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6 Best Bikes for Back Pain

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KEY
POINTS

  • Beach cruisers are among the most popular bikes for people with back pain. They offer a relaxed upright riding position and comfortable seats.
  • If you want extra comfort, get a recumbent trike.
  • Endurance road bikes are also suitable for riders with mild symptoms.

If you have back pain but still want to be active, you can try cycling. Bicycling is an excellent exercise with countless benefits for the body, but you have to spend a little more time choosing a suitable bike if you have chronic back pain.

After spending more than 15 hours researching more than 30 bikes, we think that the best bike for back pain is Electra Townie 7D – a fantastic cruiser-type bike with a comfortable upright riding position, extended handlebar, and decent gear range. For women with back pain, we recommend Electra Cruiser Lux 7D Step-Through.

The Top 5 Bikes in a Glance

ImageBikeOur RatingPrice
Best Overall
Electra Townie 7D
Electra Townie 7D
  • Type: Beach Cruiser 
  • Frame Material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: 7-Speed 
  • MSRP: $580
9.3
Check PriceDetails
Best for Commuting
Schwinn Discover
Schwinn Discover
  • Type: Hybrid 
  • Frame Material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: 21-Speed 
  • MSRP: $479.99
9.1
Check PriceDetails
Best Trike Seat
Ice Adventure Recumbent Trike
Ice Adventure Recumbent Trike
  • Type: Recumbent Trike 
  • Frame Material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: 30-Speed 
  • MSRP: from $4,490
8.8
Check PriceDetails
Best Road Bike
Trek Domane SL 6
Trek Domane SL 6
  • Type: Road Bike 
  • Frame Material: Carbon 
  • Weight: 20.51 lbs. 
  • MSRP: from $4,099.99
9.7
Check PriceDetails
Best for Trails
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 10
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 10
  • Type: Full-Suspension MTB 
  • Frame Material: Aluminum 
  • Drivetrain: 11-Speed 
  • MSRP: $2,299.00
8.5
Check PriceDetails

Electra Townie 7D

-Best bike for back pain-

Type: Beach Cruiser | Frame Material: Aluminum | Drivetrain: 7-Speed | MSRP: $580


+ Relaxed upright riding position
+ Extended handlebar
+ Shock-absorbent saddle
+ Fully equipped
Entry-level Shimano Tourney derailleur


Electra Townie 7D is a perfect choice for anyone who has back pain because of the upright, relaxed riding position it offers. It’s very comfortable to ride for a few reasons.

First, the frame geometry places the rider in such a position that you don’t need to overextend the seat post to have a full leg extension. This means you can quickly put both feet on the ground at a stop without sacrificing power delivery. On top of that, you get a super comfortable extended handlebar and an ergonomic shock-absorbent saddle for additional comfort. 

The 7D model has, as you might guess 7-speed Shimano drivetrain with an entry-level Tourney rear derailleur and Shimano Revo twist shifter. Nothing fancy, but enough gear range for most people, even for those who live in relatively hilly areas. Other cool features include internal cable routing for a cleaner look, a full-length chainguard for safety, and a convenient kickstand. 

Electra Townie 7d is also available as an electric cruiser bike ( Electra Townie Go! 7D Electric Bike ), an even better option for riders who are not in shape but want to get back to cycling. With this bike, you get all the benefits of the original Townie plus the Hydrive rear hub electric motor and a pair of mechanical disc brakes. 

Read more: 65 Best Bike Brands of 2022


Schwinn Discover

-Best for commuting-

Type: Hybrid | Frame Material: Aluminum | Drivetrain: 21-Speed | MSRP: $479.99


+ Swept-back upright handlebars
+ Comfortable frame geometry
+ Wide gear range
+ Suspension fork
A bit heavy
Cheap pedals and handlebars


The Discover is one of the most popular hybrid bikes by Schwinn for a reason. It’s affordable, well made, and very comfortable to ride in town or around the park. The comfort of the ride is guaranteed by the swept-back upright handlebars and wide padded seat. The aluminum frame of the Discover is made for comfort as well. It’s the so-called step-through or step-over frame. If you can’t lift your legs too much, the step-through frame is a must. 

Schwinn Discover is a great bike for people who want to climb hills because it has a 21-speed entry-level SRAM drivetrain, including a nice grip shifter. Gear shifting is smooth and relatively silent for a budget commuter bike. As a bonus, you get a decent Schwinn suspension fork that dampens road bumps. Schwinn Discover is fitted with fenders to keep dirt off and a convenient rear carrier for groceries. 

Keep in mind that this bike is a bit heavy at 35.5 pounds, and you should look for another bike if you plan to carry it a lot. That weight, on the other hand, keeps the bike on the road with a balanced ride. The only downside is that some components like the pedals and the handlebars are pretty cheap. The tires are also not the best you can find in a $700 bike, but hey, this is the new reality of bicycle prices these days. 


Ice Adventure Recumbent Trike

-Best Trike Seat-

Type: Recumbent Trike | Frame Material: Aluminum | Drivetrain: 30-Speed | MSRP: from $4,490


+ Most comfortable trike seat
+ High weight limit of 330 lbs.
+ Comfortable ride
+ Highly customizable
+ High-end components
Eye-watering price tag


Recumbent trikes are among the most popular choices for riders with back pain because they’re made exclusively for this purpose. Ice Adventure is our favorite recumbent trike of them all. It’s a fantastic ride for heavier people ( weight limit 330 lbs. ) or people who want a roomier cockpit. 

The cushioned seat ( not a saddle ) of this trike is probably the most comfortable one you can buy right now on any trike. It’s so good that you can compare it only to a car seat or an office chair. Another thing we love about the Ice Adventure is that it’s highly customizable. You can get it with drum or disc brakes, suspension or no suspension, different tire types, 21-inch or 26-inch wheels. You can customize it as per your needs and desires. The only thing you can’t customize is the blue color. That’s the only one you can get right now. 

The ride of the Ice Adventure is comfortable, even in the non-suspension model, because the bike itself absorbs the bumps. Every component on it is high quality, from the shifters to the brakes. The Schwalbe Big Apple tires give you a soft ride, but they’re also fast and silently rolling on the paved road. As a big plus, we have to mention that Ice Adventure is foldable, and when it’s folded, it fits in an average car trunk. 


Trek Domane SL 6

-Best for road cycling-

Type: Road Bike | Frame Material: Carbon | Weight: 20.51 lbs. | MSRP: from $4,099.99


+ Lightweight carbon frame
+ IsoSpeed decoupler for comfort
+ Full Shimano Ultegra drivetrain
+ Powerful hydraulic disc brakes
+ Available in eight sizes
Expensive


If you’re into road cycling but have back pain, you have to choose a comfortable road bike with a suitable frame geometry. Trek Domane SL6 is a performance road bike with endurance geometry that puts the rider in a relatively relaxed riding position. It has all the road-smoothing advantages of a lightweight OCLV Carbon frame and front and rear IsoSpeed decouplers. 

On top of the premium carbon frame, you get high-quality components as well. An entire Shimano Ultegra drivetrain provides best-in-class performance and gear shifting. You also get a pair of premium Bontrager wheels and tires and competent Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes. Trek Domane SL6 is also a very lightweight bike at only 20.51 lbs. You can easily carry it upstairs if you need it.

Read more: Are Trek Bikes Good? – The Best Trek Bikes

Trek Domane SL6 Mate Black Everything

The bike is available in 8 different road bike sizes ( from 47 to 62 ) and three color options, one of which is the epic Matte and Gloss Trek Black. Probably one of the best-looking road bikes on the market right now. 


 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 10 

-Best for the Trails-

Type: Full-Suspension MTB | Frame Material: Aluminum | Drivetrain: 11-Speed | MSRP: $2,299.00


+ RockShox front and rear suspension
+ Shimano Deore drivetrain
+ Dropper post
+ Comfortable on the trails
+ Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes
Average downhill performance


Generally speaking, mountain bikes are not suitable for people with back problems, but if you love mountain biking and want to get back on the trails, you need to choose an MTB with a good front and rear suspension and decent geometry. In this case, the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 10 is probably the best choice. We love this bike for its versatility – it can handle everything with ease. From the easy trails to the technical climbs, the Thunderbolt is killing it. 

Let’s start with the suspension. On the back, it features RockShox Deluxe Select+ suspension with 140mm of travel, and in the front, RockShox Recon Silver RL with 150mm travel. Both of them are mid-range suspensions with outstanding capabilities. Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt comes with a Shimano Deore 11-speed drivetrain 11-51T gear range which is excellent for climbing. 

The stopping power is provided by Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. They’re powerful, easy to use, and very precise. WTB ST i30 TCS rims are paired with WTB Trail Boss Comp tires for a smooth ride, and you can also get it in a tubeless version if you want to have fewer flats. Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Alloy 10 comes with a dropper post as well. You can quickly lift and lower your saddle with a simple lever. 


Electra Cruiser Lux 7D Step-Through Women’s Bike

-Best bike for women with back pain-

Type: Beach Cruiser | Frame Material: Aluminum | Drivetrain: 7-Speed | MSRP: $570


+ Relaxed upright riding position
+ Extended handlebar
+ Shock-absorbent wide saddle
+ Elegant but still casual look
Cheap tires


Looking for a leisurely bike to cruise around town on?

The Electra Cruiser Lux 7D Step-Through women’s bike is perfect for women with back pain who want a stylish and comfortable ride. This cruiser’s easy step-through frame makes getting on and off the bike a breeze. Plus, it comes with seven gears to explore beyond your neighborhood.

You’ll love this bike’s casual, relaxed style – perfect for cruising around town or hitting the beach. It also comes with all the features you need to ensure you won’t have additional issues with your back – a relaxed upright riding position, an extended handlebar, and a wide comfortable saddle.


How to choose the best bike for back pain 

Bike Types for Back Pain

The first thing you need to choose is the bike type. The most common bike types are mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrid bikes, beach cruisers, and recumbent bikes. Generally speaking, mountain and road bikes are not among the best for riders with back pain, but you can find some good full-suspension mountain bikes and some good endurance road bikes that can work for you. In most cases, people with back pain choose hybrids, beach cruisers, or recumbent bikes. 

Beach cruisers have the most upright riding position; they often have a wide cushioned saddle and sometimes an electric motor for pedal assistance. We love them for the low maintenance and ease of use as well. 

Read more: How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling?

Some hybrid bikes are also suitable for people with back problems. Especially if you can find an urban commuter bike with comfortable frame geometry and swept-back handlebars that bring the rider’s hands back and maybe up a little bit. 

Recumbent bikes are the best for chronic back pain because they can be the only option for some people that can’t ride any regular bike. The pedals are out in front of you with recumbent bikes instead of below the seat, and you get a substantial car-like seat with a backrest to lean against. This takes the pressure off the lower back, buttocks, and groin. ( SOURCE

Bike Fit for Back Pain

Bike fit is crucial for people with chronic back pain. If the bike doesn’t fit well, you will have problems, and you can worsen your pain. When we talk about bike fit, our first recommendation is to buy a bike from a local bike shop, when professionals can help you choose the best type and size. If you still prefer to buy online, don’t get a one-size-fits-all bicycle, get a high-quality bike with a proper bike fit. 

Seat selection is also essential. If the bike seat is not comfortable in the first few days, you still might find it comfy when you get used to it. But if it’s still uncomfortable after a few weeks, you should think about an upgrade or maybe some common ways to prevent lower back pain when cycling. Wide and cushioned saddles provide the best support for people with back problems, so get a high-quality seat and upgrade as soon as possible. 

Read more: Bike Size Chart – How to Choose Your Size


Can cycling strengthen your back?

Biking can’t strengthen your back muscles, but it helps core muscles and overall flexibility. Having a strong core and good flexibility is crucial for preventing pain during and after a bike ride. If you have an existing back condition, you should be very careful when starting to ride and always start with very little distance. People with spinal stenosis ( a spinal canal narrowing) might find riding an upright bicycle much better than other activities like running or walking. 


Why does my back hurt when cycling? 

Young cyclists often have back pain due to bad posture on the bike. You might favor one side of your body or the other and lose your balance. An imbalance in the spine will cause overuse and lower back pain. Poor bike fit is often the problem. A too high saddle will cause your hips to rock side to side,  leading to lower back pain. You should immediately stop riding your bike if you feel sudden back pain. 

What is the best bike for back pain?

We think that the best bike for back pain is Electra Townie 7D – a fantastic cruiser-type bike with a comfortable upright riding position, extended handlebar, and decent gear range. 

Read more:

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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