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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 02-08-07, 09:59 AM   #1
bdinger
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Boston Area, I need your help for a fellow clyde!

Greetings,
I have a very good friend who lives in the Boston area, and is looking to kick himself back into shape. He's a big guy, and right now doesn't want to invest in a new bike but would rather start out on his old one. It's an older (early '00s) Trek 820 MTB.

Now his problem is that he wants a bike shop that isn't going to be... well.. snooty . He wants to throw some slicks on the 820, get some help getting it fitted to him, and have it tuned up properly. I'm sure (knowing this particular person..) that if he likes it, he'll end up getting something a little more "fun".

Anyway, need recommendations. I know the legendary Harris Cyclery is in the Boston area, but from looking at their website he felt a bit daunted.

Anyone? Bueller?
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Old 02-08-07, 10:16 AM   #2
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I've done business with Harris and they seem to be pretty down to earth folks. There are a lot of people there and someone should have the expertise on this particular matter to be of assistance.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:20 AM   #3
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+1 on Harris, great shop and NOT snooty! Very expert.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:41 AM   #4
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+1 on Harris, great shop and NOT snooty! Very expert.
is that the Harris of Sheldon Brown?
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Old 02-08-07, 10:41 AM   #5
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is that the Harris of Sheldon Brown?
Yuppers!
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Old 02-08-07, 12:05 PM   #6
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See, I told him I was jealous on him being so close to Harris. But he got a bit daunted by the brands and stuff they carry .

I figured it'd be like any good shop. They want to keep you riding, and keep you a customer. Not the bad shops that just want to keep up-selling.
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Old 02-08-07, 12:42 PM   #7
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See, I told him I was jealous on him being so close to Harris. But he got a bit daunted by the brands and stuff they carry .

I figured it'd be like any good shop. They want to keep you riding, and keep you a customer. Not the bad shops that just want to keep up-selling.
I've had great service at some big shops. (I'll give a nod to Brands on the south shore of Long Island and to Carl Hart in Middle Island.)
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Old 02-08-07, 02:13 PM   #8
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hey, i work in newton, a mile from Harris Cyclery and happen to weigh 220 (down from 268). I think Harris is great if you know what you want, but i just have aways felt like i'm not a valued customer there. I think it might be intimidating. though,I will continue going there as their selection and location cant be beat. I've enjoyed Beacon st. bikes, ace wheel works and paramount bicycle supply (a very small shop in Somerville, my recomendation). all nice folks.
Additionally, if your friend would like some help either installing tires or not being intimidated by bikespeak, let me know as i am an ex-mechanic and would be happy to help a fellow cyclist. thanks for bringing another cyclist into the world.
-L
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Old 02-17-07, 04:55 AM   #9
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+1 on Harris. This time of year he'll have to be a little patient. I've found the Harris folks to be endlessly helpful and knowledgeable helping me set up a bike to fit my oddball requirements (6'9" tall, 212 pounds).
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Old 02-17-07, 07:53 AM   #10
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If he is looking to get going the cheapest way short term is to have Harris overhaul the bike. That will probably cost close to $200 and will have to be done every 6m to 1 yr. I would suggest getting fenders to reduce the number of rain days you lose.

Long term easier to maintain parts like Phil Wood Hubs, or even Internally geared hub like SRAM Spectro might be the way to go. Since those parts are expensive you will not have to deal with snooty sales people.
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Old 02-17-07, 09:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca
hey, i work in newton, a mile from Harris Cyclery and happen to weigh 220 (down from 268). I think Harris is great if you know what you want, but i just have aways felt like i'm not a valued customer there. I think it might be intimidating. though,I will continue going there as their selection and location cant be beat. I've enjoyed Beacon st. bikes, ace wheel works and paramount bicycle supply (a very small shop in Somerville, my recomendation). all nice folks.
Additionally, if your friend would like some help either installing tires or not being intimidated by bikespeak, let me know as i am an ex-mechanic and would be happy to help a fellow cyclist. thanks for bringing another cyclist into the world.
-L
Interesting to hear that from someone who actually lives there. I can speak of a parallel experience. There’s a well known cyclist r in the area and he has a shop. I have seen recommendations from other parts of the country for his shop and I always laugh a little. Don’t get me wrong, he is a great guy, but my experience in his shop is similar to yours in Harris, only a bit worse. I will not patronize his shop…

Thanks for your post, just found it a bit different and thought I’d comment.
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Old 02-19-07, 07:34 AM   #12
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Wheelworks is a great shop (shops actually as there are two). Some of the REI outlets are good too.

I'm too busy to spend time worrying about people acting snooty. I do some research to find out what I need, go to the store and get it or listen to an alternative option, purchase the item then move on. Who cares what some salesperson thinks of me?
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Old 02-19-07, 07:48 AM   #13
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Where exactly does he live?

There are a lot of shops around. But if he lives on the North Shore getting to Harris isn't so fun - could be an hour's drive.

There are a lot of smaller shops around in the suburbs that would be more convenient for servicing.

There's only one shop in the region I've ever had a poor experience in. Most of them are staffed by enthusiasts who are happy to help in any way.

Last edited by Garandman; 02-19-07 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 02-19-07, 08:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gear
Wheelworks is a great shop (shops actually as there are two). Some of the REI outlets are good too.

I'm too busy to spend time worrying about people acting snooty. I do some research to find out what I need, go to the store and get it or listen to an alternative option, purchase the item then move on. Who cares what some salesperson thinks of me?
Any advice on a shop is valuable - there are some of us who think that service is important. Perhaps we just have too much time on our hands...
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Old 03-01-07, 04:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx
I've done business with Harris and they seem to be pretty down to earth folks. There are a lot of people there and someone should have the expertise on this particular matter to be of assistance.
First time I went there to by parts, they were awesome and fully met my expectations.

Went backtoday to get a bunch more items, and the experience was nearly the exact opposite. I was disappointed.
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Old 03-02-07, 12:34 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by geo8rge
If he is looking to get going the cheapest way short term is to have Harris overhaul the bike. That will probably cost close to $200 and will have to be done every 6m to 1 yr. . . .
200 bucks? Every 6months to 1 year? I can see every year, but why every 6 months?

Is the 200 for an overhaul a common price in Boston, or wherever? What does a 200 buck overhaul include? All parts AND labor or just labor +parts?

call me inexperienced (and thinking of getting my bike overhauled after about 3-1/2 years and one bottom bracket replacement),

--foehn
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Old 03-02-07, 12:42 PM   #17
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I think he said 6 months to a year because it would depend on how much he rides, and when. $200 for an overhaul is a budgetary figure.

We use a commuter year-round and it is really hurting right now because we had an ice storm last week and a ton of road salt was put down. We can't even hose the bike down because we shut off the outside faucets to keep them from freezing. When they don't use salt, they use sand, which gets thrown up onto the frame, derailers, and rims even with fenders in place. These are all good reasons for why you live in CA.....
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