Tioga Spyder Outland Review
Cons: Only available in narrow width
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Our Analysis and Test Results
There's no lack of gimmicky products in the cycling world, and at first glance, it certainly seems like the Tioga Spyder Outland could fall into that category. With our skepticism and first impressions duly noted, we set about testing this very distinctive looking and uniquely designed saddle. After a few minutes of riding, it became clear that our initial impressions of the Spyder Outland were unfounded, and that there really was something to the frame and webbed construction of this saddle. Several weeks and hundreds of miles later, and our testers are still impressed with the performance and light weight of the Spyder Outland, so much so that it is our Top Pick for Light Weight award winner.
The Spyder Outland is only available in one width, and at 125mm it falls on the narrower side of the mountain bike saddle width spectrum. That said, if you happen to have narrow sit bones, or you just prefer a narrower saddle, then we believe that the Spyder Outland is a surprisingly comfortable option. If you're interested in this design but you have wider sit bones the Tioga Undercover Stratum comes in a 140mm width with a similar Spyderwed shell.
The unique look and design of the Spyder Outland give the impression that the saddle might not be all that comfortable; however, the design and corresponding appearance of the saddle are actually what makes it a nice place to sit. The bones of the Spyder Outland are what Tioga refers to as "Dual Tech Carbonite", a skeleton of a stiffer plastic material that rings the outer edge of the saddle and crisscrosses between the seat rails to create a supportive frame. On top of this frame, a web of softer more flexible material makes up the cover of the seat.
This design gives the saddle quite a bit of flex, but when seated it cradles the sit bones quite comfortably. The flex of the saddle also has the added benefit of providing a small amount of shock absorption over rough terrain. To enhance the comfort of the saddle, Tioga includes a pair of silicone anti-slip pads, one for each side, that fit into the holes of the seat's webbed cover. These anti-slip pads add a little cushioning and a little grip to the saddle, as well as a small 24g weight penalty.
The shape of the Spyder Outland is relatively flat from tip to tail, although it flexes under the weight of the rider creating more of a cradle or scooped shape which is relatively comfortable. From side to side the saddle has a rounder profile, higher in the middle and dropping gently towards the sides.
While the Spyder Outland did impress us with its comfort, it came close but couldn't quite match the ultimate comfort provided by our Top Pick for Comfort Award winner, the WTB Koda Team, or the Specialized Phenom Comp.
Overall, testers found the performance of the Spyder Outland to be quite good. The frame and webbed construction allow this saddle to offer a little more cushion, almost a suspension type of feeling, that helped it soak up small bumps and chatter on the trail. This flexible webbing also provided a nice comfortable platform for the rider that conformed to your specific shape. While the saddle feels quite soft when you press on it with your hand, it behaves a little differently when fully weighted as the frame and webbing seem to distribute the weight evenly while still providing some shock absorption.
On the trail, the narrow width and tapered tail make getting behind the saddle on descents very easy, and the rubber webbing material of the seat cover proved to be somewhat slippery in nature. The addition of the anti-slip silicone pads added a little more traction, but testers seemed to like the ability to move around freely on the saddle.
Once again, the unique design and construction of the Spyder Outland work to its benefit in the durability metric. The rubbery, flexible, seat cover web material appears to be very durable, as does the carbonite frame. In the event of a crash, we doubt either of these materials would be prone to breaking or tearing like a more traditional microfiber material might be. There is also no stitching to come undone or wear out.
The seat rails remain straight, and we've heard no creaking from the seat rail attachment points during the course of our testing. We suppose the biggest durability concern we have is keeping track of the silicone anti-slip pads when not in use, and the saddle looks almost the same as the day we got it, other than a little mud splashed here and there…
Assuming this saddle fits you properly then we'd have to say the cycling applications for it are endless. It is very lightweight, comfortable, and durable. This saddle would be great for XC, enduro, and all-mountain riding, and we don't see why it wouldn't work just fine on your gravel, cyclocross, or road bike too.
The Spyder Outland is the lightest saddle in our test selection by a fair margin. Without the addition of the silicone pads it weighs in at a feather-light 178g, a whole 25g lighter than the WTB Koda Team. If you do choose to use the silicone pads, they do make this saddle slightly more comfortable; they also bump up the weight to be on par with the Koda Team and Undercover Stratum at a still very lightweight 202g.
At a retail price of $135, the Spyder Outland isn't exactly inexpensive, although you can generally find them on sale for significantly less than that. We feel its a good value to the right consumer, someone with narrow sit bones or who prefers a narrower seat and is looking for a lightweight, high performance, shock absorbing, and conversation starting mountain bike saddle.
The unique design and looks of the Tioga Spyder Outland are enough to grab plenty of attention virtually anywhere you go, but this saddle is more than just different looking. The construction and appearance of this saddle also do wonders for its performance, with a structural frame covered in a flexible webbed seat cover that conforms to your shape and absorbs shock on the trail. It's also impressively lightweight, with or without the silicone anti-slip pads, and it has a great shape that allows for plenty of freedom of movement on the bike. Unfortunately, the Spyder Outland is only offered in a narrow 125mm width, so it won't work for everyone, but it's worth a look if narrow works for you.
The Spyder Outland is offered in 4 colors, Black, White, Yellow, and Green.
Tioga also makes several other models in their Spyder line of saddles including:
- Spyder Stratum, Use: Road/Mountain Size: Length-292mm, Width-135mm Flex Level: Medium Weight: Carbon Rails-120g, Chromoly Rails-190g Price: Chromoly Rails-$135, Carbon Rails-$200
- Spyder Twintail 2, Use: Road/Mountain Size: Length-275mm, Width-135mm Flex Level: Firm Weight: Carbon rails-120g, Chromoly rails-190g Price: Chromoly rails-$135, Carbon rails-$190
- D-Spyder, Use: Mountain/BMX Size: Length-240mm, Width-130mm Flex Level: Medium Weight: 175g Price: Chromoly rails-$60
— Jeremy Benson