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Advice on a road bike for one with a fused disc in neck

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Advice on a road bike for one with a fused disc in neck

Old 12-25-20, 07:41 PM
  #1  
Chiucat
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Advice on a road bike for one with a fused disc in neck

A lifelong road cyclist with a fused cervical disc that resulted from a head-on collision with a car 3 years ago. I'm seeking to get a new bike and need some guidance.

EXPERIENCE. I've completed a Tour de France guided tour. Did century rides when younger; those are likely in my past. Still happy to do 30 - 50 miles on a real riding day. Was reasonably adept at hills because I live on one. Am a competent bike handler. But haven't actively biked since my injury in 2017. Bought a StumpJumper 2 years ago - thought I needed the upright riding position + shock absorption to protect my neck. But it's too big and heavy for me, dis-incentivizing me from riding much. Also discovered I dislike off-road biking.

So back to the drawing board. Discovered there are now new bike categories like endurance bikes. So I need some guidance please.

MY NEEDS.
1. More upright riding position. The neck fusion means I shouldn't stay in a prone position for long (too much stress on the neck).

2. Some shock protection. Not sure how much I really need. Hence considering Trek Domane 6.

3. Carbon or aluminum? I'm riding a StumpJumper for crying out loud. But my last bike was a carbon Specialized Ruby (the women's version of the Reubaix) and before that I had a steel frame custom bike for 20 years.

4. Hill. I live at the top of a hill (1 mile long, 10% avg grade, 14% max grade). Would like to be able to get back up it. The StumpJumper, for some reason, causes my kegs to spasm badly (wasn't a problem before the neck injury and yes, I take Gatorade, hydration and magnesium pills.) So these days I drive up and down it for my rides.

5. Road cycling, typically 30 - 45 miles/ ride. Would do more if my conditioning returns. I'm more an endurance rider than power rider. Lots of stamina but not as powerful as my hubby.

6. Would dearly love to get back to bike touring. Have done plenty of bike touring with panniers. May do so again but frankly I can afford to stay at hotels.

7. Prefer frame geometries that accommodate female body dimensions. I find I do have shorter upper torso and longer legs than typical men's proportions.

Would appreciate any insights/ advice.

Last edited by Chiucat; 12-25-20 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 12-25-20, 07:47 PM
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Tour and gravel bikes could even be more upright and offer even better shock abosrption with wider tires / compliant frame so look into those as well. Tour bikes often go with cromoly steel frame for durability and comfort.
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Old 12-25-20, 07:49 PM
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From my perspective, it seems like every time some less-extreme bike style is introduced, it slowly morphs into the same flat-back position that a road bike has. Not being up on the latest models, I don't know what would fit your bill. Sorry. Is a recumbent ruled out?
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Old 12-25-20, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
From my perspective, it seems like every time some less-extreme bike style is introduced, it slowly morphs into the same flat-back position that a road bike has. Not being up on the latest models, I don't know what would fit your bill. Sorry. Is a recumbent ruled out?
Would prefer road visibility by motorists. I find being lower on the road more worrisome. Also while I would lve to tour, 95% of my riding is for exercise and fun locally, in rolling hills conditions.
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Old 12-25-20, 08:03 PM
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I have similar issues from being hit by cars twice -- 20 years ago, breaking my neck and back; and a couple of years ago, breaking and dislocating my shoulder and aggravating the old neck injury.

No surgery. I'm reluctant to agree to surgery on my permanently damaged C1-C2. For now I'm sticking with daily physical therapy -- range of motion at a minimum, with more extensive PT at least a couple of times a week.

Usually I ride 400-600 miles a month, on conventional bikes. Not ready for a recumbent, yet.

About a month ago I resumed jogging -- verrry slowly. I wanted to address some pesky sore muscles that bike riding seemed to aggravate rather than clearing up. With walking/jogging about 20 miles a week some of that chronic soreness in my hips and lower back has cleared up. Interestingly, I'm feeling a bit less chronic neck and shoulder pain too.

I've tried comfort hybrids with slack geometry, long wheelbase and soft ride; a 1990s type MTB-lite/hybrid, rigid fork, various handlebars from flat to riser to swept; and various road bikes.

Oddly, I'm more comfortable with drop bar road bikes for longer rides. With the upright hybrids, jolts from rough roads bothered my neck more. But with my road bikes set up to suit my preferences, my head, neck and back are in better alignment and I'm more comfortable on chipseal and rougher roads.

I studied a lot of tutorials on bike fit. The best I've found is "Bike Fit Adviser" on YouTube. I also video myself on the bike, indoors and outdoors, to check my posture. It's helped me identify problem areas such as rocking side to side, causing some lower back/hip pain. I prefer the saddle a bit higher than usual, but I need to be careful to avoid rocking. That suits my aging knees better as well.

At 63 it doesn't get easier, and I don't go faster (contrary to the popular Greg LeMond quote -- I'm sure he was referring to cyclists in their primes, not us normal humans). But I'm managing to continue enjoying cycling.

Last edited by canklecat; 12-25-20 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 12-25-20, 08:04 PM
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Find a competent frame-builder and get a custom bike that correctly addresses your neck issues. Given the exhorbitant price of a lot of off-the-rack bikes, this won't be as tough a pill to swallow as it used to be.
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Old 12-25-20, 08:11 PM
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Looks at a Trek Domane+ LT, then convert it to flat bar. It is carbon so fairly compliant, flat bar will give you a more upright position and electric assist for the ride up the hill.

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...e-lt/c/B221-7/
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Old 12-25-20, 08:12 PM
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I have a Gunnar Crosshairs with a steel fork and left the steerer tube long. My stem is at the same height as the saddle.

My buddy broke his upper back years ago and got a Rivendalle Sam Hillbourne. He has a stem even or above his saddle and it works for him.

Get a steel bike with steel fork and leave the steerer tube uncut until you figure it out.


Good Luck
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Old 12-26-20, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by wvridgerider View Post
I have a Gunnar Crosshairs with a steel fork and left the steerer tube long. My stem is at the same height as the saddle.

My buddy broke his upper back years ago and got a Rivendalle Sam Hillbourne. He has a stem even or above his saddle and it works for him.

Get a steel bike with steel fork and leave the steerer tube uncut until you figure it out.


Good Luck
Thanks for this. I have heard of Rivendale. They are closed right now and out of stock but will consider them for sure.
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Old 12-26-20, 08:17 AM
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This encourages me to consider road bikes with straight handlebars. Thanks.

For neck stiffness, consider stretch exercises from Essentrics (Essentrics_dot_com). I bought Season 10 (4 CDs) and pick & choose episodes based on my body's needs. You can also just subscribe to the streaming service. These exercises are esp good for helping people age gracefully, but are also used by pro-athletes for flexibility training. They have helped me improve my posture immeasurably. Exercises are developed in consultation with PTs, physiologists, yoga pros, orthopedists, sports trainers and dancers. You can see I am a devotee.
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Old 12-26-20, 08:45 AM
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From my experience, it might not be necessary.
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Old 12-26-20, 09:56 AM
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I think a new Roubaix with Future Shock would be worth looking into, especially if the jarring from small bumps is a problem for you. I have some really lousy roads near my home and found a huge improvement with the FS as compared to my older Roubaix with Zertz inserts.

It comes with an 11-34 cassette and compact double so should be good for your hills and the geometry is fairly relaxed. I think it would be good for just about all your needs except the touring. Don't see it as something you could haul a bunch of gear with unless you used a trailer.
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Old 12-26-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chiucat View Post
Would prefer road visibility by motorists. I find being lower on the road more worrisome.
There are crank-forward bikes and taller recumbents where your head is basically the same height off the ground as on a diamond-frame road bike.


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Old 12-26-20, 10:42 AM
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I have 3 levels fused in my neck. It doesn’t like the tilt to look up from drop bars. I was riding a modded Rockhopper. Was about to hit the button on a demo Rivendell, when a Surly Cross Check came up locally. It had low straight bars I found miserable. Changed the stem and bars. Great to ride. Multiple positions available. The only thing missing is the drops, and I couldn’t use them anyway!


Last edited by gorillimo; 12-26-20 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 12-26-20, 02:39 PM
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How do you get along with your doctor? You want a sports orthopedist. That board specialty is not so much about sports. Sports orthopedists are not insured for surgery, do not do surgery. Mostly they work with physical therapists and get very involved with how and why things work or don’t work. Good ones are hard to find, same as any doctor. And the best ones do want you out there on your bike.

Custom steel frames still do the job. Lots of experience and lots of miles on all the different ways to put a bike together. Custom will use tubes way lighter than any Rivendell and you may be one of the few remaining who will want old skinny diameter tubes. Skinny tubes will not be found on anything factory. My first guess for your custom builder would be extra light frame tubes, lots and lots of fork rake, clearance for big wide tires. Even in the three years you’ve been gone tires have improved. Wide tires can be very fast. Think tires 35mm to 48Mm wide that only give up slivers of speed to traditional road tires. Light supple tires do ride softer while being fast. Increased flats are mostly theoretical, does not seem to happen for most of us using them. Ride comfort would be worth a couple flats anyway. Also try the Schwalbe Aerothane innertubes, almost as sweet riding as latex without the overheating problem. And even lighter than latex. The forums here are about the last refuge for skinny gatorhosen, look at the rest of the world.

Light tires, springy steel tubes, springy fork with lots of rake. And then lots of experiments with the perfect handlebar bend, the best tape, the sweetest saddle. Takes some time and effort and probably takes a bit of money, still massively cheaper than medical care. And more fun.
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Old 12-26-20, 03:00 PM
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Neck bike

I have a similar problem. I settled on a Cannondale FSI II mountain bike running 29 x 1 1/2 Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires. I was going to switch handlebars but am fully comfortable with what I have now. It is a light fast stiff playful bike that you can haul ass on most any road or trail. Opens up a whole new cross country world. I can still get a good aero poison when required but can slack up for off road.
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Old 12-26-20, 03:43 PM
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Op....have you looked at the Hybrid Fitness Category? Look for a flat-bar, chrome-moly frame and geared for your terrain.
Knowing you budget is a good starting point.....
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Old 12-26-20, 04:07 PM
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For shock absorption: maybe a Specialized with a Future Shock, or "fat" 45mm tires, or both. As others have mentioned, there are fatter tires that work well on roads these days (https://www.renehersecycles.com/prod...ponents/tires/). 650b wheels with fatter tires is becoming popular on the road.

For upright posture: high angle stem, and/or shallow drop handlebars.
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Old 12-26-20, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Chiucat View Post
Would prefer road visibility by motorists. I find being lower on the road more worrisome.
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
There are crank-forward bikes and taller recumbents where your head is basically the same height off the ground as on a diamond-frame road bike.
Just to add, Cruzbike, specifically markets their bikes for people with spinal fusions. They also offer a 100 mile trial, which means if you like it great, if you don't you haven't lost anything: https://cruzbike.com/pages/100-mile-trial

Our promise through the 100 Mile Trial is that you will love your Cruzbike. If you don't love yours the way we love ours after riding 100 miles in 100 days, we will pay return shipping and offer a full refund on your complete Cruzbike Q45 or S40. (For the speed fiends among us eyeing the V20, check out our Fastest Road Bike Guarantee.)
See photo below showing a comparison to a typical auto for scale (best photo I could find online). It still may not be right for you, but it seems like it could be worth considering.

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Old 12-26-20, 06:38 PM
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I also broke my neck about 7 yrs ago. Had C1 & C2 fused. But, I have no problems on the bike. Still riding my road bikes with pretty leaned in position. I don't know how I am able to do that but I am grateful. I think you will have to experiment and maybe get a bike made to your specs. This is a very individual issue..
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Old 12-26-20, 10:14 PM
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I have a similar story. My C6-7 were fused last year. I am still able to ride my drop bar gravel bike but getting into the drops and staying there is a Little difficult. Iím keeping the gravel bike for the road but an currently building my Salsa Fargo which will have flat bars- actually the Jones H, Moloko, or Kona Denham bars, havenít decided yet. I have a Jones H on my Fat Bike and like it there.


Both before and after my surgery, I discovered VIBRATION (road chatter) to be my enemy. Aluminum frames and skinny high pressure tires are a NO GO for me anymore. Sold my aluminum Trek Domane road bike which made me feel I was ringing like a bell even with its ISO speed coupler. Steel framed gravel bike with low pressure 40mm tires was a huge improvement. Got the cockpit a little higher as well than my old Trek Domane road bike. Really the Gravel bike is just a more comfortable and versitle road bike for me. Not quite as fast but Iíd rather be comfortable.

Iíve enjoyed riding gravel, dirt roads and cross country so much Iím building the Fargo for that, 29+ Tires. Iíll probably add a suspension seat post. With the flat bar, I expect it to be very a comfortable ride off-road.

Last edited by Toadmeister; 12-26-20 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 12-27-20, 02:12 AM
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Hi OP:

Why not look at a fitness bike like a Giant Fastroad, a Merida Speeder, a Trek FX, a Specialized Sirrus or something similar. Basically a flatbar roadbike.

Even with a flat bar, the position is still quite agressive. You could use an Ergotec High Charisma (https://www.ergotec.de/en/products/v...isma-31-8.html) with an Ergotec Moon Cruiser 31.8 bar (https://www.ergotec.de/en/products/l...ugel-31-8.html). With a flat bar bike, those are plug and play basically, and they give you a much more upright position.

Another option is to look for a bike like a Salsa Fargo with short reach and lots of stack. The Fargo is an MTB designed for drop bars with lots of stack and short reach to allow a rider to ride in the drops all day on dirt. If you put a Jones h loop bar on one, you get a upright position. Couple that with a thud buster seatpost (or similar seatpost with suspension) and maybe a redhshift stem with suspension, you can help your neck.
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Old 12-27-20, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45 View Post
Hi OP:

Why not look at a fitness bike like a Giant Fastroad, a Merida Speeder, a Trek FX, a Specialized Sirrus or something similar. Basically a flatbar roadbike.

Even with a flat bar, the position is still quite agressive. You could use an Ergotec High Charisma (https://www.ergotec.de/en/products/v...isma-31-8.html) with an Ergotec Moon Cruiser 31.8 bar (https://www.ergotec.de/en/products/l...ugel-31-8.html). With a flat bar bike, those are plug and play basically, and they give you a much more upright position.

Another option is to look for a bike like a Salsa Fargo with short reach and lots of stack. The Fargo is an MTB designed for drop bars with lots of stack and short reach to allow a rider to ride in the drops all day on dirt. If you put a Jones h loop bar on one, you get a upright position. Couple that with a thud buster seatpost (or similar seatpost with suspension) and maybe a redhshift stem with suspension, you can help your neck.
That's exactly what I'm doing in my post above yours!
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Old 12-27-20, 09:01 AM
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A recumbent completely cured my neck issues. It is unquestionably a viable solution to your problem. Some bents have suspension to minimize the vibration as well.

I hear you on the being seen by cars issue. I don't like riding it in urban traffic, but on any sort or trail or rural area think risk of not being seen is overstated. A flag and lights help immensely.

One of the biggest advantages of a bent is the improved rider visibility, it is like sitting in a chair, you have an excellent view of the world around you. This is really my favorite part about riding a bent. And in your case you won't be turning your head as much.

I got a used bent for $450. If you can put aside your preconceptions you might find you really enjoy one.
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Old 12-27-20, 10:33 AM
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Riding any rigid road bike gives my back problems and i can't ride more than 10 miles or so without back pain. With my Bacchetta CA 2.0 recumbent I can ride all day. Also my neck doesn't give me problems on the recumbent. I've never had a problem of a car "not" seeing me more so on the recumbent than my BMC road bike. Riding with daytime lights may help as well. I noticed we're in the same area, I'm by Berkeley.
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