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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 05-01-08, 08:31 AM   #1
chirojeremy
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Need help deciding if I need quality components...

I think I have pretty much narrowed down my choice for my first bike on the Giant FCR line up. I am having trouble deciding on which model I should get though. I am 6'3" and 305lbs. I will be using the bike primarily as a commuter to lose weight and save money on gas and I would like to go on recreational rides after work and on the weekends for as many miles as I can build up to. My belly is too big for a road bike so I want to get the straight bar design until I can lose enough belly mass to fit comfortably on a road bike without my knees hitting my gut on the way up. If I could lose the weight I want to lose in about a year or two should I get the model with the cheaper components? Or since I plan on putting in some serious mileage over the next few years, should I invest in more quality components so I dont have to worry about breaking etc?
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Old 05-01-08, 08:39 AM   #2
Tom Stormcrowe
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I'd seriously invest in quality wheels. That's the real weak point on a bike, really.

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Originally Posted by chirojeremy View Post
I think I have pretty much narrowed down my choice for my first bike on the Giant FCR line up. I am having trouble deciding on which model I should get though. I am 6'3" and 305lbs. I will be using the bike primarily as a commuter to lose weight and save money on gas and I would like to go on recreational rides after work and on the weekends for as many miles as I can build up to. My belly is too big for a road bike so I want to get the straight bar design until I can lose enough belly mass to fit comfortably on a road bike without my knees hitting my gut on the way up. If I could lose the weight I want to lose in about a year or two should I get the model with the cheaper components? Or since I plan on putting in some serious mileage over the next few years, should I invest in more quality components so I dont have to worry about breaking etc?
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Old 05-01-08, 09:21 AM   #3
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For guys like us, the wheels are key. Better derailers, or shifters, or cranks work pretty much just the same as the cheaper versions, they just look prettier and weigh less. But wheels are key.

I would be tempted to go with the FCR2. It has a 9-speed drivetrain, upgraded wheels, and good parts all around. I wouldn't bother going any higher to the FCR1 or Alliance, but the jump from 3 to 2 is pretty nice. The other option would be to get the FCR3 and purchase a strong wheelset for it.
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Old 05-01-08, 09:31 AM   #4
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My take on percieved component quality and price points: (I'm most familiar with Shimano components, so I'll use those as an example)

The lowest end components (Alivo, Nexave, 2200) are going to perform as you might expect. Lower precision tolerances, weaker materials, and the least durability. You'll find them on department store bikes under the $300 range, typically. I'd call these "low quality" for someone who is looking for components which will be put through routine heavy use.
The mid-grade components (Sora, Tiagra, 105) are where you'll start seeing some price-to-quality differences: Durability and precision can be felt between the Sora and Tiagra product lines. 105 introduces the option of 10spd shifting just like the high-end components, but at a lower cost (explained below).
The high end components (Ultegra, Dura-Ace) have even tighter precision than the highest of mid-grade components, but the cost goes up as you start shaving off the weight. The lighter a component is, the more expensive it becomes. Unless you're very familiar with the components, Ultegra and Dura-Ace feel the same during operation, but you're paying for lighter components with the D-A setup versus the less expensive Ultegra.

How to translate all that junk into real world advice?
I personally beat the snot out of my Tiagra equipped bike with mid-grade FSA cranks and an inexpensive headset and brakes. None of my components have failed in the 1350 miles I've put on them this year, and that's through snow, rain and freezing cold.
Would I benefit from upgrading to 105 or Ultegra components? Possibly.
Enough that I feel it necessary to replace parts before they wear out? Heck no.

Tom's advice on a good set of wheels is spot on. If you're spending extra cash to replace anything on a bike, get the bike with some nice mid-grade components and spend the extra money on a good set of wheels.
Another bit of advice: Don't limit yourself to a flat bar bike because of your weight. You may not feel comfortable riding hunched over in the drops like a pro-racer, but a drop bar offers the comfort of multiple hand positions and you can have your local shop set your bike up with a taller stem height so you're sitting more upright and using the tops and hoods of the drop bars. I'm sporting a bit of a belly, and that's how I've got mine set up. Bars are just about even with the seat. I've seen touring and brevet bikes with drop bars positioned higher than the seat.
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Old 05-01-08, 09:34 AM   #5
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ditto to wheels








and get a good saddle.
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Old 05-01-08, 10:05 AM   #6
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I also agree with Tom. I started out a little heavier than you, did not have to buy a new bike, but started out on my old and almost forgotten 1990s mountain bike with no shocks on the front or back. I put road slicks on it, and just rode it until I had to replace the rear wheel, because it could no longer be re-trued effectively.

If I were you, I would probably get a used bike similar to the above, and plan on spending more money later on a back rim after the old one dies. Most cyclocross bikes have stems that can be jacked up pretty high too, but if you plan on buying a road bike later, and you are just starting out, I would go with a used bike. You can find decent used mountain bikes online, at garage sales, etc. I would make sure that it has decent shimano or SRAM derailures, though, but I'm pickier than some people about how often I have to dink around with my gears and stuff. I prefer to adjust them once every 6 months or so, and forget about it. You can't do that with most of the stuff that you get on X-Mart bikes.
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Old 05-01-08, 10:12 AM   #7
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I bought an FCR3 a couple weeks back and I'm a tad (like 40 lbs) larger than you. Just had it in to have the LBS check it over and the wheels are still true and it runs like a champ. If you're set on an FCR series and are trying to save dough I liked the wheels on the FCR3 better (higher spoke count). I'll run 'em till they fall apart and buy something a bit more robust. I also like it that the bike had the 700-32s on for tires.
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