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  1. #1
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    425 pounder looking for a solid bike

    OK. So, I'm more of a Bear than a Clydesdale, but oh well.

    Where do I start when looking for a biike?
    Head to an LBS and just say, "I need something that's going to support my weight"?

    From what I've read, I need a bike with wheels that have 36+ spokes, probably a reinforced seat of some kind, etc.

    I will be mostly riding on pavement or light trails (not planning on heading into the deep woods anytime soon).

    Can I start with a 'stock' Specialized Hardrock Sport or something like that? I'd like to get in and out for less than $500 for my entry level bike. Am I out of my mind?

    Is there a checklist of things that I should take with me to the LBS (36+ spokes, reinfoced seat, <insert additional requirements here>, etc)?

    Maybe I need the handlebar elevated a little so I'm more upright?

    Any help would really be appreciated!

    I'm 5'10", 425 pounds. 28" inseam.

  2. #2
    Mass Mover takingcontrol's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat. everyone on this forum has great advice but it was out of my budget, if you cant afford something like the Surry LHT then you might check this out. http://www.khsbicycles.com/06_urban_xpress_09.htm It is what I bought knowing that I will have to replace stuff as it breaks I/E rims and pedals. but most of the parts are decent and hopefully hold up. I currently weigh 516lbs and falling. good luck

  3. #3
    Bikezilla Mazama's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are on the right path. I would look for a 36-40 holed HAND-BUILT Velocity Deep-V rim on the rear with a tandem hub. 32-36 would suffice up front. I have never heard of a reinforced seat, but I would recommend a Thomson seat post. The frame of the bike will hold up. Getting a strong rear wheel is your priority and what you should spend your money on.
    14,000 miles and rolling...

  4. #4
    Senior Member RoaringMad Mac's Avatar
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    I honestly and really proud of my specialized hardrock and I started off at 400lbs It has served me well. I did however change up one thing. I changed the tires to road tires which has been giving me much better performance.

    Good luck. Just test ride some at your LBS and see what is comfortable. But you are going to want that bigger frame bike. I think so anyway.

  5. #5
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    If you go the LBS route be sure to ask what you can switch out as a part of your purchase. If you need a different stem to get your bars up for a better riding position they should do that for free.

    Likewise, ask about switching out the rear wheel if it appears to be necessary. Velocity an others are certainly great products, but a good tandem wheel will work well and probably be much more economical.

    If there is something they won't, or can't, work with you on don't worry about replacing it until it needs to be replaced. Get every mile you can out of any thing that comes stock.

  6. #6
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I've had fantastic results with my Kona Hoss. I put a better rim on it but did not increase the spoke count, and have had no pings in the past year. The key was getting the rear wheel HAND BUILT by a guy who knew his business.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  7. #7
    Senior Member moose67's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar position as you as far as size. I'm just over 6' and in the 450 range with a 29" inseam. I trolled around the forums and asked questions every chance. I tried a Hardrock but with my frame size and long torso it put me over the handle bars in an uncomfortable position. The other aspect was that it was single walled rims. At the advise of my LBS owner I looked at the Specialized Globe Carmel 3 26. It's a beefy frame with double walled wheels. I felt the most comfortable out those I had tested. The seat does have a suspension seat post and suspension front fork. I started riding a mile or so at first and to my surprise I began increasing slowly. I've found that my seat comfort has been a problem and am considering swapping out to a different one but the bike has performed great. Test out different bike and see which fits you best.
    Specialized Carmel 3 26
    'A thought that often makes me hazy, is it I or the others that are crazy?'

  8. #8
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by driussi View Post
    Can I start with a 'stock' Specialized Hardrock Sport or something like that?
    Yup. If they don't want to replace the rear with a 40h double walled mtb rim, ride whatever it comes with and bring it back to be re-tensioned and re-trued. Whenever necessary.

    I've been eyeing the Kona Africa bike lately as a possible future commuter. It's built for the rigors of heavy duty in Africa and it's a lot less than $500. Check that out as well.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  9. #9
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    Solid bike for a 425 pounder

    I started cycling at 410#s, I know what you're going through. I bought '08 Kona Smoke, it has a cromoly steel frame, 36 spokes, and I've done well with it. It's got really beefy tires that come with it that smooth out the road....it helps when you're starting out. I also bought a used early '90s Trek 800 which also has the steel frame and the spoke count, the only thing i did to the Trek mountain bike was change the tires to semi slick tires........rolls much quicker and you ride farther due to less resistance. The big thing with me was to make sure to have a RIGID FORK....no suspension forks, I think it works against us at this weight. That's my input. Good luck and RIDE LIKE THE WIND !

  10. #10
    Decrepit Member Abacus's Avatar
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    reno327 speaks the truth, and echos my own experience.

    Keep in mind that the first bike you buy probably won't be the last. The first bike will give you a good idea as to what you want in your next bike.

    You might want to have a look at my first post on these forums, and learn from my mistakes:

    So I bought a 520

    Early 90s mtbs are great for uber clydes. Strong wheels, rigid forks, low standover height and low cost. It's a shame they don't make them like that anymore.

    You want a minimum 36 spokes. These are pretty much standard on older mtbs.

    Forget suspension forks. You won't use them. They are not designed to deal with 425# of weight, and you will wind up just locking them out to stop the bottoming and/or pogo-ing. They also absorb a lot of your pedalling effort, particularly when riding up hills. That pretty much rules out modern mtbs.

    If you look at new flat bars or hybrids, you will find that most of them have disturbingly low spoke counts. I've seen a few with 24 spokes up front and 20 on the back. That is not what you want.

    Like I say in the other thread, The old mtb fitted road slicks to it was a great start for me. It got me back into cycling and I still ride it.

    The first rear wheel only lasted a month and the hub was toast, so I bought an "off the peg" replacement for AU$100 (US$70). That basically doubled the cost of the bike, but it was still cheap. So far the replacmenet wheel has been fine and has stayed true.

    I've since been through a couple of other bikes and refurbished the Trek 520 tourer. The 520 has proved to be the pick of the bunch, which makes sense because they are designed to carry heavy loads and handle well whilst doing so. However, tourers can be pricey. The old mtbs are a much less expensive way to dip your toe in the water.

  11. #11
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    You can also get heavy duty wheels that are much wider and thicker than the standard 26 X 2.125 variety, with super thick 105 gauge spokes. They have normally single speed coaster hub in back tho. That would probably limit you to shorter rides under 5 miles.

    I did the "put slicks on a mountain bike" thing too, and I still ride it almost daily.

  12. #12
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Actually, if you're comfortable with it, you're better off NOT riding upright. Normally, the majority of the rider's weight is on the rear wheel, so anything you can do to reduce that is good for the rear wheel.

    Get wide tires and overinflate them. Not sure how much pressure to recommend.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  13. #13
    Duck and Cover
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    After looking at mtb and others, the only one I can say sounds something like the older mtbs people are talking about seems to be the Trek Navigator 1.0 its a comfort bike and sits upright. Has a 36 spoke stock, and solid fork with wider tires. It reminds me a lot of my old Trek 820 from about 10 years ago or so. Wish I had never sold that bike. I hope to like the FX as much in time. The only thing I would try to find is a bike shop that will do tune ups etc for free on the bike. So if something does go wrong they will take care of it.
    2009 Trek 7.2 FX

  14. #14
    Member eightlab's Avatar
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    Awesome info folks. I'm just starting this game too... have found your input amazing.

    I'll be checking back. For more, but hope to buy by the end of this month!

    Cheers.

  15. #15
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    Thanks Everyone!

    I want to take the time to thank everyone, along with the individuals who have responded directly to me.
    I have consolidated all of your input and am heading to an LBS tomorrow to start the testing / purchasing process.

  16. #16
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Let us know how it works out!
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
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  17. #17
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    +1 on the Specialized Hardrock. Started at 5'10 and 396 LBS. Bike is holding up well on pavement and light trails after nearly a year. Good luck!

  18. #18
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    I went to an LBS today. Talked to a couple of guys about what I needed.
    I was steered toward the TREK Navigator. The TREK Navigator 3 ($519) already has double-walled rims, and both guys thought that would do the trick.

    I like the more upright position of the Navigator vs. the Specialized Hardrock, but I'm going to head back this weekend and test them both.

    Am I going to notice the 'heaviness' of the Navigator that everyone seems to write about (slowing it down)? What else should I be focusing on when I run through the test rides?

    Thanks again everyone. Your assistance has been invaluable.

  19. #19
    Fat man on a little bike. Big Fat Paulie's Avatar
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    Heavy Duty Cycles

    I am not far behind you in the weight department. I have been on the same elusive search for a bicycle to support my considerable girth. I haven't found one yet but I have narrowed my search down to a steel frame bike due to strength.

    Strength, I work in the steel industry and nothing beats Steel. Aluminum isn't bad, but steel is much better. The trade off is weight, but the key isn't what the bike weighs, it is what we weigh. So I am going for a steel frame. Aluminum has about a third the strength of steel, if my memory serves me correct. I will go for the alumdidum( as I call it) and other lightweight material once the poundage is gone but for my first fatman's bike I will use tried and trusty steel. It needs more maintenance to keep it rust free but other then that.

  20. #20
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    driussi, I wouldn't worry about the slowness. It's small compared to the extra "cargo" you're pulling. The more cargo you have, the less the bike matters.

    Be sure to keep your tires inflated well above the recommended pressure, especially the rear tire, which bears most of the weight. Definitely put more in the rear than in the front.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  21. #21
    Decrepit Member Abacus's Avatar
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    This fellow, who I think is a member of these forums, built a very impressive Clyde-carrier based on a Fuji Touring frame.

    CrazyGuyOnaBike

    It's worth a look.

  22. #22
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Very sensible and intelligent. Thanks for pointing that post out. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Those wheels would be very expensive, though. For a big guy starting out, I think a mountain bike with 36-spoke wheels and wide tires will be fine and a LOT less expensive.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  23. #23
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fat Paulie View Post
    I am not far behind you in the weight department. I have been on the same elusive search for a bicycle to support my considerable girth. I haven't found one yet but I have narrowed my search down to a steel frame bike due to strength.

    Strength, I work in the steel industry and nothing beats Steel. Aluminum isn't bad, but steel is much better. The trade off is weight, but the key isn't what the bike weighs, it is what we weigh. So I am going for a steel frame. Aluminum has about a third the strength of steel, if my memory serves me correct. I will go for the alumdidum( as I call it) and other lightweight material once the poundage is gone but for my first fatman's bike I will use tried and trusty steel. It needs more maintenance to keep it rust free but other then that.
    The difference between the weight of a carbon fibre reinforced plastic frame and a chromium-molibedenum alloyed steel frame is a lot less then most people think. Rocky Mountain (at keast did in 2007) lists weights for frames, IIRC it was a 56cm, their high zoot plastic road frame was 2 lbs, their steel touring frame 4 lbs. Their AL road frame split the difference at 3....

    If you plan on road riding then consider a steel touring bike, they tend to run heavier duty components, have the shop set it up with the bars higher then the saddle, this will give a nice comfortable ride, typically has lower gearing then a racing bike.

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