Fabric first launched in 2014 as an offshoot of Charge Bikes. Debuting as a component and accessory brand, one of Fabric’s key products to begin with was the now ubiquitous Scoop saddle. In the past three years, the saddle line has grown in models, and also in shapes.
One of the newest models is the Scoop Gel, which is (you guessed it) based on the Scoop saddle, but with the addition of some supple gel inserts. It isn’t strictly male or female specific, though with Fabric splits its saddles by riding position, the Scoop and Scoop Gel are aimed at those pedalling in an upright position. As they put it; ‘urban, leisure and all terrain cyclists’.
As someone who classes themselves as an ‘all terrain cyclist’ my first reaction was ‘it’s very white’. White saddles being the white capri jean of the cycling world – at home supporting the taut behind of a glamourous pro, swanning around the cafés of the Mediterranean, but less suited to the muck and grime of the British countryside. Luckily it also comes in black.
Conveniently, for those all-terrain-cyclists who do take this out on the trail, the flexible one-piece nylon base is super smooth, making post-ride undercarriage sluicing a breeze. There are no stitch lines, no messy bits of foam poking out where it shouldn’t, and definitely no metal staples. Under the saddle isn’t a place you’ll look that often, but it’s nice to know the attention to detail that Fabric has paid to this filth-collecting area that can often be the weak point in a saddle that’s hammered with mud and pressure washing.
The cover is also smooth and waterproof, so if you’re into the Daz Challenge vibe, you can scrub it back to its former glory. Pretty much.
The Scoop Gel is marketed as ‘wonderfully simple and invitingly soft’. Although it sounds like a high-class chocolate truffle, the softness actually comes from three large gel inserts, which are arguably a more appropriate filling for a bike saddle. Fabric has split the components of the saddle into separate pieces to eliminate the compressive effect of stretching a saddle cover over the padding and into the base. It’s vacuum bonded the cover to the base instead, and this means Fabric can use a softer foam than usual.
And while yes, there is the go-as-firm-as-you-can-bear mantra in saddle selection (stop laughing at the back), in the context of mountain biking, where you will be doing a fair bit of seated pedalling over bashy terrain, I’d argue a bit of give doesn’t go amiss – unless you like to get all ‘50 Shades…’ out on the trails.
The Scoop Gel comes in at 155mm width and 260mm length (weight 280g for all the comfort seeking gram shavers), which puts it dimensionally in with saddles like the Charge Ladle, Fizik Luce (large) and Specialized Myth (medium). But wait, before you go discounting this as a ‘ladies’ saddle, remember that although on average men have 1cm narrower sit-bone spacing than women, statistically speaking there is three times more variation within each gender, than between the two genders (Cervelo, 2015). So ovaries aren’t a prerequisite for getting on with this perch.
No two bottoms are the same, but this is an easy saddle to get-on-and-go with. It’s got a pleasingly simple look that will complement whatever steed you want to attach it to. The squidge-factor is good for short hops and bashy hauls, and there is a decent range of colourways available for those who like the matchy-matchy kit.
|Tested:||by Celia Way for 2 months|