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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 06-03-09, 09:16 PM   #1
Jay Beast
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Fisher Wahoo vs Trek 4300 vs trek 820 for 340# clyde?

I've been lurking around the boards for a while, but I'm brand new to posting.

Prior to moving to relatively flat Florida, I used to be an avid mountain urban commuter biker (and a lot thinner). I gave up mountain biking almost 6 years ago when I left Atlanta for flat, tourist central Orlando. You have to be nearly insane to bike on tourist filled roads near Disney (I live less than 5 miles from Epcot's parking lot, and all nearby roads are 6 lanes minimum with a median) and at the time, I didn't really know of any areas with decent trails nearby. Since then I have put on a not so modest 150#!!!

Since then I have learned of plenty of places with bike friendly trails nearby. Some are paved, and some are dirt. None are too crazy to call true mountain trails, but they are a little much out of my comfort level for a hybrid. Since its Florida, grades aren't too crazy either.

I've been researching bikes recently and I'm needing some advice. My favorite bike was a Trek 800 and it was practically indestructible until it met its match when I was hit by a bus years ago (long story). Because of this, I was convinced that getting a Trek 820 with some mods soon afterwards (Thompson post, Brooks saddle, better platform pedals, and some better rims not sure of which ones yet) would be the bike for me. I was hoping for $400 for the initial purchase, and hopefully another 300 or 400 over the next 4 months or so for the upgrades. This bike will be strictly for recreation & exercise, so it will most likely not see any serious riding on roads, however, due to my relatively unusual schedule I will be able to ride almost every day.

Today was visit #1 to my LBS (ok, not so local as I live in tourist-town but the closest I could find) to see the 820 a little more in detail. The LBS believes the drive components will not survive the everyday use of my size and will be a little fidgety under my weight. He believes a Trek 4300 or a Gary Fisher Wahoo would suit my needs due to the upgraded components and double walled rims on both.

The weight of the bike really isn't an issue provided I can carry it upstairs and across the apartment to the patio outside for storage, so either of these will be fine, although I will admit the Wahoo is noticably lighter than the 820. I was really hoping to stay under $400 to get rolling for the initial purchase, but if buying an upgraded bike now will save me from having to upgrade a few components later I'm willing to do it. I tried asking about the difference between the Wahoo and the 4300, but the LBS states they're identical outside of the geometry. The LBS did not have a 4300 in stock that came anywhere near fitting my height so I'm not sure what to compare it to.

My questions are:
1. Will buying the more expensive 4300 or Wahoo save me money from having to upgrade components in the near future (within 6 months) that will break due to my size? Are the other upgrades worth the money? Remember weight for the most part isn't a concern. What are the other bikes weak links which will need to be replaced in the near future due to my weight? If costs will wash in the end, is there one bike which stands out performance more than the others, other than fit issues?
2. Frame durability issues? I have read a lot about steel vs. aluminum and the jury seems out as to which one is better. I know given all else equal steel is stronger, but consider it in terms of the bikes' configurations. If one is better for dampening bumps and giving a smoother ride without suddenly breaking that would be a huge plus. If my size comes into play with this question, I'm 6'4". In the long run, I would ideally like to keep the frame and upgrade all the components as they eventually wear out and I lose weight.
3. Forks. Yes I'm heavy and these things aren't made for my weight. However, does one stock fork seem to fare better than others? Suspension forks were a very new thing the last time I bought a bike and I've never had one. I can't seem to find an bike without one so I guess I should consider this.

I know this is a long post and I apologize for being a bit wordy, but I appreciate any words of wisdom anyone might have.
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Old 06-04-09, 05:44 AM   #2
bautieri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Beast View Post
My questions are:
1. Will buying the more expensive 4300 or Wahoo save me money from having to upgrade components in the near future (within 6 months) that will break due to my size? Are the other upgrades worth the money? Remember weight for the most part isn't a concern. What are the other bikes weak links which will need to be replaced in the near future due to my weight? If costs will wash in the end, is there one bike which stands out performance more than the others, other than fit issues?
2. Frame durability issues? I have read a lot about steel vs. aluminum and the jury seems out as to which one is better. I know given all else equal steel is stronger, but consider it in terms of the bikes' configurations. If one is better for dampening bumps and giving a smoother ride without suddenly breaking that would be a huge plus. If my size comes into play with this question, I'm 6'4". In the long run, I would ideally like to keep the frame and upgrade all the components as they eventually wear out and I lose weight.
3. Forks. Yes I'm heavy and these things aren't made for my weight. However, does one stock fork seem to fare better than others? Suspension forks were a very new thing the last time I bought a bike and I've never had one. I can't seem to find an bike without one so I guess I should consider this.

I know this is a long post and I apologize for being a bit wordy, but I appreciate any words of wisdom anyone might have.
Hello Jay and Welcome to the forums:

1: Buying the most expensive bicycle you can afford up front will save you a bunch of money in upgrades later. Maybe not in six months, but in a year or so when you get tired of the 820 and try to upgrade it. You'll sink a ton of money into it with upgrades to the fork, wheels and drive train and would probably end up with a bike that is only marginally better (if at all) than the stock 4300 or Wahoo. What you will end up with is a very expensive cheap bike. Ask me about my $600 Raleigh Mojave 2.0 (MSRP was $260) and I'll tell you all about the issues with upgrading an inexpensive bicycle. The weak part on any bicycle for a larger rider is going to be the wheels. Because the 820 comes with single walled rims it is instantly out in my opinion. Never mind the garbage fork and less than stellar drive train. The second weak point on a bicycle is going to be the bottom bracket and the crank set. Big guys can generate a very impressive amount of torque, it's because our legs have to carry us and our extra weight around everywhere so it would be like a 150lb fellow walking around with a 100lb ruck sack every waking moment of his life. Anyways, the bottom bracket will take the majority of the abuse followed by the crank set. So now that you are deciding between the 4300 and the Wahoo I would humbly suggest a test ride to see which one feels better to you. If they feel the same then pick the one with the purdy paint job. I vote Wahoo.

2: Steel is a better frame material choice as you have pointed out already. However there is nothing wrong with an aluminum frame and you are nowhere near the weight limit of an aluminum frame. With that said I wouldn't bother upgrading any of these bikes to much. Pick one, then ride it into the ground replacing items only as they break. After a year you will have a much better idea what type of cycling appeals to you. You might find that you only ever really ride on the road or paved MUPs, get a road bike or a preformance hybrid. You might find that you want to ride across the state/country/world, go buy a steel touring bike. You might also find that you only ride trails and you mountain biking, so go buy a sweet Trek Fuel decked out with Fox Vanilla. Your first bike is like your first girl/boy friend. Fun to ride around with for awhile but best to ditch and start over once you figure out what you really like. For further clarification see the case of "Square Peg V. Round Hole".

3: Forks are going to be a wash. Neither are overly impressive. When you test ride them crank the preload up so the fork is stiffer and give it a go. See which one feels best to you. Also, if you have never rode a bike with a front fork be careful the first time to grab a handfull of brake levers. Modern V brakes are very powerful. The combo of powerful brakes and the front end bobing (like your car does when you slam it's brakes) due to the suspension is a likly way to find yourself munching gravel.
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Old 06-04-09, 07:04 AM   #3
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Good advise above. If you spend more money up front on the bike you will think less about upgrading components and enjoy riding more. If you have a cheap bike you might have recurring problems that will make you wish you had not gone with the cheap bike. Upgrading is fun but upgrading before you can afford it due to necessity is not fun. Get the bike you can afford and ride it till the wheels fall off.
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Old 06-04-09, 07:34 AM   #4
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I was going to reply, but bau - you really, really hit this one on the head. I too have an upgraded cheap bike (my Hardrock Sport) which I love, but riding it today after a week of riding my Trucker, I could definitely feel a difference. I didn't want to wear cycling clothing on the way to work, namely clipless shoes/pedals and man - it was night and day.

So I'm going to back Bau here - buy the most expensive bike that you can afford and smile doing it. Lots of smiles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
Hello Jay and Welcome to the forums:

1: Buying the most expensive bicycle you can afford up front will save you a bunch of money in upgrades later. Maybe not in six months, but in a year or so when you get tired of the 820 and try to upgrade it. You'll sink a ton of money into it with upgrades to the fork, wheels and drive train and would probably end up with a bike that is only marginally better (if at all) than the stock 4300 or Wahoo. What you will end up with is a very expensive cheap bike. Ask me about my $600 Raleigh Mojave 2.0 (MSRP was $260) and I'll tell you all about the issues with upgrading an inexpensive bicycle. The weak part on any bicycle for a larger rider is going to be the wheels. Because the 820 comes with single walled rims it is instantly out in my opinion. Never mind the garbage fork and less than stellar drive train. The second weak point on a bicycle is going to be the bottom bracket and the crank set. Big guys can generate a very impressive amount of torque, it's because our legs have to carry us and our extra weight around everywhere so it would be like a 150lb fellow walking around with a 100lb ruck sack every waking moment of his life. Anyways, the bottom bracket will take the majority of the abuse followed by the crank set. So now that you are deciding between the 4300 and the Wahoo I would humbly suggest a test ride to see which one feels better to you. If they feel the same then pick the one with the purdy paint job. I vote Wahoo.

2: Steel is a better frame material choice as you have pointed out already. However there is nothing wrong with an aluminum frame and you are nowhere near the weight limit of an aluminum frame. With that said I wouldn't bother upgrading any of these bikes to much. Pick one, then ride it into the ground replacing items only as they break. After a year you will have a much better idea what type of cycling appeals to you. You might find that you only ever really ride on the road or paved MUPs, get a road bike or a preformance hybrid. You might find that you want to ride across the state/country/world, go buy a steel touring bike. You might also find that you only ride trails and you mountain biking, so go buy a sweet Trek Fuel decked out with Fox Vanilla. Your first bike is like your first girl/boy friend. Fun to ride around with for awhile but best to ditch and start over once you figure out what you really like. For further clarification see the case of "Square Peg V. Round Hole".

3: Forks are going to be a wash. Neither are overly impressive. When you test ride them crank the preload up so the fork is stiffer and give it a go. See which one feels best to you. Also, if you have never rode a bike with a front fork be careful the first time to grab a handfull of brake levers. Modern V brakes are very powerful. The combo of powerful brakes and the front end bobing (like your car does when you slam it's brakes) due to the suspension is a likly way to find yourself munching gravel.
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Old 06-04-09, 07:50 AM   #5
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+1 on the advise from bau.
Welcome to the forum and have fun on your new bike!
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Old 06-11-09, 06:19 PM   #6
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Trek vs.

Hi,

After reading your post, why dont you look try and find a mint used Trek 800 Antelope ?

Just curious...Newer isnt always better, plus the $ you save could get you all the cool upgrades
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Old 06-12-09, 12:13 PM   #7
wrk101
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Another alternate view, you can find good vintage rigid frame mountain bikes for around $100 to $150, sometimes less. I bought my 1992 Trek 950 for $75. If I get tired of it, I can surely sell it for at least that amount. I have put about $40 into upgrades on it (I do my own work, thats part of the fun!!)

I have seen a lot of good steel frame mountain bikes out there..

One neat thing about buying used, if you buy right, when you want to upgrade, just buy a better bike (used of course), and sell your current one.

Go to the vintage Trek site, and compare components of a higher end vintage bike like the 950 versus the new stuff. I think you will be pleased with the difference.

My 950 in street form:



Another pic in trail form (Kenda Kross tires), from my I & M canal ride last year:







Last edited by wrk101; 06-12-09 at 12:32 PM. Reason: pic
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