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  1. #1
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    Need Advice on First "Real" Bike

    Hi All,

    Hopefully this is an appropriate forum for this post. I'm 6'3 and weigh 270 pounds and have owned a Huffy brand bike from Sears for the past 5 years and throughout this Summer have actually been riding it 2-3 miles a day for more exercise in conjunction with walking.

    I'm planning on buying a new bike next Spring (one that actually fits me) and since I live in a rural area, my choices are limited. I did a lot of research online and was thinking of a Hybrid bike (I ride on asphalt roads around town and on gravel roads, some with large rocks) but after looking at bikes in person, I came to admite a Specialized Hardrock (base version) on display in the only local bike shop around. I particularly liked the extremely beefy rims and the larger 2.1" tires due to my weight: it just seems like a lot stronger bike than a hybrid.

    In the future, I plan to ride maybe 5 miles a day on asphalt/gravel and maybe go for rides up to 15 miles on blacktop country roads. Reviews I've read say some of the components on this bike are "lower-end" which I expect from any bike in this price range (I can't go over $400). So, I really don't worry about any of the components causing me any real problems since I definitely won't be pushing the bike that hard.

    My choices are to buy from a local small bike shop (pretty much Cannondale and Specialized only) and support it, and also have it handy for repairs/annual adjustments, etc. or drive 100 miles and maybe get a better price, but also have it be a lot harder to access maintenance. I know I could probably get any work done at the local shop if I bought it from a larger seller, but probably not at the same level as if I had actually purchased it there.

    Anyway, in closing, the local dealer wants $400 for a 2006 Specialized Hardrock base version, said he will install a taller handlebar stem so I can get more comfortable plus replace the seat with a larger one for $10. Does this seem like a reasonable price for this bike? Online prices seem to range dramatically for this particular bike, I suppose depending on how many they sell. I'm willing to pay a little more to support the local dealer and save the hassle of driving farther, but I also don't want to get ripped off badly, either.
    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Eric

  2. #2
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    First, unless you think you truly may be riding "off road", then a hybrid bike would be fine. You don't "have" to have a beefy mountain bike just because you are a big guy. My first bike was a comfort bike.

    I would suggest ride the ones they have and get the bike that feels the best to you. Personally, if I were riding all pavement/asphault, I'd rather be on a hybrid than a mountain bike. But go with what feels best to you.

    Your bike shop should have no problems making the adjustments (handlebar/seat) for you and let you test ride the bike that way. So ask them to do that...and see how it feels.

    Lastly...your level of service should not be different with the bike shop if you get the bike elsewhere. If it is, then I wouldn't trust the shop. Most bike shops will give you 1st "adjustment" free...or maybe free adjustments for first 6 months or something like that. You may lose that if you buy from shop 100 miles away....but other than that....if the bike is better its worth that one time drive to get it there, I think.

    That's my $.02.
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  3. #3
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I agree that if the majority of your riding is on-road, then buying an off-road bike doesn't make sense. Unless, you plan to ride off-road in the future.

    Then, what I recommend is to buy a second set of slick or semi-slick tires. That way, when you are riding on the road, you have a tire with higher PSI rating and has less rolling resistance. The days you venture off-road, you can put the knobbies on a have a multi-purpose bike.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanalp
    ...I'm planning on buying a new bike next Spring (one that actually fits me) and since I live in a rural area, my choices are limited. I did a lot of research online and was thinking of a Hybrid bike (I ride on asphalt roads around town and on gravel roads, some with large rocks) but after looking at bikes in person, I came to admite a Specialized Hardrock (base version) on display in the only local bike shop around. I particularly liked the extremely beefy rims and the larger 2.1" tires due to my weight: it just seems like a lot stronger bike than a hybrid...
    Hi Eric!

    I'm 260 and bought a 2K6 Specialized Hardrock for exactly the same reasons you're considering one. I am absolutely thrilled with the bike. I ride mine primarily on pavement too, and it has been great. The parts on the bike, although "low end" by fancy bike standards, work perfectly. I encourage you to not only establish a relationship with your local shop but also to go with your initial impulse on the Hardrock - you won't be disappointed!

    PS: Since the model you're looking at is a 2K6, ask the shop if they'll take $350 instead - that's the price I paid for mine about a month ago.

  5. #5
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    I'm 6'3, down to about 225, and have a 2k5 Rockhopper comp, with semi-slick tires. I use it for commuting and ride 90% on pavement.

    A good mountain that fits well (fit is critical here) will be very comfy, and with semi-slicks will be fine for roads, plus give you the added security of knowing you can go off without dire consequences either because you want to (riding in the woods is a hoot) or because you're forced off by a car or a ped who cust you off.

    If you're use to a department store bike, a specialized will feel a whole lot better, even with low end components. then, if you start riding instead of driving, put your saved gas money in a jar and buy some better componentry.

    I'm a big fan of supporting local businesses. Ask not only about lowering the price a little, but also about service -- many places will give you free tune ups for a year, etc.

    On the seat...careful. Just because you're a little wider doesn't mean you need a wider seat. If you adjust the bike to the right seat height, a seat that's too wide will get in the way of the pedal stroke and, beyond a mile or two, will be a lot less comfy.

  6. #6
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    I'm a big fan of Specialized MTBs (since I've been riding the same one for 16 years) so if you like the Specialized, then go with it. Make sure to drop some slicks or invert tread tires on it so it rolls smoother on the roads, and look into that riser-angle stem and maybe some bar ends for extra hand positioning.

    Another consideration is going with a CX (cyclocross) style bike, and having the LBS do the build up for you. The IRO Rob Roy frame/fork is under $300, and could reasonably be built up for under $650 with parts supplied through your LBS.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  7. #7
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    I'm MUCH bigger than you and ride a Hardrock Sport. I bought a '07 at the beginning of August, and almost 500 miles later I love it to death. I rode the '06 and '07, and if you can get them to order you a '07 or hold off for one. The componentry on the '07s feel much better, to me at least. They also get a better crank - the crank previously used on the Rockhopper.

    The saddle on the '07 is actually smaller, but IMO wonderful. I previously used a big cushy Bell that made me slower, and hurt my hips on longer (10mi +) rides. The little tiny saddle on my 'Rock was just fine for a long night of riding last night (28 miles in a total of 2h 15min). I recommend highly that you get some bike shorts. I didn't wear any last night and I'm paying the price today.

    Also, I paid $350 for my '07 and the dealer I bought mine from currently has '06s down to $279. I'd see about some negotiating.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    I agree that if the majority of your riding is on-road, then buying an off-road bike doesn't make sense. Unless, you plan to ride off-road in the future.

    Then, what I recommend is to buy a second set of slick or semi-slick tires. That way, when you are riding on the road, you have a tire with higher PSI rating and has less rolling resistance. The days you venture off-road, you can put the knobbies on a have a multi-purpose bike.
    +1 to this. I'd almost look at the "flat handled road bike" models like the specialized sirrus or the kona dew. (700c slick tires, rigid frame, more upright position)

    especially in the cheap range, suspension parts and clyde weights don't mix well without serious adjustment.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by krazygluon
    ...especially in the cheap range, suspension parts and clyde weights don't mix well without serious adjustment.
    I agree strongly with krazygluon's recommendation of the Kona Dew. I also argee in principle with the "cheap suspensions & clyde weights don't mix well" statement. In practice, however, the cheap suspension fork on my Specialized Hardrock has survived me so far - I help it out by keeping the preload jacked up to "full."

  10. #10
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    I agree strongly with krazygluon's recommendation of the Kona Dew. I also argee in principle with the "cheap suspensions & clyde weights don't mix well" statement. In practice, however, the cheap suspension fork on my Specialized Hardrock has survived me so far - I help it out by keeping the preload jacked up to "full."
    Heh, I'm with you right there. I get on and it nearly bottoms out, then kind of sort of dampens after that. It's better than most others that just basically constantly bottom out.

    However, I've found the Cannondale Headshock Ultra DL to be GREAT - it actually traveled and dampened. Along with that the Marzocchi Dirtjam seems to work, but lacks a lockout.

    My all time favorite, however, are the Fox forks. I've ridden several and just love them - I thought it wasn't doing anything until I looked down, there it was smoothly dampening.

    Anyway, if you aren't huge (and you are not), get a good road or cross bike. The Dew is a great ride, I'm sure you would enjoy it.

  11. #11
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    check out the sirrus, its great, I also noticed a bike called the Globe on their site I would look into if I were you.

    http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...p?sid=07Sirrus

    http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...sp?sid=07Globe

  12. #12
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanalp
    Hi All,

    Hopefully this is an appropriate forum for this post. I'm 6'3 and weigh 270 pounds and have owned a Huffy brand bike from Sears for the past 5 years and throughout this Summer have actually been riding it 2-3 miles a day for more exercise in conjunction with walking.

    I'm planning on buying a new bike next Spring (one that actually fits me) and since I live in a rural area, my choices are limited. I did a lot of research online and was thinking of a Hybrid bike (I ride on asphalt roads around town and on gravel roads, some with large rocks) but after looking at bikes in person, I came to admite a Specialized Hardrock (base version) on display in the only local bike shop around. I particularly liked the extremely beefy rims and the larger 2.1" tires due to my weight: it just seems like a lot stronger bike than a hybrid.

    In the future, I plan to ride maybe 5 miles a day on asphalt/gravel and maybe go for rides up to 15 miles on blacktop country roads. Reviews I've read say some of the components on this bike are "lower-end" which I expect from any bike in this price range (I can't go over $400). So, I really don't worry about any of the components causing me any real problems since I definitely won't be pushing the bike that hard.

    My choices are to buy from a local small bike shop (pretty much Cannondale and Specialized only) and support it, and also have it handy for repairs/annual adjustments, etc. or drive 100 miles and maybe get a better price, but also have it be a lot harder to access maintenance. I know I could probably get any work done at the local shop if I bought it from a larger seller, but probably not at the same level as if I had actually purchased it there.

    Anyway, in closing, the local dealer wants $400 for a 2006 Specialized Hardrock base version, said he will install a taller handlebar stem so I can get more comfortable plus replace the seat with a larger one for $10. Does this seem like a reasonable price for this bike? Online prices seem to range dramatically for this particular bike, I suppose depending on how many they sell. I'm willing to pay a little more to support the local dealer and save the hassle of driving farther, but I also don't want to get ripped off badly, either.
    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Eric
    Most of the help you are looking for has been provided here or in other threads in the clydesdale section. So, I am goiing to limit my comments to this:

    In the current marketplace shops don't make their money on the bike, they make it on the stuff you buy to go on the bike. The shorts, the helmet, the lights the tires, etc.

    You won't save much driving the extra miles and you will miss out on service and good will which will cost you down the road. Heck, many shops now provide lifetime tuneups. Not so you buy your bike from them but so that you come back to them and while you aer there, you buy a pump, or a pair of shades or...

    (And in all honesty, the "lower end" vs. "high end" in componentry is more about weight and efficiency than longevity.) Keep your drivetrain clean, lubed and properly adjusted and you'll be fine.



    <edit> Oh yeah, and buy the bike you think is sexiest!
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    Thanks for the advice and ideas, folks. I will take many of them into consideration when deciding what route to take on my "real" bike. Thanks again!

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    I would also like to note that my trip to the local bike shop the other day was the first time I had ever checked out a quality bike in person. At this point, I had mostly been looking at Trek bikes because my brother recently bought one and highly recommended it. When I walked into the shop, I asked if they sold Trek bikes and the owner said, "No, but they all come from the same place, anyway." Does anyone have any comments about that remark?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanalp
    I would also like to note that my trip to the local bike shop the other day was the first time I had ever checked out a quality bike in person. At this point, I had mostly been looking at Trek bikes because my brother recently bought one and highly recommended it. When I walked into the shop, I asked if they sold Trek bikes and the owner said, "No, but they all come from the same place, anyway." Does anyone have any comments about that remark?
    Find another shop! Granted, they often do come from the same factory in Taiwan or Japan, but there are differences in material, etc. Just because a Huffy and a Giant come off the same line doesn't mean the Huffy has as strong or light weight tubing! Was there any more he said, like suggesting a specific bike?
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  16. #16
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanalp
    I would also like to note that my trip to the local bike shop the other day was the first time I had ever checked out a quality bike in person. At this point, I had mostly been looking at Trek bikes because my brother recently bought one and highly recommended it. When I walked into the shop, I asked if they sold Trek bikes and the owner said, "No, but they all come from the same place, anyway." Does anyone have any comments about that remark?
    Not sure what he meant. Either he's referring to the majority of frames being built in Taiwan, or the fact that Trek owns like 10 different labes (Gary Frisher, LeMond, Trek, Bontrager). Trek has folks that either hate them, or love them. There seems to be little in-between.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanalp
    I would also like to note that my trip to the local bike shop the other day was the first time I had ever checked out a quality bike in person. At this point, I had mostly been looking at Trek bikes because my brother recently bought one and highly recommended it. When I walked into the shop, I asked if they sold Trek bikes and the owner said, "No, but they all come from the same place, anyway." Does anyone have any comments about that remark?
    I don't think the LBS person was being dismissive by that comment. Essentially, he's right - Taiwan has a huge bike building industry and the standards for bike construction are well known there, I'm sure. They have their garbage shops and everything above that as well. My new Specialized Sequoia Elite says "Handmade in Taiwan." I think to myself, "so what." My 1988 Trek 830 mtb was made there, too. Not Handmade. But, a strong reliable bike to this day.

    You will do fine with either of your choices. We're not talking about a K-Mart Huffy here. Those are truly trash, but I see lot's of them out there. I just don't think they last with regards to smooth shifting and ease of repair. Nor do I see a repair shop at Sears - they do washers and dryers, though.

    I concurr with the cautionary note about saddles. Very personal issue, that one. Often, it's the saddle that will make or break one's enjoyment of bike riding. That's because the more you like the activity, the longer you will want to do it. The longer you ride, the more aware of your sitbones you will become. I have a pile of failed saddles in my shop. Be prepared. You may indeed be supporting your LBS thru saddle purchases!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanalp
    I would also like to note that my trip to the local bike shop the other day was the first time I had ever checked out a quality bike in person. At this point, I had mostly been looking at Trek bikes because my brother recently bought one and highly recommended it. When I walked into the shop, I asked if they sold Trek bikes and the owner said, "No, but they all come from the same place, anyway." Does anyone have any comments about that remark?
    That is like a liquor store owner telling me he doesn't have the Scotch I asked for... but they all come from the same place.

    If it is not the only store in town, I would go elsewhere.
    ****************************
    That said, if you have never checked out a quality bike before, I doubt the specific brand matters as much as people will make you think.

    What I tell my friends is to find a shop they like, rent a few different bikes for a day. (In NYC this is easier than many other places but not impossible.) And ride some just to get familiar. (Borrowing is a good idea if possible too.)

    The idea is to work out some of the early kinks before you plunk down your hard earned cash.

    But again, if you are in the entry level market -- I keep saying -- as long as it fits and you find it sexy (you are going to want to ride it...!) it is the right bike.

    I like road or cyclocross for urban/suburban riders who are not going to hit the dirt trails and mtb's for those who are going to want the option of riding in the mud. I have seen some nice flat bar road/cyclocross bikes sold as hybrids. Whatever gets you riding.
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  19. #19
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I feel that the differences in entry level bikes is negligible when comparing components and suspension. That pricepoint is so highly sought after that each manufacturer has very little "wiggle" room with their specs.

    The only differences are frame geometry and paint colors.

    The low end Sram works just as well as the low end Shimano.

    An entry level RST is nearly identicle inside to the Manitou or the Rock Shox...etc.

    You really just have to ride them and get the one that fits the best!
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    Hi All,

    Thanks again for all the advice. After taking everything into consideration, I'm planning on going the following route on my bike purchase.

    Even if it costs more, I'm going to get the Specialized Hardrock through the local dealer. I'm sure he's fighting an uphill battle since he hasn't been open that long and I'd like to see him stay open for future maintenance, adjustments and accessories purchases.

    Since he doesn't seem to be cutting any deals on the '06 bikes and I don't ride much during the Winter, I'm going to wait until next Spring and get an '07 model to take advantage of any component upgrades that might occur with the newer model.

    Since I bike for exercise and not performance, I don't really care if the bike has more rolling resistance on pavement. I like the double-wall rims and the larger 2.1" tires since some of the "gravel" roads I ride on are nothing more than dirt. I suppose it's just psychological, but I like looking down and seeing those big tires beneath me. As I get in better shape, I might start taking on some of the never-used "walking trails" on local state forest grounds that are basically grass and dirt with lots of ills.

    I'll see if the owner will give me a discount on a bike/accessory package since I'd like to get some bar ends and some kind of rack for the back to haul stuff on while running errands around town and I think I'll try out the stock seat and see if he'll let me come back and swap it out for different ones if it doesn't work for me.

    Thanks again for all the advice and information. I learned more in three days here than I have in the past two months while trying to decide what to do about a bike. Thanks again!

    Eric

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    Sounds like a plan

    I think you are making a good decision on buying your bike. I would definitely go with the local dealer for service benefits and to help keep his doors open by buying there. You will probably get faster service because you bought your bike there. Checking on deals on accessories when you buy it is a good idea, too. I worked for many years in the motorcycle industry as a technician and parts manager and I always advised our customers to buy their ad-ons early in the life of the bike. That way you get maximum benefits out of them.

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