Fabric Scoop Review
Cons: No anatomic relief channel, lacks versatility
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Fabric Scoop Pro Flat stands out from the crowd with a unique vacuum-bonded microfiber cover, a flexible nylon shell, and lightweight carbon rails. Although it's one of the lightest saddles in our lineup, it's also very comfortable, and its flat profile provides a solid platform that helps you maintain an aggressive riding position when you're cranking out the watts.
With so many different options that all seem to look the same and have similar names and designs, the Fabric product line can be a bit confusing. The Scoop line of saddles is offered in a variety of profiles and rail materials, which we outline below, as described on the manufacturer's website.Profile summary:
Flat: The Flat profile has the flattest rear section and the lowest amount of padding, and is designed for the most aggressive riding position. It also has a thinner nose to allow better leg movement.
Shallow: The Shallow profile has a more rounded rear section and medium padding and is designed for riders leaning forward in a more natural riding position where the handlebars are slightly lower than the saddle.
Radius: The Radius profile has the roundest shape through the rear section with maximum padding and is designed for a more upright riding position where the handlebars are slightly higher than the saddle.Materials summary:
Sport: Steel rails with nylon base
Elite: Cro-mo rails with nylon base
Race: Titanium rails with nylon base
Pro: Carbon rails with nylon base
Ultimate: Carbon rails with carbon base
When it comes to comfort, the Scoop Pro Flat is in an elite group of saddles. As with the other highest rated products we reviewed, it does a nice job of blending a perfect amount of padding with a shell that flexes just enough to help you settle into the right position. While the padding is minimal compared to some other models, the flat rear platform helps spread out the load nicely and reduces pressure on the sit bones. 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.
If you're searching for a saddle with thick, luxurious padding for a gentle, upright cruise, then this probably isn't the model for you. Likewise, if you're looking for an aggressive anatomic relief channel, you won't find it on this model. But when used on a road bike in a more aggressive riding position, the Scoop is among the most comfortable saddles we tested.
Make no mistake, the Scoop Pro Flat is a race-oriented saddle. It is optimized for riders who prefer a lower, more aggressive riding position, perhaps with the stem slammed down to create a large amount of drop from the saddle to the handlebars. Power transfer from the saddle is excellent, both on the flats and while climbing, thanks to its thinner padding and ideal stiffness. The narrow nose also allows an aggressive, powerful pedal stroke without any obstruction or friction.
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 Scoop's high rating in the performance category is not just a matter of providing support during hard efforts, but the design of the saddle allowed us to spend a longer period in an aggressive low position without causing discomfort or inefficiency. 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 harder efforts.
The Scoop Pro Flat is not the most versatile saddle we've tested. The flat shape and profile are excellent for road riding duty, but we probably wouldn't run this configuration on a mountain bike. Despite having a slight drop in the nose, it's prone to catching baggy shorts when used on a mountain bike, thanks to its long profile; the Flat profile just doesn't feel in its element when ridden in the more upright position that most mountain bikers prefer. The more rounded Shallow or Radius profiles offered in the Scoop lineup may provide slightly more versatility for a larger variety of riding positions.
The Scoop would make an excellent saddle for cyclocross or gravel riding, with a smooth microfiber cover that makes dismounts and remounts a no-snag affair. It should also be noted, however, that the Scoop has carbon fiber rails which are elliptical in shape, and may not correctly fit all seat post clamps. Most seat post manufacturers sell clamp plates to accommodate carbon rails, but some do not, so this could potentially limit the range of bikes that the saddle can be used on. We would recommend checking your seat post to make sure it is compatible with elliptical shaped rails before upgrading to carbon rails.
The Scoop Pro Flat 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 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.
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 in our lineup offer more protection from crashes with abrasion-resistant panels that may be better suited for offroad pursuits.
We weighed the Scoop Pro Flat with our digital scale at 195 grams. This is a few grams more than the claimed weight of 176 grams, but this model is still one of the lightest saddles we've ever tested. So gram counters can rejoice with the knowledge that they are running one of the lightest saddles available on the market.
This saddle is not cheap. It is, however, priced very competitively for a top-end saddle with carbon rails at only 195 grams. You could easily spend more money on a heavier saddle without carbon rails, and thus we think that the Scoop Pro is excellent value and would be at home on the bikes of world tour riders and weekend warriors alike.
The Fabric Scoop Pro Flat is a high-quality, high-performance saddle ideally suited for aggressive riders or road racers with its flat profile and narrow nose. Its carbon fiber rails and high-end materials make it one of the lightest saddles on the market, and its ideal density padding makes it comfortable on long days in the saddle. Top-quality construction, low weight, and excellent comfort should put it on the shortlist for most road riders and earn the Scoop our Editor's Choice Award.
— Nick Bruckbauer