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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 09-07-08, 07:07 PM   #1
heartfeltrobot
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Newbie Athena looking for a new set of wheels

So hi, hi, I'm a new bicycle convert looking for a new set of wheels that would do me some good in the 'hood, where my 'hood consists of small mountains and horrible hills that know no end; I live in Asheville, nestled inbetween 394484 mountains. I'm a 6'0" college girl that generally weighs about 210lbs, sans diet and exercise, and have recently given up my car(!) so I can ride to school and the bar.

I got a 12-speed Peugeot, and foolishly thought I'd be able to power up the hills around here with ease; I've got pretty hefty thigh muscles from Roller Derby, even though they've been unused for about 6 months since I broke my foot in a tequila-and-skates incident. BUT THIS WAS NOT THE CASE.

So, I come to you guys'n gals asking for advice; what kind of roady-type bike should I get that would eat the hills up? Have you had any good experience with some? Horrible experience with others? Why do most commuter bikes consist of 3-to-8 speeds? That is preposterous!

So my price bracket consists of: heller dirt cheap! I am ridiculously poor, ie, college student, so, $700 is my absolute most expensive.

thanks!
-aja

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Old 09-07-08, 07:12 PM   #2
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It's illegal to drink and ride! If you hurt yourself playing tequila derby, you'll surely hurt yourself playing Tour de Tequila!
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Old 09-07-08, 07:18 PM   #3
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That was not the intention, and am quite aware of the laws. Was just attempting some poor humor. Must've been really poor to not've been funny to you.
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Old 09-07-08, 07:20 PM   #4
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OK _ you are a seriously interesting person if you do roller derby! How cool is that?? OK... wait I digress... Bikes.. I love mine - Specialized Dolce Elite - it's womens specific so it fits a lot of women better than a mans bike - but you are pretty tall! So perhaps it may not work. So go to a really good Local bike Shop and test drive. What I do hear - is that for $850 you get an ok bike but for 1100 ish you get a set of components that are up one level and do make a difference. Hard to say - I love my bike - and love the way the gears shift (Shimano 105 gears). It's smooth - not like when I was a kid. Also having 3 rings - gives me chance to use the granny gear (real easy) to get up hills. So go forth - also come back with some top choices - and see what the gang here says for best bike of your bunch! Also your price range is impt. Maybe you are in a lower price bracket or perhaps higher... Good info for the gang here to help you.

OH and lay lo on the Tequila you are in training now!
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Old 09-07-08, 07:29 PM   #5
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Ah yeah, pricing. I can afford at the most expensive $700. I know bikes can be *much* more expensive, but I just don't have the income for it. School doesn't pay!
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Old 09-07-08, 08:15 PM   #6
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Find a variety of LBSs and go forth and test ride. Find a bike you're happy with, be it mtb, hybrid, or road, and buy it. More $$$ doesn't always equal better. And just because one bike is less expensive than another bike doesn't mean the less-expensive bike is cheap (lower quality). And if you can get, say, a hybrid for $350 or so, that's that much more money you can put into the add-ons a college student will need--lights front and rear, perhaps a computer, a good lock, a rack (or two), perhaps panniers so that you don't always have to lug around the backpack (they'll be convenient for shopping, too). You don't always have to go for The Big-Name Bike, either. From my perspective, anyway, it's false economy to choose the T--- hybrid that's virtually identical to the G---- hybrid when the T--- hybrid is going to run about $150 more, and all that $150 or so will get you is the T--- name.
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Old 09-07-08, 08:48 PM   #7
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Go here http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/ and compare the gearing of the bikes you're considering.
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Old 09-07-08, 10:29 PM   #8
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If you like the peugeot except the gearing you can have your LBS swap the cranks for a compact crank and the freewheel for a wider range mountain bike freewheel.
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Old 09-07-08, 11:16 PM   #9
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If you like the peugeot except the gearing you can have your LBS swap the cranks for a compact crank and the freewheel for a wider range mountain bike freewheel.
That would be the most economical solution. +1 CM
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Old 09-08-08, 12:13 AM   #10
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Just what I was going to say; none of my bikes have stock gearing anymore, I change them to fit my needs. If you like the bike you have, just change the gearing, should be able to do that for less than even a used bike.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:16 AM   #11
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I'm with you on the fun of getting around a college town on the bike for many purposes!
I see you are interested in a road bike and you are not _that_ heavy, just pretty tall for a woman.
Most bikes that don't use ultra low spoke count racing wheels will be functional for you, but fit will be the issue so I agree with the others: go ride at the LBSs.
Since you will be learning shifting on some major hills, spend some time learning not to mash up the hills. (Mash==pushing down really hard on the pedals.) Learn to pedal faster and gently shift down as you feel more resistance. (before you really need it) When I started up hills, I used my monster legs to mash and managed to damage my rear derailleur, throw off chains, etc.
Have fun and welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-08-08, 07:16 AM   #12
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Hi, I can't give you any bike advice, as I am not of the technical bike mind. What I do offer though, is to remind those who are lending advice to take the young derby princess serious when she says she lives in a hilly town

I think that some people read that and think "yeah, yeah, I live with hills too". I come to Asheville a couple times a year to eat, drink and be merry (and to Mtn Bike) and I can attest to the fact this is not a city with hills. This is a Mountain with a city on it.

I think the advice to demo is the best. Go to your LBS(s) and tell them you have $600 burning a hole in your pocket (save the extra $100 to upgrade). If they will do a rental against purchase, ride the demos up to the streets above the tunnel. If the bike and you can do that, that is the bike for you.

Asheville is an incredibly bike friendly city. You should have no problem finding what you need.

Have fun. You are so lucky to be young and in the one of the coolest cities in the county. And you have that whole "derby" thing going on too.

Good Luck,
Jay
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Old 09-08-08, 09:26 AM   #13
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two words of advice: triple crank

The compact is some kinda lame weight weenie mono buttocked substitute for a real triple, while simultaneously being not as good as a regular double

Even though you are tall you may still find a better fit in a women specific bike as tall women often have most of their hight in their legs as opposed to men to tend to have longer torsos.
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Old 09-08-08, 09:39 AM   #14
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two words of advice: triple crank

The compact is some kinda lame weight weenie mono buttocked substitute for a real triple, while simultaneously being not as good as a regular double.
A compact double matched to a MTB cassette works fine on mountain roads, without the adjustment hassles of a triple.
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Old 09-08-08, 12:46 PM   #15
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From your desciption it sounds like you need more utility than pure speed. If utiliy is your thing than a nice hybid like the Trek FX series will get you a good amount of gear range and the ability to add a rack and fenders to you can carry your books and not end up with road grit up your back. I've been using the Axiom Appalachian Bag (saddle bags) that I bought for under $30 that I've been using on my daily commute for 1.5 years. Cheap, and with a little extra water protection spray they have stayed dry on the inside even with some terrential rain. I see lots of folks who don't like the way tripples shift, but both my hybrid and my road bikes are triples, and have zero problems with shifting. I almost always ride in the front middle gear, but on some steep hills I sure am happy to have that granny gear available. The taller gears I generally don't get to use much unless I go down a big hill, but I live in a pretty flat area so not many hills to go up or down.

For bike fit you are probably beyond the size of most Womens models. Do try to see if any of them fit, but if not try a few different bikes. There is not right or wrong when it comes to bikes and fitting your body. Some just are going to work better for you than others. My sister is 6' 3 and she ended up with a Raleigh Passage series. She tried some Gary Fisher bikes as well, but the Raleigh fit her best. My bother in-law and I are 6'4" and 6'2.3" respectively and we both found the Gary Fishers to fit us better. Its like trying on shoes, you just have to put them on and try to see how it feels.

Happy riding,
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Old 09-08-08, 01:12 PM   #16
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That was not the intention, and am quite aware of the laws. Was just attempting some poor humor. Must've been really poor to not've been funny to you.
Mr. Beanz was attempting humor
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Old 09-08-08, 03:12 PM   #17
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For bike fit you are probably beyond the size of most Womens models. Do try to see if any of them fit, but if not try a few different bikes. There is not right or wrong when it comes to bikes and fitting your body. Some just are going to work better for you than others.
That is a posibility. But remember, it is not just frame geometry. As I understand it, the brake levers/shifters on a WSD have a shorter reach that many women like / need. If you find a non-WSD bike that you like (fits you well), perhaps you could ask the LBS to switch the brake levers / shifter to a shorter reach (WSD) ??
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Old 09-08-08, 03:41 PM   #18
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That was not the intention, and am quite aware of the laws. Was just attempting some poor humor. Must've been really poor to not've been funny to you.



I can not give you bike advise but i can say that that was the very funny to me!!! I am still smiling.

Good luck on your trek. (small t)
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Old 09-08-08, 07:09 PM   #19
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Welcome aboard!! Know a few people in Asheville, decent swing dancing scene from what I hear.

My roadie is a Nishiki and originally a 12 speed as well. Depending how cheap you want to be this is what I did and would do it again in a heartbeat:

- Call around to a few lbs and see if they have a used triple crank - should run you $25.
- They'll probably have to swap out the bb ($25) and will let you know what the smallest chainring on front can be. Your front derailer *should* be able to handle the triple and if not see if they have a front derailer in the used parts bin ($10)
- Have them put an 8 speed mtb range in the back with a top gear of 32 or 34 teeth. May be either a cassette or freewheel depending on the rear hub. ($20-$30)
- You'll probably need a new rear derailer to handle the extra gearing - also ask to see if they have one in the parts bin. ($10-$15)

If your shifters can't handle the 8 speeds in the back ask for a friction mount shifters which usually go up to 9 speeds. ($15)

So for around $150 you'll be riding a road bike with a really wide range of gears. You *could* go the compact double route. When the lbs who did the above job on my roadie he really didn't want to go to the triple because he said I probably would never need it. I still need that granny gear on some of the hills and am always glad for it!
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Old 09-09-08, 11:10 AM   #20
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yeah, I have seen that locally most of the shops only carry T--- and S---------- names, because generally this town is super trendy and can afford name-brand bikes, so I think I'm going to get screwed on the price no matter what I do.
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Old 09-09-08, 01:51 PM   #21
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Asheville is a very nice place to live. It is one of the places that we are thinking about moving to someday. We have known numerous people that live in in and around Asheville over the years, and always find a reason to come visit them whenever we are in the general area.

I agree with the other people that think that you should take your current bike to a decent bike shop, and have them put a new set of cogs/cranks on the front that will give you easier gears. The easiest and cheapest way to go would be to put a compact crank on there, so that you can use your current derailures and shifters. You could also put a triple-crank on the front, but that would also require you to get a new front derailure and shifter.

If you want a new bike, then test ride a bunch until you find one that you like the feel of the best. Then, if you can't afford the bike shop's prices, you can look for one on EBAY or Craigslist.

Good luck!
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Old 09-09-08, 02:50 PM   #22
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Oh, and check my sig for the under $600 bike thread (and a few others about different types which may be better suited for your riding).
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Old 09-09-08, 06:09 PM   #23
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Yeah but she don't know that!...So many are so uptight around her sometimes, figured I'd take my turn!
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Old 09-09-08, 09:38 PM   #24
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Wow... lots of advice here so far.

If you are thinking of a road bike, but you will be carrying stuff and want easier gears, then you want a touring bike - like a road bike, but, ummm... you can carry stuff and they have easier gears.

Many people think woman's specific bike designs are a marketing ploy... not that there aren't some real differences between men and women, but most WSDs rely on generalities regarding torso-leg-length ratios, and in reality the bikes are just less aggressively laid out, and just about anyone would be more comfortable on them, unless they have gotten used to riding racing style bikes. THen there are special seats for your lady-bits, small models might have smaller brake levers (as someone said above) or extra short cranks. You probably won't need to worry about all that stuff for puny people, and a lot of the other stuff is personal preference.

But I think touring bikes are the cat's meow... if you can find one in your budget that you are comfortable on... A lot of people like the Trek 520; a handful of people where I work ride the specialized tricross, but i don't know if it is easy to set up for carrying luggage.

Good luck! Just make sure you are comfortable on whatever you get... the rest is just details!
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Old 09-09-08, 10:01 PM   #25
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Yeah but she don't know that!...So many are so uptight around her sometimes, figured I'd take my turn!
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