If you were to write a list of brands to have taken the cycling world by storm in recent years, Fabric with their range of saddles, tools and accessories would definitely top that list. So, what's all the hubbub? Can they really be anything approaching half as good as your closest cycling anoraks/aficionado says? Well, the thing is, if you've heard glowing praise about a Fabric saddle, it's not bluster - it's true. With this in mind, we thought we'd get down to giving you a guide to the range, with a few pointers as to which one for what sort of riding style. Intrigued? Good. Pull up a seat post (preferably adorned with a saddle...) - it's time to get comfy.
Flat, Shallow, or Radius?
So, before we start talking Cells, Scoops and Lines, it's probably worth taking some time to outline the basic shapes offered within the Fabric range. Adopting a three pronged approach, and one not dissimilar to Didi Senft's Tour de France trident antics, Fabric make three profiled saddles within each of their product lines; flat, shallow and radius.
If that has you throwing your arms up and hunching your shoulders in a display of bewilderment akin to a Frenchman confronted by marmite, then, let me explain - it's purely a segmentation based upon riding style. If you're down on the drops, tail in the air and a bit devil may care in the saddle, you're probably looking at going for the aggressively contoured Flat shape, designed for all out efforts from the hard riding, lightweight, cadence monkeys. If however, you find yourself dipping down low for descents but quite happily riding in the hoods occasionally, you'd be well advised to go for a Shallow saddle, with its particular geometry designed for versatile riding styles. Thinking of tackling that cyclocross course, or just happier riding up top than hunched over? You're after the Radius shape, which accommodates a more upright "what a gift that gap in the hedgerow was" type of riding.
Looking for a reliable do-it-all sort of saddle? Well, the Fabric Scoop range is where your search should begin. A workhorse, the Scoop range is a solid saddle set up that's ideal on your training bike, Sunday Sportive or trail ride.
Solid, robust and, with a variety of options that gear it towards particular disciplines, the Scoop was Fabric's original saddle, and, such was the strength of the design, it put the brand on the map. Taking a rather left-field approach, the Scoop is a blend of comfort, performance and, crucially, simplicity. Remaining elegant and, through its various shapes and variations, adaptable, the Scoop transcends any one particular disipline, leaving it a versatile choice for those intending on general riding.
The line is probably the most conventional of all the Fabric saddles, sticking close to the tried and tested conventions of racing saddles. The Line maintains a super narrow 134mm width and pairs it with an aggressive profile that threatens an attack before you've even clipped in.
Made from a one piece nylon base, this saddle, with its waterproof microfibre cover, is fitted with hollowed out titanium rails to ensure weight is brought down to the lowest possible levels. With perhaps the greatest differentiation coming in the shape of the integral pressure relief channel, the Line has a central course that acts as a cut out to relieve stress on more vulnerable areas.
Supporting the sit bones either side with a uniform but split padding arrangement, the Line amply caters for the slim classic rider body type, offering clean lines and a clear advantage in terms of comfort, performance and durability.
With the Shallow edition listed live on site, think of the Line as Fabric's versatile road saddle, one that gives you the benefits rather than the one that asks you to make some sacrifices to improve that time.
Airbus had this new technology that they were keen to explore and develop and we thought, 'This is amazing. We’re going to make something that no one else can make: no other bike company has contacts who are doing this, or have this manufacturing capability'.
Ian Redfern, ALM designer, cited in Rouleur
So, the ALM is Fabric's high end, innovation and tech-led saddle, the one that has the pro and performance motivated racer firmly in mind. Ultra light, super aggressive, and made with the latest aerospace industry technology courtesy of Airbus, these saddles are perfectly suited to the slighter build of the classic cycling archetype. Comfort guaranteed through the innovative sling design and sonic carbon hook molding, there is a surprising degree of flex built into the super rigid, super lightweight carbon-shelled saddle format.
A width of 142mm, this saddle best conforms to the Radius formula with regards to shaping, meaning that, although a strictly carbon affair, this saddle is contoured relatively sympathetically. With comfort not essentially all but sacrificed,
Widely lauded as one of the best performance saddles on the market, the ALM is certainly one worthy of the fuss, not just because of its surprising comfort, but due to it's imaginative technological approach. Of course, you're not obliged to tell your friends, but, well, they may be interested to know...
Not quite so concerned with life in the fast lane? Well, in that case, the Cell will be a more attractive proposition from where you're sat. Perfect for relaxed commuting or long days touring, in a world first, the Cell uses the same trainer shoe technology that allows your feet to feel like they're walking bare across a blow up mattress. With small pockets of air contained within the gel composition of the saddle, pressure is dissipated evenly, leading to perhaps one of the most comfortable rides out there.
A one shape, one profile saddle, choosing the Cell is simple - it's supposed to be comfortable, whoever rides on it, and for however long they intend to keep gently spinning that rhythm. Available in 6 colours and with a weatherproof cover, this saddle is one for the more relaxed ride, rather than the all out romp, and will suit a more upright position, and as such spans a wider dimension to accommodate such styles.
Fallen in love with a Fabric Saddle?
So, having elucidated upon the range, it's a given you'll be salivating over, rather than second guessing, your next saddle choice. But where pray tell do these padded seat post jewels reside? Well, happily, a good deal of the Fabric range is ready to ride away with from the Always Riding store. But if you've still got some pondering to do about your posture, then please just drop us a line, or indeed through the live chat tab in the bottom right of your screen! Or, if you're good to go, then flick through the product carousel below, or check out the entire Fabric saddle collection here.