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Next bike - better for my back!

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Spotman, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Ok all, here is the story:
    I am approaching my 12 months RE time and so can (if I want) soon get my unrestricted licence here in QLD. Having said that I've only moved from a scooter to a bike 3 months ago.

    I am currently riding a 2013 GS500 which is fine except I think it is starting to exacerbate my existing lower back problems. Whilst I like the upper body position I find that to change down I have to lift my entire leg up to get my foot on the lever. This brings my back into play. As an extreme example sit forward on a chair, bend from the hips and then lift a foot off the floor.
    I did try adjusting the lever down however then it is very tight to get my foot underneath.
    I am 181cm and about 80Kgs.

    So I'd like some advice on possible next bikes with a more user friendly position (for me). Looking at http://cycle-ergo.com/ it comes up with a 17deg fwd lean and a 70deg knee angle for my size. Compare this to a ER6N which gives a 75deg knee angle. I think the knee angle is where the problem lies.

    Most of my riding is a daily commute (20ks each way) with an occasional weekend ride for an hour or two in the hills. Not looking for a rocketship but a little more grunt than the 500 would nice.

    Happy with a used option and looking to keep it under 10K.

    I will be sitting on a bunch of bikes however am wondering if anyone has had similar issues?

    Sorry for the long story!

  2. Jump on a bike sales website, look at what bike grabs your attention, you want something that you would like to be seen riding, create a list of bikes, then test ride! :cool:

    A sport bike will only irritate your lower back problems, look at naked, cruiser and touring bikes.
  3. different bike options
    DCT automatic.
    Cruiser with a heel toe shifter, or just forward controls.

    Bike mods
    lower/raise/narrow seat (custom foam job in seat)
    rais/lower foot pegs for a better position for your foot

    Hit the gym and strengthen your back
  4. So much this, I had similar problems with my lower back but a deadlift a day keeps the back pain away
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Unfortunately you can't strengthen your back, only your core muscles which in turn take the pressure off your back a bit. If you, like me , have an acute lower lumbar problem then you need to try and find something easier to operate.
    A fully upright position is not always the answer either as it puts all the weight on your spine, you ofetn see cruiser riders hunched slightly for this reason.
    For me an ideal lean is about 10 degrees.
    Then I go to work adjusting the lever and the peg so I can comfortably work it both ways. If you still cant get it right then you will have to go for something that has the lever positioned such that your knees are at 90 degrees or forward of that.
  6. ? ... strengthening your back. o_O
  7. Just to clarify that, I agree strengthening the muscles that support your upper body is a good thing and will certainly help. What I was getting at was that if you have a back problem that is just old fashioned wear and tear then any amount of muscle development wont really help much.
    Pain emanating from worn and damaged vertebrea is very different from pain associated with tiredness of the muscles.
  8. Along with the othe bike mods, try a longer gear lever to get your foot under it in the position you require it to be in so that you don't need to lift that leg. Not always possible depending on the bike of course, but possible on some, particularly dirt oriented/motard bikes..

  9. This is a good reason to hit the gym -- or at least pump out some sit-ups, squats, bridges, push-ups and chin-ups. Prevention is better than a cure.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Don't disagree with that at all, I just get the impression from the OP that if he is experiencing pain just because he is lifting his foot off the peg that he has more than a core muscle issue that's all.
  11. As McSenna says, adjust the gear pedal/lever.

    Don't look at cruisers, after 20 odd years of power lifting I have the back of a 70 year old (not bad for someone in their early 40's), I had an M109R for a few years and that seating position is awful.

    Maybe look at tourers and adv bikes if you are fixed on the idea of changing bikes.
  12. I've got a bit of a shonky back as well.

    Think you'll find plenty of bikes will suit you just fine,the main problem is working out which one will cause YOU the least pain, which leads me to the second part of that problem.... Being able to take one for a long enough ride to assure my self that I wouldn't have trouble (like I did on my streety).

    Most dealers will give you maybeeeee half an hour in the seat, maybeeee a couple of times. I can ride anything for half an hour here or there. I need a good ride and only one manufacturer really offered me that option (I bought a bike from them in the end).

    For me, I think it is actually a combination of the position and the ride quality. But that's just me....

    Best of luck!
  13. I ride a Zthou with a crook back and rarely find that the bike makes it worse, or starts a backache if there isn't one there already. For me, the worst thing is standing around, not actually riding.

    I am shorter than you (probably around 170cm ish) and a good bit heavier! I had the bike lowered tho, which you wouldn't need to do.

    I lowered the gearshift lever on both the thou and my earlier VTR250 to avoid the leg lift problem you speak of. I also had an issue having to hoik my foot up to raise the lever - worked a treat once lowered. Still very easy to get my toe under, plus don't have to raise my leg to change down.

    Ride position is almost upright, certainly not "sportsbikeish", but not as much as a cruiser. Although I can shove my arse out and lower myself if I want a different position.
  14. Had the same lower back issues when I started off on m my 250, until I lowered the gear lever so that I wouldn't have to lift up my leg for downshifting anymore. Worked a treat! Even if I had to bend it so it would clear the side stand...
    I am definitely not the fittest person, but I do go several times a week to the gym and train. Not with dead weights though... So I wouldn't say that my muscles are too weak.

    I do however get many, many back problems when not doing any work out whatsoever. Kinda forces me to stay somewhat fit.

    Now I have a much more upright bike than the previous 250. I find it harder to relax my arms and sit in a not hunched over position. The more sporty position forced me to use my core muscles and that must have made it easier for me to not slouch my lower back.
    That's why I wouldn't say that a sports bike is necessarily worse for you than an upright bike. Try some bikes with the controls adjusted properly. Anything where you don't have to lift your whole leg for each down shift will feel so much better to you!
  15. This is a hot topic for me, I'm going in for back surgery week after next, there are some things that all the exercise in the world won't fix. Back on the bike in 4 weeks if all goes well, so they tell me.
  16. Best of luck with the surgery mate, hope it all works out for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Thanks all for the input. I will definitely be putting the lever back down again. Funny thing is I had it adjusted down but on the first service they convinced me that it wasn't the best because I'd be pushing against the shaft instead of using the full leverage. (also he said that his mechanic couldn't ride it like that!). Basically said I'd get used to it in the normal position...which I did but now I think it has upset my back!
    Many comments about exercise etc. and yes exercise does help, especially core muscle work and lots of stretching. I also see a physio regularly. However not putting undue pressure on it helps also. :)
  18. Thanks mate.
  19. If you have lower back problems a cruiser will not be good for you at all since you won't be able to use your knees as a second set of shock absorbers if you have forward controls.

    If you are having issues with a GS500's comfort you will be in for a shock on most bikes... They're very neutral position :\

    Maybe have a try of these bar kits: http://www.topyokes.com/

    have a set on my GS500F and I have never been on a more comfortable bike. Only downside is they're very wide so it limits your filtering ability somewhat.
  20. NC700 will avoid the need to manually change gears at all. Ticks the boxes of "not a rocketship" and might have more usable torque than the 500.