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  1. #1
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    matching goals to bike

    I'm not an experienced cyclist and I haven't owned a bike since I was in high school. That was in the early to mid '70s and things have changed a lot since then. I'm almost 50 and I'm 6'1" and I weigh 267.

    My goal is to combine my new low carb low fat diet with exercise to lose weight and improve my strength and overall fitness. I am not interested in winning any races, but I'd like to participate in some longish rides when I get in better shape (day rides, not touring). Also, I live only 6 miles from where I work and I can shower and change at work, so a future goal of commuting to/from work might evolve. But my primary goal remains to lose weight and become more fit.

    I'm heading to a couple of local bike shops on Monday to look at the bikes and hopefully find someone who's more of a bike expert than a salesperson. I know I'm going to be bewildered by all the choices, so I want to go armed with a little knowledge.

    I'll be riding mostly on pavement. Offroad riding interests me conceptually, but I see that coming later on when I'm more fit. So I think a road bike is what I should be looking at, but I'm a bit intimidated by the leaned over riding position. It looks uncomfortable and I'm afraid my back and arms won't be able to take it. I've been looking at hybrids on web sites, and they seem like they'd be more comfortable because the seating position is more upright. But I've heard that they aren't optimum (whatever that means) for pure road use, and I wonder if they are suitable for a weight loss training regimen?

    Finally, being somewhat heavy, I don't want to end up with a bike that is not up to the punishment of a 267 pound rider. I want something well built that won't fall apart on me.

    What characteristics should I be looking for in a bike that is suited to my goals? For example, hybrid or road bike? Steel or aluminum frame? I live in mostly flat country, how many gears do I need?

    I want to buy a bike that will suit me for at least five years. I'd rather spend a bit more and get something that'll last than buy something I'll be dissatisfied with in a couple of years. My budget is about $1300 for the bike itself or a bit more if the bang was worth the buck, not counting helmet and accessories.

    I know the salespeople will be eager(!) to assist me when I go to the bike store, but I figure the more information I'm armed with before I walk in the door, the better off I'll be.

    I'll appreciate any advice you can give me.

  2. #2
    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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    I'd go steel frame, perhaps a touring frame, or a Cyclocross. The Surly line like the Long Haul Trucker or the Crosscheck is a good start.
    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.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    Take a look at the following link to Felt's website and compare the F Series to the Z Series:

    http://www.feltracing.com/products/d...sp?catid=18,19

    A road bike with "relaxed geometry" where the frame angles are arranged to bring the handlebars up to a more comfortable position sounds like it will suit your goals. Other bike companies have similar offerings of course, but Felt's site illustrates it well with the side-by-side display.

    You'll be able to get a quality bike within your budget that will handle your size/weight as far as the frame, fork and components goes but special consideration should be given to making sure you have sturdy wheels. I don't think it's something to be too overly concerned about though, but it's something you might ask the salesman about at the shop.

  4. #4
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    That Surly Long Haul Trucker seems like a fairly popular choice among tourers. I found a lot of pics on the web of LHT's loaded up with front and rear saddlebags, handlebar and rack bags, so it must be a strong and durable frame. I'll get to see one on Monday because the LBS sells them.

    The Felt site is useful to see what is meant by "relaxed geometry". There are a couple of local dealers, so I might get to see them too.

    There are a multitude of Trek dealers, and one Jamis dealer locally. I've seen those brands mentioned in a few posts on the Clydesdales / Athenas forum, so I'll be on the lookout for those too.

    I think I'm going to have to ride some bikes to figure out what geometry works for me. I have long legs and I know I won't be able to stand anything that scrunches me up into a fetal riding position.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    Trek Pilots compare with Felt's Z Series bikes for relaxed geometry as do Trek's FX hybrid bikes. You'll also be able to compare traditional and flat handlebars. Getting out and test riding some bikes will help tremendously in finding the right bike for you.

  6. #6
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I am glad I went with a road bike, even if it was the lower dollar version and not a hybrid or cross bike. I like the lower position and the aerodynamic differences are obvious for me. When riding into the wind, I can tuck down lower and get through anything.

    I think a lot will depend upon what you want out of the bike. At 267, I would say a steel frame, but I think a lot of that will depend upon how quickly you start losing weight. I can tell a big difference from 265 on a bike to 235 on a bike and for me that didn't take too long.

    Ride different bikes from different stores. Find the older bike store that doesn't have everything hanging from stainless steel shelving, but has wood floors and older racks. They are usually better people to deal with from my experience. The TREK store of Omaha pretty much pushed me away from there store, that is why I am riding a Jamis and bought three of them in less than 4 months.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okra dictum View Post
    I'm not an experienced cyclist and I haven't owned a bike since I was in high school. That was in the early to mid '70s and things have changed a lot since then. I'm almost 50 and I'm 6'1" and I weigh 267.

    My goal is to combine my new low carb low fat diet with exercise to lose weight and improve my strength and overall fitness. I am not interested in winning any races, but I'd like to participate in some longish rides when I get in better shape (day rides, not touring). Also, I live only 6 miles from where I work and I can shower and change at work, so a future goal of commuting to/from work might evolve. But my primary goal remains to lose weight and become more fit.

    I'm heading to a couple of local bike shops on Monday to look at the bikes and hopefully find someone who's more of a bike expert than a salesperson. I know I'm going to be bewildered by all the choices, so I want to go armed with a little knowledge.

    I'll be riding mostly on pavement. Offroad riding interests me conceptually, but I see that coming later on when I'm more fit. So I think a road bike is what I should be looking at, but I'm a bit intimidated by the leaned over riding position. It looks uncomfortable and I'm afraid my back and arms won't be able to take it. I've been looking at hybrids on web sites, and they seem like they'd be more comfortable because the seating position is more upright. But I've heard that they aren't optimum (whatever that means) for pure road use, and I wonder if they are suitable for a weight loss training regimen?

    Finally, being somewhat heavy, I don't want to end up with a bike that is not up to the punishment of a 267 pound rider. I want something well built that won't fall apart on me.

    What characteristics should I be looking for in a bike that is suited to my goals? For example, hybrid or road bike? Steel or aluminum frame? I live in mostly flat country, how many gears do I need?

    I want to buy a bike that will suit me for at least five years. I'd rather spend a bit more and get something that'll last than buy something I'll be dissatisfied with in a couple of years. My budget is about $1300 for the bike itself or a bit more if the bang was worth the buck, not counting helmet and accessories.

    I know the salespeople will be eager(!) to assist me when I go to the bike store, but I figure the more information I'm armed with before I walk in the door, the better off I'll be.

    I'll appreciate any advice you can give me.
    The problem with hybrids are, that often the rider outgrows the bike, riders either move to trail riding (mountain biking), not something I recommend for someone a little older, injuries at 20 tend to heal well, and fairly quickly, injuries at 45 tend not to heal well or quickly, I know from experience, your far more likely to have an unplanned dismount on a trail, then on a road.

    For road riding, you either start building speed or distance, well actually you build both, but tend to build one or the other faster, for speed you want a light weight bike, the weights on some of the CF wonder-bikes are truly amazing, at just over 95kg (210lbs), I don't know if I would want a bike made of carbon reinforced plastic, if I were 267, I definitely wouldn't. The difference between a racing bike, and a touring bike, tend to break down into several features, added to a touring bike, including:

    1) Longer chain-stays this is so you don't keep kicking your rear panniers (bags that fit on a rear rack) with your heel, not needed as much if you have small feet like I do, if you have large feet, the extra length can help, adds very little weight, and has no effect if you do not tour.

    2) Connecting points for racks, fenders, water bottles, etc. Some touring bikes come with fenders and racks, adds under 1kg (2.2lbs) of weight to the bike, and can come in handy, even if you don't tour.

    3) Built for heavy loads, it's not uncommon for a bike tourer to add 20kg (44lbs) or more of gear on a bike while on tour, this is why you often see touring bikes with 36 spoke or more wheels, box rims and wider tires (often 30-35mm vs the 23mm of a typical racing bike).

    4) Handle bars are higher in relation to the seat, it's not uncommon for a touring bike to have the bars the same height as the seat, where as racing bikes can have them as much as 10cm (4" ) lower.

    Often the handlebars look the same, and generally they are, the curved drop bar has more hand positions, then flat bars, and a clyde going down hill, in the tucked drop position, can get up quite a speed....

    HTH

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilmooz View Post
    Trek Pilots compare with Felt's Z Series bikes for relaxed geometry as do Trek's FX hybrid bikes. You'll also be able to compare traditional and flat handlebars. Getting out and test riding some bikes will help tremendously in finding the right bike for you.
    I know the LBS I'm going to on Monday sells Trek so I'll definitely look at them. The 5.0 is a carbon frame and out of my price range. The 2.1 is an aluminum frame. After continued googling and searching this forum I've settled on steel. I am hard on everything I use, just a peculiar and unfortuitous combination of high mass and low grace, I guess. Steel seems like a safer bet!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    The problem with hybrids are, that often the rider outgrows the bike, riders either move to trail riding (mountain biking), not something I recommend for someone a little older, injuries at 20 tend to heal well, and fairly quickly, injuries at 45 tend not to heal well or quickly, I know from experience, your far more likely to have an unplanned dismount on a trail, then on a road.

    For road riding, you either start building speed or distance, well actually you build both, but tend to build one or the other faster, for speed you want a light weight bike, the weights on some of the CF wonder-bikes are truly amazing, at just over 95kg (210lbs), I don't know if I would want a bike made of carbon reinforced plastic, if I were 267, I definitely wouldn't. The difference between a racing bike, and a touring bike, tend to break down into several features, added to a touring bike, including:

    1) Longer chain-stays this is so you don't keep kicking your rear panniers (bags that fit on a rear rack) with your heel, not needed as much if you have small feet like I do, if you have large feet, the extra length can help, adds very little weight, and has no effect if you do not tour.

    2) Connecting points for racks, fenders, water bottles, etc. Some touring bikes come with fenders and racks, adds under 1kg (2.2lbs) of weight to the bike, and can come in handy, even if you don't tour.

    3) Built for heavy loads, it's not uncommon for a bike tourer to add 20kg (44lbs) or more of gear on a bike while on tour, this is why you often see touring bikes with 36 spoke or more wheels, box rims and wider tires (often 30-35mm vs the 23mm of a typical racing bike).

    4) Handle bars are higher in relation to the seat, it's not uncommon for a touring bike to have the bars the same height as the seat, where as racing bikes can have them as much as 10cm (4" ) lower.

    Often the handlebars look the same, and generally they are, the curved drop bar has more hand positions, then flat bars, and a clyde going down hill, in the tucked drop position, can get up quite a speed....

    HTH
    Thank you. Strangely enough in all my googling I haven't come across a cogent description of the differences between a touring bike and a racing road bike until your post. Even the bike manufacturers don't really explain the differences in their lines in simple words that a novice can understand. The Trek site is spiffy, but I can't learn much there!

  10. #10
    This Space For Rent Stujoe's Avatar
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    It really all depends upon what you want to do and how the bike feels. After modifying my HardRock to be better on my commute, road riding and trails that I typically ride, I have come to the conclusion that a Cyclocross bike is probably what I will end up getting down the line. Something fairly nimble that I can ride a longer amount of miles at a decent speed on but not be afraid of the potholes on the way to work or some dirt or limestone trail riding on the weekends.

    Probably a Surly Cross Check or Kona Jake the Snake type bike. I have to save the pennies for that, though, so it probably won't be until late next year or maybe not even until spring 2009. Until then, the HardRock is fitting the bill for my budget.
    Last edited by Stujoe; 09-23-07 at 10:51 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okra dictum View Post
    Thank you. Strangely enough in all my googling I haven't come across a cogent description of the differences between a touring bike and a racing road bike until your post. Even the bike manufacturers don't really explain the differences in their lines in simple words that a novice can understand. The Trek site is spiffy, but I can't learn much there!
    There may be other small differences, one is that racing bikes often use combined brake and shifter lever, often called a brifter, which requires indexed shifting, which can be finicky and require a lot of adjusting. Touring bikes often use bar end shifters, which can optionally be used in infinitely adjustable friction mode, this means that when indexing can't get the right gear, you switch to friction mode, and adjust it yourself, until you can make the proper adjustments. Another is that touring bikes are nearly all Chromoly steel . where as most modern racing bikes are aluminum alloy or carbon fibre reinforced plastic. The difference between a $400 Chromoly frame and a $1400 plastic frame is often less then 2lbs weight. Traditionally steel was retained in touring frames, because anyone with a welding kit and a 1 day welding course can easily repair a cracked or broken frame well enough to finish your tour, that includes many farmers, even in the third world, where they often have to be able to repair their own equipment. CF, AL and Ti frames requires special exotic materials or equipment, to repair, and I doubt you could find those in many parts of North America, lat alone a village in Africa or South America. Of course, steel is also slightly springy, which means a better ride as well.

    Deciding on a type of bike, the next thing is fit, every bike manufacturer has a different idea of the proper ratio of top tube to seat tube, this part of the geometry, so try different brands, if one brand doesn't fit right, then another might. If your spending a lot of money, it might be a good idea to get a professional fitting, which is done in two parts, first they measure you, to determine the closest rough size, then the second part is to make adjustments to get the bike to fit 100%.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stujoe View Post
    It really all depends upon what you want to do and how the bike feels. After modifying my HardRock to be better on my commute, road riding and trails that I typically ride, I have come to the conclusion that a Cyclocross bike is probably what I will end up getting down the line. Something fairly nimble that I can ride a long amount of miles at a decent speed on but not be afraid of the potholes on the way to work or some dirt or limestone trail riding on the weekends.

    Probably a Surly Cross Check or Kona Jake the Snake type bike. I have to save the pennies for that, though, so it probably won't be until late next year or maybe not even until spring 2009. Until then, the HardRock is fitting the bill for my budget.
    That Kona Jake the Snake looks like a nice bike and it seems like it's a step up in some components over the Surly Cross-Check (derailleurs are Shimano 105s on the Kona versus Tiagra on the Surly) for about the same price in the complete bike. But I don't know that much about such things. I just found a post where someon said Dura-Ace > Ultegra > 105 > Tiagra > Sora but I have no actual knowledge of that.

    How tall are you Stujoe? I'm only 6'1" and I know there are many clydes several inches taller. I have muscular meaty and lengthy legs and I'm not comfortable having to fold myself too tightly, as my beer belly precludes bending my knees up into my abdomen. I've noticed that the Surly Cross-Check and Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross frames seem a bit more compact or compressed lengthwise than the Surly LHT. I suspect I'll be more comfortable on a longer bike, and I don't mind trading off some nimbleness for the kind of riding I envision. I think a roomier bike will encourage me to ride more.

    One other question... what kind of potholes are you talking about? The roads in my area are mostly well-maintained but uneven pavement and potholes do occur. Is this really of great concern for a road bike versus a cyclocross when it comes to potholes, and what characteristic in the cyclocross makes it compensate better? Is it just the type of tires or more than that?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    If your spending a lot of money, it might be a good idea to get a professional fitting, which is done in two parts, first they measure you, to determine the closest rough size, then the second part is to make adjustments to get the bike to fit 100%.
    Sounds smart but it doesn't seem like measuring can be that hard. Are there guidelines somewhere on how to measure yourself for rough fit?

  14. #14
    This Space For Rent Stujoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okra dictum View Post
    How tall are you Stujoe? I'm only 6'1" and I know there are many clydes several inches taller. I have muscular meaty and lengthy legs and I'm not comfortable having to fold myself too tightly, as my beer belly precludes bending my knees up into my abdomen. I've noticed that the Surly Cross-Check and Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross frames seem a bit more compact or compressed lengthwise than the Surly LHT. I suspect I'll be more comfortable on a longer bike, and I don't mind trading off some nimbleness for the kind of riding I envision. I think a roomier bike will encourage me to ride more.

    One other question... what kind of potholes are you talking about? The roads in my area are mostly well-maintained but uneven pavement and potholes do occur. Is this really of great concern for a road bike versus a cyclocross when it comes to potholes, and what characteristic in the cyclocross makes it compensate better? Is it just the type of tires or more than that?
    I am 6'1 also and currently at 250. You will definitely want to ride bikes to see which is going to be more comfortable. There is no substitute for that. I have not come to that point yet, and when I do, the Cyclocross bikes may be too 'sporty' of a geometry for me to be comfortable. In that case, I will probably go with something like a Long Haul Trucker or other touring type bike. I need something that will double as a commuter (racks and bag, strong tires, extra weight, etc) so a true road racing type is probably not going to do me well.

    My impression of the Cyclocross road bikes is that they are a little more nimble than a touring bike and yet can take take the offroad and poor road stuff better than a racing bike. Coming from only riding MTBs, the Cyclocross type seems more my style as I move to a road type bike.

    My commute is half along 55mph highway where I won't 'take the road' as many like to advise. In fact, I have never seen any cyclist yet brave enough to 'take the road' on that ride. I stick to the shoulder area which is as wide as a regular lane. Some of that part is smooth and good but other parts are a little rough and bumpy. A touring bike would probably do fine along it but I also like to do some dirt riding and gravel and limestone trail riding. I tend to think the Cyclocross style is more made for that type of rough work with space for larger tires and more bottom bracket clearance.
    Last edited by Stujoe; 09-23-07 at 11:34 AM.

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