Originally Posted by MotherGoose
I'm driving a 2011 R1200R, I purchased at the end of April of this year and have almost 10,000 miles on her so far. After a ride, I have a tightness between my shoulder blades which becomes sore after multiple days of riding. I've been told: "What you need is a set of bar backs". I have a hard time believing that moving the handlebars back 50 mm (Set of Verholen's from A&S BMW) could make that much of a difference. Before I spend $163.00 plus S&H, I thought I'd ask for additional input. The question is this: Are bar backs or handlebar risers worthwhile or am I just feeling the need to add an additional farkle to my bike.
A little about my build, 5'8", short legs (29") inseam, and 33" arms
That's almost exactly my dimensions (5'7").
I believe BarBacks are an excellent addition to help take some weight off the wrists and to provide a bit more upright riding position -- BUT! --
1. I ride behind barn door fairings, and ride in a lot of slow rush hour traffic, where wind is not available to help hold my torso up like on a naked bike at speed (i.e., where a more canted-forward position may be a better position).
2. The tightness in the shoulder blades is likely NOT completely a result of the leaned-forward riding position.
In my experience, there are two primary things that cause the shoulder blade pain:
(1) too tight a grip on the bars, and
(2) not using the "Master Yoda Riding Position" (google it and become enlightened
The first accelerates the development of pain in various places.
BTW, the pain in the shoulder plades is just the place where the train of muscle strain is ending up, as various sets of the body's muscles try to compensate for other muscles up the muscle chain having tired out/given up.
The second is the only thing I've found that has eliminated the shoulder blade pain I was also experiencing a few years ago.
The gist of the MYRP, as I understand it, is to use the thighs and the core muscles to support the torso -- put another way, if you are feeling body weight on the grips you're not holding yourself up with the legs/core properly.
Another key part of the MYRP is to maintain an arch in your back -- if you start slumping, you're not using your core muscles, and you'll tire/ache much faster.
It takes a bit of practice/exercise, but every time you think about/do the MSRP, you can do it longer, until you can do it all day.
So, back to the BakBacks -- with my physical shape, and my sport-touring/touring bike orientation, BarBacks are a great thing to place the bars where *I* feel the most natural sitting in the saddle -- but that is a very personal/subjective thing. They are not a cure for pain, but they may be *great* for tailoring the bike to your desires. My suggestion is to put your bike on the centerstand, sit on it with your eyes closed, feet on the pegs and arms at your sides, and then hold your arms out in front of you (with your eyes still closed) at the place where you naturally would like the grips to be -- then open your eyes. If your hands are about 2" to the rear of your existing grips, you may be a BarBack candidate!