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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 04-22-09, 07:03 AM   #1
Glottis
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Inexpensive bike for a beginner? I need your opinion

Hello people,

I've already done a lot of research and read all the stickies, especially the super useful thread "Clydesdale/Athena Index Thread". However, buying my first personal bike as an adult has proven to be quite a challenge. Especially that there's no LBS to count on, as I live in Ukraine, and I can only order a good brand bike online. I'm not Ukrainian, so even if there is some lbs here, I couldn't find it.

Some info about me:

- I'm 34 years old
- I weigh about 100Kg/220lbs
- Height is 178cm/5'10"
- Inseam (barefoot) is 79cm/31"
- I will be riding regularly, but about 5Km/3miles a day at the beginning.

I was delighted to find out that the Giant Cypress (2008 or 2009 vanilla, not ST or DX) is available for around $330 (which is a little bit more than I can afford). And I think it's a good bike for a beginner like me. It definitely is better than the bike I rode when I was a teen, and I didn't know that a bike could cost more than $150 then...

My inseam being 31", the frame I need should be 31 x 0.67 = 20.77 , or 21". Is this formula valid for the Cypress? The geometry page on the official page states that "Stand Over" height for the 21" frame is 31.8", which is a little bit more than my inseam. But I won't be riding barefoot, so I will be able to stand comfortably with my shoes on, right? I just don't want to buy the 19", I don't want it to be too small. Also, the stand over height is based on largest tire size and measured 12 inches forward from center of seat tube.

So, is the 21" Cypress a good choice for me as a first bike?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Last edited by Glottis; 04-22-09 at 07:50 AM. Reason: typo in the title
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Old 04-22-09, 07:58 AM   #2
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The Cypress should work well and is a good value. It was the bike I purchased to rediscover cycling.

I'm 6' 0" with a 33" inseam and use the L/21 size. It's just right for me. I would recommend the M/19" size, this has an effective top tube length of 23.3' or 59cm. A L/21 might produce fully extended elbows to reach the grips if the size is too large.

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Old 04-22-09, 09:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Michael!

Just thought about something: Does a smaller frame have a better chance to fit me than a frame that is a little bit larger than (or equal to) my size?
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Old 04-22-09, 10:00 AM   #4
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Just thought about something: Does a smaller frame have a better chance to fit me than a frame that is a little bit larger than (or equal to) my size?
It is usually easier to make a bike that is a bit small for you fit than a bike that is too big. I'd ride them both but the M/19 will most likely be the best for you.
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Old 04-22-09, 12:58 PM   #5
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Okay thanks, good to know.

Do you think I should let them assemble the bike for me, or assemble it myself? I've never done that, but I'd love to try it to know more about the bike. Will it be impossible for a newbie like me?
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Old 04-22-09, 01:08 PM   #6
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Okay thanks, good to know.

Do you think I should let them assemble the bike for me, or assemble it myself? I've never done that, but I'd love to try it to know more about the bike. Will it be impossible for a newbie like me?
Installing the headset, crank and many other items will require special tools. I would recieve the bike assembled.

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Old 04-22-09, 01:18 PM   #7
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Installing the headset, crank and many other items will require special tools. I would recieve the bike assembled.
And here I thought that I had all the tools necessary. Thanks for letting me know. Out of curiosity, do you know which tools are required?
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Old 04-22-09, 01:25 PM   #8
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Ask around there might be a bicycling club. They would be very helpfull. Without a LBS how are you going to maintain it? If you see someone on a bike, ask them. If you are not ukranian, try buying a guide book that suggests bicycle rentals.
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Old 04-22-09, 01:52 PM   #9
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Ask around there might be a bicycling club. They would be very helpfull. Without a LBS how are you going to maintain it? If you see someone on a bike, ask them. If you are not ukranian, try buying a guide book that suggests bicycle rentals.
Good idea, I didn't think about a club. Thanks!

I was hoping to learn to maintain it myself, with the help of friends+Internet (this forum and sites like Sheldon Brown's). I'm a control freak, and tend to do everything myself. But if I realize in the future that it's too difficult, I'm sure I'll be able to find professionals.

Thank you for the help everyone! I think I'll order the Cypress tonight, and maybe tomorrow it'll be here. I'll post some pics and let you know the size/fit just for future reference.

Now it's helmet time. I hope I'll be able to find one for my 63 cm / 25 inch head.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:20 PM   #10
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Wrenching on a bike isn't too hard. Having the right tools for the job and reading up on what you are going to do BEFORE tearing into something the first time will allow you to do pretty much everything. The specialty tools aren't too expensive and I just buy what I need for the job I plan to do. Over the course of a year and a half, I've put together a pretty good cycling tool kit. Park Tools web site is another good site for mechanical information.
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Old 04-22-09, 06:50 PM   #11
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Thanks, I'll bookmark that site. And I'll definitely be more prepared for the next bike. But now I hope the bike will be delivered tomorrow, so I definitely don't have the time to study. And as I understood, I don't have the right tools for it.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:20 PM   #12
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Okay thanks, good to know.

Do you think I should let them assemble the bike for me, or assemble it myself? I've never done that, but I'd love to try it to know more about the bike. Will it be impossible for a newbie like me?
Most bike manufacturers will state right on the box that the bike must be assembled by the shop. The cost of assembly should be included in the cost of the bike. Making sure it is properly set up and adjusted is a good idea.
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Old 04-22-09, 10:12 PM   #13
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Where in the Ukraine are you? If you're in Kiev, for example, this link may be very helpful.:

http://www.ukrainebicycletours.com/P...%20Outline.htm
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Old 04-22-09, 11:07 PM   #14
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I am just a shy of 6' and I have a 19" Cypress, I think a 21" would be too big for me. I think you'd be much better off with 19".
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Old 04-23-09, 08:49 AM   #15
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Specialized, older model

Pawn shop specials, or garage sale darlings. I had a Specialized Hardrock hard tail from the late 90s that I put some semi slicks on and a rack bag and some better grips. Smooth, fast, agile, and cheap! I paid 125 for the bike and about 100 in extra stuff and lights. Craigslist is your friend.
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Old 04-24-09, 01:28 AM   #16
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Most bike manufacturers will state right on the box that the bike must be assembled by the shop. The cost of assembly should be included in the cost of the bike. Making sure it is properly set up and adjusted is a good idea.
The bike was delivered assembled yesterday (Cypress M/19" btw) and I was told I get a free tune up in the next 30 days. I was pleasantly surprised!

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Where in the Ukraine are you? If you're in Kiev, for example, this link may be very helpful.:

http://www.ukrainebicycletours.com/P...%20Outline.htm
Thanks Tom, I wish I could go on a tour though. I have a 3-year old daughter and my son will be born in June. What I need is just a peaceful place to ride the bike. I will be posting on local forums and will ask about this. Are there any world cycling maps maybe, where I can find such a place?

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I am just a shy of 6' and I have a 19" Cypress, I think a 21" would be too big for me. I think you'd be much better off with 19".
I got the 19" and I'm glad I did. It's just the right size. I'll post some pics soon.

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Pawn shop specials, or garage sale darlings. I had a Specialized Hardrock hard tail from the late 90s that I put some semi slicks on and a rack bag and some better grips. Smooth, fast, agile, and cheap! I paid 125 for the bike and about 100 in extra stuff and lights. Craigslist is your friend.
Craigslist is not my friend, he's just a foreigner to me. I live in Ukraine, so only Google is my friend.
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Old 04-24-09, 08:56 AM   #17
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The bike was delivered assembled yesterday...

I got the 19" and I'm glad I did. It's just the right size. I'll post some pics soon.

Great news, Enjoy!
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Old 04-26-09, 08:50 PM   #18
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im almost same exact size / weight as you. i got a 2009 Jamis Coda - Ran me about $400
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Old 04-27-09, 12:40 PM   #19
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Great news, Enjoy!
Thanks!

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im almost same exact size / weight as you. i got a 2009 Jamis Coda - Ran me about $400
I've already bought the Cypress, and I loved it on the first ride. But...

I went on that first ride with my brother-in-law to a store where he wanted to buy some stuff. The round trip distance was a little over 12 km/7.5 miles. It took us several hours to come back though, because he had a flat and had no patch kits, only a pump. Of course, I didn't have anything with me, that being my first ride in a lot of years.

Then several hours after I came back home, I felt that the pain I was feeling in my buttocks was coming from my coccyx/tailbone. Now, two days later, the pain is still there and I'm starting to think that maybe I fractured the coccyx or bruised it. And of course I can't ride my bike, it's too painful.

The thing is, I didn't sit on my tailbone and the ride wasn't rough. So how did this happen?!
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Old 04-27-09, 02:00 PM   #20
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The thing is, I didn't sit on my tailbone and the ride wasn't rough. So how did this happen?!

It's most likly a combination of three things.

A: First ride in many years, your "sit bones" are breaking in. Only time in the saddle will help this, don't force yourself to ride the bike when you are in pain. This has to be enjoyable if you are going to stick with it.

B: You saddle is a tad too high. Try lowering it by a half inch for your next ride. If you ride with someone have them ride directly behind you for a bit. Ask them to watch your hips to make sure they are not rocking back and forth as you pedal. The only time my tailbone gave me grief from riding was when I had been adjusting my saddle height. No worries and certainly no reason to go to the Emergency Room unless there is bruising and swelling.

C: Your foot is too far forward and your pedaling with your heel. Remedy this with clipless pedals/shoes, toe straps, or by moving your foot so that the center of the spindal goes across the pads of your feet (the cushon right behind your toes.

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Old 04-28-09, 02:34 AM   #21
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B: You saddle is a tad too high. Try lowering it by a half inch for your next ride. If you ride with someone have them ride directly behind you for a bit. Ask them to watch your hips to make sure they are not rocking back and forth as you pedal. The only time my tailbone gave me grief from riding was when I had been adjusting my saddle height. No worries and certainly no reason to go to the Emergency Room unless there is bruising and swelling.
Thanks for the reply, bautieri.

I'll lower the saddle for my next ride, which I hope will be soon (not months from now)! I followed the instructions in the Giant owner's manual to set the saddle height.
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Old 04-28-09, 05:25 AM   #22
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Thanks for the reply, bautieri.

I'll lower the saddle for my next ride, which I hope will be soon (not months from now)! I followed the instructions in the Giant owner's manual to set the saddle height.

No problem Glottis , I hope it works out for you. The owners manual will get you in the ballpark but it is up to you to adjust the bike so that is perfect for you. As time goes on you might have a riding buddy who is the same heighth as you but if you try to ride his/her bike it won't be even close for you.

As I recall it took the better part of a week for the pain to go away the time I expirienced the sore tail bone.
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Old 05-13-09, 03:00 PM   #23
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As I recall it took the better part of a week for the pain to go away the time I expirienced the sore tail bone.
Finally, the pain is almost gone now. And a couple of days ago, while trying to get on the bike, I understood why my coccyx began to hurt! Not because I was sitting on it while riding (which is pretty hard to imagine), but because of my noob's way of getting on the saddle. I'll start riding again tomorrow, a few kilometers only, then a few kilometers more the following day...

I'll post some pics tomorrow or the day after, as promised.

Thanks everyone for the advice and the moral support!
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Old 05-13-09, 03:29 PM   #24
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Congrats on the new bike. As you ride and make small adjustments the bike will start to become comfortable for you and your ride distances will increase. I have been adjusting on my new road bike for a couple weeks and made an adjustment yesterday that made a huge difference. Simply moving my seat forward I felt a massive improvement. So give it time and do not be afraid to make changes. I try to mark things down incase I make a totally wrong adjustment I can have a place to go back too. Also by tracking your adjustments and noting how things felt you will see a trend sometimes that points to specific issues to address.

Best of luck and Happy riding!
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