My back!! Hardtails vs FS….

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  • My back!! Hardtails vs FS….
  • Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    You normally have all the suspension you need in your legs on a HT but when your sat down through stuff you can still take a beating. The fact the bike is too small sets off more alarm bells though as you may be in a bad position which doesn’t help.

    First rule of back issues is to get it diagnosed properly the internet will tell you everything from a broken spine, not having enough custard as a kid to MTFU.

    After that there is some difference between Steel and Alu HT’s with the steel ones feeling a bit softer on the trail compared to some harsher characteristics on Alu.

    Further down the line a FS does smooth things out so could well help if it’s related to being bounced around, they also cost more 🙂

    occamsrazor
    Member

    Yes, good call on the size/position, the too-small size certainly doesn’t help. I’m in Africa so no LBS for advice, hence the internet questions.

    Current bike is 19″ aluminium 26er with 1.95″ tyres and 100mm Suntour XCR shocks. If I move to a 22″ steel 29er with say 2.3/2.4″ tyres and a better fork, I’m assuming that should make for a much better ride, yes?

    PS – I DID eat custard as a kid, how much is enough I’m not sure….

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    No idea, not all 22″ bikes are created equal. That is a big issue as the sizes don’t all line up and subtle things like seat post angle can change it all.

    More modern suspension, bigger tyres maybe a wider bar will probably help a lot, I’d still be perusing the cause of the back pain further and see if there is anything you can be doing to stabalise it more – yoga/pilates/core work – not suggesting cause & cure but the worst thing would be to find it’s not all due to the bike and have a new bike sat there doing nothing.

    Where are you planning on getting the new bike from? Mail order?

    Which bit of Africa (I’ve heard it’s a big place) there might be some kind of bike shop somewhere, Chris Froome managed to find one!

    occamsrazor
    Member

    Yes I think some exercises to build up my lower back and stomach muscles would probably help too, I will definitely be looking into that.

    Re: getting the bike I’m looking at either:
    – Complete bike from UK
    – Custom build from UK
    – Secondhand from UK/US
    I have a shipping company in UK who will send it to me, so any seller just needs to post it to their UK office.

    I’m in Kenya. There are two LBS here, but I don’t trust them much. You can either buy a crappy Chinese bike for the price of a nice UK bike, or a low-end western brand for 3x the price it costs in UK. Importing makes sense in this case…

    Why would a wider bar help out of interest? The bar I have does indeed feel too narrow for me, but wondering how that would affect back issues…

    Selled
    Member

    I had some lower back pain a few years ago during and after riding, I found that I needed to stretch my legs. Maybe it can help in your case / maybe not, but good luck fixing it!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Why would a wider bar help out of interest? The bar I have does indeed feel too narrow for me, but wondering how that would affect back issues…

    It’s more a whole body position thing, one thing can throw you out really.

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    Body position in general is key to riding pain free and in control

    If you’re not bending at the hips when you’re standing or not got a straight back and bent arms when seated then you’re leaving yourself open for injury

    This is a pretty good starter – he does more on his website

    Excuse the pinkbike link

    occamsrazor
    Member

    Hi,

    So I’m just starting out and have been riding my (fairly crappy and too small) 26″ hardtail (pic here) on trails/singletracks the last couple weeks, usually about 10km. Due to somewhat increasing confidence and fitness last Saturday I did 2 x 12km in the morning and afternoon, riding a bit faster than normal too. The trails are a bit rocky but mosty very hard-packed earth with some roots, nothing particularly hardcore at all.

    The last two days I’ve been laid flat out in bed taking painkillers with bad lower back pain. It’s not muscles but feels more like my spine, maybe vertebrae got bruised or out of alignment or something. I’m tall (6’3″) and have had on/off back problems in the past.

    This bike was only ever a temporary one, and I’d been planning to buy a new steel 29er hardtail (something like a Surly Ogre plus front shocks, or On-One Inbred sort of thing) but am now rethinking this. Should I get a FS instead? I really did not want FS (expense, look, maintenance) but if riding is going to mess up my back like this maybe I should reconsider. Would something like a Thudbuster help do you think?

    Or is it just bad technique? I’ve been standing up on the bumpy downhills but I find it hard to stand up on the bumpy uphills and prefer to be seated.

    Thanks…

    occamsrazor
    Member

    Just watched that video, some excellent points, thank you. The points about hip mobility and standing position definitely ring true. Although that bike he’s on, size-wise, doesn’t bear much resemblance to anything I’ve seen/used and his seated position looks totally cramped… I guess it’s a dedicated downhill bike, right? Any similar videos for a “normal” MTB?

    When I put the saddle up to best height for leg extension the bars must be at least 3-5″ below saddle height, I guess this is one of the issues. If I were to have my arms bent I’d feel way too far forward in centre of gravity. Is this just a question of too-small frame size, or what factors/dimensions do I need to look for?

    timb34
    Member

    You really need to see someone about the back pain – could be anything : pulled muscles, herniated discs, compressed vertebrae.

    Then you should consider a bike that matches your username : http://www.orbea.com/gb-en/sites/occam-29/ 😆

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    FWIW, the only one of my bikes that gives me any sort of back pain is my full-suspension Blur. I rarely ride it these days but I should really do something about it. I hide rigid or hardtail 29ers, a fatbike, a cross/tourer anda carbon road bike. Each of these is comfy for full day or multi day rides. If I were in your position I would likely be looking at a fatbike for its comfort, ease of maintenance and multi-terrain abilities.

    occamsrazor
    Member

    @timb34 – I’m going to see someone later today about the pain. Re: the Orbea – That’s pretty much exactly what I hate about the look of FS bikes, I think it’s easier to change my username to match a bike instead 🙂 But good spot…

    So I’m just starting out and have been riding my (fairly crappy and too small) 26″ hardtail (pic here) on trails/singletracks the last couple weeks

    My take on this is core strength related misalignment of the lumbar spine. Cycling uses muscles in the back in a different way to most other postures you may be already accustomed too. If you’re weak in this area because you’re unaccustomed to the posture and putting out power at the same time, its going to manifest itself at the weakest point.

    I have a compressed lumbar disc in my spine, and its better when I ride the hard tail than the full suss because I’m forced to vary my postures more often than FS to get the best out of the bike. Singlespeeding is actually the best for my back!

    occamsrazor
    Member

    Re: Fatbikes… they do look interesting and I’ve been researching some of the 29+ options like the Krampus etc. But availability of tyres would be an issue and most don’t seem to be that happy with a front-derailleur geared setup and I think I need that. Also they just don’t seem to be as versatile as a general 29er e.g. if I do want to do any road stuff. I was hoping using something like a 2.4″ 29er tyre would give me some of the benefits while also keeping versatility.

    Does anyone here use a Thudbuster? It seems from my reading (i.e. with no personal experience) that they would at least cushion out some of the shocks to the saddle, no?

    occamsrazor
    Member

    @scienceofficer – yes I think you are probably right there. I was told previously that my past lower back issues were at least somewhat related to muscle weakness. I just took up MTBing as a way to get fitter, but seems I may need to get a bit fitter in order to do MTBing….

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