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Old 02-11-2004, 03:12 PM   #31
MattTinCA
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

Best bike for my back that I've ever owned (out of more than 20): believe it or not, a Buell S3T. It felt like it was designed specifically for me.



The second best is my current ride, a Yamaha FJR, but only after I added some handlebar risers that put the bars up and back about an inch.



Another option is something like a Sportster, which you can modify into pretty much anything you want -- from hunched-over cafe' to laid-back chopper. I have one of those, in an in-between, naked-bike-standard configuration with a Corbin seat, and have traveled all over the West on it, including a 1,000-mile day.



Bottom line is that what's good for me may not be good for you. If you find something that's close but not quite, you can ususally adjust things with a new seat, new handlebar/clip-ons, or new peg locations. I've even seen some infinitely adjustable clip-ons that you can change from crotch-rocket low to touring sit-up-and-beg position in a matter of minutes.



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Old 02-11-2004, 04:55 PM   #32
sidefx996
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

The Peten Egan article was in the Dec 2000 issue of Cycle World (pg 14) and was a fantastic article as are all of Egan's "Leanings." The bike is an '84 BMW R100RS which at the time had 97k miles on it and in later articles has since passed 100k. This goes for many of the BMWs I see in the trader which typically have much higher mileage on them than any other bikes do. Now I haven't owned one but this probably shows that they are both reliable and comfortable judging by the high mileage they typically rack up. As far as something newer that's fast and comfortable a barely used 1200 Bandit seems to be the best bang for the buck, down here in Florida I see them in the trader with like 1k miles on them for $4000-$4500 all the time. A few miles more will get you an even better deal and these bikes are basically bulletproof anyway. Best of luck in your search!
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Old 02-11-2004, 08:07 PM   #33
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

That describes me. I had a Ducati ST4 that was a fabulous bike, but after the first half-hour (longer, you'll note, than your typical road test), it killed me, except in the twisties when I was moving around. I traded it in on a V-Strom and I've been a very happy camper. Great motor, with character, pretty good seat, nice upright position (which works well with my own two herniated lumbar-sacral discs), great handling, fairly cushy suspension. It's few faults are fairly easily dealt with. See the FAQ at for more than you could possibly want to know.
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:57 AM   #34
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

I'll have to stick my neck out and - agree with Peter Egan. I had a herniated disc a few yrs ago - lucky for me I already had a BMW airhead....



As for riding position, only you can answer that one by trial and error.



But my advice - having also been there and done that is - think light! The LAST thing you need is to get yourself in a situation where you need to horse around a very heavy bike - otherwise I'd also lean towards a Wing....



Man, this is a tough one - good luck....your success will hinge on your ability to match the bikes tradeoff's with those put upon you by your back problems.



If you do go with and Airhead RS..know this: later is better and 93 is as late as you can go. High miles are not a problem. Go to the Airheads homepage and read up on the tech pg for common problems - don't get alarmed when you read about splines, Valeo starters, etc...remember, these guys ride the whee out of those fine, old bikes.
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:59 AM   #35
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

oops..having a "junior-senior" moment.

for all things airhead - ie type 247 bmw's...1970 - 1995 models.
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Old 02-12-2004, 03:00 AM   #36
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

now this is frustrating...I hit "OK" and something I typed disappeared into the ether. again i try..www.airheads.org
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Old 02-12-2004, 03:56 AM   #37
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

Try a KLR650. I too have a bad back and the KLR used to make me feel better than I did just sitting around the house. It's a bit lighter than street standards too. It has a high seat, (36 inches off the ground I believe) so getting on and off might be a challenge. If so, consider lowering links. I also love my SR500 with superbike bars. Perfect for my back, plus I get a massage as I ride. Most BMWs I've ridden bothered my back between the shoulder blades but were great for the lower back. My ST1100 is good for the back but it will kill you if you try to put it on its center stand. It too is a bit harsh on the shoulder blade area and the heli-bar cure is just too ugly for my tastes. Good luck and don't give up. There is a bike for you out there.
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Old 02-12-2004, 08:35 AM   #38
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

I have had a bad back since I was 17. My thoughts depending on your height would be. Honda VFR, Ducati ST series, Triumph Sprint ST if you can comfortably fold your legs onto the pegs. At 6'5" the flexablity issue will pull at my lower back muscles causing alignment issues.So its stretching exercises or something more relaxed in the leg department. I have found that the BMW 1150R and the Triumph Thindrbird Sport are near perfect. THe BMWs vary from year to year but the sport has remained constant in its fit. Try one if you get a chance.
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Old 02-12-2004, 11:24 AM   #39
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Default Lot of people with bad backs out there!

Get better!
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:33 PM   #40
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

You might want to talk to some suspension guys, eg Max at Traxxion. Most sport-bike suspension comes stock with bad valving that is more about creating the impression of firmness than actually delivering a well-damped ride. In particular they typically lock up on big bumps due to restrictive ports in the shock piston.



So it may well be possible to re-valve a sports-bike shock to apply a lot less force to your back. Or of course you could spring for a new shock...



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