Fizik Terra Alpaca Saddle and Alpaca Tool Review



Review by Robert Johnston

The importance of a good saddle is often overlooked in the mountain bike world, with the other contact points gathering more attention and the Band-Aid of a padded short being relied upon to prevent pain all too frequently. Fizik (or fi’zi:k in phonetic terms and their logo) knows how important the rider-bike interface can be, and have been producing components and apparel to work with a riders physique since 1996. We got our hands on their Terra Alpaca X5 saddle, which features a neatly integrated tool mount option, to put to the test under “no chamois” die-hard tech editor Robert in the UK.

In their extensive saddle range, there are specific offerings for trail/enduro and gravity mountain bikes as well as eMTB. I opted for the enduro-friendly model to support the vast majority of my riding – the Terra Alpaca X5 – which was supplied with their optional integrated Alpaca tool carrier and 12-function multi-tool.

Fizik Terra Alpaca Saddle and Alpaca Tool Review

The Terra Alpaca X5 saddle is designed with life on a dropper post-equipped trail/enduro bike in mind, but there’s of course nothing to stop you from fitting it to a hardtail or rigid-posted bike. It’s a short saddle at 248mm long, improving maneuverability when dropped. This is matched with a 145mm width at the wings, which tapers quickly down to 70mm at the midsection and continues to taper slightly towards the 42mm nose. The wide and flat elongated nose is designed to allow for small fore and aft position changes to weight the saddle as necessary without sacrificing comfort. There’s a shallow indent in the midsection to take the pressure off soft tissue. The rear ¼ of the saddle features a subtle scoop upwards, which should reduce the likelihood of sliding off the rear of the saddle on a steep incline and offer some lower back support.

The Terra Alpaca X5 is constructed with a fiber reinforced nylon shell that’s designed to offer a comfortable level of flex without sacrificing strength, especially at the wings. This sits atop their closed-loop Mobius S-Alloy rail, which offers improved strength and weight distribution to make snapped rails a “thing of the past”. The edges of the saddle are heavily rounded and padded to allow for the saddle to be used as an extra point of control on the descents without bruising the inner leg. Weighing in at 238g and with a retail price of £89.99/$99.99, Fizik have ensured their premium mountain bike saddle is not priced too high to alienate most potential customers.

The Alpaca integrated tool carrier adds an extra level of functionality to the Terra Alpaca or Gravita Alpaca (Downhill) X5 saddles with a neatly integrated carrier below the rear for streamlined transport of a multi-tool and two CO2 cartridges. The removable tool carrier can be affixed to a dedicated bolt hole at the bottom of the Alpaca saddles, seamlessly integrating with the underneath of the saddle and leaving little trace when removed. There are two removable mounting points for CO2 canisters on the flanks of the carrier, with a central slot to store the 12 function multi tool that is then covered and held in place by a rubber flap. This multi tool features a CO2 inflator head to make use of the two canisters in a time of need. There is an impressive range of hex wrenches, with the common sizes from 2mm through to 8mm all accounted for. There’s a Phillips and Flat head screwdriver and T10 and T25 torx keys, which should have most bikes covered for just about every bolt possibility, though of course foregoing any chain tools or tire levers. The Alpaca tool carrier can be purchased separately for $39.99/£39.99 or included with the saddle for £119.99 /$129.99.

From the get-go it was clear the Fizik kit is of high quality, with neat packaging and a clean and tidy finish all round. The overall feeling is nicely padded, especially in the nose where some others can feel harsh. This cushy feeling is somewhat of a rarity for a saddle in this weight bracket, though it’s safe to assume the smaller overall footprint than many helps to keep the weight down. The short length was immediately noticeable, both in looks and when you first sit down. Initially the shorter span had me struggling to locate the “sweet spot” right away, but it quickly became second nature after some trail time. Compared with a longer saddle with more real estate you’ve got to make your movements more carefully, as a small movement can affect the balance of the bike quicker. It’s not a bad thing once you get used to it, but it does take some adjusting.

The usable “sit zone” on the nose effectively extends all the way to the tip, where there’s still ample padding to save any discomfort, letting you shift your weight all the way forwards for the times when maximum front wheel weighting is required. The ramped section in the rear is useful on the steepest pitches to reduce the amount of core engagement needed to keep you from sliding off the back and gives you the slight extra “edge” to quickly weight the rear wheel to add to the grip as you pedal. Overall, the saddle proved to be comfortable for me with no clear pressure spots, but as with all saddles, the fit to your derrière is vital, so some may not share the same sentiments.

The claims of descending comfort hold true, with a noticeable lack of “dig in” to the legs when getting bashed about on the descents. There’s still a bit of an edge on the underside, which you can feel if you’re doing your most extreme bike yoga, but as saddles go Fizik have done a great job with padding the Terra Alpaca suitably. On the way down it’s a bit easier to get off the back of the bike thanks to the increased clearance too, making it a generally pleasant saddle to have between your legs when attacking steep terrain. Over the testing period in the finest UK mud, the saddle has shrugged off any serious signs of wear and tear and remains impressively creak-free.

When it comes to the Alpaca tool mount, the CO2 mounts easily into holsters that can be removed in seconds. When the CO2 is loaded the looks are reminiscent of a bomb about to drop, but thankfully the threaded CO2 cartridges held firmly. The inflator offers no control for the CO2, so it’s nice to have the backup canister in case you shoot your load without getting a good seal on the valve. The multi tool mounts into the holster with a satisfying tight fit, with the rubber cover looping over easily and keeping things solid and rattle free. Once mounted up, it’s clear to see there’s something going on below the saddle, but it doesn’t stand out as an ugly afterthought.

The Multi tool is quite sturdy, but not quite what I’d call ergonomic. The hex keys are short, and the wide body means it’s often a case of tightening by ⅛th turn at a time in tight spots. Having a permanent 8mm is neat, but it’s likely to be a “get me home” solution rather than being able to physically tighten a bolt to the required torque an 8mm usually requires. The absence of any chain tool or tire levers means it won’t likely be the only tool you need to carry, but when combined with a tool strap elsewhere on the bike you would be most of the way towards self-sufficiency. The tool has so far shrugged off any signs of rusting, even though it allows moisture to surround it, and the hex keys are showing no signs of losing their edges.

Fizik Terra Alpaca Saddle and Alpaca Tool Review

The Wolf’s Last Word

Fizik’s Terra Alpaca saddle offers a well-considered option for trail through to enduro riders looking to combine comfort with maneuverability. When combined with the Alpaca tool mount, you’re given a neatly integrated tool and CO2 that could be a day saver when out on the trails. 

Price: £119.99 /$143.99 (set) | £89.99/$99.99 (saddle only)
Weight: 248g (saddle)

We Dig

Saddle shape offers good control
Generous padding
Clearance in steep terrain
Neat tool integration

We Don’t

Shorter saddle requires technique adjustment
Lack of CO2 control
Short hex keys


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