Today’s new unicyclists are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled! Hope I don’t sound too much like a grumpy old man, but some of us learned in the pre-handle days.
Back when I got into unicycling there were two basic seat types on “real” unicycles, Schwinn and Messenger. In fact, the Schwinn seats were also manufactured by Messenger, but they only came on Schwinns. The other seats were of a more rectangular design.
None of these seats had any kind of edge or shape on the bottom to hook your fingers on. If you don’t need a handle, you’re obviously fine without one. But as you ride more, it will become more obvious where a handle can be useful.
I can’t blame you for being wary of the flexy handle on your new Miyata seat. I have one on my Deluxe Coker, and I’m afraid to lean too much on it. It seems like only a matter of time before something gives. But the older Miyata seats weren’t like that, and they were real solid. Hopefully the next shipment from them will be as well.
You can pull up on most any unicycle seat, including the old Schwinn (today’s Deluxe Semcycle). Some just have less to grab onto. Viscount seats have enough room in the “notch” for two of my fingers, which gets real old real fast.
Taiwanese “beater” seats, the ones that came with all the old Savages, Cycle Pros, and other cheapies, have a great handle for lifting. They just suck in every other possible way.
The Miyata seats of recent years, with the handles that stick out, are not only good for lift, they are good to lean some weight on as well. I only got my first one of these saddles in 1998 or so, and I fell in love with the handle immediately. It took much less energy to hold on whilel pedaling through the trails, and my hand wasn’t crammed up against me as it used to be. I like it.
But the same handle does get in the way for freestyle. There are a lot of tricks where you rotate the unicycle, or where your legs go around the front of the seat. In all of these, that handle gets in the way either a little or a lot. So I’m hoping the new Velos will come in a Freestyle version as well as the “regular” one with the handle.