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Fabric Scoop Review

Fabric Scoop Pro
Top Pick Award
Price:   $170 List | $164.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Light, comfortable, durable
Cons:  Lacks versatility
Bottom line:  High end road racing saddle at an excellent price.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Fabric

Our Verdict

The Fabric Scoop is a performance saddle aimed at the road-racing crowd. We tested the flat, carbon rail version of this saddle that is often listed as the Fabric Scoop Pro by retailers. It is the winner of our Top Pick Award for Road Saddles and features a flat profile with minimal, yet appropriately placed padding, and a flexible shell make it comfortable enough for all-day rides, without sacrificing performance. At 181 grams, this is the lightest saddle we have tested, so it is sure to please those who are counting grams.
Fabric Product Line Explanation-May 2017
If you are familiar with saddle brands like Fizik, then the Fabric product line can be a bit confusing. The Scoop line of saddles is offered in three different profiles; Flat, Shallow and Radius. These profiles refer to the shape of the saddle. Each profile is then offered in 4 different material configurations; cromo, titanium, carbon and ultimate.
Profile summary:
-Flat: Flat profile from nose to tail, minimal padding and a narrow nose, for riders who like a low aggressive position on the bike.
-Shallow: Slight rise in the rear of the saddle, more padding than the Flat, for riders searching for a higher level of comfort who want to maintain performance.
-Radius: Rounder profile with a slightly more dramatic rise in the rear than the Shallow, most padding of the three profiles, for riders who prefer a more upright position and value comfort over other factors.
Materials summary:
Price goes up and weight goes down as you progress through the options from the top to the bottom of the list.
-Cromo: Most affordable, cromo steel rails and a nylon base.
-Titanium: Titanium rails with a nylon base.
-Carbon: Carbon Rails with a nylon base.
-Ultimate: Carbon Rails with a carbon base.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Bike Saddles of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Curtis Smith
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Saturday
October 15, 2016

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Performance Comparison


The Fabric Scoop Flat Pro wins our Top Pick Award for Road Saddles.
The Fabric Scoop Flat Pro wins our Top Pick Award for Road Saddles.

The Fabric Scoop stands out from the crowd with a unique vacuum bonded microfiber cover, a flexible nylon shell, and carbon rails. It is light; comfortable, and shaped to help you crank out the watts.

Comfort


The Fabric Scoop Flat Pro has a relatively flat profile with minimal padding.
The Fabric Scoop Flat Pro has a relatively flat profile with minimal padding.

When it comes to comfort, the Scoop is in an elite group. The most comfortable saddles blend the perfect amount of padding with a shell that flexes just enough to help you settle into position. If you are in search of a saddle with thick luxurious padding, then this is not the saddle for you. The padding is minimal and rather dense. The density of the padding helps to spread out load and reduce pressure on the sit bones. The Specialized Phenom has slightly thicker padding, and an anatomical cut out to relieve pressure, yielding a comparable level of comfort utilizing a different design approach. The flex in the shell is noticeable but firm and feels stable over rough roads, with no tendency to bounce. The profile of the Scoop is flat with a very slight upward flare towards the tail of the saddle. The Fizik Antares has a similar flat profile but lacks the slight rise at the tail. We found the Scoop to be among the most comfortable saddles we have tested, particularly when used on a road bike in a more aggressive racing position.



Performance


Carbon fiber rails bring the weight of the  Fabric Scoop Flat Pro down to 176g.
Carbon fiber rails bring the weight of the Fabric Scoop Flat Pro down to 176g.

Make no mistake; the Scoop is a race-oriented saddle. It is optimized for the rider who prefers an aggressive position. Think slammed stem, with a good amount of saddle to handlebar drop. Power transfer is excellent, both on the flats and while climbing. We are long-time fans of the Fizik Antares, but the Scoop is even better. With lots of room to move around, forward and aft, you will not get tired of this saddle on a climb.


The ever-so-slight kick up at the tail of the saddle is not noticeable on the flats, but when the road kicks up and you shift your weight back, it is a welcome feature and gives you some support to settle into. The only product that scores higher in this category is the Specialized Power Expert. It is not a matter of providing more support during hard efforts, but the design of the saddle allowed us spend a longer period of time in an aggressive low position without causing discomfort. Overall, it is hard to find any fault in the Scoop when it comes to performance, and it is our go-to saddle for road races and crits.

Versatility


The Scoop is not the most versatile saddle we have tested. The shape and profile are excellent for road riding duty, but this is not a saddle we would run on a mountain bike. In comparison, the Specialized Phenom is more versatile due to its ability to function at a high level for multiple cycling disciplines. Despite having a slight drop in the nose, it is prone to catching baggy shorts when used on a mountain bike. In addition, the saddle just does not feel in its element when ridden in the more upright position that most mountain bikers prefer.


When it comes to Enduro and trail bikes we would recommend a more purpose built saddle such as the Fizik Monte or the WTB High Tail Pro, both of which offer a bit more support for an upright pedaling position. It is, however, an excellent saddle for cyclocross or gravel, with a smooth microfiber cover that makes running remounts a no snag affair. It should also be noted that the Scoop has carbon fiber rails, which require the use of seat post clamp adaptors to safely hold the elliptical shape of the carbon rail. Most seat post manufacturers sell clamp plates to accommodate carbon rails, but some do not, so this can limit the range of bikes that the saddle can be used on.

Durability


The Scoop proved to be a durable partner for both training and racing. Following months of testing the cover looks the same as it did the day we took it out of the box, with no signs of wear or abrasion. The Scoop does not have scuff guards on the corners, so if you choose to use this saddle for cyclocross or mountain biking duty it is possible you could abrade the corners in a crash. Other saddles we tested such as the Fizik Monte offer more protection from crashes with abrasion resistant panels. The carbon rails were trouble-free, with no signs of cracking or wear, and the shell-to-rail joints show no signs of loosening or failing epoxy. The shell also proved to be quite durable, with no signs of the dreaded hammock effect. The shell still feels firm with similar flex to when it was new; so don't expect this saddle to break in much over time.


Weight


The Fabric Scoop Flat Pro has a relatively flat profile with minimal padding.
The Fabric Scoop Flat Pro has a relatively flat profile with minimal padding.

We weighed the Scoop at 181 grams. This is a few grams more than the claimed weight of 176 grams, but the this model is still the lightest saddle in our test group. For comparison, the Specialized Phenom, winner of our Editors Choice award comes in at 244 grams, but it uses titanium rails and has a bit more robust construction. So gram counters can rejoice, in the knowledge that they are running one of the lightest saddles available.


Best Applications


The Scoop is best suited to road riders who prefer an aggressive position. It is also an excellent choice for cyclocross riders looking for a lightweight saddle that can stand up to the abuse of never-ending remounts.

Value


With a list price of $169, this saddle is not cheap. It is, however, priced very competitively for a saddle at 181grams with carbon rails. You could easily spend over $169 on a heavier saddle with alloy rails, thus we feel that the Scoop Flat Pro is an excellent value.

Conclusion


The Fabric Scoop is a high-quality performance saddle. It is best suited to road riders and cyclocrossers. Top quality construction, low weight, and excellent comfort should put it on the short list for most roadies.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Scoop is available in a variety of configurations. Notably, it is also offered in two other profiles for different types of riders, Shallow and Radius. All of the profiles are available with cromo, titanium and carbon rails, and can also be purchased with a carbon shell. Follow the links below for more on other Fabric saddles.

Fabric Cell Radius Elite
Fabric Cell Radius Elite
  • Cost - $79.99
  • Width = 155mm, Length = 282mm
  • Unique airsprung saddle aimed to maximize comfort
  • Ideal for riders in upright, relaxed position

Fabric Line Elite
Fabric Line Elite
  • Cost - $69.99
  • Width = 134mm, Length = 270mm
  • Center channel aimed to relieve pressure on the pudendal artery
  • Available in two base/rail combos - chromo/nylon and titanium/nylon

Fabric ALM Ultimate
Fabric ALM Ultimate
  • Cost - $359
  • Weight - 140 g
  • Width = 142mm, Length = 282mm
  • Leaf spring carbon fibre rails
Curtis Smith

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 15, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
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2 star: 0%  (0)
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