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caffeineplease
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 10 years ago I herniated 2 disks in my neck c5-c6. Since then I have been able to regain most activities fully which I did earlier, Golf, Skiing, etc... (no running) and at this time I'd like to get back into the saddle on a bike that feels like a road bike but is setup more upright like a mountain bike.

I'd like some suggestions on bike setups, frame types/brands, and configurations to place my feet, seat and hands in good positions so that my head/neck is mostly upright. I am 6'2 195 pounds and most of my height is above the waist, 32 inch inseam (it is funny I cannot fit in a current 3 series BMW-my head hits the ceiling).

I'd appreciate any advice anyone has. Thanks!
 

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Longer head tube and/or different bars and/or custom

Just about all of the big manufacturers include long head tube models now. A few examples: Trek Madone (not those with "Pro" after them, which have shorter head tubes). Specialized Roubaix. Cannondale Synapse. Cervelo RS. All of these are capable of setting your bars at or above seat level with the right stem. You might also consider having a road bike set up with a straight mountain bike type of handle bar. Lots of that going on these days. Also, there are specialty bars like the traditional mustache bar that might work. You see those sometimes on touring and randonneur setups. Very cool with bar end shifters and such. Of course there's always a custom build, for which you can work with the builder to set your cockpit up any way you'd like. I think you could do a custom build for about the same money as mass-manufacuter's mid-level offerings.
 

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Try out the Specialized Roubaix Trek pilot type bikes. If they don't work for you, you're probably looking at a flat bar roadie.
 

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Got a C5-6 herniated disc too. :(

You need to do plenty of stretching before and even more so just after your ride. If I don't, then I get major neck/nerve pain and excrutiating head aches the very next morning....till around 7 in the evening. Medication doesn't help me except if I pop a caffine pill along with it (like some aspirin or ibuprohen). The prescription medicine does nothing for me except make me wanna puke. Do some stretching every 15 minutes or so during the ride to, and try to keep your head down most of the time, but also move your head from side to side every 4-5 minutes.

Best of luck!



steve_b said:
About 10 years ago I herniated 2 disks in my neck c5-c6. Since then I have been able to regain most activities fully which I did earlier, Golf, Skiing, etc... (no running) and at this time I'd like to get back into the saddle on a bike that feels like a road bike but is setup more upright like a mountain bike.

I'd like some suggestions on bike setups, frame types/brands, and configurations to place my feet, seat and hands in good positions so that my head/neck is mostly upright. I am 6'2 195 pounds and most of my height is above the waist, 32 inch inseam (it is funny I cannot fit in a current 3 series BMW-my head hits the ceiling).

I'd appreciate any advice anyone has. Thanks!
 

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I've done it twice. The first time C5-C6, the second time C6-C7. The first time I didn't know what was happening. I had classic symptoms of numbness in fingers and tightness in shoulder and tricep muscles. One day it just snapped and I was in intense pain, and couldn't ride for over 2 months. I never went to a doc and just gutted it out and slowly worked my way back into riding. The second time was different and I didn't see it coming. After a spate of intense riding for multiple days in a row, again it snapped a few days afterwards. This time I saw a doc, got an MRI and saw the injury in living color, went through chiro appointments, etc.

I'd have to say that treatments by a chiropractor, stretching et. al. didn't really do much for me. It basically healed on it's own, i.e. after about 8 weeks it got better and the pain subsided enough so that I was able to ride again. I was lucky in that no steroid injections or surgery was necessary. I do know a few people that did have surgery, and they had great results.

I was frustrated in that noone was able to help me figure out what I was doing wrong, or instruct me on how to change things. I was left to figure it out by myself, and I was filled with uncertainty that I could continue riding at all, which was pretty depressing. The good news is that I seem to be back on track.

The culprit really seemed to be that my bars were simply too low. I think the key to my recovery is in closely monitoring my symptoms and making sure I get proper rest. Basically, I've learned to just back off, take it easy, and just rest when things flare up. I only needed to raise the bars slightly and it has made a world of difference. I also think that drop bars are still better, as they allow you to move around to different positions. Staying in one [bad] position for long periods of time is going to make things worse.

Stretching helps a little bit, but I don't think it's a magical answer. If anything, increasing flexibility in my hamstrings and lower back helps because it helps my better overall position. I don't hunch my shoulders as much and I'm more relaxed, which takes the stress off my neck to some degree. I have noticed that tucking my elbows in, like when riding aero bars or in a time trial position, does seem to bring problems. So, I also try to keep my shoulders more straight, again in a more relaxed position.

Experiment. Pay close attention to the feedback from your body. Most of all, back off and rest if the symptoms reappear. You really can get back in the saddle again.
 

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Both Felt and K2 make bikes with very tall head tubes. This will put you in a more upright position, and still have a good feeling ride. I have the K2, not for the geometry, but the bang for the buck-ness of it. Good luck.
 

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Custom Frame ??

I have two total knee replacements and found the only real solution was a custom frame. I did the Trek thing with a stem extender and it felt OK but was very unstable at speed because the frame geometry was so far off for where I had my weight.

I went with a Seven steel frame that cost about $1,300. Has a tall headtube and everything feels perfect. I use a Shimano triple on it.
 

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mrbull said:
Both Felt and K2 make bikes with very tall head tubes. This will put you in a more upright position, and still have a good feeling ride. I have the K2, not for the geometry, but the bang for the buck-ness of it. Good luck.
A lot of companies make a "comfort road bike".

More specifically... the Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Roubaix, Felt Z series...

there are a ton more, I just can't think of them off the top of my head.
 

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I've got similar problem. I dinked around with head tube extenders, different bikes, different bars, etc. Finally came to the conclusion that NO drop bar is good for somebody with neck and shoulders like mine. Even with the bars level with the saddle, it subtly messed with my neck. Don't care much for flat bars either. The more upright, the happier your neck's gonna be. Don't want a 4K Bigha recumbent? Just get a good general purpose frame, like a Surly Cross Check or Pacer. Fit it with a Nitto Albatross bar with bar end shifters, and cork grips, and you're set. You can find this combo of components at Rivendell. I really like the more heads up position; it's nice to really see what I'm riding thru. The downside is, on long steep climbs, and/or stiff headwinds, you're gonna be wishing for a dropped position, and it won't be available for you in the same way as drop bars. But if you grab the forward bend of the bars, you're pretty close. And, no more stiff, painful neck and shoulders, even with metric century rides.
 

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caffeineplease
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My findings to date- closing in on a bike

Thanks to all of you who gave me input on this search, it really helped.

After researching and then riding some of the suggested bikes, I have these findings. The three main bikes I was interested in testing because they were setup for comfort were: Specialized Roubaix & Sirrus Pro, Cannondale Synapse 3/5, and the Trek FX 7.9 & Madone 4.5, 4.7 or 5.1/5.2.

I first road the Cannondale and Specialized bikes. I preferred the stiffness of the Cannondale to the Specialized, but I liked the upright posture of the 7.6 Sirrus. That lead me to also look at the Treks which had a Sirrus like bike the 7.9. The 7.9 comes in 20 or 22" frames so maybe I was in between sizes. I also then tried the 4.5 Madrone and liked the performance of that bike. Oddly I was a 56 CM in the Cannondale/Specialized and a 58 in the Trek Madone line. My current thought is to convert a Madone 4.7/5.1 to a Flat bar setup. Most dealers I guess could use the equipment found on the 7.9 but I wonder if there is a better setup others have found.

The Flat Bar cockpit on the 7.9 FX consists of a) STEM: Bontrager Select, 7 degree, 31.8 MM b) Handlebar: Bontrager Satellite Elite, Carbon c) Brakeset: Shimano M431 (the Caliper style?) w/Shimano Deore Levers. The FX's Carbon handlebar I probably wouldn't use.

Any other suggestions from the Peanut Gallery. :thumbsup:

Thanks

-Steve
SF Peninsula
 

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as tall as you are, I would say a 58cm is right; but for a more upright sitting and your inseam, look down a notch or maybe even two. Also ask about shorter stems so it will help your seating position even more.
 
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