09 December 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Fi'zi:k Gobi XM saddle

Saddles are such a personal choice that when it comes to fit it can be hard to review them. That being said, almost everyone I know who has ridden on the Gobi has liked it. I love the fit. I won’t tell you it’s the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden, but it isn’t bad, and let’s face it- most people aren’t riding the most comfortable saddle they can find, they are making compromises between comfort, weight, durability, and performance for it’s intended use. Usually it’s just between weight and comfort. For me, the Gobi more than satisfies this balancing act. I think the Gobi is comfortable by any reasonable performance-oriented standard, but the kicker is that it is very light at 229 grams. It is relatively wide at the back- measuring 142 mm.

Strangely, Fi'zi:k categorizes its mountain biking saddles by suspension travel. This is retarded. I think this is just someone’s way of trying to be unique while also categorizing them by intended use. I am all for that, but travel does not always (or even usually) dictate a saddle's use will be. I ride a 6 inch travel trailbike and according to Fi'zi:k's charts I am supposed to be riding some crazy freeride saddle like their Zea:k. I appreciate Fi'zi:k's attempt to be different, but would ask them to stick with the genre names we all seem to know so we can truly figure out which saddle to choose. On their charts the Gobi comes in between 120mm and 100mm travel, which seems to be their way of saying trail/XC.

Once we get by that little bit of oddness, the Gobi is a quality product. It has a good synthetic leather cover with tough Cordura along the side and rear edges where saddles always seem to rip (typically when one crashes). It has rails made of K:ium, which is a proprietary material made of a high-end steel alloy that contains varying amounts of silica and chromium. The rails are supposedly lighter than those made of titanium with the same strength and better vibration damping. I have no idea if this is true, but I didn’t have any reason to doubt it judging from the performance or weight of the Gobi. Another cool thing that Fi'zi:k offer is the ability to choose custom color and rails choices for the Gobi on their website. This seems to be for Internet sales only though, so it doesn’t help your local bike shop. The site allows you to choose from 9 different top colors and three rail materials. The Cordura scuff guards however, have to remain black, but I imagine that they might someday offer a color choice there too.

I really like this saddle. If I had to pick one performance-oriented saddle to go on all my bikes right now, this would be it. The Gobi retails for about $140.00



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