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Verdict: 
A classic in the making thanks to its shape and performance, now in wider and lighter options
Weight: 
237g
Contact: 
Fabric Line Titanium Saddle
9 10

The Line has been part of Fabric's catalogue for just over a year, but since we reviewed the chromoly-railed model back in 2015, it has launched a wider version to mirror that of its very successful Scoop range. Initially, the Line came in one width – 134mm (tested here) – but it's now available in a 142mm width to match the Scoop. Both are 270mm in length.

There are also three versions of the Line: what was called the Elite, with chromoly rails, is £49.99; this 'Race' option has titanium rails, and there's a carbon-railed model for £109.99 (142mm only). The model names seem to have been dropped, at least from the website.

> Find your nearest dealer here

For the extra 20 quid, you don't save a whole lot of weight over the chromoly-railed model (which doesn't really matter as that's pretty svelte anyway), but you do get a little more in the way of comfort, because the titanium tubes tend to flex a bit. You can notice it when riding the two side by side.

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - underside.jpg

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - underside.jpg

As I've said, the Line is based on the Scoop, a saddle that has always impressed us here at road.cc, with one major change: the channel running down through the middle.

If you read my Fairlight Strael review you'd have seen that I mentioned the Scoop as being very comfortable, but with quite a firm ride it could be a touch harsh on those longer but more relaxed rides. The Line solves that issue for me by removing the material through the central section, reducing pressure.

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - ridge.jpg

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - ridge.jpg

As you can see, Fabric hasn't gone for a full cutout, like many others, which I'm glad about as I find it can tend to make a saddle quite flexible; instead, the Line has a recess, which keeps the strength there in the nylon base.

> Buyer's Guide: Performance saddles

The other thing I'm a fan of his how supple Fabric has managed to keep the top edges either side of where the channel begins. Often these can be made so firm to stop them collapsing that you end up putting more pressure on your body than you removed by having the channel or cutout in the first place.

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - from rear.jpg

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - from rear.jpg

It is still firm, though, so the Line is definitely suited for those hard efforts where you want to really push against the saddle to get the power down, plus its narrow nose is ideal if you have large thighs and like to ride with your knees as close to the top tube as possible for full aero gains.

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - nose.jpg

Fabric Line Elite Saddle - nose.jpg

In terms of price I'd say the chromoly-railed model is the better value when compared against other saddles we've tested over the years. For its performance, overall build quality and comfort, it competes very highly against many saddles double the price. If you really must have titanium though, your £69.99 is a sensible investment. You can even customise your saddle on Fabric's website, choosing from a range of colours.

Verdict

A classic in the making thanks to its shape and performance, now in wider and lighter options

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fabric Line Titanium Saddle

Size tested: width 134mm, length 270mm

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Fabric says: "The Line uses a split, single piece, full-length pad with a central relief channel to decrease pressure on the pudendal artery. The Line is supremely comfortable for those longer days in the saddle.

"Extended pressure can lead to discomfort and numbness. The Line saddle amply supports the sit bones with lightweight foam padding and relieves pressure on the pudendal artery through the addition of a central relief channel. A rare combination of comfort and performance, however long your ride."

I found the Fabric saddle a pleasure to sit on, especially as the top edges of the channel aren't overly hard.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Weight: 237g | Width: 134mm | Length: 270mm

* Titanium rail

* Flexible nylon base

* Micro-fibre bonded cover

* Profile: Shallow

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

It looks and feel to be very well made and finished, with no rough edges left anywhere.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The Line Race is excellent all round, being supportive and a stiff platform to push against.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

It's been standing up to winter abuse well.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

The weight is impressive for a saddle of this price.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

A very comfortable saddle for me, without being too soft or squidgy.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

I've used many much more expensive saddles that haven't been any better than the Line in terms of performance.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great for those hard rides when you want a performance saddle.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

For me, the channel really works.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a lot really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The Fabric Line is a top notch saddle for those who like a firm but comfortable ride from a narrow, race-orientated saddle. If you don't need titanium rails, go for the chromoly version; if you want lighter, go carbon...

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

12 comments

Avatar
DavidC [155 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Is the depth of the channel all padding? How thick do you figure the padding is in mm?

In this age of internet shopping, some standard means of determining what exactly is soft, medium or hard needs to be established. I've seen a saddle or two with thick padding, but it's so firm that the padding seems rather pointless, and this experience makes me nervous about ordering a saddle online.

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Valbrona [188 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Looks just like other Fabric products ... cheap and nasty.

Avatar
Boss Hogg [86 posts] 4 months ago
6 likes
Valbrona wrote:

Looks just like other Fabric products ... cheap and nasty.

 

Why are you saying that? I own two fabric saddles and they are both of the finest quality.

Avatar
nadsta [172 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
Valbrona wrote:

Looks just like other Fabric products ... cheap and nasty.

Er, neither actually 

http://road.cc/content/review/188360-fabric-alm-ultimate-saddle

Avatar
macrophotofly [257 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

I bought quite a few seats over the last 4 years trying to find something that suits me and all of the three Fabric seats I bought (one, a carbon Fabric Scoop, is still on my race bike) were of a very high quality finish. Far better finish than Fizik (sew lines in the wrong places which fairly quickly show wear, matching saddles bags that break off the seat mid-ride), SMP Selle  (randomly placed staples underneath barely holding the material in place, sewn cotton labels on the leather that cause friction and eat into your shorts) and Selle Italia (staples again, flexing seatbases). Only Specialized Seats seem to be better and have matched Fabric for modern seat construction techniques. In particular, the Fabric seat cover has no sew lines and bonds into the base

I still have a Fabric Line (chromoly rails) and use it on my stationary trainer this time of year. I found it to be a very comfortable seat and also agree with the review that the edges around the channel do not form ridges that cut into your backside (e.g. Fizik versus). The only reason for me not using the Fabric on all my bikes is the rubber-based seat cover seems to be slightly more grippy - great for bike control in races but over long distance multi-day tours I found it caused a bit more friction on the backside which could have turned into saddlesores

In conclusion, a modern design ideal for single day rides and with the channel is perfect for trainer rides. Cushioning is firm (you sit more on than in) but deep (absorbs road hits) - identical to the Scoop.

Avatar
rjfrussell [362 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Valbrona wrote:

Looks just like other Fabric products ... cheap and nasty.

 

If this is not just unpleasant witless trolling, it would be interesting to hear what you base this on, in terms of your past experience, and a detailed analysis of the photos accompanying the article.  I have had 3 Fabric saddles, all of which have been first class in terms of construction and comfort, and while the upper end ones were still, in my view, good value, they weren't "cheap".  From the photos and review, the Line looks as though it is very much more of the same.

Avatar
barbarus [433 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Cheap and nasty is a weird thing to say about fabric. Their products are often beautifully engineered and produced. Take the recent lights for example. I could understand (although I would disagree with) an accusation of style over substance, but not cheap and nasty.

Avatar
earth [344 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

When this brand appeared they were touting leaf spring rails from 3d printed titanium or one piece carbon base with rails combined etc. etc.  But all I see is fairly average looking saddles with rails attached to nylon bases in the same fashion as anyother saddle.

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mtbtomo [225 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Yep, perhaps they aren't anything particularly different to a lot of other saddles, but I find my Scoop comfortable for 100+ miles so what people see is fairly irrelevant.  And its cheap enough that it doesn't matter if it gets ripped.  Better than paying a lot more for something like a fairly average looking saddle with rails attached to a nylon base in the same fashion as any other saddle 

Unless you're talking Brooks, how else do you envisage manufacturers make a saddle?? 

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ktache [524 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Does the channel collect water?

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beezus fufoon [673 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

Does the channel collect water?

come out of the cafe on a rainy day and scare the birds off, only to find the saddle covered in bird's shit - approved by St Francis of Assisi

Avatar
nadsta [172 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
earth wrote:

When this brand appeared they were touting leaf spring rails from 3d printed titanium or one piece carbon base with rails combined etc. etc.  But all I see is fairly average looking saddles with rails attached to nylon bases in the same fashion as anyother saddle.

You're talking about Fabric's prototype ALM. The production version uses carbon instead of Ti as the leaf spring. It's more comfortable than any other saddle I've used and weighs 145gms.