View Full Version : back injuries and hard tails

05-19-2014, 6:03 AM
Last July a young girl decided she'd try to kill me on her way to filling out job applications. She cut me off "didn't even see him" and jacked her brakes. I hit her car, flipped over the car, landed on my ass, bounced and ran off the road. Couple ambulance rides, couple hospitals, $$$$$, 153 doctors later and they send me home, two broken vertebrae in my back T7 and T8, and two stitches. I was on a 81 cb650 that I had bought earlier that year not running and fixed up. I used to ride that thing everywhere, NY, VA, WV, etc. Never really over 6 hours one way, but it was damn near my primary transportation. Since the accident I've not rode a bike, and it fuckin sucks! I've always wanted to chop a bike, and this seemed like a good one to start with especially since now it's got a story. Now to my question... to me bobber bikes and hard tails just go together, but I'm not sure if hard tails and previously broken backs do.. I've never ridden a rigid bike and I don't even know anyone who has, let alone someone with one to go ride it and see. Some say that if the bike's set up for you it wont be any worse than a soft tail that isn't set up for you, others say it's the worst thing in the world. So for you guys with rigid bikes, how bad is the ride? I'm pretty set on building this into a hard tail, and don't really plan on any long trips (over 1.5hrs) on it. That said, I want to be able to ride it without being in pain the whole time. My back is pretty good, it seems to really only get sore if I'm working on a car or something and have to have it bent right where I broke it for an extend amount of time.

I'm new here and looking forward to post some pictures of my project I have going on.


05-19-2014, 11:04 AM
Go for it ! I feel your pain. Assclown driving a truck while texting t boned me driving my wife's car 5 years ago. 9 herniated disc and back problems every day. Some worse than others. That said, I'm on my 3rd hardtail. One thing I've learned is build the bike around your limitations. For me it's low bars and mid controls. A decent sprung seat is fine, but the key is gey your feet underneath you. Think of riding a horse English style. Be active in the saddle, take up bumps in your legs by lifting your as as you come to a bump. That's how the old traffic cops did on rigids with pogo seats. I don't know how some guys can glue their ass to the seat, feet out front, ape hangers and feel every bump in the road going right up their spine. They look great, but I'd be in the hospital if my bike was set up like that.

05-19-2014, 11:08 AM
I also have a severe back injury and I have an xs650 hardtail that I am unsure if i'll be able to ride again. I know you can have custom air roho cushions made to fit the seat of your choice and TC bros sells air bag seat springs. these are a couple things ive been thinking about

05-19-2014, 12:43 PM
Thanks RetroRob, that's pretty much what I was looking for. Round here, mention building a hard tail bike and all you hear is horror stories from a a buddies friends uncles niece's boyfriend had one and how terrible it was for them to ride it. I feel most comfortable with my back semi leaned forward but closer to straight, but the problem with mid controls is i'm 6'3 and then my knees start hurting when I ride on long trips (I REALLY want to build a foot clutch/hand shift bike). I have a few things I'm going to try, if it doesn't work the first time i'll just change it up I guess. I have the frame off and semi cut up, the carbs are about ready, front end is shaved down, and i'll have a sandblaster tomorrow so my wheels and some other small parts will all be cleaned up. I'm still waiting on some steel supply places to get back to me and my axle plates should be on my doorstep today. I can't wait to actually make the frame and start putting parts back on it.

05-19-2014, 12:54 PM
I had a back injury similar to yours from a Chevy siverado falling on me during an axle swap. I bought my CB the day before I got hurt. After I could start getting around I got it goin, and its been on a rigid ever since. I have forward controls, but have mid pegs I can set my feet up on to get off the seat on interstate bridges n bad roads. I'm sure anyone with rear suspension would say mine rides like shit, but I deal with it and enjoy it. Just keep some pain killers in your pocket...

05-19-2014, 2:35 PM
Every back injury is different, no matter how similar they sound. What one person can do with a bad back isn't necessarily indicative of what another person will be able to do. I guess the only way you will know if your back can handle a rigid is if you ride one.

I have a bad back (got hit with a baseball bat), and there's no way I would ride a rigid. Rigids may be "cool", but I only have one back, and I don't want to make it any worse. I've seen what life looks like for people with chronic, debilitating back pain, and I would call such lives a living hell. If I can avoid that by riding a softtail rather than a rigid, I consider it to be a small sacrifice.

One thing I certainly wouldn't do is take medical advice from strangers on the internet. I wouldn't want to risk further back injury, and potentially debilitating back injury, on the word of guys on an internet forum who say "Yeah, no problem dude. Go for it. You'll be fine". Instead, I would consult with my doctor, and if necessary a back specialist, to determine the risk of various activities. After all, we're not talking about a broken finger or toe. A back injury is nothing to take lightly.

05-19-2014, 2:56 PM
Footpeg position and bar style/placement are factors to consider.

05-19-2014, 3:07 PM
Footpeg position and bar style/placement are factors to consider.


My back isnt nearly as bad as yours, but I've got arthritis, It hurts every day, torn muscles, bad cartilage all over, my body will be used up when I'm done.

I ride hardtails, and I did a ton of research about kidney belts and such, anything to try to make my back hurt less. Found a post on JJ maybe? where guys where talking about riding position. I run drag bars, because it leans me forward. Apes, oor tall risers make your spine sit inline. Every bump gets absorbed through all the way to your tailbone. Leaning forward, as uncomfortable as it sounds, makes your back more like a slinky(not sure how to describe it), it bends instead of compressing. Dropping my bars as low as I could made my bikes more comfortable to ride once I got used to it. and I hurt less at the end of the day.

05-19-2014, 3:28 PM
Why not try mids and highway pegs for cruising ? Best of both worlds

05-20-2014, 3:50 AM
I have spinal fusion and plates. Run mids helps alot expect problems down the road but enjoy the ride well you can.

05-20-2014, 11:14 AM
I have curvature of the spine. I have no business owning a rigid. but, I fuckin love it. total different ride than my dyna. I run mid's, 20 psi in back tire. ride all over the road to miss pot holes. stand up for rail road tracks. it's not that bad if you pay attention. it's the holes you did not see fast enough that hurt.

05-20-2014, 11:30 AM
You guys here are completely different than the majority of anyone else I talk to in regards to bikes, this is exactly the kind of information I was after. I'm 6'3" and most factory-ish bikes I ride on I have to hunch over, after a few hours of riding that right there hurts my back. Then with mid controls my knees are so bent that again, after a few hours they're killing me and I'm looking for a place to stop and have a few beers. I was going to make my bike have me sit up straight and have forward controls so I'd be more stretched, now I've decided to make my bars/seat so I'm leaning forward just a bit. I'm still going to run forward controls but i'm going to put pegs under me so I can stand up when I need to. Seems like that should work best for me. Thanks!

05-20-2014, 4:26 PM
I broke three vertibrae a few years back as well. Get a good seat with thick foam, or a good springs/air bags and you'll be fine. My shovel has forwards with foot clutch and it's cool and the rigid sportster I built for my wife is mids, as is the rigid evo I'm finishing up now. It's all good man. Her Sporty had those short Burley shocks and a rigid mounted seat on it before and she says it rides softer now(solo with 3 "springs). The only thing to complain about on a rigid bike is that they sometimes vibrate a bit more.

05-20-2014, 6:26 PM
I got some heavy 5 inch springs, if u want them just pay shipping, if u think they will help.

05-20-2014, 7:41 PM
You guys here are completely different than the majority of anyone else I talk to in regards to bikes, this is exactly the kind of information I was after.
Sums up Chop Cult nicely

05-20-2014, 8:25 PM
are you set on hardtail?

05-20-2014, 8:57 PM
Bad back for 20 years, surgery and all. To me the most important thing is support. I makeshift rider sissy bars to relieve the stress of sitting just so with the wind pushing me back. It is the difference between a half hour on the bike or several hundred miles of riding. It takes very little support to get this done, and no riding position or kidney belt stuff ever came close. Take the pressure off. You can tell what I say just by leaning back in a chair.

05-24-2014, 7:20 PM
I have a birth defect in my 5th vertebrate, and I destroyed the right side of my peltvis in a car crash. Setup is the key, I've found that if I run a king and Queen that I can bury my lower back into that it really helps, bar and peg placement are a big deal, an if you're hung up on a solo seat, chopper shox are the best money I've ever spent. I tend to take 500 mile per day road trips, and it's never been a problem as long as it's set up right.

05-26-2014, 1:24 PM
My back was screwed up at work about a year and a half ago. I've had injections, surgery, and just about everything else done to try and aleviate the pain. Now I'm going to have a stimulator put in. I'm still hardtailing my bike. I'm putting T-bars with a slight pull back, a sprung solo seat, and forward controls on it. That's what should work for me. It'll give me a little cushion over the bumps, a slightly leanded forward riding position, and my legs stretched out. I can't use mid controls because that position will cause alot of pain in my right leg after a while. It's all about what works for you and the only real way to figure that out is by trial and error. If one thing doesn't work try something else until you find what works.

05-26-2014, 8:25 PM
I fractured my pelvis, L4, L5, S1 in a motorcycle vs. dumb bitch in an SUV wreck a few years back. I personally can't take a rigid anymore, but that doesn't mean you cant. When mocking your setup play with some PVC pipe for your bars to get the height right. Putting a dual peg setup like you mentioned helps a lot, just moving your legs around can take some pain off. You may want to look into an airbag setup, or shock for the seat.

05-26-2014, 8:40 PM
If you go for a spring solo seat, I'd suggest the old harley police springs. 4" and black. They are the softest springs and I'm just over 200lbs, and I still have 2" of travel, and they won't buck you in the air like some of the chrome beehive springs out there. Give em a try.

05-26-2014, 8:44 PM
It's really too tough to predict what one can handle. I can ride my friend's rigid without too much pain but even my swingarm bike with stiff suspension kills my kidneys and spine when I hit expansion joints or manhole covers and shit.

04-03-2018, 6:17 PM
Ouch. What made you get those? A bike accident (http://injuryshield.com/motorcycle-accidents/)?