Fabric, which two years ago debuted a cleanly designed selection of saddles including the radical ALM, is expanding into the parts and accessories market for 2017 with a range of lights and pumps as well as updating its existing lines.
US and Australian pricing was unavailable at time of writing but we'll add as we get it.
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Back in 2014 Nick Larsen, the general manager and driving force behind Fabric, told us how he was looking to shake things up by looking beyond traditional saddle construction methods. Since then we’ve seen items such as Fabric's cageless bottle (which gets a larger size, a tool caddy variant, and a custom program for 2017), and Cell saddles (of which the air-pocket design was a collaboration with a very big athletic footwear manufacturer).
For 2017 Fabric has added to its existing saddle lines. The flagship ALM saddle gets a new finish, with a smooth Microtex cover replacing the textured leather style, plus a very pimp all-white version that should tickle the fancy of more extroverted riders. The ultra light ALM (140g) retails for £224.99.
Not for the shy and retiring…
Elsewhere a new women’s-specific version of the Scoop has arrived. The shape has been modified to be slightly shorter (260mm), with a wider 155mm width at the rear. The crucial difference though comes via three soft hidden gel inserts at the sit bones and on the nose taking care of all of those important pressure points. The Scoop gel comes with a signature smooth nylon base, cro-mo rails and a price tag of £44.99.
Fabric's new light range looks the most interesting of the brand's 2017 propositions. "This is just the start of where we want to go with lights," Larsen told BikeRadar. "At the moment we’ve focused on road use, but we want to apply the same ideas to a mountain bike range."
He added that Fabric had worked with a diving light producer to realise its designs, which are all rated to IPx5 for weather protection. "We're happy we’ve been able to produce a range that competes with what’s out there and comes in at a good price," Larsen said.
At the base of the range is the FL30, a small (73mm x 23mm) cylindrical light that comes in both front and rear versions and features a large aperture with a rectangular bar of light rated to 30 lumens. The FL30 comes with a rubber mount (which rotates to either horizontal or vertical) for a seatpost or handlebar. The front light lasts eight hours on high power, nine on medium, eight in flash mode and nine for strobe. It recharges from a micro USB port.
The FL30 is compact, clever, and cheap – we approve
All good so far, but also ‘normal’ – it’s the rear light of the pairing that's more interesting. Its internals include an electronic accelerometer that, when you brake or slow suddenly, triggers the rear light to glows more brightly. In flash mode it’ll switch to a strong solid light, and in 'day running' mode you just get a brake light. Run times are the same as the front and both units are priced at a very reasonable £27.99.
Stepping up the range you'll the F150, also well-priced at £36.99, which as the name suggests packs a 150-lumen punch in what's a very small package (77mm x 20mm). The cylindrical alloy body houses a Cree LED in front, giving a focused beam, which is complemented by four LEDs that sit along the top of the cylinder's length. When using the main beam these identify which mode you are in: 150 lumens on full, 30 lumens on medium, strobe, or flashing, which give run times of two, three, seven and seven hours respectively.
The 150 lumen FL150 light can rotate and switch to a four-LED front (or red rear) at the press of a button
From the FL150 up, all lights in the range will warn you via the four additional LEDs when power is down to 15%, giving you the chance to switch power to the LEDs only, turning off the main beam and putting the units into 'get-home mode'. Then it's a case of simply rotating the light bracket on your bars to ensure you'll still be seen on the road. All the lights will work as either front or rear units as the four LEDs can be switched between white and red. With two of the lights on your bike you effectively have switchable front and rear units – clever if one is running on lower power than the other.
Next in line is the FL300, probably the first light in the range that you could use for serious extra-urban riding on unlit lanes. It pumps out, you guessed it, 300 lumens in high mode, with two hours life, 60 lumens in medium (three hours) and will last five and six respectively for flash and strobe. The unit is bigger at 90mm x 23mm, and the rubber mount is multi-fit, with a definite click into place as you rotate it. Switching between settings is simply a matter of rotating a barrel adjuster – a neat approach that feels good and is intuitive. The FL300 is a big step up in performance from the 150, but the price is only a little higher at £44.99.
At the top of the tree is the FL500 (we think you can make a stab at its output), which should easily handle unlit road rides and even some light off-road work. The size rises to 105mm x 31mm, but the compact rubber mount with its click-rotate adjustment is minimal enough that it won’t encroach too much on bar real estate. The full 500-lumen mode will run for two hours, medium (100 lumens) for four, with flash and strobe lasting seven hours apiece. Price is TBC.
Pump it up
Fabric's pump range also looks impressive, combining the kind of slick design we’ve seen from the likes of Lezyne and Birzman with some truly innovative touches.
All of the carryable pumps use heads connected by a hose that in our opinion gives you that bit more usability at the road or trailside. What's very clever is the head – at first glance it looks like it’s a simple dual-head, but what you actually have is a valve side and a barrel adjuster on the opposite. Rotate the barrel and it retracts a pin that switches the valve head between Schraeder and Presta in an instant – so there's no fiddling with unscrewing and flipping heads, just a simple turn.
The range is split between high-pressure (road) and high-volume (off-road) models.
The ultra-compact R150 is just 180mm long and has a brushed-alloy body, with high-polish logo, is rated to 120psi/8.3bar and retails for £24.99. Next up is the R200, a bigger (235mm) pump that we reckon will be far more versatile – it’s finished in the same cool brushed/high polish style, again rated to 120psi/8.3bar and like the R150 comes with a snap-fit frame mount. It's just a little pricier at £29.99.
The smallest road pump, the R150, features a neat barrel adjuster head
Off-roaders get the fat-barrelled M200, which has a lever-actuated mechanism at the end of the hose (so it's a press-fit smart head instead of the barrel operation of the road pump). It's 235mm long, rated up to 90psi/6.2bar and priced at £29.99.
The cool looking fat wooden-handled Z250, meanwhile, is Fabric's take on a traditional pump. It's 400mm long (which a big chunk of is that wooden handle) with an extendable braided hose and a Fabric-designed smart head. It comes with a frame mount and is priced at £39.99.
Fabric's take on the traditional cycle pump mixes a retro handle and a modern barrel
Fabric also showed us a prototype track pump (the TP01/TP02). The range topping TP01 will feature a CNC-machined body and heavy-duty cast base, with the lock-down smart head and an extra large gauge. The hose is extra long (so you can use it with your bike still in a workstand) and it’s rated to 160psi/10.3bar. The 01 is priced at £69.99.
The more ‘affordable’ model the TP02 features the same super long hose, and big easy read gauge, with a re-enforced polymer base and handle and a simpler barrel. But it’s essentially the same performance for a very reasonable £44.99.
Rounding out Fabric's 2017 range are new multi-tools, lock-on grips and that 'Tool Caddy' based on the cageless bottle concept. Flick through the gallery above for more detail…