Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Help? Modification Of Road Bike Needed For Back Injury

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Help? Modification Of Road Bike Needed For Back Injury

Old 05-16-06, 05:31 PM
  #1  
Bikes-N-Drums
Skin-Pounder
Thread Starter
 
Bikes-N-Drums's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Clarkston (Atlanta, GA., USA)
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Help? Modification Of Road Bike Needed For Back Injury

Hi guys, hi gals. I'm back to cycling after recovering from a back injury. Unfortunately, my bike is aggrivating my back after a short amount of time and I'm afraid I can't afford a new one, so I must do something to convert my bike to a back-friendly machine quickly. Difficulty: older 21 speed Cannondale R300 with a quill stem and basic components.

I've searched the forum for threads on cyclists with bad backs and found many great suggestions. The most frequent suggestion was replacing the handlebars on the bike of course; some trekking bars and ATB riser bars got a lot of mentions as well as Nitto's tall stems, maybe some moustache or bullhorn bars. Some immediate issues with different bars that come to mind are locating a replacement for the bike's current set of brifters, something that will operate the older 7 speed RSX derailleur. Is it even possible? Is it a better idea to find a Nitto tall stem & put my old bars instead?

What are the safety issues involved with changing handlebars/stems on a road bike?

Is any of this a good idea or are there better suggestions?
Bikes-N-Drums is offline  
Old 05-16-06, 05:46 PM
  #2  
TallRider
Senior Member
 
TallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 4,454
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 128 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 10 Posts
I think the best idea is to just buy a Nitto Technomic stem, perhaps in slightly shorter extension than your previous stem. (Although the stem's putting the bar higher will place it closer to your body anyway.) This way you could keep your RSX brifters, etc. You'll just need longer cable housing because the handlebar will be further away from the rest of the bike.

Moustache bars would require you to get a shorter stem; if you didn't, they'd place the bars further away from you, although the "drops" don't drop as much as a road bar. Bullhorn bars wouldn't necessarily place the bar any close to you, either. Flat or trekking bars could work fine. With any of these options, you'd need to get different shifters. With your back issues, I suspect you wouldn't want down-tube shifters. You can still find Shimano 7-speed indexed bar-end shifters around on eBay. On flat bars, there are plenty of Shimano 7-speed mtb shifters, and grip shifters, still out there.

But I'd recommend the Technomic. It's a very well-built stem, not too expensive, and it's hte only major thing you'd need to replace. And if your back heals, you can lower the bars back down toward the original position.
__________________
"c" is not a unit that measures tire width
TallRider is offline  
Old 05-16-06, 06:10 PM
  #3  
colnagorider
Senior Member
 
colnagorider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: 100 miles north of Los Angeles
Posts: 122

Bikes: 5 Colnagos, Harry Quinn...

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hey Bikes-N-Drums, I thought it may be a good idea to give some detail as to the extent of your injury(s) so that others may be able to better advise you on your situation. My thought on timcuperys post is that although a more upright position may seem more comfortable, I was wondering, if you had problems or pain with the disks in your spine, whether or not there would be more compression on them than with a more curved position as when you were riding prior to your injury. I feel it is more difficult to advise without a better knowledge of your specific injury. I think you will better serve youself if we could know such information. Recovering from a broken collar bone myself. Hope you get better.
colnagorider is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 05:03 AM
  #4  
Bikes-N-Drums
Skin-Pounder
Thread Starter
 
Bikes-N-Drums's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Clarkston (Atlanta, GA., USA)
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by colnagorider
Hey Bikes-N-Drums, I thought it may be a good idea to give some detail as to the extent of your injury(s) so that others may be able to better advise you on your situation. My thought on timcuperys post is that although a more upright position may seem more comfortable, I was wondering, if you had problems or pain with the disks in your spine, whether or not there would be more compression on them than with a more curved position as when you were riding prior to your injury. I feel it is more difficult to advise without a better knowledge of your specific injury. I think you will better serve youself if we could know such information. Recovering from a broken collar bone myself. Hope you get better.
Well, two injuries to the spine: Lower back disc henriation between L4 and L5 and all the discs between C5-C7. The road bike is aggrivating the lower back badly and is even affecting the mid-spine area (maybe because I am weaker and fatter from taking 2 years off cycling).

A more upright position is desired. I actually have a hybrid that seats upright and it renders far less back trouble - but it is a very slow and heavy bike: like swimming with dumbbells.
Bikes-N-Drums is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 05:32 AM
  #5  
masi61
Senior Member
 
masi61's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 3,333

Bikes: Puch Marco Polo, Saint Tropez, Masi Gran Criterium

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 955 Post(s)
Liked 301 Times in 214 Posts
Hey bike n drum, what size is your R300, and how tall are you? Do you know your cycling inseam? What's your top tube length and how many cm long is your quill stem. Get a metric tape measure and write some of this info down in a notebook. Do some riding and note in a daily journal little observations about your position, where it hurts etc.. Can you ride in the drops on your bike? If you can, for how long? How much weight do you think you need to lose? Did you ever try stretching out, elongating your back rather than sitting up more?
Sorry for all the questions, but knowing some of your personal measurements can help you to know what to tweak. When you are deconditioned you will be able to hold one position. As you do more miles, even with your bad back, your position will change.
I had back surg. to L4/L5 5 years ago, a massively herniated disc. I gained a ton of weight and completely lost track of any cycling goals for several years. Getting back into riding has been harder than if I had tried to work on fitness all along but it has been possible.
Was your R300 originally fitted to you for comfort or speed. If you're lucky it will be slightly large. This really helped me. I pulled out my 63 cm Puch touring bike and used it almost exclusively to lay down miles. Do you have an older, bigger steel road bike laying around that you could use? Its crazy but a nice big steel road bike where you can ride the drops easily really helped me.
Good luck, and don't loose faith, I think its possible to still ride even with the back problems.
BTW: I personally haven't tried the Nitto stems they are talking about. You expressed concern about safety with riser stems and I share that concern. I use an upward rise chromoly Salsa quill stem and its nice looking and strong - no worries. Nitto also makes chromoly tig-welded stems under the Tom Ritchey name that can be found on ebay pretty reasonable. One tip on Nitto bars and stems: they use 25.4 mm, not 26.0mm.
masi61 is online now  
Old 05-17-06, 06:30 AM
  #6  
ppc
Senile Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 506
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bikes-N-Drums
I'm afraid I can't afford a new one, so I must do something to convert my bike to a back-friendly machine quickly.
I'm afraid what you need is a recumbent. You can never make a diamond-frame bike back-friendly, and especially not a road bike. You can only make it hurt less, and that's if you have a good back in the first place. If you're recovering from a back injury, I reckon you'll only make things worse no matter what you do to your roadie. If you're low on dough, you can probably pick up a good second-hand bent for less than $500, but of course it's gonna be more than what you intended. However, consider that many people with back problems have spent hundreds over time to "fix" their uprights, only to finally see the light and switch to a recumbent eventually.
ppc is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 08:22 AM
  #7  
Landgolier
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,849
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Agreed, go recumbent. You can futz with this bike if you want, but it's never going to get better than just ok. Don't forget that the pain you're feeling now is partly a sign that the only spine you've got for the rest of your life isn't getting any better.
Landgolier is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 08:42 AM
  #8  
Bikes-N-Drums
Skin-Pounder
Thread Starter
 
Bikes-N-Drums's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Clarkston (Atlanta, GA., USA)
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Perhaps a 'bent is the way to go and likely that's what I'll ultimately do. But I absolutely cannot buy another bike at this point.

In the other 'bad back' threads in which people were recommending new bars, the people seemed to be experiencing favorable results. Is it unwise to do a road bike upgrade to get me through to the point where I can get a 'bent?
Bikes-N-Drums is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 09:54 AM
  #9  
TallRider
Senior Member
 
TallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 4,454
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 128 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 10 Posts
Again, I'd recommend that you go with the Technomic stem, perhaps in a 1cm shorter extension than your current stem. This would put the bars significantly higher and significantly closer to you, so you sit up straighter, while still offering you the hand positions of a road bar. And has the minimal amount of things you'd need to change out or replace, so it's the cheapest option too.

See how this works for you, but a recumbant is a good option for you to consider for the long run.
TallRider is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 11:49 AM
  #10  
AndrewP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Montreal
Posts: 6,521

Bikes: Peugeot Hybrid, Minelli Hybrid

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I just converted my hybrid to drop bars and needed a shorter stem. My LBS didnt have much of a selection of quill stems so I bought an adjustable one. This allows plenty of adjustment for height as well as reach. It took quite a lot of adjustments to both before I got it right. I think work on your stomach muscles will do more to eliminate back pain than bike adjustment.
AndrewP is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 12:58 PM
  #11  
Bikes-N-Drums
Skin-Pounder
Thread Starter
 
Bikes-N-Drums's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Clarkston (Atlanta, GA., USA)
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by timcupery
Again, I'd recommend that you go with the Technomic stem, perhaps in a 1cm shorter extension than your current stem. This would put the bars significantly higher and significantly closer to you, so you sit up straighter, while still offering you the hand positions of a road bar. And has the minimal amount of things you'd need to change out or replace, so it's the cheapest option too.

See how this works for you, but a recumbant is a good option for you to consider for the long run.
Thank you. Yes, a 'bent will likely be forthcoming at some point, but for now I just need a tad of relief so I can last more than a half hour on the bike. I can see other's points about how the bike will never be 'back friendly', although since I can ride the hybrid upright and not have any back problems to report, I'd imagine that arranging a more upright position on the road bike should produce similar results (?). Well, that's what I'm hoping and it's about all I can afford at this point.

Although the LBS told me Techtonics were "hard to find". Probably was steering me towards buying a new bike.
Bikes-N-Drums is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 02:25 PM
  #12  
TallRider
Senior Member
 
TallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 4,454
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 128 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 10 Posts
The Nitto Technomic stem is all over the internet, usually $30-35. Your LBS was pitching you complete b.s.
The adjustable-stem route could work for you, too. Technomic means you need to re-wrap the bar tape on at least one side of hte handlebar. (But if you need longer cables and housing, you'll be doing this anyway). Note that the Technomic comes in 26.0 and 25.4mm clamp diameters - you probably need a 26.0mm.
TallRider is offline  
Old 05-17-06, 02:44 PM
  #13  
Little Darwin
The Improbable Bulk
 
Little Darwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Posts: 8,401

Bikes: Many

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
I am speaking from a non-experienced perspective (other than reading the forums), but with a more upright position, isn't it also common practice to move to a slightly wider seat for comfort? Actually I seem to have read it usually expressed in the inverse...
__________________
Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Little Darwin is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.