Fabric Cell air sprung saddle review
October 5th, 2015
Product Full Name: Fabric Cell air-sprung saddle
Retail Price: £49.99
Available From: Fabric
Trainer sole technology for your backside
Fabric are a parts and accessories brand launched by Nick Larsen, and their specialist product is the humble saddle.
Unlike other saddle manufacturers that use the traditional method of constructing the saddle, Fabric stepped back and looked at parallel manufacturing industries that specialised in certain materials and construction techniques. The result is a range of saddles different from everything else – read our feature on Fabric here
We’ve been riding the air-sprung Fabric Cell saddle for a few months now, which is one of the comfier saddles we’ve ridden…
The Cell saddle was born from the necessity to offer a saddle that is primarily comfortable. It needed to both look comfortable and appeal to the kind of customer that touches and prods.
A modern day version of the gel saddle, if you like.
The issue with gel saddles, is that they are heavy – and very expensive to produce. So the design team took a few steps back and looked at other sporting goods that rely on being comfortable – and are attractive to the consumer because of certain features. Air sprung trainers were one of those products – which tend to have visible air units in the heel of the shoe, making the comfort an obvious factor for the consumer, and something very easy to understand.
Going back to the drawing board, Fabric got to work with a manufacturer that produced trainers and other sport wear outside of the bike industry, and came up with a brilliant idea for producing a saddle that looks and feels comfortable to the consumer – and is every bit as comfortable when you have your back side parked on it.
With a 155mm width, the Cell is wider than the Scoop saddle – our go-to all round saddle – but will appeal to a wider audience. On their website it suggests for a more upright riding style – such as commuting; urban or all terrain. At just under 370grams, it’s certainly not the lightest saddle out there (the Scoop cro-mo option weighs in at 250grams) so will definitely suit those craving comfort rather than weight saving.
Unlike the other saddles in the range, only one option of the Cell exists – the Radius shape with Chromoly rails and a nylon base. We love the construction of the saddle – which is a three piece bonded design eliminating stiching and staples that look a mess. The underside of the Cell has a clean design, that makes it very easy to remove collected mud and crud.
The upper is a TPU rubber construction, with the unique Hex-Air cell technology that Fabric has developed.
Six colours are available, and the rest of the Fabric range, the Cell isn’t gender specific – it uses the Fabric system of choosing the correct width; length and profile that will suit your body type and riding style. It is of course a guideline – by body type and riding style I actually suit the narrower 142mm Scoop saddle – but have found the Cell a brilliant saddle for day to day riding. Especially for putting the miles in.
Out on the trail
Although the Cell feels soft and squishy by hand, I was surprised to find that once parked on it, the saddle actually felt fairly firm. And being a wider base, it took a while to get the hang of sliding off the back of the saddle – but once out and riding the comfort soon made me forget the saddle was even there.
Although comfortable, the Cell didn’t feel anymore comfortable on the normal 90minute off road rides I tend to do locally, except when climbing the steep stuff – the nose of the saddle is noticeably comfier to perch on than my usuals. However, on longer all-day rides it really does come in to it’s own.
Instead of feeling soft and supple like I first imagined, the feeling is that the saddle spreads your weight better – the longer you ride the more you will notice this.
Like the other saddles from Fabric, the three piece design works brilliantly for mountain biking as the saddle doesn’t absorb any moisture – and is super easy to clean.
Using the same simple and impressive construction as the other saddles in the range, the Cell looks great and is very durable.
Saddles are a hard thing to recommend, as they are such a personal thing to use – but if you spend a lot of time in the saddle and suffer from any kind of numbness or long term comfort issues, I can’t recommend trying one of these highly enough. And it’s a bargain at under £50 too.