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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 12-27-08, 04:59 PM   #1
2Yutes
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Questions from a newbie....

Hi All....have a few questions.

I just received a really mint bike from my brother who used to use it to jump off cliffs and stuff but for my purposes its going to be something to hopefully get my fat butt in shape.

It’s a Kona Coiler bike with dual suspension. I don't know much at all about bikes but my brother, who is a seasoned biker, suggested a seat height that to me seemed ridiculously high. I felt like I was 6 feet off the ground and bent over where I felt like I was going to flip over the handlebars. I don’t know how he rides like that but since he's pretty experienced, I can only guess that is supposed to be the way to ride.

I was curious if there are replacement handlebars and a neck I can get for this bike that might provide me a more upright ride?

I know this is a high end bike and its probably sacrilege to turn a hardcore cliff jumper into a fat guy's cruiser but since I have the bike, I would like to use it comfortably. I may have to return it to him some day so I can't screw it up too bad.

I was told when I first got it that he had on a fatter set of handlebars than normal. I assume this was an upgrade of some sort and the neck must have been made larger to accommodate the larger handlebars. I was also told if we go with a longer neck and handlebars, we would have to do a brake bleed or something? The bike shop guy said this was really expensive.

Anyone know of any online stores that sell a heavy duty extended handlebar and neck combo for this bike? I want to get a bit more height so I have a more upright riding position. I am 300+ pounds, which is why my brother gave me the bike to begin with. He assured me I couldn't break it in half like I have other bikes and so far he's correct. It’s holding up really well.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-27-08, 05:39 PM   #2
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Nothing is sacralegious when it comes to getting out and riding. You might be suprised how quickly you can get to a shape where jumping off "cliffs" doesn't seem quite so nuts.

It sounds like you are describing a stem and handle bar change. That's a pretty normal thing to do to fit a bike, but maybe the hydraulic brakes (sounds like you have discs) may require a bleed if you break the line..?...

Suggest you take it to a LBS (local bike shop) and have them tell you what needs to be done to change the stem and what size it has -- it sounds like it's a long, flat one (makes you lean forward more) for an OS (31.8 mm clamp) handlebar.

Just changing the stem out should be an easy swap. Ideally you should be able to find a stem that makes you more comfy without getting new bars -- changing the grips, brakes and shifters out for different bars can be a bit of a PIA.
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Old 12-27-08, 07:12 PM   #3
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Yes, the bike's got oversized handlebars now that are relatively if not completely straight (flat) and a short heavy duty stem. It's also got disc brakes so the lines I think will need to be extended and bled which I heard was very expensive. Since I think you cannot just extend brake lines, they would need to be removed and new longer brake lines put in its place, correct?

I just need to make sure if I swap it out for something new it can support my weight as the rig now is really pretty heavy duty. Are there certain brands that are known for heavy duty handlebar/stem combos?

With regard to just changing the stem, I was told by a bike shop it might be difficult due to the weird handlebars he's got - some sort of non-standard size I guess - thicker in diameter than standard.
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Old 12-27-08, 07:35 PM   #4
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Sometimes pending on the stem, you can just flip it over and gain some height. Maybe not enough to warrant new brakelines but it's a start. But you would be surprised how you can adapt to the position if you give it a chance. Like aerobars, takes time to get used to them but it happens!
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Old 12-27-08, 07:37 PM   #5
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I've never had a bike with hydraulic brakes, so can't help you there.

Do you have a way to measure the stem yourself? A calipers works best. You'll need to sort the bar clamp size, steerer diameter (probably 1 1/8) and length center to center (to see where you're starting from).

I'm not aware of other handlebar sizes besides 31.8mm (aka OS) and 25.8mm (road bars / older bikes).

Jenson has a large assortment of mountain bike stems -- I'm sure Google can find you many more.

http://www.jensonusa.com/search/?s=stem
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Old 12-27-08, 08:24 PM   #6
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I'm not exactly positive what area to measure but with calipers, the measurement of the stem where it enters the hole is 1.35" diameter and the handlebars where the stem attaches is 1.25" diameter.

...and yes, I put on the old man's seat cause my butt was killin me! i also added the handlebar extenders which didn't do the trick. I need to raise the seat about 4 inches but if I do my riding position is way too far forward.

Here's some pictures:








Last edited by 2Yutes; 12-27-08 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:34 PM   #7
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welcome. Nice brother. For this fix I would go to a LBS, because they should allow you to try a couple of different stem length/angle combination. Some stems have adjustible angles. I don't think you will need new break lines, you won't be making that radical of a change, looks like there is some play in the lines already. Depending on the stem you probably can get one for around $30 - $35 and you won't save that much compared to the value of having a LBS help you out and get acquinted with them.

Nice pics of the bike.

Also, check with your brother to see if you can lockout the suspension. He may think you are nuts, but if you are riding on the road it will help.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:36 PM   #8
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Before you spend a lot of effort and money changing things around, perhaps you should take your brother's (expert?) advice about setting it up, and try riding it for a while...see if you get used to it.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:53 PM   #9
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My bro is obviously concerned about my weight too which is why he "loaned" me the bike and I do appreciate it. Its a great bike. I can use it all I want but he may want it back some day. He got into triathlons and bought a crazy new road bike so he let me use this while he's no longer jumping off "cliffs" or whatever he was doing with it.

I've tried several times riding it with the seat way up as he suggested and it feels really unstable to me so I end up going back to my Wal Mart bike where I can hear the spokes stretching as I turn corners. The Wally World bike is actually very comfy but doesn't support my weight well. I can feel the wheels shimmy, actually flex as I turn and overall its just not cut out for my weight. The Kona supports my weight (almost 350) just fine but I can't seem to get used to it. I've had the Kona about a month now and have made several adjustments trying to get it right and can't find the right combo.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Yutes View Post
...and yes, I put on the old man's seat cause my butt was killin me! i also added the handlebar extenders which didn't do the trick. I need to raise the seat about 4 inches but if I do my riding position is way too far forward.
Three comments:
1) Your brother's generosity aside, does the bike frame actually fit you? If not, then you can do a lot of tinkering and never really get comfortable. I'd suggest a trip to the LBS to get measured for this style bike and comparing it to the frame size of the bike you were given.
2) No need to be for an apologetic tone we're all in this together
3) welcome to the forum!
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Old 12-28-08, 10:59 AM   #11
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You say it feels too high. When you sit on the seat the way your brother had it set up, could you reach the bottom of the pedal stroke while seated? How much knee bend do you have at the bottom of the pedal stroke riding the way that feels comfortable to you?

How does your body size compare with your bother in terms of:
height
inseam
arm length
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Old 12-28-08, 12:09 PM   #12
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I am 6'0" 345 lbs. and my brother is about 5'8" 175 lbs. We've always had much different frame types (think defensive lineman type and a halfback, even when I was in great shape back in the day)

I just read up on bike sizing and found that according to my rather short inseam for my size, 31 1/4" (79.375 cm) the bike with a 17" seat tube size is supposedly the correct fit for me from what I've read. I have a really long torso and long arms compared to my brother. At my weight and frame, I am very wide. My brother is very lean so I naturally require a bit more space to spread out. My shoulder joint to shoulder joint measurement is almost 19" wide. When I have the seat raised to a comfortable level, my long torso and arms feels as if its leaning OVER the handlebars almost.

I just dropped the bike off this morning at my local bike shop. They are going to add a stem extender that should bring the handlebars up about 2.5" or so but they are also going to have to add new hydraulic brake lines to accommodate the additional height. There was not enough slack in the lines as they are now.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for all the info. I hope to get this bike dialed in correctly so I can ride comfortably.

As for us "Super Clydesdales" I highly recommend this bike (Kona Coiler) if you've got the money to spend. So far, its held up very well under my heavy load and I know that my brother put this bike through absolute hell before giving it to me and it never failed him either and he's got plenty of battle scars to show for it. My brother used to go out every Sunday and come home bleeding all over the place. To each his own I guess. Maybe one day I'll see the joy in jumping off “cliffs” with this bike and be able to join him. For now I just want to get myself in shape and we'll take it from there.
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Old 12-28-08, 12:28 PM   #13
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Good on ya!

Enjoy the ride.
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Old 12-28-08, 12:40 PM   #14
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I have a question for you.... how in shape are you? I mean aside from weighing over 300 pounds. Once you get the bike fitted, as YOU become fit, you will probably tinker with the bike, changing it as you change.

Oh, and let me welcome you to the thundering herd of Clydesdales!
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Old 12-28-08, 03:13 PM   #15
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Welcome 2Yutes!

Your brother speaks the truth about the seat adjustment. Looking at your pic you have it where you can comfortably place your feet on the ground while seated on the seat. This a commoon misconception with new riders.

You need the seat where your legs are almost at full extension when the pedal is at it's lowest point. Otherwise you are going to discover that your thighs (quads) and knees are going to kill you if ride very much.

A few miles on the bike and the awkward feeling will fade pretty quickly. The more you ride, the more you will want to ride, and will look back on the day your brother loaned you the bike as a major point in life.

Best of luck and keep us posted!
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Old 12-28-08, 06:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
When I have the seat raised to a comfortable level, my long torso and arms feels as if its leaning OVER the handlebars almost.
Having long arms and torso should produce the opposite sensation...short arms and torso would make you lean over more in order to reach the bars. Take a look at people riding...unless they're on a cruiser or some wacky kids' bike, they're leaned over...more or less, depending on the type of bike.
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Old 12-29-08, 10:23 AM   #17
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As for what kind of shape I’m in, if 1 is a one-legged heroin addict with cirrhosis and 10 is Michael Phelps, I’d probably be a 3.

I'm in very bad shape right now and am trying to get a thyroid problem worked out. I realize that once I get riding with some regularity and my muscles get accustomed to riding that changes will be made and I'll get more comfortable. For now I’m trying to remove any excuse I could possibly find for not getting out to ride.

I have the handlebars being raised slightly right now. Once I get the bike back I will accept the fact that I need to just get my butt on it and ride and will adjust accordingly over time.
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Old 12-29-08, 11:28 AM   #18
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Nice to meet you 2yutes, sounds like you got yourself well on the way and there is little left for me to add except the following:

Can the suspension on that bike be locked out to limit (or remove altogether) it's ability to move? You'll want the bike to be as stiff as possible if you intend to ride mostly on pavement or gentle paths. I can't tell if that is an air fork or not but your brother will know. Make sure he also loans you the fork pump so you can keep it aired up if indeed it is an air fork.

Ride on and keep us posted, we're all rooting for you!

Bau
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Old 12-30-08, 04:39 PM   #19
2Yutes
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Man, what a difference a little adjustment can make. The bike is VERY comfortable now.

I had the local bike shop add a stem extension to make the handlebars ride up about 2.5 inches higher than they were. The entire ride is different now. I feel more balanced, comfortable, my butt doesnt hurt as much, etc. Its like a new ride!

What a huge difference a little adjustment made and the best part is that they didn't have to touch the brake lines. The initial quote was $250 if they had to change the lines but $40 covered the whole tune up including parts.



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Old 12-30-08, 04:50 PM   #20
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Holy Spacers Batman!

Hey, getting the bike comfy to ride is a huge step. It sounds like you are pleased with the adjustments, and it's good it didn't cost a fortune.

I just have one suggestion. Ride it like ya stole it!
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