The short saddle concept stems from when time-trial and triathlon riders experimented with modified saddle designs to get increased comfort when in an aggressive aero position. The first to become commercially available was ISM’s radical noseless saddle.
Specialized then launched the first road-specific short saddle, the Power, in 2015 and pretty much every other saddle maker on the planet has followed suit.
Fabric may be late to the short saddle party, but in typical Fabric fashion its prices are hard to match.
The Cro-Mo model on test here is just £59.99 / €80 / $80 for a lightweight 234.5g (142mm width) saddle, and even its range-topping lightweight (180g) carbon model is only £149.99 / €179.90 / $180.
The idea behind the Line-S is to create a saddle that’s comfortable by reducing the pressure on soft tissue when holding an aggressive ride position.
The design is based on its popular full-length Line model and it carries over both the thick padding and deep and wide channel, but here it’s on a short 235mm length design. Two widths are available: 142mm and 155mm, and Fabric describes the Line-S as unisex.
The saddle’s profile has a broader nose than most rivals. The channel is wide at 15mm at the nose and 45mm at the rear. It’s one of the most comfortable saddles I’ve ever tried.
The profile is interesting too: the front two thirds are fairly flat and the heel of the saddle kicks upwards. When you’re down in the drops riding hard with your pelvis rotated forward, the flatter top gives you a freer feeling to shift your weight around.
Conversely, when you’re riding up on the hoods, the kicked-up heel of the saddle holds you in place, making it a great option for long rides as well as hard/fast efforts.
The padding is very deep and soft, unusual for a racing saddle, and it’s well structured so doesn’t spread sideways or squish around underneath you.
The matt finish on the Team model is grippy in the dry and in the wet its light texture copes well without becoming slippy.
As with any shortened design, getting the position right is critical, and the Line-S offers a generous 55mm of adjustment between the limits on the rails.
If the idea of a short saddle appeals but you’ve been put off by the high cost of changing, then the Line-S Team Cro-Mo could be just what you are looking for.
I found the Line-S to be one of the very best of the short saddles around and the level of comfort and performance at this price is worth the highest of praise.
Fabric Line-S Elite Flat saddle details
- Padding: The Line-S padding is deeper and softer than most race saddles and it’s bonded directly onto the base for a very clean finish
- Rails: The cromoly rails offer 55mm of adjustment fore and aft so that you can get your optimum position really sorted
- Nose: The 235mm length of the Line-S means that the short nose allows for plenty of clearance when you are down in the drops at speed