Is e-biking with a bad back possible?

darkskys

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Just wondering what one should look out for in an e-bile for a person who is 5' 8" with 30" inseam (i.e. getting on, getting off, and overall riding)?
And if anyone out there like me has back problems (herniated disk) and still rides one, what are your experiences?
I ride a recumbent e-trike (tadpole style) but I cannot ride as much as I want too locally due to the poor narrow trails and transporting issues.
I'm thinking that an e-bike would be the way to go.
I'm inching to order one but I have nagging concerns related to my bad back.
20200105_150230.jpg
 
I have seen many cases of people getting back into riding with the help of an ebike. People with bad knees always say how wonderful it is to be able to ride again. With a bad back I'm assuming it's more about your ride position. You would need to look for an ebike with raised handlebars or swap out the existing handlebars for some chopper style handlebars. Also an ebike with front and rear suspension would probably be beneficial if you are looking to do narrow trail riding.

Is it possible for to test ride some ebikes from your local ebike dealer?

Another idea would be to hire an ebike for the day and see how you feel after a long ride.

Hopefully some other ebikers with back problems can help answer your question :)
 
I have seen many cases of people getting back into riding with the help of an ebike. People with bad knees always say how wonderful it is to be able to ride again. With a bad back I'm assuming it's more about your ride position. You would need to look for an ebike with raised handlebars or swap out the existing handlebars for some chopper style handlebars. Also an ebike with front and rear suspension would probably be beneficial if you are looking to do narrow trail riding.

Is it possible for to test ride some ebikes from your local ebike dealer?

Another idea would be to hire an ebike for the day and see how you feel after a long ride.

Hopefully some other ebikers with back problems can help answer your question :)
Thanks for your reply.
I think you are correct about riding position, but having a herniated disk I must avoid or lessen the up and down shock on my spine according to my Doctor. I've ridden my In-laws Lectric e-bike and really liked it, however I did not like the small format of the Lectric Style of e-bike. For years I've owned and ridden a Mt Bike before my back injury. I've been looking at the Wallke x3 Pro with it's full susspension and folding ability. I've been reseaching and I see that I can get handle bar raisers and seat post suspension too. Ultimately if I cannot get a test ride on one, I will have to just take the chance and go ahead and get one.
 
I'm normally not a big fan of e-bikes with rear suspension, but I think it would help with your bad back.
You can also add a suspension seat post to an e-bike to take the edge off those bumps.
 
A problem is the weight of the bike. Most e-bikes weigh more than 50 lbs and that is tough on the back to lift onto a bike rack or put in the back of a car. I paid $7,000 to get a road e-bike that weighs 28 lbs or a little less that of a mountain bike. My regular carbon fiber road bike weighs less than 20 lbs by way of comparison.

On the other hand bike riding is one of the best ways to strengthen the back and stomach muscles that support the spine. Only better exercise is swimming, if there is a lap pool nearby.

With a bad back I would stay away from an e-bike as it provides no real gain for getting in shape over a regular road bike and the added weight will be a burden.
 
One of my neighbor riding buddies had neck surgery and can no longer stand the road bike positioning. He got a Catrike Expedition and rides it all over. Then he added the electrical setup for it. During warm weather he probably rides 50-75 miles a week on that setup.
 
I have seen many cases of people getting back into riding with the help of an ebike. People with bad knees always say how wonderful it is to be able to ride again. With a bad back I'm assuming it's more about your ride position. You would need to look for an ebike with raised handlebars or swap out the existing handlebars for some chopper style handlebars. Also an ebike with front and rear suspension would probably be beneficial if you are looking to do narrow trail riding.

Is it possible for to test ride some ebikes from your local ebike dealer?

Another idea would be to hire an ebike for the day and see how you feel after a long ride.

Hopefully some other ebikers with back problems can help answer your question :)
I’ve had two spinal fusions and a hip replaced in the last 2 years and I’m riding my Aventon with a step through frame. I have raised my handlebars and put a shock seat post on it. Last year I put over 600 miles on with no problems at all with my back and this year I plan to do a lot more.
 
A problem is the weight of the bike. Most e-bikes weigh more than 50 lbs and that is tough on the back to lift onto a bike rack or put in the back of a car. I paid $7,000 to get a road e-bike that weighs 28 lbs or a little less that of a mountain bike. My regular carbon fiber road bike weighs less than 20 lbs by way of comparison.

On the other hand bike riding is one of the best ways to strengthen the back and stomach muscles that support the spine. Only better exercise is swimming, if there is a lap pool nearby.

With a bad back I would stay away from an e-bike as it provides no real gain for getting in shape over a regular road bike and the added weight will be a burden.
My ebike weights 70 pounds.when loading in a bike rack I lift the front wheel first then the rear.the rear is heavier but I'm not lifting the whole thing. 72 years and bad knees and back
 
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Just wondering what one should look out for in an e-bile for a person who is 5' 8" with 30" inseam (i.e. getting on, getting off, and overall riding)?
And if anyone out there like me has back problems (herniated disk) and still rides one, what are your experiences?
I ride a recumbent e-trike (tadpole style) but I cannot ride as much as I want too locally due to the poor narrow trails and transporting issues.
I'm thinking that an e-bike would be the way to go.
I'm inching to order one but I have nagging concerns related to my bad back.
View attachment 2771

I'm getting your Dec. question on Jan. 30, 2022 so, hopefully you have your answers. You dont need high rise handlebars depending on the frame size, handlebars, torso length and arm lengths. Its up to you. A new handlbar takes getting used to.

I suggest you seriously consider nearby ebike shops. The reputable shops have vetted the bikes to be reliable. Shops like Pedego are national and priced higher, because of their quality, tremendous service and parts for their proprietary ebikes. Less downtime.

My average downtime for parts or service has been 30 days. I bought a Tern eLink from eBikes Hawaii. It has a new controller, waiting for a new battery and unresolved service issues. Battery is coming by truck and slow boat from East Coast. I think this is normal for parts and service quality for a non proprietary ebike. Next bike will be a Pedego.

You may want to visit an orthopedic doctor with rehab. Dont go to a chiropractor yet, if not recommended.
Follow MD's recommendation on bike riding before buying a bike. A local dealer can fit you to a bike properly, try out, and return and exchange, if necessary.
 
LTK Honolulu you are correct I did not need a handlebar riser. I did purchase one ($10) to try out and it made the handlebars to high.
I adjusted the stock handlebars by rotating them, which made the grips closer to me for a more comfortable position.
My injury happened over 5yrs ago and I've not had a flare up for over 2 yrs. Knock on wood.

As you suggested, I should have visited an eBike dealer, but did not. I purchased online from Wallkeebile.com
They do have a California based warehouse and do answer emails promptly. It appears they have been around for at least 4 years.
They even have a location for test rides via appointments only a few cities over from me. I've had my stock seat post replaced due to a stripped bolt. The part did take sometime to get since it was directly shipped from China.

I am looking into upgrading the brakes. I have experienced brake fade from extended down hill braking from my local steep hills.
The bike's base weight is 73lbs and I'm over 250lbs(loosing as I bike), so the stock 180mm 2 piston hydraulic disk brakes are having a hard time.

I emailed "Area13" an eBike company up north from me to see how he can help me upgrade.

How to stop your ebike - INSANE 246MM ROTORS​


Link to my longest ride so far on my Wallke X3 Pro.

 
LTK Honolulu you are correct I did not need a handlebar riser. I did purchase one ($10) to try out and it made the handlebars to high.
I adjusted the stock handlebars by rotating them, which made the grips closer to me for a more comfortable position.
My injury happened over 5yrs ago and I've not had a flare up for over 2 yrs. Knock on wood.

As you suggested, I should have visited an eBike dealer, but did not. I purchased online from Wallkeebile.com
They do have a California based warehouse and do answer emails promptly. It appears they have been around for at least 4 years.
They even have a location for test rides via appointments only a few cities over from me. I've had my stock seat post replaced due to a stripped bolt. The part did take sometime to get since it was directly shipped from China.

I am looking into upgrading the brakes. I have experienced brake fade from extended down hill braking from my local steep hills.
The bike's base weight is 73lbs and I'm over 250lbs(loosing as I bike), so the stock 180mm 2 piston hydraulic disk brakes are having a hard time.

I emailed "Area13" an eBike company up north from me to see how he can help me upgrade.

How to stop your ebike - INSANE 246MM ROTORS​


Link to my longest ride so far on my Wallke X3 Pro.

Did you try to replace your seat bolt with a stainless bolt at the hardware store? These are extremely tough and rust free, worth the money and time whenever you can. Your ebike is your baby.

Try ceramic brake pads. I'm 204 lbs. using standard Deore aftermarket brakes from Etsy.com.

Remember, two years controller and three years battery problems may crop up. Dont take your bike in for diagnosis and pay $60. No one will tell you this unless you ask or have problems. This is reality. You can head these off by replacing them before you have problems, because of shipping time. Make a tickler on your cellphone and for your car battery. You have been forewarned, if you dont replace the ebike in two years.
 
They replaced the seat post under warranty, but if not I would have replaced the bolt.
In the end I ended up replacing the seat post with the suspension seat post.

 
A problem is the weight of the bike. Most e-bikes weigh more than 50 lbs and that is tough on the back to lift onto a bike rack or put in the back of a car. I paid $7,000 to get a road e-bike that weighs 28 lbs or a little less that of a mountain bike. My regular carbon fiber road bike weighs less than 20 lbs by way of comparison.

On the other hand bike riding is one of the best ways to strengthen the back and stomach muscles that support the spine. Only better exercise is swimming, if there is a lap pool nearby.

With a bad back I would stay away from an e-bike as it provides no real gain for getting in shape over a regular road bike and the added weight will be a burden.
Some good comments here - however, I also have a bad back and have just ordered a new ebike and am not going to use it for conditioning, but rather enjoyment and to burn off some calories to help my diabetes.
 
Just wondering what one should look out for in an e-bile for a person who is 5' 8" with 30" inseam (i.e. getting on, getting off, and overall riding)?
And if anyone out there like me has back problems (herniated disk) and still rides one, what are your experiences?
I ride a recumbent e-trike (tadpole style) but I cannot ride as much as I want too locally due to the poor narrow trails and transporting issues.
I'm thinking that an e-bike would be the way to go.
I'm inching to order one but I have nagging concerns related to my bad back.
View attachment 2771
After fx of six vertebrae, lots of titanium rods and screws and 2 fusions, I still ride. Last year I went from a road bike to a ebike. I raised the handlebar and got a soft seat. I bought a Saris door county bike carrier that is electric so I don’t have to lift my Aventon Level ebikes. I plan on riding for many more years even though I’m 74 years old. Our ebikes have been a blessing as th are keeping us on the road.
 
With a bad back I'm assuming it's more about your ride position. You would need to look for an ebike with raised handlebars or swap out the existing handlebars for some chopper style handlebars.

I have scoliosis and have had lower back problems my entire adult life. Paradoxically, now at age 73 the problems are far less acute, but can still nag.

With the caveat that everyone’s different, in my case I find a forward lean tends to decompress the disks in my lower back while simultaneously taking weight off my back (and butt) and transferring it to my arms. This applies to motorcycles as well, where I can ride in a “sport touring“ posture all day, but bolt upright has me squirming in short order.

But to repeat - that’s just my personal biomechanics at play. Still, best not to assume that bolt upright is necessarily the best for a bad back.
 
I’m late to the game, but in general, I would ask your doctor or physical therapist before buying an ebike. I fractured my 12th vertebrae and had three herniated discs and narrowing at the L4 and L5. I am doing better after a partial diseconomy and opening up of my spine, (two surgeries). My surgeon and my physical therapist are not on the same page, (the physical therapist said that riding is bad, but the surgeon said that it is good, so I went with the answer that I liked:rolleyes:). So far so good. I think that only you and your doctor can really answer you question.

If you do decide to get an ebike, a good saddle and good suspension seat post will be kind to your back. I use a Cane Creek eeSilk Gravel seat post and my wife uses a Cane Creek Thud Buster. Red Shift and Kinect also make very good suspension seat posts that don’t make you feel like you are riding a pogo stick.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
 
A problem is the weight of the bike. Most e-bikes weigh more than 50 lbs and that is tough on the back to lift onto a bike rack or put in the back of a car. I paid $7,000 to get a road e-bike that weighs 28 lbs or a little less that of a mountain bike. My regular carbon fiber road bike weighs less than 20 lbs by way of comparison.

On the other hand bike riding is one of the best ways to strengthen the back and stomach muscles that support the spine. Only better exercise is swimming, if there is a lap pool nearby.

With a bad back I would stay away from an e-bike as it provides no real gain for getting in shape over a regular road bike and the added weight will be a burden.
I understand your point but.....have to disagree with the comment that ebikes provide no gain for getting into shape. I got my ebike for exercise due to a replaced knee and hip.....my leg strenght has improved greatly.....I ride 4.5 to 7.5 miles almost evey night in hilly country......no way could I do that on my old bike.......ebikes are good exercise if you pedal them and use the motor as a supplement.
 
A lot of good info already covered here. Figured I’d add a couple of things.
Front suspension fork - I don’t lock it out but I do tighten up the spring several turns. Just don’t tighten it so much that bumps bounce you.
Tires - fatter is more comfortable especially if you can run lower pressures. I installed Schwalbe Pick-Up cargo bike tires on my Wallke F1 ebike. 26”x2.3”
On my wife’s Gen 3 Stride I put the same tire but only 2.1” wide due to rear chain stay clearance.
I’m 60yo and weigh 220 lbs and my wife is 230. We can run those tires at 35-40 psi and they roll well and are more comfortable than the stock tires.
I have a lot of back, neck and knee problems. Haven’t ridden my custom touring bike in at least 5 years due to it beating me up. 2years ago I had an A-lift lumbar fusion of L4,L5 & S1. The ebike has enabled me to ride again. I can set PAS to whatever lever I want for a workout and still go distance. A retired firefighter buddy of mine plan to ride our ebikes from Daytona Beach to Tampa next month. We both have Wallke F1 ebikes with an extra 20ah battery wired in. We can do 100 miles +.
 
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