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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 12-31-07, 09:36 PM   #1
bonerfortuna
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Is my LBS giving me a line ?

OK thanks in advance,Ive been lurking and reading for a few weeks now. Im looking to get re-involved with a road bike. Im 6'6" and 285 and have a budget of about 1200 for a bike. I did what everyone suggested and went local. The guy doesnt have many big bikes so trying out is very tough, strike one. He is telling me its better to get a compact frame like the Jamis ( of course the ones they sell) rather than a Cannondale. He will gladly sell me a Cannondale CAAD9 but I dont get to ride it and I just dont feel they are looking out in my best interest.Oh and he thinks the standard wheels and seat are just fine and there is no swapping out of parts. So whats conventional wisdom in regards to compact frame vs, I guess traditional frame and while I have you can anyone recommend a LBS withing 50 miles of NYC that I can sit on touch and feel my bike rather than picking one out from a catalogue?Awesome forum by the way, thanks again, Peter
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Old 12-31-07, 09:42 PM   #2
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I was in the same boat as I am your same height but a little heavier. I've heard both sides of the story for compact frame v. standard configurations. I think it really comes down to fit and how you feel on the bike. $1200 or $12,000 you should feel like you are getting the service you deserve, not the service they offer. Lot's of shops don't carry big bikes, so you may have to really shop around to try and "feel" one. It's time consuming but I would go from LBS to LBS until you find a shop you really feel comfortable with. Cannondale is a great brand and they have built some workhorses. Nothing against Jamis, I've never owned a Jamis. I have had more than one Cannodale and they were all great bikes.
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Old 12-31-07, 09:42 PM   #3
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Trust your first reaction- Go to another bs and test ride.
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Old 12-31-07, 09:49 PM   #4
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He won't let you ride it? That set me off right there. I'm 6' and 195 lb and my custom built touring bike is clearly larger then any other bike I've owned. So much for a compact frame. My touring load and I would about equal your 285 and my last bike (a Cannondale) was just fine strength-wise if a tad short. Unless you go for some sub 24 lb racing frame I'd not worry. I grew up north of NYC in Rockland County and I'm sure locals in NY, NJ, and CT will offer many shops. Find the nearest ones you like.
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Old 12-31-07, 10:01 PM   #5
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I'm 6'6" 235 and notorious at my LBS for trashing my wheels. I just bought a Surly Cross Check. The shop doesn't keep them stock, but they're a QBP shop so they could get it no extra cost. One of their wrenches is my height and rides a Cross Check, and he volunteered to let me ride his personal bike if I wanted to do a test ride, not just go based off my Serotta Fit information.
The shop swapped out the stem and tires, put on my broken in B17, and added fenders and full mudflaps for the grand cost of $35.00; the price of the fenders. And they gave me 2x 750mL water bottles.

You need to find a new shop.
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Old 12-31-07, 10:21 PM   #6
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I would go to a different store. I ride a Jamis, and I really like it, but that is probably because of the owner of the bike store is a great person compared to the others I went to. I could be riding other brands, but their store pushed me away. TREK, LeMond, Fisher, Cannondale, etc....., I ended up with a Jamis dealer. I also sent other people to him, so his being nice to me, gave him more business. Word of mouth means a lot, so ask around.
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Old 12-31-07, 10:27 PM   #7
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Why be hung up on test rides. The only thing they will show you is how well the bike was set up, you really need an extended ride to see how a bike handles and feels. Now that that is out of the way.

Whether or not the stock parts on any bike are adequate will depend on your riding style. As an example, I will use Clifton's own words "notorious at my LBS for trashing my wheels". I would suggest to you that it is not really the wheels but the way he rides them that trashes them. I rode the majority of last year heavier that he is but did not have a single wheel failure or even one go out of true just riding around. I would also never lend him any of my wheels if we ever had a chance to ride together (no offense meant Clifton).

Now the other issue seems to be that this bike shop is much more like a car salesman than someone who wants to see you in the right bike, just sell you whats in the store. I would take the other suggestions here and find another LBS.

Also send a PM to patentcad, he is in NYC and a hugh Cannondale fan, I am sure he knows every Cannondale dealer in the area.
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Old 12-31-07, 11:52 PM   #8
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You are in the largest consumer market in the largest consumer country in the world. Finding a good bike shop shouldn't that big of a problem. Just how many bike shops are with in a 50 mile radius of NYC?
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Old 01-01-08, 07:51 AM   #9
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Whether or not the stock parts on any bike are adequate will depend on your riding style. As an example, I will use Clifton's own words "notorious at my LBS for trashing my wheels". I would suggest to you that it is not really the wheels but the way he rides them that trashes them. I rode the majority of last year heavier that he is but did not have a single wheel failure or even one go out of true just riding around. I would also never lend him any of my wheels if we ever had a chance to ride together (no offense meant Clifton).
None taken. You'd be smart not to have lent me any wheels in the past 2 years. The LBS knew me as the guy that was in for a majour wheel fix every couple of months. I didn't ride "light", and I was on old beater parts that I cared very little about.
The example was more to show that one of the shop guys was willing to let "the wheelkiller" test ride his personal bike since the shop didn't have one in stock.
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Old 01-01-08, 08:59 AM   #10
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Clifton, I knew what your intent was, I just took your post a step further to allay the fear than OEM stuff is inadequate for us Clydesdales. I see you mention not riding "light", so to further aid bonerfortuna let me explain some examples of riding light.

You are riding down the road and come to a railroad crossing, a "heavy" rider will keep his ass firmly planted on the saddle with all of his weight and roll right over it. A "light" rider will raise up off the saddle just a bit and lighten his grip of the handlebars with most of his weight on the pedals and allow the bike to roll over the rails lightly. Example two, a "heavy" rider will roll over everything in his path without regard to surface in order to keep his line, a "light" rider is usually more aware of surface conditions and tries, within reason, to avoid holes, broken pavement, gravel, glass, or any other irregularity in the road. I am sure others can give you more examples of riding "light".

You see it is all about how heavy you ride, not how heavy you are.
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Old 01-02-08, 12:08 PM   #11
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Thanks all, plenty of good info here.
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Old 01-02-08, 12:23 PM   #12
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Clifton, I knew what your intent was, I just took your post a step further to allay the fear than OEM stuff is inadequate for us Clydesdales. I see you mention not riding "light", so to further aid bonerfortuna let me explain some examples of riding light...

...You see it is all about how heavy you ride, not how heavy you are.
Not all OEM equipment is insufficiently designed for bigger riders. None of the swapouts on my Surly are integral support items which I felt needed replacing. On that CAAD-9, though, those wheels might be a bit on the underspoked side for a rider who doesn't 'float' over everything.
I'm learning to ride a lot lighter now that I've got thinner tires and a 'roadie'-er bike than my previous steed. (Which I beat like it owed me money.)
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Old 01-02-08, 04:22 PM   #13
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My Specialized Roubaix is a compact frame. I upgraded the wheeld from Alex to Mavic Open Pro w/Ultegra hubs. The bike carried me at 265 an still doesn't mind my weight at 240. I am not suggesting that Specialized necessarily is the bike you need. I'm just suggesting that there are options.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:54 PM   #14
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I'm currently riding an older steel frame bike that has no problem with my weight (240), but at the point when I'm shopping for a new bike my two main concerns will likely be the wheels, and (if it is a compact frame) the seat post strength.

On wheels, I've seen some posters advise staying away from low-spoke-count higher-end wheels, but then others have said that even very low spoke-count wheels are plenty strong. (And I do make a point of getting up off the saddle to cross over sharp bumps.)

The long seat posts required with compact frames also seem like they'd be a possible weak point, with a long lever arm to the union with the frame (especially with a carbon seat post), but maybe any decent seat post is plenty strong enough?

I guess the third possible area might be whether a carbon fork with full carbon steerer might be a little weaker than a carbon fork with alloy steerer.

Some bike makers do talk about acceptable weight ranges for their bikes, but a lot don't (and the ones that do talk about it don't go all that high in weight), so it is hard to know what the right choice is.
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Old 01-03-08, 04:33 PM   #15
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If you're in NYC I'd search or post in the Northeast area. There are a few shops I know of but not sure about what they have in stock right now.

You'd probably need to have a set of wheels hand built and swapped out too IMO.
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Old 01-03-08, 07:22 PM   #16
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I would definitely go to another LBS. I recently got a CAAD9 and can't say enough good things about it. Smoothest riding Aluminum bike I have ever ridden and so stiff in the BB area. It's great. I ditched the wheels quickly, in fact, I never even rode them except on the short 5 mile ride I had on the bike when at the LBS. I'm at 295 by the way.
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Old 01-05-08, 07:02 AM   #17
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I'm currently riding an older steel frame bike that has no problem with my weight (240), but at the point when I'm shopping for a new bike my two main concerns will likely be the wheels, and (if it is a compact frame) the seat post strength.

On wheels, I've seen some posters advise staying away from low-spoke-count higher-end wheels, but then others have said that even very low spoke-count wheels are plenty strong. (And I do make a point of getting up off the saddle to cross over sharp bumps.)
In general riders who ride "light" do not have issues with low spoke count wheels even in excess of 200 pounds.

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The long seat posts required with compact frames also seem like they'd be a possible weak point, with a long lever arm to the union with the frame (especially with a carbon seat post), but maybe any decent seat post is plenty strong enough?
In many cases carbon seat posts are not any different in weight than an aluminum seat post. The are usually made thicker to compensate for the strength difference between it and other metal seat posts. There is absolutely no empirical evidence that they provide any additional ride comfort over other materials. Other than personal desire, for whatever reason, there is just no evidence to suggest that a carbon seat post is better in any way than any other seat post. If you want a good quality easy to adjust seat post then look at Thomson. I use them on every bike I have that requires a straight seat post, I personally do not like the aesthetic of Thomson's setback seat post. On our Cannondale I use Ritchey WCS seat posts, not as easy to adjust but just as strong.


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I guess the third possible area might be whether a carbon fork with full carbon steerer might be a little weaker than a carbon fork with alloy steerer.
In many cases an all composite fork is built in one piece. The steerer tube and fork crown are not dissimilar materials and can be molded together. In the case of carbon forks with aluminum steerer tubes, there is a joint where the two materials meet. Although most modern epoxies are stronger than the materials they hold together there is still the possibility of joint fail, although I have never seen this on a fork (I have seen a bond failure on a frame). I have and currently ride several all carbon forks with no concern for the structural integrity. A quality made carbon fork should provide as much service life as any other quality fork material.


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Some bike makers do talk about acceptable weight ranges for their bikes, but a lot don't (and the ones that do talk about it don't go all that high in weight), so it is hard to know what the right choice is.
In most cases bike frames are sold without any limitations to weight. In our litigious era manufacturers want to limit their liability and bicycles are generally over engineered. Now many components on the other hand do have weight limits, some real and some practical, things such as wheels, saddles, seat posts, etc. may have relatively low weight limits because of the design goals established by the product designers. In an effort to achieve the lightest weights possible many times overall strength is reduced, not always but often enough.

It really is not as hard as you say to find a good quality bicycle to ride that will support a Clydesdale. The real problem is that there are too many choices and opinions about what is good or bad. We even put too much emphasis on single accounts of failure. Usually there are always threads like this where a few say something good about whatever product the OP is asking about, then there is one account of failure and then we base our decision on that particular failure without having all the pertinent data. Nothing in bicycling happens JRA (spontaneously) there are always factors involved, we may not know what they are at the time, but they are there nonetheless.

Sorry for the long-winded response.
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Old 01-05-08, 07:40 AM   #18
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One thing to keep in mind is that you are an odd size, so a shop not having many bikes to test ride isn't that unusual. I doubt they have many very small bikes in stock either.

Also, in my opinion Jamis offers some of the best deals in the business. They are a very good value for the money, and $1200 isn't that much for a new bike.

Lastly, exactly what are the standard wheels and seat, and do you expect the LBS to swap them out for higher end products for an even trade?

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Old 01-05-08, 09:33 AM   #19
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what is the name of the LBS you went to ?

Its understandable no to have everything in your size but he should definately have something for you to try. Also you should be able to switch wheels and saddles no problem.
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Old 01-05-08, 03:34 PM   #20
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I was 6' 7" 318 (now down to 265) and bouoght a standard frame Specialized Allez Elite and never had a problem. For what it's worth.
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Old 01-06-08, 10:46 AM   #21
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Do you have an REI store close to you? They usually have large numbers of bikes to ride. It might be worth it to take a drive to one of these stores. I have a Cannondale Synapse and love it. I am 6'4" and 252lbs. I took my Cannondale to a local bike shop and hat it fitted to me. No problems with the fit. Only with me breaking the spokes on the Shimano wheels. I fixed that problem by putting Velocity Deep Vs with Ultegra Hubs on my ride. TREK makes a good bike too!
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Old 01-08-08, 09:55 AM   #22
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Is my LBS giving me a line

I ride a Specialized Tri-Cross Expert Double. It has heavier front forks and build strong. I started out at 415lbs, so I had Velocity Deep V rims made with 40 spokes in the rear, and ride on gator skin 700 x 25 tires. I put 3000miles on the bike in 2007 with no problems at all. I just put a Dura Ace crankset on it and love it.

They make a Specialized Tri-Cross Sport Triple that would fit in your budget.

Good Luck in finding a bike.

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Old 01-08-08, 12:08 PM   #23
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Some smaller shops can't afford to order a large framed bike for a 'test ride'.

Being in the NYC area, I can't imagine that you can't find one that has it in stock, or CAN afford to do it.

We have two shops here in our neighboring city, but no others for about 100 miles in every direction... unless you count the big box stores... and we're not counting them.
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Old 01-08-08, 12:32 PM   #24
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Who doesnt love a "Happy Ending" ? Thanks to all for the advice and comments, I took a lot of it in. I eventually found a place called Mr.C Cycles in Brooklyn on 7th ave. and 46st.The people there are amazing. Not only did I find my bike for only 75 bucks above the best price I saw I did get 4 test rides on all sorts of bikes and great fitting service. I did eventually order a CAAD9 in 63 but before I did I rode a Specialized and 3 other Cannondales.They fit me on a trainer and swapped out necks and saddles to fit me best. I will get this same fitting , swap out service as I ride and get acclimated for the next 6 months. Ill also get two tuneups and they have a great selection of add on bling. Although Im early in this deal so far I can strongly recommend Carlos and Sandra and Carlito as great professionals who love what they do and are a standout in the business. Peter

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Old 01-08-08, 12:34 PM   #25
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Sounds like you found your shop then
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