Back issues and a rigid frame

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Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by 55FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:26 am

Just had back surgery on my lower back. Laminectomy on l3-4 and l4-5 along with a discetomy on my l4-5. Bottom line is the doc roto-rooterd my spinal column to take presseure off of the nerves and removed some bone fragments that were impinginging on my lower back.

Anyone else have back surgery and how it affected your ride.

I currently have my pan in a '56 rigid frame that I've been running since 1979. I went to a sprung solo seat about two years ago. i really don't don't want to go to a swingarm frame but am concerned. Do the kidney belts help? Does the air shock solo seat system really help out?

Am I condemed to a swingarm frame?

By the way see the doc Friday 10/30

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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by concrete guy » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:15 am

Sorry to hear about your back. Been in the trades for 30 years and I am laying on the couch now with a roached back. I walk like I'm 80 somedays. I have a 56 with a pog solo seat and some roads can give me a good beatin. I need a heavier spring pack. The short wheel base on this things realy seem to accenuate the rough ride. On the the other hand I have a 9' long chop with air bags that actually treats my back a lot nicer. I do like my air bags. I road my friends Tour Glide and have to say my chop takes bumps better. Guess your doctor is going to give you his thoughts also.

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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by john HD » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:40 am


how about tires? air pressure?

big full size tires at the factory air pressure might help your ride.

avon safety milage tires are my current favorites for ride height and the cushion effect.


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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by FlatHeadSix » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:02 pm

One of our members, Rick (DuoGlide62) has some back issues also. He mounted a shovel/AMF era backrest on his solo to give him some support in that area. He puts a lot of miles on his bike and has taken several cross-country trips. The backrest he used was intended for a buddy seat but it mounts just fine on a solo, they make a kit for installing the rail to the solo and the back rest is then mounted to the rail. I liked the idea and did the same thing to my '49 solo seat. There are still some NOS backrest kits floating around if you look for them, the one I found was the white pleated vinyl type but they are easy to dye or recover.

Rick probably has a better picture, this was taken at Davenport a few years ago, his bike is the one on the right (with the backrest)



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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by OckMock » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:12 pm

Im used to pounding a rigid panhead through city streets and potholes that swallow small taking a beating on a rigid comes with the territory...

That being said, I ran floarboards on my Pan in its earlier incarnation. The boards allowed me to sorta stand up over big potholes or large bumps. I found that this saved my back. Now, if your running forwards with pegs, it may make it a bit harder to stand up over larger bumps.

Id recommend floarboards for your rigid if your daily commute is over fighter-plane straifed roads.


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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by Cotten » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:45 am

Tonight I installed a Taiwan Tedd bubblepack Buddy assist spring kit upon a '47 EL.

The only thing wrong with it was that it was entirely chromed (owner's preference), and some threads were corroded because of it.

Nice hardware otherwise.
Now a healthy adult can sit on it without bottoming out.

Plus we stacked two knuck valve springs over the seat post for an overload.


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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by DuoGlide62 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:00 pm

I had a triple lumbar laminectomy and a double discetomy about ten years ago. The surgery was successful in that it alleviated the pain but it left both legs numb & tingly. As I've healed up the feeling has started to come back but so has the pain. I rebuilt my seatpost using color coded machine springs used in dies and injection molds. The rail & backrest come from a buddy seat.
I made some bungs from ¾" steel rod, drilled, tapped & cut to length and welded them to the seat pan. Much patience is required so's not to burn the foam padding. A tack on each bung to place it, then let it cool. A wet sponge helps.
Between the heavy duty springs, the backrest and the rear shocks I pretty much 'float' over all but the meanest potholes & RR crossings. I use a nylon fabric with velcro back/kidney belt at times too, but it can get pretty hot during the summer.
Also, I don't carry my wallet in my back pocket and I don't wear a belt. Suspenders hold my pants up when not wearing bib overalls.
In closing, listen to your doctor and do everything the physical therapist wants you to do. The big ball may look silly but it really helps. Good luck ! ...Rick

P.S. as for swingarm pans ?
Seatrail 2.jpg
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Re: Back issues and a rigid frame


Post by kevsett » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:10 pm

All this talk about serious low back pain gives me bad flash backs. I've struggled with an injured degenerative L-5 and arthritic pain for years. The last 6 to 10 years have been pretty good ones down low but favoring this area so much has led to new problems in my neck and shoulders. Everyone has great advice, especially about listening to your physician and doing all the physical therapy they require. But keep it going afterwards too. Most of us do it up front and when the pain and tenderness subside we slack off; only to have it come back sometimes worse than before.

If my 64 was a rigid I would definitely have considered doing something with the seat, springs or considered a Duoglide shock model (almost did anyway with the kick versus electric start issue) if needed. But truthfully the main things I needed to do was continued physical therapy, stretching, strengthening, and periodic uses of Naprosyn and ice. Even then, the rides are shorter and the stops are sooner and longer; whichever bike I'm on.

Good luck in your health.

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