Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Orting Wa.
Bikes: Rivendell Atlantis, Rivendell Rambouillet, Co Motion Big A,l Klein Adroit
I am your size and weight and can offer a few suggestions. First, is to make sure you buy the correct size frame. You should not be riding anything smaller than a 62cm frame.
Second, make sure that the bike shop gives you some assurance that the wheelset on the bike will hold up to your weight. I ride standard 36 spoke wheels on touring rims and they hold up fine. I also ride larger tires. Minimum for your size should be 700x25. I like to ride 700x32/35. The tires give a softer ride and are less prone to flats.
If possible, try to make your test ride on your future bike is at least 1/2 hour long. A short 10-15 minute ride does not give you adequate time to get a feel for a new bike.
Lastly, and this is a personal opinion; try to find a bike that has a saddle and stem height that are as close to level as you can. This puts less strain on your neck, back, arms and wrist. The raised stem gives you a more upright riding position which makes for a more comfortable time in the saddle. Oh, and one more thing. If your bike comes with a narrow racing saddle, ask your bike shop if you can trade it towards something wider that is meant to accommodate a larger rider (Terry saddles are good, as are Brooks).
Here is a picture of my bike. Set up for a 6'4" 278lb rider.