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  1. #1
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    SS Ridgid and Sensitive Back

    Iím thinking of trying the SS rigid 29íer revolution (except for the front). For several reasons, 1. I need a banger bike because our weather sucks lately and I donít want to trash my high-end bonger. Two, I want to see what the hype is all about. Three, it would be nice to ride with no noise, Four, to increase my conditioning, and lastly, to smoke some FS 27 spd riders like I got smoked last week from a SS rider.

    Anyway, here is one of several questions. Iím 48 yrs old, started riding 2 years ago, but my back has said it wants me to stay with a FS bike. I do a lot of conditioning for it, you name it, Iíve tried it. After about 8mi of intensive, fast riding, I need to get off and stretch, then Iím good again for another 8 miles. How will riding a hard tail and out of the seat power bursts effect my back? It seems that intense climbing makes it bother me the most.

    Does anyone have any experience with SS fixies and sensitive backs?

    David

  2. #2
    V-Shaped Rut
    Reputation: big_slacker's Avatar
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    I've got a "bad back" and ride a 26er. I've done it HT and fully rigid. Its all about technique. When you know your rear is gonna go over a bump you get your butt off the seat a bit so your spine doesn't get a jolt.

    When climbing you need to stand up and lean back as much as possible. Especially with a bad back you should focus on shifting your weight to the pedal you're stomping on. You should NOT try to do it by yanking on the bars because it will aggravate your back. Swept or "moustache" bars might help get you more upright as well.

    You should NOT try to stay seated and grind, even on hills that might be fairly easy. This kills the low back, especially if you try to lean forward like you do on a geared bike.

    Finally, when you get a spot to coast, stand up and stretch your back. Helps keep it loose. I do this a lot.

    Hope this helps. I think you'll be fine, you just have to listen to your body.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Man
    Iím thinking of trying the SS rigid 29íer revolution (except for the front). For several reasons, 1. I need a banger bike because our weather sucks lately and I donít want to trash my high-end bonger. Two, I want to see what the hype is all about. Three, it would be nice to ride with no noise, Four, to increase my conditioning, and lastly, to smoke some FS 27 spd riders like I got smoked last week from a SS rider.

    Anyway, here is one of several questions. Iím 48 yrs old, started riding 2 years ago, but my back has said it wants me to stay with a FS bike. I do a lot of conditioning for it, you name it, Iíve tried it. After about 8mi of intensive, fast riding, I need to get off and stretch, then Iím good again for another 8 miles. How will riding a hard tail and out of the seat power bursts effect my back? It seems that intense climbing makes it bother me the most.

    Does anyone have any experience with SS fixies and sensitive backs?

    David

  3. #3
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    I have a 5" travel 26" geared FS and a 29" HT single speed with front suspension. I don't have back pain ever on the 26", but I do after long or intense rides on the single speed. Maybe it's technique, maybe it's the lack of rear suspension, maybe it's the added stress of single speeding, maybe it's a little bit of all of that. But it does cause some back discomfort. However, it is not enough to keep me off the bike and nothing that persists long after the ride.

    EDIT: always lower back
    Last edited by ewarnerusa; 08-21-2009 at 09:40 AM.

  4. #4
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    I have a compression injury in my lower spine but can still ride my rigid 29er for about 1.5-2 hours before I start to notice any discomfort.

    This is at a high rate, or in race conditions and I think it's all to do with staying loose and being comfortable with the bike.

    It's invariably a mistake on my part after a long ride resulting in a missed line and a large jolt thru the bike into my back which causes the pain to start.

    I also have a FS 26er which I use for 3 hour plus rides. I might be alright on the 29er but have this fear of being stuck a long way from home with back pain.

    Finally, I have a very good physio who treats my injury and is working on repairing the damage. He listens to my ride reports and treats accordingly, having someone I trust telling me to either push harder or ease up is helping me find new boundries for how far I feel it is comfortable to ride.

    If he said "No more rigid 29er" I would take his advice (reluctantly). I'm hitting 40 next week and don't want to be crippled when I'm 50 because I didn't listen him.

  5. #5
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    Most of the time you are standing on a SS, at least until you get too tired, so any back pain I have had is due to the high pedal force rather than the ridgid frame.
    I got a Thud Buster short travel post to take the edge off for when I start getting tired.

  6. #6
    Life is Go0d!
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    Pick your lines and stay off the seat, you will be fine. It will take a while to learn how to ride again. Sitting, and spinning, is more than likely programmed into your style. It takes a bit to get away from that.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  7. #7
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    +1 for the above posts

    also if you aren't 'injured' working on your core should help dramatically....IMHO
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
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  8. #8
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    When I first started riding my hard tail single speed it murdered my lower back. But little by little you learn that riding ss you spend the majority of your time out of the saddle, and the more you ride the less your back hurts. Now I ride with no pain what so ever, and I am definitely a stronger rider. Switching to ss was the best thing I ever did.

  9. #9
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    Agree on the above too. I do not have a "bad back" but it can tighten up on me at times. What helps on my rigid 29er

    1) you do ride out of the saddle a lot. You will "hover" over the seat a lot.
    2) up hills stand and try to stay relaxed
    3) down hills push your pelvic area forward when you can to stretch it a bit - helps
    4) consider lowering the air pressure so you're not bounced around as much
    5) consider a suspension seatpost - I just purchased a Cane Creek Thudbuster to take the edge off - I ride a "rooty" trail

    You may find you have less problems b/c you become a better rider and you strengthen you back.

    Good luck...

  10. #10
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    riding a hardtail for me actually improves my bad back. It strengthens it since i need to hover off the saddle quite often for bumps. I notice i can stand for much longer periods of time without pain and i sleep better when i ride a hardtail. Granted, this is probably not everyone's case as a bad back can be a number of things. Also, i'm only 28.

  11. #11
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    Two suggestions for lower back, mostly posture related:

    When you are standing pedaling, don't "twist" your upper body, try to keep your upper body quieter and push down on the pedals from a solid core, but with the posture described below.

    Second, when both pedaling seated and standing, set your back slightly forward at the hips/pelvis - DO NOT ROUND out your lower back. That's what I see most cyclists doing (rounding lower back) - then no wonder their lower back hurts.

    If you weight lift, think about proper hip/lower back form for squats and do the same on the bike. Improper lower back posture dramatically increases the load to the lumbar. Start with good posture, even when sitting and off the bike to mitigate load stress.

  12. #12
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    SS and rigid will murder your back until you figure it out. My 29er gives my friend migraines and when I ride my 650b rigid I don't have any problems at all. You'll learn to rely on your body to smooth the trail, not the bike. After a long ride (and I have back problems) I feel great. Probably not really the case when I first started riding, so, unfortunately there is a learning curve.

    If you do have long climbs, consider raising your handlebar height so you can stretch out as you climb, rather than hunching over the bars.

    Everyone else had fantastic advice. Kinda wondering if there is a physical therapist in the forums with some advise.

  13. #13
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    What everyone else said, plus:

    I've found that on a fully suspended bike, my body and the main triangle of the bike work as one - the suspension handles the inconsistencies of the trail. On a rigid bike (SS or not), your upper body has to be much more independent of the bike. You sort of learn to keep your body stable, while your arms and legs move with the bike under you. That's all fine and dandy until you get tired, and sloppy riding on a rigid bike definitely takes its toll on your body.

    My advice is to start with shorter rides on the rigid bike, to learn the right technique without over-tiring yourself and getting frustrated. I also recommend committing to the SS rigid for long periods of time. This may be just me, but I have a difficult time switching between fully rigid and fully suspended bikes. A lot of riding for me is subconscious muscle memory, and when I switch back and forth between the two styles I get all F'ed up and ride both bikes like crap.

    My last piece of advice is this: If one of your goals in riding SS is to reach some mythical level of riding prowess as to be able to pass geared riders, just know that as soon as you pass a geared rider on your hardtail SS, a fully rigid SS rider will pass you. Then you'll go fully rigid and start passing people... And then there will be a unicyclist who toasts your ass on trail. So then you'll get a unicycle, and be super impressive.... And you'll start to forget why riding was so fun in the first place. My guess is you didn't start riding to prove your worth to strangers as you ride by them. It's all about the ride, and the simplicity of a single speed bicycle is supposed to help us remember that
    RIDE HARD, live easy.

  14. #14
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    Surprised only one mention of the Thudbuster seatpost. I would recommend the LT version. It allows sitting and pedalling over rougher terrain, and is a genuinely GOOD thing for the lower back. Some of the benefits of FS, none of the drawbacks. Best thing I ever put on my bike.

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