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Has anyone tried using a recumbent bike to help alleviate back pain experienced both during and after a bike ride?  Would love to hear pros and cons from anyone who has tried both.  

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Before moving to a recumbent I suggest having your bike fit properly checked by a qualified shop.

Not just every shop and/or sales person is going to be able to fit you properly; make sure they talk to you about the amount and type of riding that you do as well as get very specific details on your discomfort.

I had a similar experience with my ride.
I thought getting maximum extension was the best way to get the most power!
Was I ever wrong! Went to my LBS and told them about the same discomfort and pain.
Pretty much the same as you are describing. They had me get on my bike and pedal backwards.
They nailed what was wrong in less than 5 minutes.
I had my seat adjusted to high. So it was lowered all of 1".
Seat was also too narrow. Had to wait for a replacement since they were out of stock.
Those 2 items alone were what gave me back and butt pain.
Granted this is not a recumbent bike. So YMMV.

Does anyone have recommendations for shops that do great fittings? I want to do one. My bikes comfy already but I wonder if there's anything that could be better.

I am of the conviction that recumbents are actually horrible for your lower back.

All the benefits of sitting in a desk chair for 10 hours a day, now available on your weekend ride!

Best thing for my back has been learning to ride out of the saddle more than in it (although not so great for the wrists over time...)

I think the first step for the OP is to get a good fit and rule out any medical or biomechanical causes for her discomfort on an upright bike. Once that analysis is completed, and before she tries a recumbent, she needs to ask herself how she'll look with a beard. 

+1 for beard respect



Kevin C said:

I think the first step for the OP is to get a good fit and rule out any medical or biomechanical causes for her discomfort on an upright bike. Once that analysis is completed, and before she tries a recumbent, she needs to ask herself how she'll look with a beard. 

Echo,

You might could give butterfly/trekking bars a try - three or four hand positions, you can swap all your controls over and at most you might also need a longer stem.

echo said:

I agree with what everyone else has said -- make sure that you are properly fit to your bike. I am curious, though, where are you experiencing pain? That could also be helpful in determining what is wrong (although, sometimes it's not that straightforward). 

Also, how long have you had the bike? How many different set ups have you tried? There are SO MANY things you can try first. Your back pain could be caused by any combination of poor fit or needing a different product size/shape: saddle, stem height, handlebar shape, handlebar width, pedals, etc.

Last year, I had upper back and shoulder pain. I never felt comfortable with a road set up. I felt like I was reaching too far and that my handlebars were too wide this made me...I dunno how to explain, but I was kind of popping out my shoulder. Too much pressure on my back. I rode like that all summer long and ended up having to go physical therapy for it! Yikes! 

So, this year, I had my road bike converted to a hybrid--flat bars and grip shifters. It's been pretty good so far, but I still get the pain sometimes (just to a smaller degree). I'm about to change from grip shifters to something like my mountain bike has. There will be paddles for shifting again, and the grips are going to have a little pad to rest my palm on. Still flat bars. 

I don't think I'll ever quite get it right on my road (hybrid?) bike. Because of the frame size and/or shape all of the handlebars that can fit are just too wide and short.  But...I miss having multiple hand positions. So, I'm saving up now to get something like a Salsa touring bike.

I don't know about recumbent bikes, but I love my butterfly bars. I found them with help in the bins at working bikes. My profile pic is of them. I went to them because I was having a cervical slip disc issue. I was told by PT to do a bunch of stuff, but the three most drastic improvements came from the bars, wearing gloves, and switching out the back pack for panniers. I have not been professionally fitted, but I definitely would agree that fit is extremely important. As always, the caveat, this worked for me ymmv.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=trekking+handlebar&_osacat...

I'd be surprised if you could still find these in a shop-- they were kind of a 'thing' in the early 90s-- hopefully someone here can ID an opportunity to get your hands on some.

echo said:

YES! I've been looking for them--they sound like exactly what I need.

Do you know where can I find them? I'd love to try some in person!

Thanks!

Great ideas from everyone -- thanks so much!



echo said:

YES! I've been looking for them--they sound like exactly what I need.

Do you know where can I find them? I'd love to try some in person!

David P. said:

Echo,

You might could give butterfly/trekking bars a try - three or four hand positions, you can swap all your controls over and at most you might also need a longer stem.

echo said:

I agree with what everyone else has said -- make sure that you are properly fit to your bike. I am curious, though, where are you experiencing pain? That could also be helpful in determining what is wrong (although, sometimes it's not that straightforward). 

Also, how long have you had the bike? How many different set ups have you tried? There are SO MANY things you can try first. Your back pain could be caused by any combination of poor fit or needing a different product size/shape: saddle, stem height, handlebar shape, handlebar width, pedals, etc.

Last year, I had upper back and shoulder pain. I never felt comfortable with a road set up. I felt like I was reaching too far and that my handlebars were too wide this made me...I dunno how to explain, but I was kind of popping out my shoulder. Too much pressure on my back. I rode like that all summer long and ended up having to go physical therapy for it! Yikes! 

So, this year, I had my road bike converted to a hybrid--flat bars and grip shifters. It's been pretty good so far, but I still get the pain sometimes (just to a smaller degree). I'm about to change from grip shifters to something like my mountain bike has. There will be paddles for shifting again, and the grips are going to have a little pad to rest my palm on. Still flat bars. 

I don't think I'll ever quite get it right on my road (hybrid?) bike. Because of the frame size and/or shape all of the handlebars that can fit are just too wide and short.  But...I miss having multiple hand positions. So, I'm saving up now to get something like a Salsa touring bike.

Ugh. Good riddance, I say. Maybe mustache handlebars would be a suitable alternative, and should be readily available. Google for that term. Lots of choices.

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