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I have had back problems for years, but last summer I really hurt my back. Ever since I have had to be very careful in my life activities.


I have always loved the RT bikes. I have had a 99, 2003, and got a 2005 1200RT when they came out and have had it since. I have loved the bike and gone all over the country on it in great comfort. I have a custom Rick Mayer saddle, and highway pegs for stretching out (though I don't use them now that it hurts to lean backwards).


However, since my back injury, it hurts to ride this bike. I think that the upright seating position is part of the cause.


This spring I bought a road bicycle and put triathlon bars on it. It turns out that leaning WAY forward is extremely comfortable for me. It makes my back stretch out, and I don't hurt while riding or after.


Yesterday I rode the RT in to work and my back was hurting really bad all day. Every time I ride the RT, my back gets very angry!


I do not have bar backs on the bike. I have the seat in the LOW position (I am 6 foot, 175 pounds) and I have a backup backrest. I am going to take the back rest off the bike as I can't use it anymore. When I lean back into it my back gets pissed off quickly.


So now I am faced with a problem!! Is there anything I can do to make my RT more comfortable where I am leaning more forward?


One option I have weighed is to pick up a used K1200 GT (new style) or 1300 GT... or maybe go all out and get a 12/1300 S, or go really nuts and get a 1000. I am not sure how comfortable the S would be over long distance though. Dad had one and I rode it 600 miles over 2 days, but that was in 2006. It was not super comfortable at the time, but now I am thinking that it might be better since I am more used to leaning forward and supporting my upper body with my arms (bicycle riding!).


Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts? The GT seems like it would be a perfect in-between from the RT to the S, but it is kind of a bastard bike (as my dad puts it) since they only made it for so many years.


My background info that might be of use: I am 33 years old, been riding street bikes (BMW!) since 2002. I race motocross (haven't since my back injury), I run half-marathons, bicycle a lot, and am in pretty decent shape other than my back. I am 6 foot, weigh 175.


Input would be greatly appreciated!

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Morning KTM_95


I really have no idea of how your personal fit on your RT effects your back. I do know the feeling of back tightness when all isn’t right though.


This is posted as something else to look into.


When I first got my 1200RT I thought the bars were in a bad position. It really wasn't the bars but the foot position to bar position that was the problem. I lowered the foot pegs & all felt perfectly normal & balanced & no more tight back on long trips.




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Thanks for your input. I will look at what it takes to machine something to lower the footpegs a bit. In general I find it more comfortable to have my legs closer to my body than when they are extended more, but this is for sure something I will look into.


The way it feels overall, my body is too upright and when I lean just a little more forward all pain/problems go away. If I am not paying attention for long I find that my "Natural" position shifts back to upright sitting. This is what lead me to feel like I need to either figure out how to move the handlebars forward (is that even possible?), move the seat backwards (not possible), or perhaps take a look at a different bike all together (who doesn't like bike shopping?).



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I rode the F800ST for a while for that very reason. The forward lean, but not the total sport forward lean helped the back.

Now, back on the RT it is critical for me to keep an upright riding position.

If I slouch forward at all, I get the back pain.

I have to concentrate on sitting up straight.

Beyond that, you have to look at the configuration of the bike.


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Go here and compare ergonomics.


Not that much dif between some of the bikes you mention.


I have a permanent back disability, mainly from being run over by a truck that left tire tread on my back.


The forward cant of the K1200rs/gt thru '05 helps.

Rt's way too upright for me now.


ST/older boxer RS(L) and the like put you more in MYRP.

Good luck.

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A week ago this past Tuesday, I was running up the stairs in our house and my legs gave out from under me as my lower back went out.


Years ago I injured my back mountain bike racing when I didn't notice that 5 foot drop off. Since then I've had a few minor strains when I wasn't protecting my back, but the collapse on the stairs was something else. I could not get up without help. To make matters worse this was 1 day before my annual WSBK ride to Salt Lake city.


After the E-Room visit, which by the way was a complete waste time I scheduled an appointment with at PT. The hospital prescribed drugs, heat and 2 weeks of rest. Uh, sure, but I ride. The PT got me moving again and prescribed an ice bath, more activity, stretching and a follow-up. The ice bath was me in a tub of cold water with my spouse, Sandi dumping in 40 pounds of ice in the water. The boys were not happy to say the least. Funny, I was a little fogging at the time, but I do remember Sandi with an evil grin on her face.


Anyway this is a long story to tell you that riding my KGT was the only place I was comfortable for the first 2 days of a 3160 mile round trip. Standing, sitting, and walking were extremely painful, but there was something about the forward posture along with the movement and hum of the bike that felt good and got me to that good place.


So yes, I can vouch that the K12/13GTs are lower back friendly.


Cheers and best of luck to you!

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Are you SURE it's 100% a physical thing? Don't be. Oh, I know the pain is real... but don't be so sure about the cause.


I had the worst back pain you can imagine for years. I went to every doctor around - 5 of them! - and they all peddled surgery and drugs as the only solution. They told me I had the back of a 70 year old, and I was 29 at the time.


Then on a whim and last ditch effort, I read Dr. John Sarno's books, starting with "The Mindbody Prescription." I did the work prescribed inside. And within a few months of steady progression, my back pain went away. COMPLETELY. And never returned. No drugs, no surgery, no side effects, no expenses of any kind. $0 in outlay. Just a few months of the hard work of getting to what the REAL cause was.


I've since recommended his books to two friends and one family member who have suffered from chronic pain, with a 100% success rate. 100%!


So, as the guy who recommended them to me when I had nowhere else to turn said, "Try it. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain." Very, very true! Try and see for yourself.



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Bmr Deacon

I've had back problems for the last 35 years. The upright position on the RT was tough on my back too. I'm on the 800 ST now and the back pain is no longer an issue. Your inseam is probably long enough where you could put the seat on the high position and still reach the ground. This may get you a bit more forward lean. It's the cheapest of fixes, if it works...

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I think you are on the right track. If you like the boxer twin, look for an R-ST or older R-RS. You can compare the ergos at:

cycle-ergo.com the R-S is more forward than the K-S


It is an easy way to see what other bikes you might want to try or see what difference modifications make.


For myself, yeah my aging back hurts some and I have found I like it best on my 03 K-RS with the early bar mounts and bars forward and pegs back. Yeah I had to get my abdomen a bit stronger but it works. I think my setup is now similar to the K-S


So do think about what you can do to enjoy biking again. As each back ages or gets injuries differently, I think your PT person most likely can help you determine the best angle for your back not to be supporting you so much during a ride.


Keep us posted on your progress on this.



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Have you considered seeing a physical therapist? I had back problems 10 years ago and again recently both helped by PT. 10 years ago it was lower back. Recently upper back and neck.If you're lucky looking for a differnt bike won't be an issue after PT.

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Have you considered seeing a physical therapist? I had back problems 10 years ago and again recently both helped by PT. 10 years ago it was lower back. Recently upper back and neck.If you're lucky looking for a differnt bike won't be an issue after PT.


One of my close friends is a PT, and he has his PHD in PT, and teaches at the University of Michigan (also runs his own PT place). I will have a talk with him about this.


I am glad it isn't just me. I thought it was somewhat odd that leaning forward would feel GOOD and relieve pressure/pain. I thought that a road bike would be horrible to ride, then I got one and LOVED the severe lean forward. It was almost theraputic on my back as it seemed to stretch it out somewhat.


I sat on a 2007 K1200 GT today and had my wife take pictures of the seating/body position with the handlbars in the full up/back position, and I had her take a picture of me with my hands on the brake/clutch levers as this seemed to be about where the bars would be with the handlebars in the full down/forward position.


The full upright position felt a lot like the RT position when I lean JUST a bit forward. The other position felt vastly different (good).


When she wakes up from her nap I will have her take a picture of me on the RT with the seat in the low and seat in the high positions so I can compare all the positions to see how I sit on the bikes.


One thing I am curious about is how much difference there is between a K1200 GT and a K1300 GT, and how much price difference there is between used bikes of those two. Any long-term issues to be aware of on them? I know nothing about long term stuff on the K bikes, I only keep up to date on R1200 RT issues!


Thanks for all the input, I greatly appreciate it!


I really wish I had someone around here that had a 1200GT that I could ride for a few minutes back to back with my RT. Of all the things I fear:


1. Buying a used bike with unknown issues.

2. Selling the bike I love (but might not be able to keep riding) and buying a bike that I am unsure I can ride long distance!

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Could you put ST bars on your RT? That would give you more lean than the K GT. From Cycle Ergos I think the RT was 1 degree forward and the K GT only 7. not much difference. The K S I think is more like 26 or so. The K RS was around 19 it seems with the bars in the up and back postion.



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I have lower back problems, and have also been a road bicycle rider for many years. Like you, I discovered that the bicycle's stretched out and forward leaning position is very helpful. I have no problem calling it theraputic, in fact, my favorite solution to back soreness is to go for a bike ride.


I am 6'1"" and ride a K75S moto. I find it's slightly forward leaning positioning and relatively low bars very comfortable, and doesn't it cause any discomfort for my back. I'm more comfortable on it than in many cars that supposedly have good seats.




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Jerry Johnston

I wonder if you couldn't get the seat modified so you could scoot back to the front part of the passenger seat Kind of like the bench seats of the older airheads.

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Nice n Easy Rider

I cut down the rubber bumpers at the rear of the rider's seat to tilt the seat a little more to the rear. This seams to keep me more on the back of the seat which, in turn, gives a little more curve to my back. I've had lower back problems for about 30 years now and lower back surgery almost 4 years ago which helped some. There is rarely a day my back does not act up and I take meds every day. But it is definitely more comfortable when I'm riding and I think that is because of the slight curve in the back I have while riding and I think lowering the back of the seat definitely helped.

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I have been plagued with back pain for the last 15 or so years after a high speed ejection where I was subjected to a lot of opening shock when the parachute deployed. What I have noticed riding my RT on long rides is that if I ride at 65mph after a few hours my back will start to hurt whereas if I am traveling at 75+ my back does not get stiff or begin to hurt in the same amount of time. I know it sounds silly but it is true. I think it is because I lean forward slightly at the hips to compensate for the wind at the higher speeds. There has been some discussion on another thread about posture while riding which you may find useful.


Also, I think you said you have bar backs. Don't they make you sit more upright? I think you should try the seat in the high position as that will also help you to lean forward some.

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If you are in Michigan the best Osteopathic Medical School in the country is at MSU*. You might consider paying a visit to their Clinical Center.

You also mention U of M. If you are near Ann Arbor I recommend Dr. Jay Sandweiss, a pretty incredible guy who practices in AA.


If your back problem involves a herniated disc or something pressing on one of the spinal nerves, the forward position widens the opening where the nerves exit. That could be one explanation.


*OK, I'm prejudiced. My alma mater...

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