Alice Burwell reviews the Fabric Line-S Women’s Race Flat saddle: on paper it is roughly the same width as the Elite but around 15mm shorter front-to-back and has a channel too.
Review by Alice Burwell
The best women’s mountain bike saddle is hard to come by, but I’ve been riding Fabric’s excellent Scoop Women’s Elite saddle for around four years now and I was loath to change it because it’s so comfortable. So if anything was going to measure up it’s another saddle from the same company.
The Fabric Line-S Women’s saddle gets lightweight titanium rails, a waterproof micro-fibre cover and the same unique three-part bonded construction found on all Fabric saddles. This means there are no exposed seams, no staples and nothing to fray or come apart.
This is my first time testing a saddle with a channel and, while I like the idea that it relieves pressure, I didn’t find the Fabric Line-S Women’s Race Flat particularly comfortable and there are a couple of reasons for that. Although the padding is a similar density to my Elite, the channel actually reduces the amount of padding underneath you, and I could literally feel the edge of the pads when riding. There’s also less flex in the base compared to the Elite, which makes for a bumpy ride off-road. The Line S Race Flat is also a really flat profile – there’s not much of the shaping and contours of the Elite – so there’s less to push against when climbing or when I’m descending and trying to grip the saddle between my legs.
There are also a couple of ‘yeah but’ things to consider here – the Line S Race Flat has a performance bias for road, gravel and mountain biking, the inference being you can use it for trail riding but it’s not specifically designed for that. Also, while some women with differently shaped hips or anatomy may find the Line S Race Flat really comfortable, I just didn’t.
I think the Line S Race Flat is well made and great value for a titanium-railed saddle, but I’ll be sticking with the Elite on my trail bike. And the good news is you can still get the Elite online for about £50.