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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 11-03-08, 09:29 AM   #1
Village Idiot
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Switching to a roadbike?

I currently have a Gary Fisher Cobia that I'm trying to sell to help fund a roadbike. I really though I'd be into mountain biking but I got the Cobia and have only been riding a handful of times and the friends I know that want to ride rarely ever do. So now, I'm stuck with either hitting up some flat trails or trying to find new ways to kill myself at some of the other places in my area.

I'm really thinking a roadbike would be better for me. Problem is, I don't know what I should even be looking at. I'm 230lbs and I'll have about $1000 to spend. I was looking at some of the Gary Fisher road bikes, but I'm not sure if I need something so aggressive or what I should even be looking for. I live in a college town and everything is fairly close, so I could ride around to pretty much where ever I need to go and I could also just go out and ride when I get the notion.

I just sold a sportbike that I had that was like a torture rack. I could barely do 100 miles on the highway before I needed a break. I don't want anything that painful in the way of a bicycle. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-03-08, 10:42 AM   #2
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I made the move from MTB to road bike earlier this year. I was given an old Schwinn Le Tour and, having not been on a road bike for 30 years, decided to give it a try. I was around 240 at the time and even with that old, heavy Schwinn, I felt like I was going to break it every time I hit an expansion joint. A few hundred miles later, the money I was saving to buy a new MTB went to a new road bike.

I picked up a Schwinn Le Tour GS ($500 at Performance) and with over 1,500 miles on it have had no problems. Road bikes are much more comfortable for longer distances than flat bar bikes and are a blast to ride. I'm now saving up for a better road bike and my 6 month old Le Tour GS will replace my old Le Tour as my commuter.

During this process, my wife went from riding a comfort bike to an old Schwinn road bike then to a Fuji Finest 1.0 road bike. She loves the feel of the road bike. She still has a soft spot for the comfort bike and takes it out now and then but the road bike is what gets ridden most of the time.
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Old 11-03-08, 10:55 AM   #3
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I currently have a Gary Fisher Cobia that I'm trying to sell to help fund a roadbike. I really though I'd be into mountain biking but I got the Cobia and have only been riding a handful of times and the friends I know that want to ride rarely ever do. So now, I'm stuck with either hitting up some flat trails or trying to find new ways to kill myself at some of the other places in my area.

I'm really thinking a roadbike would be better for me. Problem is, I don't know what I should even be looking at. I'm 230lbs and I'll have about $1000 to spend. I was looking at some of the Gary Fisher road bikes, but I'm not sure if I need something so aggressive or what I should even be looking for. I live in a college town and everything is fairly close, so I could ride around to pretty much where ever I need to go and I could also just go out and ride when I get the notion.

I just sold a sportbike that I had that was like a torture rack. I could barely do 100 miles on the highway before I needed a break. I don't want anything that painful in the way of a bicycle. Any suggestions?



Oh, that Gary Fisher is no good for you. Please send it to me so I can properly dispose of it
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Old 11-03-08, 11:06 AM   #4
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I know Trek's Pilot and Specialized Roubaix are known for their relaxed feel. I don't think you can get a new Roubaix at your price point and finding a used one can be difficult. The Pilot can be had new for your price.

Also, you might look at a variety of cyclocross bikes, they tend to be a more relaxed fit I'm not sure of the prices, but generally less then a road bike. And they tend to handle the clyde well.

As always test ride a few bikes to see which ones speak to you.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:23 AM   #5
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The more I think about this the more puzzled I become. The Cobia looks like a nice bike. I guess I need to know more about you, how much you ride and experience. You were able to do a 100 mile ride on a sportsbike that was a torture rack. Did you buy the Cobia new? How about adding slicks to the Cobia for road riding, since most things are close-by according to you.

I probably would have kept the sportsbike. If you could ride a 100 miles now, if you had invested in maybe a new stem to improve comfort you probably could of had all the changes for $100.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:34 AM   #6
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The more I think about this the more puzzled I become. The Cobia looks like a nice bike. I guess I need to know more about you, how much you ride and experience. You were able to do a 100 mile ride on a sportsbike that was a torture rack. Did you buy the Cobia new? How about adding slicks to the Cobia for road riding, since most things are close-by according to you.

I probably would have kept the sportsbike. If you could ride a 100 miles now, if you had invested in maybe a new stem to improve comfort you probably could of had all the changes for $100.
Sportbike = Motorcycle not bicycle.

The Cobia's not a bad bike, but I'm not doing anything that would really justify having it vs. a bike that was geared more towards riding in the area and not off road. Currently I haven't ridden in several months and I'm looking to get a roadbike as all the riding I would be doing would be on the road.

I was just not wanting to get a road bike/bicycle that had the ergonomics of the motorcycle I just got off of. Riding should be fun and not a test of how long you can stay on something before falling to pieces.
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Old 11-03-08, 12:05 PM   #7
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The main point is make sure you find a bike that fits. Ride several models in the price range you are looking at and pick the one that feels best. There are adjustments the bike shop can make to help it fit.
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Old 11-03-08, 01:19 PM   #8
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I just sold a sportbike that I had that was like a torture rack. I could barely do 100 miles on the highway before I needed a break. I don't want anything that painful in the way of a bicycle. Any suggestions?
How aggressive was the sportbike? Are we talking Ducati, Suzuki, or Honda?

Suggest you look for a relaxed geometry road bike: Specialized Roubaix, Felt Z-series (especially the carbon fiber Z45, Z35, etc), Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Cervelo RS, and similar bikes. I'm a big fan of the plush rides offered by carbon fiber frames, but they're probably out of your price range.

When looking at bicycles, you'll obviously want to take a test-ride before buying. Many shops encourage you to ride around the block, then buy. Allow me to suggest that a longer test-ride is better. Any bike can seem comfortable for 5- or 10-miles. I really start to notice fit and comfort problems at the 15- or 20-mile mark. Also, keep in mind that the saddles which come with most bikes are designed to be inexpensive not necessarily comfortable. If your legs, arms, lower back, and neck feel fine but your butt doesn't it might be the case that the bike fits fine and you just need to swap the saddle out.

Finally, allow me to suggest that padded bicycling shorts make a big difference in comfort. When I'm test-riding bikes, I throw a pair of regular shorts on over my lycra bicycling shorts and wear a pair of cycling shoes that look like regular hiking shoes. This allows me to be comfortable walking around the store talking to sales people, but also approximates the gear I'll wear when normally riding the bike.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:17 PM   #9
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How aggressive was the sportbike? Are we talking Ducati, Suzuki, or Honda?

Suggest you look for a relaxed geometry road bike: Specialized Roubaix, Felt Z-series (especially the carbon fiber Z45, Z35, etc), Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Cervelo RS, and similar bikes. I'm a big fan of the plush rides offered by carbon fiber frames, but they're probably out of your price range.

When looking at bicycles, you'll obviously want to take a test-ride before buying. Many shops encourage you to ride around the block, then buy. Allow me to suggest that a longer test-ride is better. Any bike can seem comfortable for 5- or 10-miles. I really start to notice fit and comfort problems at the 15- or 20-mile mark. Also, keep in mind that the saddles which come with most bikes are designed to be inexpensive not necessarily comfortable. If your legs, arms, lower back, and neck feel fine but your butt doesn't it might be the case that the bike fits fine and you just need to swap the saddle out.

Finally, allow me to suggest that padded bicycling shorts make a big difference in comfort. When I'm test-riding bikes, I throw a pair of regular shorts on over my lycra bicycling shorts and wear a pair of cycling shoes that look like regular hiking shoes. This allows me to be comfortable walking around the store talking to sales people, but also approximates the gear I'll wear when normally riding the bike.
It was a Honda RC51. A real torture rack unless you're moving through the twisties.

The shop that sold me the Cobia was very helpful and made sure I got the right bike to fit. I know they'll help with that.

With the average road bike, is the geometry to aggressive that all your weight is on your wrist? I'm really going to have to take one for a spin I guess. And at 230lbs, will I have any problems with durability?
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Old 11-03-08, 03:50 PM   #10
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With the average road bike, is the geometry to aggressive that all your weight is on your wrist? I'm really going to have to take one for a spin I guess. And at 230lbs, will I have any problems with durability?
Good core conditioning will take a lot of the weight off your wrists. I find my hands and wrists bother me much sooner on my MTB than on either road bike as the MTB gives me fewer hand positions.

I bought my entry level road bike at 240 lbs. I'm down to 220 now and have over 1,500 trouble-free miles on the bike. Biggest issue may be wheels but my bike came with a low level/low spoke count wheelset and it is holding up really well so far. Only had to do some minor truing once up to this point and I have ridden over some bone-shaking stuff.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:31 PM   #11
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It was a Honda RC51. A real torture rack unless you're moving through the twisties.
Best bike I ever rode was an RC51. A buddy of mine had one with Ohlins Road & Track forks, Ohlins shock, Sato titanium exhausts, Marchesini wheels, and a bunch of other upgrades. A really incredible ride... but downright comfy compared to the Ducati 748 that another friend owned. Don't think I made it through an entire 20-minute racetrack session on the Duc!

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With the average road bike, is the geometry to aggressive that all your weight is on your wrist? I'm really going to have to take one for a spin I guess. And at 230lbs, will I have any problems with durability?
If you buy a race-oriented bicycle, expect the geometry to be just as aggressive as your RC51. The bikes will tend to have the handlebars lower than the saddle as well as a long reach from the saddle to the bars. The effect is to make you stretch out and stay low for maximum aerodynamics, pedaling efficiency, etc. It will also put more strain on your wrists, neck, and lower back. A bike with a "relaxed" geometry, like the ones I mentioned previously, will allow you to sit more upright. These bikes also tend to have somewhat more stable handling though that isn't, strictly speaking, required.

At 230lbs, I wouldn't be too concerned about durability if you buy a decent-quality name-brand bike. If you're buying from a bike shop rather than a department store, toy store, or discount store you shouldn't have a problem. You're only 15-20lbs heavier than I was at my peak, and I never had any problems. The only thing you might do is request that your bike shop double-check the tension on the wheel spokes before you take delivery of the bike.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:51 PM   #12
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It was a Honda RC51. A real torture rack unless you're moving through the twisties.

The shop that sold me the Cobia was very helpful and made sure I got the right bike to fit. I know they'll help with that.

With the average road bike, is the geometry to aggressive that all your weight is on your wrist? I'm really going to have to take one for a spin I guess. And at 230lbs, will I have any problems with durability?
The key to the setup, is to get the shop to NOT cut the steerer but use spacers, so that the bars are a couple of centimetres (an inch) above the saddle, this will be more comfortable, starting out, as you get more familiar with riding a road bike, you can move the spacers from above to below the stem, to make it more aggressive. If you plan to do long distance, possibly overnight rides, you want a bike that can take fenders and racks, and wider tires.

At your weight, the only thing to watch, durability wise, is the wheels, some bike makers are putting low spoke count wheels on anything with road bars -- a few are using them on flat bar bikes too -- so spoke tension needs to be within a razor thin margin of optimum. Since most bike shops don't have a top notch wheel guy, it's tough to get spoke tension within that margin, so low spoke count wheels, will fail at some point.
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Old 11-03-08, 07:09 PM   #13
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I was just not wanting to get a road bike/bicycle that had the ergonomics of the motorcycle I just got off of. Riding should be fun and not a test of how long you can stay on something before falling to pieces.

You will not last on a road bicycle if you were not able to enjoy the Honda.
Get in shape on the bike you now have.
Bicycle riding is 10% bicycle, 90% motor.
You are the motor.
Tune it up and ride.
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Old 11-03-08, 07:31 PM   #14
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You will not last on a road bicycle if you were not able to enjoy the Honda.
Get in shape on the bike you now have.
Bicycle riding is 10% bicycle, 90% motor.
You are the motor.
Tune it up and ride.
Tuning up the motor isn't going to do much if the bicycle is too uncomfortable to be ridden. Think of the Honda RC51 that Village Idiot owned as a racing bicycle: short wheelbase, long top tube, -12 degree stem, and 8" of saddle to bar drop. Does that sound like a bike you'd be comfortable riding? Does it sound like one you'd recommend to a Clydesdale who has never owned a road bike?

Once you've got a bike that fits, then it's time to work on the motor!
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Old 11-03-08, 07:44 PM   #15
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Tuning up the motor isn't going to do much if the bicycle is too uncomfortable to be ridden. Think of the Honda RC51 that Village Idiot owned as a racing bicycle: short wheelbase, long top tube, -12 degree stem, and 8" of saddle to bar drop. Does that sound like a bike you'd be comfortable riding? Does it sound like one you'd recommend to a Clydesdale who has never owned a road bike?

Once you've got a bike that fits, then it's time to work on the motor!
Rode motorcycles 28 years. 5 years on a Sports Motorcycle. Loved it. Could not hold the speed down,
Would get it up to 90 mph everyday. Took it on 1100 mile trips non-stop.
My F-80 Is a racing type road bicycle. It needs a motor to ride 500 mles in one week. 9,600 miles this year.
My motor can ride it 100 miles anyday. His motor might last 30 miles.
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Old 11-04-08, 09:20 AM   #16
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Rode motorcycles 28 years. 5 years on a Sports Motorcycle. Loved it. Could not hold the speed down,
Would get it up to 90 mph everyday. Took it on 1100 mile trips non-stop.
My F-80 Is a racing type road bicycle. It needs a motor to ride 500 mles in one week. 9,600 miles this year.
My motor can ride it 100 miles anyday. His motor might last 30 miles.
I've been on sportbikes for the last 9 years, but the last one was killer. I've owned Japanese 600cc i-4 race bikes that felt like a couch in comparison. In fact, the Duc 749s I took for a spin was better on me than my RC51.

I just don't want a super long and low reach. When I was on the last sportbike I owned, I had my neck craned almost all the way back just to see straight infront of me. I just don't want to do that. If I can adjust a good fitting bike to be a great fitting bike for my needs, then I'll be happy. I believe it's dumb not to assume that it's going to be a whole lot cheaper to get a bicycle to where I need than a motorcyle?

I think I'm going to stop at the bike shop this weekend and see what they have and what they can do for me.
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Old 11-04-08, 09:44 AM   #17
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Village Idiot,
Read this part again:
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
The key to the setup, is to get the shop to NOT cut the steerer but use spacers, so that the bars are a couple of centimetres (an inch) above the saddle, this will be more comfortable, starting out, as you get more familiar with riding a road bike, you can move the spacers from above to below the stem, to make it more aggressive.
I think Wog hit it right on the head. Find a shop that doesn't mind doing this and a bike that ships with steerer tube uncut.

Take a look at all the spacers on my first road bike, which I bought in September:

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