Jacked Up Back - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Jacked Up Back

Sure is fun getting old. Was lifting some concrete footings on Sunday. Monday had a terrible case of sciatica. Never experienced it so bad.

Back has been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Pretty sure everyone at age 65 has some of this.

So paid a visit to the ER to get an MRI. Fortunately the result did not show anything bad. Got a shot of Toradol and some muscle relaxers to make things better.

Would'nt ya know it...its 70 degrees here and I am jacked up and now drugged up and cannot ride...Oh well, Momma told me there would be days like this.

Curious how many bad back riders visit this forum?

I actually had to switch bikes due to the old back. Went from a wonderful FZ09 to a KTM 1190 Adventure in the search for a smooth ride. The 1190 handled the bumps like a magic carpet. Best ride on a street bike ever. But got tired of big and tall and the hot rear cylinder sitting under your legs and butt.

Unloaded it and went with my 15 V-650. Regarding smooth ride it falls somewhere between the 1190 and the FZ09.

There were a couple of guys on the FZ09 forum who also switched bikes because of the rough ride of a sport bike and their old back.

Wondering if any of you went with your Versys for a similar reason?

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 02:46 PM
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I have bad knees, hip and lower back.. The Versys being a taller bike works for me. Along with MotoWerk peg lowering block and MotoWerk highway peg mounts with rivcco pegs.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 02:47 PM
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Yup, bad back here. In fact I'm off work for several more weeks after having spinal decompression surgery. There is a very high incidence of bad backs in airline pilots, and I thought this was going to be a healthy job!

I find the V650 just fine on my back when riding.

My last bike was a Virago 250 just for bopping around town. Very light weight, with a low seat. I never dropped it, but if I had it would have been like picking up a bicycle. I never thought about my back either riding it or if I'd had to pick it up. With the V650 I do worry about having to pick it up by myself, so I avoid riding solo where there won't be help. Though I have picked it up by myself a couple of times in parking lots, I worry about injuring my back. Last summer riding off-road in the hills I broke a collar bone when I went down on a steep switchback, but it was a group ride with plenty of help righting the bike. I limped home not realizing the fracture, but then couldn't ride for 6 weeks.

In the autumn I had some minor dental surgery which prohibited wearing a full face helmet for 6 weeks, and I didn't feel safe without it, so it has now been over 2 months since I've ridden. And of course this autumn and winter have been relatively mild and dry, so I could have been riding quite a bit. I didn't get in many miles in 2017!
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 04:45 PM
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Probably lots of bad backs around, I'm one also. I had to down-size from a Vulcan 1500 Classic bagger cause when I dropped it I couldn't pick it up by myself. A couple of months after getting the Versys 650 I found out that I can lift it up once down. No problem.....I'm not sure what will happen when it becomes to heavy............
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 05:07 PM
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I had a work injury in 1988 that resulted in damage to L4-5 and L5-S1. After 3 years in a back cage and physical therapy I was finally allowed to have surgery. After another year of physical therapy I was as good as I was going to get. A lifetime of exercising to maintain a quality of life. I would have episodes from time to time that required bracing for a couple weeks and no heavy lifting.

Fast forward to September 2016. My back bothered me during a flight home from a work trip. Braced up and tried to continue with my life. Things got steadily worse to where I had to cancel riding my bike to New Mexico for work and instead took the truck. When I got home I scheduled an MRI to make sure there was nothing more serious. Had my primary care doctor order the MRI. When they got the results they immediately sent me to a neurosurgeon. He examined the MRI the Monday after Thanksgiving and showed me that my L5-S1 disk was blown out to the back of my spinal canal. He asked me when I wanted to have surgery and I said. "How about tomorrow." He just happened to have an opening and I had surgery on the last day of November 2016.

Normal recovery process and was finally ready to travel for work again in February/March 2017. Went to Florida and then on to New Mexico in my truck for a 3 weeks and the hotel bed was aggravating my back. Got to the point where getting out of bed was rough and walking to the breakfast area was agonizing. Started taking my opioids again and called my surgeon who prescribed steroids. Since the last day of the trip was a flight test I felt like I needed to stay. Right after the test I headed for home.

Made it to Lubbock, TX that evening. The next morning I barely made it into the truck. I was 1000 miles from home and knew that if I stopped again I would be in the hospital at whatever town I stopped at so I drove 1000 miles straight through to get home. Once I was there I got into bed and stayed there while scheduling another MRI and doctor visit. Kept getting worse while waiting for MRI and finally made the decision to go to the emergency room via ambulance. After the ride and the MRI I hit pain level 10 for the first time in my life. It seemed to take forever for the morphine to kick in.

Over the next 11 days in the hospital I hit pain level 10 several more times while the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. They diagnosed me with discitis which just means inflammation of the disks. The usual cause is infection. My blood work did not show infection. They did a biopsy. They did epidural steroid shots. They started intravenous cocktail of antibiotics.

At the end of the 11 days they felt I was on my way so they transferred me to a skilled nursing center for 14 days, then to home health for another 6 weeks. I went from not being able to move without quickly escalating pain to walking with a walker and $1400 back brace, to walking with a cane, to walking carefully without aide. I did 6 months of physical therapy and now have to do 3 hours of exercises a day in order to keep from slipping backwards.

I will probably never ride the 25,000 miles a year I have averaged for the last 11 years so I am so glad I didn't wait to do my bucket list of riding in all of the lower 48 states.

I am hoping to continue to improve but once disks are damaged they don't regenerate. Seriously considering getting down to a couple bikes and maybe buying a little roadster.

I know that is more than you wanted to read, but the point is to take care of your back. Do exercises for your core and yoga style stretching before it is too late.

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 06:03 PM
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Yep, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease about 65 as well. It hit me pretty hard and had to have frequent spinal injections and nearly got hooked on opioids. When I retired when I was 68 the pain mostly subsided (my job kept me on my feet 8 hours a day). Now at 70, it comes and goes and I'm much more aware of what my back can tolerate. Even though at 6'0" I could flatfoot my 2016 LT, but I lowered it to make it even easier to balance at rest.

I find it really interesting that in this forum you'll find many young riders gravitating to the Versys on their way up to bigger bikes, and many olders guys moving smaller and lighter with the Versys.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 06:13 PM
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arthritis in my lower back and hips..which cause "micro-spasms" in my legs 24/7...stretching helps and massage when they get really bad...my Versys is a good ride for 3 1/2 days before cramps set in..then i just want off of her...my '83 BMW R80RT is good for 6 days before I start wanting off of the bike...highway footrest bars on either of these bikes probably would go a long way in the comfort area...

I was 65 when I got the Versys...I wasn't happy with the seat height but I got it because it's a 650 twin...I could've grabbed a Ninja 650 with the same engine..but the back said NO WAY Jose...a 650 twin is the bike of my youth..Triumphs and Nortons were the bikes I lusted after...at the time of purchase of the Versys I could've picked up a nice new Bonneville for the exact same price..but I was underwhealmed by the Triumphs HP for engine size and went with the bike I could BRrraaappp it up on...

I had my Beemer when I bought the Versys..but it was a project bike at the time...it too was a bike that took me back to my past and bikes I knew I'd like to have some day...she's up and running like new now and a total hoot to ride...I surprize a lot of people when we ride the twisties..where fast isn't as important as smooth for hustling through the corners...
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Yup, bad back here. In fact I'm off work for several more weeks after having spinal decompression surgery. There is a very high incidence of bad backs in airline pilots, and I thought this was going to be a healthy job!
I have heard that before. I was a professional pilot for 30+ years which may have added to my trouble. I flew for a couple of regional's for for 13 years then switched to corporate for the next 18 or so.

Who do you fly for?

What equipment are you on?

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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I had a work injury in 1988 that resulted in damage to L4-5 and L5-S1. After 3 years in a back cage and physical therapy I was finally allowed to have surgery. After another year of physical therapy I was as good as I was going to get. A lifetime of exercising to maintain a quality of life. I would have episodes from time to time that required bracing for a couple weeks and no heavy lifting.
Ah man 2 wheel. Your story breaks my heart. Man that's a lot of suffering to have to endure.

Sure hope you get the relief you are shooting for.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I find it really interesting that in this forum you'll find many young riders gravitating to the Versys on their way up to bigger bikes, and many olders guys moving smaller and lighter with the Versys.
Yep I too find it funny regarding the cycles of life (pun intended)

Us seasoned citizens with more in the rear view than out the windshield are downsizing to the lighter and simpler, while the young whipper snappers are anxious to move up from the "entry level" machines to the fire breathers...Lol.

If my old carcus was not so beat up I would still be riding those fire breathers.

I gotta say that I am really enjoying the economy of my V-650. Gas and tires go much further on 60hp as opposed to 150hp.

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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..I surprize a lot of people when we ride the twisties..where fast isn't as important as smooth for hustling through the corners...
Could not agree more. I am faster in the twisties with the V-650 than on most I was on most of my liter bikes. Just can't compete on the long straits with the big HP machines.

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 09:28 PM
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Who do you fly for?

What equipment are you on?
CRJ 900 for a large regional I prefer not to name (but you can probably guess).
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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CRJ 900 for a large regional I prefer not to name (but you can probably guess).
Gotta be Sky Pest...I mean West...Lol.

I was an old Westair and Wings West guy.

The United folks in SFO used to call us "United Distress."

Many hours in an E120. I'll bet you have a few hours in one too.

We came up with a company saying: Time to spare fly Westair, same day service most of the time. More time yet, fly our jet.

Ah those were the days.

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 10:11 PM
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Seems we have a lot of older riders that like the Versys and have health problems--put me too in that circle at 67 I have had 2 back surgery's- 2 ankle surgery's and cataract surgery in both eyes and that's not counting the things the doctors want to do to me but I refuse--but what you going to do sit and die or keep on riding-I vote ride as long as you can- after riding 53 years it's all I do and will do until the end..you know I never thought of the Versys as a old person bike but maybe it is--lucky us

Deep in Cajun Country

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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 11:16 PM
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I'm young, 26, but am quite tall at 6'4 (193cm), 34" inseam. I like the position the Versys puts me in, reminds me of sitting on a medicine ball so I treat it sort of like that and am generally super comfortable. My knees arent uncomfortable and I enjoy the sporty position, but also poised and upright. The seat COULD have a less slanted forward seat, i'm going to try one of those spacer mods at some point...

I know back health is going to be more tedious for me in the long run so the less I bugger it up now I figure its only good for me when I do get older! :P
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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 10:09 AM
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...Curious how many bad back riders visit this forum?

There were a couple of guys on the FZ09 forum who also switched bikes because of the rough ride of a sport bike and their old back.

Wondering if any of you went with your Versys for a similar reason?
Hurt my back getting my TT500 out of a mud-hole in an enduro ('78 or '79), and it's bothered me since. I've sat on a sportbike at a dealer once or twice, but my back "speaks" to me, and it's ALWAYS NO!!!

I always wear a back-support when I ride, and I'll turn 75 next birthday....
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Seems we have a lot of older riders that like the Versys and have health problems--put me too in that circle at 67 I have had 2 back surgery's- 2 ankle surgery's and cataract surgery in both eyes and that's not counting the things the doctors want to do to me but I refuse--but what you going to do sit and die or keep on riding-I vote ride as long as you can- after riding 53 years it's all I do and will do until the end..you know I never thought of the Versys as a old person bike but maybe it is--lucky us
Love it Motorboy. It's been said "You are as old as you feel" or perhaps should add "think."

My problem is the 18 year old hooligan trapped inside this 65 year old carcass. The best way for him to get out these days is on 2 wheels.

My running and jumping or anything involving impact days were over many years ago.

The thing I absolutely love about riding is I feel "normal" and not restricted in any way when I am on the bike. The only problem with this is, I have to reset what "normal" is every couple of years...Lol.

Ride on mates!

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 04:26 PM
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Many hours in an E120. I'll bet you have a few hours in one too.
Probably more than 6,000 hours in the old Bro! Great airplane for the mission, but a lot of vibration and noise when spending all day in it. The FAA did their best to neuter the airplane with various new restrictions towards the end of it's tenure, but by then I moved up to the "heavy" 900.

Seats were kind of bad in the EMB, but horrible in the CRJ. Bad ergonomics all around really in the CRJ. Plenty of pilots with torn up shoulders and backs. I can drive my German sedan 12 hours straight in total comfort, but 30 minutes in the CRJ puts me in a lot of pain.
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 08:05 PM
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I'm now 47 years old and back on my feet after spending 7 years in an electric wheelchair. It had full electronic seating with leg elevation for what started as a diagnosis at age 28 of degenerative disc disease with complete disc herniation at several levels. This quickly progressed with help of numerous failed fusion surgeries (eight fusion surgeries and nine spinal surgeries for a total of seventeen at this point) to failed back syndrome with nerve damage and uncontrollable spasms causing the loss of use of my legs and an eventual broken neck at the C2 level when they gave out. I now own and ride an '09 Versys 650 and I absolutely love it! I never thought I would be able to walk again more than a foot or two let alone get back on a bike, but thanks to an incredible doctor and a Medtronic implanted morphine pump I'm on it every opportunity I get. Having the first four discs removed and replaced with cadaver bone, pins, plates, and screws I'm not comfortable in any seat very often. Except for my Versys' riding position which was seemingly made from a mold of me in the most comfortable position I could find. 80% of my bike time is with my beautiful wife Lori of 26 years seated behind me and we have an absolute blast. I find the upright seating position, well balanced power band, low weight, and sporty attitude under any riding condition adding up to what I believe is the perfect balance of comfort, nimble agility, and full throttle twisting fun with or without a passenger. A great bike for anyone, a top pick for those of us with back issues! Thanks for the opportunity to throw my opinion out there as well. Brian

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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 10:29 PM
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Love it Motorboy. It's been said "You are as old as you feel" or perhaps should add "think."

My problem is the 18 year old hooligan trapped inside this 65 year old carcass. The best way for him to get out these days is on 2 wheels.

My running and jumping or anything involving impact days were over many years ago.

The thing I absolutely love about riding is I feel "normal" and not restricted in any way when I am on the bike. The only problem with this is, I have to reset what "normal" is every couple of years...Lol.

Ride on mates!
My doctors have always used the words normal and quality of life and as you said these have to be adjusted every few years and I'm fine with that-even if I could I don't think I would do half the things I did at age 20- body may be getting old but the mind is still shape and recognizes danger and PAIN more than it ever has

Deep in Cajun Country
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