First of all let me introduce myself. I am a 25 year old guy from Pittsburgh PA. I have always been a fat guy but back in high school I was on the road to losing all of the excess weight I had been carrying around for years. My senior year I lost over 80 lbs (at that time my highest weight was 368). Everything was going great until a few of years ago when I lost my mother to lung cancer. After I lost her I sort of went in to a tale spin of laziness and poor eating habits causing me to blow up to my current weight of 460 lbs.
A friend of mine started biking a few months ago and it has literally changed his life. He has been trying to get me to join him but I couldn't muster up enough motivation to start until now. Recently I almost lost my father to a torn aorta and that has really made me start to think of my own mortality...hence why I am here.
The way I found this forum was simply by googling "bike for a fat guy". After finding this forum I began searching for the answer to the one question I had...what bike is good for a 460lb guy. Looking through thread after thread I found that there was way more to cycling than I previously thought. So many different combinations of parts can be a bit overwhelming for a noobie clydesdale. I didn't want to just start a thread asking "what bike should I buy" because this sub-forum seems to be overrun with those kind of threads so I did a fair amount of research to make sure I at least knew what to ask and would understand peoples responses.
I am planning on mainly using the bike for streets and biking trails. I have quite a few parks with paved roads that have biking lanes near my house. There are also some dirt trails that I wouldn't really consider offroad per se but aren't quite as smooth as a paved road either. My budget is roughly 700.00 USD. I could go a bit higher if I have to but if I could get away with less that would be ideal.
My first question is which which model would best suit my needs. I have been looking around and four that I have seen recommended over and over again are:
Trek 7.2 FX
I was also looking at the Kona Hoss but i don't think that would be in my budget range since I am going to have to get a new set of 40 spoke rims (at least). I am leaning towards the Specialized Hardrock. Am I going to have to replace the stock fork on a Hardrock with a rigid fork w/o shocks? The Trek has a fork without shocks already so will I have to upgrade to a rigid fork on this model as well? If so I might as well go with the upgraded Hardrock Disk for the same price as the Trek and have disk brakes instead of the standard V brakes.
This brings me to my next question...brakes. From what I read the disk brakes outperform the v brakes but my question is about disk brakes and custom rims. Am I going to have to buy special 40 spoke rims specifically for disk brakes. In addition to that will I have to buy special disks for the 40 spoke rims or will the stock disks fit on any rims.
As far as rims go, it seems like I am going to have to go with at least a 40 spoke rim. Would 40 spokes be sufficent for me or would I have to go with the 48 spoke rims. Also what are some trusted companies that build custom rims? Ideally I would like to balance quality with price even though I know these rims will really set me back.
Thank you in advance for all comments.