Fabric Scoop Race Shallow Review
Cons: No anatomical relief, only available in one width
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Fabric makes a broad range of saddles and accessories for all types of cycling and has quickly grown their market share over the past several years. The Scoop Race Shallow is a moderately priced all-around version in their popular line of Scoop saddles. It features their "shallow" profile that is designed for a more neutral riding position that most people have on a mountain bike. It's got an agreeable shape with a firm shell and medium-density padding that allows for a powerful pedal stroke. There's nothing especially noteworthy about the Scoop Race Shallow, but it's relatively comfortable with a clean look, quality construction, and solid all-around performance.
The Scoop Race Shallow is a relatively comfortable saddle, and it scored among the top performers in this metric. It couldn't quite match the superior comfort offered by our highest rated saddles like the Specialized Phenom Comp, Tioga Undercover Stratum, or the WTB Koda Team, but it's not far off the mark either.
Its comfort is primarily due to its shape, with an agreeable 140mm width, rounded side to side profile, and slightly scooped tip to tail profile. This shape supports the rider's weight comfortably on the sit bones while allowing for an unencumbered pedal stroke. It also has medium density padding beneath the waterproof synthetic cover that provides a little bit of cushion. Underneath that padding, however, is a stiff nylon shell that is relatively unforgiving compared to a saddle like the Tioga Undercover Stratum that has a more flexible shell design. When compared to another model with a very stiff shell, the SDG Circuit Mtn Ti, the Scoop is far more comfortable due to its more rounded side to side profile and somewhat softer padding.
The Scoop Race Shallow doesn't have any anatomical relief which detracts slightly from its comfort score. There is a depression that runs from the tail of the saddle forward about a third of the way, but it's a little too far back to provide any relief for the perineal area. Saddles like the SQlab 611 Ergowave Active and the Specialized Phenom Comp have significantly better anatomical pressure relief and score higher for comfort as a result.
From a performance standpoint, there's little not to like about the Scoop Race Shallow. There's nothing especially noteworthy about it, it's no-frills, but it gets the job done well. It has a nice teardrop shape with a rounded side to side profile and a stiff shell that makes for an unrestricted and powerful pedal stroke. It feels quite similar to the Specialized Phenom Comp and the Tioga Undercover Stratum in that regard, although the latter is more forgiving overall.
The shape of the Scoop Race Shallow allows for great freedom of movement. It's easy to move side to side and fore and aft with a rounded tail shape that isn't prone to snagging on shorts or other articles of clothing. The nose of the saddle is also right around average in width and length making it good for getting your weight forward on especially steep sections of climbing.
Based on our experience testing the Scoop Race Shallow we feel confident saying that it is a highly durable product. It has a very clean seamless design with a one-piece waterproof synthetic cover that is tucked into the shell underneath. The shell is a single solid piece as well with the sturdy Ti rails pressure fit into it. The rails are straight as the day we got the saddle, and we didn't experience any noises emanating from them while riding. Our one gripe with the Scoop is that it lacks any reinforcement around the damage-prone tail. One of our testers has put a season's worth of miles and abuse on a Scoop saddle that he won at a race, and he claims that it looks and performs as good as the day he put it on his bike.
As mountain bike saddles are concerned, the Scoop Race Shallow is about as versatile as they come. It is suitable for all types of riding, from XC to gravity oriented riding, with a nice shape that allows for great snag-free freedom of movement and a clean and powerful pedal stroke. This saddle isn't specific to mountain biking either. This is a great all-around option that is equally at home on the road or adventure bike too. Riders who like a pressure relief cutout or channel will be better off looking elsewhere, as this saddle has a relatively stiff shell and no real anatomical relief in its design.
At 253g, the Scoop Race Shallow won't win any awards for being lightweight, but it falls into a relatively standard weight range for saddles in this review. This weight is reasonable, and if you need a lighter version, there are more expensive and lighter weight Scoop options available. If lightweight is what you seek, then we suggest our Editor's Choice Award winner, the Tioga Undercover Stratum, the WTB Koda Team, or the Tioga Spyder Outland, all of which weigh just over 200g.
At a retail price of $105, the Scoop Race Shallow falls toward the lower end of the price spectrum of the saddles in this review. Many of the other models in this test are offered at or near this price point, and you can expect to pay at least $100 for a quality mountain bike saddle. There are less expensive options out there, like our Best Buy Award winner, the WTB Volt Race, which weighs less and has a higher overall performance score. That said, the Scoop is a very well made and durable saddle, and a quality option that will likely please a broad range of riders.
The Scoop Race Shallow is a high quality and durable option that is ideal for the rider seeking a no-frills saddle with great pedaling performance. It has an excellent shape that allows for great freedom of movement and a clean and powerful pedal stroke. While we do think this a versatile and solid option for most riders, it was bested in this test by lighter saddles that offer a higher level of comfort.
Fabric makes a full line of saddles, accessories, tools, and pumps. They make saddles for all types of cycling from road racing to mountain biking and everything in between. Each model is available in numerous versions that vary primarily in the rail material, weight, and price. The Scoop Shallow is offered in 6 different versions including the Race version reviewed here. It is also offered in Sport ($42) with steel rails, Elite ($80) with cro-mo rails, Pro ($180) with carbon rails, Pro Team ($180) with carbon rails and large logo, and the Ultimate ($285) that comes with carbon rails and a carbon shell.
Fabric also makes the Scoop Flat which is designed for a more aggressive forward body position, as well as the Scoop Radius models that are intended for riders who prefer a more upright position.
— Jeremy Benson