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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 06-27-07, 08:25 AM   #1
Caincando1
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Road bike vs. Cycle Cross

I'm pretty new to this and don't really know as much as I'd like. I'm currently riding my trek navigator 300 20 miles plus and I'm researching an upgrade. The LBS was telling me how a CC bike was built a little stronger than a road bike and might hold up better under my weight.(325) Plus they usually don't come with slicks but can be added. I'd be riding paved trails and road, but there is always a lot of debris, usually gravel and stick and stuff(plus I occasionally ride on gravel roads) so I don't want to run a slick. Is there any truth to this? Would a road bike be more comfy than a cc? I was drooling over the cannondale cycle cross that they had there.
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Old 06-27-07, 08:37 AM   #2
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I'm not positive, but I think a CC has a more relaxed geometry which would make it more comfortable.

If you want to get a road style, you may also want to look at touring bikes. I was in your exact shoes about 1 1/2 years ago (on MY Nav 300) and ended up going with a Trek 520 touring bike.
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Old 06-27-07, 09:00 AM   #3
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You could look into a steel road frame like the Surly Cross Check. Build it up with a solid set of wheels & high quality BB/Crankset, and you shouldn't have any problems.

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Old 06-27-07, 09:11 AM   #4
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Looking at what you have, a Trek Navigator 300 and then what your LBS is trying to get you to BUY (anything they have in stock), I would be cautious about what they say. Frame to frame (Road to CC) I doubt that you would see a huge difference in strength. Now either style Road or CC will be a quick bike than what you are on.

Comfort has a lot to do with you and how you fit on the bike. Are you okay on the Navigator? Have you ridden any real Road bikes?

Advice given to us larger framed folks should be taken with a lot of our own common sense. Most frames have a Warranty that the Manufacturer will honor. But will the LBS back you on this?

I am still a firm believer in Steel Frame bikes for those like us. Good Ride, great strength and not many foibles to worry about.

A few that come to mind, The Trek 520 (already mentioned) The Lemond Sarthe, and if you need an entry level Aluminum Frame the Trek 1000 is hard to beat.

Ride as many bikes as you like, find the right one for you and TAKE YOUR TIME!

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Old 06-27-07, 10:09 AM   #5
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Cyclocross will let you run wider tires, will let you put on fenders and racks, may allow for disc brakes and will also have clearance for studded tires in the wintertime.

You may have some use for these things in a place where you get rain as we all do, but also get quite a bit of the white stuff in the wintertime.
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Old 06-27-07, 11:12 AM   #6
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I'm smaller than you (6'3, 230) and faced the same issue -- ended up with a cross bike (Kona JTS).

Reasons -- fit really well (semi-compact geometry means you're a little more upright than a full raodie), stiff and responsive frame, good wheels out of the box. I commute on it on a mup -- use slicks on deep v's for the summer and am pretty much going at road bike pace, and go to the stock wheels with 38 semi-slicks for the winter (and after thunderstorms as the mup gets sand and debris on it). I've heard that its frame (high-end alu) actually rides a lot like steel, and that's been my experience as well.

The other thing that sold me on it is the frog-leg second brake leveres on the bars -- these make it easy to navigate a 160 degree turn on a downhill i have on a bike / pedestrian bridge over a highway.

Cross will give you a higher bottom bracket in many models, so look to sizing based not on seat tube but on top tube length.

Touring would be the way to go if you want a nmore steady bike for really long distances.

Bottom line -- try a lot of bikes, and don't be too attached to buying what one store wants you to. Lots of good advice here.

Last thought -- at your weight, get a really good wheel set. a good LBS will let you switch them out prior to purchase and will work with you on the fiancials
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Old 06-27-07, 12:49 PM   #7
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From a geometry standpoint a real cross bike will have steeper angles, shorter stays and a higher bottom bracket. This will make them much more nimble and aggressive. But they will also have the advantage as mentioned above of having the ability to run wider/knobby tires and fenders if you need those things. You mentioned gravel and debris above, you might be able to run a wider semi-slick touring tire like a continetal contact which depending on the terrain might be the best of both worlds, enough width that you would be fine with debris and gravel, but you would have the low rolling resistance and better cornering of a slick.
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Old 06-27-07, 01:24 PM   #8
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I used to be about your size - 365 lbs - but am down to 265. (The first hundred pounds are the easy ones!) I currently have two bikes - an old 10-speed Ross road bike that I brought back out of retirement, and a new TREK 820 21-speed mountain bike.

Personally, I found that the Ross does not have low enough gears for me for the hills around where I live. The TREK does have low gears, but I really prefer the geometry of a road bike. When I decided to buy a road bike, I wanted to duplicate the low gear of the TREK. I did a lot of looking, reading spec sheets, and crunching numbers. What I decided on was a Surly Long Haul Trucker. It's steel frame and fork, 27 speeds with bar-end shifters, and dropped bars. Even though it has dropped bars, it's set up with more of an upright cockpit - I like the drop bars because I can move my hands around to different positions, instead of one position on mtb flat bars.

Anyway, the Surly LHT is really a touring bike, so it's meant to carry loads. A big part of that is the wheels - the LHT has 36 spoke wheels, with 14ga stainless steel spokes. If you are worried about the bike being heavy because it's all steel, I ran the following numbers:

From Performance Bike's web site, I found a frame/fork combo (aluminum frame with carbon fiber fork) for a road bike listed at 4.7 lbs.

Surly lists the LHT steel frame and fork at 7.4 lbs.

So, assuming that all of the other components will weigh about the same, the LHT will be less than 3 lbs heavier! I can live with that - one of my shoes probably weighs more than 3 lbs!

Total cost of the Surly, shipped to my LBS for final assembly, adjustment, and fitting, is $1072.00.
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Old 06-27-07, 01:32 PM   #9
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Keep the info coming everyone. I have so much to learn before I drop a grand on my next bike. I'd love to get on a Surly but there aren't any localy and I want to ride it first.

So far I've looked at the Trek FX's, I rode a 7.2, Specialized Sirrus and the c dale bad boy. I really like the bad boy, but I'm thinking drop bars would be the way to go so I can move my hands around plus I'll probably want them eventually anyways. So now I'm looking at a tough road bike or cross bike.
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Old 06-27-07, 01:44 PM   #10
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Oh, one other thing. I based my geartrain comparisons on a really quick formula that reveals the gear-inch number for each bike. Essentially, the formula is this:

(driving gear)/(driven gear)*wheel diameter.

Here are the numbers for my new bike:

Ross 10-speed:
Low Gear: 39/28*27 = 37.6 gear inches
High Gear: 52/14*27 = 100.28 gear inches

TREK 820:
Low Gear: 28/34*26 = 21.4 gear inches
High Gear: 48/13*26 = 95.99 gear inches

Surly LHT:
Low Gear: 26/34*27.55 = 21.06 gear inches
High Gear: 48/11*27.55 = 120.21 gear inches

From this, we see that the LHT has a low gear that's nearly identical to my TREK 820 mtb, and a high gear that's even higher than my old Ross 10-speed.

Thought you might benefit from seeing my reasoning process.
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Old 06-28-07, 09:52 AM   #11
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My $0.02 - I bought a cc bike over a road, the big reason for me was already pointed out - that was the ability to run larger tires. The skinnies were to hard on the frame (mine), currently I run Specialized Infinitiy 32s which are great for most surfaces and debris.
My only issue was the gearing - the bike was used and I ended up swapping out the original double for a
50-34 compact and then added a 12-34 cassette with a long cage rd. Now I can confidently tackle most hills whereas before I didn't have enough bottom end.
Previously I road a mtn bike (still do) - I like the drop bars due to the different hand positions but as a previous poster mentioned the additional brakes levers on the flats are a nice addition. Mind you they could be added to a road bike too.
Bikes are as personal as briefs or boxers but getting some decent demo rides will help the decision making process.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:49 AM   #12
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I bought a Specialized Roubaix and then picked up a Specialized Tricross. Being a Clyde I find the CC frame sturdier and much more comfortable. If you put slicks on you can do most things a road bike can. The ability to put wider tires on is also a great selling point!

My Miyata is steel and it is a very comfortable ride so I'd have to agree with the steel bike advice.

I think I'll be riding primarily CC bikes as they have the most to offer in terms of usefulness to a Clyde!
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