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Back surgery and bikes(7 posts)

Back surgery and bikestracyg
Jul 1, 2003 10:19 AM
I had back surgery two years ago on L4-L5. I have been riding a Softride for 6 years now, and it is great on the back, but harsh on the hands and feet. Now the head tube is cracked, and out of warrantee. Instead of replacing the frame, I am considering going carbon fiber, and wanted to know if anyone out there with back problems has had experience with both.
CuriousMel Erickson
Jul 1, 2003 11:11 AM
I also ride a Softride and am curious about your comment regarding the bike being "hard on the hands and feet". I have numerous bikes, everything from a steel frame and fork to an aluminum frame and fork. The Softride with a Kestrel EMS carbon fork is as comfortable on my hands and feet(?) as any bike I own. Comfort on your hands is primarily determined by the fork, tires and wheels. I assume your Softride has a carbon fork and some are stiffer than others. Choose hand comfort by choosing your fork, tires and wheels carefully (tires being the most important, wider=more comfort). Foot comfort may be somewhat related to the stiffness of the frame but most of the road shock is transmitted through the seat tube (beam) and thence your butt because most of your weight is borne there. Again, I haven't noticed any difference on foot comfort because of the Softride. Cracked head tube, how'd that happen, JRA? I feel your pain! Regarding the Softride vs. carbon. Let me know what you find out. I've also considered buying a carbon frame in addition to my Softride. Unless it breaks I won't be giving up the Softride (bad back, L5-6).
Jul 1, 2003 11:28 AM
I had surgery on L5-S1 about 5 years ago. The only problem that I have with riding is some stiffness after a hard workout, and I think that is because I pulled a muscle pretty bad this winter. I have a carbon roadbike with Al fork and a steel hardtail MTB. I also do not see the connection between your back and your hands/feet.
Jul 1, 2003 4:37 PM
Sorry. I did not mean to equate the numbness in my hands and feet with my bad back, but with the Softride frameset. The hands/feet and back issues are unrelated. However, since the road vibration transmission thru my hands and feet is my major complaint against Softride ( I still have the original Al fork), and considering the cost of frame/fork replacement, I started looking at carbon fiber as an alternative.
Your Softride frame is not the culpritMel Erickson
Jul 2, 2003 8:18 AM
Hand problems would be traced to your tires, fork and wheels. A carbon frame will not solve this problem. A carbon fork will help and larger tires will help the most. Foot problems are not likely due to frame stiffness either and it's also unlikely that a carbon frame will address this issue. Some carbon frames will be more compliant than some frames made from other materials but it's less the frame material than the frame design and the designers goals. If the goal of one particular carbon frame designer was to create a stiff crit machine then this frame would not be the frame for you. Any material can be made to ride stiff or compliant. Look at the philosophy and design goals of the builder more than the material. Check out the Rivendell site for some good discussion of frame design goals for comfort. I'm not necessarilly suggesting you buy one of their products but they are an example of a company driven by a specific philosophy that drives their designs.
re: Back surgery and bikesgtx
Jul 1, 2003 12:44 PM
have you read the book by Dr. John E. Sarno?

I haven't lived in the Bay Area for a few years, but Otis Guy in Marin was building nice custom steel softride frames. And another guy in SF named JP Morgan built his own verion (with his own type of beam). Another option is the Thudbuster suspension seatpost (use it with a compact frame).
Have had both.KG 361
Jul 1, 2003 4:53 PM
Surgery over 14 yrs ago. I ride a Look KG361 (D'oh!). I have had absolutely no problems at all with my back. That said, I've not really had any problems at all, period, with my back since the recovery from the procedure.