Back and Shoulder Strain - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Back and Shoulder Strain

I rode from Springfield, to Toledo, to Columbus and back to Springfield (Ohio) this weekend. Thats about 2.5 hours, 2 hours, 1.5 hours and Ive got a lot of tension in my neck, back and shoulders from the ride. Ive got the 1" motowerk bar risers and stock bar. Not sure where the ergonomics are wrong. I feel like the bars need to be even further towards me. My arms are almost in a full lock, like 95% extended and my wrists are at just the angle naturally that my fingers get numb. I have to **** them to the side a bit to relieve the pressure but it feels weird holding the grips. I am consciously trying to stay loose on the bars but even then feel the tension.

Any suggestions? I have a ride to chicago, about 6 hours, coming up and I will probably be super sore from it. New seat helped a lot though (corbin).
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 11:44 PM
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Try one of those throttle assist like you don't really have to grip the throttle all the time.. Its a snap one over the throttle.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Try one of those throttle assist like you don't really have to grip the throttle all the time.. Its a snap one over the throttle.
Cramp buster, I have one. Ill slap it on and try.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 11:56 PM
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Cramp buster, I have one. Ill slap it on and try.


Hope it helps , try and relax when you ride. Neck, shoulder pain are caused of staining oneself. It may be your sitting position , your handle position but it will take sometime before you find the sweat spot to get the right position.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 05:55 AM
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cramp buster

My cramp buster got deposited somewhere in a cornfield...as far as I could throw it after it's 3rd attempt on my life (yes I know that it could be traced to some sort of operator error but it seemed to get in the way of my hand or brain at the WRONG times). I have had no such issues with my equally cheap GO CRUISE throttle lock (the cheap plastic one has been fine for the last 6 years. Both are cheap and perform some function or other...some have gone even cheaper and just used an O-ring to slip between the grip & throttle housing, I'm not personally comfortable with that one.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 06:18 AM
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The back of your hands should be in perfect alignment with your forearms when riding. if they are not you have to ask yourself why. Do your clutch and brake levers need to be rotated?

Your grip on the bars should be loose and comfortable. Good quality leather gloves will let you hold the throttle position without gripping the throttle tightly.

Your core is what supports you, not your arms on the bars. Unless you do a lot of standing while riding you shouldn't need risers on the Versys. If you do then you probably should just let go of your ego and get a cruiser.

I am 56 with a blown out lower back and I exercise a few hours every day to be able to keep riding. Rode my Moto Guzzi V7 naked bike all day long both Saturday and Sunday with no complaints except getting a little wallowy in some curves that will soon be fixed by Traxxion Dynamics in Georgia.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 07:02 AM
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JackImpact good to see there is a fellow Springfield Ohio Versys rider!
I too have experienced the same shoulder strain but have the stock height bars.(I'm 6'1") I agree a modified seat helps as I have one as well.
I firmly believe exercising on a regular basis helps plus I usually try to relax and take a few advil prior to hopping on the bike for a longer ride. I don't think there is a magic solution.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 08:41 AM
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With tubular bars you can loosen them and rotate them back or forward a little, then do the same with the controls to keep your hands in alignment. You need to check for clearances with the bars at full lock. A little change may make a lot of difference.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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JackImpact good to see there is a fellow Springfield Ohio Versys rider!
I too have experienced the same shoulder strain but have the stock height bars.(I'm 6'1") I agree a modified seat helps as I have one as well.
I firmly believe exercising on a regular basis helps plus I usually try to relax and take a few advil prior to hopping on the bike for a longer ride. I don't think there is a magic solution.

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This thought crossed my mind the other day. Maybe I just have a weak back? Haha.

Time for some daily push ups!

If you are in Springfield, lets meet up! Mother Stewarts is a good spot if you are interested.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 05:03 PM
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This thought crossed my mind the other day. Maybe I just have a weak back? Haha.

Time for some daily push ups!

If you are in Springfield, lets meet up! Mother Stewarts is a good spot if you are interested.
That sounds good. I'm open after Thursday late morning, otherwise let me know a good day or time which works!!

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 06:17 PM
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With tubular bars you can loosen them and rotate them back or forward a little, then do the same with the controls to keep your hands in alignment. You need to check for clearances with the bars at full lock. A little change may make a lot of difference.
MY experience - as LITTLE as 5 to 10 degrees can make a HUGE difference!

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 07:14 PM
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[QUOTE=fasteddiecopeman;1589603]MY experience - as LITTLE as 5 to 10 degrees can make a HUGE difference!
Gotta agree with Fast Eddie (is there a choice?). Gotta pick on him when I can. I agree, small changes can make a big difference. Also, getting the controls in a position that your hands fall naturally on the levers when you reach forward with your fingers is such an easy adjustment. I agree that (like me) you have to work at letting your shoulders relax and try to keep a flat back (unlike my rounded forward slouch). Lots of little things should ultimately result in feeling better on your rig. Good Luck!
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 06:07 AM
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[quote=cjcintucson;1589627]
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MY experience - as LITTLE as 5 to 10 degrees can make a HUGE difference!
Gotta agree with Fast Eddie (is there a choice?). Gotta pick on him when I can. I agree, small changes can make a big difference. Also, getting the controls in a position that your hands fall naturally on the levers when you reach forward with your fingers is such an easy adjustment. I agree that (like me) you have to work at letting your shoulders relax and try to keep a flat back (unlike my rounded forward slouch). Lots of little things should ultimately result in feeling better on your rig. Good Luck!

Every time I've put risers on my bikes it changes the entire "feel" of the bike, to the point that I've had to remove them. Risers made me feel less in-control, if you will.

What I have done is adjust the stock bars on the pivot, up or backwards, just a few ticks. Generally I can find my comfort spot and ride for hours.

But I also ride in a "forward slouch" position and I can get the pain in the shoulder blade area. I use a back brace on longer trips, which has helped. I also bought one of those $10 back massage "things" at Walmart. (They're hard plastic and look like a giant question mark with balls at the ends.) I took that with me on my MS trip and it helped a ton!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 11:47 AM
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We all love motorcycling but its not very good for the body,especially riding 8 hours a day for a few days in a row.Like sitting at a desk as a job.You have to make it up to your body,one way or another.I find swimming,even treading water brings those core muscles back to life.On a multi day ride I try to leave an hour at the end of the day to get some kind of exercise,it even walking.If I stop exercising the whole thing goes to hell!I ride bicycle too.All my riding positions on bikes(motorized or not)have gone more upright,keeping the back straight is important.Im in my sixties and have had back and hernia issues and my main fear when I got back into motorcycling was whether my back,core and shoulders could take it on a long trip.So over the last few years Ive lowered my 650,riser bars,tilted the bars toward me,Sargent lowered flat seat and highway bars.Crotch rockets are the other end of the spectrum,dont see many older folks riding them.I bought some hernia compression shorts for exercising,the pro undergarment that pro atheletes wear.I was using a back brace when riding but the hernia shorts do that and more,holding everything together,makes all the difference for me.And hold my male parts up and out of the way,another problem I had.Theres older guys than me on this site,everyones got their own tricks.But riding aside,if you pay back your body with some exercise you can go along way as you age.Think of it as maintenance so you can get your body to not let you down.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 09:26 PM
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Just saw this... A bit late to the party. So, please forgive my late entrance.

Here's the thing... Riding a motorcycle IS a physical activity. You MUST keep yourself in shape physically to go for the long haul. Not that I have any room to talk here (although, I have lost 2 pants sizes in the last 3 months from riding), but increasing muscle strength and endurance is the most effective way to improve ride quality and ergonomics.

For me, I do a lot better on and off the bike when I also do my time in the gym, lifting heavy. Bench, squat and dead lifts are your best friends here.

If you can do it, get yourself on a 5/3/1 program. You'll feel results very quickly. Concentrate on those 3 movements to minimize time in the gym.

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:43 AM
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I didn't see it mentioned but hydration can be quite helpful for holding off the stiffness. On longer rides there is a water bladder in the tank bag.

I didn't see this topic before as I was on a three week "longer ride" in September.
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And most of Canada too, eh?
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 10:39 AM
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try to take your hands off the handle bar, just a little bit, so you don't touch them, but still keep your fingers around.
see if that makes your back change the way it takes your body weight.
if you feel a big difference, than you put too much weight on your hands while riding.

just a thought.

I did 750km in a day and didn't have a problem (other than obvious tiredness..)

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 05:11 PM
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Backrest

Over the years I've become quite spoiled on my GL1800 Gold Wing with a Utopia Backrest. I have put in several cross-country trips, spending many hours in the saddle each day. No problem at all. While the Gold Wing is a different bike from the Versys, I believe the backrest has been a major reason why the long rides were pretty easy.

Reading Weljo's positive comments about Terry's Custom Seats, I've just sent my seat to Terry to work his magic. And add a Utopia backrest. Looking forward trying this combination out in 2019.

BTW, on the Versys the fingers on my right hand got quite numb. Pins and needles. And then this started to a lesser extent on my Gold Wing. Turned out I needed carpal tunnel surgery, which I just had last week.

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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 11:40 AM
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As Cuddy mentions.....a back rest (of any kind) is a big help on long rides. On short rides I notice that my old back lets me know it's not comfortable (so I use a back belt). On longer rides I use a Kury bag with a back pad built in. It's strapped to the passenger pillion and it make the ride comfortable for those 10 hour days.

You also may need more than a 1" riser.......I'm using a 3 1/2" ROX and it took several rides before I got the angle of the bars "right" for me.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 11:57 AM
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On longer trips I almost always have camping gear with me. Clothing and sleeping bags etc. are carried in a 39 liter dry bag laid crossway on the back seat. It makes an effective back rest. In keeping with my continual striving to make packed things serve more than one purpose this bag works well.

Ride Long and Prosper.

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And most of Canada too, eh?
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