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  1. #1
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    Looking for an entry level bike and have some concerns.

    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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member FlatSix911's Avatar
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    Based on your specific requirements ... take on look on line for the best value

    2010 Windsor Cliff 4700 $349.95
    Shimano LX 24Speed, Front Suspension, Disc Brakes +Rockshox Fork +WTB Tires, 36 Spokes Stainless Steel

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cliff4700.htm

    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
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  3. #3
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    I've also found this:

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...st/5690/36600/



    There is also an LBS that carries Giant locally. I'll head over there tomorrow morning and talk to them. I found a forum post through google where a 400+ lb guy was riding one of these for a month with no issues.

  4. #4
    Senior Member FlatSix911's Avatar
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    Compare the specs ... easy choice - go with the Windsor

    Giant

    • frame CroMo Steel
    • fork CroMo
    • handlebar High-Tensile Steel Mid Rise
    • stem Quill, 40 Degree Rise
    • seatpost Alloy Suspension, 29.2
    • saddle Giant Comfort Saddle
    • pedals Nylon/Kraton Comfort Platform
    • shifters SRAM MRX, Twist
    • front derailleur Shimano M191
    • rear derailleur Shimano Tourney MegaRange
    • brakes Alloy Direct-Pull
    • brake levers Alloy
    • cassette Shimano TZ37 14/34, 7-speed
    • chain KMC Z51
    • cranks Alloy 3-Piece, 28/38/48
    • bb Cartridge
    • rims Alloy
    • hubs Alloy, 36h w/ QR
    • spokes Stainless Steel
    • tires Kenda 26x1.95 Multi-Surface

    Windsor Cliff

    • Frame 6061 Double Butted Aluminum Trail Tuned Geometry with replaceable rear derailleur hanger and Double Diamond profile Aluminum downtube with reinforced downtube gusset.
    • Fork RockShox Dart 1 with adjustable preload (Disc Brake post mounts)
    • Crankset TruVativ 5D Aluminum Triple 22/32/42
    • Bottom Bracket Sealed Cartridge
    • Pedals ATB Beartrap Al/Composite
    • Front Derailleur Shimano Alivio TopPull
    • Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore LX
    • Shifters Shimano Alivio 8 Speed Trigger shift Pods (24 speeds total) with Optical Gear Display
    • Cassette/Freewheel 12-28t 8 Speed
    • Chain Z9000 Super Narrow
    • Hubs Gravity Disc Aluminum (black finish) 36 spoke
    • Spokes 36 Stainless Steel 14 gauge Black
    • Rims Alex DP17 Disc Specific Double Wall 6061T6 Aluminum Black Anodized
    • (Some rims have no decals (no choice))
    • Tires WTB Velociraptor Blackwall 26 x 2.10
    • Brakes Tektro IO Mechanical Disc Brakes with 160mm rotors
    • Brake Levers Tektro for Disc Brake
    • Headset Integrated 1 1/8 Ahead Sealed
    • Handlebar Windsor Comp Aluminum Riser
    • Stem Windsor Comp Threadless Aluminum
    • Tape/Grip WTB Dual Compound
    • Saddle WTB Speed V
    • Seat Post Windsor Aluminum Micro-Adjust
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
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  5. #5
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    Thank you for the reply, but I really don't know much about the specs. I'm a newbie. From reading though, I'm leery of a front suspension for someone of my size, which is why I was looking at the rigid fork on the Sedona ST. Until I drop about 100lbs whatever bike I get will see nothing but road miles.

  6. #6
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    Even at your weight, as long as you are riding smoothly on paved roads, a suspension fork should not collapse unless you take to bunny hopping off curbs or it is set improperly. I myself would find it annoying as the suspension sucks up energy I'd rather be going to my pedals rather than being dissipated into the pavement. I would be more concerned with wheel strength, as the frame of any decent hybrid or mountain bike will be able to support you provided you don't abuse it
    At the budget you are looking at, not much has an absolute weight limit, so if things start breaking, then they should be covered by warranty, but I would ask first before buying just to make sure. A 36 spoke wheel is generally very strong (more spokes = more strength). Cycling is a sport that favors the light and not so tall, so when you fall outside of that, it can be problematic to find the right equipment in your budget that works for your needs. Cycling also is a hobby with a pricey front-loaded cost because you have to buy a bike, buy necessary clothing and accessories for the bike, tools for basic maintenance of the bike, and if you plan to start going longer distances, equipment to fix a flat and such.

  7. #7
    RatedZ
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    What type of riding do you plan on doing once you lose weight? If you're going to do mild mountain biking or mixed riding, you may want to consider a hardtail mountain bike, and then just put street tires on it.

    In the $400-$500 range...

    Trek 3900 Disc
    Giant Rincon
    Specialized Hard Rock
    GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc
    Cannondale F8
    Fuji Nevada 2.0
    Jamis Trail X3

  8. #8
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    When I lose the weight I'd like to do light trail riding. Maybe some riding through the woods around my parents house. But probably mostly still roads. I don't think I'll ever do much true mountain biking, but you never know. I will try it, and maybe I will catch the bug.

    I was going to go look at some Giants and Treks today but was tied up at a relatives setting up a wireless network and moving some files around. I wasn't able to get over to the LBS.

  9. #9
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szerek View Post
    When I lose the weight I'd like to do light trail riding. Maybe some riding through the woods around my parents house. But probably mostly still roads. I don't think I'll ever do much true mountain biking, but you never know. I will try it, and maybe I will catch the bug.

    I was going to go look at some Giants and Treks today but was tied up at a relatives setting up a wireless network and moving some files around. I wasn't able to get over to the LBS.
    If that's all you plan on doing is running some light trails, then you can very easily get away with purchasing a bike in the $400-$500 range that will last you a while, but if you plan on doing anything but "mild" trail riding and you're going to wish you spent a little bit more.

    Here's a bit of advice, or a suggestion; whatever you wanna call it. The next level up of Giant bikes have a different frame, and of course, better components. With Cannondale, the frame on an F5 is different from that of an F7, and again, the components on the F5 are better. For the price-range you're looking at, this is what you're going to run into under most circumstances.

    Now, I've been accused of this by another member, basically for being a "GT Fanboy," but here's my argument; ALL of the GT Avalanche models use the same exact frame, regardless if it's the top-of-the-line or bottom-of-the-line. With GT, the only differences are the levels of components. I don't want to tell you to go get a GT, because everybody has different preferences in bikes, but IMO, you can't go wrong with the same frame throughout a line. Aside from owning a GT back in the 80s, this is one of the main reasons we selected an Avalanche 3.0 Disc for my wife; she was getting the same great frame that I got on my Avalanche 1.0 Disc. The best part about it is that through Performance Bike, if you have one near you, you can get one on sale for under $400, and they retail for $550.

  10. #10
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Hello

    6' 0" and 344LBS here. Multiple hours of reading if you're bored about me, my research, my new knee, etc...

    But - the part where I went searching for a bike in the $400 buck range, wanting to use a local LBS so I could go for help and guidance,etc - led me to buy a 2010 Giant Suede DX.

    It is a "pedal-forward" comfort bike with 26" wheels - stronger than 700CC of the same quality, 21 gears - and the lowest is like touring grade low (great for fat out of shape guys. Giant will not void warrenty for weight, PERIOD. For one year, anything (wheels too) are 100% covered. Of course, the quality of the LBS plays a great role as well! Mine has been in the same location for 20+ years, the Owner is the guy putting the bikes together, and is a year-round rider.

    I was 378LBS when I first went to him. The "pedal-forward" design allows a more upright riding posture, opens up the chest area more, and is a bit easier on the knees. I am happy with my choice, and would choose the same again. Yes, if you get to the point of doing 60-100 mile rides, it'll be time for an *upgrade* - which is part of my plan.

    Whatever you choose - remember, buy it for the rider you are today, not the rider you *might* later become! And, getting a Bike that makes you want to get on it all the time helps greatly!

    A comfort style bike, is not the fastest, lightest ... it's simply to give you a COMFORTable ride. Dunno bout you, but during my test rides, there was simply no way in hell I could get on a *real* "road bike".

    Food for thought...
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  11. #11
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    It's pretty simple, If you spend $400 on a bike... you're going to get a $400 bike. Which means, it won't have the best components, it won't have the best wheels, you can't expect it to be "bombproof" because the materials used and the quality of the workmanship are not going to be even mediocre. You get what you pay for. However, if you can absolutely only commit $400 to a bicycle, then get one just to get riding but, don't expect it to be as durable, and perform like a $2000 touring bike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szerek View Post
    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.

    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?

    Thank you in advance for any responses.
    The words "dump" and "drop" don't really reflect well on your "commitment" to cycling and weight loss. When I "dump" or "drop" money, I look at it as "wasting" it or making an extremely poor financial decision. Don't fool yourself, if you really want to commit to losing weight through cycling (which is one of the most enjoyable and most comfortable ways for large people to lose weight) it is going to be an "investment." An investment in yourself and in your health. It will be ongoing. It's not going be $400... then you're done. If it turns out that way, it means that you bought a $400 bike, rode it a few times, and then it just sits in your garage.

    If you are really committed to losing weight, just realize that "dropping" that $400 is the easy part of the journey.

  13. #13
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    Look at non-suspension mountain bikes or a hardtail mountain bike. Get a bike that has at least 32 spokes in the rear, but preferably 36. Your problem will be in the wheels, not the frames. Mtb wheels are usually 26" in diameter at the rim and stronger and wider than 700c(~29") road wheels. Get tires that have a slick tread and leave the knobbies for off road. If you end up on a hybrid with 700c wheels, get tires that are 32mm or larger in cross section.

    Find out what size you need. Fit is the most important thing in getting a bike. If it doesn't fit, it will cause pain and you will park it in the garage to collect dust.

    If you want a bargain, look at Craigslist or cruise the thrift/pawn shops in the area. The best deals around are used bikes. Stay away from the brands you find in wally world (schwinn, mongoose, next, pacific, roadmaster) as they are not as durable, reliable and properly assembled as bike shop brands.
    Last edited by MikeWinVA; 04-11-10 at 10:17 PM.
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  14. #14
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWinVA View Post
    Look at a non-suspension mountain bike or a hardtail mountain bike. Get a bike that has at least 32 spokes in the rear, but preferably 36. Your problem will be in the wheels, not the frames. Mtb wheels are usually 26" in diameter at the rim and stronger and wider than 700c(~29") road wheels. Get tires that have a slick tread and leave the knobbies for off road. If you end up on a hybrid with 700c wheels, get tires that are 32mm or larger in cross section.

    Find out what size you need. Fit is the most important thing in getting a bike. If it doesn't fit, it will cause pain and you will park it in the garage to collect dust.

    If you want a bargain, look at Craigslist or cruise the thrift/pawn shops in the area. The best deals around are used bikes. Stay away from the brands you find in wally world (schwinn, mongoose, next, pacific, roadmaster) as they are not as durable, reliable and properly assembled as bike shop brands.
    You just basically told him to stay away from every brand of bike manufactured. Some of the major players are owned by Pacific, and good ones, at that; Mongoose, GT, Cannondale, and Schwinn.

    Look at the Walli-World Specials made by Mongoose or Schwinn and you will not even find them listed anywhere on their websites. The Mongooses, GTs, and Schwinns sold in Walli-World don't come near the quality fo the real Mongooses, GTs, and Schwinns. The variants you find with their names on them are just that; names. Those bicycles are made specifically for box-stores.

  15. #15
    Senior Member whatbrakes's Avatar
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    Szerek- Congrats on making a change in your life or atleast, taking the steps to make a difference. The money spent on the bike will be well worth it. Look at it this way, how much is my health worth?

    Peter_c- Good job! The many things that changed after losing weight included the size of my seat. Not only on me but my bike. At that point I could bye a saddle as it would've fit me like a thong before hand. :O

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RatedZ View Post
    You just basically told him to stay away from every brand of bike manufactured. Some of the major players are owned by Pacific, and good ones, at that; Mongoose, GT, Cannondale, and Schwinn.

    Look at the Walli-World Specials made by Mongoose or Schwinn and you will not even find them listed anywhere on their websites. The Mongooses, GTs, and Schwinns sold in Walli-World don't come near the quality fo the real Mongooses, GTs, and Schwinns. The variants you find with their names on them are just that; names. Those bicycles are made specifically for box-stores.
    My point was, you get a bike with much better components, name brand components and a proper fit outside of the big box stores. Most of those stores stock only 1 or 2 sizes. Around here, the bike shops do not stock Mongoose, GT or Schwinn and a successful dealer I know recently dropped Cannondale due to qc and warranty coverage issues.

    In the used bike market, you don't have to differentiate between a LBS/box store Trek, Specialized, Jamis, Giant, Fuji, Kona, Felt, Scott, Raleigh or Surly because they are only sold at bike shops thus avoiding to confuse the self admitted, newbie OP. If you avoid the brands I mentioned in the previous post, no discernment or research is needed to see if it is a good or a poor quality bike. If he finds these brands new in a reputable bike shop, then this is a different story.
    Last edited by MikeWinVA; 04-11-10 at 04:13 PM.

  17. #17
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWinVA View Post
    My point was, you get a bike with much better components, name brand components and a proper fit outside of the big box stores. Most of those stores stock only 1 or 2 sizes. Around here, the bike shops do not stock Mongoose, GT or Schwinn and a successful dealer I know recently dropped Cannondale due to qc and warranty coverage issues.

    In the used bike market, you don't have to differentiate between a LBS/box store Trek, Specialized, Jamis, Giant, Fuji, Kona, Felt, Scott, Raleigh or Surly because they are only sold at bike shops thus avoiding to confuse the self admitted, newbie OP. If you avoid the brands I mentioned in the previous post, no discernment or research is needed to see if it is a good or a poor quality bike. If he finds these brands new in a reputable bike shop, then this is a different story.
    What types of quality issues are the Cannondales having? I came pretty close to buying one.

    I haven't seen many shops who are carrying Mongoose, GT, or Schwinn, but around here, Specialized and Cannondale seem to be the most common, with a very few carrying Trek and or Giant. I haven't seen any Raleigh or Fuji carriers out here.

    As for Specialized not being sold at box-stores, I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure I saw a few at Walmart the other day...not that I make a habit of shopping at Walmart in general. What can I say, I needed some cheap, white t-shirts.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWinVA View Post
    a successful dealer I know recently dropped Cannondale due to qc and warranty coverage issues.
    You will be hard pressed to find anyone that knows bicycles that wouldn't call Cannondale a quality brand. If you are concerned about warranties, you could always buy your Cannondale from an REI store that carries Cannondale. REI will cover all their products (not just Cannondale bicycles) without any issues. However, not all REI stores carry Cannondale because they are not allowed to carry the bikes if there is a LBS within 50 miles that carries Cannondale. Even though Cannondale is owned by Dorel Industries, the relationship is completely different than the relationship the owner has with their other brands (schwinn, gt, mongoose.) Cannondale has continued to operate fairly independently. That may change, but I have yet to hear Cannondale compared to a Schwinn, Mongoose, or GT in quality.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RatedZ View Post
    As for Specialized not being sold at box-stores, I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure I saw a few at Walmart the other day...not that I make a habit of shopping at Walmart in general. What can I say, I needed some cheap, white t-shirts.
    I'm sure you didn't see Specialized at Walmart. You should have picked up some eyeglasses at that Walmart?... Or, like you said, you're mistaken.

  20. #20
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    The dealers difficulties were quality control, (product execution not design issues) with Cannondale. She was having to spend too much time getting support for these issues. He felt that they were going in the wrong direction, and with orders of 150+ bikes there are bound to be a few problems with a few bikes. There wasn't a comparison to the other aforementioned brands, just that they were not as responsive to customer needs as they had been historically. So with busy season coming up they decided no Cannondales this summer, see how other dealers fare with them and if things shakeout good with the other dealers maybe some on the next buy.

  21. #21
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
    I'm sure you didn't see Specialized at Walmart. You should have picked up some eyeglasses at that Walmart?... Or, like you said, you're mistaken.
    And maybe you should have clicked the multi-quote button instead of posting twice and wasting useable bandwidth, but maybe you were just mistaken.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWinVA
    The dealers difficulties were quality control, (product execution not design issues) with Cannondale. She was having to spend too much time getting support for these issues. He felt that they were going in the wrong direction, and with orders of 150+ bikes there are bound to be a few problems with a few bikes. There wasn't a comparison to the other aforementioned brands, just that they were not as responsive to customer needs as they had been historically. So with busy season coming up they decided no Cannondales this summer, see how other dealers fare with them and if things shakeout good with the other dealers maybe some on the next buy.
    That's not really a quality issue, per se, but a customer support issue. What happens is the owner of the shop takes all the crap from the customer because issues aren't being resolved, and then whose business suffers but the store's, not Cannondale's.
    Last edited by RatedZ; 04-12-10 at 02:13 AM.

  22. #22
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szerek View Post
    ...snip...

    Thank you in advance for any responses.
    No problem Szerek, welcome to the forums

    Inevitably in just about every "looking for a new bike" thread you will see a p*ssing contest between buying online and buying locally. For what it's worth, LBS support > bike swagger. I'd really advise against buying used as well. Buying a used bicycle is a real crap shoot. Sure, there are smoking deals from time to time but you really need to know what you're looking at. Does the bike properly fit you? Is there anything glaringly wrong with it? Does the chain need replaced? How thin are those rims? Do I need new cables? What will an overhaul from the shop cost me when I discover that my mechanic tools in the garage can only do 60% or so of the work I need? So really by time you figure an overhaul plus a couple replacement parts to get the used bike where you want it to be, the price gap between new and used often becomes negligible.

    This is what I have to say: Don't spend too much time fretting over your first new bike. It will NOT be your last one if you decide to stick with cycling. Your first bike is an awful lot like your first girlfriend/boyfriend/sheep (we don't discriminate here ). You'll bring er home just as proud as a peacock, ride er all day and night, blow all your allowance on presents...then promptly dump it for one you like better.

    Don't sweat it. Go to the shop and ride all the bikes in your price range. Ride a couple from each category (mountain, road, hybrid, comfort) and pick the one that you like best! We'll help you sort out the details as they arise.

    Bau

  23. #23
    Senior Member davin1023's Avatar
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    Szerek, I just saw your post this morning so I'm going to throw my two cents in.

    I'm right in your weight range, down about 70 pounds since I started cycling last year. If you have even the lightest inclining that you might enjoy trail riding I'm going to suggest getting a mountain bike and putting road tires on it. If you are worried about the front suspension, look for one with a mechanical lockout that you could use on the road.

    The Hardrock you mentioned is kind of the boards go to bike, and it is what I got last year myself. I know what you mean about the specialized dealer you went to, the one I went to were not the greatest either. I ended up buying my bike from them and then happened to find a great shop to work with closer to home after the fact.

    A good shop is going to be your best friend as far as I'm concerned, As Serious Clydes we have problems most people do not consider, and your local bike shop needs to know that and be ready to help you. Wheels for instance are our biggest concern, at 440lbs I was blowing spokes on my Hardrock at least once a week. I got with my LBS owner and we found a wheel that would work for me, hand built and strong (cost was also a concern with me). I've also had problems with cranks that my LBS owner had never seen, but he helped me work through it.

    So in closing;
    1 Find a good shop, trust me when you find it you will feel it.
    2 Buy from them if you can, if not talk to them about other options.
    3 Ride! Ride! and Ride some more.
    4 Fix things as they break, it will happen, but you will learn from the expreiance and as you get lighter less things will break.

  24. #24
    Less Fat Less Newbie tsievert's Avatar
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    Szerek,

    It sounds like you're looking for a hybrid. I rode a Trek Navigator 200 when I was 430lbs it only cost $300. As a beginner the components were fine and the only thing that ever broke was one of the cranks fell off. ONLY $10 DOLLARS TO FIX IT. The good thing about a less expensive bike is that if something does break it is less expensive to fix. The Trek had front shocks they just didn't work until I lost 100 lbs. You can even put tread free tires on for a more comfy ride if your mostly going to be on the road.

  25. #25
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    First of all, I want to thank everyone for the responses. I've not had time the last two days really to get back here. I've learned some things in the last two days as well. I think the Cannondale is out. I was looking at the online owner's manual and the max capacity on the mountain bikes is 355lbs. If I broke it while weighing more, I fear they wouldn't honor the warranty. A chance I can't really take, especially with a bike that only has a 28 spoke count wheel.

    I never made it to look at the Giant bikes on saturday, so I'm going to run over on lunch today. I'm actually interested in the Sedona ST.

    It has a CroMo frame, 36 hole wheel, rigid frame, and a lot of backing from others my size.

    If it fits right at ~$300 it would allow me some room to put some money aside in case I do need to replace something. I've read several places of this bike holding up for a long time under guys bigger than myself.

    If you can think of any drawbacks to this bike, please let me know! The reason I'm being so careful is because I have one shot at getting the right bike. If I buy one and run into issues where I have to replace the rims, seat post, saddle, etc, it will have to sit until we can put back enough to budget fixing it. I have to work on a VERY tight budget. It has taken me a while to put aside the money for this, and being a total newb, I don't want to screw up and buy the first bike I'm sold and regret it in two weeks.

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