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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay in '13 I bought a new RGU so I could enjoy long distance touring more with my M/C club. (Keep my 2000 Heritage for shorter, day rides) In early '14 my back went out (for no apparent reason) and I ended up having major back surgery with the L3 and L4 discs removed and L5/L4 and L3 fused together. Consequently I missed the entire riding season in '14 so that the fusion could properly heal. Started having more back issues again last month and a new MRI shows that now the disc above the fusion, L2, is ruptured and I need another surgery to remove that disc and fuse L2 to L3. Have no idea how this happened and have only ridden the RG on 2 very short test rides since the surgery. Dr and wife both say to sell the bikes and I should give up riding altogether as it puts undue stress on the back and it will probably cause future problems if I continue to ride. I really don't want to give up riding, but I'm not really excited about going thru another back surgery, especially since I don't know what caused the L2 disc to rupture as I've been taking it relatively easy since the last surgery. So my question is, is there anybody out there who has similar back surgeries and are you still riding and how does it effect you? I don't want to give up riding but I can't really continue to live like this (sciatica) and have more back surgeries either. Surprisingly I never had any back problems until last year. I guess my active life style finally caught up with me. I'm retired and really enjoy riding but looking for some advice from somebody who's been there, done that, besides my Dr. and wife.
 

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In the end only you can make the choice , but I think you know that ..

If it were me , I would sell the Heritage and take that money and put on a Fat Baggers ( or other ) trike kit for the Roadie ..

I dread the day I have to make the choice , my main riding partner is 76 this year and still rides over 50k per year ..

JtB
 

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sorry to hear about your back. I can sympathize, but ive only had a bulged disc. Been fighting back pain since i was 14 though, so 26 years of bad back.
If it hurts too bad to ride, dont do it. Do you have a back rest? anything to help support the lower back may help. My grandpa used to wear a "kidney belt" when he rode before bikes had suspensions. He wore that belt farming on his tractor for years after that.
Again, really sorry, i feel your pain!
 

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Good luck in your decision on what steps you wish to take. I have never ridden a trike, but a friend of mine had one and he found he had to get use to using his arms and shoulders much more to turn the bike(I am not knocking the idea of a conversion). I
I also spoke to a lady who had a Can Am(I believe that was the bike she had) and she really liked that it had a set up which was like power assist steering. Whatever you decide is best for you, good luck in being able to continue to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
In the end only you can make the choice , but I think you know that ..

If it were me , I would sell the Heritage and take that money and put on a Fat Baggers ( or other ) trike kit for the Roadie ..

I dread the day I have to make the choice , my main riding partner is 76 this year and still rides over 50k per year ..

JtB
I thought about a trike, but is the suspension really that much better? The jarring is the problem.

And to DED HD thanks for the suggestions but I have a backrest and I always (now) ride with a back brace. Again the unexpected jarring on bumps, dips, etc is the main issue. My Dr also says that the acceleration from stops puts undue strain on the spine since you don't have full back support like a car seat. He has treated a lot of motor officers and says the Ex rays/MRIs of their spines look like a typical 70 year olds. :(
 

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I'm 53 and had my an L4-L5 Laminectomy in 1996. I had a herniated disc that was damaged in a car wreck in 1979. After being off work for 5 1/2 months and walking for 8 years with a cane, I am doing much better. I occasionally have flare ups, but not too bad, and so far, none have been related to riding.

Over the years, I've had a a 1963 Chevy 1/2T truck, a 1977 Chevy Blazer, a 1973 Chevy 1/2T truck, a 1962 Chevy 1/2T truck, a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan, and a 2006 Dodge RAM 3/4T 4x4. During the same time I had a 1981 Honda XR500 dirt bike, a 1978 Honda CX500, a 1978 Suzuki GS750, a 2005 Kawasaki VN2000, and my current two are a 1962 HD XLCH Ironhead and a 2012 HD FLTRU rolling couch.

During that time, I have found that the bikes have been much better for my back than any of my other 4 wheeled vehicles have ever been. The only bike I found to be worse is the '62 Ironhead. It's a rigid frame.

As long as the seating is comfortable, and in a fairly upright position, you should have no problems with your back. Get a good set of bars, make sure they are adjust correctly for you, get a good seat and set your highway pegs to a comfortable position so you can switch off your leg positions while riding. With my set up, I can shift my feet on the floorboards, and to three different positions on the highway pegs.

Each year I make my annual pilgrimage to Idaho ( about 575 miles each way) in one shot for each direction. I do make stops along the way for fuel and to stretch, but I make it. I average about 13K miles a year.

From my experience, I say keep the rolling couch and ride as long as you feel comfortable doing it, but Ultimately it is your decision.
 

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I've had disc issues but nothing like yours. I was off for 10 months. IMO, don't ride. Good luck.
 

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I agree with Stick_FSMC.

I too had a Laminectomy 10 years ago and I ride as often as i can. I had to switch bars to bring them back closer to me and I too have the highway pegs in a great position for me. I occasionally ride to Sturgis (5,500 mile roundtrip in 11 days), did Shark week last year and am planning to ride to Texas this year.

I find riding the bike more comfortable than riding in a car for longer distances as I get off the bike and stretch every hour to hour and a half and in the car, I go way too long and pay the price when I get to my destination. Make sure to stop, stretch, etc.

Your situation is far more severe than mine but as long as I can throw my leg over the saddle, I hope to ride.
 

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I know this may not be what you want to hear, but given your back issues, quality of life is more important then "riding" IMO.

regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Stick_FSMC, you're vehicle experience sounds similar to mine over the years, but mine was all before I had back problems and may now probably be why I have them now. In my 20s, 30s and 40s I ran to keep in shape; probably why I have a full right knee replacement now. Drove a sand rail way back when and loved jumping it over dunes. Then got a Toyota 4X4 with a 'Vette engine that we used to desert race. Also road dirt bikes during desert hair and hound races. This was all in the 70s.
Later when my boys got older I rode a Kawasaki KX250 with them every chance we had to go dirt riding and I have to admit I took more than my share of spills riding the XXX trails. When the boys moved out I got back into street bikes, first a Honda Shadow VTX1100 and then my 2000 Heritage until '13 when I got the RGU. During the mid 2000's I also got into ATV riding here in Utah and used to go almost every month during the spring, summer and fall. Again, lots of rough roads traveled and a few more spills but never really got hurt. So all in all my back has taken a beating over the years. Now besides riding, the only thing I do to stress my back besides riding my Harleys is pull on 100lb+ yellow fin Tuna once a year down off Baja and slowly restore my '70 Cuda. All in all I've had a good run with the toys and leading a active lifestyle, but I'm just not wanting to throw the towel in yet. I'm still young at heart at 67! :D
And contrary to what my Dr and wife say, I'm very comfortable riding my bikes. I have good seats, custom handlebars, back rests and foot pegs. I don't feel like they stress my back that much but they're saying they do. Just because the last time I rode the RGU, my back locked up on me the next day. Go figure.
 

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I have similar back issues as you, however I'm much younger. I was always active thru my life, worked out, lifted weights, ran, need in mind I was a bulky guy at around 265lbs at age 28 I slipped on ice while getting out of my car and landed on the door sill plate with my lower back. Thought nothing of it till later that day when my entire back was LOCKED up, after weeks of seeing a chiro I thought I was getting better. Had an MRI done a few months later revealed I had a ruptured disc, L1 & L2 with degenerative disc disease. I had a 06 dyna at the time that would cause me some discomfort riding, I sold it that summer of my inj. and bought my 12 road glide custom which I can ride all day without any problems. I'm now 31 and had no surgeries and don't plan on any. I've gotten back into weight lifting after taking almost 2yrs off after inj. my back. That alone has helped the pain and discomfort subiside greatly! I'm very cautious on how I workout and what I eat. I'm not about 225lbs built like a brick shit house and in the best shape of my life while having a back inj. Don't stop living life, continue to do what you what and know to listen to your body. I say keep riding the road glide, if it hurts then you know it's time to hang up the helmet. No need to switch to a trike knowing that the suspension is not much better. I'll ride my bagger till I can no longer take the pain or no longer hold it up. Then I'll switch to hot rods and muscle cars for my toys. Till then do whatever you can to keep a smile on your face and ENJOY life, this isn't the end! If you wanna chat more send me a message and we can exchange numbers or whatever, but I refuse to let a back ache stop me from living life!
 

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I rode a 1500 Goldwing trike in Florida. Roads were smooth, but it had a solid rear axle, and wide rear tires. If there's a bump to hit, a trike will find it. You have 3 tracks to negotiate vs 1 on a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everybody for the advice. It's greatly appreciated. Taccone you made some good points about working. Haven't decided yet which way to go but I appreciate everybody's input. Ride safe and keep the shinny side up.
 

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I would start by getting rid of those street glide rear shocks which reduce the suspension travel by an inch and go back to the 13 inchers. Maybe go to the new premium hand adjustable ones like on the new RGS, or if you can swing it, some of the good offerings from JRI, Ohlins, etc. There's a lot of options, it's just that many are ridiculously overpriced. Still...can you really put a price on the ability to keep riding over the alternative? If my choice was pay too much, or not ride, it'd be an easy one....riding wins. JMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
X Ring. I agree about the shocks. Just haven't had the time or felt good enough to make the change back to the '13 OEM shocks, but it's on the list. And if I decide to keep riding, will definitely also consider some premium shocks. Thanks.
 

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I can understand your dilemma, my friend. I too had back surgery two years ago from ancient injuries suffered when I was younger, but aggrivated by riding my 1200 Sportster. That bike had super stiff suspension, a LePera "Bare Bones" seat, and started with drag bars, and slowly forced me to learn about "Ape" style handlebars.

Your back has to heal and I hope you are doing physical therapy. Mine took a year, and I didn't, or couldn't ride. The bike just sat there. Then one day I took it for a ride, because I was feeling up to it, and I could feel my lower back taking all of these hits that felt like my spine was compressing.-OUCH. However, I noticed the more upright I sat, like in an old kitchen table chair, the pain went away.

My point being, is HEAL FIRST, then sit on your bike and really check how it is set up. Make sure the handlebars are at a comfortable position when you are sitting straight up.(This is how I discovered "Ape Hangers") This forces you to ride sitting straight up. Then check the position of your legs, and get a really comfortable seat. One that puts you in the "Right" position for you and you alone. It won't look as cool, but your back is more important. And lastly, like everyone else has said, invest in some high quality shocks.

Good Luck with your recovery.:D
 

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Thanks everybody for the advice. It's greatly appreciated. Taccone you made some good points about working. Haven't decided yet which way to go but I appreciate everybody's input. Ride safe and keep the shinny side up.
You're welcome on the insight! You ever wanna chat about prob's with lower back pain give me a buzz. I hope the day never comes where I'm forced to stop riding for medical reasons in my life time, but if that day comes I'll turn to something else with a motor in it to go cruising with. Just don't let this stop you from living and enjoying life, I always say if you can wake up and smile everyday it's going to be a great day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the offer Taccone. It's greatly appreciated. I agree about finding something else with a motor. That's why I restoring a '70 'Cuda. Unfortunately I haven't touched it in over a year due to the last back surgery.

KevinHD, I agree wholeheartedly about "Healing First". That's what adding to the dilemma. I already missed the entire '14 riding season due to the last surgery. Now, I'm looking at a second surgery and missing the entire '15 riding season also while I "heal". In the meantime the RG just sits and I'm making payments on it and paying for insurance. So I could sell it now and then "if" I feel like I'm totally recovered buy a new RG in '16. However, I know that I'll probably end up spending the equity I have in the '13 RG before I can buy a '16 so then if I buy a '16 my payments would be considerably higher than they are right now. On the plus side, I'd have a really low mileage '13 RG. :) I'll probably keep the '00 Heritage, at least for now.
It's not worth much, it's paid for and I have a custom paint job on it that I'm really fond of.
 

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Take care USRAPTOR. I do know its hard to stay off the bike. I had one doctor who forbade me to ride, and then another who said he knew that true motorcycle riders and enthusiasts will not stay off the bikes. It was his suggestion, that if I was going to ride, get something bigger than what I was on and cushion it up a lot. So I bought the Roadglide.

Good Luck with everything.
 

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I think there are a lot of upgrades you can do to a trike, to improve the ride. Different seat, shocks, fork upgrades etc...etc... Good luck with your decision.
 
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