I have not tried them and appreciate your input. Gladly accept advice from seasoned riders. I've had the same battles on many bikes and ALWAYS spent too much on gizmos and accessories, swore I wouldn't do it this time around and want to keep this bike. I imagine they would be a bit cooler too, I noticed the gel was hot this morning. It holds your body heat and does not breath, probably good for northerners.
Yes, they're cooler, allowing air to circulate. And you don't sit on the seat proper, which for one thing means that you're not sitting on dew or a damp seat in the morning, on away-from-home trips.
The big thing, for me, anyway, is that you're not in one position, since you're constantly moving about, a bit (yet not so much that you feel you're sliding off the bike, or even sliding around too much). They add about a half inch in seat height, btw. Oh, also, on my last set (which I moved from my most recent Exec to my Beemer), I sprang for the upscale ceramic version, as opposed to the wooden version (because the paint eventually wears off the wood).
I did four 800+ mile days on my 2007 (-2012) Exec -- two coming home from MotoGP weekends at Indy, and two coming home from my daughter in Asheville -- and I don't think I could have done them without the combination of beads and (FirstGear HT) overpants. Lots of cushioning -- the overpants and my fat a$$ -- lots of not being stuck in one position. Additionally, I've done a dozen or so 600-mile days, on most (all?) all my scooters and bikes, when riding down to Asheville -- there's a hotel and Mexican restaurant I like, at mile marker 137 on I-81 in VA -- and all those were done with beads.