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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 05-17-11, 10:13 PM   #1
schaaf
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Got a new bike...

So after about 7 years without a bike, I finally managed to convince the wife to let me buy one. I had my sights set on something more expensive than she did tho, and after being brought back down to reality, she let me spend about 500.

Wow. Not much.

I cruised craigslist for several weeks before finding a Felt SR71 that was my size and in excellent condition. It has hardly seen any use at all. It's a flat bar road bike with decent components overall. It does come with a dura-ace rear derailleur which is pretty nice. Its several years old but it still shifts WAY better than the soara and tiagra stuff that I was looking at on the newer more expensive bikes.

The only thing that I don't know if I particularly like is the flat bar. I want to see what kind of cost and labour is involved in changing it over to a drop bar bike. And a new saddle. The stock felt one on there is pretty bad.

Other than that I really like the bike and I think I managed to get it at a fairly decent price.

I am sitting at about 307 right now and hope to get down to my post high school weight of about 180. Long way to go, I know, but I have the wife to help keep me on track. She just lost about 70 lbs working with a trainer and doing a TEAM fitness thing. I tried it, but I cannot stand to be on a treadmill inside walking for that long. I would rather go outside and do something... like ride a bike!

I just felt like telling people about my new bike. I'm pretty excited about it and can't wait until I get a chance to take it out for my first real ride.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 05-17-11, 10:37 PM   #2
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Pics or it didn't happen my friend.
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Old 05-17-11, 10:47 PM   #3
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Congrats and welcome
It is customary to post a pic of your new steed. We've all been through it
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Old 05-17-11, 11:17 PM   #4
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I figured that was coming. I'll try to get some up tomorrow, but I have class pretty much all day. I also need to charge the damn battery in the camera otherwise they are going to be crappy iPhone pictures...
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Old 05-17-11, 11:19 PM   #5
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Oh, also...

What is the best resource for learning how to wrench your own bike? I would prefer a book over a website, but it doesn't really matter too much.
Just looking for something with easy to follow pictures and explanations of how things work, not just what to clean and how to clean it.

thanks-
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Old 05-17-11, 11:28 PM   #6
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Pics and congrats.
Park Tools actually has a great book on how to wrench on bikes.
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Old 05-17-11, 11:57 PM   #7
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Congrats on the new bike, it's a very nice one and I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Park tools is a very good resource and also searching on youtube often produces excellent results as well.

You might want to hold off on changing out your saddle until you decide about the drop bar option. Some saddles are more suited for different bike setups, i.e. bars lower than seat vs, bars equal to seat level etc.

Just something to consider.
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Old 05-18-11, 04:47 AM   #8
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Bicycling Magazine regularly publishes a good book on bike maintenance. I think it's called "The Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair" or something like it.
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Old 05-18-11, 04:47 AM   #9
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Youtube is my favorite resource. I have a computer in the garage just so I can work and watch at the same time. And +1 on the Bicycling Mag book. And congrats on the bike!
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Old 05-18-11, 08:25 AM   #10
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Thanks guys!

Has anyone done a flat to drop conversion before? I'm trying to understand what I will need. Probably a new stem as the one thats on there is adjustable, but who knows... New bars obviously. I know I will need to Shift levers or "brifters" as I hear them called on here, but thats where I get really confused. Which things work with what? I have some sort of "shaman 9 Speed" Front derailleur and a Dura-Ace rear. Would I need to change the cables? For being just a simple break lever/shifter thing those are pretty expensive. The 105 hoods/levers/shifters are about 200 each online. (Maybe they are cheaper somewhere else...)

Thats why I am looking for a DIY book on bike MX. I just want to understand what I can and can't do for this little conversion project.

thanks everyone, and I'll try to get pictures up sometime late today... I have to head off to class for the majority of this unfortunately beautiful day here in MN...
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Old 05-18-11, 09:17 AM   #11
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Flat to drop can be done. I looked into it when I had a flat bar bike as my only bike. Couple things I found out quickly

-The Brifters are expensive. Unless you find a decent set used, it could be 1/2 the cost of a used road bike.
-The brakes will need some sort of an adapter or different brakes. Flat bar levers pull the cable at a different leverage rate than brifters. The road levers will not pull the cable far enough, and you won't have good braking power uness you have it adjusted with little to no pad clearance and constantly keep it that way.
-The geometry might not work, but it might.
-I priced out stem, bars, brifters, bar tape, new cables and brakes, and I was looking at $500 worth of stuff on my $400 hybrid. It can be done, and some have done it but without access to inexpensive used parts, it ususally doesn't make a lot of sense.

I added bar ends, to get a little more hand position options. There are also different trekking bars and others that you can still use the flat bar shifters/brake levers but gain hand positions, if that's why you are wanting the drop bars.
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Old 05-18-11, 10:33 AM   #12
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The cheapest way to do it would be with bar-end shifters - instead of $300 for a set, they are closer to $100. Also, the front derailleur that works with your flat bar controls will not work with brifters. However, bar end shifters have non-indexed fron shifters and will work with any derailleur.
Add to that a handlebar (~$60), a set of V-brake compatible brake levers ($50), new cables and bar tape ($25) and I figure you can do the swap for less than $250.

You can use your current stem... even though adjustable ones are often heavier and uglier than non-adjustable. What I would do is set the bike up with the current stem and fiddle with it until your comfort is optimised, then buy a rigid stem that matches the adjustments. Most people would put on a slightly shorter stem because drop bars increase the reach considerably.

So for $300 you could do the complete swap. Add at least $300 if you want to go with brifters, a cable pull adapter to makle them work with V brakes, and a road front derailleur.

You could also ride the flat bar bke ten thousand miles and keep shopping for a killer deal on a bike that already has drops... then you will have two bikes, which is twice as good as having one bike
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Old 05-18-11, 01:38 PM   #13
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I like Mel Alwoods book Mountain Bike Maintenance: the Illustrated Manual .

It can also get pricey if you want to convert from flat bars to drop handle bars. DCBO did a pretty good write up of what would be involved. Why do you want to convert the bike to drops anyways? If the bars are uncomfortable you can try different grips or different styles of flat handlebars.
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Old 05-18-11, 02:09 PM   #14
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Honestly, For the look. I think. Am I going to get made fun of on group rides because I don't have drops?
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Old 05-18-11, 02:25 PM   #15
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2 things-you are better off getting a drop bar bike than converting a flat bar bike. Second is why would your wife begrudge you spending money on your health when she engaged the services of a trainer? Was the trainer free?
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Old 05-18-11, 02:32 PM   #16
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Honestly, For the look. I think. Am I going to get made fun of on group rides because I don't have drops?
What makes you think cyclists are the type to make fun of people? >ducking and running<
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Old 05-18-11, 02:52 PM   #17
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2 things-you are better off getting a drop bar bike than converting a flat bar bike. Second is why would your wife begrudge you spending money on your health when she engaged the services of a trainer? Was the trainer free?
Because I earn no income. I am a full time student right now. Her money. Her rules. Not a big deal. And I couldn't afford a drop bar bike. I could afford this. I can convert it over time and it will be easier to justify.
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Old 05-18-11, 02:59 PM   #18
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I have had good luck on you-tube for tuning and adjustment advice -- just don't take the first one you see, check out a few to get a reliable source. Some are posted by bike shops and some by regular folks but when i see 3-4 saying the same thing i figure it's good to go.
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Old 05-18-11, 03:31 PM   #19
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+1 for youtube, and not forgetting Sheldon Brown. Have you thought about tinkering with the bars you have to change your position or putting some bar-ends on, i have some curved L shaped ones with thick padding on my hybrid and they've transformed the bike.
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Old 05-18-11, 03:43 PM   #20
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Because I earn no income. I am a full time student right now. Her money. Her rules. Not a big deal. And I couldn't afford a drop bar bike. I could afford this. I can convert it over time and it will be easier to justify.
Honestly, for now, just ride it... And ride it some more... And make the drop bar conversion (or an entire drop-bar bike) your "reward" for reaching a certain milestone or goal. I imagine that once your wife starts seeing results, she will be more amenable to you spending a bit more on your health/life.

I've seen wicked-fast guys on road bikes converted to flat bars... and I wouldn't ride with a group that made fun of me anyway (a little ribbing is cool--but we all know the difference, and I imagine we all know how bad "bike snobs" can be).

You're a big guy--people won't notice your bars rigth away. Make your bike comfy for you , get comfy with it, and start wearing stuff out...

My .02

YMMV
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Old 05-18-11, 03:52 PM   #21
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Comfort is actually a part of it as well. The hoods on brifters have been more comfortable than the grips on the flat bar. (what little riding I have done on either..)
Gloves? New grips? It seems like there is a fair amount of pressure being exerted on my palms on the flat bar, where as in the hoods, it seems to be more on my wrist. (Or dissipated in some other fashion I do not understand.)
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Old 05-18-11, 04:04 PM   #22
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Comfort is actually a part of it as well. The hoods on brifters have been more comfortable than the grips on the flat bar. (what little riding I have done on either..)
Gloves? New grips? It seems like there is a fair amount of pressure being exerted on my palms on the flat bar, where as in the hoods, it seems to be more on my wrist. (Or dissipated in some other fashion I do not understand.)
Bar-ends and Ergo Grips will relieve much of what you are describing.. Seriously, before you tear your bike up (and it sounds like anice one...), look into those options...
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Old 05-18-11, 04:15 PM   #23
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Gratz on the bike. I rode a straight bar for 4 years. No one said anything derogatory (to my face ;-) ). about my not having drop bars. I did quite a few fun rides some of which topped 20 miles. Granted, I find it easier to ride further with my new bike, but I loved my other. As many here have said . . . just ride!
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Old 05-18-11, 04:22 PM   #24
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Bar-ends and Ergo Grips will relieve much of what you are describing.. Seriously, before you tear your bike up (and it sounds like anice one...), look into those options...
+1

Hopefully you didn't get into cycling so you can wear spandex and tight shirts...cuz that's why I did . Well that and to make snide remarks to people who don't live up to my standards of what a cyclist is .
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Old 05-18-11, 04:27 PM   #25
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No. Spandex and tight ANYTHING do not belong anywhere near me. I wouldn't be doing anyone any favors to wear that stuff. I am thinking about shorts/bibs, but I would probably wear something over the top part. Tight things don't look good on me. LOL.
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