Most Comfortable Bike After Back Surgery

ads77 Posts: 57
edited October 2010 in Road buying advice
Hi all,

I have recently had back surgery on a slipped disc. I wondered if anybody had any experience of biking after any back problems like this and if so, has riding something like a Roubaix helped? Carbon frame make for a less harsh ride?




  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Suggest you get a bike-fit done to determine the right size and set-up for you particularly if you have limited flexibility. Whilst carbon frames can help, wider tyres at lower pressures and a suspension seatpost will be more noticeable IMO.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • hopper1
    hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    From experience I would say it depends on the area of the operation, and type of remedial work done...
    I had a discectomy in '98, with Ti plates and screws. I woke up after the surgery busting for a pee... Did a quick jiggle in the bed to make sure there was no longer any pain, leapt out of bed and went to the en suite for a slash!
    My best mate had a similar procedure about 7 months ago, but the surgeon used a Ti mesh wrapped around his spine. He's tried to get on his bike (MTB), but the mesh cut into his flesh causing internal bleeding!
    Get on the bike you have and see how it goes. Maybe raise the stem, to lessen the strain on lower back.
    Basically, it's hit and miss at first.
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • I also had a second discectomy last week and am considering exactly the same points as yourself. Gutted that I'm going to have to stay off the bikes for a while.

    My first discectomy was on L5/S1 disc and was done in dec. 2008. After taking it easy for about 3 months, I returned to gentle road riding on a mountain bike as the riding position was a bit more back friendly! I gradually built up to being able to ride just as before.

    For example, this summer I've done all day mountain bike rides covering 40+ miles and trail centre riding as well as 100 mile road rides back on my road bike which has a carbon frame. I did not make any special changes to riding position, just made sure that the bikes were set up properly in the usual way. I must say that my lower back would be quite stiff on the day after long rides but it seemed to be no more so than friends of mine with no previous back history.

    Everything however went horribly wrong about 3 weeks ago which has resulted in me having the same operation on the L4/L5 disc. I was worried that I had created the second disc problem by spending too much time biking but I made sure that I asked the surgeon and the physio's if there was a link. Thankfully all said that as long as your sensible then biking should be absolutely fine.

    I'd suggest you make sure you have the bike set up correctly for you and that it is as comfortable as possible. I wouldn't avoid a carbon frame for example either. Safe to say you want to make sure that you do not stay in the same position on the bike for hours on end and any time on the road bike in a TT position should certainly be avoided.

    Obviously we are all different and the operations could be completely different but I hope this gives you some confidence that all should be fine in time and good luck!
  • northpole
    northpole Posts: 1,499
    I didn't have surgery but had the best part of a year with a nightmare of back problems and no cycling.
    Cycling was recommended to me by my osteopath and I got a Roubaix Pro (I think all of the Roubaix's share the same geometry). Definitely provides a more upright riding position than my old Condor - several people have commented on this - mostly as they tuck in behind me!!
    I think these types of frame geometry are a big help. I also think that the wheels and tyres can make a big difference to road buzz - something I know I was very sensitive to particularly during recovery. I have recently got a set of r-sys wheels and these with vittoria corsa's have added another element of comfort. Going to try Pave's next as the corsa's cut up a bit easy for my liking, but that may be part of the price for comfort?
    Good luck in your search and make sure you have Dr's green light before getting back in the saddle. Also consider pilates to strengthen core and take strain off your back.

  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Bear in mind that Secteurs have the same geo as Roubaix if you are on a slightly smaller budget. You can get a 2010 comp version with zertz inserts (which are supposed to absorb road buzz) and a carbon frame for under a grand.
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I had back surgery a few years ago for a severely ruptured disc and had to be off the bike for over a year - no fun. Thankfully the surgeon was great and I've not been troubled at bit since and I ride quite a bit, about 8,000 to 10,000 miles a year. I do not think it is the bike itself that will make that much of a difference but rather the way you have it set up. Get yourself properly fitted; it really will help. A change of handlebars can help too. I was recommended to use flats or risers, but I just couldn't stomach that change and instead got myself some randonneuring style drops, ones that give you a slightly more upright position, but not outrageously so. Nitto make some great bars along those lines, the most comfortable - and stylish - being the Nitto Noodle. Lovely bars, high quality, great finish, and very, very comfortable. Not so easy to find in the UK but an on-line shop called HubJub sells them - it's where I got mine. I'd highly recommend the Nitto Noodle or some similar type bar.
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Even changing your stem can make a big difference, but I'd strongly recommend a bike fitting by a professional. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • ads77
    ads77 Posts: 57
    Many thanks to all for the info!

    Including the three wheelers......they do look damn comfy.......reckon i could get a flag and wing mirrors???

  • ads77
    ads77 Posts: 57
    Went for one of these in the end.........