It's no secret that finding the right saddle for you is akin to the search for a soulmate, once you find that ‘special one’ it’s a decision you often stand by for life. This is Fabric’s first foray into a women’s saddle we were keen to find out if they have the winning recipe and if the Women's Scoop Gel could be 'the one'.
The Women’s Scoop Gel follows in the footsteps of the original Scoop saddle with it’s flexible, one piece base, the vacuum bonded upper and their custom rails. It all adds up to one sleek, minimalist, functional piece of equipment.
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There are a couple of differences between the two though, the Scoop Gel is wider at 155mm compared to 142mm of the regular Scoop. The Scoop Gel, as the name gives away, has three gel inserts, two on either side at the rear and one running along the nose. Fabric says these gel inserts are placed to disperse weight at key pressure points. Lastly, the Scoop Gel is marginally shorter than the original Scoop, by 13mm.
The outer layer on the upper of the Women’s Scoop is smooth yet grippy and one that keeps your bottom in place whether muddy or clean. It’s a saddle that when you first sit down, makes you feel that everything is right in the world of cycling, it's supportive yet cushioning. Stay in it for a few hours or on successive days though and you might find your lady parts are becoming increasingly unhappy.
Whilst out riding on the Women’s Scoop Gel I found the gel sections at the rear to be firm and supportive, cushioning the sit bones well, it was at the front of the front saddle that I experienced problems. The nose of the saddle is slightly rounded, Fabric uses it’s ‘Radius’ profile which is designed to ‘place the accent on comfort for easy riders’, this is a saddle designed for cyclists who pedal in an upright position and whilst we as mountain bikers are certainly more upright than our roadie cousins we are still mostly found angled forwards with some weight distributed on the nose of the saddle rather than just the rear.
Whilst this was not immediately uncomfortable I found after a few hours in the saddle this convex structure put pressure in areas that I’d rather not have it. Riding along with my hands off the bars and in a more upright position gave some relief and alleviated this issue, testament to the theory that the Women’s Scoop Gel is one for those who tend to ride in a less forward-biased ride position. A flatter, slightly longer nose would likely make this saddle more appealing, something Fabric say they are working on and testing currently. Hopefully we will see the Women’s Scoop Gel follow the path of the original Scoop and offer the three profile options, Flat, Shallow and Radius.
The rear shape of the Women’s Scoop, is a fairly wide affair (155mm) with a mid length nose when compared to competitors, I found that the back of my thighs were slightly restricted on the pedal downstroke by this width of saddle. This is a personal preference though, I’m 5’4 and about a dress size 10 and usually opt for a saddle width of 142mm, different shapes suit different sizes. I did however like the dropped nose of the Scoop Gel, meaning no nasty snagging of material when moving around on the bike.
For £49.99 and at a weight of 280g with Cro-mo rails this offering from Fabric for female riders is a sensible buy if you like a wider saddle for an upright riding position. It’s sleek and unobtrusive to the eye, it has just the right amount of ‘squish’ and is hardwearing and easy to keep clean. You can pick one of these up in a variety of colourways to suit your steed, I’ll be popping one on my city shopper but will be waiting for the profile options to appear before adorning my MTB with one again.
Got to www.fabric.cc for more details.