Back pain can be limiting and reduce your mobility. Yet continuing to exercise is crucial for your health, physically and mentally.
Thankfully, back problems do not have to end your cycling adventures. Instead, it's all about finding what you need in comfort, stability, and terrain.
The best bikes for back problems put you in an upright position or lean back (recumbent). Numerous options include:
- Schwinn 270 Exercise Bike
- Ice Adventure Recumbent Trike
- Electra Townie 7D
- Sixthreezero EVRYjourney
- Polygon Siskiu D7 Mountain Bike
- Quietkat Ranger E-bike
- And more...
Keeping fit while in pain is a challenge, but it's essential for good mental health. I know, as I live with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes injuries and joint instability all over. Thus, I deal with a variety of back and sciatic pain. Regardless of whether I am on a horse, two-up on a motorcycle, or cycling, I must sit upright or lean back to be safe and happy.
You can still enjoy the activities you love even when your body hurts. It's not about pushing yourself through the pain but finding modifications and equipment that suit your body's needs. Thankfully, cyclists have a wide range of back-friendly options, and I've rounded up the best in various categories.
3 Best Exercise (Stationary) Bikes For Back Problems
Spinning has become a global fitness trend. Thankfully, you don't need to miss out even if your back is giving your grief. There are some fantastic recumbent exercise bikes out there that will provide back support. While I prefer exercising outdoors, there have been times stationary bikes have been instrumental in my physiotherapy.
1. Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
Marcy ME-709 is an affordable recumbent exercise bike that generates its own electricity. The padded seat is angled back to help keep pressure off the spine, and the step-through frame makes getting on and off so much easier. It also has transport wheels, making it easy to move around your home.
The bike has an 18lb flywheel and 24 levels of resistance. Other features include two sets of handlebars (seat and by display), pulse sensors, and it keeps track of time, speed, distance, and calories.
2. Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike
Schwinn 270 has a broader frame than many other models, which prevents it from wobbling side to side. This can be an essential feature for certain back issues and other chronic health challenges. In addition, its adjustable mesh seat keeps you cool, and it is contoured for essential support.
One fun feature of this exercise bike is its VR compatibility. While the headset is not included, those that have one can go on virtual adventures around the globe thanks to apps such as Explore the World.
Other features include 29 programs, a weighted flywheel, 25 levels of resistance, a heartrate monitor, a 3-speed cooling fan, built-in speakers, an MP3 & USB port, and Bluetooth.
3. SOLE LCR Recumbent Bike
SOLE LCR Recumbent Bike provides excellent lower back support and comfort. Its large, contoured gel seat has 12 different positions. It's uber quiet, and the peddles action is incredibly smooth. The 10.1 LCD screen is easy to see and well-positioned, so your neck won't be strained. It is also light commercial grade, so the heavy-duty frame is durable and built to last.
It's a tough challenge to graduate out of this bike. It has a 30lb flywheel and 40 resistance levels. Even advanced cyclists with no back problems would achieve an intense workout on this bike. However, there are only 10 workout programs (6 standard, 2 custom, and 2 heart rates), which could frustrate some users.
SOLE's other features include heart rate monitoring, wireless heart rate compatibility, USB port, tablet holder, Bluetooth speakers, cooling fan, and the option of toe-clip or pedals.
3 Best Recumbent Bikes & Trikes For Back Problems
Back problems, injuries, illness, and chronic conditions can impact balance for some cyclists. But these health challenges don't mean you are limited to indoor stationary bikes. There are recumbent bikes for outdoor enthusiasts. So regardless if you love paved paths or off-road, there is a bike perfect for you.
1. Gekko Fx 20 / 26 Recumbent Trike
Gekko Fx 20 (and its bigger back tire 26) is a brilliant folding recumbent trike. This back-friendly ride is known for its maneuverability (you lose a bit of this with the 26in). This thing can do a U-turn on a local bike path. It is also fast, stable, and can handle hills.
The Gekko FX 20 and 26 have hydraulic disc brakes and many upgrade options. For example, the 20 comes in the sport or the performance, which gives you six more gears. There are also options for fenders (mudguards), extra seat cushioning, rear rack, stand-up support, hand rest support, retaining strap, and an array of pedal options.
2. Ice Adventure Recumbent Trike
Ice Adventure Recumbent Trike was specifically designed for cyclists with back pain. It has an ergonomically designed cushioned seat built for comfort. They are also lightweight and breathable, allowing plenty of cooling airflow.
This rugged design will take you wherever you want, even off-road. Find changing gears confusing? No problem. It has an automatic stepless gearing solution that allows you just to peddle and enjoy the view.
Ice Adventure is made with high-end quality parts. It has many customizable options, including a 20 in or 26in rear-wheel frame. You can also choose between rigid, rear, or full suspension. The Ice Adventure is an amazing bike for those who can afford it.
3. Mobo Triton Pro Adult Recumbent Trike
Mobo Triton Pro Adult is designed for riders with neck, back, and other challenges. Its incredibly stable frame allows cyclists to exercise on flat paved surfaces or gentle slopes. It's an around-town bike for places like Chicago with long, smooth bike paths.
It features dual-joystick rear-wheel steering and adjusts to fit people from 4'2 to 6'3. It is a chainless design, making it low maintenance. However, the tires (20in front, 16in rear) wear down rather quickly.
2 Best Trikes For Back Problems
Trikes are the best option for back problems if you require balance support but don't want to be low to the ground as you are in a recumbent bike. Trikes typically come with a step-through frame, enabling easy on and off. Modern trikes are designed with bicycle engineering and classic European flair.
1. Schwinn Merdian Adult-Trike
Schwinn Merdian Adult-Trike comes in 24in or 26in and 1, 3, or 7-speed. It is designed with comfort and stability in mind. The handlebars and seat adjust, allowing you to find the best position to keep your back straight. The padded cruiser saddle is also designed to help cushion any bumps you may ride over.
This trike maneuvers beautifully, making it great for peddling around town. It has handbrakes, fenders front and back, and a folding basket in the rear.
2. Sixthreezero Body Ease Trike
Sixthreezero Body Ease Trike is a sporty 26in 7-speed. Its geometry is designed to minimize tension and pain in joints, including your back. The seat suspension is also engineered to reduce vibrations, further helping back pain suffers. It fits users between 5-feet to 6'2.
Sixthreezero gives you foam grips, front and back handbrakes, and its gear system allows you to navigate hills. It also has a handy basket in the rear.
4 Best Cruisers & Hybrid Bikes For Back Problems
Cruisers have gained in popularity, from classic to hybrid. They're for bicycling around town, in parks, and on groomed, easy-going trails. Their aim is to make cycling a comfortable and enjoyable experience for those commuting to work or taking in the fresh air.
1. Electra Townie 7D Cruiser
Electra Townie 7D Cruiser, with its extended handlebar, puts riders in a relaxed, upright riding position, which is ideal for many types of back pain. It also features a shock-absorbent saddle, minimizing the bumps on your aches. The leg positioning is also excellent, allowing riders proper extension while still being able to put both feet on the ground during stops.
The ergonomic design makes longer rides possible. It can also handle hilly terrain. Other features include a rear rack, fenders, step-through frame, internal cable routing, full-length chainguard, and kickstand. There is also the excellent Electra Townie Go!, the e-bike version, for those that want more assistance up those hills.
2. Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike
Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike positions the sweeping handlebars and saddle to minimize strain on your back, hips, and arms, despite the slight tilt forward. This makes it a great choice for those that enjoy longer rides. In addition, it has superb stopping power, and the linear-pull brake system demands little to no maintenance.
The hybrid tires have a good grip for those unpaved paths, but they're not too thick for when you are on the road. The gear system moves smoothly, and the fenders are included with the purchase. There is also a rear rack.
3. Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Men's Hybrid Cruiser
Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Men's Hybrid Cruiser is ergonomically designed to keep your body riding tall for less pain in the back and joints. In addition, the forward pedaling allows riders to be close to the ground. Thus, there is proper leg extension while allowing both feet flat at a stop.
The seat is wide and foam-packed in a cradle position, keeping you comfortable for the long haul. The grips are soft, synthetic leather, which is easy to hold. The 26in semi-slick tires provide control on mixed terrain yet keep the ride smooth. Other features include fenders, rear rack, and reflectors.
Sixthreezero's Men's hybrid fits people from 5' to 6'4. It comes in 1,3,7, or 21-speed.
4. Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women's Step-Through
Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women's Step-Through comes in 24in or 26in 1,3 or 7-speed. The primary difference between it and the men's is the step-through frame, allowing easy on and off. The lower gear models are recommended for shorter journeys, between 10-20 miles. But they still can handle transitioning from paved surfaces to groomed trails.
4 Best Mountain Bikes For Back Problems
Mountain biking can be tricky to do with back problems. Due to the terrain, the rider is positioned forward, although some are more aggressive than others. Nor are they as brutal on the back as a racing bike.
Thus, there are mountain bikes out there that make it a bit easier than your standard ride. These are focused on suspension and providing a smoother ride to help minimize the jarring on your back.
1. Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike
Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail Mountain Bike is a nice mid-priced mountain bike that comes in four sizes to suit various heights. It can navigate intermediate trails and handles well both uphill and down. But beware, as this isn't a cruiser, so the seat isn't made for superior comfort. Thus, it is advised to buy a separate seat if you require additional cushioning.
Diamondback is known for its durability and reliability, despite not being in the high-end price range. Thus, you are getting good value with a suspension fork that can help you last longer doing what you love.
2. Polygon Siskiu D7 Mountain Bike
Polygon Siskiu D7 Mountain Bike is a smoother ride than its D5 cousin and comes with full suspension to help keep your body from taking a beating. It handles well on trails up to the intermediate level. The rear suspension is calm, eliminating pedal bob while still giving you control over bumps.
This is a durable and fun mountain bike with cross-country geometry. It isn't going to take you through extreme inclines and the roughest of rugged trails, but you are going to have to jump a significant price bracket to achieve anything better. It has a RockShox Recon RL fork, X-fusion rear shock, Shimano M201 hydraulic disc brakes, and Shimano SLX shifter. Thus, it is excellent value for money.
3. Salsa Blackthorn Carbon Mountain Bike
Salsa Blackthorn Carbon Mountain Bike features Shimano 4 piston brakes and a split pivot suspension that isolates the braking and pedaling forces, giving riders extraordinary precision and control.
Regardless if you are going uphill or down, the bike absorbs shock, sparing your back unnecessary pain. In addition, the superior balance allows you to tackle tough trails, including rock gardens, jump lines, and drops.
Of course, such quality and high-level suspension systems come at a price. The Blackthorn is around twice the cost of the D7 and three times the Diamondback. But, on the other hand, the Blackthorn will see you through more challenging trails and skills.
4. Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike
Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike is the most affordable on the list. But the aluminum dual-suspension frame gives good value and is a top bike in its price range. Its fork is built to spare you the bumps from rough terrain, helping cushion your back. It is hard to find anything in this price bracket with shock absorption like this. It also does well on the road, making it a good all-rounder.
While the Schwinn Traxion weighs a bit more than the other three, it isn't by much. You are getting a mechanical disc brake system, Shimano chainstays, double-wall alloy rims, and 2.25in wide knobby tires that are tough enough on the trail but still work on paved surfaces. For what you are paying, it is an incredible bike.
4 Best E-Bikes For Back Problems
E-bikes can be your very best friend when it comes to getting back on the road, especially if you live in a hilly country. However, the strain of pushing the peddles hard can aggravate certain back issues. So rather than give up the activity you love, put some power to it, and give your back a rest. Besides, it often allows you to go faster, which is just plain fun.
1. Propella V40 7-Speed E-Bike
E-bikes tend to be weighty contraptions, which isn't great for your back when you are trying to maneuver out of the garage or down the stairs. But the Propella V40 7-Speed is only 37lbs. It has a 5-level assist and 7 gears to further help you navigate hills. Propella's 250-watt battery is detachable, making it easy to charge.
It has Shimano shifters, disc brakes, and an LCD display with a speedometer, battery gauge, and other stats. Propella also offers the Kinekt Suspension Seatpost at an extra charge for those that need more protection from bumps and vibration. It's an excellent addition for both your back and to prevent numb-bum.
2. Rad Runner 2 E-Bike
Rad Runner 2 is a cargo bike with a 120lb capacity for carrying stuff, such as your groceries or small dog. It also has an excellent low-step frame design for that easy on and off. The Kendra tires add stability, which is especially helpful when hauling bigger loads. While it is only single speed, it has an intelligent 4-level pedal assist.
The 750W motor functions with a pedal assist and a throttle. It has a headlight, taillight, and even comes with a bell. It's a great bike for somebody that wants a ride that can take them on errands or haul a picnic.
3. Specialized Turbo Combo SL5.0 E-Bike
Specialized Turbo Combo SL5 is another e-bike on the lighter side. However, this cruiser lasts longer than the Propella, thus is excellent for those that want more miles. In addition, its intuitive assistance keeps it feeling like a bicycle and not a scooter.
But the geometry lends itself to those suffering from back problems. It has a relaxed, upright positioning with drawn-back bars, making it an incredibly comfortable bike. While not a proper step-through design, it is still low enough to be handy. It also has a headlight, tail light, rear rack of panniers, and a front basket that can hold up to 30lbs.
A nice bike for getting around town and roaming parks.
4. Quietkat Ranger Mountain Bike
Quietkat Ranger Mountain Bike is for those that want to get off the road and hit the trails, even in light snow. It's also quiet for those looking for a bike to use while hunting. It has a three-finger shift lever system to get you through the seven gears and Tektro two-piston mechanical disc brakes to help you stop.
The saddle is ergonomically designed to be comfy, which is great for bad backs. The hydraulic front suspension will also help you through the bumps, while the fat Kenda Juggernaut tires provide even more cushion along with excellent stability.
Quitekat Ranger comes in three different sized frames and can carry up to 325lbs. For those wanting extra cushion for the back, there is the option to buy a Premium comfort saddle and a Kinekt Premium Suspension Seatpost. For those overnight trips, there is an Overlander's kit which includes a portable e-bike solar charging station.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson