Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
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Your weight's not a huge problem--most non-stupid lite bikes with 36-spoke wheels will hold you. I've been as high as 270, and I've rarely had trouble unless I tried to use 18-spoke wheels or something
Height is another issue. I'm 6'4", usually ride a 64cm frame, and few shops stock anything that big. Many manufacturers stop at 62cm, and 'cross bikes bigger than about 60cm seem to be pretty rare. In your price range, you might want to look for a used bike (I've bought several over the years), but they're not common in the used market, either, so you may have to shop around awhile before you find something. Since it sounds like you're planning to use it for JRA (just riding around, general use), a mountain bike with roadish tires might be a good solution. They tend to be stout, and there are more of them around in the $400 range than there are road bikes.
One warning: Don't buy something that ALMOST fits or about which a dealer says "you can make it work with a longer seatpost." What feels OK for a three-minute ride around the parking lot may not work in the third hour of a long ride.