Review - Fizik Link R3 Chameleon Cycling Bib Shorts

Fizik Link R3 Chameleon Cycling Bib Shorts
Italian brand fi'zi:k have long been known for their superb range of cycling shoes, saddles and components. In 2018, they have branched out further, with the innovative new range of fizik Link bib shorts.

The name 'Link' comes from the fact that the range of bib shorts is intrinsically tied to the existing fi'zi:k saddle range, and the pioneering 'Spine Concept'. The fizik Spine Concept is at the heart of the science of personalisation that the brand is based on: dividing riders into three categories (Snakes, Chameleons and Bulls), based on their level of spinal flexibility and pelvic rotation.

Snakes, being the most flexible, demand a longer narrower saddle that supports their pelvis when their back is arched over in a racing tuck. Bulls, the least flexible, demand support for their seat bones whilst they are in a more upright position on the saddle. Chameleons are the mid-way category, demanding a mixture of both attributes.

Fi'zi:k has considered how a rider sits, and tailored their saddles to best optimise performance, whether you are an amateur or a professional. It is why seven major professional teams used fi'zi:k saddles in 2017.

Now, fi'zi:k has rolled out the Spine concept into bib shorts, with different chamois seat pads and fabric panelling dependent on the flexibility of the rider.

A more flexible Snake demands less padding in the frontal area of the pad, allowing them to hunker down in a racing pose. The padding in the Snake shorts is therefore concentrated in the rear part of the pad, to lift and cushion the seat bones. In contrast, a Bull requires more padding in the centre and front, because they sit more upright in the saddle, placing more pressure on this area.

As well as the padding varying between models, so too does the fit. For example, the fabric panelling on the Snake shorts is intended to allow for greater flexibility, and to provide the closest fit when in the aero tuck.

Out on the road, the fi'zi:k R3 Link Shorts are supremely comfortable. The pad sits well, and the seamless shoulder straps and back panel make for a lightweight (only 185 grams) and friction-free feel. I was testing the Chameleon version of the R3 shorts, partnered with the new fi'zi:k Versus Evo Antares saddle; it did indeed seem to be a match from comfort heaven, with no bunching or folds in the chamois pad.

The Chameleon R3 Bib Shorts aren't cheap, with an RRP of £165 (the R1 Link, their more expensive sister shorts are £260). However, comfort is something that is hard to put a price on, and these are certainly one of the most comfortable pairs of bib shorts that I have worn to date.

Fizik Link R3 Chameleon Cycling Bib Shorts

Fizik Link R3 Chameleon Cycling Bib Shorts

Fizik Link R3 Chameleon Cycling Bib Shorts

Fizik Link R3 Chameleon Cycling Bib Shorts


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