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  1. #1
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    need help choosing new bike, far less cash than most.

    im around 400 lbs., 5'10'', looking for something i can ride on streets, actually get some excercise that i dont get on my beach cruiser. my limit would probably be between $2-300. not into bikes a whole lot, but im thinking a hybrid road/mountain bike. thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    My vote is for a used bike, if you are comfortable purchasing something in which you have relatively little idea of how the bike has been treated in the past. That is the biggest caveat of buying used when you aren't too knowledgeable about bikes (you indicated you aren't into bikes, so I am making that assumption).

    The problem with your stated price range is that you aren't going to be able to afford anything decent in a new bike. At your weight, you need something with a bit more durable parts than what comes on you most entry-level of hybrid or mountain bikes. I also don't like the idea of a suspension fork designed for a 150-170 lb person being used by a 400 lb person on the street where you generally don't need suspension. Most entry-level bikes come with cheapo suspension forks.

    If you live in a reasonably decent size town with at least a few bike shops and a fairly active Craigslist bicycle section, I think you should be able to find something that will work for you, even if you have to search a bit. Some shops sell used bikes and offer some sort of guarantee with it. They can also provide you additional customer support you won't get with a private purchase. The price will be a bit higher. You can also try to find a bike on Craigslist or whatever local classifieds you may have. That will require you know a little more about what you need and what the bike may need in the way of repairs. Many local shops will check a bike out to recommend whether it needs any repairs, so if you can get the seller to agree to meet you at a bike shop, it is all that much better for you.

    My recommendation for a bike would be a mid-90s rigid mountain bike. I like the idea of 26" wheels better than 700c wheels which are weaker given the same number of spokes and quality of rim. With a set of slick tires, a mountain bike will be just about as easy to pedal as a hybrid. There are many, many brands of bikes that are good quality. There are your obvious ones like Trek, Specialized, and Giant. Check out bikepedia.com for specs on many bikes made from 1993 to present. It will also give you an idea of what brands are decent since all they list on that site are bike shop quality brands and no Huffy/Magna/Roadmster junk.

    Depending upon your area, prices should be pretty reasonable for such a bike. I live in a pretty bicycle active area (Austin, TX) where I expect prices may be higher than a lot of other areas. When I resell a bike like what I describe, it usually goes between $100-150 depending upon what it is. If you can find something for that much or even less, you will have money left over for accessories, repairs, or other gear.

    Good luck to you!

  3. #3
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    Flippin Bikes is steering you in the right direction. Be patient, watch craigslist, garage sales, thrift shops - even go to your local bike shops and tell them you'er looking for a used 90s rigid MTB and they might be able to hook you up with someone they know. Add GT to the list of brands recommended above.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MLKATO's Avatar
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    Newspaper,thrift stores,Craigslist,E-bay, as well as everything mentioned. And welcome!

  5. #5
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    I agree mostly with Flippin Bikes; but......

    First a bit of back ground; I was ~400 18 months ago, now a bit over 300, and still dropping.

    Definitely do NOT get a bike with suspension.

    Get a bike with a steel or cro-moly frame and fork. Take a magnet along with you when look at the bike, if the magnet won't stick to the frame and forks; don't buy the bike. In the price range you are in, many bikes have aluminum frames. Aluminum can crack, and then fail catastrophically; steel does not fail catastrophically, it will bend a long way first.

    Make sure the rear wheel has at least 36 spokes, and plan on rebuilding the wheel. If you can re-spoke it your self, and get it pretty close, most shops will charge you less than $50- to finish true the wheel. Use Wheelsmith DH13 spokes on the right side, SS14 on the left side. Make sure the wheel is tensioned, trued, stress releived, true, stress releive, true, stress releived until truing is not need. That wheel will last you forever. AFter multiple spoke failures, I learned to re-build and later build my own wheels - I learned to do them properly, and now I only build wheels for new projects....

    Regarding wheel size, it is not so critical. I have bikes with ISO 559 (26"), ISO 571 (650c), ISO 622 (700c) and ISO 630 (27") wheels. All have 36 or more spokes in each wheel.

    My commuter, which I ride 120 miles per week, has ISO 630 wheels. The bike is a 1985 Schwinn World Toursist that I bought new, and in 2010 did some major upgrades.

    You don't mention where you are located, if you are close to San Jose, I have a bike that you could try out.

  6. #6
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    man, thanks alot for the tips guys. much, much appreciated. i live in ft.wayne, indiana, our bike scene is pretty awesome. our most recent mayor has been pushing bikes super hard, adding bike lanes around town, more racks to lock up bikes, having community rides and bike summits every year. its great. just been back into riding the past couple of years, but all i ride is an old cruiser with ape hangers, not much excercise gettin done on that thing haha. but again, thanks for the tips. ill keep scouring craigslist for another score.

  7. #7
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Like mentioned before Craigslist, coops, Local Bike Shops (LBS) that sell used, garage sale, & auctions will net you something pretty soon.

    Depending on your area, you may need to snatch up something quick. You are probably looking at MTB sizes in the 19-21 inch range or Road bike sizes 56-58cm (+/-2 with either bike).

    Look for something that is name brand. Parts will be easier to come by. Also do some online research or buy a bicycle repair book so you know what to look for when you go shopping.
    lil brown bat wrote:
    Wow, aren't other people stupid? It's a good thing that we're so smart. Yay us.

  8. #8
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    lil brown bat wrote:
    Wow, aren't other people stupid? It's a good thing that we're so smart. Yay us.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Just want to add: tire width is also an important factor. Generally speaking, the wider the tire, the more weight it can sustain. I purchased a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Supreme's, 26x2.0:

    http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...rathon_supreme

    Note the weight capacity listing. I would have liked to have gotten the 26x1.6's, but note the load value: 105 kg. That's 231 pounds per tire. But wait, add those up and you get 462 pounds, surely that should be enough? Well, not necessarily. Remember the rear tire is going to bear more weight, so I like to calculate it as a 40/60 split, which means you should take the load value of the rear tire and multiply it by 1.6667 to get a more accurate picture of what it can carry: 385 pounds. Factor in the weight of the bike and the gear you carry, and I'm easily above 385 pounds (426 as of yesterday's measurement).

    In reality, the 1.6's will probably work fine... but I'll almost definitely have more blowouts than with the 2.0's, and I would just like to avoid blowouts as much as possible.

    So anyway, my advice: prefer a wider tire, and make sure you pump it up to its fullest PSI.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Oh and I'd like to add: riding a 4130 Chromoly frame... it's bloody fantastic. Never had an issue with it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    I have to call foul....to say you dont get exercise on a beach cruiser cannot be true. my beach cruiser kicks my butt some days. you just got to pedal faster, farther, into wind, up a hill, chase down a roadie, race the local kids, follow the hottie on rollerblades, and just mash away at those pedals.

    I commute 80% of the time on a beach cruiser, and run almost all errands on it. my 80's road bike i just fixed up only gets used when i got a itching to go real fast

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