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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 05-18-11, 10:11 PM   #1
dmcalloway
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Pedal, pedalling, and shifting questions

Okay, so I did not think I was a Clydesdale - although I am 6'4"/1.93m and 240 lbs/110 kg - but I managed to cause one pedal on my bike to break and the other pedal to break off.... both pedals and the drive arm are covered by warranty, but the guy at the local bike shop said he had never seen pedals break like that, and asked questions about my riding habits, etc. I believe that the bike is the correct size, and will chat with the LBS about possible issues with gearing, but I wonder.....

I put about 200 miles or so on my bike in the past five weeks or so, most of that time in 2nd gear - 1st gear feels very very light, and 3rd gear is impossible. LBS thinks that I am putting too much pressure on the bike. I wonder if the pedals are of a good design/construction.... but the drive arm threading getting stripped by the pedal breaking off does make me wonder....

Are there pedals or other hardware preferred by Clydes ? Is there something I am doing wrong ? I am not often pushing hard or racing, but the lowest gear spins around too fast and takes too damn long to get anywhere, so I don't use it. I have read Sheldon Brown's advice on shifting, and it does seem to address some part of the issue, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to get more use out of the lowest gear....

Also, which part of the foot should be on the pedal - the ball of the foot or the arch ? Or the heel ? LBS stated that the pedals looked like I had my feet right at the edge of the pedal, but that is not what happened. I had been using the ball of my foot to put on the pedal, and did not notice my feet sliding outwards until the pedals started to fail.

Finally, how much of this issue is actually due to size/weight ? I don't see myself as that big, in the grand scheme of things, and Manhattan Green bike I have - although cheap and cheerful in terms of price, is much more solid than the Walmart Mongoose it replaced..... I am truly stumped on this one... I lost three days of riding and am no closer to figuring this out...
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Old 05-18-11, 10:54 PM   #2
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"With the Green it's not about speed, it's about a lifestyle."

From their web site.

You can use any part of your foot, but, it is generally accepted wisdom that the ball of the foot be over the pedal axle for the best results.

Not a lot that you can do about the gearing on the bike without major hardware changes, from what I can tell.

It's only a guess, but I suspect you are too much person for the bike. Some, not all, 3 piece cranksets are pretty shoddy and at that price, given that the bike retails for $339, I'm afraid that one shouldn't have high expectations for everyday use.

http://www.manhattancruisers.com/10_green_m.htm
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Old 05-18-11, 11:16 PM   #3
dmcalloway
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hmmm - I wondered about that. But when the bike works, it really really works.... very good fit, just that one detail.... I had tried/test ridden the Linus, Kona Africa bike, and Batavus Old Dutch beforehand, and liked them all (well, the Batavus and Africa bike the most), and the Manhattan seemed to be very practical and reasonably close to the Africa bike, actually, in terms of features and such...

I suppose I could adjust my expectations, and start saving up for another bike while going very slowly.... likely still faster than busing - the transfers on the route I would need to take are atrocious ! If I wanted a cruiser/city bike, but more durable, would a Biria work ? Or should I bite the bullet, forsake all, and go for the Old Dutch ??
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Old 05-18-11, 11:18 PM   #4
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Yep, I second that it probably isn't designed very well. Your a big guy, but the pedals should be able to take a reasonable beating.
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Old 05-19-11, 07:21 AM   #5
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First, your weight shouldn't have a whole lot to do with pedal failure, unless you're constantly standing while riding. If you're seated, you're not putting that much dead weight on the pedals. You might still be muscling them pretty hard, depending on how strong you are and how much you're pushing your gears, but weight itself should have minimal effect. It sounds to me like a combination of shoddy design/manufacturing due to the bike's price point, and maybe a little bit of gear pushing. No matter what, it shouldn't have failed like that.
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Old 05-19-11, 08:08 AM   #6
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The pedals on my bikes are fairly cheap I haven't had problems. One pedal breaking is a manufacturing flaw. Two pedals are a design flaw. If the LBS had OEM replacement pedals on hand his statement of never seen this problem is B.S. I'm a little smaller than you right now and I wouldn't trust a LBS that tried to sell me your bike. You're well on the way to being hooked so start saving for a $600+ bike. IMO that's where durability is found.
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Old 05-19-11, 08:10 AM   #7
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I agree with Craig--unless you are doing a TON of standing and really cranking on the pedals you shouldn't have a failure.
Did the pedal shaft fail? Or, did it strip out of the crank arm? If it was--which I suspect--the pedal 'axel' broke, you may just need sturdier after-market pedals. Maybe something in a mountain bike pedal? Those babies are designed to take a real pounding. I outweigh you by 30 pounds and have never had any pedal related issues. I'm not the biggest boy on here so maybe others can send along brand/type pedal suggestions.
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Old 05-19-11, 11:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DTSCDS View Post
I agree with Craig--unless you are doing a TON of standing and really cranking on the pedals you shouldn't have a failure.
Did the pedal shaft fail? Or, did it strip out of the crank arm? If it was--which I suspect--the pedal 'axel' broke, you may just need sturdier after-market pedals. Maybe something in a mountain bike pedal? Those babies are designed to take a real pounding. I outweigh you by 30 pounds and have never had any pedal related issues. I'm not the biggest boy on here so maybe others can send along brand/type pedal suggestions.
The pedals are plastic encased, like a boot that wraps around the actual pedal proper. What happened, was that the boot ripped on the first pedal, causing it to come loose. On the second pedal, the actual metal inside of the pedal itself came loose as well, stripping the thread holding the pedal to the drive arm. Both pedals and the drive arm got replaced under warranty, and I picked up the bike earlier today. I will say that I liked the feel of the metal "replacement" pedal that I had when the first one split apart last week...

As far as force - I do not often stand on the pedals at all, as I don't race the bike - I may sprint to the bus stop sometimes but that's it. I have been riding around in 2nd gear though, and I discussed this with the LBS. I think they did something to address that, though, because once I got the bike today, 1st gear was actually usable for the first time since I got the bike. I am very happy with it now, but I still wonder....

....so yeah, I think the permanent solution is to start saving up for a better bike. Switching out the pedals is certainly an option, though, if the new pedals have the same issue as the old ones. In the meantime, since I am now able to actually use 1st gear without excessive spinning, I hope that the bike will hold up long enough for me to move, then get a very good solid bike.
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Old 05-19-11, 11:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
The pedals on my bikes are fairly cheap I haven't had problems. One pedal breaking is a manufacturing flaw. Two pedals are a design flaw. If the LBS had OEM replacement pedals on hand his statement of never seen this problem is B.S. I'm a little smaller than you right now and I wouldn't trust a LBS that tried to sell me your bike. You're well on the way to being hooked so start saving for a $600+ bike. IMO that's where durability is found.
Well, he had to order the parts. At first, with the first pedal, he simply switched out with a metal mountain-bike type pedal that he had on hand. By last weekend, though, the other pedal started coming apart; on Monday, he could not simply switch the pedal out because the thread got stripped. I dropped the bike off, the parts came in, and I was able to pick it up today.... man, riding the bus alone really sucks ! Bus + bike is very convenient though.

I do have my eye out for another bike, hopefully I can find a good deal by late summer/early fall.... has anyone tried any of the REI bikes ? Looking at the Novarra Transfer....

Last edited by dmcalloway; 05-19-11 at 11:10 PM. Reason: punctuation
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