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Old 02-10-2004, 02:39 PM   #1
pplassm
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

I have a KTM620RXC with 17" wheels. There's plenty of suspension travel to allow for a smooth soft ride, if you like it that way. It might be difficult to get a low enough bar to lean you over far enough, though. A dragbar might be the answer. I am using a KTM spec Renthal Fatbar with late model SX bend, and, while it's farther forward than the CR bend I had, it's not sportbike.



I also have a YZF1000. The suspension is very adjustable, and can be set up really soft. I think if you stay away from late model extreme sportbikes, and try say, maybe a YZF600R (Still available new!), you may be pleasantly surprised.



Of course, all of this points to one of the newer standards, ZRX1200, Bandit 1200, FZ-1, all with adjustable suspension. My brother's B1200 is set up very soft, and it might be the ticket!
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:03 PM   #2
maccasmark
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

You should probably consider buying a back protector that has a built-in kidney belt.
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Old 02-10-2004, 04:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

Consider bikes that offers many after-market upgrades. If you find after a couple hours of riding that you want different bars or a seat, you can always buy something without buying a whole new bike.



Look at companies like Corbin seats and Helibars. You'll find that they specialize in proper ergonimic fit.
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Old 02-10-2004, 06:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

GURNEY GATOR!



xr600 power and refinement for only 30 grand. And it's ugly too!
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Old 02-10-2004, 07:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

A bit pricy...but a BMW R1150RS has all the right qualities to baby your back. It even goes onto the centerstand more easily than anything I've ever ridden.



A few years ago Peter Egan wrote a column about leaving on a tour from Wisconsin to Oregon. Started on a Road King with aftermarket bars. He got a couple of hours from town and hurt his lower back so badly he had to turn back. Back home he couldn't get comfortable anywhere...not standing, not lying down, not sitting in an easy chair. Then he went out to the garage and sat on his BMW. If I recall correctly, it was an early 80's R100RS. It felt so good he repacked his stuff from the Harley to the BMW and left for Oregon. By the time he reached the Pacific his back was almost completely better. After a short stay in Oregon he and his wife, who had joined him there, rode down the coast to Southern Calif for a wedding. From there Egan rode back to Wisconsin.



Another bike I can vouch for as easy on the lower back was mentioned above...the FZ1. The fully adjustable suspension (front and rear) is on the soft side of sport to begin with and can be set softer. It also goes onto the centerstand fairly easily. The stock bars are somewhat high, but are a long enough reach from the seat to give a degree of forward lean. If you want more lean, you can switch to the drag style titanium bars or keep the stock bars and switch to the lower bar mounts (probably the best bet). Both are available from Yamaha. Its a terrific bike...and $7K less than the BMW.



Or get both.
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Old 02-10-2004, 08:37 PM   #6
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Default We just took delivery...

...on the new Big Dog Ridgeback for test and review. You can scratch that one off your list!
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Old 02-10-2004, 11:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

I remember that column of Egan's, too, and agreed with it both then and now. I've had about six or seven BMWs over the last 30 years, and they are far and away the best for rider ergonomics. The old R100RS or R80 are the best of the bunch, even better than the new R11 series - but you'll have to leave it on the propstand because the centrestand will give you back problems all over again. In that respect, at least, the R11s are a real improvement.
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Old 02-11-2004, 12:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Help -- good bike for bad back?

I've been nursing a bulging/slightly ruptured disk in my lower back for nearly 20 years, putting off the surgery as long as possible. What I've found is, each person's situation is unique, unlike anyone else's. Consult with your doctor to determine if your particular case points to a leaned over riding position (e.g. sport-tourer) or a more upright posture. In my case I have found the upright posture to work better for longer stretches in the saddle. That said, I found the best piece of equipment to be an aftermarket seat with a good, tall, adjustable back support. You may have to experiment a bit, but if it gets you back on the bike it will be worth it. Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2004, 01:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: We just took delivery...

Sounds awful close to a Spagthorpe Basengi!
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Old 02-11-2004, 02:01 AM   #10
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Default Good bike for bad back?

Everybody's situation is unique. That said, I think that your solution would be in a standard or in a sport tourer.

You should probably go to a dealership and site on the bike in a riding potition for at least ten minutes, which will require them to put the bike up on the centerstand or on a rear stand. Then mentally try to figure in what the wind pressure will do.



Cruisers absolutely kill my back, so I stay away from them.



Sport-tourers - For one up, the S-T style bike that I really like is the Yamaha YZF600R. For two up, the VFR. Putting a tankbag on the bike and keeping it loaded with those odds and ends you always need, like a rainsuit, gives you a place to rest your stomach and keeps the strain off of your back. The VFR also has great aftermarket support in different bars, etc. (Heli's kit is an easy install.) The Suzuki Katana is last generation technology, but a nice ST bike as well. There's many other choices in this category, but these are my choice for reducing back strain.



If a standard works better for you, the VStroms, either size, give an upright riding position, as do the SV650 and the Moto-Guzzi Breva. You'll probably want to add a largish windshield to either of these.



Oddly a bike that also babies my back is the Ducati 800 Sport. That oddly-shaped tank can really take weight off of your back, though you may get a little shoulder strain. The SV650S has a similar position.



But I think the most important thing is to go sit on the bike, upright, with feet on the pegs and see how it fits. Give yourself some time in the saddle.



Francis



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