Best bikes for a bad back

Last Updated on June 11, 2023 by FAB Jim The Cyclist

If you suffer from back pain, you might still be able to enjoy cycling.  If your current bike makes your back sore, you can make adjustments to the fit.  There are also different types of bikes that are easier on the back.  Unless you have a specific injury that damaged your back, you could also try to make your back better.  Be sure to consult your doctor so that you don’t make anything worse.

Source of pain

I suffered from back pain for years and thought my cycling days were over.  Then I discovered it was due to sitting in an office chair for long hours.  I learned how to properly set up my chair, and now I put in a lot of miles on the bike.  Here is a post about how I fixed my problem:

With age the body tends to get mad when you are doing something it doesn’t like and lets you know.  If you can cut out or make that action more comfortable you might be able to remove your pain. 

If you have a specific injury, be sure to consult your doctor before trying cycling.

Bike Fit

If your pain isn’t that serious you might be able to make some adjustments to fit on your bike.  There are a lot of ways to adjust a bike to be more comfortable for your back.  Raising up the handlebars or shortening the reach can put you in a more upright position.  The stem can be changed, and the seat has a lot of adjustments that can be made.  If you have a bike now that is causing you discomfort, check out a good bike fit.

Best bikes for a bad back

Comfort bikes

These bikes are made to be ridden in an upright position for comfort.  This makes them much more comfortable compared to a bike that your leaned over.  These can be a great option if your back problems aren’t that serious, and you just need a more comfortable riding position.  Here are some great examples of brands and models you can find at your local bike shop:

Electra Townie

Electra Townie

Giant Cypress

Specialized Roll

Recumbent bikes

Recumbent bikes come in many different types, but they all have seats that can give back support.  You are also not hunched over.  You may have tried an indoor exercise bike in this style.  Here are a couples of recumbent bike brands to look at:

Sun Seeker Recumbent

Sun Seeker


Recumbent Trikes

Similar to the bikes above, but with 3 wheels rather than 2.  Here are a couple of popular brands to check out:

Terratrike Maverick


Trident trikes

Be sure to consult your doctor before challenging your back with cycling.

5 thoughts on “Best bikes for a bad back

  1. Thanks for adding recumbent bikes and trikes! We went to trikes due to the wife’s heart condition and being a type 2 diabetic, she has had dizzy spells at times (caused by meds, etc.) so after falling over on her 2 wheel bikes, she’s had zero problems on the trike! Me, I just like the comfort and the easy mellow riding style of trikes! 🙂

  2. While some assume that sitting more upright will be easier on the back, that isn’t always the case. Being upright means more compressive force on the lower back, particularly when going over bumps. Leaning forward from the hips with the back flat may be more comfortable for some – being hunched over is generally not a good position even if your back is not painful. I do know several people who have found relief with recumbents. Some people find comfort in suspension of various types (full suspension, elastomer inserts, suspension seatposts, beams instead of top tubes – with no connection to seat tube).

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