Hey All - I recently bought a Spiderflex hornless "comfort seat" to try out on my road and mountain bikes. I’ve only had it for a few days, but I thought I’d share my initial impressions with other forum members.
I’m a recreational rider. I don’t go very fast, but I enjoy riding and would like to start riding longer distances (50 to 100 mile rides). I haven’t’ experienced any problems yet with perineal discomfort or numbness, but I figured I’d try a hornless design to avoid any potential problems down the road. I was originally looking at a Hobson EasySeat, after having read a favorable review over on the Touring section of BikeForums. After doing more research, however, I eventually selected the Spiderflex, since it looked like a leaner, more elegant design.
My Spiderflex seat arrived last week. Details of the design can be found on the Spiderflex website (http://www.spiderflex.com/. The seat looks like it’s durable and well-made. Some people might not like its unconventional look, but I think it looks fine. The little spider web design on the right seat pad is a nice touch. The Spiderflex isn’t a lightweight saddle (680g or about 1.5 lbs) but for a recreational rider like me weight isn’t a big issue.
The Spiderflex installs like any other seat. At first I had some difficulties finding a comfortable configuration. When I rode with the Spiderflex seat, the edge of the seat pads seemed to interfere with the back of my thighs. I took the seat on a 25 mile ride and I was distracted by the seat during the whole ride. It wasn’t very comfortable, and the backs of my thighs were sore.
However, I eventually found a seat position that worked well for me. I ended up pushing the seat all of the way back and adjusted its tilt so that the base of the seat is parallel to the ground and the seat pads are at a forward angle. Originally I had the tilt adjusted so that the pads were more parallel to the ground. The pads now support my sit bones better and my thighs don’t bang into the edges anymore.
Overall, I like riding with the Spiderflex. As other folks have mentioned in previous posts, this type of hornless seat tends to push you forward and put more pressure on your arms. However, for me this isn’t much of an issue. I recently raised my handlebars to get a more upright position and riding with the Spiderflex in this configuration is comfortable, in spite of some increased pressure on my hands, wrists, and arms. When I first sat on the hornless seat, I felt a little like I was sliding forward, but I quickly got used to it.
I’ve read some reviews where riders have complained about a loss of control due to the lack of horn on the seat. For my purposes this is not an issue. I have found that I am still able to turn aggressively with the hornless seat by pressing my thigh/knee against the top tube of the bike frame. Also, some folks complained about riding hands free with the hornless seat. I have found that I am able to coast hands-free by using my knees to steer, and by putting slight pressure on my toes to help me stay upright on the hornless seat. I haven’t been able to pedal very far hands-free yet, but I plan on working on this skill in the future.
Overall I am very pleased with my new Spiderflex seat. After my first 25 mile ride with the bike, I wasn’t happy with it and I briefly thought about returning it (Spiderflex offers a 30-day return policy). However, after being persistent and playing with it some more, I found it to be a really comfortable seat.
In the past, riding with my traditional horned seat was comfortable for me. However, now that I have been riding the Spiderflex seat, I really notice the difference in pressure on my perineum between the two different designs. The Spiderflex hornless seat completely eliminates pressure on my perineum and it also seems to help reduce hot spots/chafing. I’ve done some longer rides just wearing running shorts or cotton Bermuda shorts and felt really comfortable on the Spiderflex.
At $90 plus shipping, the Spiderflex is not cheap. However, it is well made and it offers a 30 day return period (minus shipping and handling costs) and I think it is a worthwhile investment. I plan on buying a couple of additional Spiderflex seats for my mountain bike and for my kids’ tag-along bike.
If you're interested in seeing some high-res images of the seat, click on the following links,
FYI - here's an update on my impressions of the Spiderflex seat. I still like this type of seat a lot. Since my original post, I've also tried a Specialized Body Geometry 2 seat, and while the Specialized seat is comfortable and much lighter, for long rides, I prefer the Spiderflex. When I use the Spiderflex, I don't need to wear padded riding shorts, even if I ride long distances (I rode 46 miles in running shorts). The Spiderflex seat could be a little more softly padded, but for me it really is a lot more comfortable than the horned seat.
Here are some minor negative observations - because of the way the mounting rails on the bottom seat are configured, it makes it more difficult to hang certain bags and other accessories on the bottom of the seat. For example, this summer I wanted to buy a Carradice bag to mount under my seat so I could use my bike for light touring. Unfortunately, because of the configuration of the mounting rails and the little Spiderflex shock absorber, I wasn't able to mount a Carradice bag under the seat. Also, when I put a seat wedge pack on my Spiderflex seat (with my spare inner tube, patch kit and multitool inside the wedge pack), it kind of hangs at a downward angle because of the configuration of the seat rails on the Spiderflex. If I put a blinky light on the hanging tab of my seat pack wedge, the light shines downwards into the ground due to the angle of the seat wedge, making the blinky less effective.
This is a minor drawback, and I ended up buying some Ortlieb panniers instead of using the Carradice bag.
Also, the Spiderflex does put more weight onto your arms, so I definitely would recommend raising your handlebars or lowering your seat a little if possible when you use the Spiderflex to help offload some weigh on your wrists. This is probably the most significant drawback of this type of hornless seat. However, for me, it is an acceptable trade off because my overall comfort level is very good with the Spiderflex.
I haven't had any control issues and I've ridden hundreds of miles on my Spiderflex so far. If I'm riding far, and there aren't any cars around, I often coast hands free to offload the weight on my hands and wrists. I am still able to steer and control the bike, even without the horn on the seat.
entuesd, good luck with your seat search.
The Spiderflex has continued to weather well and I haven't had any mechanical or quality problems with it. it is a well-made seat.