The Spyder Stratum's shell has been designed to flex a certain way, with not too little and not too much give.
The darker material is the stiffer base, while the lighter coloured section is the softer and more forgiving shell.
|There's no point in sugar coating it: my undersides were scared the first time I took a gander at the unique looking Spyder Stratum. Duty called, though, and I mounted it atop my FOX seat post and then gingerly hit the trails for a short, safe introduction lap to see how things would play out. And then a funny thing happened: I completely forgot that the Spyder was under me, and not just for the first hour or two, but for hours and hours on end. In fact, if it was a blind test, I would have guessed that it was any other padded and comfortable seat on the market. I began using the Spyder a few weeks before the seven day long BC Bike Race with no real intentions of running it in the event, a pretty rational thing to think given the race's length and it having over 30,000 feet of climbing in total, but found myself so happy with the Spyder that I left it on. That's a hell of a lot of consecutive time spent sitting on a seat, pushing down on the pedals, and suffering like a dog in the heat while wearing bib shorts that turned out to be sporting a not so agreeable chamois pad. Despite the sub-par chamois, I found the seat to be damn comfortable, enough so that it was actually still on my personal Rocky Mountain Element until just a few days ago. The Spyder Stratum isn't perfect and I have the red marks on my mid-section to prove it. The issue is that its complete lack of padding makes for some pretty unforgiving edges around its backside, and getting far behind the seat on steep downhill pitches sometimes left a few not so gentle reminders on my belly. And this was with it mounted onto a dropper seat post, so I'd be wary of using the Spyder Stratum on a standard post that won't let it get down and out of the way when required. The other thing that needs pointing out is just how unforgiving the unpadded nose of the seat is, something that became pretty obvious to me the first time I got up on the front of the seat for a steep climb. I ended up dropping the nose down a degree or two more than I would usually run it and that solved the issue. Tioga is aware that the front of the seat is a bit stiff and will be introducing a less aggressive version, called the Spyder Outland, that will have a more forgiving shell and nose section and be aimed towards trail riders rather than for pure cross-country use. That said, I'm happy enough with the general shape and flex across the weight bearing zone of the standard Spyder Stratum that I don't see myself moving onto the Outland model.|
I wrote this review a few weeks ago and, at the time, the Spyder Stratum was still going strong. That came to an abrupt halt during yesterday's ride when I rolled through a compression on the trail while seated and heard an unmistakable popping sound from underneath me followed by noticing that I was sitting a bit askew on the seat. The cause was a broken carbon rail that had failed about 5mm back from the clamp, thereby letting one side of the ultra flexible shell sag down much lower than it should. Not ideal, no doubt about it, mostly because at 170lb I don't think I should be breaking any seat rails, carbon or not, but also because I found it to be extremely comfortable yet have to replace it with something else. - Mike Levy
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