery and if I let my form get sloppy there was some unwanted movement. If you like a grippy cover this one is not for you.
After over 75 hours of testing the R3 still looks and feels like new. The cover is blemish free and there are no indentations where I sit indicating crushed padding. The build quality is top notch and I expect this saddle to last many years.
My Saddle History
I spent a decade trying to find a comfortable saddle. Along the way I learned a lot about what works for me and what does not. I do not like thick padding and a center relief channel/cutout is an absolute requirement. I found more comfort on wide saddles even though my sit bone spacing is quite narrow. I have learned that I prefer saddles with a flat top from side-to-side to avoid perineum pressure. This explains my preference for wide saddles as I can sit on the flatter center portion to avoid the sloping edges.
For almost two years now I have been very happy on the SQlab 612 Ergowave . I find the Antares R3 very similar to the 612, just without the raised rear which means the Antares supports a wider range of fore/aft positions if you like to move around on the saddle. The R3 does have more side-to-side curvature than the 612 but is flat enough that I don’t feel perineum pressure on the narrow 140mm version.
The Antares R3 is a versatile saddle that provides a comfortable ride across a wide range of cycling postures and fore/aft positions.
Brandon Bilyeu is an avid recreational roadie who lives in Regensburg, Germany. He’s a year-round bike commuter and is a mechanical design engineer by trade. Click to read Brandon’s full bio.