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Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle



It's hardly changed over the years, and still one of the best all-round saddles you can get
Good looking
Competitively priced
Could be a touch lighter
Cheaper chromoly model is almost too similar

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle is a bit of a classic. Though it's been around for a few years now, it's still one of the best all-round performing saddles out there: comfortable on long rides, suitable for a range of riding styles, with subtle styling that looks great on any bike.

Let's get one thing out of the way: Fabric makes a lot of bike saddles. It makes so many – 43 by my count – that it actually means finding the right saddle for your backside is a bit of a mission.

> Find your nearest dealer here

There are three different types of saddle to choose from depending on how you want to sit – upright, normal, or low. Then, within each of these categories are different models depending on the seating style you want, as well as different seat widths, different seat rails and, naturally, different colours (though not on all models).

Honestly, it can all get a bit much, and so I'm delighted to save you about an hour of wading through the entire range by telling you that the Fabric Race Line Shallow is a fantastic all-round saddle that will probably suit the majority of bottoms and riding styles; it's the saddle you should probably go out and buy right now. No, really.

Back in 2017, Stu reviewed the previous if slightly less wordily-named Fabric Line saddle with titanium rails. It's essentially the same saddle that you see here, aside from an increase in its overall length from 270mm to 282mm, and it's five quid more expensive. I can only presume this increase is because those choosing the wider 142mm saddle for their wider sit bones are probably longer in the undercarriage as well. The 134mm version, which is also available, is still 270mm.

Whether this makes a jot of difference or not, the longer incarnation is still a fantastic saddle, as it was three years ago, for several reasons. For starters, it looks really smart – sleek and understated, with a lovely shape that won't look out of place on any style of bike. Its neat design is aided, no doubt, by the one-piece padding that's bonded to the flexible nylon base. That same piece of microfibre padding is also waterproof.

2020 Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle - detail.jpg

It's available in all-black or black with white accents on the cutout and base, and if you opt for the Team version, which sounds like a souped-up version of the same saddle (spoiler: it's not), you get it in black with a blacked-out Fabric logo on the top of the saddle, and the small Fabric logo in white.

Then there's the spec – you're getting a reasonably lightweight saddle with titanium rails for £75, which actually isn't a huge amount of money when you look around at what else offers the same – and a full-length pressure relief channel.

2020 Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle - underside.jpg

Most importantly, it's really very comfy. Okay, saddle comfort is subjective, but I never thought I could be swayed away from the Charge Spoon saddle that I've been perched on for the last 15 years – it just seemed to suit me for some reason – but this is just as lovely a place to rest my backside, if not even more so. Despite there being quite a minimal level of padding, the combination of flexy titanium rails and the channel along the centre did a great job of cushioning me nicely.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's going to be the out and out best choice of saddle for serious mile-munching, but for me it's ideal for my usual training distance of about 50-60 miles. At this mileage I suffered zero numbness in the perineum, and I didn't get soreness anywhere either.

> Buyer’s Guide: 21 of the best saddles

Sitting in the Shallow category of its saddles means that the Fabric Race Line is designed for a normal riding position on the hoods, where you're leaning forward enough to cruise along nicely without putting your back out. Fabric says the saddle is optimised for this seating position thanks to its medium level of padding and more rounded rear section.

According to my seat to bar drop, which is quite considerable (blame my long legs), I'd probably be more at home on the racier Flat type of saddle (though Fabric doesn't make the Line in this seating position), but in reality I found that the Race Line seemed to work as well sat as upright as possible on the tops as it did when I was down really low in the drops, without the nose getting in the way.

> How to fit and set up your saddle

If you're happy to sacrifice a few pounds on the scales, then you can also save a few pounds on the cost of a Fabric Line saddle. The entry-level Sport version, with steel rails, is just £39.99 and weighs a claimed 290g (a 47g penalty), while on the next rung is the £54.99 Elite version with chromoly rails, which, maybe not totally surprisingly, is only 3g heavier than the titanium Race model going by the claimed weights. There's a really light carbon Pro version available too, but it's a tenner shy of double the money of the titanium version.

> Buyer’s Guide: 17 of the best lightweight saddles

Though we've not compared them side by side, in Stu's review of the older version he did note that the increased flexibility of the titanium rails definitely gave more comfort over the chromoly version. Whether that's worth an extra £20 is debatable.

Even after three years since it launched, Fabric's slightly updated Line Race Shallow is still the sweet spot of saddles in terms of price, comfort and looks, and the good thing is if you want to spend a little less and still get great performance, all you have to do is drop down a rung on the ladder.


It's hardly changed over the years, and still one of the best all-round saddles you can get

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website test report

Make and model: Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle 2020

Size tested: 142mm

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, "Go further for longer with the Line saddle. Based on our innovative Scoop saddle, the Line has a single, split piece of waterproof pad with a full-length central relief channel to decrease pressure on the pudendal artery. The Line is specifically designed for comfort on longer days in the saddle.

"Our state-of-the-art Line saddle design builds in comfort to every ride. Our unique three-part construction strips away the compression and tension found in traditional hard, stretched-cover saddles. We do this by bonding a waterproof microfiber straight onto a flexible base, allowing us to use a softer foam, giving you added comfort, wherever you're headed.

"The Shallow profile has a more rounded rear section and medium padding. This profile is for riders leaning forwards, in a more natural riding position; typically the handlebars will be slightly lower than the saddle with the rider's weight being split between the saddle and handlebars more evenly, requiring less padding on the saddle."

I found the saddle very comfortable and could easily rack up 60 miles without any discomfort, and I've got a very picky set of sit bones.

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

Fabric lists:

Rails: Titanium (7mm)

Base: Flexible nylon

Cover: Waterproof

Profile: Shallow

Weight: 239g

Width: 142mm

Length: 282mm

Mid rail to saddle topper 49mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

An effective saddle no matter whether you're in a normal position or in the drops, and feels stiff enough to let you apply the power.

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

Not the lightest saddle out there, but many similar weight saddles are more expensive.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

It feels a little firm to begin with, but it's actually very comfy on long distances. The usual caveats apply re saddle comfort being subjective...

Rate the product for value:

£75 isn't cheap, but you're getting a lot of saddle for the money, and there isn't really much in this price bracket that can compete.

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

The Race Line Shallow feels like a very comfortable saddle for training or racing on.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's comfortable to sit on for many miles, but isn't particularly heavy.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product


How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

It's a good price for a titanium railed saddle at this weight, and with this level of comfort and performance. The main competition for the Line Race Shallow comes from Fabric's own stable: the Elite version with chromoly rails is nearly as light, looks almost identical and is £20 less.

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 overall score

There's nothing bad to say about the Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle – it does everything really well. It's comfortable on long rides, feels great whether you're taking it easy or riding hard, and it looks fantastic too, in an understated way.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Steel audax bike  My best bike is:

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,

Add new comment


javi_polo | 3 years ago

So... I've read very good things about the Brooks Cambium and was thinking about getting one, but I postponed the decision a couple of times because I thought it was expensive.

This might be a good alternative for a lower price. Have any of you tried both and can give some opinion about how do they compare? Is the Cambium noticeably more comfortable?

Moist von Lipwig replied to javi_polo | 3 years ago

I can't give you a comparison, but I've got the Fabric Line Shallow Elite which is remarkably similar to this one, its great. I had a 'normal' Selle saddle previously, it was okay at first but then went from arse pain from an hours ride to not being able to feel anyhting from waist to knee after 3 hours and chafing sores.

In the 2 years since I switched to the Fabric with the cut out, I get a bit of discomfort after about 4 hours and thats it.

RobD replied to javi_polo | 3 years ago

Funnily enough the cambium is one that I've been tempted by, although they don't seem to do the C15 in a non all weather version anymore? From trying out the cambium only briefly, it feels quite different, again very comfortable, but a bit more of a sensation of your weight being spread over a larger area, not that the fabric feels like there's pressure, you're just slightly more aware of where you're sitting I'd say.

While the fabric is quite a good looking saddle in an understated way the cambium just looks cool, especially on something that isn't supermodern/aero looking.

kil0ran replied to javi_polo | 3 years ago

I went from a Fabric (well Charge as was) Spoon to a Cambium. The Spoon was really comfortable for me up to around 15 miles, I used it for around 3 years. Cambium is in a different league comfort-wise - I can ride for hours without knowing it's there and I ride in summer bibs with a very minimal pad.

It's starting to look a little tatty after 3 years and if you're a heavy rider you might need to take it apart and grease the nosepiece and the sockets for the rails at the rear to stop it squeaking. My next saddle will be another Cambium, absolutely no doubt. I've got a Brooks B17 on my tourer and that's equally comfortable, even without a pad.

FatTed replied to javi_polo | 3 years ago
javi_polo wrote:

So... I've read very good things about the Brooks Cambium and was thinking about getting one, but I postponed the decision a couple of times because I thought it was expensive.

This might be a good alternative for a lower price. Have any of you tried both and can give some opinion about how do they compare? Is the Cambium noticeably more comfortable?

I have SCOOP PRO SHALLOW and the Brooks Cambium , The Fabric saddle is much more comfortable

hilld replied to FatTed | 3 years ago

I was using the Brooks C15, then wanted to try something different and I ended up with the Fabric saddle. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me, it flexes way too much, to the point on where I thought I broke the saddle. Only after perusing the FAQ's on Fabric's website, I did see the note that the Ti rails won't work for somebody over 100kg. Since I am at 110kg (down from a lot more, but still a ways to go), I will go back to the C15. 

RobD | 3 years ago

I love this saddle, I've had a scoop (when they first came out under the Charge brand) and another scoop a year or two ago on a couple of bikes, I relatively recently got one of these for my main bike, I ummed and Aahhhed about whether to bother with the titanium rails, and in the end with discounts etc the difference wasn't much, but the little bit of added flex seemes to make it even more comfortable. I'm not usually a fan of saddles with cut outs, but having tried it I think it's perfect, it just seems to work with minimal fuss and has a decent sweet spot of comfortable positions.

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