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Old 12-13-03, 12:30 PM   #1
Poppaspoke
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considering new bike type

After having dealt with persistent back problems over the years (usaually kicks in on rides over 20 mi), I am considering some more "radical" solutions. 1) A recumbent of some type...I know nothing about them, unfortunately. 2) A road bike custom frame with a shorter top tube and longer head tube 3) A touring bike, minus fenders and racks. I am a 54 year old male who rides a LeMond Zurich...still have fairly decent legs and lungs, so I'd like something with a little performance. Currently I'm leaning toward option #2...I love the road bike mystique, but I'm fed up with discomfort and not being able to ride in the drops. Any comments or suggestions? Advice from riders with similar experiences would be particularly appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 12-13-03, 02:32 PM   #2
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poppaspoke,

I don't have the same problem but there is a person
I know who has had very radical frame geometries built
for similiar situation. I will try to contact him and get
e-mail address for you.

Marty
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Old 12-13-03, 03:46 PM   #3
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My dad had the exact same problem, so he bought a Serotta. If you go to a Serotta dealer, they'll set you up on a bike that they can adjust while you ride to determine frame geometry. When my dad was getting fitted, they made small adjustments until they hit a certain geometry that almost completely eliminated the pain.

This past year we did the STP and I pushed the pace quite a bit past what he was used to riding at, so he had to ride fairly aggressively, and he felt fine at the end of each day, so I'd say that custom geometry would probably work for you, too.
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Old 12-13-03, 03:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppaspoke
After having dealt with persistent back problems over the years (usaually kicks in on rides over 20 mi), I am considering some more "radical" solutions. 1) A recumbent of some type...I know nothing about them, unfortunately. 2) A road bike custom frame with a shorter top tube and longer head tube 3) A touring bike, minus fenders and racks. I am a 54 year old male who rides a LeMond Zurich...still have fairly decent legs and lungs, so I'd like something with a little performance. Currently I'm leaning toward option #2...I love the road bike mystique, but I'm fed up with discomfort and not being able to ride in the drops. Any comments or suggestions? Advice from riders with similar experiences would be particularly appreciated! Thanks.
Got a bad back for 9 years now.First i tried a LeMond but felt to streched out,thats LeMond.Got a regular so to speak road bike,fuji.Second,why are you in the drops so much,my back would hurt to on any road bike.I did 35 miles this morning and never got in the drops,50% on top of bar and 50% on the hoods.You also might try stopping after 15-20 miles for a few and strech a little and go on.Mine starts at about 20 or a little sooner i notice if i fight a head wind.I stand up on the pedals and strech around a little and stay on the top bar as long as i can on long rides and slowly my back is adjusting.I'm thinking a LeMond isnt a good fit for a bad back but not all bad backs are the same.
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Old 12-14-03, 11:03 AM   #5
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After having dealt with persistent back problems over the years (usaually kicks in on rides over 20 mi), I am considering some more "radical" solutions. 1) A recumbent of some type...I know nothing about them, rides a LeMond Zurich...still have fairly decent legs and lungs, so I'd like something with a little performance.

ok, you still want to go fast regardless of your back problems then.
Do you have any objections to going a lot faster than you presently can go?

Try a lowracer such as the optima baron, challenge jester, m5 lowracer, or velokraft vk2

I presently ride a baron, but will be getting a carbon lowracer this winter and keeping the baron as the training bike.
I've completed a solo 4 hour 13 min century on this bike non-stop in a race. I did not draft.......don't need to.

As far as comfort........ there isn't anything more comfortable than a lowracer.
It fully supports your back and even after 100 miles you won't feel any pain at all. The neck doesn't get stiff or the wrists either.

I don't have back problems, but love the comfort and the speed gain.
Passing pace lines is a piece of cake.

here are some pics of my baron and a friend of mine who is 55 years old and did his first 4 hour 30 min century on his........solo.

http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=5009

http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=4349

http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=4348
http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=5010

http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=1763

http://www.jjscozzi.com/ This is a link that has tons of pics of Jim who lives in Florida. This guy isn't a strong rider, but on a lowracer is very fast.

This last one is me at the Arlington Crits...........
I won the gold for the superstock class .......so am the National North American superstock champion.
http://wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/ra...rit/Racer3.jpg


you seriously can't go wrong with a lowracer.....you seem to be the perfect candidate to me. There is nothing you can't do on the open road that a road bike can do....... just don't try it take it bunny hopping logs on a mtb trail.
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Old 12-14-03, 11:08 AM   #6
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Hi,
take a look at the Rivendell site. What you want is a riding position that looks like this..... http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/htm...romulus_2.html
That is a traditional touring bike riding position. Throw on 28c tires (or larger) and a Brooks saddle and you are good to go.
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Old 12-14-03, 11:10 AM   #7
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and to add

I have a friend, the one pictured who is 55 years old, just picked up two more barons from a guy in ohio........like brand new. He plans on building them up and selling them. Should end up being a pretty reasonable price if interested.

here is his email if you are curious.

airxxxwolf@yahoo.com
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Old 12-14-03, 04:26 PM   #8
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>>>After having dealt with persistent back problems over the years (usaually kicks in on rides over 20 mi), I am considering some more "radical" solutions. <<<<<

If you have persistent back problems, it's probably going to get worse in the very near future. I highly doubt it will get better with a road bike. You might want to try a MTB with dual suspension and see if that works. I would not invest in custom road bike unless it had a better than 50% chance of success.

When a rodie takes a serious look at recumbents, this usually means the pain is very serious. I would really look at a recumbent. Every bent I rode resulted in a painfree ride. You might have to give up some speed but at this point but you'll get over it over time. See if you find a Vision dealer near you as these bikes are not slow.
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Old 12-14-03, 08:03 PM   #9
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I, too, am curious as to why you want to ride in the drops - apparently a fair amount of time?

I am 64, ride 2 roadies, and seldom if ever need to get into the drops, except if I am going downhill and want to reduce wind resistance.
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Old 12-14-03, 08:36 PM   #10
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You might have to give up some speed ?

ok, so if he were to try a touring or standard sport bent........then yes he may give up a little speed. If he develops his legs on a lowracer however he could expect to gain 3 to 5 mph in speed. Lowracers don't slow you down by any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 12-14-03, 11:41 PM   #11
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Some more things to consider (been there, done that) might be a severely "compact" frame like a Specialized Sequoia or a "fitness hybrid" like the Trek 7500fx. Both of these give me the most tolerable "road bike ride" around and I have also ridden recumbents (Rans SWB). Check 'em out...good luck! (skip riding in the drops-few people actually do it unless they are racers)
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Old 12-15-03, 07:17 AM   #12
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First, I would suggest you get an adjustable stem, so you know what length of bike you want. Bike fitters wont be able to suggest a poisiton to eliminate pain. Many fitting systems will aim to get you into a racing position. More sophisticated fitters will try and get you comfortable. Only you can determine the right saddle-bar positioning for your needs.
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Old 12-15-03, 12:59 PM   #13
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The back pain I've been experiencing is not the severe or disabling type; it's more of a persistent discomfort or ache that slowly grows over a period of hours while I'm riding. It also evolves into hand and tricep stress from supporting my weight with my arms too long. I've become well known with local cyclists for riding long distances with my hands off the handlebars and sitting erect. This relieves my discomfort temporarily at best, though. As far as using the drops, I rarely am able to do so for long...but I want that option if I decide to stick with road bikes. The Serotta might be a little beyond my means, unfortunately. I'd like to experiment with a Rivendell-type bike geometry, but I confess I'd prefer a more modern (say Reynolds 853) frame with STI, CF fork and stays...The 'bents represent the fear of the unknown for me; If I could find an LBS with some to rent out That would be ideal. Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions.
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Old 12-15-03, 01:42 PM   #14
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Hi,
the Gunnar Sport has that geometry, and uses really nice steel, including Platinum OX. I have ridden it, and it rides like butter. They also do custom; just don't get the standard paint job. It's awful, fortunately they don't charge a lot more for Waterford paint.
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Old 12-15-03, 06:17 PM   #15
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Trek Y-foil with a stem that rises up.....ultra comfy.
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Old 12-15-03, 06:44 PM   #16
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The first thing I thought of when I read your post was that you may need to build up strength in your torso. Someone like Koffee Brown could probably tell you what excercises will strengthen these. I do crunches and various excercises with an excercise ball before the season starts. If you don't have serious back problems you might help yourself by strengthening your trunk before investing in a bike. You should be able to last longer.

Also, its a common misconception that sitting upright is "better" for your back. In fact, the compression of riding in an upright position can also cause problems. The natural 'bowing' of your spine and strong muscles helps provide better suspension than a straighter back.

So in my opinion you just need to strengthen the muscles. But if you had serious back problems or want a new bike? I'd say go recumbent.

Good luck either way.
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Old 12-15-03, 07:23 PM   #17
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Good idea,
I do back exercises all winter long for just that reason. I start with seated rows, and after a month or two start in on the Roman Chair.
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Old 12-17-03, 05:26 PM   #18
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[http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=4349

http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=4348
http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=5010

http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=1763

http://www.jjscozzi.com/ This is a link that has tons of pics of Jim who lives in Florida. This guy isn't a strong rider, but on a lowracer is very fast.

This last one is me at the Arlington Crits...........
I won the gold for the superstock class .......so am the National North American superstock champion.
http://wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/ra...rit/Racer3.jpg

Lowracer, the pics are great. Is the rear fairing a standard available option? How is the ride on chipseal type surfaces or other rough roads? Would you recommend an Optima Cobra with suspension, i.e., do you lose a lot of performance? Thanks
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Old 12-17-03, 10:30 PM   #19
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chipseal and stuff

Lowracer, the pics are great. Is the rear fairing a standard available option? How is the ride on chipseal type surfaces or other rough roads? Would you recommend an Optima Cobra with suspension, i.e., do you lose a lot of performance? Thanks[/QUOTE]


yes, the tailfairings or tailbox's as we like to call them are a standard option. They do give you good gains when riding over 20mph........ quite substantial on downhills.

The ride on chipseal on a lowracer is better than that of a regular upright bike due to the long wheelbase......53" The frame is stiff, but smooth. The long wheelbase tends to suck up everything that would be felt in the back area.

I use a pantour suspension hub on my hed wheel that gives 1/2" of travel. It has a 1/4" of sag. ON a lowracer, the pedals and feet are what normally soak up the road vibration of chipseal. With the pantour on the front wheel, chipseal roads feel like riding on glass. I don't lose hardly any speed on chipseal surfaces anymore. The cobra is very nice.......... but much heavier than the baron.......... everybody recomends the pantour hub on front. On a lowracer you don't need any on the rear. As far as performance loss with the cobra, it would be a bit more weight to carry up the hills. The pantour hub weighs less than a shimano ultegra hub and has 1/2" travel, so you can decide which is the better setup.
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Old 12-17-03, 11:32 PM   #20
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After a recumbent, I'd try a Euro-style upright. May not be that easy to find in US, but here's some links:

Kettler
http://www.kettler.net/index_en.html
Batavus
http://www.batavus.com/
Pashley
http://www.pashley.co.uk/
Breezer
http://www.breezerbikes.com/
Trek
http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2004/citybike/l300.jsp
Utopia
http://www.utopia-fahrrad.de/

IMO, a hybrid w/ straight bars ain't gonna help, unless you change out the handlebars with some more upright bars w/ grips that are angled back towards you. And I agree with whoever said that an adjustable stem is beneficial; but you still need to choose the right bars.
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