Fabric has been gradually increasing its range of accessory products for the past few years, since first launching with a range of saddles in 2014, and will be now offering lights and pumps, as well as more tools and bottles. We popped down to Bruton in Somerset yesterday to take a first look at the new range before it's available in the shops in August.
Lights for the commuting market
Simplicity and innovation are the two key watchwords employed by the company, and nowhere is that more present than in the new range of lights it is launching for 2017. The lighting market is a crowded one with some very established players, but Fabric is keen to demonstrate it has developed a product that it hopes will sufficiently stand out on the shelves of your local bike shop, with features like high-speed USB charging, brightness controls, burn time indicators and Get Home Safe LEDs.
The range is spearheaded by the FL 500 (price TBC) which as its name suggests, provides a 500-lumen output from a CREE LED. Burn time on the highest output mode is a claimed 2-hours, whole the 100 lumen setting increase the runtime to 4-hours. There are additional 8-lumen flash and strobe modes, good for 7-hours, and ideal for commuting or the ride home from the trail.
For a brand synonymous with design, the light is a good looking thing. The case is constructed from aluminium with an easy-to-use handlebar clamp using a rubber band loop, and the position of the clamp on the light can be adjusted, simply by sliding it back or forth. A dial at the rear of the light switches between the modes with an on-off rubber button.
A micro-USB port is hidden under a rubber flap on the base of the unit, and the light is water resistant to the 1PX5 rating. Rather neatly, the light can double up as an emergency rear light with a strip of red, or white, LED lights on top of the unit.
The FL 300 (£44.99) use a similar design but houses a 300-lumen CREE LED, good for 2-hours of output, with an optional 60-lumen mode that will run for 3-hours.
Again it’s an aluminium unit with a strip of LEDs on the top of the light, so it can double up as an auxiliary front or rear emergency light.
The FL 150 (£36.99) is a 150 lumen light and uses a USB stick to charge it, just stick it on the side of your laptop. Neatly, the bracket also uses the same USB stick to secure it in place, so it’s very easy to use and there’s no fiddly bracket to contend with. The 150 lumen Cree front light runs for up to 2-hours on the brightest setting, and there’s the same row of red or white LEDs on top of the aluminium body that serve as an emergency light, with the multi-position mount letting you fix it to almost any part of the bike.
The F 30 and R 30 (£27.99 each) are front and rear-specific lights, with simply rubber mounts and a runtime of 8-hours on the brightest output setting, but this can be stepped down to 9-hours on medium, with a flash and strobe mode option as well. The rear light has the added functionally of a built-in accelerometer that detects braking, so it gloves brighter when you’re slowing, such as approaching a junction. Both lights use a lithium battery, USB charging and are 1PX5 water resistant.
Pump it up
Not only is the move into lights big news for the accessory brand that started as an off-shoot of the Charge bike brand, but it's also adding a range of pumps for 2017. It's got everything from diddy mini-pumps to workshop quality track pumps. All of the pumps are made from aluminium with extendable hoses to make inflating a tyre easier, and a novel smart head that easy converts between Presta and Schrader valves.
The R150 (£24,99) and R200 (£29.99) are tiny, measuring just 180 and 235mm respectively, and very light. they'll easily slip into a jersey pocket and go unnoticed during a ride.
The M200 (£29.99) is a bigger volume pump probably better suited to mountain biking and lower pressure applications.
The Z250 (£39.99) is Fabric’s “take on the classic bicycle pump” and combines an aluminium body with an ergonomic wooden handle. It’s 400mm long and comes with a frame mount. An extendable braided hose is capped with the smart head and it’ll inflate tyres up to 90psi.
There are also two track pumps, the cheaper TP02 (£44.99) pictured and a more expensive TP01 (£69.99) version that wasn't ready in time for the launch event. They're both the same, essentially, the extra money getting you a pump made from higher grade materials, a solid cast base and wooden handle.
Both feature a very large pressure dial, wide base for stable pumping, and a long rubber hose with the same smart head valve adapter as used on the smaller hand pumps.
While the move into lights and pumps represents a big change for the company, it's also interesting to see its Chamber tool introduced last year joined by several new multi-tools and a chain breaker. going with a more conventional folding multi-tool design, the Six, Eight and Sixteen tools are made with aluminium side plates and CNC machined tool bits.
The biggest tool offers just about everything you could need to get out of any sticky mechanical situation, while the smallest is really just a get out of jail tool. The Eight costs £17.99 and the Sixteen costs £21.99, the Six sadly isn't available in the UK, so just one for our overseas readers.
Need a chain tool? This is an elegantly designed chain breaker made from hardened still and is compatible with 8, 9, 10 and 11-speed chains.
Cageless bottle range expanded
Fabric launched is Cageless water bottle this time last year, and for 2017 the original 600ml bottle size has been joined by a 750ml option, an insulated bottle and a Tool Keg. The Cageless water bottle does away with a traditional bottle cage and instead uses two short studs that the specially designed water bottle slots onto.
There's a Tool Keg as well which is an ideal alternative to a saddle bag or stuffing essentials in a jersey pocket if you're happy to give up one of your water bottles. A neoprene bag stops tools and other bits and bobs rattling against each other.
Fabric is also doing custom water bottles, with the unique design ideally suited to a bit of on-bike branding. It's only doing big batches so not one for your local team, but ideal for bike shops, brands, and even event organisers.
The Scoop is now available in a women-specific design. Fabric has changed the shape, it's a bit wider and shorter, and added three gel sections, one at the nose and two for the sit bones, to provide additional comfort. It comes in a raft of colours, weighs 280g and is 155mm wide.
The Line was introduced last year, a Scoop with a channel down the middle to reduce pressure on your precious. It was previously only available in a racy 134mm width, but it's now available in a more generous 142mm width.
The ALM is Fabric's most advanced and lightest saddle, with an all-carbon construction providing a weight of just 140g. It's not changed, but there are a couple of new colours, including this white version. Very pimp.
As well as components, there were a few fancy bikes at the launch event dressed up with Fabric parts. Such as this very unique Cannondale.
And a Mason that got absolutely soaked in the rain.
Most of these new products will be available in August and we'll have reviews for some of these key new products soon. More at http://fabric.cc/
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.