I am coming off of a 10 year break from cycling due to a horrible auto accident. I have back issues and have the following questions:

  1. Would converting or modifying my existing handlebar help? What in particular would help? Where would I go to explore these options?

  2. Should I try out a recumbent bike? What type of places would let me do this?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

  • 1
    Do you already own a road bike with drop bars, but you want to make it a bit more upright friendly? Possible, but it means replacing the brake levers and shifters, so is generally not financially feasible without donor parts.
    – Criggie
    Apr 3, 2017 at 7:16
  • Recumbents are a rare beast, you're best off finding a `bent rider locally and asking about. A Recumbent Rider's group or a Human Powered Vehicle club.
    – Criggie
    Apr 3, 2017 at 7:17
  • 4
    As it stands this question is mostly about products and where to buy them. This is Off Topic because its highly regionalised, and of limited long term use. Have a browse of our tour and see how SE is a bit different to a chat forum site.
    – Criggie
    Apr 3, 2017 at 7:18
  • 1
    To add to @Criggie's remarks, there is a related question: How to make a bike more comfortable considering back injuries. For such a question more information on your present bike and needs are required.
    – gschenk
    Apr 3, 2017 at 12:47
  • Usually simply adjusting the handlebar position will help a lot. This will generally involve adding spacers to move the bar upward, plus a new top piece (no idea what they call them anymore) to position the bar farther to the rear. Generally bikes are shipped with the bar too low, since that looks "meaner" on the showroom floor, and the newer threadless scheme is harder to adjust (requires new parts vs just a wrench). Apr 4, 2017 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


I'd recommend hitting up a local bike shop for recumbent bike options. Since product availability is pretty location specific, only this general advice is helpful. Even recommending a particular website may not be helpful depending on your country of residence.

Regarding handle bars: your entire position on your bike is going to have changed in the 10 years of recovery (welcome back!). Getting your bike professionally fitted is well worth looking into. I did so after getting hit by a car. Not all bike shops offer this service though so it may require some searching online to find a place that offers fitting.

Generally speaking, you will probably find a more upright position more comfortable. That means raising your handlebars and possibly pushing your seat forward. Raising your handlebars can be done with spacers as well as purchasing a new stem with a steeper angle. It's best to get these options dialed in in real-time with a professional that you can give immediate feed back to.

Regarding handlebars specifically, refer to @Criggie's comment. Handlebars are generally system specific and would require more than just swapping the bars.

  • Recumbents are a love/hate thing for bike shops - they are slow to move, but command decent markup. Many bike shops won't carry them, so you need to find a local outlet that does. At least try one before committing funds, they're not cheap. Check ebay/CL/gumtree/trademe for any options.
    – Criggie
    Apr 4, 2017 at 1:19

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