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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 03-16-09, 03:13 PM   #1
trek830
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Need suggestions for dad, looking for first bike for exercise

I posted this in recreational, but was suggested to post here as well.

Dad I guess would be a Clydesdale (5'8" 249 pounds) he's been walking for fitness for the last year and is getting bored of it. He's talked about getting a bike for a while, I have done well in steering him away from the mega-mart junk. He just wants something comfortable (IE: multi speed cruiser) to ride around the paved path by his house, he wants an upright sitting position and high bars.

We went out today to the LBS, and the shop in the next town, I can not say I'm very impressed by what I've seen and can't whole heartily recommend anything to him. I'm hoping someone can give me some further suggestions.

- First bike at the LBS was a Giant 2008 7 speed cruiser Aluminum frame ($350). Dad asked me to try it as it was a very busy plaza and he hasn't rode in at least 20 years. I personally couldn't find a comfortable gear to pedal in, the OEM tires I almost whipped out turning around, I ran over a couple leaves Ultimately I couldn't recommended it, it's been sitting outside so it had rust on the stem, and the cassette looks like it's been ridden quit a bit.

- Second Bike, second shop: Electra forward pedaling?(I've never herd of this before) aluminum frame. For a 7 speed cruiser, at $500 I feel that's just way to much money. As for the ride: This bike, the gearing was much better, each gear I went in was comfortable. The brakes I got into a disagreement with the seller. They more then squealed they sounded like a fog horn, I asked if the toe was correct and if they could possibly change the pads out. They said the most they would do is File the pads down and that should help. Sorry for that kind of change I would expect a bit more friendliness, and help.

It's been a long time since I've shopped for any kind of bike, but I don't remember comfort bikes costing this much and getting so little in return. Everything on each of these bikes was pretty unimpressive, does anyone have any recommendations for brands? The one bike shop said they can order a Sun Cruiser or another Electra if we if find something more suited for dad.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:46 PM   #2
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Great idea! Nice of you to be thinking of Dad! Hope my kids do when I/they are older.

First: New bikes these days are expensive.

Second: You might want to keep looking for another shop as neither of them appeared to take too much concern with their own image.

As for specific models of bikes... I don't have a recommendation. Almost every line of bikes has some sort of "cruiser" model. Make sure though, that if you do get one of these, the terrain Dad rides on is flat: these bikes are heavy.

You may want to also look into what is called a "comfort" bike. Any shop will know what that is and they can usually be set-up with a nice upright position.

Do a little bit of reconnaissance before you take Dad. See if the shop looks good, the people are smarter than the average 11th grader, and they carry what you're looking for. Also, they should be willing to fit the bike to Dad (moving saddle up/down, tilting it, tilting handlebars, etc...). This is part of the "selling" process.

Then, once you're convinced, take Dad on a day that they're not too busy with other customers (Saturday mornings will not do here). Then, you're the only ones in the shop, you can take your time, and the employees will love helping you out because they're bored.
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Old 03-16-09, 10:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for the post, I went today (no way I would do a weekend lol), and the second shop I asked about comfort bikes they said they don't really stock those but can show him pictures in a catalog that he may like and they will order it in. I can do that my self, show him pretty pictures on the internet and put it together.

I really like Trek, and have had great luck with my 830 all these years, enough so that I just rebuilt it last year to get me through another 16 years! It looks like they make a "comfort" model that is called the Trek Pure Thinking of going the next town the other direction and checking that out for him.
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Old 03-17-09, 01:45 AM   #4
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If there is a dealer close, check out a Haro Heartland. They're comfortable to ride. My wife rides one loves it. I rode it for two months, it rode great.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:53 AM   #5
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There are a few bits of info that may allow us to help you.

How old is your dear dad, and is swinging a leg up over the seat to mount practical.

A step through frame may provide some ease to this situation, and increase confidence for stopping and starting. (A older neighbor told me last summer how he use to ride, but found it difficult to get on an off his older bike. I tuned up his wife's bike and asked him to give it a try, and he smiled and has been since getting his own unisex frame and they rie together again.)

If not an issue, many relaxed geometry hybrids should allow the bars to be adjusted higher, or swapped for a bar with the desired rise. Any all-around LBS should be happy to fit and make adjustments.

700x35 or larger tires should be stable, if looking at 26" tires, asked for less knobby tread or slicks, MTB tires will not ride smooth and will make noise distracting the from the ride (IMHO).

If stability may be a issue, many frame builders now make pedal forward designed frames, allowing for flatfoot stops while remaining in the seat. These may also reduce knee strain if an issue, from conventional bike frames, as you are moving the lower leg forward more so than down. Trek, Electra and others have such styles.

You also need dad to try the bike to make certain it fits and he can be comfortable, if not he may not ride defeating the purpose of this adventure.

All the best.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
First: New bikes these days are expensive.
Plus eleventy!

No kidding, price has gone up up up and componets have gone down down down. I can understand prices going up so long as componets stay the same but if componets are going down then the price should remain almost constant. Then again, I'm not an economist.

Have you considered looking into a mountain bike? Most of the entry level ones are fairly upright but still leave an incredible amount of play for customization for comfort.
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Old 03-17-09, 02:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bab2000 View Post
There are a few bits of info that may allow us to help you.

How old is your dear dad, and is swinging a leg up over the seat to mount practical.

A step through frame may provide some ease to this situation, and increase confidence for stopping and starting. (A older neighbor told me last summer how he use to ride, but found it difficult to get on an off his older bike. I tuned up his wife's bike and asked him to give it a try, and he smiled and has been since getting his own unisex frame and they rie together again.)

If not an issue, many relaxed geometry hybrids should allow the bars to be adjusted higher, or swapped for a bar with the desired rise. Any all-around LBS should be happy to fit and make adjustments.

700x35 or larger tires should be stable, if looking at 26" tires, asked for less knobby tread or slicks, MTB tires will not ride smooth and will make noise distracting the from the ride (IMHO).

If stability may be a issue, many frame builders now make pedal forward designed frames, allowing for flatfoot stops while remaining in the seat. These may also reduce knee strain if an issue, from conventional bike frames, as you are moving the lower leg forward more so than down. Trek, Electra and others have such styles.

You also need dad to try the bike to make certain it fits and he can be comfortable, if not he may not ride defeating the purpose of this adventure.

All the best.
Dad is in his 60's and from years of construction he is has pretty bad arthritis, and knee issues. He was walking with a cane for a while but since walking every day he seems to be able to get away with not needing it at as much. I'm bringing him with me but the 2 shops I went to are so busy there is no way he feels comfortable riding, the parking lots are worse then freeways.

Stability is definitely my main concern, especially since he doesn't recall riding a bike in at least 20 years if not longer. He really seems to be sold on the foot forward design, and I think that may be best so he doesn't have to come off the saddle every time he stops.

Second issue is braking, he doesn't know if he can get used to not having a coaster brake (I did mention it's been a while since he rode lol) I mean there are definitely cruisers with coasters, but there all single speed. With his knee I just don't think it would be wise to go single speed.

Heh I know what you mean about knobbies I'm stuck pavement riding right now with 12yo Smoke/Dart tires on my 830. With 50 PSI they roll alright but it's a pretty aggressive ride, but at least others on the path can here me coming and I don't startle them

Quote:
Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
Plus eleventy!

No kidding, price has gone up up up and componets have gone down down down. I can understand prices going up so long as componets stay the same but if componets are going down then the price should remain almost constant. Then again, I'm not an economist.

Have you considered looking into a mountain bike? Most of the entry level ones are fairly upright but still leave an incredible amount of play for customization for comfort.
I'm lucky I collected parts through the early/late 90's to rebuild my bike, I was concerned that the 93 era XT derailleur I bought used (only had a few rides on it) wouldn't be as good as the newer parts but after seeing what's on the market now I'm glade I have it.

In regards to looking for his bike, everything appeared to be junk or close to junk. The 14 year old Altus canti's I pulled off my bike a couple years back where better then what ever was on that Electra. These parts are something like what I expect to find on mega-mart bikes, not at an entry level bike from a bike shop.

I'm also starting to wonder if it would be better to look for a used bike, and upgrade as necessary. Funny Bicycle magazine this month says that you get so much more for your money these days, I can't say I agree.
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Old 03-17-09, 03:16 PM   #8
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My mother who has had hip replacement and also has arthritis rides a Giant Suede and the forward /flatfoot geometry and lower step thru design all help to make the bike stable, easy to ride and enjoyable for her.

Here's a link to the mens version...
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...le/2307/32172/

I started on a Giant Sedona and also have a Cypress(both can be found used for 150-300), they are both comfortable bikes for distances under 20 miles. I have taken them further but they are not ideal for longer riding in my opinion. They have an upright stable riding position and decent components on most models.

Best of luck finding the right ride. I'm sure he'll be very thankful for the time and effort you are putting in.
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Old 03-17-09, 03:53 PM   #9
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Foot forward bikes seem like a darn good idea to me ... and I am a very avid bike snob... if it gets more people riding comfortably then it is a good idea...
Especially if you live in a very flat area... the foot forward design is a bit of a trade-off of efficiency for comfort, so if you have no mountains to climb they can be quite fun bikes.

But you have to find a shop that carries them and that your dad can visit and give it a try. I'll bet he can figure out the hand brakes the first time he rides... if not, there are 4 - speed internally geared bikes available with coaster brakes (7 - speed too, I think), but coaster brakes don't stop a bike nearly as well as properly set up hand brakes. ANd coaster brakes do not work with derailleur equipped bikes.

If you can find a ~17" or ~18" hybrid or comfort bike at a garage sale for cheap why not pick it up???... give it a tune-up and see if your dad likes it. At the very least it will get him ready to test ride a bike without fear. Or he might love it and ride the used bike into the sunset with a big grin on his face.

No matter what bike he gets he will have more fun and adventure than he does while walking.
Good luck.
You are a good kid to do this for your dad.
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Old 03-17-09, 05:53 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone! I called Trek and found another Bike shop 2 cities away about 50 miles each way. Well definitely far from being a LBS, they stock the foot forward Trek (Pure), furthermore the guy I talked to on the phone was much friendlier then anyone else I've spoken to thus far. So it looks like I'll be making a trek for a Trek and taking dad along. Not sure when I'm going down there, maybe next week some time.
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Old 03-24-09, 01:32 PM   #11
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Thanks all again for the suggestion just wanted to update this thread.

I been sick for a few days so I wasn't able to go down with dad to the other bike shop, he did decide on the Trek Pure. He liked the idea of the cycle computer, after seeing my bike and decided to get one. I was surprised the shop didn't give him much of a discount for buying accessories, I remember when I purchased my last bike, I was given a water bottle and cage (nothing great but a nice gesture), and some pretty good discounts at the time of purchase. They at least installed the computer for free and gave him a $2 discount to get the larger screen Trek computer as opposed to the smaller screen model, so $26 plus tax installed. I think I have a cage around here somewhere I can give him. Also they sold him on White lightning without telling him the chain needs to be cleaned before applying.. I really don't think he needs white lightning for a cruiser.

I plan to go on a ride with him later if the weather holds up, looking pretty cloudy right now though.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:49 PM   #12
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dad bike

I'd tried to get something "pre-owned", see how much he gets into riding, then he can upgrade
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