Fabric has added the latest trend to its options list without losing its impeccable reputation for cost-effective comfort. It's definitely one of the best
- Increased support and reduced pressure
- Well-judged flex and padding for all surfaces
- No intrusive edges
- Full range of prices and options
- Some riders will still prefer narrow
- Titanium version only saves 10g
- £5-10 more than standard Line saddles
The current wider, shorter saddle trend started with the radical 'moose knuckle' triathlon/time trial saddles from ISM and others (including Fabric). Morphing into less aggressive/more conventional formats has seen it become the latest seating trend, and while a few have made it into our guide to the best road bike saddles, not everyone has got it right. Fabric's new Line-S has been superbly judged to offer instant improvement for narrow-saddle sufferers, without the pelvis-splitting, perched-on-the-end or constant-shuffling-about downsides of some broad seats we've used.
Fabric's Line saddle was already a distinctive design, with its individual padded sides separated by a straight trench down onto the nylon base. The Line-S reduces its length from 282mm to 240mm (roughly half from either end, with rails staying the same length). The existing 142mm-width option is also joined by a wider 155mm model, on which the centre gap splays further apart. That came fitted with a 'women's' header card on our sample, but on the Fabric site both are listed as a 'unisex' model, and we know plenty of men who've benefitted from similarly fitting saddles.
While the same nylon shell is used across all three saddles, three rail options – the CroMo Elite (£59.99, 240g), titanium Race (£79.99, 230g), and carbon Pro (£149.99, 190g) – let you drop money and weight at varying rates. We're not sure why the Line-S costs £5-£10 more than the Line, though. There are five different colourways, too, consisting of plain black, Fabric gloss-logo black, black and red, black and blue, and black and white.
The complete lack of any central padding and squared inner edges can make the Line and Line-S saddles look slightly intimidating. It's the easy collapse of those inner edges under rider weight, plus the complete lack of any pressure under sensitive parts, that makes them work so well, even when you're rolled right forward into an attack/aero position. Even though it's only available in a 'Flat' profile (Fabric normally offer 'Shallow' and 'Radius' curves as well), the wider format stabilises you well in the sweet spot of the saddle. That reduces the constant 'shuffle-back-up' or 'on-the-rivet' feel we've had from some similar saddles, and keeps your position powerful and stable, even when you're grinding a big gear round. The subtle curvature of the outside edges stops it being intrusive on your inner thighs and/or buttocks if you do slide back further than you normally would. The result was a pair of saddles we got on with immediately, and which have continued to provide excellent comfort for aggressive and more casual riding alike.
With the benefit of more support when you need it, but none of the pressure where you don't, Fabric has added the latest trend to its options list without losing its impeccable reputation for cost-effective comfort. Definitely one of the best if your current saddle is cutting you in half or numbing your plumbing.