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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 04-28-10, 07:14 PM   #1
Elwood Blues
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Bike advice- not straightforward- please don't gloss over!!

Hi all,

I'm looking to buy a new bike and I need some help with it. I have been riding a dual suspension Trek as my main mode of transportation for 10 years (when it isn't snowing) and it is pretty much at the end of its life. Looking at how much it would cost to replace all the worn parts is approaching the cost of a new bike. When I bought the bike, I was communing/riding on variable XC trails and worked really well. However, several years back I moved cities and the terrain changed and the Trek didnít work so well anymore.

Hereís the environment Iím in:
-I live in a city with really bad roads everywhere (Northern Canada)
-There is very little flat ground and lots of hills in this area, so you seem to be always climbing

Hereís me:
-Clyde (240 lbs plus the weight of the inevitable backpack)
-Unusually strong legs- I hate that feeling that you are always going to break something taking off from a stop light or when you really want to put the hammer down and are just going to rip all the teeth off your cogs. Donít laugh- itís happened to me twice.

Things I want in the bike:
-Comfortable for short AND long hauls on crap roads, uphill with cargo
-I always seem to have cargo with me so bomber racks or rack mounts are a must
-I would like the flexibly to do trail rides (fit wider knobbly tires)
-If I feel brave, the ability to run studded tires in the winter
-Lightweight, but being a Clyde, I donít how light I can get
-Durable to get many years out of it
-Easy maintenance preferably on a worldwide scale
-Easy adjustability- like not having the front derailleur directly under a swing arm pivot which makes the HI LO screws next to impossible to tune
-Brakes that will stop the bike, me, and my cargo in the wet flying down a hill when some huge truck in inevitably pulls in front of me

I think I am after a touring or cyclocross bike that has a steel frame, carbon fibre or chromoly fork, with rack mounts or racks, fenders or fender mounts, a traditional Shimano drive train, triple front ring, 9 speed rear cassette, cyclocross wheelset (700c or 29Ē???), disc or vee brakes and maybe a suspended seatpost to top it all off.

Look forward to your suggestions!!

Thanks for your time!!

EB
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Old 04-28-10, 07:26 PM   #2
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Giant Seek 0.
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Old 04-28-10, 07:27 PM   #3
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Honestly, I would say a Surley LHT would be perfect for you, and that is not because I ride one, but it helps. If you ride a size 54 or smaller, it comes with 26 inch wheels, like your mountain bike. If you ride a larger size, it comes with 700c wheels, and you can put 700c by 45 tires on it, or 40's with fenders. So the big tire thing is covered. Front and rear rack mounts, long wheel base and a steel frame to soak up bumps. Solid 9-speed rear and triple front chain rings for climbing and durability. Drop handle bars give you the speed option, but plenty of hand positions for just riding around. Also, it has bomb proof components. From someone who has broken a bottom bracket and twisted up a chain like Christmas tree garland, I can relate to the "unusually strong legs" remarks. I got accused of having calf implants this past Sunday.

Just my thoughts. A lot depends on your budget. Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

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Old 04-28-10, 07:29 PM   #4
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LHT

Buy the frame and have your LBS build it to suit.
Thats what I did.
(Winston Endall at Cycle Cambridge......Cambridge, ontario.... did the build)

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Old 04-28-10, 07:30 PM   #5
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LHT

Buy the frame and have your LBS build it to suit.
Thats what I did.
(Winston Endall at Cycle Cambridge......Cambridge, ontario.... did the build)

Cyril
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Old 04-28-10, 07:30 PM   #6
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Thanks so much!!

I should also mention that I am 6'0" with shorter legs and a long torso...if that actually changes anything

EB
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Old 04-28-10, 07:46 PM   #7
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+1 on LHT or Surly Cross Check, both solid rides and can be built with many different wheel options and components to suit your needs..
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Old 04-28-10, 08:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elwood Blues View Post
I think I am after a touring or cyclocross bike that has a steel frame, carbon fibre or chromoly fork, with rack mounts or racks, fenders or fender mounts, a traditional Shimano drive train, triple front ring, 9 speed rear cassette, cyclocross wheelset (700c or 29Ē???), disc or vee brakes and maybe a suspended seatpost to top it all off.
I was thinking touring or cyclocross bike as I read your post, so I think you're on the right track. You might also look into off-road touring bikes (e.g. Salsa Fargo and similar). If you want consistent wet weather stopping power, look for a bike with disc brakes. Also, don't rule out aluminum frames. I absolutely hate aluminum frames when they're married to standard (e.g. 700x25) road tires. My aluminum touring bike is quite nice though, thanks to the fact that it uses 700x35 tires.

Not knowing anything about your budget, it's difficult to recommend specific bikes. Still, if I were you, I'd consider the following bikes/frames:

Surly Long Haul Trucker
Soma Saga
Trek 520
Soma Double Cross DC
Gunnar Fast Lane
Bikes Direct Fantom Cross Outlaw
Salsa Vaya
Salsa Fargo

The first three are the standard, boring rim-brake touring bikes that everyone is going to suggest. All of the fun bikes are at the end of the list

You could also consider doing what I did: mate a disc-capable cyclocross fork to a touring frame. You're still stuck with a rim brake at the rear, but a mechanical disc (e.g. Avid BB7) up front will give you consistent stopping power in wet conditions. The CX fork will quicken the steering a bit, but it isn't too bad.
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Old 04-28-10, 08:07 PM   #9
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I'm a big fan of steel touring bikes, but I would consider a hardtail mountain bike with a flat bar. You get more control with a wide bar than you do with drop bars, which is mostly what you'd get on a touring bike. Steel or aluminum would be best - steel is more durable and will soak up more in the way of bumps, but aluminum is lighter. Does anyone know if aluminum handles better off-road? An awful lot of mountain bikes seem to be made with aluminum frames.

Suspension - that's a personal choice. Suspension sucks up energy that would go into propelling the bike forward. If a good fraction of your riding is on rough roads or off-road, a front suspension might fit the bill. Suspension forks (at least good ones) also allow you to dial the suspension off, usually without even dismounting.

If you want strong brakes, disc brakes have a reputation for awesome stopping power, even though they're not as bulletproof.

What you're looking for is pretty specific. If you're even a little mechanically inclined and willing to do a lot of research (and it sounds like you are), going the route of building up from a frame or modifying a used hardtail might be the way to go.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:53 AM   #10
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Maybe not a Seek 0, but a Seek 1 (so that you've got that triple up front). Hydraulic discs, rack mounts--even on the fork, fast, and the ability to run some cyclocross tires.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:56 AM   #11
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Elwood, what's your budget for this project?
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Old 04-29-10, 06:30 PM   #12
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To put a number on it, I would say around $1500.

Basically I am after something that is above all dependable and comfortable for a very long time. If I can get away with spending $1000 to get to work, school, and the grocery store- sweet deal!! I not too concerned with weight or a bike's ability to function as a mobile day trading office and investment bank with warp drive and electric hair curlers.

I'm still a student, so I don't have a lot of cash. One of the things that I can't stand is saving a little money and be stuck with something that doesn't work right for whatever reason.

I guess that is a little more than, "Elwood, what's your budget for this project?"

EB

PS- Loving the feedback!!
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Old 04-29-10, 06:43 PM   #13
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Any thoughts on a Brodie Infinity? Compared to a LHT?
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Old 04-29-10, 07:25 PM   #14
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So, you're not going off road at all? Just busted up pavement? Might not do what you need, but is a cheap experiment. Old school rigid mountain bike, that will take 2.3" big Apples. Steel chainrings, 8 speed cassette so avoid the skinnier chain.
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Old 04-29-10, 08:03 PM   #15
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I'll be going off road.

It's just that what some people think is "off-road" is actually most asphalt around here.

EB
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Old 04-29-10, 08:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elwood Blues View Post
Any thoughts on a Brodie Infinity? Compared to a LHT?
Looks interesting... Flat bar on the Brodie rather than the drop bar on the LHT. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are a big win over the LHT's Tektro canilevers.

Tires and wheels are what worry me. Brodie's website says the tires are "Kenda Kwest 28c". If that means 700x28, it sure doesn't look like you could squeeze anything much larger into the frame. For me, that would be a problem: I won't ride an aluminum frame unless is can hold 700x32 tires (or larger).

Wheels are also a mystery... Brodie's specs say they're Kore Gradient II. Kore says the Gradient II wheels have 24F/28R spokes, but Brodie's picture makes it look the 32F/32R. Either is fine for on-road riding. For touring, loaded commuting, or off-road riding I'd probably want something a bit more stout than the Gradient II.
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Old 04-29-10, 11:05 PM   #17
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Also another manufacturer that I have access to out here is Opus Bikes (http://www.opusbike.com). Any ideas on them?

I really like some of the Soma and Salsa designs but there are not any dealers out here.

Keep the comments and ideas coming!! I check this thread often.

EB
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Old 04-30-10, 03:18 AM   #18
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Here is a pic of my crosscheck.. I have since switched the chainrings out for a 48/38/24 combo so it makes it easier riding on the trails of our local mountains..

The crosscheck is very much a do everything bike.. Many people have also done long touring on these rigs..
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Old 04-30-10, 06:29 AM   #19
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Specialized Crosstrail, the one with lockout front suspension (I'd recommend the Elite)...... Fat (45) tires to soak up the bumps, eyelets and dropouts - lots of room for fenders and racks. 700C wheels for easier rolling, front suspension to help soak up the bumps when you need it, big tires to finish that job, lock it out, (easily) when you don't need or want it, wide bar for easy maneuverability. 9 speed triple, lets you ride up a tree if you can get traction, and still likes to go fast on the downhills. Trigger shifters work like a dream. A good choice for "almost off-road," while still on the roadway.

Try to get the tires changed to something more flat resistant, (like Schwalbe Marathon Supremes) before you take delivery. A 35 on the front will give excellent and more precise steering and better handling, without compromising the ride or handling, and a 40 in the rear still gives good comfort, and better handling, without compromising the cushy ride - my personal choice.

Easily doable within your budget - and I think they still do one with disc brakes, if needed. But, the V-brakes, with Kool Stop Salmon pads are awesome stoppers. Even the OEM pads are darned good. Lots of size choice available, and good componentry.

And, I really like the aluminum frame. It doesn't seem harsh, like lots of people think about aluminum. And, it sure is responsive.

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Old 04-30-10, 07:02 AM   #20
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Novara Safari?
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Old 04-30-10, 07:45 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elwood Blues View Post
Also another manufacturer that I have access to out here is Opus Bikes (http://www.opusbike.com). Any ideas on them?

I really like some of the Soma and Salsa designs but there are not any dealers out here.

Keep the comments and ideas coming!! I check this thread often.

EB
I'm not sure of the Soma, but Salsa is sold through QBP. Pretty much any LBS can order a Salsa for you. It's no longer necessary to go to an "authorized dealer".

I've had a Salsa Casseroll for almost two years now and my bike has performed flawlessly. I'm a big fan of the brand, so I'd recommend the Vaya or Fargo.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:22 AM   #22
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A Specialized Tricross Sport would fit the bill nicely.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:46 AM   #23
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Surly Cross Check, don't want no stink'n 26 inch wheels, other than that the LHT is a good bet, more relaxed than the CC.

I am not big but I am pretty strong and this bike is a tank, not in weight but in the way it inspires confidence no matter the surface or task. Of course, in the age of fragile 16 pound carbon crap, a 23 to 26 pound (depends on equipment) Surly Cross Check is not exactly under built.

JFYI, not completely universal, but for a given bicycle, getting the frame size to the smaller size of your fit range will produce a more aggressive bike with higher saddle and lower bars, getting a bike to the larger size of your fit range will give a more relaxed bike with a lower saddle respective to the bars.

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Old 05-01-10, 04:03 PM   #24
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Hi all,

So I finally carved out some time from my work schedule to get on some bikes at a LBS. Anyway I found out a bunch of things that will guide me in the quest for a new ride. First off, I don't think that I'm ready for a bike with drop bars. After riding one, it was not very confidence inspiring and the geometry felt really crammed. I tried a couple of hybrid style bikes, and found those to be more to my liking. The carbon fork makes a lot of difference around here.

Now that I have a better idea of what "comfort" is to me, any ideas on performance hybrid style bikes? The two I rode yesterday were the Trek 7.5 and the DeVinci Amsterdam.

Thanks for the input!!

EB
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Old 05-01-10, 07:21 PM   #25
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Good quality hybrid (~$800 and up) are generally very good bikes.

If I were you I would get one without suspension and make sure it has all the mounts for racks and fenders and trailers or whatever you plan on using.

Just make sure the bike fits well and that the shop where you buy it is willing to fine tune the fit to handle any minor problems. A cheap derailleur or broken spoke is easy to fix. Sore shoulders and back are harder to take care of.

Edit: 29" is the same as 700C - the wheels and tires from a 700C hybrid will fit on a 29" wheel mtb... if a mtb has the best fit and all the features you want then that could be the best bike.
IMHO, 700C/29" is a better size wheel for a multi purpose bike because of the availability of different tires... 26" selection at most shops is sort of limited to one or two street tires and a handful of 2" + knobbies. I currently have the following tires for my touring bike: 35mm CX tires, 38mm road tires, 25mm road tires, 1.9" studded winter tires, 28mm road tires... and a few more skinny tires that get used on my road bike from time to time. I can get useful replacements for all (except maybe the winter tires) at just about any bike shop or Canadian tire if I am desperate.

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