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  1. #1
    Senior Member ubringliten's Avatar
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    Bromptons worsen lower back pain?

    Hi folks,

    I was at Clever Cycles in Portland and was so close in getting the Brompton M until it was a little too bumpy on a test ride. I have lower back pain/soreness that is tolerable but I am scared of the bumpiness that might worsen it. I think the upright position is good but is it good enough to counter the bumpiness? Right now I have a fixed gear that I am thinking of converting to single speed (and raising the handlebar is another option but it would look awkward with the frame-style) which I hope can help with my lower back, if not I will forgo the bike, and getting the Brompton might help even more. I am not getting the Brompton solely for this reason. I think it just a really versatile bike.

    Thanks!

    Chris

  2. #2
    CSG
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    How were the tires inflated and which tires were they? Which suspension block was on the bike?
    2002 Novara Ponderosa HT MTB
    2011 Brompton ML6

  3. #3
    Senior Member ubringliten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSG View Post
    How were the tires inflated and which tires were they? Which suspension block was on the bike?
    All good questions but no idea. I asked the worker and she said that I can change out the block which means I probably got the firm one. So there are different suspension blocks?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  4. #4
    CSG
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    I'd head over to Brompton's website and do a little research. Once you're informed you'll have a better idea what you'll need and will work for you. Just stay away from Calhoun Cycles out of Minnesota!
    2002 Novara Ponderosa HT MTB
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  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Shown at this years Euro bike trade show, reported here,
    in the pipeline is a different steerer tube riser , about 3" higher M bar setup..
    given the name H bar.. might offer the fit you want.

    if you get the telescopic seatpost option, it's possible to add a suspension seat post
    Substituted, in the upper section ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-14-11 at 10:13 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubringliten View Post
    Hi folks,

    I was at Clever Cycles in Portland and was so close in getting the Brompton M until it was a little too bumpy on a test ride. I have lower back pain/soreness that is tolerable but I am scared of the bumpiness that might worsen it. I think the upright position is good but is it good enough to counter the bumpiness? Right now I have a fixed gear that I am thinking of converting to single speed (and raising the handlebar is another option but it would look awkward with the frame-style) which I hope can help with my lower back, if not I will forgo the bike, and getting the Brompton might help even more. I am not getting the Brompton solely for this reason. I think it just a really versatile bike.

    Thanks!

    Chris
    Chris,

    You are going to feel more bumpiness and a harsher ride with the Brompton's smaller wheels, albeit pretty much all the folders running small wheels. You can combat this by running with a lower rear tire pressure, plus choosing the standard suspension rather than firm for more comfort. If that's not enough for you, you can add options for a suspension seatpost.

  7. #7
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    I have the standard block and the suspension works very well for me. The same can't be said for the front end where rough surfaces can result in extreme vibrations coming through the bars, but in terms of cushioning the spine the rear suspension is great, I think.

  8. #8
    My legs hurt
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    +1. Add a sprung saddle, and the rear half is as comfy as any other bike I've ridden.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    From my experience lifting the Brompton in and out the trunk is worse than riding it.

    I started with the firm suspension but did not like and and switched to the standard. Also added a sprung Brooks.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    For the front end,
    Pan Tour, a California company, make a hub with suspension in it, 12mm of travel,
    to take some road buzz out of the front end, they're made in the narrow width of folding bikes.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Also A good sized load in the front bag , mounted on the quick release frame block ,
    the mass softens a lot of harshness and light steering feel.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    For the front end,
    Pan Tour, a California company, make a hub with suspension in it, 12mm of travel,
    to take some road buzz out of the front end, they're made in the narrow width of folding bikes.
    Very instesting. The FAQ says that they adds only 50g to the wheel weight. Anybody sells pantour wheels for Brompton? Does it need anti rotation on the axle to keep the suspension oriented properly?
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  13. #13
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    Since Dahon stopped fitting Pantour hubs on their bikes I've seen very little mention of the hub and the company is unresponsive. I think the standard Brompton rim has too little brake contact area to accomodate the vertical travel of the hub. . . it might just about work. Also I think the Pantour hub has a 9mm axle which would mean shaving 1mm off the fork dropout.

  14. #14
    My legs hurt
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    I seem to recall people not being happy with Pantour hubs for some reason... Too lazy to look it up.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ubringliten's Avatar
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    Thank you.

    I like the sprung saddle idea. Easy to remedy.

    When is the H-bar coming out?

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the front axle is not round, that keeps it from rotating,

    and it seems to me a more horizontal motion still reduces the buzz,

    it's adjustable, as described, is still keeping the brake shoes, over the rim.

    H bar setup, was shown at the recent German Trade show,
    so they are tooled up to make them,
    so perhaps if you order one now the option will be fitted,
    when the order is filled.

    I think the .5mm per side .. is not much shaving ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-14-11 at 12:39 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Have you had a diagonisis for your back? Advise from a physiotherapist should be better guidance than vauge suggestions from people who do not know your condition. Ie is it upper or lower back, do you prefer flex or extention, is it a disc type problem, muscular?
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  18. #18
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    +1 for the sprung saddle; I recommend the B-67.

  19. #19
    The Metropolis, UK
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    I have a Brompton front wheel with a pantour hub for sale. PM me if interested. I simply opted for a Son hub and better lighting system. The Pantour does work but you need to know your bike mechanics well or your LBS does.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Have you had a diagonisis for your back? Advise from a physiotherapist should be better guidance than vauge suggestions from people who do not know your condition. Ie is it upper or lower back, do you prefer flex or extention, is it a disc type problem, muscular?
    This is probably the best advice posted today on Bike Forums.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  21. #21
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    This is probably the best advice posted today on Bike Forums.
    Yeah, once we know what your problem is we'll be able to recommend the exact bike for your condition.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  22. #22
    Senior Member ubringliten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Have you had a diagonisis for your back? Advise from a physiotherapist should be better guidance than vauge suggestions from people who do not know your condition. Ie is it upper or lower back, do you prefer flex or extention, is it a disc type problem, muscular?
    I went to the doctor, albeit only one and he's not a specialist (but he's an avid rider/commuter), and he said I didn't have a problem with strength so he recommended acupuncture or physical therapy. I also got some stretching exercise that minimizes the pain. I am thinking of going to an acupuncturist this late fall/winter because I know the therapy is going to include not riding a bike. I also noticed that my lower back pain is not that bad after riding upright rental bikes and even I continue riding an upright position bike my pain might eventually go away. Either its the upright position or the freewheel that is easing on my pelvic muscles. In any case, I still want to ride bikes despite the pain which means I still want to get that Brompton!

    Thanks all for your comments.
    Last edited by ubringliten; 09-14-11 at 11:40 PM.

  23. #23
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    For some sitting in a more upright position alleviates pain while for others like myself, a more aggressive position is the cure for what ails us.

    Riding a Brompton is an exercise in pain for me and my wife does not like them either but loves her vintage Raleigh Twenty.

    I know the folks at Clever Cycles and they do know their stuff... if the person helping you had a nice German accent and a pleasant demeanor you were dealing with the owner (Martina).

    Just ask them how the bike was set up and which suspension block was used on the demo bike as I am sure they could swap it for the softer one and give advice on how to soften the ride.

    They also have a nice stock of Brooks saddles there.

  24. #24
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    I'd see a doctor who knows something about backs. If he suggested acupuncture, he is suggesting your problem is in your head since it is a placebo. I had a bad back for many years but found that hard work keeps it healthy. Resting makes it bad. Every couple of months I have to do heavy lifting and digging to keep it healthy. Strange but true.

  25. #25
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Yes, usually an active back is healthier. Riding a bike should no be contra indicated in treatment most of the time.

    There are lots of ways of sitting in an upright position or a more aggressive racing set up. There are right ways ,wrong ways and different ways. Bike set up is not exclusively the answer. Two people with identical dimensional will adapt different postures on identical bikes ,therefore loading muscles/joints/nerves in different ways.

    Nearly always unloaded lumber extension helps pain on flexion,( ie a pelvic press ups). If you prefer an upright cycling posture, you probably have a preference for extension rather than flexion.

    Google the "MacKenzie directional preference" approach for some exercises, but get some advise from a professional. Its cheaper in the long term.
    Last edited by bhkyte; 09-15-11 at 01:19 PM.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

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