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.
Well, what should i look for in the used market? i rode a Giant Cypress last night 23" and it was alright but i felt as if i dwarfed the bike.
I dont really know what to look for. i'm fine with used. or i was thinking about buying a frame, and putting a bike together myself. i could spend more money on it that way, just spread it out over time. And build it myself.
Any sites for frames? hard to come by so far for me.
I echo the height thing. I'm 6'2" and I'm usually riding the largest frame of any model I look at, and I think you'll run into the same. The Trek hybrids and fitness bikes, however, go up pretty big. Try out one of the big ones and see what you think. IIRC other hybrids and city bikes go way up in size as well.
I'm bigger than you both ways and I bought a 25" Trek 7200 (Hybrid) last Christmas. I have put over 5,000 miles on it since with few problems. I replaced the seatpost with a Thomson and the seat with a Brooks B67. The spokes were rebuilt after 2,000 miles when a spoke popped, but everything else is stock. I believe the bike retails around $500.00
Ther numbers don't work. Theneed for better wheels themselves brings you to $500.. minimum.I'm set as far as bikes.Last summer,the cheapest flatbar that suited my then 240lbs was $400,at a sporting goods store. Seems close to your realm but 275 isn't 240.You're tall,it limits the selection a bit as you know.AND you state that you fancy something "racey"..THAT eliminates a moutain bike,which by the way..MAY be your best bet.You're starting out.You needn't worry about being too fast for fat tires.Get a moutain or heavy,cheap hybrid,when you improve and wear the tires-out,get some skinny tires. $400 is just not realistic for a cross either.You chose a weak price-point. Diamondback has a decent $400 model,you may need different wheels at some point but it's faster than a mountain or "traditional" hybrids. OR E-BAY