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Spongy Wonder vs Spiderflex

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Spongy Wonder vs Spiderflex

Old 04-17-10, 10:26 AM
  #1  
Joker021971
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Spongy Wonder vs Spiderflex

Posting this in the commuter forum since that is primary purpose for riding...

I'm considering one of these saddles as my current 15-20 mile commute is starting to hurt by the end of the week. The saddle I have now is probably better suited for a racing bike and I'm riding a hybrid (Trek 7.2 FX) that's never going to go that fast, so I just want to find something that will make my commute more pleasant, so I have no excuses to hop in the car.

I'm leaning a little more toward the Spongy Wonder. It just looks a little more comfortable and it is a little less expensive. Also, Spongy Wonder has a better return policy, so I might buy it first and if I don't like it, it can be returned without a restocking fee.

Does anyone have an experience with either or both of those saddles?

http://www.spongywonder.com/

http://www.spiderflex.com/

Marvin

P.S. The Real Seat (http://www.realseat.com/index.html) was considered, but it just looks too strange. And I'm concerned it won't be that comfortable on the back of my legs.
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Old 04-17-10, 12:56 PM
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I've not seen any of these before, but they make me think that they'll be comfortable for short distances then start squishing soft tissue. I'd go to your LBS and see if they can fit you to a seat. A conventional saddle that's just a touch wider might do you a lot of good. Have you read Sheldon Brown's saddle page? http://www.sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html
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Old 04-17-10, 02:04 PM
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You couldn't pay me to ride either one of them. The horn on a saddle is important for control of the bicycle. People who like these probably aren't that good at controlling a bike anyway, and never had a real saddle that fit properly. If you have a properly fitting saddle, the horn does NOT put any significant pressure on your bottom. If it does, either the back part of the saddle is the wrong width to fit your sit bones, or the tilt or some other adjustment on the saddle is wrong.
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Old 04-17-10, 05:51 PM
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I got a Spongy Wonder for free from a 1973 Schwinn World Voyageur that I found out for the trash. I called the police about the bike, who called the owner, and he told them he put it beside the dumpster because he didn't have any interest in fixing it. Two new tires and a derailleur adjustment later, I had a bike that rode like new.

When I sold the bike, the guy told to me to keep the Spongy Wonder because he was just going to replace it anyway. I used it on that bike (a road bike) and a mountain bike (mostly road and bike path riding). My impression of it is that it feels like you're sitting on top of the bike like one would sit on a chair, versus riding in a saddle like being on a horse. It's comfortable, definitely, but control does suffer slightly (as stated above).

If you've been off from biking for a while, and just started riding again, it won't give you the pain other seats will give you. It takes a little getting used to, and there's an underlying fear that your most important parts will bounce off the top of the seatpost where it attaches. However, this fear has been proven unfounded over miles of riding (though I rarely use the seat anymore). I would not use it for biking over rough terrain, though.

Neat seat, if you find that design necessary for whatever reason.
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Old 04-17-10, 06:40 PM
  #5  
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I'm with ItsJustMe... you couldn't pay me to ride any of those... in addition to the loss of control, you have the following:

On a bike, your weight is supposed to be spread between 5 points (two hands, two feet, and a butt) and your legs need to slide along the seat with as little friction as possible. Thus, seats with lots of (grippy) padding are the equivalent of taking a cheese grater to your delicate bits, which is not on my list of kinks. You need slicked up thighs (lycra shorts, possibly chamois cream), a hard-ish, SLICK addle (leather > hard plastic > squishy gel) and you need your bike adjusted correctly so that you're not putting too much weight on your butt or arms. Then just get out and ride until you get used to supporting your weight with all 5 points and you'll notice a dramatic increase in comfort!

Oh, and if you're a woman, you also need to make sure the saddle is wide enough for your sit bones.
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Old 04-18-10, 05:54 AM
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If the saddle's horn (the front bit you're wanting to yank off) is bugging you, it can be a few different things.

The saddle might be set too far back for you, so you continually slide forward and basically are straddling the horn. That means your sit bones aren't supported. It's a great system for causing numbness and chafing for any rider. Even a tiny bit too far back can be really problematic. A mm or two forward might be enough to fix things.

Your current saddle might be too narrow. You stay put fine, but you've got one sit bone or the other hanging off the side. This also leads to numbness and massive chafing. For me, this leaves my core muscles feeling like I have to work about 10-15x harder... because I do. And the soreness is really intense along the whole side of one leg or the other.

The horn of the saddle might be tilted wrong. (mine is atm, but I only really notice it on rides of 25 miles or more) Both up and down can lead to pretty serious pain and chafing.

For stuff where you can, mark it *before* you start fiddling. A bit of masking tape or some permanent marker to get you a rough guide of what's "normal" can be a big help if you're having a tough time seeing the difference. Most bike fit changes work better when they're really gradual.
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Old 04-20-10, 06:28 AM
  #7  
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Sounds like I need to look at being properly fit before making any changes. Thanks for the feedback everyone. Very appreciated.
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Old 08-10-12, 06:34 PM
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Hi everyone! My name is Jeff Dixon and I am the owner of Spongy Wonder inc. and the inventor of the Spongy Wonder Bike Seat. I appreciate the opportunity to make a couple of comments about posts I have seen here and elsewhere. One gentlemen remarked he had purchased one at a bike show and did not like it. He is quite obviously confusing us with someone else as (a) we have never been participants at any bike show and (b) we do not wholesale to any bike shops, sports distributors etc.

My second comment is concerning "control issues." Several people keep remarking that "noses" on seats are absolutely necessary. If that is the case why have we never received any reports of riders "going down" with our product and (b) we have been in business 13 years and if control was an issue riders would be "wiping out" all over the place and we would have been sued out of existence long ago. None of this has ever happened.

My nest series of comments is on our foam. The foam is (a) Not super "plushy." It has a durometer of 7.5 lbs. per square inch which makes it a medium firmness. You do not "bottom out" on it, you do not lose power by "sinking into it", and it is neither hard as a brick. It is true that previous incarnations of our foam have not been everything I ever wanted and for that let me say "I wish we had had a better foam earlier." The material we use now deifies what I call the "foam barrier." It is incredibly long lasting as it has a compression set of 5% which means that over its lifetime - which we estimate to be 7 - 10 years per set - it will never lose more than 5% of its total volume. yet at the same time it is very comfortable. Foam should not be both but this material has only been around for approx 1 year and it is what I have always been searching for! It is encased in a smoothly contoured high friction material so riders do not slip forward as some have speculated.

My next comment is to those who say they have only ridden it a few times and it was uncomfortable. When you ride a dual platform seat you are placing your "bum" muscles under pressure and asking them to work at the same time. This will be a new sensation for some and as you would expect, when you ask a set of muscles to work in a new way this can mean a little soreness at first. Well we have all heard people say "I started a new exercise program and discovered muscles I did know I had." For some riders a little soreness can be expected at first. If you only ride it twice how can you expect to ever become comfortable on it? Let us be reasonable here. As an example: "If you have always had a dog and have never had a cat do you expect to completely understand a cat if you get one and have only had it for two days?" Of course not. A little bit if soreness (in some cases for some folks) for a short time is infinitely preferable to sitting across the desk from a urologist and/or neurologist and hearing them say something to the effect of "Sure we can do something, but the operation is dangerous, expensive and uncertain of success."

My last comment at this time is to remind the readers that when they look at the posts they are almost exclusively made by riders who have never even seen our seat let alone ridden it. Their comments are not objective. In addition, if you have looked at a number of these posts you will notice that they come from people who are responding from a die-hard traditionalist perspective and are usually so angry is some way that you would think they were convinced I was out to destroy cycling.

Please go to our testimonial page and see a fraction of the riders who are absolutely delighted with our seat. I have not added any new testimonials for over 6 months which means that all of the testimonials are from people who bought our bicycle seat before we were able to acquired our fantastic new foam!

Thanks For Taking the Time to Read This,

Jeff Dixon
Spongy Wonder Inc.
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Old 08-10-12, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeffdixon View Post
is infinitely preferable to sitting across the desk from a urologist and/or neurologist and hearing them say something to the effect of "Sure we can do something, but the operation is dangerous, expensive and uncertain of success."
.
Thanks for your thoughts.

I do agree that I'm more for traditional bicycles, and that is for the fact that it is a tried and true design. There are plenty of people who have biked across the world. I would bet over 95% have used a leather saddle and have come out healthy on the other side. I'm not saying your product is bad, and is certainly an alternative to people who are having some major fit issues, but it shouldn't be considered until you at least adjust what you have on the bike.

Furthermore, and this is coming from a long distance unicyclist (and biker). The lack of a nose certainly effects the handling of the bike in a negative way. This causes you to be slower overall to maintain stability. This is especially of concern to me when you are going downhill. At 35 miles an hour I tuck my legs in and hold onto the saddle with my legs. No nose and you could potentially slip off the saddle. This shouldn't be an issue for the casual rider as they won't be going that fast, but for the commuter it certainly will.

I understand you're backing your product. I understand that some people may have harsh opinions of it. I see it as a unique alternative that caters to the unique case. I think most cyclists do not have a need for such a product and that a normal bicycle seat is perfectly comfortable (and healthy). My suggestion to most people if they had that many issues with the comfort of their bicycle seat is to go get a nice entry level recumbent bicycle and never worry about a sore bum again.
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Old 08-19-12, 01:30 PM
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Hi - I'll start out by stating that I've never tried a spongy wonder seat. I'm 61 years old and have been riding since I was 4. I've been a luke-warm randonneur which means I've done half a dozen 300 km rides and many 100 km rides. There may be exceptions, but my own experience and my observations of many hard core (male) randonneurs I've met and ridden with tells me that traditional seats (which is all i've had the opportunity to observe), even when properly adjusted, cause a considerable degree of discomfort over the course of a long ride. Those who quarrel with this are either rare physical marvels or in severe denial. This is not to say that my health has been damaged by such seats, but the discomfort and numbness caused by a long ride on a tongued seat is a reality for most bike riders. There is scientific evidence that, for example, 100% of dedicated mountain bikers (classified as training for 2 hours per day, 6 days per week) suffer lowered sperm counts. An Austrian study published at "Frauscher F, Klauser A, Stenzl A et al. US findings in the scrotum of extreme mountain bikers. Radiology 2001; 219: 427–31, PubMed" says,


"mountain bikers have a higher incidence of abnormal scrotal findings than those not cycling." Abnormal findings in this study included scrotal calculi in 69 men (81%), epididymal cysts in 39 (46%), epididymal calcifications in 34 (40%), testicular calcifications in 27 (32%), hydroceles in 24 (28%), varicoceles in nine (11%), and testicular microlithiasis in one (1%).


Aside from lower sperm counts I don't know what most of these things are, but I suspect that most of these findings will be found to be applicable to any serious cyclist and the reason for all of them is due to the pressure applied by the tongue of the seat to the area between the anterior of the anus to the base of the penis. Perhaps a seat alternative that does not apply pressure to areas that tongued seats, no matter how well adjusted, undeniably do apply pressure to, might be worth considering.


As for the issue of tongue control (in the bike seat context) while proceeding rapidly down-hill at speeds in excess of 35 miles/hour, I would not be tucking in my legs and placing the majority of my weight or even a substantial portion of my weight on the saddle. In the event of a sudden blow-out, it would take more than tongue control to save me if that's how my weight was distributed. At high, down-hill speeds, your weight should be primarily on your pedals with your weight evenly balanced on each pedal. Of course, if you're not coasting but pedaling vigorously to attain ever higher speeds on your downhill run, your odds of a wipe-out if you blow-out increase dramatically.


I've gone down hills in Banff on my antique Raleigh Pro at speeds closer to 50 than 35 mph. Nasty, negative thoughts about my abilities to survive a blow-out have crossed my mind at times like that (but it is a rush!). Nevertheless, I doubt if the finer points of tongue control and falling off the seat will ever be a practical issue for most casual bike riders or even commuters.


I did notice that most of this thread's critics of tongueless seats, like me, have never tried them and are relying on theory and tradition for their opinions. Interesting!
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Old 08-19-12, 03:40 PM
  #11  
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Seems gimmicky. If noseless seats are really that great, why don't we see them on all cruisers on the streets? Noseless seats aren't a new concept; there must be a reason why they don't get popular.

Last edited by ottawa_adam; 08-19-12 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 09-22-12, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ottawa_adam View Post
Seems gimmicky. If noseless seats are really that great, why don't we see them on all cruisers on the streets? Noseless seats aren't a new concept; there must be a reason why they don't get popular.
Why don't they get popular? I think a lot has to do with ridicule from the bicycle enthusiast community.

I have a noseless ISM Comfort saddle which I love. Different to these two, but in many ways the same - designed to make you sit on the sit bones and nothing else. I have no issues with "control", in fact I feel like I sit better on it then a normal saddle, and I can control the bike through my bottom just fine if needed. Yes, it does feel different, and yes, you need to ride a few times on them and get them setup right before they make sense. This is the first time I have ever admitted to owning one in a forum though - I've watched other people posting in forums, and this thread is a good case in point, where as soon as you promote something which is a bit out of the norm, the critics come out. Most of who have never tried the products in question, but regardless they believe they know better.

The result is that people who do use these sorts of products don't post about them much. And most probably aren't forum dwellers anyway - they tend to be people who ride for enjoyment, and don't get involved in the on-line communities much. They are currently niche products, and you can't expect a LBS to stock them all, so they do tend to get limited shop time as well, which also holds them back. But it is amazing how many of them there are, and most of the companies have been around a while now and still surviving. If they were as bad as people made out, they wouldn't still be in business.

Everyone who has tried my bike has liked it. They aren't for everyone, but if people gave them a decent go, there would be a lot more of them out there then there are now.
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Old 03-25-13, 04:15 PM
  #13  
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Hi, Marvin:

I've been riding for more than thirty years, and my current commute's roughly the same length as yours, with my ride a mixture of trails, rocky paths and roads. I had some of the same issues you have had, and researched my options, eventually trying noseless seats after trying variations of hard and soft saddles. I tried a variety of the noseless saddles before I got to the Spongy Wonder, about five years ago. I've been using it since, in every sort of weather, on every sort of terrain. Because you sit differently on it than a traditional seat, it did take about a half hour of biking before I figured out how to handle myself on it, but, since then, I haven't looked back. It's a great seat, and the problems I'd been having have pretty much gone away.

There are two complaints I've heard about it that I'd say are somewhat valid. One is that the seat is heaver; I'm riding a steel Tout Terrain, though, which masses well over 35 pounds, so a little extra weight is not a problem for me. Also, the added steel in the seat makes it extremely durable. The only thing you're going to wear out with a Spongy Wonder is the seat pad, which is replaceable. The other complaint is that it takes a bit of work to properly adjust the seat. This, though, is going to be an issue with any seat.

All in all, I am very grateful to Jeff Dixon for this product, and highly recommend it.

Josh

Josh
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Old 03-25-13, 04:32 PM
  #14  
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Just to plant seeds...

If after getting a bike fitting and trying different saddles and you still aren't getting a comfortable ride, try a recumbent. Miles and miles with smiles and smiles.
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Old 03-25-13, 04:48 PM
  #15  
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ummm why are there so many users with their first post being this thread? Suspetise
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Old 04-01-13, 05:46 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by cplager View Post
Just to plant seeds...

If after getting a bike fitting and trying different saddles and you still aren't getting a comfortable ride, try a recumbent. Miles and miles with smiles and smiles.
If I didn't have to ride through the woods and across rocky slopes, a recumbent would be a strong contender for my next bike. Recumbents, though, seem pretty well limited to the road or well cared-for trails.
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Old 04-01-13, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
ummm why are there so many users with their first post being this thread? Suspetise
I'll try to take a pic of my bike at work this week so you'll feel less suspicious.
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Old 04-01-13, 06:53 AM
  #18  
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The lessening (not "loss") of control without the horn on the saddle is probably not apparent to casual riders, who I assume are the primary users of the hornless saddles. I speculate that they either do lose control more often but do not have enough experience to know why, or they are never particularly skilled riders anyway and don't miss the loss of control. I find the horn is really only heavily used in more extreme maneuvering. It's not like you need it to ride day to day - I could ride around just fine with a block of wood on the top of the seat post, but I would be in trouble if I got right hooked and needed to do an emergency countersteer maneuver to follow the idiot around the corner rather than just going into the side of his car.

Also in emergency braking situations, you really don't want anything that wide under your butt. I have had to throw my tail back behind the saddle and hit the front brakes hard enough that I was on the verge of going over. If the saddle was as wide as that looks, I probably wouldn't be able to shift my weight backwards and my stopping distance would be longer.
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Old 04-01-13, 09:49 AM
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One consumer, I talked to, a couple decades ago had made is set-up
such that he was more riding standing, on 1 pedal or another,
and leaning his weight, against one of those cheek pad "saddles" rather than sitting on it.

Good luck, Im in the bike fit needs work, camp..
unless you bike on a coaster brake beach cruiser and that does not matter.
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Old 04-02-13, 10:12 PM
  #20  
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As a bike enthusiast let me please add to the ridicule. The nose of my saddle is a critical control surface and it is non negotiable. These types of seats would be fine on a stationary bike or a perhaps a lawn tractor. Get your bike fit right.
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Old 04-08-13, 06:29 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
The lessening (not "loss") of control without the horn on the saddle is probably not apparent to casual riders, who I assume are the primary users of the hornless saddles.
I bike daily, ride trails and rocky slopes, as well as through woods. I've competed--although I don't any longer--and taken plenty of long road trips. If that's your description of a "casual rider", so be it.

It's interesting that those critiquing these saddles are generally those who've never used them, or have tried them for a short ride. As with any setup, it takes some time to get used to it. Once you become accustomed to it, though, it's so very much more comfortable than a traditional saddle, and there's no decrease in your ability to brake or flick the bike around obstacles.
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Old 04-08-13, 08:51 AM
  #22  
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I used a noseless saddle for 3 years, i'm back on a traditional saddle but with 85% perineal pressure relieve vs 100% i believe i have found a good compromise. I did experience some lack of control when riding without hands on the handlebar and some sliding effect especially when riding with a bicycling short that i mainly solved by increasing the roughness of the surface of the saddle and tilting the saddle further back but what bothered me the most and the main reason why i went back for a traditional saddle is the lack of dynamic control. I mean by the that the impossibility to seat further back or ahead from the handlebar when needed. (i believe most of the noseless saddles could solve this problem by allowing the saddle to slide on the rail slightly forward and backward). On the other hand from what i have read on forums from people who have barely tried the saddle and rejected it is to haven't tried harder than 1hr or 1 day of use to make it work before giving up.

Last edited by erig007; 04-08-13 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 04-15-13, 06:21 AM
  #23  
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Erig, I had the same issues as you with the seat position of most of the noseless saddles I tried. I use a Spongy Wonder seat now in part because it puts the seat on rails so you can adjust the seat's position forward and back; I have a very long torso, and so this is essential for me. One side effect of the rails is that you actually end up with a bit of a nose well below the pads which you can apply pressure to with the inside of your leg when riding.

Josh
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Old 05-11-13, 09:58 AM
  #24  
ralph12
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Can't say anything about the Spiderflex, but the Spongy Wonder is the best bicycle seat I have ever owned.

Nerve damage and poorly-healing nerves run rampant in my family...3 close relatives of mine have neuropathy, one of whom never even had an injury in the damaged area. I myself suffered extensive pudendal neuropathy and near complete numbness for about two years after cycling with a conventional saddle.

The spongy wonder helped me recover; there's no question in my mind about it. I could pretty much see myself cycling with only this seat and no other...nothing else I've tried comes close.

Maybe the Spiderflex is good; I've never tried one or even seen one, but if you get the Spongy Wonder, if you're anything like me you won't regret it.

The Spongy Wonder is kind of expensive for what it is, but I mean, with care they'll last your entire life, so I think of it as "buy once, cry once".
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Old 04-06-15, 08:37 PM
  #25  
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I have had a spiderflex for about a year now. I chose it because of the suspension gadget and the solid look. I added a bit of foam as I found it a little firm. I wrote to Spongy Wonder to ask if I could try their pads on it but he wouldn't sell the pads alone. Fair enough.
I am now well used to the seat and don't have any problem with control: don't think I'll go back to an ordinary seat. (my prostate is much happier)
I don't ride a unicycle or try to go down cliffs, it's a commuter.
One thing I really enjoy is being able to stand on the pedals and lean back against the seat, which you can't do with a standard saddle.
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