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Softride: All Hype or Real Deal for Bad Backs(14 posts)

Softride: All Hype or Real Deal for Bad Backspogmothoin1
Sep 2, 2002 7:00 PM
I have terrible disk problems in my lower back. Had a lower lumbar decompression on L4-5 three years ago. This year I re-injured my back on my road bike... 3 months of rehab and three cortisone shots later, I am ready to get back on a bike but not willing to take the pain and rehab again.

I have done a lot of research on the internet of different bikes that might allow me to ride pain free (Titanium...not ready for a recumbant yet).

I have come across the Softride which has a number of testimonials on their website stating how great the ride is for individuals with back problems.

Any Softride owners out there who can share their thougths on whether this is all hype or is the ride that comfortable?
re: Softride: All Hype or Real Deal for Bad BacksBirddog
Sep 2, 2002 7:37 PM
I had one for two years and although I don't have a bad back, I can say that after 100 miles on a Softride, I was able to walk erect like an ordinary human being. They definitely absorb a good deal of road shock. I would suggest going to a dealer and test riding for a few days. They are also very adjustable because of the design. Contact John Cobb at He sells a bunch of them and he could tell you more.
Have you read this book? Fixed me in two weeks after being off the bike for 2 years (and I saw all the docs, etc.) An alternative to a Softride would be a Thudbuster with a compact frame (might work with your present frame if you have enough post showing). Good luck.gtx
Sep 2, 2002 8:43 PM
weird glitch?gtx
Sep 2, 2002 8:45 PM
never had that happen before...

here are the links again
Amen to the Sarno bookmoneyman
Sep 3, 2002 7:38 AM
IT'S the Real Deal. Solved the back problem for me.

re: Softride not personallycyclopathic
Sep 2, 2002 8:58 PM
but it seems all Softriders have back problems and fall in love with bike. The only complains I've heard is that beam doesn't give as much control on descends (swings from side to side) and it is hard on knees if you have bad knees.

I would also suggest to look into suspension posts, should be cheaper then dropping 2k in new frame. Also in '01 Merlin made a Century the full suspention road bike softail with Silk suspension fork you might still find one around
Real deal in many respects!Justride
Sep 2, 2002 9:20 PM
Due to a work related accident I was unable to ride for some months. When I tried to comeback from hip and lower back injuries I could not tolerate the pounding I received on our rough AZ. roads. I was about to give up on the bike when a friend that does a lot of triathlons suggested I look into Softride frames. After some research I purchased a Softride Solo frame on a closeout sale from Colorado cyclist and built it up with components from my carbon fiber Trek. I sold my old frame to help offset the expense of the Softride.

After two short rides I realized I might be able to keep riding after all. The beam does really soak up the impacts and lessen the preasure on the pelvis and lower back. It took a while but I was able to build up my mileage and have now fully recovered.

The Softride is not for every rider and it's no longer my main ride but they are good bikes. I would work with a Softride dealer and try to get some test rides and see how it feels. You might also consider buying used. If you contact me via email we could compare sizes and I might consider renting my Softride frame to you. I would also be glad to answer any questions that I can. Good luck whatever you do!
No disrespect to others but take with a grain ..........Justride
Sep 2, 2002 9:59 PM
of salt any negative comments about Softride frames from anyone that has never owned or ridden one extensively. After 12,000+ miles on one I feel I can address the most common misconceptions.

1. You bounce! Not so on a properly setup and sized frame.

2. The beam sways from side to side! The beam on my Solo is super rigid laterally. There is no perception of swaying.

3. You loose power! On a properly setup Softride you will not loose power. If they were not good performers many professional triathletes would never go near them but they are very popular in those circles. I feel it helped me to perfect my pedal stroke.

4. They do not climb or descend well! They can be a tad heavy but my Solo never limited my ability to get up the slopes. You can sit and spin and when you stand it was super stiff and transfered the power very well. On the way down they are very stable and precise handlers. You can sit in the curves with your center of gravity low and feel very confident and sure footed.

I guess it would only be fair to mention the negatives or the reasons that I am back on a traditional frame.

1. I love the asthetics of the double diamond frame and find them far more attractive that Softride.

2. They attract a lot of attention. I am shy when on the road and reticent to answer a lot of questions about the unusual aspects of the Softride. People will notice your ride!!

3. Due to the dynamic action of the beam, positiong is trickier and some people may find they are more susceptible to knee problems.

4. I am now riding a steel frame and I love the connection to and the feel the road. The Softride is a very muted road sensation.

All in all as I stated in my first post, they are great bikes that are not for every rider but if I am ever faced with the choice of Softride or not riding it is a no brainer! Bring on the beam!
I've ridden behind beam bikes and the seat moves side to sidedzrider
Sep 3, 2002 4:00 AM
I expected they would move up and down and that was much less noticeable than the slight lateral swaying. I speculated that the lateral sway was some of what helped the riders backs by making it less necessary for the hips to move. The three that I've followed all spun more slowly than most accomplished riders, but that may say more about the riders than the bikes.
No disrespect to others but take with a grain ..........Birddog
Sep 3, 2002 8:29 AM
I agree with Justride 100%, there was no side to side sway according to my friends and I learned not to POGO in about 20 miles, They are -NOT- hard on your knees, if anything they are better. You -WILL- become a much better spinner, or you'll look like a complete fred. They are somewhat heavier, but if you are of medium or less build, look into a 650 c model, and the wheels will make up the difference. Mine was stolen, or I'd still have it. I'd buy another in a heartbeat, in fact I called about a used one just the other day. My -ONLY- complaint, was that I had an aluminum fork on mine, and I would have swapped it out for a CF one. The road buzz on my hands was the only negative.
re: Softride: All Hype or Real Deal for Bad Backsbeamer
Sep 3, 2002 5:17 AM
I have similar back problems - ruptured L5 & L4, herniated L3. Been through rehab, no cortisone shots yet. (That's next, I've been told.) I bought a Softride Solo in February 2001, and have put 4000+ miles on it since then, including 2 century rides. The Softrides are the real deal.

Find a dealer you're comfortable with, and set up a fitting and then go ride a properly fitted bike. Try to do an extended trial if possible. It takes 2-4 rides before you get smoothed out on your pedal stroke. And don't forget, Softride has the performance warranty when you purchase a bike.

I compare getting the Softride to getting my first set of eyeglasses. I didn't know what I was missing until I made the change. You owe it to yourself to check these bikes out, your back will be much happier and less sore.
re: Softride: All Hype or Real Deal for Bad Backsgrandemamou
Sep 3, 2002 5:38 AM
I have a friend that crashed and screwed up his back pretty bad. He has been on a Softride for three years and has never been happier. It allowed him to keep riding. I don't know if it would do the same for you but if I was in your position I would give it a shot.

There are quite a few people down here who have them. The only knock is that several have had the pivot break sme more than once. Not catastrophic, they just sank down. The good news is that they were all replaced under warranty.
It's the real deal.Mel Erickson
Sep 3, 2002 6:11 AM
I have had a herniated L5 for 10 years and started riding a Softride Solo four years ago. It's allowed me to continue riding where other bikes really killed me. I'm not doubting peoples observations on the beam bouncing or swaying but I can testify that a properly set up Softride does neither. Proper pedaling and setup will definitely eliminate the pogo effect some experience and I've never had a sway. Because of these reports I've had buddies follow me and observe any motion. They tell me there's no bounce unless I hit a bump and no sway at all. It took me one ride to get used to the beam, but I've always concentrated on pedaling circles, even on my conventional frames. They are great bikes in the corners and are super stiff out of the saddle. My Ultegra equipped Solo comes in just under 21#. Descending feels no less secure than on my Cannondale. I highly recommend a Softride for people with bad backs due to disc problems.
re: Softridebrider
Sep 3, 2002 7:25 AM
I don't have back problems, but I've been a Softride rider for years. The complaints of downhill control problems are unfounded. In reality, the compliance of the beam makes for better control in choppy corners, as the back wheel doesn't skip nearly as much. Set-up can be more tricky, but it can be adjusted easily. The problem is that the saddle position isn't rigid, which means that the formulas that set seat height don't allow for beam compression. Not a huge deal -- just estimate it, get on and ride a bit. You'll know almost instantly if it's too high or low and can make adjustments accordingly. Once you get it, you don't need to make further adjustments.

I've never noticed the side-to-side sway, though I'm sure it happens. Never been a problem for me. And yes, some people do tend to mash a bit more than on a rigid frame, but that does indeed have more to do with the rider than the bike. I've never had a problem spinning on a Softride.