I am looking for an entry level road bike with the appropriate components for a comfortable ride. I have a herniated lumbar disk. I'm looking at the Fuji Newest 3.0 since I can adjust the angle of the handlebars, but I don't know if the carbon front fork is enough. If I go with the Giant OCR2 (also adjustible handlebars) I get a carbon seat post along with better components (at almost twice the cost) or into the $1000+ range for carbon seat stays. Cost is definitely a factor for me. But I don't want a bike I can't ride either. Is it really worth upgrading to the seat post or seat stays to address my back problem? (Extensive vibration can cause swelling.) No racing, just some commuting and recreational rides. Possibly the occasional week tour. Thanks!
I have a couple ideas, one is Trek has a couple bikes Pilot 2.1 spa and a 5.2 spa. The spa version has a little shock movement in the rear.
Another idea is to check out if a Hybrid seatpost is compatible with a road bike. Hybrid bikes have a seatpost with a shock built into it. THis will reduce the vibration and help smooth out the bumps (especially the enexpected ones). I don't know if they are compatible, I never looked into it. But it's worth checking out.
I think suspension seat posts are junk for a variety of reasons, especially the cheap ones. Same goes for adjustible stems. They're gimmicks that compensate for a poorly designed bike.
I also think that an aluminum frame of any sort would be the worst possible thing for your back, even with the gimmicky add ons.
Your focus should be on two things. First, research bike geometry and find a brand or line that will allow you to ride in a position that works with your ailment. This means doing a lot of longer test rides. Dial in the stem/handlebar position from there. Second, look into a steel frame (Bianchi, Lemond, Gunnar, Surly etc.) or, if you have some cash, get a carbon fiber frame. You want something compliant that doesn't communicate high frequency road vibrations.
After you get the right frame, you can add things that will help reduce those vibrations even further like saddles with ti rails, cf seatposts, larger tires.
Don't get caught up in componentry, your back problem means that you need to focus on finding the right frame.
As v1k1ng1001 suggests, fit (and a LBS you can trust to understand your situation) should be your major consideration, so that the bike is set up to lessen the strain amd pressure on your back. Are you most comfortable when upright? Or when stretched out a bit (but nowhere near that "aero" position)? And, again agreeing with v1k1ng1001, go with wider tires and inflate them a bit below the rated maximum pressure to cushion the ride.
I am looking for an entry level road bike with the appropriate components for a comfortable ride. I have a herniated lumbar disk.
...Is it really worth upgrading to the seat post or seat stays to address my back problem? (Extensive vibration can cause swelling.) No racing, just some commuting and recreational rides. Possibly the occasional week tour. Thanks!
The Answer: A comfortable bike and saddle built for comfort, not speed nor looking like a go-fast wannabe. This one cost $459 in 2002 plus $50 (approx) in 2000 for the Brooks B73 saddle.
Note: I have had three laminectomies in the last 30 years so I know something about the subject of cycling with a back problem.
Everything about the Dahon Smooth Hound is cool. Has what looks like would be a nice, upright riding position. Mounts for rack and fenders so light touring would be fine. Folds up so commuting would also work out well.
I'm 57, laminectomy performed when I was 49 plus I have two rods in my back to stabilize L3 to L5. I started with a Hybrid, Giant Cypress DX for exercise and to lose weight. It has the shocks in the seat post and the fork. Note, that the shocks aren't really going to help that much. I do both road and hard pack trail riding. The hard pack surface creates a lot of vibration in the bike and aggrevates my lower back. The important thing is geometry. For me, I am the most comfortable streched out. This position relieves the pressure on the nerves, the more horizontal I ride the less my discs are compressed. Riding more upright may aggrevate your back because of compression on your spine when riding over pot holes and rough roads. Everyone's back is different. As viking has stated spend a lot of time test riding.
Another suggestion is to ice your back to help reduce the swelling both the night before your ride and after your ride.