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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 03-13-11, 03:12 PM   #1
mikeburm
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Newbie needs buying advice

Hey there. I'm new here and looking to get a bike to help me lose weight and get in shape. I've lost close to 100 pounds over the last few years, but I'm still around 330. I'm bored with riding exercise bikes in the gym, so I'd like to get out on the bike paths and greenways in my area. I started reading through some of the threads in this forum and I've gotten a lot of great info (thanks, btw). From what I can gather, I think a comfort bike with 36 spoke wheels should be the ticket. Maybe something in the Trek Navigator or Giant Sedona lines.
So today, I ventured out to the local bike shop for the first time to see what they had to offer. I explained my plans to the guy and right away he steers me away from the comfort bikes and towards mountain bikes. He suggested either a Cannondale for $800 or a Specialized for $1000, both fine bikes I'm sure but more than I had planned on spending. In addition, he said I would need custom built wheels for $400, a new fork, handlebars, and a new crankset. All told about $1600-$1800. When I told him that I had only planned to spend $500, maybe $600, he said I would "destroy" anything in that price range.
So, was this guy right? Am I kidding myself by thinking I can get an off-the shelf bike in my price range that would stand up to my big butt? If not, where should I put my money to get the best bang for my upgrade dollar?
Mike
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Old 03-13-11, 03:53 PM   #2
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Sounds like your salesman is trying to sell you a bike that will last for a decade. Most beginners need a bike that will last for 1-3 years. At that point, they'll either have lost interest in the sport or decided they like it and want to buy a better bike...

That said, there is a bit of truth in what the salesman is telling you. Specifically, the Trek Navigator and Giant Sedona come with inexpensive suspension forks (and seatposts) that might not work well for a Clydesdale. Personally, I'd much rather have a rigid fork than a suspension fork that feels like a pogo stick. You might look at Trek's FX line of bikes, Specialized's Sirrus, or Giant's entry-level Seek and Rapid models. If you're going to sit on the seat and pedal around, any bike from a big-name manufacturer should work. If you start jumping off curbs or standing to power up hills, then it might be time to think about upgrades.

If you decide you do want a bike with suspension, then it might not be a bad idea to consider buying a hardtail mountain bike. You'll likely end up with a better fork, though maybe still not up to Clydesdale weights, and possibly a better mix of components as well. Though you'll likely spend a bit more money in the process.
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Old 03-13-11, 04:21 PM   #3
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Sounds like your salesman is trying to sell you a bike that will last for a decade. Most beginners need a bike that will last for 1-3 years. At that point, they'll either have lost interest in the sport or decided they like it and want to buy a better bike...

That said, there is a bit of truth in what the salesman is telling you. Specifically, the Trek Navigator and Giant Sedona come with inexpensive suspension forks (and seatposts) that might not work well for a Clydesdale. Personally, I'd much rather have a rigid fork than a suspension fork that feels like a pogo stick. You might look at Trek's FX line of bikes, Specialized's Sirrus, or Giant's entry-level Seek and Rapid models. If you're going to sit on the seat and pedal around, any bike from a big-name manufacturer should work. If you start jumping off curbs or standing to power up hills, then it might be time to think about upgrades.

If you decide you do want a bike with suspension, then it might not be a bad idea to consider buying a hardtail mountain bike. You'll likely end up with a better fork, though maybe still not up to Clydesdale weights, and possibly a better mix of components as well. Though you'll likely spend a bit more money in the process.
Excellent Advice and Welcome!
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Old 03-13-11, 05:17 PM   #4
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Sounds like your salesman is trying to sell you a bike that will last for a decade. Most beginners need a bike that will last for 1-3 years. At that point, they'll either have lost interest in the sport or decided they like it and want to buy a better bike...

That said, there is a bit of truth in what the salesman is telling you. Specifically, the Trek Navigator and Giant Sedona come with inexpensive suspension forks (and seatposts) that might not work well for a Clydesdale. Personally, I'd much rather have a rigid fork than a suspension fork that feels like a pogo stick. You might look at Trek's FX line of bikes, Specialized's Sirrus, or Giant's entry-level Seek and Rapid models. If you're going to sit on the seat and pedal around, any bike from a big-name manufacturer should work. If you start jumping off curbs or standing to power up hills, then it might be time to think about upgrades.

If you decide you do want a bike with suspension, then it might not be a bad idea to consider buying a hardtail mountain bike. You'll likely end up with a better fork, though maybe still not up to Clydesdale weights, and possibly a better mix of components as well. Though you'll likely spend a bit more money in the process.
Thanks for the advice. I don't anticipate I'll be doing any riding that's too extreme, at least not at first. I'll look into the lines you mentioned.
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Old 03-13-11, 05:46 PM   #5
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Another option would be to find a used bike (nearly all steel mt bikes will work) and upgrade from there...

seatpost (thomson seems to be the clyde staple) used $50 new $80
fork (stock steel may be plenty not really sure on this one, more advice to come) ~$100 new
saddle (lots of guys like the Brooks Anatomica, but I'd reccomend demoing a few saddles from a local shop until you find one that works. Saddle pain is the fastest way to get discouraged) budget ~$100
Custom Wheelset 36h Open Pros to Deore Hubs ~$120 on rims, $100 on hubs, $70 on spokes, + $40 in labor

$~550 on upgrades so budget $250-350 for your bike off Craigslist. Make sure to research before you buy, and ask questions to trusted cyclists. Haggle on price too!

That's how I'd do it / did it. I'm not a clyde but I like this part of the forum, a lot less attitude and a lot more support.

On the wheel-set, you could ride the stock parts and when things break, upgrade from there.

Absolutely upgrade the saddle first thing, I would've quit long ago if I hadn't found a way to make my ass stop hurting. Also, buy a good set of bib shorts. Don't skimpy on the chamois, $20 dollars extra for a good dense chamois is a whole lot cheaper then the $20,000 heart surgery you're preventing by getting in shape.

If you're set on new, IRO makes some great hard-tail / rigid fork framesets that are bomb proof.
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Old 03-13-11, 06:08 PM   #6
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As a bike mechanic/sales person for a bike shop, you don't have to spend that much. Giant makes the Revel 2 with double wall rims for $380. This bike should support your weight. I weigh $250 and wouldn't hesitate riding one. In one sense, a great number of bikes are not well suited for someone heavier, but for $500-600, you should be able to find something. At a minimum, find a bike with double wall rims. I mention the Giant becausse it is the least expensive bike with a double wall rim that I am aware of. I like Giants. I own 7 of them. Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-13-11, 07:58 PM   #7
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When I was 370 lbs I rode a stock Trek 930 mountain bike that is 15 years old. The only thing not stock is a new saddle because I wore out the old one. The only reason I'm getting a new bike is I want something faster.
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Old 03-13-11, 08:17 PM   #8
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Another option would be to find a used bike (nearly all steel mt bikes will work) and upgrade from there...
If you're mechanically-mined, a used mountain bike can be a great way to get started in the sport and save some money. If you don't already know a bit about bike mechanics, however, keep in mind that your local LBS will probably charge you $60-70/hr to have their mechanic sort out any problems that might arise. I'd only buy used if I thought I was getting a pretty solid bike that wasn't going to need a ton of upgrades or fixes...
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Old 03-13-11, 08:37 PM   #9
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I feel your pain, sounds like you went to the same LBS I did a while back. If it makes you feel better I was willing to spend much more but the results were the same, or worse.
What I mean by worse is the more money you spend the lighter and faster the bike. Lighter is not what you (or I need) I have a trek 8000 MTB I did a few simple mods to since I already dropped the cash a few years ago. If I were to buy a bike right now, would be a Trek 7100, or even a 700. 36 spoke wheels, steel or allum bike and they seem to be solid.

Go easy and enjoy it and set a goal like I am doing, reward yourself for loosing weight and upgrading to a bike you really want.
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Old 03-14-11, 12:31 AM   #10
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I am 360lbs, and my 2010 Giant Suede DX has 650+ miles on it, all we did to it was swap out the 32 hole rims for some stock 36 hole rims... works for me
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Old 03-14-11, 07:01 AM   #11
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This is excellent! I really appreciate the advice and hearing what some of you guys in the same weight range as me ride. It sounds like it really is possible to get a good, durable bike in my price range. I'm going to stop by a different bike shop tonight that carries Trek bikes and maybe if there's time head over to the one that carries Giant. I feel much more prepared thanks to you guys.
Mike
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Old 03-14-11, 05:04 PM   #12
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No problem Mike, and to make you feel better I can not wait to be where you are not as far as weight. Our weather has been horrible snowing and actual flooding so I have been stuck inside doing elliptical and upright airdyne. I hope to get out tomorrow and do some actual 2 wheel riding. I sold my Kawasaki 1600 Nomad, that was not getting me too much exercise.
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Old 03-14-11, 05:18 PM   #13
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Well, I went and did it. Picked up an '11 Trek 7300. I was a little concerned about the wheels, but the guy said they should hold up just fine. Felt good riding it around their parking lot and it was on sale for a really nice price so I just couldn't pass it up. Brought it home and rode it around the block which included going up a pretty decent hill. Man, I don't remember riding a bike being so hard! Of course, I was also hauling around a lot less (m)ass last time I was on a bike. Can't wait to get out on the paths and greenways! Thanks to everyone for all of the advice.
Mike
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Old 03-14-11, 05:30 PM   #14
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W00t! Glad to hear you found a good bike that'll work for you - now get out and ride!
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Old 03-14-11, 05:58 PM   #15
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Nice bike choice. I rode a Giant Cypress DX model for 1000 miles and had rear wheel/spoke problems after 5 years. I weighed 360 - 375 during that time. Ride and have fun. Important to note that at our weight a front shock can be scarry. Try to lock it out or adjust to stiffest setting.
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Old 03-14-11, 06:27 PM   #16
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Nice bike choice. I rode a Giant Cypress DX model for 1000 miles and had rear wheel/spoke problems after 5 years. I weighed 360 - 375 during that time. Ride and have fun. Important to note that at our weight a front shock can be scarry. Try to lock it out or adjust to stiffest setting.
Having just bought my Cypress DX, it's good to hear it'll carry an over 300 pound Clyde well. I do keep my front shock on the stiffest setting....
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Old 03-14-11, 06:33 PM   #17
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Aahzz - how is the new bike? The red is beautiful.
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Old 03-14-11, 06:41 PM   #18
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Hi Mike,
Congratulations on losing 100 lbs! You should be proud of yourself! I too am a Mike and have lost ~100 lbs thru diet and bike riding. I weighed 320 lbs in 2008 and lost 100 lbs in about one year. I'm still at 223 lbs and stable I did this thru bike riding and diet. The bike I used for this was a standard road bike (Surly LHT) with the stock wheels (36 spoke road wheels). The Surly is a bit on the heavy side but very strong well capable of carrying a heavy a load and is 'EXTREMELY' comfortable for hours in the saddle. I maintain a 2500-3000 mile per year riding schedule by commuting to work mostly. This along with diet is the primary reason I've maintained the health level I realize now. If you like riding this is an excelled means to get and stay healthy. If you need any more info about this or anything else related to bike riding as it applies to health and weight maintenance please send a message to biker27511 at gmail dot com. Good luck and keep up the good work.

MP.
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Old 03-14-11, 06:43 PM   #19
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Aahzz - how is the new bike? The red is beautiful.
The new bike is awesome . I'm having a blast. I took today off because my quads are sore enough that I think they need a day of rest, but it's driving me nuts, I miss being out there...
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Old 03-14-11, 08:03 PM   #20
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Mike and Aahzz congrats on the bikes. I had a few minutes before dark and couldn't stand it any more, took my Trek 8000 for a short spin, sure felt good to ride, but the boys may be in doubt LOL I only took a short spin around the block and got a quick refresher on shifting. Balance was ok, had been riding a motorcycle the last couple years so that helped.

We need to stay after each other and make sure we all keep riding. The best, strongest bike in the world won't help if we do not keep our (m)ass moving. (had to steel that Mike)
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Old 03-14-11, 08:28 PM   #21
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Well, I went and did it. Picked up an '11 Trek 7300. I was a little concerned about the wheels, but the guy said they should hold up just fine. Felt good riding it around their parking lot and it was on sale for a really nice price so I just couldn't pass it up. Brought it home and rode it around the block which included going up a pretty decent hill. Man, I don't remember riding a bike being so hard! Of course, I was also hauling around a lot less (m)ass last time I was on a bike. Can't wait to get out on the paths and greenways! Thanks to everyone for all of the advice.
Mike
Pics or it didn't happen... Come on, we know you want to show it off. Oh, and congrats!
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Old 03-14-11, 08:38 PM   #22
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Another option would be to find a used bike (nearly all steel mt bikes will work) and upgrade from there...

Custom Wheelset 36h Open Pros to Deore Hubs ~$120 on rims, $100 on hubs, $70 on spokes, + $40 in labor
Who builds wheels for $20 each? $45 - $80 per wheel ($90 - $160 a pair) seems typical.
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Old 03-15-11, 05:37 PM   #23
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Pics or it didn't happen... Come on, we know you want to show it off. Oh, and congrats!
Trying to post a photo, but it's not showing up. Does this forum not like Picassa web albums? I posted the direct link and set the permissions to "anyone with link".

~Edit - was able to upload it as an attachment. Anyway, enjoy!

Mike

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Old 03-31-11, 06:15 PM   #24
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Been lurking and reading, trying to figure what bikes will hold my 6'4" 370#'s.
Thanks for the great thread.
Visited the LBS and he was steering me towards the Trek 7300.

Mike - So how is the bike riding?
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Old 03-31-11, 07:02 PM   #25
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Been lurking and reading, trying to figure what bikes will hold my 6'4" 370#'s.
Thanks for the great thread.
Visited the LBS and he was steering me towards the Trek 7300.

Mike - So how is the bike riding?
So far so good. It's very comfortable for me and seems to be holding up just fine. Only issue I've noticed is that a couple of spokes on the rear wheel seem a little loose and the wheel is not quite true. Not sure if it was always that way or not. I'm planning to take it back in real soon to get that fixed and for a general checkup.

Mike
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