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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 12-12-06, 10:19 PM   #1
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Newb Tire Question

Been lurking for awhile now. I'm 6'2", 250#, and I'm a DEAD SEXY MAN!

So one LBS sales-dork says, "Rivendell's tire sizing chart is basically gospel. Check it out, and tell me what it says, and we'll find a bike in your budget that will take those tires."

Ok. Me + 30# of books + 30# of bike (inc. lights, fenders, blah) = ~310#. Riv's online chart says I need to be on 38mm tires (!) in order to be comfy and avoid flats. Fine, I'm not proud.

Two days later (today) same LBS, different sales-dork. "It don't matter. You're a big guy, so get a relaxed road bike or 'country bike' and ride 25s or maybe 28s instead of 23s. Really, 700cx25 is plenty. If you don't want flats, don't hop curbs with a road bike like a messenger." Wha? Seriously, if the first guy had told me that, I'd've bought the XL Schwinn Madison they had (cuz I think it's pretty, but it's gone now, backordered till April; whatever).

So, really, what's the actual story on tires? And if I need the bigger ones, what can I get in the $500 range that won't have me snapping off seat posts like the guy in the other thread, or carving grooves in the pavement with my steamroller weight on knife-edge tires?! (Sales-dork #2 wants me on a Schwinn Circuit, FWIW.)

Thanks, guys.

EDIT: Oh, yeah: plan to start with a 2-3 times/week commute to school, 4.5 miles one way, gently rolling roads. Would like to work up to more frequent commuting and some weekend day-rides with the fiance, who's in better shape and wants us to ride together. This first bike doesn't need to do everything perfectly, but just enough, well enough to not put me off of riding, and get me through, say, the next two years.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:58 PM   #2
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Check out my sig on wheel discussions - it's the rims more than the tires. Some Clydes here run racing slicks without problems but if you have a choppy ride (chewed up pavement etc...) then consider wider tires for more cushion.
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Old 12-13-06, 03:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by RDRomano
And if I need the bigger ones, what can I get in the $500 range that won't have me snapping off seat posts like the guy in the other thread, or carving grooves in the pavement with my steamroller weight on knife-edge tires?!
Thanks, guys.

Hey! I resemble that remark. It wasn't the tires fault my seatpost snapped off...It was the 300+ pound rider on board.

I have been riding on Bontrager Select 700X35s for 3,600 miles this year (I changed out the rear tire@ 2000 due to wear) and have never had a flat. I did pop a rear spoke at 2,000 miles, but that has been the extent of tire damage. You might be able to ride on 28s, but I'll let someone else with experience with those chime in.

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-06, 10:57 AM   #4
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I weigh about 240 without books and laptop, and I gave up on tires smaller than 32mm (label size; most are narrower in real life) years ago. I have 35s (Paselas, which run true to label) on the Atlantis and Rivendell Ruffy Tuffys (27mm actual) on the Rambouillet, and I don't plan to buy anything smaller ever again.
The Rambo is fairly new, but I've had the Atlantis almost five years and used tires from 25-41mm, so I can compare. On my normal rides and 12-mile commute, I'm not any slower on the 35s than I was on tires almost half an inch narrower, and the lower pressure (75-80 psi vs. 100-105) is much more comfortable and stable. The two bikes feel very similar (the Rambo's a little lighter and about a degree steeper in the angles), but more and more, when I just want to hop on one and go for a ride, I pick the one with the fat tires.
FWIW, I've dealt with Rivendell since 2000 or 2001 on several things, including trying to build up the Atlantis as cheaply as possible with parts I already had (had two kids in school at the time and no extra money lying around), and they've been helpful and knowledgeable. I was skeptical of some of Grant's ideas at first, but everything I've tried has worked.
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Old 12-13-06, 01:38 PM   #5
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for what it's worth, on my commuting bike, I run 26x1.90's and my roadie. I run 27"x32mm (A 20 year old bike w/ 27" wheels). No problems, and if you add the weight of books, etc, I load the bike at over 250#, 229 of which is me! I've also ridden both bikes with full touring load of 42# in addition to me. 700X28 should be fine, but run at the high end of the pressure spectrum to avoid pinch flats. You would get a softer ride out of a set of 32-35mm for touring with out any noticeable difference in the rolling resistance or "snap" of the tires, IMO.
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Old 12-13-06, 01:44 PM   #6
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I have never had a problem with 700x23's. I have been riding them since I got the bike as that is what came on it. I was 303 at the time and am down to 250 as of this morning. When I was at 303 I ran the back tire at 125 psi and the front at 110 psi. I now run the back at 115 and the front at 100. Bike rides fine and I have never had a pinch flat. I just started running the Vittoria Rubino Pro's and they are a fantastic tire and seem to have a very supple ride.
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Old 12-13-06, 02:22 PM   #7
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Tire size really isn't an issue with lots of weight. I've ridden 19mm (like little razor blades ) and I haven't strayed from 220 in 20 years. The tires held up just fine and, as long as you keep them inflated to the proper pressure, they never pinch flatted on me. They weren't comfortable but they were fast

If you want comfort, go with something wider than a 28. The ride is nice and smooth but, again, you need to keep them inflated to the proper pressure (much, much lower than the 19mm).

As for a bike to carry all that stuff, go with a real live touring bike. Not one that pretends to be a touring bike but something along the lines of a Cannondale T800 (my favorite beast of burden). The bike is a great big guy bike and is built to carry massive amounts of stuff for day, weeks, months and even years. And it not much of a schlub when it comes to speed either.
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Old 12-13-06, 05:47 PM   #8
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I guess that has been my higher concern. The comfort more than the weight. Can I just be real for a sec.? I want a real road bike, but jeez, the reason I haven't taken up running is cuz my belly jiggles painfully when I do. What good is a bike that treats me the same way?

And I appreciate the suggestion about a true touring rig. I'll see what I can find cheap. 'Preciate y'all.
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Old 12-13-06, 06:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RDRomano
I guess that has been my higher concern. The comfort more than the weight. Can I just be real for a sec.? I want a real road bike, but jeez, the reason I haven't taken up running is cuz my belly jiggles painfully when I do. What good is a bike that treats me the same way?

And I appreciate the suggestion about a true touring rig. I'll see what I can find cheap. 'Preciate y'all.
The widest tires I run are Michelin Pro 2 Race 700x25. These are really fat road tires, more like size 700x28 in Continental (Grand Prix or Ultra Gatorskin). Michelin has a high mileage tire called the Krylion Carbon that you can get in 700x25 that I've heard nothing but good about. I agree with those who say that they've never had real problems with the narrower tires. I think its more important to understand tire pressure and get a good pressure gauge and check your pressure before EVERY ride. Run the tires at the maximum pressure spec'd on the side wall or a tad higher and you'll go faster and get fewer flats.
If you want a bike to neutralize belly jiggles as a top criteria, you might be limiting your future progress and slowing yourself right down into the comfort bike category. Just my opinion but comfort saddles, sprung seatposts, sprung stems or forks, and marshmallow tires make riding a chore. There's nothing worse than having your bike flexing and yielding to every pebble and pot hole. Be a man and put your 300# self on a nice stiff Cannondale road bike with some proper 700x23 wheels and tires and learn to hold that gut in while you spin your way to a less belly jiggling self .
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Old 12-14-06, 01:25 AM   #10
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You're right. I was whining. Others on the Clyde board have done more starting from worse places. The reality check is helpful. Back to the drawing board, in terms of a bike, then. But it does broaden my options.
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Old 12-14-06, 05:34 AM   #11
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You're right. I was whining. Others on the Clyde board have done more starting from worse places. The reality check is helpful. Back to the drawing board, in terms of a bike, then. But it does broaden my options.
RD, it doesn't really matter where any of us started relative to the others. What matters is the fact that we all have similar goals, to drop the weight. Have at, get pedaling and have a ball!
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Old 12-14-06, 06:53 AM   #12
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OK, here we go, confession time. I am 350+, I had Bontrager 700/35s on my GF for over 1000 miles. I was talking to the LBS guru, and we decided to go with Continental 700/28 100lbs tires. I have not had a flat, nor have I blown a spoke, and I live in north east Ohio where the roads are garbage. I like the improved look of the tires, but I have not noticed a dramatic improvement in switching to these tires. If I do start blowing tubes I will switch back to the Bontrager 35s, but if not, and I need to replace these I will look for the same, because the slicks are quiet on the trainer. LOL.
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Old 12-14-06, 09:23 AM   #13
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You're right. I was whining. Others on the Clyde board have done more starting from worse places. The reality check is helpful. Back to the drawing board, in terms of a bike, then. But it does broaden my options.
As Tom said, it doesn't really matter where we started or were we are at. It just matters that you are trying to do something for you. I have a 2005 Specialized Allez Sport Triple. When this poor thing started carrying my fat butt around I was at 303lbs. I am now at 249lbs os of this morning. Now I will tell you this. It was very uncomfortable when I started riding. My legs hit my belly making it hard to breathe. My belly pulled on my back causing discomfort. My form was all wrong because I would try to move my legs apart to allow room for my belly so I could breathe. But I am perservered and got through it and look where I am now. You just have to realize that there are going to a lot of things that are going to be uncomfortable when on the bike but it will get better.
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Old 12-14-06, 12:08 PM   #14
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OK, here we go, confession time. I am 350+, I had Bontrager 700/35s on my GF for over 1000 miles.
You had 700/35s on your girlfriend for a thousand miles? Did that leave a mark? Is that a clyde/rodie fashion statement (Look, I'm so into cycling my girlfriend wears *tires*.)? If so, do bigger tires look okay on smaller girlfriends, cuz my fiance is only 5'4".

Ok, I'm done. Seriously, though, I did read many of the older threads that Air has linked to his .sig, but I can't seem to find a consensus on whether single speed (or even fixie) is a really bad idea for where I'm at. I like the *idea* of fixed, on the premise that it will make me work more. I hear they're scary smooth. I suspect I'm rehashing the same old questions, and I really am grateful for y'alls help.

BTW, Tom, I saw your youtube vid...you're my new hero. Schwartzenegger got nuthin' on you.

Found a Raleigh One Way that looks really cool. Today is my last final exam for the semester, and I'm gonna go to the LBS and pull trigger tomorrow unless I hear otherwise from y'all.
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Old 12-14-06, 12:18 PM   #15
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Get two - a fixed and roadbike. Slowly ride the fixie until you can put in some miles on it. Hambone has the best take on it when it comes to bikes:

Paraphrased: The bike that you'll ride the most is the best bike for you to ride.

That said if you're doing 60 miles on a geared and 60 miles on a fixie you'll work more on the fixie.
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Old 12-14-06, 01:34 PM   #16
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You had 700/35s on your girlfriend for a thousand miles? Did that leave a mark? Is that a clyde/rodie fashion statement (Look, I'm so into cycling my girlfriend wears *tires*.)? If so, do bigger tires look okay on smaller girlfriends, cuz my fiance is only 5'4".
LOL.
Yea, and I get “do these tires make my butt look big?” all the time. LOL

Oh I will pay for that one.
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Old 12-15-06, 12:06 PM   #17
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LOL.
Yea, and I get “do these tires make my butt look big?” all the time. LOL

Oh I will pay for that one.
I would think that nice, fluffy, 700 x 42 tandem-unsupported-touring tires would make any woman's...erm...physique look trim by comparison.

I told my fiance this morning of my ardent desire for nice, full fenders, so as to keep the rain off. She told me that I shouldn't mind a good stripe of slop, as vertical stripes are slimming.
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Old 12-24-06, 11:20 AM   #18
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big on skinny tires

I've got a T-2000 for touring... I use various Schwalbe tires ususally 32's on tour but once I am at home I slap on some Velomax Circuit's with ProRace 23's and go like the wind. With the xtr RD I dont even bother to change chains even though I use a small block on the race wheels. I ride a lot and I am not sure if I am lucky, or what but in the last year I broke one front spoke nipple on a tandem this was after riding the great divide for a month, and two flats in over 5,000 kms both foreign objects. The flats by the way were on Conti's not the pro-race. The pro-race gave me over 1000 kms of trouble free use so far.

Bottom line I ride a range of tires and have found that if you keep them inflated and away from stickle berries you should be fine.
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Old 12-24-06, 07:35 PM   #19
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At 6'1" 230, I've found that 700x32 is a good compromise between performance, reliablity and comfort for commuting, light touring and multi-surface rec rides, though for a long unsupported tour I opt for 35s or 38s. I run 25s on the road bike.
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Old 12-24-06, 07:53 PM   #20
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I am running 700x38 Bonty Satellite Elite Hardcase and I am pushing a total weight of rider and bike around 350#. These are fairly slick compared to the old cross type tires I was riding before and have been a great improvement.
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Old 12-25-06, 06:59 PM   #21
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This is a reversible decision, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. FWIW, I weigh 240 and rarely ride with more than 10 or 12 pounds of Stuff, and I'm happy as six clams with 700x35 Paselas (TRUE 35s, not the old ones that were marked 35 but were only about 30mm wide) on my Atlantis. I got them from Rivendell, but they're probably a few bucks cheaper other places.
For comparison, I also have a Rambouillet (very similar bike, a little lighter) with the same driveline, but using 700x27 Rivendell Ruffy Tuffys. I run the Paselas at 75-80 psi and the RTs at 100-105, and on my 24 mile round trip commute, there's NO difference in average times. My speed depends more on what I had for breakfast, how hard the wind's blowing and how many lights I hit than on the tires, so don't worry that the bigger tires will slow you down much.
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Old 12-25-06, 07:11 PM   #22
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well for what its worth, I went with a cheapie bike that I bought off of ebay... a dawes lightning sport that came with alex rims and maxxis xxephirs 700x25c tires... I weighed 350 (now about 310) and have had no problems with the setup, other than I flatted twice in about 500 miles... the ride was comfy but I haven't ridden a high end bike that I could compare against...

oh Im a roadie... I don't go over dirt paths at all...
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Old 12-25-06, 07:11 PM   #23
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This is a reversible decision, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. FWIW, I weigh 240 and rarely ride with more than 10 or 12 pounds of Stuff, and I'm happy as six clams with 700x35 Paselas (TRUE 35s, not the old ones that were marked 35 but were only about 30mm wide) on my Atlantis. I got them from Rivendell, but they're probably a few bucks cheaper other places.
For comparison, I also have a Rambouillet (very similar bike, a little lighter) with the same driveline, but using 700x27 Rivendell Ruffy Tuffys. I run the Paselas at 75-80 psi and the RTs at 100-105, and on my 24 mile round trip commute, there's NO difference in average times. My speed depends more on what I had for breakfast, how hard the wind's blowing and how many lights I hit than on the tires, so don't worry that the bigger tires will slow you down much.
I think you hit the key, try tires of a different width, as long as they will fit the rims. If the rider finds the tires are not working well, then try still different ones. Currently my bike has 2.5" (63.5mm) MTB tires, plan on switching those to 1.5" (38mm) inverts, then the 2.5s will go in the garage, and if the 1.5's don't work, will try different ones again.
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Old 12-26-06, 02:46 AM   #24
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My online conversion calculator tells me that 37mm is ~1.42 inches.
If that's so, is there any real difference between 700-38c tires and 26"x1.5" tires, roughly?
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Old 12-26-06, 02:33 PM   #25
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My online conversion calculator tells me that 37mm is ~1.42 inches.
If that's so, is there any real difference between 700-38c tires and 26"x1.5" tires, roughly?
Other than that one is a 700c and the other a 26"?
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