Back-A-Line Back Support Belt
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
A friend and riding
companion first introduced me to the Back-A-Line belt. I
would watch him put it on before each ride, and he always commented on
how this belt helped to "save his back" and was the only way
he could ride his Suzuki TL-R with its race crouch riding
I thought that back supports were only used by cruiser
riders, so it was news to me that a product like this could help the
I had tried various types of elastic
"kidney belts" in the past, but never really noticed that
they did anything.
I'm a victim of what seems to be regularly
scheduled back pain, I think due more to my (ahem) "weak"
stomach muscles than from any over strenuous lifting. So I
became intrigued, and figured I should give the Back-A-Line a try.
Back-A-Line belt is unique enough to have earned a couple of
patents. This product definitely has some thought behind the
design, as it is much different than any other type of wearable back
The main section that fits snugly
against the lower back is about 20cm tall (8") and 33cm
(13") wide. It's made from some type of very firm backing
material. The central section is curved, tapered and recessed to
fit around the spine, while at the same time providing a relief so
that the material doesn't press the spine itself (see photo left).
The belt is a quality piece and very
nicely made of high-quality materials. It's surrounded by a
perfectly aligned edging and stitching, so someone has taken a lot of
care in its design and manufacture.
It's also very light, at 245g (8-5/8 oz.).
The belt portion of the Back-A-Line
consists of two overlapping sections. There's wide belt of
approximately 10cm (4") that runs continuously from behind the
main back support and is roughly 120cm (47") long. There's
another 5cm (2") wide nylon web-type belt that doubles across the
top of the wider belt and is secured across the stomach.
To wear the Back-A-Line, you first wrap
the wide belt around your stomach. It secures with a big, wide
strip of Velcro fastener. Then you take the smaller nylon web
belt and wrap it across from right to left and under a metal loop,
then back again across your stomach and fasten it against another
piece of Velcro.
The series of photos below shows the process
-- believe me, it's easier done than said!
The belt is available in
various lengths to fit waists from 23" to 48", it's
washable, and it has a nice, soft, felt-like liner. Back-A-Line,
Inc. claims that it can be worn either under or over clothing. I
wear mine over underwear but under riding pants. It's about 19mm
(3/4") thick, so you may have a tight fit under some pants, but
it fits very nicely under most riding pants with elastic stretch
wear it under the comfortable
GX pants (photo left) with their big, wide, elastic stretch
panels, and I don't even notice the Back-A-Line is there.
The first time I wore the Back-A-Line,
it felt a bit stiff, and I wondered if I'd be able to get used to it,
especially since I've never worn a back support before. But a
funny thing happened; by time I got my bike prepped and rode away, I
completely forgot about it and I honestly did not even realize I had
it on until I came back from the ride and took my riding gear off and
realized I was wearing it.
My unscientific explanation for this is
support will "mold" to your individual contours after
break-in. But my question about this produced a more scientific
explanation from Back-A-Line, Inc.; here's basically what they said. Instead of the lumbar pad
"molding" to the wearer's back, it's actually a little
different, and this is why it works.
The lumbar pad has a "fixed"
curve. You move (or "mold") to it, rather than it moves
("molds") to you.
Muscles love to press against firm
surfaces (e.g. pressing your back against the wall, acupressure,
shiatsu massage), so on a sub-conscious level, the spine will change
its shape to conform to, and press against, the pad. Why?
Simply because it feels good, and that's all the incentive the muscles
Since the pad has some curve, the spine
will sub-consciously go into "lumbar lordosis" (the natural alignment
of the spine when standing), where it activates the muscles and does
the least amount of tissue stretching (which is the reason for back
The bottom line is that after wearing
the Back-A-Line support for a few minutes, it definitely feels more
Will the Back-A-Line help prevent back
pain? Back-A-Line, Inc. claims that the support will help you
maintain good posture all the time, and this helps prevent back
pain. This claim is backed up by several endorsements as listed
on the Back-A-Line, Inc. website. The studies show that a firm,
curved surface against the back muscles can reduce back pain.
This is the only product that has ever received the Seal of Acceptance
by the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.
Since many motorcycles force the rider
into riding positions that are unlike anything else encountered during
non-riding activities, there is a real potential for back pain.
This may be why motorcyclists seem to always be experimenting with
various types of back supports.
If you're a long distance rider
or you've experienced back pain during or after a ride, the
Back-A-Line may be for you. I notice a real difference when I
wear mine -- almost like I feel "refreshed" when I finish a
Review: Back-a-Line Back
Retail Price: $49.95 (Dec. 2007)
Blue or Black
in: U.S.A by Back-A-Line,
Comments: A true back support, not an elastic "kidney
belt"; patented and medically proven to promote good posture; can
help reduce back pain; comfortable. Slightly thick design may mean a
tight fit under some pants.
Comments: See Below
for comments from Back-A-Line owners.
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►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "S.C." (9/08): "I don't ride a motorcycle, but bought
one after seeing reviews about it. I love it! I cannot tell you
enough how much this thing has changed my life. When I first put it on I
had a few spasms because it was forcing my back into the correct position.
In 2-3 minutes I felt like a new person. I sleep in it every night and am
able to get out of bed in the morning pain free. Thank you!"
From "J.B." : "I purchased
one of these recently, though it predates your review. It does
seem to work well, although I have some issues that may not
affect most users. I'm a big guy with a 50" waist and I
purchased the largest size, "ZZ" but it's actually
just a bit too big.
To get a good snug fit would require
adding more Velcro to one side or the other (the belt ends
overlap just a little too much). While riding this doesn't
seem to be a problem, but I used it while doing some yard work
last week and I couldn't get it tight enough while standing to
give much support.
The other thing I noticed on a
ride on Saturday is that, while my lower-back problems seemed
cured, I had some discomfort in my upper-back. I can't
attribute this necessarily to the belt - it did handle the
lower-back. I wear the belt over my jeans but under my chaps -
seemed to work well on Saturday.
One last thing, my belt does
not have the extra nylon web-type belt over the top of the two
belt ends. Perhaps it's because of the size I ordered."
Thanks for the feedback, J.B.
The Back-A-Line comes in various sizes; each size spans a
different waist width. All of the Back-A-Line supports now come
with the second nylon web strap as far as I know...