Although they’re a comparatively new brand, Fabric have some highly impressive (and very cool looking) products in their line-up already. Using experts and techniques from outside the cycling world means that they take a fresh viewpoint producing to kit that’s otherwise become bogged down by tradition.
The pinnacle of this approach is the ALM saddle. Fabric designed the ALM in conjunction with engineers from Airbus and used Additive Layer Manufacturing (see what they did with the name?) technology which allowed them to create a design that had been previously considered impossible using carbon.
The mounts are right on the edge of the base, opening up the centre of the saddle to create more flexibility. The trade off to that should be that the edges of the saddle become stiffer, but the design of the rails allows them to effectively act as a leaf spring, and dampen vibration. In terms of the platform you have to sit on, the ALM is 142mm wide and 282mm long and the thin, flat profile shows you that it’s very much a performance saddle.
The other great part of the design is that it’s extremely light. Seriously. At 140g the ALM is one of the lightest saddles around (that actually uses padding, that is, carbon shell saddles will have the edge in that regard). The topper of the saddle is bonded to the base, making for a tidy, seek look to finish things off. Of course, innovation like that tends to come at a price, and the ALM is no different, with the Shallow Ultimate version coming in at a whopping £225.99 while the buffalo leather Carbon Limited is £249.99.
Fabric have also dipped their toes into the triathlon world, and come up with the Tri, a shorter, wider saddle with a central relief (and drainage) channel. Simiarly, the upper has drainage channels to further help post-swim and the Tri also has a transition hook at the back to keep things steady on the rack.
Of course, the Tri isn’t just suited to triathlon, and TT riders our there might also look on with interest, especially since the version of the Tri – the Flat Elite – with Cro-mo rails comes in at just £49.99. The base is Nylon, upper is lightweight PU foam and the cover is made from an all important waterproof microfiber. If you want something a little fancier, the Tri Flat Race is £69.99, and swaps out the Cro-mo rails for titanium.
Back to road and the Scoop, Cell and Line are the other three models in Fabric’s range. The Scoop is arguably the most versatile as it comes in various different types depending on a rider’s position. Basically, there are three: one for the racers, one for the sportive riders and another for those with an upright riding style called the Flat, Shallow and Radius. Padding density and profile change accordingly with the race version being flatter and less padded than the slightly more profile upright version.
On top of that, there are four different rail/base combos to choose from in each profile: the Elite which is a £39.99 cro-mo/nylon combo, the Race which pairs titanium and nylon for £59.99, the Pro which moves up to carbon rails and a nylon base for £109.99 and finally the Ultimate which is a full carbon construction and comes in at £169.99.
The Line is the road saddle with a central relief channel. There are two models – the Elite and Race – which come in at £39.99 and £54.99 respectively and offer cro-mo/nylon and titanium/nylon constructions.
Finally, the Cell is the saddle for the every day rider. Using techniques from a factory that specializes in run shoes, the Cell uses a unique air helix construction under the cover to make what Fabric reckon is the most supportive saddle on the market. RRP is £49.99.
Outside of the saddle market, Fabric have been innovating too, and one of their slickest creations is the Chamber R multi tool. Shaped like a large bullet, the top of the Chamber unscrews to reveal a selection of double-ended allen attachments, screwdrivers and all sorts. Better than that though, take out the tool attachment you want, screw the top back on and you have a hole at the top to insert the tool into which turns the housing into a lever. And it ratchets, too, which is another smart feature. Each tool can be used in three different lengths, meaning you can adjust those hard to reach areas on the bike. The Chamber comes in at a pretty decent £34.99.
One other area Fabric have been working on is bar tape. They have four different types of tape in the range, but the newest is the Silicone tape. While many tapes use silicone backing to help stick in place on the bars, this tape is entirely made of silicone making it grippy in itself. What that means is there’s no adhesive needed on the back of the tape and has a degree of stretch built in as well to aid installation. The other bonus of no backing tape is that, in theory, this tape should last a long time as well as able to survive multiple removals and re-applications. At £29.99 it could look like a bargain if it’s able to provide in practice what it promises.
The final product, in case you haven’t seen it already, is the cageless water bottle. Instead of the traditional carbon or plastic cage that you slide the bottle into and out of, fabric have gone a different way entirely and use just two 1.5g studs that sit in the water bottle bosses. Then, on the back of the bottle, there are two slots that the studs fit into, holding the bottle in place without the need for a cage. Smart. Even better, the system is cheap, with a 500ml bottle and studs for just £9.99.