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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 01-08-09, 09:07 PM   #1
edenn1423
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Bike for a 350lb friend...

I am really into riding and so are all my friends in my small college town. I have this friend who is 6 foot 3 and has been over 350 pounds for many years now and is trying to shed the pounds. He has been hesitant to ride because he says he has lost his balance. I think it may be that he feels a bike won't support him. But if I knew some tips for getting him going again and a few reasonably priced bikes that would be what he needs I think I could help to facilitate this whole thing. I've seen Trek and Cannondale recommended but for 2/3 the weight. Oh, I live in San Marcos Texas and it is super hilly so something that has low gears would be great.
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Old 01-08-09, 10:02 PM   #2
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Specialized Hard Rock Sport. Put some slicks on it for road use.
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Old 01-08-09, 10:04 PM   #3
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I started out at 371 lbs on a Torker Boardwalk 7 speed put 2000 miles on it iam down 94 lbs that bike is a tank IMHO ........ duno how much he wants to spend thou I got mine just the bike was like $379.00 but they have had a few price increases since then . Schwinn makes a xxl mtn bike thats pose to be for us big guys my LBS recomended it to a 350 lb friend a mine Iam trying to get on a bike ! I belive its price was around $250.00
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Old 01-08-09, 10:09 PM   #4
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Funny, I was just talking to a simlarly heavy colleague at work today and he seemed pretty interested in getting into cycling... being very concerned about his health, as he should be. So I'm wondering what I could recommend to him. I'm pretty sure that someone is going to point out that good wheels (with lots of spokes) are a big issue, perhaps more so than the bike itself. But beyond wheels I hope someone will offer recommendations or point us to a previous thread, as it will help me in making a good remmendation too.
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Old 01-08-09, 10:34 PM   #5
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Second the Hard Rock. Great bike for the price. Can't go wrong. May even be able to get your LBS to hook you up with slicks...
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Old 01-08-09, 10:37 PM   #6
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The Specialized Hardrock is the 'house' bike of the Clyde forum. The stock wheels should be OK.
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Old 01-09-09, 08:30 AM   #7
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Sorry for not beating the hardrock drums but your friend will be fine on any bike shop quality mountain bike. More to less the entry level hard tail designs are the same across the board with the differences being cosmetic or a slight variation in the frame design. 5 dollars says that 2 out of 3 entry level bikes from different manufactures had their frames fabricated in the same factory in Taiwan.

So here is my .02:

Take your friend to a bike shop and test ride every bike that is in his price range, if availible, go to more than one shop before he makes a decision. Once he has his bike picked out swap out the suspension fork for a ridged one. They are cheap and installation is generally cheap too. Total cost should be somewhere around 50 bucks for the upgrade. If your friend is light in the saddle and avoids pot holes (if possible) he should be able to get quite a few miles out of the stock wheels before they have to be replaced. Anywhere from 500-2000 miles provided he keeps them tensioned and trued. Now, lots of folks will immediately point to wheels a point of failure for big riders but they overlook one other key failure point, the bottom bracket. Your friend will need to keep an eye on it and make sure the shop overhauls his just about every time he has it in. If it does fail, buy the best/strongest one he can afford. The shop will give you the best recommendation for a replacement.

But yes your friend certainly can ride, and a big +1 to you for helping him out. Make sure you point him to this forum so he can get in here and speak directly to those who have been in his shoes.
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Old 01-09-09, 08:31 AM   #8
bautieri
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Oh, and try to find a left over 2007-2008. The 2009 lineup in most brands is a major disapointment in terms of cost to componet ratio. Cost is way up and componets are way down. Check out the specs on the hardrock from 2007 vs the 2009.
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Old 01-09-09, 08:33 AM   #9
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+1 on the Bike Shop quality MTB. I had a 93 Trek 800 that held my weight (325), without a problem.
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Old 01-09-09, 10:18 AM   #10
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excuse errr I mean problem: I"ve lost my balance and I can't ride
solution: adult training wheels. Who knew they existed?


Now go ride.
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Old 01-09-09, 10:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
excuse errr I mean problem: I"ve lost my balance and I can't ride
solution: adult training wheels. Who knew they existed?


Now go ride.
Wouldn't a trike be a better choice?
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Old 01-09-09, 10:51 AM   #12
edenn1423
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Haha! I love the training wheels, I had no idea... Thanks for the help so far guys, I now have some facts on which to base my endeavor. Hopefully I can get him to the lbs soon.
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Old 01-09-09, 11:00 AM   #13
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Zoiks! Them're *some* trainin' wheels!


For uber-clydesdale use, I have my Kona cyclocross bike. Built stout for cross use, and does well with narrower road tires too. I've also picked up a Surly touring bike for its longer chainstays (so my heels don't hit my daughter's trailer hitch), geometry, and gear ranges (didn't want to change Jake too much).
It's held up to my 320 lbs weight well, with no problems.
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Old 01-09-09, 11:07 AM   #14
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Rather than work around the perceived balance problems, why not work on them? There are any number of simple exercises and stretches that help develop the core muscles. The easiest one is to rise out of a chair without using your arms to brace you.

I learned to ride despite structural problems, and I taught a fellow with vertigo to ride this summer. So balance problems can be overcome.
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Old 01-09-09, 02:06 PM   #15
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+1 Any of the name brand (no XMart) rigid steel mountain bikes. And if money is tight, go used. There are always good ones available on Craigs List for little $$. Buyers do not appreciate the nice vintage MTBs yet. So brands that do well in the road bike used market (Trek, Specialized, etc), usually go cheap on their MTBs.
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Old 01-09-09, 03:19 PM   #16
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I ran 6,000+ miles on my Trek 7200 weighing about 340-350lbs. I popped a couple of spokes at the 3,000 mile mark and had the wheels rebuilt, I also replaced the suspension seat post with a Thomson. Otherwise, all other components functioned normally.

Tell your friend to join the forums. We're a welcoming group and there are a lot of riders in the same situation.
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Old 01-09-09, 03:54 PM   #17
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Also, if a road style bike is wanted instead of upright, a good vintage touring bike like my Schwinn Voyageur is doing fine with my 350ish pounds... as has my Giant Sedona for an upright ride, so even hard tail aluminum holds up to the uber-clyde...

The only issue with the Voyageur has been that my gut gets in the way of getting into the drops.
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Old 01-09-09, 04:35 PM   #18
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+1 to what Little Darwin said. If your friend prefers a road bike, touring bikes are where it's at. They are built to carry extra weight, usualy have higher spoke count and lower gearing. Also, most have the seat and bars at pretty much the same height, so not too much hunching over whilst riding, like on the go fast road bikes. They don't tend to be so twithcy feeling either. They can get a little spendy new, but there are some good used deals out there.
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Old 01-09-09, 07:54 PM   #19
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I go 350 pounds and am newer to riding. I ride a 2005 or 06 Kona Coiler. Just today I swapped out the knobbie tires for street tires.

So far its held my weight perfectly well - going up curbs, through potholes, etc - no blowouts or problems to speak of. Before I "inherited" this bike my brother used to jump off steep drops and over branches and claimed this bike was unbreakable. I agree so far.

The Kona's are known for being able to beat the heck out of them without breaking.

Here's my ride:




Edited to add: With regard to balance, Im at this only 3 weeks or so, riding a little every day. My first day, I crashed into my minivan and pantsed myself down to my knees while trying to mount the bike and I was all over the place during the short ride. A few weeks later and I have no problem mounting the bike and my balance and control is remarkably better than it was just a few weeks ago.

Last edited by 2Yutes; 01-09-09 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 01-09-09, 09:46 PM   #20
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Yeah, I think there are some sorta-hybrid downhill/XC bikes that would work well.

I've also looked at the Surly Instigator some, but I felt comfortable enough with the LHT that
I went ahead and got it instead.
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Old 01-10-09, 06:00 AM   #21
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I echo the views regarding touring bikes versus "normal" road bikes.

But for your 350lb friend I would suggest a better bike to start on would be a used rigid mountain bike, something like the 1990's Trek 800 series:





Several reasons:

- These bikes have low frames with heaps of standover room. If balance is an issue, I couldn't think of a more important design factor to build up confidence.

- They have sturdy 26" wheels which are going to be stronger than a 700C.

- The 1990's era mtbs generally didn't have suspension. It's one less thing to worry about. Most Clydes would, I guess, lock out the suspension anyway, and I would assume an uber Clyde certainly would. A lot of suspension bikes don't even have lock-outs.

- The low gearing on these bikes really helps somebody who is unfit and or overweight keep up momentum when the geography gets a bit hilly.

- Put some slicks on these bikes, and they ride just fine on the road,

- You stand a pretty good chance of getting a 100% chrome-moly frame. I could be 100% wrong, but is just seems to me that a 350lb guy is going to be better off on a steel frame than an aluminium one, and

- They can be obtained cheaply. So if it doesn't work out for you friend, he hasn't lost much. If it does work out, and he decides to upgrade to a touring bike or whatever, he hasn't over-capitalized his starter bike.

I have a 1997 Diamondback Wildwood mountain bike, stock except for slicks, riser handlebars and bar ends. It got me hooked on cycling and I couldn't think of a better entry level bike for a Clyde. I've moved on from this for most of my riding, but I still keep it as a backup bike and for riding with the kids.

Last edited by Abacus; 01-10-09 at 06:05 AM.
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