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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-12-16, 09:28 AM   #1
ColonelSanders
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The Ultimate Performance Oriented, Clyde Friendly Bike - Giant ToughRoad 2 - I haz it

Preamble/Ramble

After months, if not 2 or 3 years of paralysis analysis, I have finally purchased a new bike/next bike and it is more than I had hoped for.

This isn't the bike I thought I would buy when I first stumbled onto these forums and thought that the Trek DS 8.6 had literally no competitors and it would only be a matter of time before I bought one and achieved Cycling Nirvana.

The scales have truly fallen from my eyes and I now see the Trek DS range as on the whole, overpriced and inferior to the Specialized Crosstrail range.

Now if it hadn't been for constantly being beaten over the head with "you don't want a cheap suspension fork on a hybrid" in the Hybrid Forum, I would have happily bought a Specialized Crosstrail Expert or Comp.

But with the forks and frames on the Trek FX and Specialized Sirrus being most likely not tough enough for my bulk(400lbs ) and riding style, I ruled them out and I had pretty much settled on totally overhauling my 1995 Trek 830 Mountain Bike or getting a Surly LHT.

As I was stumbling along, I happened to notice that a LBS had a 30% off special on a range of "demo bikes" that had only been ridden by AFL Footballers for leisure purposes, during a 2 week training camp, so I couldn't resist at that price.

Previously the bike had been overpriced for the Australian market so I wasnít seriously considering buying it, even though I was impressed by what I had seen online.

Things kind of start here.

The bike is of course the Giant Toughroad SLR, with me opting for the 2 version, which is the cheaper of the two models, but shares the exact same frame, carbon fork & wheels as its more expensive sibling the Toughroad SLR 1, plus has more Clyde friendly gearing.

Please note I did change the very Clyde Unfriendly seat to something more akin to the Ultimate Clyde Seat(Brooks B190).


In my opinion this is an incredibly good looking bike, with a wonderfully understated and classy colour scheme. The Navy Blue looks just awesome and I love their modest use of a secondary colour(lime green) for a bit of striping.

Have a look at this handsome basta




This bike has been on my mind for almost a year now and I believe I may have been the first person on these forums to post about the Toughroad range about 10 months ago.

So why am I so impressed with it?

Because it is FAST.

I was surprised when I started to pedal, just how quickly it takes off and allows you to bring it up to speed.

Is this because the bottom bracket area is very stiff due to the bike being made out of aluminium(using the highest grade of Giant's 3 types of Aluminium, ALUXX SLR) or is it because the geometry of the bike allows me to best apply force to my pedal strokes?



Or some other reason? Was my old steel mountain bike ďNoodlyĒ and I didnít realise it?

Now my previous bike(and point of reference) was a 1995 Trek 830 Mountain Bike made from Cro-moly steel and shortly before it went to Bike Heaven, it did have a new crank and bottom bracket put into it and that improved its responsiveness to my efforts at pedaling, but still it is/was noticeably not as responsive as the Giant Toughroad SLR 2, which does only come with a basic Acera triple crank(Octalink bottom bracket).



What else makes this bike so awesome?

The versatility it offers. You can run tyres as wide as 29 x 2.2" or 700c x 28mm.



It has a carbon fork on it that is obviously tougher than the carbon forks that would come on a road bike or something like a Trek FX or Specialized Sirrus, so you can certainly run on heaps of off-road tracks, probably up to the level of something that a Trek 8.* series Dual Sport could handle.



The bike in original form, a size Large(20.5") weighed 26.03lbs / 11.83kg

I will continue my review in the next post below.
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Old 05-12-16, 09:28 AM   #2
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Gearing Ė 44/32/22 Ė 11-34


The Gears on the bike work remarkably well for midrange at best, offerings, and I have been pleasantly surprised at how nicely it shifts, in particular, the Front Derailleur which has always been the trouble spot for me on my previous triple crank bike.




Admittedly my previous bike was 1995 vintage and in a blast to the past, both that bike(Trek 830) and this Toughroad bike were triple Acera cranks with Acera front derailleurs and Alivio rear derailleurs.




Braking

I think the brakes work well enough, but I donít feel I can quite stop on a dime, but no doubt my bulk plays a large part in this and the disc brakes on this are from the lower end of Shimanoís range.



Next Post I will speak about what I felt I needed to change.
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Last edited by ColonelSanders; 05-12-16 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-12-16, 09:30 AM   #3
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Things I had to change


The first thing was the saddle.

Perhaps if I wasnít a Super Clyde, it would have been okay, but I still have my doubts.

Anyway here are some comparisons between the stock saddle and the Brooks B190 I swapped over to.




Luckily for me the seatpost is a one bolt type, thus allowing me to use the Sandwich that is needed for the double rail of the B190, which on short distances of 5 miles as proven itself to be by far the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat on. And it only weighs a measly 1.85kg / 4.07lbs



Pedals

The stock pedals were ridiculously lacking in width, thus having the same effective of reducing my Q-Factor by about 25mm per side.

Once I put on the Shimano Saints, pedaling was as I wanted it to be.




Next post will deal with Wheels and Tyres.
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Last edited by ColonelSanders; 05-12-16 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 05-12-16, 09:36 AM   #4
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Wheels and Tyres

The stock wheels that came with this bike are Giantís own, with their 32 spoke SX-2 rims, which they also use on quite a few other bikes they sell and had shod them with Maxxis Maxxlite Speed tyres 29 x 2Ē with Silkworm Technology.

This is what they look like and the tyre tread on the Maxxlite Speed tyres.




I wasnít sure if the stock wheels would hold up well under my weight, so I decided to play it safe and order in a set of super strong 40 spoke Clyde Wheels from Velomine and they had the following for USD$139:

SUN RHYNO LITE 40H 29ER MTB COMMUTER WHEELSET 6 BOLT DISC

And here is the description:

Front and Rear Wheel Included!!
Sun Ryhno Lite 40 Hole Rims
Strong enough for an ox!
ALLOY SEALED BEARING 7/8/9/10 Speed 6 bolt Disc Hubs with oRIGIN8 LOGO
Compatible with SRAM or Shimano

Spokes: DT Swiss 2.0 Champion
Brass Nipples
Lacing: 3 Cross Front and Rear
135mm Rear Axle Spacing¬
100mm Front Axle Spacing
Quick release Skewers are included
700c Rims

1197g Front
1400g Rear



As I was getting new wheels, I thought I may as well get new tyres too and chose the Marathon Mondialís 50mm tyres.

These tyres are Schwalbeís 2nd most puncture resistant tyres and perhaps their most resilient for tyre wear.

At my weight, I wanted a tyre with these qualities and if I achieve my weight loss goals, when these tyres wear out, I will replace them with Schwalbe Marathon Supremes or the Schwalbe Almotionís.

Already in riding on these tyres(at 80Psi in the rear and 70Psi in the front), they are the best tyres I have ever ridden on for rolling resistance and grip, I canít wait to see what tyres with even lower rolling resistance and better grip feel like to ride.

Oh and the Mondialís only weigh 825grams per tyre.



Protecting my baby from thieves


With a bike this nice, one needs to take precautions, here are some of the U-Locks that will be securing my bike from time to time(all 3 will be on my bike when the bike is at my place). I actually have more locks incoming and depending on the circumstances, will depend on which locks get used. Iíll do an update when I have finally sorted that all out.




Next post, wrapping things up.
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Last edited by ColonelSanders; 05-12-16 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 05-12-16, 10:08 AM   #5
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Is there anything about the bike I donít like?

Other than the saddle & pedals, which replacing is probably a standard practice on most bikes, the only things that come to mind(and they are pretty trivial) is that the fork lacks a front crown eyelet that would come in handy for some front rack designs.

Yes they have mid fork eyelets and an eyelet at the back of the fork, but the carbon fork on the Trek 7.4 FX has a front crown eyelet and the mid fork eyelets too.




The handlebars are relatively wide at 700mm, as I am use to riding with a handlebar that is 580 to 600mm.

I have adjusted reasonably well, but I will get a new handlebar at some point, probably a 660mm one, as my time with the 700mm handlebar has shown me that I should be fine with going wider than just 600.




D-Fuse Seatpost

Perhaps the bikeís biggest potential issue is one that would hardly be an issue for most people, but Giant have incorporated a proprietary seatpost design they call D-Fuse, where the seatpost is shaped like a ďDĒ, rather than being cylindrical.

There is other stuff going on with the seat tube, as Giant claims this approach offers comfort benefits.
Iím in no position to say how effective their approach is in this regard, but it does mean I canít fit any other brand of seatpost on the bike.

I knew this when I bought the bike(and obviously it didnít prevent me from buying it), but I am sure many people will be unaware of this until sometime later after purchasing it.

Take a note of the flat D shape at the back of the seat post, a look at the seat post adjusting bolt and how it looks when you seal it back up with the plastic insert.



Okay, thatís my review, now I am just going to throw in a few random pictures that I took, that are different to the ones I have already uploaded.

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Last edited by ColonelSanders; 05-12-16 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 05-12-16, 10:19 AM   #6
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Congratulations. Looks like a nice bike. Should be able to do serious climbing with that small chainring.
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Old 05-12-16, 10:37 AM   #7
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That's more like a sofa than a saddle!

Have fun with your new bike!
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Old 05-12-16, 10:43 AM   #8
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Congratulations. Looks like a nice bike. Should be able to do serious climbing with that small chainring.
Yeah 22/34 is insane.
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Old 05-12-16, 11:06 AM   #9
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That's more like a sofa than a saddle!

Have fun with your new bike!
I seriously feel like a kid again and just can't stop looking at my bike and getting all warm and fuzzy.

The quality is just more than I had expected and I'll be racking up some serious mileage with this beast in the months ahead.

I may end up converting this bike to a 1 x 11 setup and transfer my gears, derailleurs and crank to my Trek 830 and bring it back from the dead as a back up bike.
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Old 05-12-16, 05:11 PM   #10
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What was the original price and what is the after modification price?
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Old 05-12-16, 06:15 PM   #11
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What was the original price and what is the after modification price?
Original Price was AUD$1,300 and they were selling it for AUD$900.

I'll convert to USD & CAN

USD = 951.21 & 658.53
CAN = 1,221.92 & 845.94
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Old 05-13-16, 07:20 AM   #12
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Original Price was AUD$1,300 and they were selling it for AUD$900.

I'll convert to USD & CAN

USD = 951.21 & 658.53
CAN = 1,221.92 & 845.94
You did very well, and once again, a great choice. Appropriate to your size, and the style of riding you do. Durable and versatile but fairly light for what it is. And if you lose weight, you can lighten it up with lighter wheels and tires, or add racks and panniers, or whatever. Gravel grinder, trail bike, commuter, light touring bike. The toughroad can do it all.

I also congratulate you on taking your time and doing things the right way. How many newbie or intro threads start off with, "I am looking to get started and thinking about brand x, model Y, what do you all think?" Then getting all sorts of responses suggesting maybe Model Y isn't the best choice, or have they considered model Z? And we find out a day or so later he or she had, in fact bought brand X, Model Y.

You may have taken longer than some, but it sounds like by riding your old mountain bike a lot and sticking around here, you learned a lot. I consider it a small victory when this forum dissuades someone not looking to do technical single track or downhill to avoid entry level suspension forks.

Enjoy your Toughroad. I have no doubt it will give you years of enjoyment.

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Old 05-13-16, 10:50 AM   #13
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You did very well, and once again, a great choice. Appropriate to your size, and the style of riding you do. Durable and versatile but fairly light for what it is. And if you lose weight, you can lighten it up with lighter wheels and tires, or add racks and panniers, or whatever. Gravel grinder, trail bike, commuter, light touring bike. The toughroad can do it all.

I also congratulate you on taking your time and doing things the right way. How many newbie or intro threads start off with, "I am looking to get started and thinking about brand x, model Y, what do you all think?" Then getting all sorts of responses suggesting maybe Model Y isn't the best choice, or have they considered model Z? And we find out a day or so later he or she had, in fact bought brand X, Model Y.

You may have taken longer than some, but it sounds like by riding your old mountain bike a lot and sticking around here, you learned a lot. I consider it a small victory when this forum dissuades someone not looking to do technical single track or downhill to avoid entry level suspension forks.

Enjoy your Toughroad. I have no doubt it will give you years of enjoyment.
Thanks.

I have become obsessed with cycling and so many of the aspects around it, that I now know it will be an important part of my life from here on end.

This forum is such a wonderful source of information and my natural nerdiness lends itself to trying to work out the best solutions not just for biking, but for the various accessories like racks, lights, locks, panniers etc.

Pretty sure a Surly Long Haul Trucker or Disc Trucker will be in my future too, as I want a dedicated grocery shopper that I can really load up and whilst the Toughroad will do well on this too, I think I want it to be my joyride bike.
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Old 05-15-16, 08:37 PM   #14
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That's really a nice bike, and I am not easily impressed. You'll likely own it forever. I'm not clear why you'd want a LHT, but this was a great start.
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Old 05-15-16, 08:39 PM   #15
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Thanks.

I have become obsessed with cycling and so many of the aspects around it, that I now know it will be an important part of my life from here on end.

This forum is such a wonderful source of information and my natural nerdiness lends itself to trying to work out the best solutions not just for biking, but for the various accessories like racks, lights, locks, panniers etc.

Pretty sure a Surly Long Haul Trucker or Disc Trucker will be in my future too, as I want a dedicated grocery shopper that I can really load up and whilst the Toughroad will do well on this too, I think I want it to be my joyride bike.
Your 830 can be your grocery getter. Maybe things are different in Australia, but here, not many people buy brand new Long Haul Truckers to make grocery runs.
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Old 05-15-16, 10:28 PM   #16
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That's really a nice bike, and I am not easily impressed. You'll likely own it forever. I'm not clear why you'd want a LHT, but this was a great start.
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Your 830 can be your grocery getter. Maybe things are different in Australia, but here, not many people buy brand new Long Haul Truckers to make grocery runs.
In Australia, you will literally never see a LHT, even though there is the odd store that sells them, but there are very few of these stores in the whole country.

I won't be buying another bike or fixing up my Trek 830 this year, I am plenty satisfied to ride the heck out of my new bike, but probably in the second half of 2017 I will get the urge to tinker a bit.

The LHT has intrigued me for some time now and if the Toughroad didn't exist, I would have bought a Disc Trucker frame and built up a bike around it.

So whilst getting a LHT(I would only buy the frame & fork) and relegating it to just being a grocery getter would seem to be a tad excessive, I definitely would like to have one and before it got relegated to being a grocery getter, I would ride it extensively to see how it compares to both my Toughroad and my memories of my Trek 830.

If I made the LHT my grocery getter(I would also use it for other tasks too), it would then free up my Toughroad to be a bike I take just for riding pleasure and it then wouldn't have a front and rear rack on it and fenders, which will be happening in the next few months to it.

Anyway, a lot can happen in the next 12 months, and I won't be rushing into anything, after spending so much emotional energy in the last 2 years trying to find my perfect bike, I am wanting to take a step back from all that and just finally concentrate on racking up the miles.

Last edited by ColonelSanders; 05-15-16 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 05-18-16, 09:17 AM   #17
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One tough road owner to another great choice I love this bike, my old hybrid I barely rode always choose the road bike. Now it's a tough choice each time which bike I want to take home and if I want to do a road or trial ride. I might follow your lead and swap pedals, those pedals look pretty sweet.
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Old 05-18-16, 10:24 AM   #18
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One tough road owner to another great choice I love this bike, my old hybrid I barely rode always choose the road bike. Now it's a tough choice each time which bike I want to take home and if I want to do a road or trial ride. I might follow your lead and swap pedals, those pedals look pretty sweet.
The Shimano Saints are excellent flat platform pedals, but probably any pedal of similar width would be a big improvement over the stock pedals as the stock pedals are so lacking in width.

It is a shame that the stock pedals are so narrow, because other than that, they were pretty functional for obviously basic pedals.
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Old 05-18-16, 10:38 AM   #19
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The Shimano Saints are excellent flat platform pedals, but probably any pedal of similar width would be a big improvement over the stock pedals as the stock pedals are so lacking in width.

It is a shame that the stock pedals are so narrow, because other than that, they were pretty functional for obviously basic pedals.
One of these days, you will switch to clipless.
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Old 05-18-16, 10:41 AM   #20
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One of these days, you will switch to clipless.
I will definitely give them a go one day, probably when I have two working bikes, so one will be set up for clipless and the other for flat platform.

Obviously I could get a pedal set with clipless on one side and flat on the other, but I keep hearing people say it doesn't work ideally.
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Old 05-18-16, 11:03 AM   #21
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I will definitely give them a go one day, probably when I have two working bikes, so one will be set up for clipless and the other for flat platform.

Obviously I could get a pedal set with clipless on one side and flat on the other, but I keep hearing people say it doesn't work ideally.
It works fine. I used the Shimano M324 Pedals and a Wellgo clone of that pedal and they worked fine for years and years. Only switched to double sided pedals a couple of years ago. When you use the one sided SPD, you feel yourself clipping in. If the pedal is on the wrong side, you get yourself moving using the platform, then flip the pedal over with your foot. Easy. Though I switched to two sided, there are benefits to the one sided design besides the obvious. Once my wife ran into problems with her cleat/shoe 15 miles out from home. It clipped in but would not unclip. One of the bolts had worked itself loose and the cleat was stuck the pedal. I managed to extricate the shoe , but the cleat remained lodged in the pedal. She was able to ride home on the flat side of the pedal, which was a good thing, allowing us to finish the ride.
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Old 05-19-16, 12:28 AM   #22
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That Brooks B190 is like heaven for your @ss! Works even better when it's on a cruiser. It's like a hammock for your butt!
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Old 06-01-16, 01:49 PM   #23
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Thanks so much for the great review! Definitely helped convince me to put in an order for one at my LBS.
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Old 06-02-16, 03:40 AM   #24
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Thanks so much for the great review! Definitely helped convince me to put in an order for one at my LBS.
Please share your impressions after you have got your bike and ridden it for a bit.
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Old 06-02-16, 07:31 AM   #25
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Great writeup.
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