Italian saddle manufacturer Fizik has always had a thing for odd coverings. Back in the 90s they had a furry cowhide saddle and more recently they offered the Nisene in a buffalo fur. I’m pretty sure that it’s fake, but information as to the exact characteristics of the fuzzy seat is rather elusive. I’ve had mine for about two years now, first on a BMX bike and currently my dropbar mtb. It’s still comfy, but wow has it been weathered.
I recently acquired another almost pristine buffalo Nisene; a friend decided it just wasn’t the right shape for him and gave it to me since I like it. Holding the new next to the old, you can see that almost all the “fur” has been worn off. You can also that I added a Fizik Extra Grip cover to the balding Nisene. The Extra Grip cover ($13) has become popular among TdF time trialists, as it helps riders hold their position in a deep aero crouch.
The Nisene’s cover is still fully functional with no rips, but it is clear that the fur is a feature whose novelty and presence have both worn off. To be fair, I rode that saddle primarily is canvas cargo shorts, so riding in lycra may have prolonged the saddle’s original appearance. In that same two year riding period, I wore out 4 cargo shorts, so I’m not totally surprised by the wear.
As for the Extra Grip covers, they come as a set of 3 (black, blue, and maroon) for $13. I put the maroon one on the Nisene about a year ago, and it though it has lost some of its initial appearance (which is good news if you hate the logo), it appears to have achieved a broken-in texture that still provides enhanced traction. I’ve never tired to remove the cover, so I don’t know it would leave behind a sticky residue, but I bet it would. I plan to leave the cover on for the rest of the saddle’s life, as it seems it will last as long.
Soon I’ll replace the Nisene with a Fizik Tundra, which is basically an offroad version of the Arione without the extended tail (a hazard to your scrabble bag during technical riding). And then the mangy buffalo will go onto to my Formula One bmx bike.