Fabric ALM Ultimate carbon saddle review
New brand Fabric aims to look at components and accessories differently – and its innovative ALM saddle is a prime example.
The design is a collaboration between Fabric and Airbus and follows studies into rails that would act like leaf springs, rather than having to engineer flex into the base using holes, cuts or materials of differing density. The ALM originally featured 3D-printed titanium rails, and would have been unfeasibly pricey as a result. But by making the design from carbon, Fabric was able to make it lighter and just as strong – and lop a huge chunk off the price.
Highs: Slick, slender, light and comfy
Lows: Price – that’s it
The resulting saddle has those leaf-spring rails and a flexible, aerospace-grade carbon base. This is topped with an ultra-thin layer of PU foam and a textured leather cover that’s vacuum bonded to the hull.
Fabric has also changed how rails fit. Rather than having them plug into the base, the ALM’s rails are integrated with it. This enables Fabric to move the rails further outboard, meaning more of the hull can flex. It also allows the rails to be longer, which increases the size of the clamping area, while weight is a mere 120g.
This would count for nothing if the ALM wasn’t comfortable – but Fabric has delivered. The ALM’s smooth lines allow you to move about on the saddle, while the thin layer of textured leather prevents you from sliding around too much. The hull feels rigid with just the right amount of give in the centre. Ride over rougher roads or hit a pothole and you can feel the flex in the leaf-spring rails, which do a remarkable job of cushioning you from bigger blows.
It feels very different to a standard saddle, which relies on padding far more than construction. But we like the way it works, it’s impressively light and there’s one further benefit of the clean, minimalist design – the ALM’s underside is completely free of nooks and crannies, making it incredibly easy to keep clean.