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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 01-05-09, 11:25 AM   #1
davin1023
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Very seriously considering buying bikes.

My fiancee and I are both considering getting bikes in the next month or so, an I'm kind of a stickler for research before I jump in. I'm a 350+ guy and my fiancee is 250+ and we both would like to start riding. I will be commuting on mine (less than a mile each way) and we will both be riding together otherwise. We have two LBS in the area, one is a raleigh dealer and the other specialized/trek. We are looking at three bikes currently.

Trek Navigator 1.0
Trek 7000
Raleigh Route 4.5

All at around the $350-$400 price point.

My fiancee really likes the wider tires on the navigator (the only one we have actually ridden.) but I was looking for some other peoples input as well. We will mostly be riding casually though we would both like to get into better physical shape. The LBS does group rides weekly (15m) that we might also be interested in.

The Raleigh dealer is about 6 blocks from our home and along my commute so it is a big plus, but he keeps very little inventory as it is a small shop.

I've personally avoided anything with a suspension as I tried out a Trek 7100 and pretty well crushed the forward suspension. But I'm open to pretty much all suggestions.

(edit) At least currently we are both much more comfortable with the upright positioning on hybrids, though we may look into other bikes once we are in better shape.

Last edited by davin1023; 01-05-09 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 01-05-09, 12:24 PM   #2
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The 7000 is a nice bike for the money. My daughter has the 7200, bout the same bike. The tires are not as wide as the navigator, but fatter tires will offer more drag than the narrower tires.
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Old 01-05-09, 12:38 PM   #3
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Personally, I'd stay away from the Navigator. It is a cushy bike but is heavy and has limited gears. If you really plan to get out there and ride (as opposed to cruising around the neighborhood), the hybrids will suit you better for the near term. The other 2 are very similar and I'd ride both to see how they feel and also decide if there is one LBS that "feels" better to you. The relationship with the LBS can be really helpfull as you start out.

All that being said, get some bikes and start riding. Your butts will be sore for a while (this is NOT a sign you need a bigger, softer saddle) but you will quickly get past that if you ride regularly. Good luck and remember, consistency is far more important than distance as you are starting out.
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Old 01-05-09, 01:56 PM   #4
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Take the Trek 7.1FX for a spin. It's a little on the top side of your budget but I honestly think it would best suit your needs. If you can swing it the 7.2 would be even better.



Pro tip rookie:

In conversation and especially on the internet your fiance/wife is 132lbs when her hair is wet.
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Old 01-05-09, 02:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
Take the Trek 7.1FX for a spin. It's a little on the top side of your budget but I honestly think it would best suit your needs. If you can swing it the 7.2 would be even better.



Pro tip rookie:

In conversation and especially on the internet your fiance/wife is 132lbs when her hair is wet.

Aren't all wives on the internet 132lbs
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Old 01-05-09, 04:52 PM   #6
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Consider used, that will open up a lot of bike choices at your budget. I almost always recommend the rigid steel mountain bike. They can be cheaply modified to do just about any type of riding, and they can be acquired cheap. I picked up my 92 Trek 950 (high end steel bike) for $75, and picked up a 94 Trek 950 for my wife for $30. While it is hard to find such a MTB for $30, I see them all the time in the $100 to $125 range.

The first couple of pictures show the bikes with slicks. The last picture is from my Grand Illinois Trail ride this summer, when I mounted Kenda Kross tires (more off road oriented). These bikes are really flexible as to the type of riding you can use them for.

A couple of other advantages of used bikes is that you will not lose a bunch of money if you decide to get out of it. And you need to budget for gear, that can cost just about as much as the bike budget you have.


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Old 01-05-09, 05:01 PM   #7
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Decent WHEEELS will be your biggest concern.
For you, I'd search Craigs list etc. for a Specialized Hard Rock, Rock Hopper or similar for a starter bike. They have a STOUT frame.
Get the wheels professionally trued/tensioned. (important)
Ride it for awhile and then decide what you want in a new bike. IF you like the bike you bought, invest in a new, STRONGER wheel set if needed.
Without "some" recent biking experience, your first choice often doesn't seem quite as good a couple months down the road.
$3-400 bikes don't tend to have the quality of wheels you need.
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Old 01-05-09, 05:33 PM   #8
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Check the Giant FCR series, as well as the Fuji Absolute. Nice, sturdy, upright road bikes that ride well and can be had fairly cheap. Performance carries the Fuji (and a similar Schwinn offering), and Giant's can be found all over.
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Old 01-06-09, 06:47 PM   #9
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The used market in my area is kind of dry, craigslist and the local paper had a total of 3 bikes(2 kids bikes and a stationary bike). I have considered going the route of converting a mountain bike, particularly the hardrock after reading this forum. I know I would need to swap out the fron t forks (I tried a hardrock at the lbs) and replace the tires. I've not checked on pricing for the conversion, what would be a good average price for those modifications.

I'm also big on modification and DIY type stuff so this also appeals to me. Plus if I can get into a shape other than round I would be interested in trail riding.
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Old 01-06-09, 07:29 PM   #10
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Those group rides can vary widely, so don't get too concerned about them just now. I've been going on one on my cruiser bike. There's usually a couple of people slower than me, so I figure I'm okay. But I'm still getting a workout, and this is probably one of the slowest "group rides" in the area. So don't be surprised if you show up and everyone goes twice as fast as you do.

One thing I've found is that to actually get much out of bicycling, you can't just sort of mosey around the neighborhood, you've got to really put some effort into it. I think sometimes people have the unspoken idea that exercise is hard, riding a bike is easy, so therefore they're going to magically get easy exercise on a bike. But if it's easy, you're just not working hard enough at it. Get out there and tear around the neighborhood. Once you do a little riding, a mile won't be anything.
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Old 01-06-09, 08:30 PM   #11
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I say support one of the local Bike shops and get a bike from them. That'll be nice for when they need serviced later you can return to them and they more than likely will be specialize din that product you bought.

Now between the 7000 and Navigator, the Navi will be more or a comfort/cruiser bike vs the trek 7000 is still a comfortable bike but off the line would be better for higher speeds, would(to me) make riding more fun.

No matter what bike you get, get one you like and want to ride. That'll increase the probability of you doing so.
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Old 01-06-09, 09:52 PM   #12
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Davin welcome to the forum. I like the idea of used for a first bike for the reasons mentioned above. Consider putting a WTB (wanted to buy) ad on craigslist. Then when you are ready to buy that more expensive bike, because you will, the LBS will be more then happy to sell you that one

Some will say that you will need to get your heartbeat above 130 bpm for any benefit. I would also start looking for a longer route to work, you will need it in no time at all.
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Old 01-07-09, 06:01 PM   #13
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I don't get it. How do you crush a suspension fork unless you sit on the handlebars? The bulk of your weight is on the rear of the bike.

Another option is a Raliegh Venture. It is a 26" comfort bike like the Navigator, but the base model is a simple 7-speed model which is all a beginner really needs unless you live in a very hilly area. I sold a few hundred of them when I worked at a Raleigh dealer (I no longer do). If you want to upgrade, the 3.0 model has 21 speeds and a suspension fork with lockout. At least the '08 models did.
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Old 01-07-09, 06:39 PM   #14
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I didn't really crush the suspension, it just felt like I was. I just was not comfortable on them.
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Old 01-14-09, 11:22 AM   #15
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After riding a few more, I find that I am very comfortable on the specilized hardrock, though I still don't like the front suspension. I noticed that the 2009 version of the sport has a lockout which may be what i'm looking for, however the last few years have aluminum frames, are they still as sturdy for larger clydes and some of the older models?

I know the new sport is out of my original price range, but I'm willing to be flexable on price as long as I can get quality.
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Old 01-14-09, 11:59 AM   #16
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The aluminum frame will be fine, it will take a load of abuse and come back for more. Steel framed bikes tend to flex a bit which makes the ride smoother whereas aluminum generally does not flex without bad things happening.

If you like the hardrock buy it, it certainly is a great bike and very worthy of upgrading when needed. You wont regret it (at least until the road bug bites you)
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Old 01-14-09, 12:03 PM   #17
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The road bug may well bite at some point, but one of the driving factors at this point is the fact i can already feel the trail bug nipping at my heals. I used to love to ride dirt paths through the woods. I don't see myself doing it this year just because of the shape that I'm in, but maybe next year... Plus from a little reading I know that there are some new trails being built fairly close by.
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Old 01-14-09, 12:32 PM   #18
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I did the Trek Navigator route. I should have just spent the money on a good touring bike that I eventually bought anyway. I love the comfortable ride of a good steel frame touring bike. Throw on a brooks saddle and you are set. Touring bikes are very versatile. They make great commuters, long distance bikes, and do an adequate job as a road bike. Look at this option before you plop down $400 for a Trek Navigator.
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Old 01-14-09, 12:33 PM   #19
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I meant to ask this in the other post, but is it worth going for the sport? Will the lockout be as useful for me a simple replacing the front fork on a lesser model, and do the other parts make it worthwile to upgrade to the sport?

Hardrock
Hardrock Sport
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Old 01-14-09, 03:12 PM   #20
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Kinda pointless to buy a Hardrock and replace the fork w/ a rigid or lockout fork. Might as well go for the Sport and keep it locked out for the commute. If you can adjust the pre-load, crank it as high as it'll go so it doesn't feel squishy or bouncy when you put your weight on it. Also, no one said you have to come straight home from work. When it warms up, nothing wrong w/ going straight to the trails after work.

For commuting purposes, make sure the bike has eyelets for mounting front and rear fenders and a rear rack. There's ways around mounting fenders and racks on frames that lack the eyelets, but it's more work.
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Old 01-14-09, 10:20 PM   #21
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+1 for the used rigid mtb. Even if you have to spend a couple of hundred on replacement wheels, some slicks, and servicing, you will still wind up with a bike better suited to your needs than a new hybrid or suspended mtb.

Have a look at the bikes pictured in wrk101's post. I bought a similarly specced Diamondback rigid mtb when I trashed my Trek hybrid, and it was the best move I have ever made.

Plan B would be to buy a hardtail mtb and lock out the forks. But this will be a heavier bike than the rigid with no additional functionality. It will look prettier and have newer paint. That is all.
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