Neck pain and distance riding

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by rusche, May 5, 2018.

  1. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

    Aug 7, 2007
    Littleton, CO
    I had that issue on my old Triumph Scrambler right after I got it. Eventually I determined that my riding position was too low and that this was forcing me to crane my neck upwards in order to see forwards. My solution was to put a 1" riser under the handlebar to raise it up, and to go with a slightly lower seat. That, plus a small windscreen (enough to keep the wind off my chest but still no higher than mid-chest on me) did the trick.
  2. Mcahron

    Mcahron n00b

    Dec 1, 2017
    santa cruz
    +1 on a neck brace. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis,severe disc degeneration, the neck brace is a must have.
  3. sparkingdogg

    sparkingdogg Prisoner In Disguise

    Apr 15, 2014
    Omahell, Nebraska
    I have posted this several times....

    When I was a young lad, an old man gave me this advice. I was suffering arm/back/neck pain after only 30 minutes or so of highway riding. And numb hands.

    Pick a cool day so you are comfortable. Put your bike on the center stand, hopefully in the garage with the door shut. Put on your favorite music. Light some incense. Whatever makes you relax. Close your eyes, and sit on the bike. Put your arms down to your sides. Relax. Relax for 10 or 15 minutes, until you are REALLY relaxed. Keep your eyes shut the whole time.

    Now, imagine you are riding through a gently rolling meadow, the sun is shining, the birds are singing... slowly raise your hands up to where you "think" the handlebars should be. Open your eyes.

    You may be surprised. My bars were a good 10 inches away from my hands when I opened my eyes.

    My advice is free to try, and uses no harmful x-rays. It may or may not work for you. For me, 35 years later I can ride for 12 hours a day on even a KLR650 and have zero back/neck/arm pain. Now I have learned the trick to setting up a bike to fit "me" and am happy to pass it on to you.

    Good luck, be well. :thumb
  4. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

    Jul 2, 2002
    Bend Oregon
    If the OP has cervical spine structural issues rolling the head & neck can be damaging to the neck.
    The head, being larger & heavier than the neck, can put a huge amount of stress on the neck structure.
  5. st3ryder

    st3ryder Been here awhile

    Jan 27, 2012
    You need some wind blast to lift you up, and that includes your head. This is why an upright riding position is not the most comfortable contrary to popular belief. A little forward lean, and a properly placed wind blast around the chin bar/upper chest, will take the weight off wrists and necks. Lower your screen, and bars, get into the wind a little more at the right place and save the "windshield" for the car. :-)
    GiddyThump likes this.
  6. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    The MX neck rolls are the best thing I've found. A lot less $$$ than something like a full on neck protector and for neck pain they work far better.
  7. jspringator

    jspringator Been here awhile

    May 11, 2008
    Versailles, KY
  8. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

    Feb 16, 2012
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Sparkingdogg; I may have to try that very zen-like approach to getting the right setup. My issue is not neck pain even though I have an extra large noggin and helmet. Yup, fathead.
    But for me its left middle back muscle tension, sometimes not even 20 miles into a ride. Some days its a nagging numb pain, most often early in the ride. Though sometimes its not there and doesn't show even after many hundred miles.

    My main rides are a 07 BMW R1200RT (standard handlebar and Sargent seat), and a 94 BMW R1100RS that features my own handlebar design/mount that puts the grips very close to the relationship of my R1200RT, and a custom seat of my own design/build that has worked well for over 20,000 miles. I'll soon be adding a Kawasaki VN1600 Classic to the herd, and it has the Mustang seat set with the rider backrest. I'm changing the handlebar on that to the one from the Mean Streak, which has the same grip spread and angle as the handlebar on my R1200RT. It'll be interesting if the Vulcan proves more comfortable than the BMWs. Oh, I'm 5'-6" with a near 30" inseam so I'm of the short torso set. But over time I have developed a strong core and shoulders. I used to do shoulder/neck crunches with 25lb weights in each hand to build up my neck/shoulder muscles.
  9. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

    Dec 17, 2009
    Southern Appalachians
    I don't think I've ever done 6+ hours without pain (and I've definitely done 12-14 hour days).

    Being able to sit bolt upright helps a lot, as does getting rid of wind blast, and stopping to stretch/walk every 60-90 minutes. Also keep hydrating.

    I don't want to ride a goldwing, though, so I'm probably going to cut out some of the longer distance riding I do.
  10. Neal J Hinerman

    Neal J Hinerman Adventurer

    Aug 25, 2011
    I would say the majority of us are dealing with pain caused, or exacerbated by, our posture. The electronic life tends to lead to a head forward and looking down posture. We use this as a functional holding pattern whenever we are using a laptop or looking at our phones/tablets. Stay in this posture long enough, and the body's connective tissues starts to adapt in order to make it easier to maintain the head-forward posture. When this happens our heads tend to stay in that posture.

    Look at people from the side, and see how many are walking around with their ears in front of the centerline of their body, measured through the shoulders. The further forward the ears are, the more stress is applied to the neck, shoulders & back. Add a helmet to mix, and the load on the body is increased. Then add hours in that position with the added weight of the helmet to the mix and you get lots of pain.