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  1. #1
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    Appropriate bike for large rider w/ disk injury

    This is my first post on the site. I suffered a herniation of L4-L5 and L5-S1 while deployed to Iraq last year. Now I am a out of the service but I have a low back issue that causes constant pain and will not allow me to engage in the activities which used to keep me healthy. Running is impossible and a short mountain bike ride puts me flat on my back for days.

    I live in the Sacramento area where there is no offseason and my house is next to unlimited miles of bike trails. Can anyone suggest a bicycle that will allow me to exercise without exacerbating this debilitating injury? I am a big rider, 6'5", 240, and otherwise in great cardiovascular condition.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Welcome
    I've had serious back issues with L34 and L45. Had IDET surgery on them (had my disks BBQ'd)
    Different bikes have different amount of forward-lean. It goes something like this (from most upright to most aero):
    "Dutch" Comfort bike -> Hybrid -> MtnBike -> Touring Bike -> Cross Bike -> Racing Bike. (Each type can be modified tho depending on bar height.)
    I'd say try them out and see how your back feels on them. I find that being totally upright is very uncomfortable for my back because the road shock goes straight up the spine. When I lean forward, it opens up the spine and creates some room for the disks (decompression). Yet due to tight muscles in my back and hamstrings, I can't lean all the way forward on a racing bike. I find I'm most comfortable on a Mtn or Touring bike.
    I'd also stick to smooth roads that have as little traffic as possible. Good luck. btw, there are lots of threads about back/disk pain. I recommend a search.

  3. #3
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Serious enough back issues that I'd probably look at a recumbent..... That said, not good for trails..

  4. #4
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    I've been riding a full-suspension mountain bike exclusively since 2002, and I also have herniated lumbar discs (3 of them). I'm 6'1", 230, and car-free; under VA care, so you know it's not Johns Hopkins.

    What has worked well for me is to have the forward-leaning position, bars about 1" below saddle height, and top-tube length somewhat less than the XC guys would recommend.

    That said, remember one thing: 2mm of stem height change can make all the diff in the world for your own ride, so don't be afraid to experiment a bit. Also, make sure your cadence is up more, less mashing -- 80+ rpm on the pedals keeps my low back from seizing up.

    Hope this all helps.

  5. #5
    Bicycle n00B
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    You might also check on Clydes/Athenas board here.
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

    Man does not live by bread alone, that's why God made ice cream.

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