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  1. #1
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    New mega-Clyde needs used bike advice...

    Hi, all -

    I just found the forum yesterday while trying to research a bike.

    I'm 44 and around 375 - my "normal" weight is around 200. I used to ride a lot when I was younger, but was never what you'd call an enthusiast - just a kid on a Schwinn Continental. I'm looking to ride for exercise and recreation. I'm on a very tight budget for a bike so am reluctantly looking used. (If I could pull it off financially, I think I'd pick up a new Specialized Hardrock Sport.)

    I'm lucky to live very near a county bike trail that connects to the Chicago area's large trail system, so I'm thinking a hybrid would be the way to go.

    I'm trying to get ideas for used bikes. I'm 6'01" but have a stubby 30" inseam - what's a good frame size to look at first? Any suggestions in a decent value used bike to watch for?

    As an example, I've found three very different bikes available locally:

    1) a beat Trek 800 for $60 that needs wheel truing and a new seat;
    2) a GT Pantera that needs minor work for less than $50; and
    3) a clean Schwinn CrissCross that already has street tires for $125.

    I'm totally lost here - can anyone offer advice? I'm not committed to any of the three above, but wanted to show the kind of bikes I've been considering and the budget I have.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by HeavyDuty Ken; 08-11-07 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Steel frame. Min. 36 spokes per wheel. Read forum posts for fitting. Consider taking a bicycle maintenance class. Or talk to a local bike shop, for a fee they may be able to give you advice on the suitability and cost to overhaul the bike you intend to buy.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I'm going to head over to my LBS now - maybe I can talk myself into a new bike, particularly if they have any deals on remaining 2007 models. I'd really prefer new if only for the warranty and support!

    Still looking for suggestions on used bikes, though...

  4. #4
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    Maybe you could call around to the LBS's in your area to see if any of them carry used bikes?

    When I started riding, I was lucky to find a LBS in my area that sold used bikes. So I was able to get a decent fitting bike that had been through the shop at a fair price.

  5. #5
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I started well over 400. The frames are generally pretty tough, and most modern bikes are unlikely to snap apart under you. But if you ride harder and get in better shape you may start breaking them. Steel frames are ideal because when they break they tend to break without breaking you. I broke an Electra steel frame after a year of hard riding and the rest of the frame compensated and flexed so I didn't have a disaster. Alloy tends to break more completely and is less flexible. Other materials are even more shatter-prone. But even more importantly, the steel frames tend to have longer warranties. Electra replaced mine for free.

    The exception is seatposts. Steel seatposts tend to be cheap and bendy. Alloy are better. Carbon fiber have a rep for explosive collapse.

    The bigger issues are likely going to be the wheels. Esp. the rear wheel. I've had good luck using a Sun rim and a 36 count hub with 2mm spokes. Anything less than that and I tend to start popping spokes. Also, cranks can snap off on you.

    One problem is most of the big person bikes are built assuming you will not ride it very far or very hard before giving up. The only one I could find for my weight locally was the Electra cruiser. I've upgraded to a hybrid this year and I like it a lot better.

    I would not suggest going with a used bike if you can help it unless you've got some good bike repair knowledge and can do it yourself. If you're serious about riding you WILL break stuff on the bike. I got my money's worth out of the warranty and then some.

    Also, don't assume a wide gel seat is the way to go. You will likely be better off with a proper saddle with springs. Brooks makes some awesome ones.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bobbyahines's Avatar
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    Ken,

    On a side note, you should be proud of your decision to get back on the bike for fitness. Take it easy and just have fun riding; everything else just kind of works itself out.

    -bobby
    Mechanic/Service Manager for Hello Bicycle.

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Ken,

    Look at the Hardrock from Specialized.....they are pretty much bombproof!

    Look for 36 or more spoke wheels, and have fun!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  8. #8
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    Thanks, everyone!

    I went to two local stores today to scope the territory. I test rode a few bikes (Specialized Hardrock Sport, Specialized HRXC, Specialized Expedition Sport, Giant Boulder SE), and just that little bit of riding was a real workout for sedentary ole me. Felt good, though.

    A fairly small frame seems to work best for me - the Giant was 18", the Hardrock and HRXC 17". I have stumpy little legs from my mother's side, I tell 'ya! If my legs were proportionate to my trunk I'd be 6'6".

    I think this is going to work, I just wish I could find a cheaper bike. That said, the safety blanket of a new warranty and shop technical assistance is of great value, too.

    Of the bikes I looked at today, I think I liked the Giant best from a price vs. feature basis. I still would prefer the Hardrock, though if price wasn't a consideration.
    Last edited by HeavyDuty Ken; 08-05-07 at 07:21 PM.

  9. #9
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    Look at eh Giant Rincon to squeez into you r budget. The frame style may fit you well.
    http://www.frankfordbike.com/giant_sprtmtn06.html

    Good luck.
    Dave

  10. #10
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    Ken,

    You are doing the right thing. Ride as many bikes as you can and find that one that fits you and that you feel good on. A better bike now will pay off in the long run. If you look over some of the Clyde's histories, you will see that most start feeling the need for more speed as their weight comes off. So, you may see the need for a road bike at some point here too.

    The Giant's are very good bikes. Right up there with the Treks and the Specialized bike to be sure.

    Good Luck to you!

    Chris
    A Mess of old bikes...
    92 Trek 970
    08 Gary Fisher Paragon

  11. #11
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    Just an idea: Have you considered a $50 dollar bike off your local Craig's List? If it breaks just throw it away or fix it with walmart parts. If you stay with bike riding, set a goal to buy a new bike. For instance I've promised myself a new bike when I get down to less then 250 pounds. Currently I'm 275, down from 298. Until I hit 250 I'm committed to my 1991 Trek 930 MTB which is worth about $50 on craigslist even though its in great shape.

    My casual observation of this forum is people tend to get way to carried away with equipment. Bottom line is to ride. It doesn't really matter what your riding, doing it is what counts. Who knows what kind of bike you'll want 90 pounds from now. Illinois is basically flat, get a single speed cruiser. You can buy one new at wally world for less then 100 bucks. If you stay with riding buy a better bike. Reward yourself as you go with a new bike.

    My Flame suit on.

  12. #12
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    No flame suit needed, astropuppy. That's why I've been trying to look used.

    For that matter, for the price of a Craigslist beater I can buy a brand new Wally World crap bike that even has a warranty. If I could get a year out of it, I'd be happy. Plus, I would then have a better idea of what I want and need in a bike.

    A year would be plenty of time for me to see if riding is going to stick.

  13. #13
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    My opinion:

    If it'll get you riding, go ahead and buy one, with the codicil that it is just a temp bike! I started with a Walmart bike, kind of....an Old Royce Union Mountain Bike. I still have it, and use it for bad weather and winter riding. It's a POS, but it served me well, except for being a maintenance nightmare. If you do go the Walmart route, the issues you'll likely have are:
    1. Poor assembly and adjustment
    2. Poor shifting
    3. Weak wheels
    4. Poor brakes
    5. TERRIBLE saddle (You'll beed a better one, guaranteed!)
    6. Fit of the bike, Walmart has the "One Size fits all" mentality in stocking bikes. If you happen to have the right body geometry, though, this isn't necessarily an issue.


    Just remember, it is a temporary expedient!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  14. #14
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Here's a huge long thread about the Denali, for example, a Walmart bike that's pretty honest about it's shortcomings as well as where it's good
    Review on the GMC Denali bicycle
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  15. #15
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    Can anyone help me with used pricing? As an example, I found a really clean GT Talera for $150 (unknown year). Good price / bad price / meh price?
    Last edited by HeavyDuty Ken; 08-06-07 at 07:25 PM.

  16. #16
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Meh.....not terrible though!

    Key is....is it a good fit?
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  17. #17
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    I'll check it out tonight. All I know right now is stepover height - I was finding most bikes in the 17'-18" range to be "bell ringers". This is a 16" with stepover that's about a half inch lower than the ones I tried yesterday.

    I don't know enough about frame geometry to do more than try them out and see what works! I realize I'm going to look like a monkey doing something unnatural to a football what with my short legs and a smaller frame, but there it is.

  18. #18
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    Here's the kind of deal you need: http://boise.craigslist.org/bik/390570981.html

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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  20. #20
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    This is the one I'm going to look at tonight:

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/bik/389932137.html

    I'm trying to find out what year it is so I can do more research.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post

    To be honest, I'd be more likely to buy new once we get up over $200...
    Last edited by HeavyDuty Ken; 08-06-07 at 02:23 PM.

  22. #22
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    I hit another LBS today at lunch, breifly checked out a Giant Rincon. Maybe I need to knock over a 7-11 and buy new... ugh.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyDuty Ken View Post
    This is the one I'm going to look at tonight:

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/bik/389932137.html

    I'm trying to find out what year it is so I can do more research.
    Thats a nice looking bike. If it fits show him a hundred dollars cash. If he bonks, add a little from your wallet. I wouldn't pay more then about 125 for any used bike; Unless it was something really special. Besides you need cash for other stuff like a pump and water bottle....

  24. #24
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    That's kind of my feeling, too - I think it's at least a ten year old bike. Cro-moly = steel alloy, right?

    The solid fork scares me a little, but at the same time it'd be more durable, right? I'm going to only be on the street, paved trails and chat trails, no off-roading.

  25. #25
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    One thing to keep in mind if you do go the Boulder/Rincon/similar route - you will most likely be replacing the fork for a non-suspension (aka rigid) model in short order. A good riding buddy started off over 350 lbs on a hardrock sport, and the fork was toast in two fireroad rides. The suspension fork is where the manufacturers save $$ on the entry-level bikes.

    In that sense, the Talera is looking good (rigid fork). Expect to replace things as they break, but that will become less frequent as you lose weight. Best of luck!

    Jim

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