Author Topic: suspension seat post...  (Read 10845 times)

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Offline bishop

suspension seat post...
« on: February 18, 2010, 12:02:14 pm »
Hello everyone:

I'm seriously considering the GDMB Route this summer and the only thing that will stop me is my back!!  I've already tried everything I can think of to set me up for the highest probability of success (29er Gunnar Rock Tour hard tail with great Suspension fork) and I've read that folks can get a fair bit of help with a suspension seat post.  I did the entire Northern Tier in '07 with my Cannondale Touring bike with really no back issues but I know this will be alot different!

Any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Bill

Offline MIBIKER

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 06:55:29 pm »
I experiment with a shock seat post.  I rode without a shock seat seat then with a shock seat post.Then rode with a shock seat post.  I took two weeks to so the  test.  I ride full time with a shock seat post, both on trails and street.  It is worth the investment in your comfort. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2010, 11:04:59 am »
I used to have serious back problems, bad enough that surgery was advised by some doctors.  I've been through multiple courses of steroid therapy, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.  The latter combined with finally figuring out the right exercises for me finally did the trick.  I have since been able to ride, run, and trail run without back pain.

WRT to riding without back pain I find that for me the following works:
  • Avoid a sit up and beg posture favored by many tourists.  Riding in a relaxed fashion with most of your weight carried by your legs, and with bars well below the saddle.  Elbows should be well bent and not much weight should be on the hands.  The arms shoulders and even hands should be loose and relaxed.
  • That will require that you maintain good core fitness and work toward a form that is fluid and relaxed.
  • For me this means bars 4-5" below the saddle.
  • I do whatever it takes to sleep well and comfortably.  Waking up all stiff and sore in a bad start for the day.  That means carrying a decent sleeping pad and changing position at intervals during the night.
  • At the slightest hint of back pain during the day I do my stretches.

I am convinced that sitting bolt upright on the bike is absolutely the worst thing, at least for me.  The jolts and bumps go right up the spine.  I find that mimicking the form of racers rather than the form of most tourists to be far more comfortable once it is mastered.  If you decide to try that approach... Ease into it, as it takes come conditioning and practice to master.

Offline whittierider

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 02:51:32 pm »
staehpj1 has a good point about the non-obvious.  The back cannot handle much of a bump without injury if you're sitting up.  There's just no flexibility that way, and the forces go through the roof, threatening to herniate discs and so on.  The flexibility gained by putting it more horizontal and suspending it from the ends allows it to take the bumps without damage.

Offline staehpj1

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2010, 04:35:41 pm »
staehpj1 has a good point about the non-obvious.  The back cannot handle much of a bump without injury if you're sitting up.  There's just no flexibility that way, and the forces go through the roof, threatening to herniate discs and so on.  The flexibility gained by putting it more horizontal and suspending it from the ends allows it to take the bumps without damage.
That has been my experience, but...  While a bolt upright position is probably the worst thing for most folks backs, I should probably add that it makes sense to not force yourself too quickly into a low bar position.  It is better to ease into it lowering the bars little by little over a period of weeks or months.  Initially it might take a bit for the back to adjust to it.  In the long run it will be better for most though.

Offline whittierider

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 06:20:21 pm »
Quote
I should probably add that it makes sense to not force yourself too quickly into a low bar position.  It is better to ease into it lowering the bars little by little over a period of weeks or months.  Initially it might take a bit for the back to adjust to it.  In the long run it will be better for most though.
I forgot to mention that a seat-forward position helps the lower back.  Putting the bars low with the typical seat position requires quite a bend in the lower back.  This is remedied by putting the seat farther forward.  IMO the knee-cap-over-pedal-spindle was a mistake from the beginning.  It was good to read that Keith Bontrager agrees with me on this.  See http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html , starting about 1/3 of the way down the page, and http://velonews.competitor.com/2008/01/bikes-tech/tech-report-challenging-assumptions_71634 .  The seat-forward position is more conducive to a good spin too, which is easier on the knees.  I was glad when reversible seat posts came along, as they finally let me have what I had been wanting for decades: to get the pedals farther back relative to the seat.

Offline bishop

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010, 08:02:06 pm »
My sincere thanks for those that took the time and effort to respond honestly and with GREAT HELP!!  It's nice to know i'm not the only one out there who suffers greatly with back problems and is yet hell-bent to do whatever I can to keep riding...within reason.

Staephpj1 brought up some great points/reminders and I appreciate your honesty and candid-ness.  It's true about trying to keep my back as parallel to the ground as possible.  I've all but given up on single track mt. biking (which I've simply adored) as it's just beaten the hell out of my low back.  But I believe I've been "standing" too much upright when I've been out of the saddle and that just puts too much strain on my low back.  As long as i'm in the saddle I seem to do much better as I believe it helps to support my back.  I seem to leave my back "too exposed" when I'm out of the saddle even for short periods.  But this could be due to my position while i'm "out" of the saddle.

I'm also going to try and incrementally lower my handle bars on both my touring bike (which I commute with almost daily) and my new mt. bike 29er (which i hope to do the divide with this summer.

Again, thanks for your time and insights.  Getting old is a drag but if i keep up with the stretching and modify my riding technique perhaps i can remain riding for many more years?  Incidentally, sleeping on the ground does wonders for my back as it supports it greatly.  That is one part I'll enjoy easily!!   

Offline EnduroDoug

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2010, 06:44:28 pm »
I'm quite late to this thread, but I've got some experience in long days on the mtn bike. Years ago I had success softening the ride of an old Klein aluminum hardtail with the Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost. It's a bit heavier than the other options at that time (about 9 years ago) but I found it really made a difference.

Nowadays, for long off-road rides, I absolutely love having a 29er softail. Specifically, the Mooto-X YBB. I think you'll find that just moving to the 29er tires will add some cushion and ease things up, but that 1" of flex afforded by the YBB really helps ward off the back ache. Now, I'm not that old (YET!) but this bike helped keep me feeling pretty loose all the way through a 24-hour solo event mostly on singletrack.

Salsa also makes a 29er softail as well, but I've heard some guys in the 190+ weight range comment that it didn't feel as solid as they would have liked YMMV. Good luck!

Offline bishop

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 07:21:06 pm »
I'm HAPPY to report that although I sold in my 26" FS KONA I bought a 29er HT from Gunnar and it is great!!  Incidentally the "Rock Tour" http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/rock-tour/ is specifically designed to carry up to 50 lbs. of gear with a rack so it made my decision of which bike to get pretty easy.  I've since added a cane creek thudbuster and am impressed with how much of the "edge" it takes off the bumps.  It truly levels out alot of the terrain and keeps me in the saddle more; which equates to my back being less susceptible to the isolating jolts it used to get when I was out of the saddle often.  I've also adopted a new style for when I'm out of the saddle; I no longer stand upright.  I try and keep myself bent over forward as much as possible and this seems to somehow support my back better; it doesn't feel so isolated and vulnerable to the jolts.

Again, many thanks to all who've contributed to this "pain" of mine!  I head to Calgary in 3 months!!

Offline Slim Again, Soon

Re: suspension seat post... THUDBUSTER!
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010, 10:44:36 am »
I have a Thudbuster seat post on my MTB ... that thing is great.

Not only makes the ride more comfortable but also increases control, as my head is not bouncing around so much when hitting bumbs, so my vision is not interrupted.

I had no idea how often (riding a Cannondale hardtail) I blinked and looked all around on bumps until I started using the T-buster.

Offline rvklassen

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 02:30:17 pm »
I notice that with all the traffic on this thread, there's been little actually about suspension seatposts.

I would comment that if you push the seat too far forward, your knees will be complaining soon. (I found that one out the hard way).

As far as suspension posts are concerned, there are telescoping posts and there are pantograph style posts.  The latter pivot in such a way as to keep the distance to the pedals more or less constant while absorbing the bumps.  Most folks who've used both appear to prefer the pantograph style.  Thudbuster is one highly recommended brand, although not the only one.

Offline whittierider

Re: suspension seat post...
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 04:22:35 pm »

Quote
I would comment that if you push the seat too far forward, your knees will be complaining soon. (I found that one out the hard way).

You just have to raise the seat some to get the same leg extension.  You may also need to re-adjust your cleats to keep your heels in farther; but the more seat-forward position itself (even with the raised seat) is more conducive to a higher cadence, which is easier on the knees.

When I was on the tandem forum people spoke highly of the parallelogram-type Thudbuster seatpost.