Full sus / hardtail ?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Full sus / hardtail ?

    Hi,

    Im currently riding a hardtail. Love it alot. However, recently got some back problems, slipped disc. Thus would like to ask anyone here if a full sus might be better for the back in future ? Lesser bending of back and lesser shock impact on back .. etc .. anyone knoes ? I also intend to get shorter stem, ard 60-70m stems to replace my current 100mm and change to riser bar. Are these actions recommended ? or are there any other ways i can improve ??? Thanks !!!

    btw, doc did mentioned to mi i can resume my normal routine in future. i dun wanna quit biking !

  2. #2
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    Anything to get into an upright riding position will probably help. The FS bikes do tend to be a little bit more upright than a lot of the hardtails. However riding trails and particularly going up and down grades is going to put pressure on your back. You might consider also going to a cross type bike with an upright riding position and restrict your riding to fire roads and stuff that isnt steep while your back recovers.

  3. #3
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    I've been around this block plenty. I've ridden two different full sus bikes and three different hardtails since my back problems started more than 15 years ago (bulging disc, arthritis). I'm currently riding a hardtail and my Giant XTC NRS is hanging in the garage. I plan on building a new hardtail this winter. I don't think full sus vs. hardtail is the issue. The issue is getting your back into good shape. Ride the type of bike that suits your type of riding the best. If you want you can soften a hardtail a bit with a suspension seatpost. However, don't expect a big difference for your back with a full sus. Even with full suspension your back will take plenty of shock while riding. It's not just the shock either. You make a lot of twists and turns while riding. You move back and forth. You've got the best shock absorbers made attached to your hips.

    Strengthen your core, especially your stomach muscles. Stay flexible. Keep the swelling down with judicial use of nsaids. This will gain you much more and cost much less than a new full sus bike.

    If the type of riding you do would benefit from full sus then, by all means, buy one. But I think you'd be riding one now if that was the case.

  4. #4
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    yeahz .. i wish to try some simplae trail and those trail tracks . thus i tihnk full sus might be a better idea for my condition too. i have ordered a riser bar and reduce my stem from 100 - 70 mm ..and a riser bar hopefully that would keep mi in a more upright position. any other way i can raise ? my steerer onli 170mm

    btw, anyone here using bmc trail fox 1.0 ??? is it compatible with 100mm travel fork ???
    thanks guys !

  5. #5
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    Stick in there, Meloh is right. I fractured my lowest vertebrae which led to bad spondylitis and after I thought it couldn't get worse I herniated another disk. My could have been surgeon scared me into not doing anything for a year and it became much worse. Here's what I've learned over the past five years with it: buy a cheap recliner from Costco and when you read or something use that keep off computer chairs as much as you can, go to a GOOD physical Therapist and ask for some stretches and core strengthening exercises; you only need a few meeting's it's worth the price, and then just slowly implement it and riding and walking all around. I had all types of terrible pain and numbness in my legs for a couple years it was extremely discouraging for being only 20, but now I have none and I can rip the trails with no problem, play hockey and so on. The stronger your back gets the more it will coupe with anything and overtime it will compensate, and make sure you always keep your weight ideal. If you get discouraged ask around you'll be surprised how many people have back injuries that you wouldn't have expected it from, good luck.

  6. #6
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    My first post on MTBR!

    I've gone back and forth over the last several years between full suspension and hardtails. Granted all the suggestions above are valid and it is important to keep your back and your core in good condition. In addition to biking a couple days a week, I do yoga twice a week and Pilates once week, but biking is tough on a bad back.

    For me, it does make a difference full suspension vs hardtail. I've been riding an Air Nine Hardtail rocketship for the last year. I love the bike and I can hang with my my stronger friends on the uphills, but my back is killing me. It's actually not the pounding of the big rocks that bothers me; it's the constant vibration of the smaller ones that seems to have negative effects on my back.

    I've been demoing a number of full suspension bikes and even with the bad fit of a demo bike my back is much better on the full suspension. I'll be getting a new full suspension bike in the next couple months and the 100% of the reason is too save my back.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by couloir8
    My first post on MTBR!

    I've gone back and forth over the last several years between full suspension and hardtails. Granted all the suggestions above are valid and it is important to keep your back and your core in good condition. In addition to biking a couple days a week, I do yoga twice a week and Pilates once week, but biking is tough on a bad back.

    For me, it does make a difference full suspension vs hardtail. I've been riding an Air Nine Hardtail rocketship for the last year. I love the bike and I can hang with my my stronger friends on the uphills, but my back is killing me. It's actually not the pounding of the big rocks that bothers me; it's the constant vibration of the smaller ones that seems to have negative effects on my back.

    I've been demoing a number of full suspension bikes and even with the bad fit of a demo bike my back is much better on the full suspension. I'll be getting a new full suspension bike in the next couple months and the 100% of the reason is too save my back.

    Good luck!

    yeah i do agree with ya. I recently got myself a full sus bike. It really helps alot. Many of the impact i used to face has been greatly reduced. In order to achieve upright position, I gotten myself a riser bar and installed 30mm spacers below my stem. My fork has also been changed to a 120mm to complement my rear shock and thus front elevated. Currently, my handlebar is slightly above saddle. It is jus nice for me as the weight distribution is pretty even on my back and arms and i feel very comfy on my bike. The only setback .... lower speed compared to my hardtail

  8. #8
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    I just took an urban night ride on my full suspension bike and boy was I surprised. I usually ride my carbon hardtail or my aluminum 29er hardtail for about 20-30 miles. For some reason I decided to take out my Dahon Fuego and give it a shot. Wow what an experience.

    First of all landing on a full suspension is far more comfortable than even my carbon hardtail, which is noticably softer than the aluminum 29er. If you're only going to do a few jumps it's one thing but if you want to jump more often this is a substantial advantage.


    Another thing that I didn't expect was the manuverability. I usually enjoy barreling down sidewalks at night at high speeds and couldn't believe how manuverable my full suspension bike felt compared to my carbon hardtail. Having that rear shock really allows you to manuver faster and with much more confidence.

    Of course the climbing was quite intense, but not that much more difficult than the hardtail.

  9. #9
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    I don't know if I have a slipped disc, but I get insane mid back pain when I hunch my back, an example would be at the computer. Ive learned that I just need to keep good posture to prevent back pain.

    While this is not the same problem as you have. I wanted to suggest to you what I did. Go out and try all the bikes you can, see if the LBS will let you rent the bike for a few hours(some do). If they wont let you rent then try riding them for as long as you can on location. Keep doing so until you find a bike that doesn't hurt your back.

    All companies have different frame geometry, so you need to try different bikes. I tried GT, Trek,Gary Fisher, Giant, Specialized and in the end all othe frames caused me back pain except Specialized so that's what I bought.


    Focus on the Frame, dont focus on components.
    Last edited by BeaverTail; 11-19-2009 at 08:08 PM.

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