Best road bike - have Harrington rod due to surgery to treat scoliosis



anderson0196

New Member
Aug 8, 2010
2
0
0
I am really hoping for some good advice here.
At the beginning a summer, I bought a used Raleigh C - 40 to start biking and make sure I would enjoy it. I am hooked and we are ready to invest in a good road bike.
I was quite excited to test bikes, but left overwhelmed and disappointed after hours and three different shops worth of testing yesterday.
My situation is a little unique.

As a teenager, I had surgery to correct a severe "S-curve" scoliosis of my spine. A harrington rod was used to straighten the spine and prevent curvature in the future. The curve was so severe that the straightening added 3 inches to my height once complete. I still have a slight hunch on one side, but it is most likely not noticeable to anyone not specifically looking for it.
The biggest issue I have is the lack of flexibility from the lumbar through the thoracic spine. I simply can not curve or flex that area of my spine. The surgery has served its purpose, but is making it difficult to find a road bike now.
I tested the Giant Avail and Dash (in several different sizes), a Raleigh Road bike and the Specialized Dolce. The Dolce seemed ok, but it was a quick spin in a parking lot (the shop was not very helpful, we tested one and left). With the Avail and Dash I really felt like I was slouching. I then tried the Defy (the mens design of the Avail), and felt a little better. My husband, the bike shop employee, and I were all shocked because the top tube is longer on the mens, which caused us all to think that I should have felt even more slouched. The only thing I could figure was I was more stretched in an effort to hit the handlebar, making my spine flat rather than forcing it to try and curve to accommodate the womens geometry.
The problem with this is I fear if I am leaning to much all of my weight is going to be on my arms making it an uncomfortable ride for different reasons and causing me regret my decision to go with the mens.
I want the option of different hand positions which is why I am looking at road bikes with drop bars.
Can anyone offer advice on how to get the best of both worlds for me - meaning the options of several hand postions without the discomfort of the slouching of a road bike.

 

Dave67

New Member
Jul 24, 2010
61
1
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54
There are many things to look at. First will be the frame size, I worry about the top tube length. Next would be the seat height, and stem length. These can be change to improve comfort on the bike. Stems will come with different rises and lengths, this could explain why one bike felt better than others.
One thing you don’t want to do is put to much weight on your hands, this will cause numbness will riding.
Did anyone measure you and set the bikes up before your test rides? If not find a shop that can or will, this is going to be your best bet. A good shop should be willing to swap stems until you find the right one, and tweak your position until you are comfortable. If the shop is not willing to do this spend your money some where else.
Also every test ride I do is about 20 minuets, you learn nothing riding around the parking lot.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,711
375
83
NE Indiana
Why not look into a recumbent? They make them in all kinds of configurations with either just two wheels, or two in the front and one in the rear, or two in the rear one in the front. Here's a picture of what what I'm talking about:

sun racer recumbent trike - eBay (item 290460906604 end time Aug-11-10 11:04:16 PDT)

New SUN X3 SX Recumbent TRIKE bike Easy Racers designed - eBay (item 330399611840 end time Aug-25-10 21:05:31 PDT)

http://cgi.ebay.com/SUN-SX-1-Recumb...42540899?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0#ht_12504wt_932
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
63
48
I would suggest that you seek the assistance of a medical professional. The fact that you have a "harrington rod" introduces the need to use caution when selecting a bike. By going to a Orthopedic specialist they can evaluate you and recommend the proper position that you should be riding. Once that is determined you can then be properly fitted for a bike. Good luck to you and I hope you are out riding safely on you new bike soon.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
126
63
anderson0196 said:
I am really hoping for some good advice here.
At the beginning a summer, I bought a used Raleigh C - 40 to start biking and make sure I would enjoy it. I am hooked and we are ready to invest in a good road bike.
I was quite excited to test bikes, but left overwhelmed and disappointed after hours and three different shops worth of testing yesterday.
My situation is a little unique.
As a teenager, I had surgery to correct a severe "S-curve" scoliosis of my spine. A harrington rod was used to straighten the spine and prevent curvature in the future. The curve was so severe that the straightening added 3 inches to my height once complete. I still have a slight hunch on one side, but it is most likely not noticeable to anyone not specifically looking for it.
The biggest issue I have is the lack of flexibility from the lumbar through the thoracic spine. I simply can not curve or flex that area of my spine. The surgery has served its purpose, but is making it difficult to find a road bike now.
I tested the Giant Avail and Dash (in several different sizes), a Raleigh Road bike and the Specialized Dolce. The Dolce seemed ok, but it was a quick spin in a parking lot (the shop was not very helpful, we tested one and left). With the Avail and Dash I really felt like I was slouching. I then tried the Defy (the mens design of the Avail), and felt a little better. My husband, the bike shop employee, and I were all shocked because the top tube is longer on the mens, which caused us all to think that I should have felt even more slouched. The only thing I could figure was I was more stretched in an effort to hit the handlebar, making my spine flat rather than forcing it to try and curve to accommodate the womens geometry.
The problem with this is I fear if I am leaning to much all of my weight is going to be on my arms making it an uncomfortable ride for different reasons and causing me regret my decision to go with the mens.
I want the option of different hand positions which is why I am looking at road bikes with drop bars.
Can anyone offer advice on how to get the best of both worlds for me - meaning the options of several hand postions without the discomfort of the slouching of a road bike.
First, you (and, most cyclists who are buying a 'new' bike) need a tape measure ...

Measure your current bike -- if it is reasonably comfortable:

  • then you probably want to replicate the dimensions
  • if your principle goal is to change the type of handlebars/shifters the bike has then that is all you really need to change
The only thing that is usually needed to change handlebars is time-and-money ... money for the components & time to effect the change.

Campagnolo (non-QS, non-PowerTech!) 10-speed shifters will mate with most Shimano drivetrains [i.e., 7-/8-/9-speed & probably 10-speed] with minimal (or, zero) effort.

So, you just need to buy a set of DROP bars which suits your preference (the lower part of the bend varies considerably), the shifters + some handlebar tape -- your cost can easily be under $200 via eBay ... double the cost if you buy the stuff at a bike shop.

You CAN spend MORE if you want to (!?!) by buying some Shimano or SRAM shifters + a new front derailleur (and, a new rear derailleur if you choose SRAM shifters); but, Campagnolo shifters are (IMO) the benchmark against which the others should still be compared.

You will want to change the front V-brake to a set of cantilever brake calipers. Changing the rear brake is optional but brakes are usually sold in sets, so you may as well change the rear brake, too.

This can be a DIY project for anyone who can read (information is readily available on-line AND/OR in books like ZINN AND THE ART OF ROAD BIKE MAINTENANCE) & who can change a light bulb (the requisite skill level).

Most of the tools required to work on a bike are generic. IF you want to change the crankset and/or BB then you may need bike specific tools.

Now, it is important to note that there is a philosophy which a great many people who populate this Forum share -- that is, it isn't worth putting new components on an old bike.

I don't share that philosophy.

If components are chosen well, then they can be used on a different bike in the future. Simply save the old components in a box & put them back on the bike if you ever decide that you want a different frame.

That's not to say that the frame isn't important ... but, IMO, the head tube angle is more important than EITHER the material which the frame is made with OR the decals (i.e., the cosmetics) which adorn the frame.

While a nicer frame IS usually nicer (to look at), IMO, unless a person is racing AND a sponsored rider, the frame's principle function is to hold the rider and components in a particular orientation ...
My observation is that if the geometry of two different frames (specifically, one an medium quality Reynolds steel frame & the other a high-zoot Carbon Fiber frame) is the same then the difference is mostly cosmetic ... not that the paint (and/or weight) & decals don't mean something to SOME people.
So, how far off (if at all) is the fit of your current Raleigh's frame?
 

JM01

New Member
Aug 2, 2006
184
1
0
Froze said:
Why not look into a recumbent? They make them in all kinds of configurations with either just two wheels, or two in the front and one in the rear, or two in the rear one in the front. Here's a picture of what what I'm talking about:

sun racer recumbent trike - eBay (item 290460906604 end time Aug-11-10 11:04:16 PDT)

New SUN X3 SX Recumbent TRIKE bike Easy Racers designed - eBay (item 330399611840 end time Aug-25-10 21:05:31 PDT)

SUN SX-1 Recumbent bike Easy Racers designed Bicycle - eBay (item 330442540899 end time Aug-11-10 19:50:36 PDT)

+1...I know several cyclists in your situation including colon cancer survivors and one with physical deformities that now ride recumbents...some even race.