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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 03-15-11, 01:43 AM   #1
fredbloggs
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Am I too heavy for my bike?

Apologies if this is in the wrong place.


I'm 300lb's or so. I've decided to try cycling to drop some weight and I've bought a used GT Avalanche 1.0 from 2001. It was dirt cheap (or so I thought) but came without a chain. A friend fitted a new one for me and I took it out for my first ride today. When pedalling, the chain (I think) seemed to click and slip a cog or two and I'd feel a bit of a jerk.

Am I too fat for this dodgy old bike? Can it be fixed with adjustments or does it need money spending on a new cassette and chainrings? I have tried to research a bit, but to be honest I'm feeling quite overwhelmed. I haven't ridden a bike in 20 years, lol.
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Old 03-15-11, 02:20 AM   #2
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You are probably not too heavy for the bike. I am 300 lbs also and rarely experienced chain slip. The only times I experienced it was on very steep grades and I was shifting poorly. It is probably an adjustment or wear issue.

Can you explain when and how it slips? From you initial description, it sounds like an out of adjustment derailleur. Did your friend do any tuning or adjustment to the derailleurs after installing the chain?
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Old 03-15-11, 02:33 AM   #3
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I think he just made sure the chain was the right length and gave it a ten yard test to see if it seemed okay.

It's hard to describe when it happens, but it was very frequent and I can only describe it as feeling too heavy for the pedals and it not feeling secure.

Also, I have no clue if the cassette and chainrings etc have ever been changed, I know the bike has been ridden quite a lot though, the handgrips were worn away to almost nothing.

(the 300lb is probably quite a conservative estimate too)
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Old 03-15-11, 03:07 AM   #4
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If you have a local bike shop nearby that can check it out for a reasonable price, they can check for wear and adjust the derailleurs. A basic tune up may be a good investment since the bike is new to you.
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Old 03-15-11, 04:40 AM   #5
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You're welcome to ask almost anything here. We may not have the answers but we're a pretty mellow group.I'm pretty mechanical so you may need to say slow down I don't understand.

First thing is to get some chain lube made for bicycles. Flip bicycle upside down so it rests on seat and handlebars.Spin the crank and shift the rear gears. Notice the cable going to the rear shifter. Try to get chain lube into every place it rubs against something.It doesn't need alot, one or two drops in each spot. Try to identify where it's slipping and post your findings. Don't adjust anything yet. just spend some thing looking at how it works. Spend a good 20 minutes just looking at the geartrain.
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Old 03-15-11, 05:19 AM   #6
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Old cassette (and/or chainrings) + new chain == skipping

The teeth on the cassette and rings get worn to the fit of the previous chain, which I'm guessing was on there the life of the bike. Spend a few extra bucks on a new cassette and you'll more than likely fix the issue.
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Old 03-15-11, 05:40 AM   #7
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Old cassette (and/or chainrings) + new chain == skipping

The teeth on the cassette and rings get worn to the fit of the previous chain, which I'm guessing was on there the life of the bike. Spend a few extra bucks on a new cassette and you'll more than likely fix the issue.
+1.

The casset might be worn. The good news is that cassettes arn't very expensive. The derailleur could also be out of adjustment...or your friend might have put the wrong kind of chain on it. Like a 9 speed chain on a 7 speed cassette. Take your bike to a bike shop and have a mechanic look it over, it would be a good idea to get it tuned up. While you're there, pick up a new set of grips. This will increase your comfort and get a bit of a relationship established with the bike shop.
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Old 03-15-11, 10:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. It's definitely the right chain, it's a 9 speed SRAM chain, I checked via google and also asked the chap in Halfords (chainstore retailer who have a load of allegedly trained mechanics in their shops).

I will try and see if it does it upside-down, and oil it, but it felt like it was the kind of jerk that was occurring only when my full weight went onto the pedal type deal. If I have to buy new cassette and chainrings it'll have cost more than buying the bike itself! Ah well, I think I got a bargain anyway, and if I can get it running smoothly it'll last a while until I save up enough cash for a Kona Hoss or similar.
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Old 03-15-11, 10:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by fredbloggs View Post
Thanks for the replies. It's definitely the right chain, it's a 9 speed SRAM chain, I checked via google and also asked the chap in Halfords (chainstore retailer who have a load of allegedly trained mechanics in their shops).

I will try and see if it does it upside-down, and oil it, but it felt like it was the kind of jerk that was occurring only when my full weight went onto the pedal type deal. If I have to buy new cassette and chainrings it'll have cost more than buying the bike itself! Ah well, I think I got a bargain anyway, and if I can get it running smoothly it'll last a while until I save up enough cash for a Kona Hoss or similar.
It's worth a shot to try this before you get upset with your purchase:

At the end of the cable that feeds into your rear derailure there will be a little barrel adjuster. Tighten that barrel a half a turn and try riding again. Doing this will pull a tiny bit of slack out of the cable, cables stretch over time and with use. If you suspect the bike has see a ton of miles, this is a likely suspect. If the chain is still jumpy after your half turn, give it another half turn. If that doesn't help any then my finger is pointed at the cassette. These can be purchased for about 30 dollars and installed for a few bucks more.
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Old 03-15-11, 10:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredbloggs View Post
Apologies if this is in the wrong place.


I'm 300lb's or so. I've decided to try cycling to drop some weight and I've bought a used GT Avalanche 1.0 from 2001. It was dirt cheap (or so I thought) but came without a chain. A friend fitted a new one for me and I took it out for my first ride today. When pedalling, the chain (I think) seemed to click and slip a cog or two and I'd feel a bit of a jerk.

Am I too fat for this dodgy old bike? Can it be fixed with adjustments or does it need money spending on a new cassette and chainrings? I have tried to research a bit, but to be honest I'm feeling quite overwhelmed. I haven't ridden a bike in 20 years, lol.
There are 3 reasons for a new chain to skip, poor adjustment, a worn cassette/freewheel or a bent hanger.

First is make sure the derailleur is properly adjusted, if it skips on only the inner or outer, and rattles a lot of the time, or it's fine on the inner and outer, but skips on the inside ones, and rattles all the time, then it's the cable barrel adjuster that needs tweaking.

Second, shift into the middle most gear, look from behind do the two jockey wheels line up with the cogs, they should line up exactly, you can use a straight edge as a visual guide, if not, the derailleur hanger is bent, for aluminum or carbon frames it needs to be replaced, steel frames can be bent back, but need special tools to do it properly, Ti frames I can't say.

If neither of those fix it, it's probably one or two worn cogs, so you need to replace the cassette/freewheel, it's not an expensive repair.
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Old 03-15-11, 12:39 PM   #11
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Just go to a LBS and let them know what the problem is. It sounds like the bike could have multiple issues or simply be a quick fix.
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Old 03-15-11, 12:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredbloggs View Post
Thanks for the replies. It's definitely the right chain, it's a 9 speed SRAM chain, I checked via google and also asked the chap in Halfords (chainstore retailer who have a load of allegedly trained mechanics in their shops).
If it's a 9-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette it won't be the chain being mismatched to the cassette. If you took it to Halfords I guess you must be in the UK so talk of everything in dollars isn't necessarily helpful to you! I've never used Halfords but I'd expect them to be much like Evans where it seems some staff know everything you could possibly want to know and others know nothing and care even less.

A cassette alone can be pretty cheap - IIRC you can get them from places like chainreactioncycles for 30 or less. Then you'd need to fit it, which is where getting to know your local bike shop can be useful. You might pay a little more for the cassette from them but hopefully they'll fit it for you for only a modest extra charge. If you feel like getting into the mechanics of it all you could get yourself the right tools to do it, on the basis you're working with a cheap bike. The bike shop can also (hopefully) help diagnose the problem and advise you just what you need to fix it.
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Old 03-15-11, 01:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by fredbloggs View Post
Thanks for the replies. It's definitely the right chain, it's a 9 speed SRAM chain, I checked via google and also asked the chap in Halfords (chainstore retailer who have a load of allegedly trained mechanics in their shops).

I will try and see if it does it upside-down, and oil it, but it felt like it was the kind of jerk that was occurring only when my full weight went onto the pedal type deal. If I have to buy new cassette and chainrings it'll have cost more than buying the bike itself! Ah well, I think I got a bargain anyway, and if I can get it running smoothly it'll last a while until I save up enough cash for a Kona Hoss or similar.
Chain rings, usually last quite a while, cassettes may not, chains wear over time, dirt and grit gets into the bushings and then acts like a grinding paste in there. If your chain gets black, it needs to be cleaned and lubricated. There are more methods to clean chains then there are models of bicycles, from the wipe it down and oil it crowd, to boiling it in degreaser and then wax. Personally, I tend to use economical chains, take a rag, spray some degreaser on the rag, spin it backwards a few times, let it dry, measure for stretch and then apply fresh chain lube. One thing to remember, apply lube to the joints in the chain only, one drop each, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off, this will remove any excess and keep it cleaner. When the chain has stretched, so that 12 links are more then 12 1/16th inches, replace it, the cogs will last a lot longer if you do. Even so, wearing out a set of cogs, when maintaining the chain and replacing it at the proper interval, is a good problem to have, it means your riding a lot.
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Old 03-16-11, 08:47 PM   #14
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9 speed casettes aer cheap. here in the states, a 9speed chain can be had for $20 and a 9 speed casette can be had for about $30. It's probably a worthwhile investment. I also agree with everyone else, take the bike to a shop and let them do a more thorough complete tuneup of the whole bike. it may very well cost you a lot more than what you paid for the bike but that doesn't mean it's not worth it. it could be a perfectly functioning bike that just needs bearings regreased, deraileurs adjusted and perhaps a new cable or housing here and there, all relatively cheap stuff. the only other concern is whether or not the wheels are in good enough shape to hold up under your weight

good luck!
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Old 03-17-11, 10:33 AM   #15
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You are fine to ride this bike. I'm 350 pounds and have the same bike as you. As others have said its most likly a worn cassette. The only problem I've had that was weight indust was I've pop a couple of spooks.
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