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  1. #1
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    Road bike and big belly

    I have a cheap mountain bike with slicks that I've been riding. I can definitely see the need to move to a road bike to get out of the upright position, better gearing, more speed, etc.

    However, as a big guy (5'9" 300 lbs.) I'm wondering if I CAN ride a road bike,at least in the dropped position. Seems like my knees might whack my gut. I'm sure others have had this same concern.

    If I can't ride like that, should I get a road bike anyway and just use the flat part of the bars and/or even put on a longer stem to ride more upright until I lose enough weight?

  2. #2
    Senior Member theetruscan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightRiderTX View Post
    If I can't ride like that, should I get a road bike anyway and just use the flat part of the bars and/or even put on a longer stem to ride more upright until I lose enough weight?
    A longer stem will stretch you out. You would want a shorter stem, or a stem the same length with more rise.

  3. #3
    Senior Member snowman40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightRiderTX View Post
    I have a cheap mountain bike with slicks that I've been riding. I can definitely see the need to move to a road bike to get out of the upright position, better gearing, more speed, etc.

    However, as a big guy (5'9" 300 lbs.) I'm wondering if I CAN ride a road bike,at least in the dropped position. Seems like my knees might whack my gut. I'm sure others have had this same concern.

    If I can't ride like that, should I get a road bike anyway and just use the flat part of the bars and/or even put on a longer stem to ride more upright until I lose enough weight?
    They will, but I notice it more when I am in the drops.

    Although, you will notice how much more weight you loose by not banging your knees into your belly as much.

    I'd recommend a touring maybe, they have the drops, but are a little more upright than other styles.

  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    The 'drop' position is for aerodynamic advantage and stable high-speed descending, and let's face it; most of us have a ways to go before we need to worry about race techniques.

    Check out how many drop-bar touring and long-distance bikes are set up. Handlebars near or at the level of the saddle. This makes it comfortable to use the tops and hoods for general riding, and gives a little bit of forward lean into the drops for descending, but not so much that you're kneeing yourself in the belly.
    I recently put a taller stem on my bike after gaining some weight and realizing the original position I had set my bike up with wasn't comfortable any more. Bringing the bars 3/4" up and in made it perfect again.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightRiderTX View Post
    I have a cheap mountain bike with slicks that I've been riding. I can definitely see the need to move to a road bike to get out of the upright position, better gearing, more speed, etc.

    However, as a big guy (5'9" 300 lbs.) I'm wondering if I CAN ride a road bike,at least in the dropped position. Seems like my knees might whack my gut. I'm sure others have had this same concern.

    If I can't ride like that, should I get a road bike anyway and just use the flat part of the bars and/or even put on a longer stem to ride more upright until I lose enough weight?
    I ride a flat bar road bike, but I had the same problem with my knees hitting my belly. A stem riser solved it.

  6. #6
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    I love thread like these....they allow me to brag about my weight loss and talk about my bike!

    I'm 6' 1" and was 315 in December of last year. I dropped down to 290 the first of Febuary of this year and got a road bike. I loved the flat bar road bike I tested (Giant FCR2) but I wanted drops (Giant OCR2!) and to be magicly transformed into a "real" cyclist (eventhough majority are snobs and hate hybrids!). I rode in the "hoods" (up on top out stretched so your palm is resting on the edge of the bars and can easily use the brakes/brifters with your fingers) for another two months til I finially dropped enough weight and my belly to ride comfortable i the drops of the bars. Now I'm down to 270(ish) and can ride in the drop for as long as I need to.

    My OCR2 is a nice relaxed (meaning your ass isn't way higher than the handlebars) frame and has a longer wheel base which is nice for stablity.

    The other postings are dead on with the higher stem and touring frame. But I would make damn sure I was willing to lose the gut and weight before I bought a bike with drops. If you don't lose the weight, then you night end up with a roadie in the corner of the garage gathering cobwebs. The biggest advantage of the drop bars is the multi hand posititions they offer. But if you can't use the drops or bottoms, then that advantage is moot. You might want to look at some the flat bar (also called fitness bikes) that some companies have out. They are faster than a hybrid tpe, buy still has a relaxed style of riding. You can always add drops later when you lose the gut. Or add on a set of aero bars. I thought about getting the FCR2 and doing that, but the OCR2 had much better componets.

    I'm not saying that you are not ever going to lose weight or that I'm the only one that can. I stand on shoulders of giants in the forum that has lost more and kept it off longer. I just hate to see someone pay out big bucks for a bike that you may not like. A fitness/flat bar road bike, like the FCR2, has the better gearing and is fast. Its a great type of bike to get in in the city IMHO. I cruised a long time test riding it and still wish I had enough to buy TWO bikes that day. So that covers two of your wants right there.

    Anyways, I wish you luck. Just try to ride as many bikes as you can before you buy. I spent four hours at my LBS before I finally bought my bike. I bet I test rode ten bikes.

    Also, buy what you want! You will only cry once if you get the good stuff. I have no regrets riding a bike that cost as much as my work car!

    Jerry
    Last edited by Jerry in So IL; 04-20-09 at 03:42 PM. Reason: my gut got in the way of my fingers!
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  7. #7
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Yup. Knees will hit your gut when in the drops. I have a road bike with drops and only get into the drops while descending which in turn means I am not pedaling. There are sometimes on flats where I will go into the drops and pedal for a while and also against a good head wind. The thing with my knees hitting my gut, it tends to get me winded a bit quicker. Sometimes I will kind of hunch my back so to speak(opposite of arch) which will bring my gut up a little bit and not cause the knee to hit my enlarged stomach. It is good motivation as well to lose that spare tire as well. I am 6'2" 240# all my (extra) wieght is in my belly.

  8. #8
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    I fully agree with the previous posts on this topic, but I thought I would throw in my own personal experience to help prove the point. I ride a surly CrossCheck with drops and love it. I spend the majority of my time up on the hoods, which is still much much more stretched out than on my hybrid. The only time I find myself down on the drops is when I am at top speed and I want to get out of the wind, or when there is a gnarly headwind I am fighting.

    I find the biggest advantage to the drop bars is the multitude of hand positions. On a long ride I like to be able to put my hands and my body in different positions to help avoid fatigue.

    I took my mountain bike out last weekend for the first time this year and was surpised out how accustomed to the riding position on my cross check. I felt like I was sitting almost vertically. One is not neccissarily more comfy than the other, but they are very different. The point is that I think your best bet is to get out to your LBS and test ride as many bikes as they will let you and see if you like it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member racethenation's Avatar
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    Everyone else has summed it up pretty well, but I thought I would throw in my own experience. I picked up my road bike last June at 6'1" and 280 pounds. It is a compact frame design with a slightly sloping top tube. I turned the stem over to get more height out of the handlebars and even rotated the bars up a little to make it more comfortable in all positions. As time has gone on, and have gradually adjusted the bars down ward. This last weekend, I flipped the stem again, and added clip-on aero bars because I am now constantly trying to find more speed. The limiting factors in how high I had the bars adjusted has been my stomach and my arm strength. I am now in the 255 pound range and gradually taking off more weight.

  10. #10
    Double Naught Spy TrekDen's Avatar
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    Here's a take on the percentage of time I spend in my drops, and other positions on a 30 mile ride (guessing of course).

    90% spent upright with hands on the brakehoods. Main reason is comfort, plus the ability to apply brakes when needed.

    5% on top of bars. Main reason is while climbing this allows me to breath easier, and also forces me to use my legs to turn the pedals.

    5% in the drops. Main reasons, to close a gap on a group ride, fast downhills, or headwinds. I eventually sit up in the wind, basically because it's (the wind) not going anywhere soon. Might as well use it as resistance for a good workout.

    So basically in 30 miles, I may spend a total of 1.5 miles in the drops. If ya want, and are ready for a road bike or touring frame, I say go for it.

    Of course this is just my take on my riding style, I'm sure others will differ.

    Denny
    Last edited by TrekDen; 04-20-09 at 08:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    you don't stop hitting your belly... you just get more aggressive

    get more rise or shorter stem or one of the adjustable ones and it should work out fine

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightRiderTX View Post
    I have a cheap mountain bike with slicks that I've been riding. I can definitely see the need to move to a road bike to get out of the upright position, better gearing, more speed, etc.

    However, as a big guy (5'9" 300 lbs.) I'm wondering if I CAN ride a road bike,at least in the dropped position. Seems like my knees might whack my gut. I'm sure others have had this same concern.

    If I can't ride like that, should I get a road bike anyway and just use the flat part of the bars and/or even put on a longer stem to ride more upright until I lose enough weight?
    The drops are not used that much, but there are really several factors at work here.

    Most bike shops assume that if you use road bars, your a racer, and you want the saddle a foot above the bars. Racers are willing to exchange a lot of comfort for a tiny bit of increased speed.

    Touring riders tend to have the bars higher, they are willing to sacrifice a little speed to gain comfort, with a less aerodynamic riding position. Yet still have the option of tucking in, in the drops when going down hill and building up some speed, so they can use momentum to make it most of the way up the next roller.

    What you want in a bike is to have the steerer (the top part of the fork that goes through the head tube) as long as possible on a threadless stem, on a threaded stem, you want a longer stem. Threaded stems are rare on new bikes now,

  13. #13
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    Not to flame or flame anyone, but no one rides in the drops why do you guys have them? The main reason is to have more hand positions. Why is it that everyone tells a member to get drops and them not use them or they don't use them?!?!?

    Jerry...very confused
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  14. #14
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry in So IL View Post
    Not to flame or flame anyone, but no one rides in the drops why do you guys have them? The main reason is to have more hand positions. Why is it that everyone tells a member to get drops and them not use them or they don't use them?!?!?

    Jerry...very confused
    Drops do get used sometimes, and there are more hand positions. Most bikes with mountain type bars are the worse, the bar forces your hand into an unnatural position, and it's the only position that is available. This can pinch the nerves and vessels running thorough the wrist, causing hand numbness. The old style moustache bars are better because the swept back part is a natural hand position. If you put your hands at your sides and relax them, they point toward the floor, this is the open position of the wrist, so the nerves and vessels of the wrist are not pinched, so no numbness. Resting your hands on the hoods is a similar position. Bar ends can help on MTB bars, but most don't have brake levers on them.....

    Drops give you at least 5 different hand positions, the top of the bars, the brake hoods, the top of the hook, the front of the hook by the brake levers and the bottom of the hooks. The bottom of the hooks is a more aerodynamic position, used to tuck in when you want less of a sail effect. Tucking in can add several MPH to your speed, handy on a decent, especially when in rolling landscape, it's not the most comfortable position, especially if you have a spare tire that would fit a mining truck. It does have it's uses though.

    Trekking bars can even better, although they can be hard to find which makes them expensive.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry in So IL View Post
    Not to flame or flame anyone, but no one rides in the drops why do you guys have them? The main reason is to have more hand positions. Why is it that everyone tells a member to get drops and them not use them or they don't use them?!?!?
    Don't know about anyone else, but I actually ride in the drops quite a bit! If it's windy or I'm descending, you can bet I'll be using the drops. It helps that I've lost some weight, become a bit more flexible, and found a drop bar that really works for me (3T Ergosum). I probably spend 40-50% of my time on any given ride with my hands in the drops...

  16. #16
    Senior Member snowman40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Don't know about anyone else, but I actually ride in the drops quite a bit! If it's windy or I'm descending, you can bet I'll be using the drops. It helps that I've lost some weight, become a bit more flexible, and found a drop bar that really works for me (3T Ergosum). I probably spend 40-50% of my time on any given ride with my hands in the drops...
    As I shed weight (I drop and gain quickly ) I find that I can be in the drops more and I end up in them more.

    Most of all, YMMV!!!!! Go to a couple bike stores and test ride them, I usually mention this but I didn't today, trust your butt! What is comfortable to all of us is different.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by racethenation View Post
    I turned the stem over to get more height out of the handlebars and even rotated the bars up a little to make it more comfortable in all positions.
    this is the best advice for the new road rider who is serious about riding and losing the spare tire, because it allows you to adjust the bike to your growing experience and ability, without spending anymore than you already spent on the bike itself... it's exactly what i did...

    to the op: dont forget to ask the LBS to adjust the bike u like the best... for instance, i loved my current bike (specialized roubaix) as soon as i rode it, but the handlebars were too low, so i asked them to flip the stem and went for a second test ride... i bought it almost as soon as i got back to the shop...
    so the lesson is to test ride as many bikes as u dare, narrow it down to a few bikes and have the shop adjust them to fit you better (flip the stem, change to a shorter/longer stem, adjust saddle height, adjust fore/aft saddle postion, etc.) and then test ride them again
    Last edited by jferna; 04-21-09 at 12:39 AM.

  18. #18
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    My LBS flipped the stem on my road bike over when I bought it. That raised the bar and made the seat and handle bar about the same height. I'm 6'1" and was 290 when I got the bike. I didn't have any trouble on the top of the bar and now can get into the drops pretty comfortable for awhile if downhilling or sprinting.
    '08 Jamis Dakota 29er, '06 LeMond Sarthe, '92 Hardrock, '80 Schwinn Voyager 11.8

  19. #19
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Don't know about anyone else, but I actually ride in the drops quite a bit! If it's windy or I'm descending, you can bet I'll be using the drops. It helps that I've lost some weight, become a bit more flexible, and found a drop bar that really works for me (3T Ergosum). I probably spend 40-50% of my time on any given ride with my hands in the drops...
    Same here! I love my drop bars and wonder why it took me so long to get them. Oh, its because I was fatter than a fall hog! Now I'm just at a summer hog's weight!

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jferna View Post
    to the op: dont forget to ask the LBS to adjust the bike u like the best... for instance, i loved my current bike (specialized roubaix) as soon as i rode it, but the handlebars were too low, so i asked them to flip the stem and went for a second test ride... i bought it almost as soon as i got back to the shop...
    FYI, many Specialized bikes are equipped with adjustable stems. In addition to flipping the stem, there are shims that can be used to change the angle. Depending on the stem, there may be 4 to 10 different angle settings. Unlike most adjustable stems, there is very little weight-penalty to the Specialized system and, more importantly, you don't sacrifice any rigidity to get the adjustability. As a result, quite a few of my bikes use the Specialized Comp-Set stem.

  21. #21
    On the road to health. Griffin2020's Avatar
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    I ride a Specialized Allez, and when I started riding (again), it was simply not feasible for me to be in the drops for more than doing a steep descent. Now, however, since I have lost around 75 pounds, I cna ride in the drops more easily, and find that I am not hitting my belly as hard or as often as I once did. I primarily ride on the hoods, though...but then so do the pros...

  22. #22
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Like Trekden states, majority of the time is on the hoods. Just because on has drops does not mean you spend the entire time in them. More if you race but I too do about 80% on the hoods.

    One thing that really helped my ride is when I bought m bike, I had the shop leave the forktube UNCUT! It allows for more height. If you buy a bike off the rack, check ou the length of the forktube. If it's set up for a race position, it will be real low. If so, ask the shop to order the same bike for you but leave the forktube UNCUT. You don't have to buy the bike on the rack,you have a choice!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin2020 View Post
    I ride a Specialized Allez, and when I started riding (again), it was simply not feasible for me to be in the drops for more than doing a steep descent. Now, however, since I have lost around 75 pounds, I cna ride in the drops more easily, and find that I am not hitting my belly as hard or as often as I once did. I primarily ride on the hoods, though...but then so do the pros...
    I was at a LBS yesterday buying an inner tube and took the chance to talk to them about road bikes. The guy there recommended the Allez. What model do you have? He though the stock wheels would be fine (32 spoke count). In searching the forum it seems to be pretty popular. They were asking $850 for it.

  24. #24
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Stock wheels on a low end roadie won't last long. All salesmen will say it's good enough cuae he wants to make the sale. Best thing is to ride them till they fail (which won't be long if you ride alot) then invest ina good handbuilt rear wheel. The front usually lasts a bit longer.

    Get a Deep V or similar 30 mm high rim cheap online. WHne the rear fails, have it built with the currnt 32 hole hub if you want to save money!

  25. #25
    Senior Member breadbin's Avatar
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    Was gonna say you could try putting drops on your mtb? but it wouldn't be the same. I'd defo recommend trying a road bike before you go and splash $850 on one. I mean really test it like rent it for a week or something? Good luck with your decision too. Any second hand out there might save you a ton of money?
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