Above Category was founded on a love for brands that seamlessly blend the highest levels of performance with elegant, beautifully executed design. It’s the essential thread that ties together every single one of our partnerships. It’s obvious in the frame builders and manufactures you see in our offering, but it carries on to the small parts and details as well. We love custom and we love unique, but we need to acknowledge that a bicycle is a system, and there is beauty in a collection of pieces designed to work as a whole. Even if those pieces are a simple as saddles, handlebar, and the things the clamp onto. There are brands that have adopted this concept, but few actually pull it off with style and taste.
fi’zi:k has always been one of those brands, with their exquisite saddles present on our bespoke builds since Above Category’s birth a decade ago. Fast forward to 2016. Their demure, yet unconstrained collection has expanded and become one of our top choices for every single bike. On our most recent trip to Italy, we had the pleasure of spending time with our friends there and getting a glimpse behind the scenes of where the magic happens.
Quietly tucked away in the outskirts of Vicenza (seriously – we drove past it six times and nearly came to terms that it didn’t actually exist before finally finding the front gate), lies the offices and factory that fi’zi:k calls home. Promptly greeted with a late afternoon espresso, we said hello and began our tour.
Man and machine working hand in hand. fi’zi:k runs a tight ship, each room being just as clean and organized as the last, which is really clean and really organized. If you’ve ever held a 00 saddle in your hands you’ve seen that there are no compromises in their attention to detail. That attention can be traced back to this very place, where the work of perfection is a collective effort.
Bicycle component factory or family-friendly amusement park? There are enough lifts and carousels here to leave us looking for the ticket collector and wondering where to buy the cotton candy.
Lofted above the the factory and warehouse are fi’zi:k’s offices and labs. Separated by cool glass walls, everyone from the design and engineering teams to marketing and business teams are able to work privately, yet collaboratively in this beautifully modern space. We came at an exciting time, just before Eurobike and Interbike. In late 2015, fi’zi:k unveiled a complete redesign of some of their flagship 00 products, as well as exciting developments on the footwear front. Most notably, their 00 saddles, full carbon 00 seat post, and the smashing new R1 shoes. We were thrilled to get the chance to experience the evolution of their brand firsthand while things were still under wraps.
As availability has slowly crept up, the new pieces have been trickling into our skunkworks. We can assure you that after seeing the prototypes, and now having the production models, the new fi:zi’k shoes and saddles are some of the highest-quality pieces we’ve seen in awhile.
We don’t take our selection lightly, and we consider the relationship with the brands under our wing to be more than just a standard dealer/vendor arrangement. Our ties to our partner brands go deeper than just transactions and tradeshows, they extend across oceans, continents, languages, wine glasses, and dinner tables the world over. We’re proud to bring the world fi:zi’k, a brand that’s backed by extremely functional aesthetics, stellar comfort, and a polished business mannerism to boot.
The all new fi’zi:k R1B shoes are available here, and the new 00 Antares here.
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