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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 07-29-10, 12:14 PM   #1
DukeRyder
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Full Suspension Mountain Bikes?

Not really sure if here or Mountain Biking is the best place to ask this question but anyway I used to do a lot of Mountain Biking years ago. I have an old Hardtail Fisher with slicks but it's got low level componentry and is pretty tired, it makes a good Urban Beater and easy trail rider. I recently did a few days on easy single track in North Alabama with the slicks on it.

I'd like to get a more capable Mountain Bike sometime in the near future. A couple years ago I bought a Trek 4300 Disc and it was the biggest pile I've ever ridden. It was heavy, never stayed in tune (shifted poorly) the discs squeeked all the time and just generally pissed me off everytime I rode it. With all the preload cranked into the fork I could nail some small 12" drops and it didn't feel too soft. But I sold the bike 'cause I hated it so much, it was also too big for me as well.

Since I have a nice cross bike for the pavement I'd never really ride the bike anywhere but on the trails. While I do currently live where there's limited extreme mountain biking I may be relocating to the actual mountains. I am an agressive rider on a 250 MX bike in the woods and do some MX tracks recreationally and do race a harescramble or 2 a year in C class. So I'll be riding the Mountain Bike pretty hard. On the MTB currently I'm whooped after less than 10 miles but I'm building my fitness level back up by riding the roadie as much as possible.

My biggest concern is that being a Clyde (Currently @ 6' 1" and #245) that the full suspension Mountain Bike will be bottoming out too easily. Even if I get down to my ideal weight I'll still be at 200+.

Are there any other Clydes riding FS bike? Should I just stick to a Hardtail? I've heard that the FS bikes are just a dream to ride especially going fast downhill.
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Old 07-29-10, 01:19 PM   #2
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I ride a FS bike, a GT Marathon from Performance. I can set the pressure front and rear where it is too hard, and I weigh about 240. I don't get extreme with it, but I have no trouble going off a 18-24" drop. And it is very nice to have the FS on a sustained, bumpy decent.

You just need to decide what category of riding you want to do. You can get an XC (cross country) which is the least amount of suspension travel, but the lightest and nimblest of FS bikes. Then there is the all-mountain bikes, a little heavier and a little more travel. The downhill bikes have the most travel, but are the heaviest.

If you plan on pedaling all the time (no chair lifts or shuttle to the top of a downhill) I would look at the XC or all-mountain categories of bikes.
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Old 07-29-10, 01:24 PM   #3
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I know lots of guys your size who ride all mountain class full suspension bikes and just have a blast... I'd join their ranks in a second if those bikes weren't so flippin' expensive.

Will you bottom the suspension? Well, let's be clear here. Even a skinny guy can totally bottom the suspension on even the longest travel bikes if he tries hard enough. And on that same stretch of trail, I can probably find guys who can ride it gracefully on a fully rigid bike...

What it sounds like is you're riding a mountain bike too much like a dirt bike. I do both as well and find the approaches to riding totally, totally different. The rhythms involved in riding motorcycle singletrack are much closer to skiing than they are actual mountain bike singletrack riding. I just can't take the same kind of lines on a MTB that I do on the dirt bike- it's just not fun.

I'd check with your local shops and see if anybody's having a demo day soon. Just got to go bombing around a 29er Gary Fisher Rumblefish a few weeks ago. Got to ride it hard, and they fed me a bunch of burgers and bratwurst afterward. I didn't have a problem with it bottoming out, but then I usually ride a fully rigid SS bike, so I don't habitually go for the "monster truck" line.
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Old 07-29-10, 01:55 PM   #4
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Alot of people say us big guys should go to a 29er, but I have no personal exp. with this. I ride an older Specialized Stumpjumper FSR. The front shocks Manitou)aren't much to O.K. at best but the rear (Fox Float R.P. I believe) performs quite well. I just set the sag with an air gauge & it does well. Components are BB7 disc brakes & XT hardware for shifting. It's no downhiller, more of an XC bike though.
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Old 07-29-10, 03:05 PM   #5
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I ride a Stumpjumper FSR 29 and after adjusting for sag, have not been bottoming it out. Then again, I don't jump off anything big (< 8") and just use it for floating over rocks and some very small drops.



The 29" feel, on the other hand, is pretty sweet. You certainly feel like you're rolling over things easier. I moved from a hardtail 26" to a FS 29" so it's tough for me to experience it, but I hear that the larger wheels dampen the terrain a little bit, too.
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Old 07-29-10, 03:37 PM   #6
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^ That bike is SWEET!!!!

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Originally Posted by Askel View Post
I'd check with your local shops and see if anybody's having a demo day soon. Just got to go bombing around a 29er Gary Fisher Rumblefish a few weeks ago. Got to ride it hard, and they fed me a bunch of burgers and bratwurst afterward. I didn't have a problem with it bottoming out, but then I usually ride a fully rigid SS bike, so I don't habitually go for the "monster truck" line.
That Rumblefish a little out of my budget though. Unfortunately for me around here about the only Demo I'm gonna get is a ride in the parking lot. I'm actually trying to sell off one my motorcycles since it has accumulated less miles over the last year than either one of my bicycles and was planning on using some of that $$$$ to fund a MTB.

My MTB skills probably do need more honing and finess, the biggest obstacle has been getting the fitness level up, I still got a ways to go before I'm "athletic" but at least I can ride for a few miles without feeling like I'm about to die, now I'm more worried about the equipment making it out of the woods in one piece.

I was thinking about sourcing a used bike but There's FS Jamis Dakars from last year available online from $1K-$1500 and there's always the BikesDirect route too. I really need to research which bikes have I probably won't buy from my LBS because they have limited choices and are priced high. I built my Jake the Snake up from the frame and the LBS loved me when I came in for cleats, pedals, cable routing and doodads for the bike, they even though me on the training for a quick and dirty fitting.

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Old 07-29-10, 04:44 PM   #7
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If you're going to buy a FS bike, you must test-ride it on real terrain before buying! Especially if you aren't up-to-speed on the latest parts and technology.

Last year, I built a bike based on a mid-priced frame that had received really great reviews. Everyone loved it! Except me: too much pedal-induced suspension bob when climbing for my taste. For my next FS purchase, I made sure to test-ride a bunch of bikes before buying. Very enlightening! And I'm much happier with bike I bought at the end of the process. I also know what I like (e.g. Magura brakes, SRAM shifters, dw-link rear suspension) and what I don't like (Hayes brakes, Shimano shifters, single-pivot suspension).

If there aren't any free demos available in your area, you might check to see if anyone does rentals. Most of the shops in my area do. They typically run about $30-35/day and usually the rental fee on the bike is refunded if you purchase one shortly after the rental. BTW, it can be fun to test-ride bikes you could never afford, just so you know what you're missing...
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Old 07-29-10, 10:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
If you're going to buy a FS bike, you must test-ride it on real terrain before buying! Especially if you aren't up-to-speed on the latest parts and technology.

Last year, I built a bike based on a mid-priced frame that had received really great reviews. Everyone loved it! Except me: too much pedal-induced suspension bob when climbing for my taste. For my next FS purchase, I made sure to test-ride a bunch of bikes before buying. Very enlightening! And I'm much happier with bike I bought at the end of the process. I also know what I like (e.g. Magura brakes, SRAM shifters, dw-link rear suspension) and what I don't like (Hayes brakes, Shimano shifters, single-pivot suspension).

If there aren't any free demos available in your area, you might check to see if anyone does rentals. Most of the shops in my area do. They typically run about $30-35/day and usually the rental fee on the bike is refunded if you purchase one shortly after the rental. BTW, it can be fun to test-ride bikes you could never afford, just so you know what you're missing...
Good Advice! Much appreciated but if I'm gonna do a rental I'll have to wait until the next time I fly up to Denver. A couple shops in town do rentals but they're renting Electra Cruisers, but I'm not down with the peewee Herman bikes

My best friend rented one of the GIANT FS bikes (Anthem maybe he said it was a $2700 bike) up in Boulder a couple weeks ago for $18/DAY cause the counter girl thought he was cute! Knowing my luck she'll probably charge me double LOL! I go up there about once a quarter so maybe I'll be able to even find a pre demo'd one getting blown out at the end of the season.
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Old 07-29-10, 11:03 PM   #9
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^ That bike is SWEET!!!!
That dirt bike is cleaner than that shiny car!
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Old 07-30-10, 10:40 AM   #10
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Good Advice! Much appreciated but if I'm gonna do a rental I'll have to wait until the next time I fly up to Denver. A couple shops in town do rentals but they're renting Electra Cruisers, but I'm not down with the peewee Herman bikes
I can't believe that there isn't a single shop in the entire state of Louisiana that rents bikes or allows test rides! Shops that carry high-end bikes usually realize that you're not going to buy one unless you can ride it first... Looks like there's a shop in Baton Rouge (Dirt Road Bicycles) that sells Ibis Mojos; in my area most of the Ibis dealers allow test-rides. Heck, if worst comes to worst you could always do a road trip! Competitive Cyclist is up in Arkansas, IIRC...

The other option is to hook-up with local riders and see if they'll let you take a short spin on their bikes. I've ridden just about all of my buddies' bikes and they've all ridden mine a time or two.

Quote:
My best friend rented one of the GIANT FS bikes (Anthem maybe he said it was a $2700 bike) up in Boulder a couple weeks ago for $18/DAY cause the counter girl thought he was cute!
The Anthem is a great example of a bike that gets stunning reviews but which I hated when I rode it for myself! The bike I rode was part of the company demo fleet, so maybe it was just a bit too abused but I really hated the Hayes brakes and wasn't wild about the rear suspension.
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Old 07-30-10, 09:23 PM   #11
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Yeah I went to a couple local shops today, not much in the way of upper end bikes. There was either all lower end stuff (~$500) at the Giant Fuji place or the one small full carbon $4000 Fuji, not a single 29'r at either shop or FS. The dealers I went to said "We can order you anything!", it's not that they won't allow test rides but it's not going to be anything more than a ride in the parking lot or around the block. Even when I bought my Fisher Marlin 10 years ago the shop owner said "If you get dirt on this thing; you bought it! I can't sell no dirty bikes". At the 2nd shop I went to there were a couple of Cannondales that caught my eye but nothing in the right size DOH!


I'll also try some shops that aren't in town to see what they have to offer and keep a look out in craigslist for used stuff. I think part of the reason there's no good MTBs here is because you gotta drive an hour to get to any decent trails.

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Old 09-22-10, 02:40 PM   #12
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Update:

I finally got to "Demo" a Full Suspension bike!

Last week I had to travel to San Jose CA for a business meeting and I stayed the weekend and rented the "Bling Demo Bike" a 2010 NINER Rip9 from Tread bike shop in Campbell CA. It was $50 and I got the bike for a Friday afternoon and Satruday morning rides at the El Corte de Madera Preserve and Wilder Ranch. What an Amazing ride that bike was! The trails in that area are also amazing!!!! I never bottomed out the suspension and I was able to Haul down the descents! I never felt like I was riding above my head on that bike.

Coming from New Orleans where everything is relatively flat I had a tough time on some of the climbs up the hills. I had ridden my Rigid GF the weekend before at my local single track "Bonnet Carre Spillway" and at the Memorial Park MTB trails in Houston over Labor Day weekend and on the rooty sloppy Memorial Park trail my hands hurt but not the case on the Rip9 but it could have to do more with the superb trails out in CA; I'll have to take my old GF out on those trails for comparison.

All in All I think I'd be very pleased with the Rip9 I had to take the Large frame bike but it never felt too big. Being 6'1" with a 32" inseam I'm right on the border of M and L frames, If I get serious about building up or buying one of the FS 29ers I'll rent the M frame bike and see how it compares. The Full Suspension bikes are A lot of money so I'm not going to bite the bullet and I move to CA and see how much use my current beater gets...

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