I have been doing tons of research and finally decided I would like some input from actual riders in my size class. I am 6' 306 lbs (down from 348) and have been riding a Sedona DX in a 19" size. I love the comfort of this bike as I have damaged discs in my neck and lower back as well as a damaged right knee. I have over 700 miles on the bike and plan on keeping it. It goes well in my Giant trainer for bad weather workouts.
So of course now that I am doing 20-30 mile rides averaging 16-17 mph I am thinking about a faster/lighter bike. The major issue is that I am new to the bicycle world and do not have a good idea of how to interpret a bikes geometry. I know I will have a lot of people telling me to ride the bikes to figure it out but I am Lost In Middle America and do not have the luxury of many bike shops in my area. So what I am trying to do is narrow my selection down some so I can locate shops and drive (likely 1-2hrs) to test ride something that has more potential to be what I am looking for.
So, what am I looking for? Well I would like an upright riding position similar to the Sedona but with the ability to later add drop bars if I get to a point where the pain allows me to ride a more aggressive position. I know to go from flats to drops includes shifters/brakes/$ but I am ok with that if I can find a bike I like to ride as a flat bar I will worry about the drop option later. I would like to have the ability to use 700 x 32 to maybe 38 tire range. I am planning on investing in a set of Velocity Deep V's unless I find a bike that has wheels that will hold up well to my size. I figure if it comes with something to light I could maybe get a price reduction for buying it without them or keep them for later when I am smaller, or Flea bay them. As far as gearing, brakes, components I am open to suggestions and opinions. My main focus is the ability to ride comfortably, a bit more speed and a bit lighter bike than the 37lbs the Sedona is. I figure if I get that right then I can upgrade stuff as it wears out.
Here are some bikes I have considered but am not sure which have the geometry for a comfortable riding position like I want. Anyone that owns one of these please give me your thoughts and any suggestions that might help me to make an informed choice on which ones to test ride. Any other bikes I should be considering? I ride mostly flat roads in the country.
Price range is in the 600-800 range.
Fuji Absolute 2.0
Gary Fisher Monona
Kona Dew, Dr dew, Dew Deluxe
Trek 7.5 FX
Cannondale Quick or Road Warrior
So there it is, my new bike blather. Any and all help would be appreciated greatly.
Thank you for the suggestion, its one I had not seen yet. Definitely in the range and type I am looking at. I just picked up a NOS Cypress that will keep me happy for a while but I would still like to hear responses to this post as I need to learn and will be better informed in the future when I do get a new bike. The Cypress came out of left field, I made a post about it called "karma and craigslist".
I find Clever Cycles has a good discussion of biking positions. Assuming you have no physical disabilities, *any* bike position can be comfortable. If you've got physical problems tho, your choices may be limited. The limitations might not work out how you expect tho... someone with spine troubles might be *better* off on a bike where their weight is spread evenly between pedals, saddle and handlebars, so the spine receives few jolts. It all depends on how your particular body works. Another person with spine troubles will find that a sprung saddle and a very upright position is best, so their spine is kept straight.
Most bikes sold in the US are in the cruiser/tour/road end of the spectrum. It *is* a spectrum, because not all humans are built the exact same way. My partner and I both have quite long torsos and arms, so we end up *very* upright on a cruiser type geometry. And on a mountain bike, my partner sits quite upright compared to other riders. Someone with a shorter torso will end up bent over or stretched on the same bike. Your LBS can adjust the geometry a fair bit via different styles of handlebars, different length stems, and setback vs straight seatposts. If it turns out you do best on a style that isn't common in the US tho, it will get more complicated.