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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 08-26-09, 02:01 PM   #1
avitous
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Good first bike for a BIG clydesdale?

I'm 6'5" tall, and about (cough) 400 lbs. Eons ago I used to ride and enjoyed it greatly; my last bike was a Bridgestone 400 (27" frame) I had purchased while in the USN (and substantially lighter...) in the mid-80's in San Diego; unfortunately it got stolen shortly after I was transferred to the S.F. Bay Area in '89 and I never replaced it.

What would be a wise choice for somebody my size starting out riding again? Lugged steel seems to be the strongest frame, but those don't seem to be made too much any more. I could of course go the Rivendell route, but that's a bit more than I'd want to pay for a first bike; preferred price range would be up to about $1200 or so.

No mountain bikes, I'm not interested in going off-road or in dealing with a suspension that can sag under my weight (I've heard this is a problem with the Kona Hoss for example). So it's a road bike or similar... and for frame sizes, they seem to be measured somewhat differently these days -- I even got into an argument with an arrogant putz at a bike shop in S.F. who proclaimed no manufacturer had *ever* constructed a frame larger than 60 cm (27" == 68cm... and I didn't buy a bike from his shop!). The 25" frames I've ridden in the past have been too short, resulting in insufficient leg extension, or the need for a longer seat tube.

A while back I did find a 'Caruso' 27" road bike, lugged steel, on craigslist and even bought it, but I've been afraid to ride it as it was supposedly constructed in the '70's and I fear I could crack the frame; at the very least I'd probably need to replace the wheels with something wider than the 1-1/4 in rims/tires it's currently set up with. I'd rather find something new and very heavily built, for a sense of confidence it won't be destroyed in my first few months of riding...

Thoughts?
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Old 08-26-09, 06:37 PM   #2
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I think the weakest link for you would be the wheels. I would have a set of bombproof wheels made for you; max number of spokes, thick spokes, rhynolyte rims, etc.

Regarding the bike, I think you might really like the Surly Karate Monkey. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/s...te-monkey.html Technically it's a 29er MTB, but you can change it into whatever you want it to be, and I do think that at your weight you will appreciate some wide tires. I have a Medium frame, and I'm 6'1, the x-large frame is 4" larger which is how much taller you are than me. If you don't like the look of a MTB then put some drop bars or bull horns. you can use any brakes you want, gears, single speed, or fixie - it will change with your needs.

The bike frame will be around $450 + custom wheel set $250 + customize it the way you want... you should be able to get it in your price range.
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Old 08-26-09, 07:12 PM   #3
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The Surly Long Haul Trucker and Cross Check are popular rode bikes for uberclydes. Have you look at any cyclocross bikes?
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Old 08-27-09, 03:26 PM   #4
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Redrom: After I had posted this (ahem) I read thru the Clydesdale FAQ and noted a lot of emphasis on 36-spoke wheels; I'll definitely make that a priority whatever I end up buying. Hadn't heard of the Surly line before, will need to check those out and see if I can find them locally (I'm in the S.F. Bay Area, Concord to be exact; there's a cycle shop in one of the links off the FAQ in Livermore I'll check out this weekend.) The 'Sheldon Brown' name is sure familiar though.

bamacrazy: Hadn't thought of a 'cyclocross' bike, will need to look into those.

The frame on the 27" Caruso I had picked up is lugged steel and is in excellent shape; it might actually be worth getting some really strong (36-spoke) wider rims+tires and brakes to fit and building it up myself.

Thanks for the responses!
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Old 08-27-09, 03:29 PM   #5
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Get 36S wheels and have them check every 2500 miles.
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Old 08-27-09, 05:15 PM   #6
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2nd the Long Haul Trucker, it should be ready out of the box for you (no equipment changes required except maybe the seat and adding pedals). Be sure that the shop checks and adjusts the spoke tension on the wheels & again after you've ridden a few hundred miles. Standard tires are 38mm which will give you a comfy ride. The frames are sold up to a 62cm.

You will want to take the bikes on test rides to make your decision.
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Old 08-28-09, 09:42 PM   #7
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Put a deposit on a Surly LHT today, but I'm not happy with the bike shop and may cancel this and go shopping elsewhere; found out they're trying to charge more than MSRP and their overall manner is not, shall we say, inspiring of much confidence in me. Couldn't do a test ride, and they made no effort to 'fit' me other than to just try to assure me any 62cm frame would fit me just fine.

Ahem. Perhaps back to square 1 with this, as other bike shops here in the SF Bay Area carrying Surly are a bit far.
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Old 08-28-09, 09:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by avitous View Post
Put a deposit on a Surly LHT today, but I'm not happy with the bike shop and may cancel this and go shopping elsewhere; found out they're trying to charge more than MSRP and their overall manner is not, shall we say, inspiring of much confidence in me. Couldn't do a test ride, and they made no effort to 'fit' me other than to just try to assure me any 62cm frame would fit me just fine.

Ahem. Perhaps back to square 1 with this, as other bike shops here in the SF Bay Area carrying Surly are a bit far.
$1,100 ride out is a fair price at most shops.
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Old 08-28-09, 10:07 PM   #9
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The LHT is a good choice. People poo-poo on adjustable stems, but I put one on mine because sometimes I just get bored of being too hunched over or upright. I have it decked out Riv-style with moustache handlebars and bar-end shifters, and have a nice set of Mavic rims laced to Deore hubs. I weigh around 240 and have had up to seventy pounds of gear on it. Wonderful bike, no complaints.


(In case you are looking in this thread for bike ideas, the OP said he didn't want a mountain bike, but if he had, I would have recommended the Kona Hoss.)
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Old 08-28-09, 11:17 PM   #10
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when I first got back into cycling I went with a Javelin Cyclecross bike--- that might be the way to go for you
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Old 08-28-09, 11:38 PM   #11
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I use the KHS Urban Express XXL hybrid, I haven't hit 400 lbs yet ( 16 lbs to go ) it has done me very well, I am 6'5" also. I was looking at the LHT but I didn't have the scratch at the time. Another bike I am looking at is the Giant Defy 2 http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...ad/2266/32192/
Your main concern is going to be wheels. any frame should be fine.
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Old 08-29-09, 12:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by avitous View Post
Put a deposit on a Surly LHT today, but I'm not happy with the bike shop and may cancel this and go shopping elsewhere; found out they're trying to charge more than MSRP and their overall manner is not, shall we say, inspiring of much confidence in me. Couldn't do a test ride, and they made no effort to 'fit' me other than to just try to assure me any 62cm frame would fit me just fine.

Ahem. Perhaps back to square 1 with this, as other bike shops here in the SF Bay Area carrying Surly are a bit far.
My understanding is that almost any shop can get a Surly for you. If you find a shop you like, ask them if they will order one for you. The answer will be yes. Also, there is no need to settle for a shop you don't like anywhere in the bay area. Bikes and shops abound. Shopping around will be worth your trouble. I hope you can get that deposit back.

Good luck and good riding.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:04 AM   #13
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(In case you are looking in this thread for bike ideas, the OP said he didn't want a mountain bike, but if he had, I would have recommended the Kona Hoss.)[/QUOTE]

Heh... the shop did have one of those, and it is quite a beefy machine, indeed; if I was looking for a MTB that would definitely be my choice.
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Old 08-31-09, 10:58 AM   #14
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Also, there is no need to settle for a shop you don't like anywhere in the bay area. Bikes and shops abound.

+1 Not sure where in the bay area you are, but it seems like you can't throw a rock around here without hitting a bike shop. I pass by 5 within .3 of my usual commute route.
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Old 08-31-09, 11:35 AM   #15
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I'm 6'8", 350 pounds (down from 430), and I absolutely love my 2007 Rans Stratus. Super fast, and the miles just whizz by. I'm not sure if you're amenable to the recumbent thing, but this is working great for me until I have a custom road bike frame built (more weight to lose). Have a good one!
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Old 08-31-09, 11:39 AM   #16
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I started out in that weight range and also thought steel was the best choice, but remember even strong steel bends and can crack! I cracked one myself. Of course steel *CAN* be made strong enough, but I don't know any makers who use thick enough steel to support someone as big as I was. I've had better luck with the Kona Hoss extra strong alloy frame.

I had spoke problems with the rear wheel until I found a guy who actually knew how to build them. I didn't even have to go to 36 hub, he put on a better rim and knew how to set up the spokes properly. I haven't had a single ping since, going on a year and a half.
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