I'm looking to buy my first bike since I trashed my old teenage 10-speed in the early 90s. The difference between then and now is then I was 225 lbs and in excelling shape, now I'm 380 and I'm worried about turning a bike into a piece of origami artwork. To start, till I drop a good bit of weight I will just be doing road riding. I understand from reading this forum and its archives that I will have to baby the bike until I drop some weight.
After a few days of researching bikes for huge people like myself I went to two LBS tonight to ask some questions and see what they had to say. I explained at both places I'm working on a budget of about $400.
First place I went to carried Specialized and the Hardrock was a bike I heard was a decent start for people my size. I wasn't impressed with the people there because they didn't really answer my questions about concerns with wheel strength, seat strength, etc. The two guys I talked to seemed to be clueless. Their solution was to try to move me to a touring bike with the thought that when I did lose the weight and wanted to ride trails, I could just buy a new bike!
The second shop is actually co-owned by a guy who works where I do, though I don't know him, I know who he is. His shop carries Scott, Fuji, and Cannondale and he is trying to set me up with a 2010 Cannondale F8 or F9. He recommends the F8 because of the disc breaks. He said I should buy the bike and ride it till things start to break then replace with better parts. He said he can build me bomb proof wheels, but from what I've ready, custom built wheels are NOT cheap. So, I may be dumping $400-500 into a bike only to origami the wheels and then dump another $400 - 600 for custom wheels. This is not an option really due to financial reason. The other issue I've read about that could cause me problems are the front suspensions on these bikes are NOT made for someone my size.
When I asked about the weight limit on the Cannondale bikes he said there is none. It seems I've confirmed that though some web searches. However, if I start shredding wheels and seatposts, etc, will they be covered under the warranty?
To sum it up, I have a problem if I have to drop $400-$500 on a bike then in a month drop another $400+ on new parts. Am I off base, or am I just maybe looking at the wrong thing for weightloss / recreation?
I've been looking for used locally and also on ebay, specifically, I've been trying to find a used Kona Hoss around the $350-$400 mark but I've turned up nothing so far.
Thank you in advance for any responses.