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Old 18th September 2012, 11:43   #1
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Default Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Hi
I have a 2003 TB that's sparingly used ( 13k km). I have started riding regulary within city over the last few months and while i am quite happy with the bike, am now facing severe pain in my tail bone. It's no fun riding in pain.
I am 6" tall and I have not done any modifications. I heard many other TB owners have a similar issue as well.
I read that the upright riding position puts all weight on the lower back and that's the possible cause. Of course our roads don't help much either.
So my options:
1. Change handle. Not sure if this helps
2. Replace seats/ add cushion.
3. Horror..change bike to one with better seating position and that's easier on my body
Any suggestions?
Thanks
Shivshan
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Old 18th September 2012, 15:36   #2
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

I seriously suggest you to look out for other options. I own a 2010 model TBTS and have done 17K till now mostly in the city. I am also experiencing the same problem as yours. I have tried changing the handle bar to RD 350 and fitted Customized seat to give me a comfortable driving position but nothing helped. Finally I have limited my usage now.
Bangalore is bullet crazy city and you should be getting decent $$ for your 2003 model TB.
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Old 18th September 2012, 15:42   #3
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivshan View Post
So my options:
1. Change handle. Not sure if this helps
2. Replace seats/ add cushion.
3. Horror..change bike to one with better seating position and that's easier on my body
Any suggestions?
Thanks
Shivshan
I ride an 03 tBird myself.

The first week of ownership caused a bit of pain between the shoulder blades. I adjusted the handle bar. Brought it slightly lower. The pain never recurred in the past 9 years.

I had bad back pain while riding from Hyderabad to Mumbai a couple of years back to Rider Mania.
At the venue there was a guy selling seats.
I told him about the pain. He took off my seat. Stuck his fingers into the foam and showed me how brittle it had become.
I bought a new seat and my return trip was very comfortable.

btw, How is your overall physical condition?
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Old 18th September 2012, 15:50   #4
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I ride an 03 tBird myself.

The first week of ownership caused a bit of pain between the shoulder blades. I adjusted the handle bar. Brought it slightly lower. The pain never recurred in the past 9 years.

I had bad back pain while riding from Hyderabad to Mumbai a couple of years back to Rider Mania.
At the venue there was a guy selling seats.
I told him about the pain. He took off my seat. Stuck his fingers into the foam and showed me how brittle it had become.
I bought a new seat and my return trip was very comfortable.

btw, How is your overall physical condition?
Hmm..the seat on my tBird feels a bit brittle as well. Worth a more detailed look I guess. On my physical condition, well, i use the TB to go to the gym everyday . Am 39 but in decent physical health.
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Old 18th September 2012, 15:57   #5
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivshan View Post
Hmm..the seat on my tBird feels a bit brittle as well. Worth a more detailed look I guess. On my physical condition, well, i use the TB to go to the gym everyday . Am 39 but in decent physical health.
Have that seat looked at.

Test your suspension as well. With front brake engage. Push the handlebar down. Let go. It should be one smooth move to get back to normalcy.
Bouncing or roughness indicates a problem.

Repeat the test on the rear shocks as well.

Additionally also inspect your tires.
With age the rubber tends to harden and crack up.
I don't think it will cause any back pain. But its a potential risk.
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Old 18th September 2012, 17:18   #6
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Don't know about the '03 TB, but I have an 07' TB that I use only for long rides. I've done up to 600 km a day on the bike, taking frequent breaks, and up to 200-250km at a stretch on good and ok roads. Have felt fatigued, especially on bad roads, but pain like what you have mentioned has not been an issue.

Before worrying about what needs to be done about the bike, I'd suggest you see a doctor about the pain, and find out if that is any cause for more lower back health concerns.

Coming to the bike, since I avoid using the bike in the city (it's really not ideal for Bangalore traffic, I'd much rather use my Pulsar for city commutes), it is possible that the constant start-stop and between traffic motions on the TB are contributing to the pain. Also, I've noticed that the latest TBs have much better seats than my '07 TB (especially the pillion seat). So perhaps, by that logic, the '03 seats are worse than the '07s. Am going to check if I can fit one of the new model seats on my TB.
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Old 24th September 2012, 16:09   #7
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Mate me rode TB 1st time this weekend and the back pains like anything. The seat is far to brittle for any comfort. Also the rear shockups on my ride were stiff.
I think it's the general characteristics of the ride on this bike. The long term owners might disagree.
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Old 24th September 2012, 16:12   #8
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

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Originally Posted by Bazinga View Post
Mate me rode TB 1st time this weekend and the back pains like anything. The seat is far to brittle for any comfort. Also the rear shockups on my ride were stiff.
I think it's the general characteristics of the ride on this bike. The long term owners might disagree.
Seat cushion can be replaced.

Rear shocks are adjustable. You can change the setting. Takes less than 5 mins for a mechanic who knows what he is doing.
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Old 24th September 2012, 16:14   #9
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Seat cushion can be replaced.

Rear shocks are adjustable. You can change the setting. Takes less than 5 mins for a mechanic who knows what he is doing.
It's with a mechanic right now

Last edited by bblost : 24th September 2012 at 16:18. Reason: Edited rt and replaced with right. Please do NOT use shortforms. Thanks.
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Old 11th September 2013, 00:56   #10
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

I recently did Goa and back on the TB500. A little tailbone pain was creeping in, but changing sitting positions and sitting up straight for a short while seemed to take care of it. Over all Pune-Goa-stay-Pune was fine.
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Old 11th September 2013, 11:35   #11
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

We did some extensive research on this issue some 2 years back and concluded that the shape of the seat is the culprit. You see the area where the tailbone sits has very thin cushion/foam.

Also with the shape of the seat slanting outwards which means the highest point on the seat is the centre when you look at the cross-section.

What we found was that the seat of the machismo500 was way more comfortable. Since the front section of the seat is flat in cross section, the load is taken off the tailbone and placed on our 2 "cheeks". Hehe. So try that out. Since this is a RE, you can tinker with it endlessly. Take it to your local mech who has a welding setup and try out the machismo 500 seat temporarily. Once you find it better, and i'm sure you will, you can get a permanent setup made and get the frame painted as well.

Its not tough at all. You just need a good tinkerer to get this job done. We have gotten it done on a lot of bikes here(Dehradun) which were used for Leh touring.

You will feel a that the machismo seat is different but soon it will start feeling wonderful.


You could also try the Classic 500 seat which is held on springs. The springs further take the load off the tail bone.


PS: Don't ride too much with that tailbone pain, it can end up becoming a chronic problem and a big one at that!
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Old 11th September 2013, 12:16   #12
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Quote:
Originally Posted by navpreet318 View Post
PS: Don't ride too much with that tailbone pain, it can end up becoming a chronic problem and a big one at that!
Navpreet,
Yes the very design of the seat for TB is the root cause of this issue. With a relaxed position it does not help matters as well. Two possible solutions
1) Ensure the seat is padded up with Gel pad so that the bowl like shape is neutralized
2) Extend the butt on to the rear seat's hump for a good 15-20 minutes. With better air circulation under your butt it should feel a lot more comfortable. Do this pyrotechnics for every 60 minutes of riding and that should comfort your back side. Please be careful and cautious when doing such stuff.
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Old 11th September 2013, 16:10   #13
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Default Re: Tailbone pain on Royal Enfield Thunderbird

Shivshan,

I ride a Classic 500 and like you my age and height is in similar areas and iam not a long distance user of the bike. I too use it religiously to go to gym or for jogs apart from pleasure rides.

Have experienced (about 4 months ago) the exact pain that you mentioned in Tailbone ( Is it the bone that ends at bottom of spine?).

It was so bad, it used to take me 5 full minutes to get out of bed. Once up, I used to feel better and used to ignore and keep riding. It got really and extremely painful after a point that I went to a orthopedic Surgeon and explained my situation and took x-rays as well.

I just told him one thing, give me medication but, dont ask me to stop riding my bullet.

Took the medication for a week and magically the pain is gone and hasnt re-occured again though i still ride my bullet almost every day.

My suggestion go to an ortho and ensure its nothing serious medically and then decide next steps. Personally, i dont even want to change the handle bar and seats as I like the Classic stock without the funny changes just to make the ride comfortable.

Goodluck !!!
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Old 26th August 2015, 15:23   #14
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Question Thunderbird seat mod recommendations

Hi Guys

I just took a long ride on the thunderbird 350 from Bangalore to Cochin, roughly around 525km. I loved the ride and the bike lived up to my expectations in terms of performance the only shortfall were the seats. I got through the first hour of the ride fairly easily but had to stop very frequently because of aching buttocks. I have taken long rides before on the CI models and found the seats more comfortable for long rides.

I love the TB and really wanted your thoughts on alternatives for the seats and where I can get one in and around Cochin. I don't think I will survive the ride back to bangalore on the stock seats.

Thanks.
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Old 27th August 2015, 10:24   #15
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Default Re: Thunderbird seat mod recommendations

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Originally Posted by sreenath13 View Post
I got through the first hour of the ride fairly easily but had to stop very frequently because of aching buttocks. I have taken long rides before on the CI models and found the seats more comfortable for long rides.

I love the TB and really wanted your thoughts on alternatives for the seats
sreenath13 mate seat comfort is something which is very subjective and differs from person to person. I too like you was used to riding CI's with their single step up seat setup. I can vouch by the comfort it gives on long rides. However when I bought my first used Tbird(AVL 350 2004 model) I found it contoured seat a bit uncomfortable initially. But as I started riding on it frequently it became comfortable enough for me to do long rides. In RE fraternity this is called the bum break-in period .

When I bought my second Tbird(UCE 500 2014 model) I was used to Tbird's contoured seat but this time it was split seat but not much of a difference in terms of comfort. I have become comfortable with the seat set up. You can try strap on gel seat on top of your Tbird's seat. It is very effective from what I have heard so far. Give it a try. You can also go for a customized bucket seat which is again very comfortable.
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