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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 06-18-09, 10:53 AM   #1
stark23x
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Wanna start serious research on buying a bike in the off season

I'm planning to buy a bike during the cold New England months, mainly because that's when I'll be able to save enough to make it worth looking, but also in hopes of getting a deal on older stock before the new season. My brain is mud at this point with options and models and too many choices. SO...I was thinking maybe if I laid out what I'm looking for, some of you kindly folk could point me toward possibilities?

What I want:

1. Steel. I'm 250 now, and will remain somewhere between 190 and 220 for the next few years. Steel is smoother. And stronger. I have no idea what abuse I may give a bike as I get stronger and faster, but I know I'm never going to care about a pound or three of frame weight. I'd prefer the strength. But if someone has a good argument why I'm crazy and aluminum would be just fine, I'm all ears.

2. Some speed. I don't need a race-ready speed demon, but it would be nice if I could coax a little speed out of the bike without pushing myself to my absolute limits just to see 25MPH.

3. Quality components. I'd say somewhere in the Deore-level would be about where I want to start. Not partial to Shimano over SRAM though. And as many gears as I can get, because I have no idea where or how I will be riding in say, 18 months.

4. Places for all sorts of Fred gear. Racks, fenders, lights, what have you. Attachment points for all this stuff would be important.

5. I tend to favor distance over speed, and my goal is to ride centuries (more than likely slow ones...at least in the next couple of years). So comfort would be a consideration, although I know that is mostly a matter of fit and adjustments.

I don't know if I want a hybrid with road bars or 26" fat tires or maybe 700c wheels with flat bars...it's so freaking confounding now and I have talked myself into loving so many different bikes that if I were a rich man, I would have at least five brand new bikes right now.

Models I have liked but are all aluminum:

Trek FX 7.3
Kona Dew Drop
Jamis Ventura Comp
Marin Venezia
Marin Portofino

Oh in case it's not obvious I am partial to red. That would be a huge bonus, if the perfect bike came in red.

So...if you owned a shop and I came to you, to what would you steer me?
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Old 06-18-09, 11:00 AM   #2
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There's really no need for steel. It's fine (my road bike is steel), but this frame material thing gets really blown out of proportion on BikeForums. Aluminum and carbon and titanium and who knows what else can be made plenty strong and can be made to ride plenty supple.

That said, look at the Jamis Coda line; they seem like they meet all your requirements. If you're genuinely interested in comfort for long distances, I'd recommend drop bar touring bikes (Surly LHT, Jamis Aurora, Trek 520, etc).

In fact if you're not absolutely (for some reason) set on flat bars, consider going with drop bars if you don't already have a bike with them. Yes, plenty of people seem to prefer flats and ride thousands of miles with them, but there's a reason so many cyclists doing long distance and racing use drop bars. And, there's a reason why most people posting threads complaining about wrist pain are riding flat bars...
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Old 06-18-09, 11:19 AM   #3
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There's really no need for steel. It's fine (my road bike is steel), but this frame material thing gets really blown out of proportion on BikeForums. Aluminum and carbon and titanium and who knows what else can be made plenty strong and can be made to ride plenty supple.

That said, look at the Jamis Coda line; they seem like they meet all your requirements. If you're genuinely interested in comfort for long distances, I'd recommend drop bar touring bikes (Surly LHT, Jamis Aurora, Trek 520, etc).
I have liked the look of the Trek 520. Seems to have a lot going for it. I'd also love to see what price I could get on a 08 Jamis Coda Elite or Aurora. Good suggestions.

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In fact if you're not absolutely (for some reason) set on flat bars, consider going with drop bars if you don't already have a bike with them. Yes, plenty of people seem to prefer flats and ride thousands of miles with them, but there's a reason so many cyclists doing long distance and racing use drop bars. And, there's a reason why most people posting threads complaining about wrist pain are riding flat bars...
I am coming to that same conclusion myself. I think drops might be a smarter move for me for the long term.
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Old 06-18-09, 11:21 AM   #4
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I am coming to that same conclusion myself. I think drops might be a smarter move for me for the long term.
Smart move
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Old 06-18-09, 11:42 AM   #5
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I have liked the look of the Trek 520. Seems to have a lot going for it. I'd also love to see what price I could get on a 08 Jamis Coda Elite or Aurora. Good suggestions. .
The 520 is an excellent bike that's been produced without many changes for what, 25 years? (except for the newest one, I think they mucked with the frame geometry for '09). I owned one for a while last year and really liked it before upgrading to a recumbent.
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Old 06-18-09, 11:49 AM   #6
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REI has some bikes that might fit....

Here's a shiny red one......http://www.rei.com/product/775742

I'd get this or the Trek Portland, although, the almost 1 grand more in cost for about the same seems puzzling to me....
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Old 06-18-09, 11:52 AM   #7
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Also look at the Novara Randonee. Ugly as sin but a nice ride... I rode a 2008 and came this close to picking it up.
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Old 06-18-09, 12:24 PM   #8
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no one has bothered to ask... what does your LBS(s) carry?

also what kind of budget are you looking at?

it realy sounds like you are looking for a touring bike... on the road drop bars are nice... flat bars don't give you much in the way of hand positions... and when you are on the bike for long distances you want options...

as for steel vs alu... I prefer steel... but honestly your saddle choice makes MUCH more of a difference then your choice of material will...
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Old 06-18-09, 12:35 PM   #9
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no one has bothered to ask... what does your LBS(s) carry?

also what kind of budget are you looking at?
I can get access to Specialized, Giant, Marin, Jamis, Trek, Schwinn (the LBS level stuff), Fuji, Felt, Scott, Norco, Raleigh and Cannondale locally. Lotta LBS' within a 25 mile drive!

Price? Probably hovering around $1000. I have a lot of the extras already, so this would be pretty much for the bike and possibly a saddle swap if needed.
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Old 06-18-09, 12:58 PM   #10
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I agree that you don't have to go the steel route. Frame geometry and how it is put together is much more important than what the frame is made out of. The most important thing is how it feels and fits when you test ride them. Test ride LOTS of bikes.

If you are looking to save money, then look at bikes that did not sell like they thought they would. Every bike shop has such bikes. For instance, some people are still wary of Schwinn and Raleigh brands since they came back onto the market after a down-sizing or selling-off of the company, but the reviews from bike owners of their new bikes over the last 2-3 years has been great.

Other advice includes not falling in love with one model or paint color, and it is better to spend an extra $100-$200 to buy a bike from a bike shop with a great reputation for repair and warranty, than to buy a cheaper bike from a place with a lesser reputation. Decent bike shops around here also offer stuff like free annual tune-ups and wheel truing, and further discounts on gear and such when you go into the shop. They also won't steer you towards a bike that does not fit, or suit your needs. They are more interested in your long-term business, than making a quick sale or getting rid of bikes that nobody wants.

Good luck.


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Old 06-18-09, 04:19 PM   #11
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Steel is a good choice, Jamis have great bikes, if you dont mind Alu minium frames, Cannondale probably maker the better ones out their... look at the Cannondale touring or Synapse 7 if you want something sportier (it comes in red too...)
Try them it's the best way to figure it out, do it before the snow!!!!
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Old 06-18-09, 05:48 PM   #12
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1. Steel. Go with steel as there is no point paying extra to knock 5 lb or less off your frame when you weight 200+ wo gear.

2. Some speed. It is not like cars, most of a bike's speed has to do with the rider. What you want is a bike that is comfortable and easy to maintain. You can have different wheels for different riding conditions. Much of 'speed' is just using high pressure road tires on a true wheel.

Consider folding bikes as they are easier to transport and store.

See what's on craigs list.
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Old 06-18-09, 05:54 PM   #13
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Consider a used bike. I see mid grade or better steel bikes for sale around here for under $300, often $200 or less. Start watching Craigs List.
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Old 06-18-09, 07:00 PM   #14
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It looks like you are leaning toward touring, sport-touring, oor perhaps cyclocross type bikes Stark23x. When I was shopping for a new bike (around September 08 to December 08) I started to run into some problems: 1) some types of bikes I was looking for were sold out. 2) Some bikes in my size range were also sold out.

I would suggest you get an idea of what type of bike you may want and then go test ride as many as you can before the sizes or types become sold out. Also take notes on such things as; the type of bike ridden, where it is located, size, $$$, frame material, geometry, specs, overall feelings (comfy, smooth, fast, quick handling, etc.), or whatever else you feel is important.

I did a similar thing using an excel spreadsheet. I was able to look at my notes later and re-testride some bikes I wanted to as well as cross other bikes off my list. I could also compare the specs or geometry or whatever else pretty quickly without having to go to each manufacturers website.

My suggested bikes based on your post would be: Surly LHT or Crosscheck, Jamis Aurora, Trek 520, Bianchi Volpe, Cannondale T2, Specialized Tricross. I am not familiar with some of the other bikes or manufacturers so I won't comment on those.

Good luck Stark23x
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