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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 06-12-11, 01:25 PM   #1
Hojimoto
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Big Clyde Needs Advice/Guidance on Bike Purchase

Hi all. I've spent the last couple of weeks reading over articles and threads here on bike purchases for big guys. I'm still relatively new to this site, so I apologize if I've overlooked something. I apologize for putting up yet another "help me choose a bike" thread, but it didn't feel appropriate tacking my questions on to someone else's thread.

I'm a big guy like many others around here. At my last weigh-in a few months ago I was 389 lbs. A year ago I was around 450-460. I'm taking off anywhere from 5 to 10 lbs a month from my current level of physical activity by the walking I do at work (2-5 miles a day) and by making much smarter choices in the type and quantity of food I eat. I've mostly switched to a vegetarian lifestyle. When I do eat meat it's chicken and fish.

This weekend I stopped in at several local bike shops and got to test ride a few bikes so I can get on the road and keep the weight loss happening.

My first stop was at Paradise Garage. The salesperson I talked to there showed me to a Kona Steely. Sadly, he didn't seem to keen on taking time to talk to me about the bike and what I needed to look for even after I told him my level of experience with today's bikes (novice.) I didn't get a chance to test ride the bike as the store was pretty busy, the seat looked painful, and I wasn't sure if they would swap out a seat just to accommodate a test ride. Slightly frustrated, I moved on.

I then moved on to a local Bike Source where I talked to a very knowledgeable salesman who was willing to take the time to lay out my options for me. He discussed things like bike geometry, wheel/rim strength, etc. He showed me three bikes. The first was an Electra Townie which felt great to ride but I've seen some mixed feedback on these boards on this bike. The other two were Specialized bikes. I think both were Crossroads models. They felt good, but not as good as the Townie. Given the models shown, the salesman recommended I consider upgrading the wheels to stronger rims with higher spoke counts. He gave me a quote of between $400 to $500 to move up to beefier rims (I believe this is 36 spokes or more.) I need to know if this is considered normal, outrageous, necessary, or not. (EDIT: I just now caught the "spend $250-$400 on rims you don't have to worry about it" comment in the check here first thread. Disregard this question.) Based on other threads I've read (specifically on the Giant Sedona) this might not be the case.

I stopped at Handy Bikes on my way home. They had a Cannondale "Comfort" bike which was nice to ride, but I've not seen much in the way of reviews on Cannondales and I'm unsure of the quality of the brand.

I was trying to keep my budget around or under $500, but if I have to buy beefier rims/wheels that may push me closer to $1000.

I'm also trying to find a Giant Sedona so I can take a test ride on it. I hear in a couple of threads that it might be the sweet spot of durability and price that I'm looking for.

Based on the available data, I'd appreciate some advice/guidance. Thanks much.

Last edited by Hojimoto; 06-12-11 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 06-12-11, 02:08 PM   #2
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Hi, Hojimoto. Not sure I can help much but I'll offer what I can. The very first thing I would do is dump the first shop you visited like a hot tater. If they can't take time to make a potential sell, they'll probably have even LESS time for you AFTER the sell.

As far as different brands of bikes go, any of the ones that you listed are fine. A tidbit that you find helpful is that, within a given price point, bikes from any manufacturer are going to be very comparable. It really comes down to personal preference. Ride as many as you can and go with the one that "feels" the best to you. Another brand that you may want to consider is Trek. Take a look at some of their hybrids. I started on a 7300 about 2 1/2ish years ago and have put 6,000 miles on it. I was tipping the scale at very close to 300lbs when I got and it's been a great bike. I'm in the process up upgrading to something a little more hi end but I'll still ride the 7300.

I can't really offer any advice on wheels because I've never upgraded. But a GOOD lbs should be able and willing to help you out with that as well. Whatever you decide, good luck, enjoy, and welcome to a brand new world!
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Old 06-24-11, 07:23 PM   #3
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Hi all. Finally settled on a bike. I went with the Kona Steely. I've had it about a week now and am slowly getting more distance out of my legs. The first couple of days I was able to do a mile. This morning I was able to crank out just over 2 miles on a ride on my local bike path.

Here's some pics. I've added a new seat and new pedals as well as some other gear.







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Old 06-24-11, 07:34 PM   #4
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That's a sharp looking bike. Congrats on the purchase!
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Old 06-24-11, 07:39 PM   #5
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You know....I think your going to do great.

All of this comes down to discipline with BOTH diet and exercise, to really make progress you have to work on both aspects and it seems you are. Kudos to going vegetarian, it isn't an easy thing to do in many parts of the country.

Conditioning your body into an engine is going to take time and work but you seem to have the right viewpoint here.

...oh and finally, that is a very nice looking bike there.
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Old 06-24-11, 08:45 PM   #6
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Congratulations on your progress so far
Nice bike.
Have fun. Keep it fun. Don't make it punishing!
You have the rest of your life to improve....
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Old 06-25-11, 07:27 AM   #7
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Thanks guys. Just trying to take it one day at a time and going a little bit farther than I did the day before. My knees are pretty cruddy, so I don't want to overdo it. I've already felt a big difference in my lungs after blowing a few cobwebs out

My leg muscles already feel better. Just slowly working my way up on distance and such. I've mostly been avoiding hills and inclines until I build up more strength. As far as fun, it really has been. I haven't ridden in 15-20 years and feeling the wind in your face and watching the world fly by... priceless. I do get a few weird looks but the "Embarrassed Clyde" thread has helped me work through a lot of those insecurities.

Thanks guys!
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Old 06-25-11, 07:38 AM   #8
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Nice bike! You done good!
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Old 06-25-11, 09:19 AM   #9
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Nice Bike. Kind of reminds me of the Kona Hoss.

Since you have bad knees, be sure you get used to taking pressure off of your knees by using a higher cadence and using lower gears when climbing, etc.

Gears are your friend, use them.
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Old 06-25-11, 10:29 AM   #10
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Totally agree with Arvadaman. Congrats on a nice biker there! You're starting from less than scratch, so to speak, but you doubled your ride-distance capability in just one week; that's a very good thing.

One of the first things that I noticed as my mileage increased and the pounds started falling off was how much more spring in my step I felt. It was as if I'd knocked twenty years of my knees in just a few months. When I started feeling the positive physical effects of riding more, then it got much easier to pay more attention to what I was putting in my mouth. I suck at dieting, and at not drinking beer, what can I say.

Anyway, congrats again. Keep on rollin!
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Old 06-25-11, 07:22 PM   #11
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Very nice looking bike. Congratulations on even being motivated enough to move forward. You are not alone I just picked up a Trek yesterday and I am in the same boat as you.
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Old 06-26-11, 04:47 PM   #12
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Nice choice, looks like you'll be on the right track. Just keep pedaling and keep running a calorie deficit.

Marc
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Old 08-16-11, 10:26 AM   #13
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Hi Guys. For those interested, I have kept up with my riding.

Bike Stats:
June: 20.9 miles ridden (started June 20)
July: 43.6 miles ridden
August: 58.9 miles ridden (so far)

I can go for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes at a time and my longest ride so far has been 6.6 miles.

My goal is to ride for at least 30 minutes a day in August and so far I have met/exceeded that goal.

I am starting to lose weight and my clothes are fitting better. My legs are much stronger and my heart/lungs are awesome.

Thanks for having these forums and giving fat guys like me a chance to live a healthier/better life
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Old 08-16-11, 10:51 AM   #14
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Good on you!

Keep it up. Columbus is a nice flat place to ride. I don't get that far yet, here in the shadow of the blue ridge.
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