Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Hello All! Any Suggestions or Advice?

    Hello everyone,

    Hoping to gather some advice/tips from some of the more knowledgeable folks and hopefully find what I'm looking for. Here's some relevant info for anyone that wants to read

    Had to give up biking about 8 years ago due to an injury to my lower back, and it ended up putting me out of commission for longer than anyone (me included) had hoped. In the mean time, I pretty much let myself go. Went from 6'1/330lb to 5'11 (spinal/disc problems, and the fact that they had to remove bone and disc both from my back, I GOT SHORTER!), and a whopping 440lb. I managed to start eating healthy again, kicking alot of soda and fast food, but I still drink my rum and cokes on Friday night. With the top half losing nearly 2 full inches, I decided to give my old Raleigh a go round the other night, with disasterous results. Dropping the bars in front an inch or so would probably work well, but this bike was bought almost 10 years ago with no forethought or any thing relevant to future proof. So I rode around a little bit, and as I suspected, it's just not going to be up to the task... Mainly for its age, lack of maintenance, and every other reason I can think of to promote the idea of going out and buying something brand new and shiny!

    I talked with my neurosurgeon, and she's in the mindset that with my swimming 2 hours a day, bike riding (within my limits) is a good thing, and encouraged me. Now I'm here looking for advice on a good ride. I'm built oddly, with a long trunk, and shorter legs, which made even buying my old Raleigh a VERY difficult thing, simply because of the way I'm built. To shorten things up, I have the time, I hopefully soon will have a ride, and I hope to lose what I unfortunately accumulated thru less than hard work, and laziness.

    My basic questions (I'll be hitting 2 of the local shops later today to gather some info, prices, suggestions from them as well,) and then probably later this week, or Saturday, go, ride some more, and decide what I'll settle with.

    Any specific material/frame composition to stick with?
    Any guidelines for wheels? I know most likely, this will have to be custom/hand done, and there's not really a way to avoid it. But any specific price ranges/etc?
    Any specific suggestion for a bike in general? I looked at the Trek 7.3 and I definitely am NOT turned off, but for someone my size, would it stand up to moderate abuse?

    I was looking initially at a Trek 8.3, for multiple reasons, it seems like it would be a little more durable (more on that in a moment), and a better fit. But I won't know more till I visit a shop this week.

    Onto where I'll be riding it. Luckily Cleveland's blessed with the Metroparks (one of the best places IMHO to go for some really great rides in this part of the country.) About 60 miles of all purpose/paved, and twice as many miles in offroad, bridle (bike friendly unless they changed it), and other trails. For the first bit, I'll probably be sticking to the pavement, but later on down the line, I'll probably be my usual self, and if all's well, venture into the unpaved goodness around. As so, I don't want to end up spending another 600+$ in a couple months because I didn't have the forethought to buy something a bit more "bump friendly" Any hints, advice, questions, or things I should know? Apparently the bike scene's quite different since my last one a decade ago! Any help would be more than welcome.

    Thanks for having me, and thanks for reading my book, lol.

    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    My Bikes
    2011 Trek Madone 5.2 (RIP), 2013 Trek Domane 5.9
    Posts
    719
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi, Chris. I can relate to your back issues. I've had two back surgeries, myself. The second one, in '08, was the reason I got into cycling. Long story short, between the two surgeries, I've had discs at L3, L4, L5 removed, decompressions, fusions, spinal cord work, bone grafts, and titanium rods (2) and screws (6) implanted. As a result, I have permanent Nueropathy in my lower left leg/ foot.

    Speaking from just my own experience, cycling has saved me. It keeps me functional. I hope you have the same results!

    I started on a Trek 7300 about 10 weeks after my last surgery. I weighed about 280ish at the time. I recently upgraded to a road bike (Trek Madone 5.2) about 6 weeks ago and am still making the transition. Love the bike, though.

    Big Boys like us do have to be concerned with wheels, seat posts, etc. I've been fortunate in that, with the exception of an occasional broken spoke, I haven't had too much trouble. I am, however , thinking of going a little more "robust" on the back wheel of the Madone just for my own piece of mind.

    I know that I'm not really giving you any useful info and I apologize. Mainly I just wanted to let you know that I can relate to your back and to, hopefully, give you a bit of encouragement (though it doesn't sound like you really need any). The folks here can provide a wealth of advice for you.

    In the meantime, welcome to the Forums, welcome to a new addicition, and good luck!

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Uncertain
    Posts
    6,380
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There are many on here with experience of riding at your weight, and they may be more help to you than I, a mere 200+ pounder, can manage. But there are a number of things that occur to me.

    You must find a bike shop where you can get some considered advice on what will fit. In the first place, your long torso has got a couple of inches shorter since you bought your last bike. In the second place, your surgery may have changed your posture, flexibility etc. and you need to sit on a few bikes of the right size to establish what sort of riding position works for the new you. So patronise a place where they will spend some time talking about your specific needs and don't allow anyone to just sell you what they happen to want to get out of their stockroom.

    Second, consider what riding you want to do. You mention paved, bridle paths and off-road trails. Do you want something that will handle all of these? The Trek you've been looking at won't handle much of the latter, so you'd really have to think about a mountain bike. I'd suggest you'd only need front suspension since I can't imagine that at this stage you want to do serious downhilling. If you're thinking about paved plus bridle paths, then a hybrid with or without front suspension - if you get suspension make sure you can lock it out for road use - might be the thing. If you only want to go paved, the field is pretty much wide open and restricted only by what you want and feel comfortable on.

    As for frame materials, your weight isn't really an issue, you can build a strong frame out of anything. But most of what you look at is likely to be aluminium or steel. Wheels don't have to be custom, there are some pretty strong wheels out there - the 26" Rigida MTB wheels I have on my touring bike would probably hold you, for example - but some of our heavier members will have more specific advice for you on that.

    I can't really emphasis enough that the most important thing is to be comfortable on the bike. So establishing a riding position that feels right should be your priority, then look for the bikes that meet that need.
    Last edited by chasm54; 07-27-11 at 04:08 AM.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  4. #4
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Mattoon,Ill
    My Bikes
    Trek 7300 Giant Sedona E-Bike Trek Madone 4.5 Surly Cross Check
    Posts
    1,977
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Welcome Chris I used to weigh almost as much as you but didn't get into bicycling until I was down in the 280 range. Like Street Pedaler I started with a Trek 7300 and 5 weeks ago bought a Madone 4.5. I don't really ride off road so a Fx 7.3 would have been a better choice for my first bike. I would have to agree with Chasm54 that if off road is where you want to ride a 26" MTB is going to hold up better. If you get as hooked on riding as most of us here you'll probably have multiple bikes eventually I have 3 now.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Street Pedaler View Post
    Hi, Chris. I can relate to your back issues. I've had two back surgeries, myself. The second one, in '08, was the reason I got into cycling. Long story short, between the two surgeries, I've had discs at L3, L4, L5 removed, decompressions, fusions, spinal cord work, bone grafts, and titanium rods (2) and screws (6) implanted. As a result, I have permanent Nueropathy in my lower left leg/ foot.

    Speaking from just my own experience, cycling has saved me. It keeps me functional. I hope you have the same results!

    I started on a Trek 7300 about 10 weeks after my last surgery. I weighed about 280ish at the time. I recently upgraded to a road bike (Trek Madone 5.2) about 6 weeks ago and am still making the transition. Love the bike, though.

    Big Boys like us do have to be concerned with wheels, seat posts, etc. I've been fortunate in that, with the exception of an occasional broken spoke, I haven't had too much trouble. I am, however , thinking of going a little more "robust" on the back wheel of the Madone just for my own piece of mind.

    I know that I'm not really giving you any useful info and I apologize. Mainly I just wanted to let you know that I can relate to your back and to, hopefully, give you a bit of encouragement (though it doesn't sound like you really need any). The folks here can provide a wealth of advice for you.

    In the meantime, welcome to the Forums, welcome to a new addicition, and good luck!
    Thanks tons. I'm hoping that I can get back into things, as the Metroparks here just make it worth going out. (I'll drive out to Lakewood and walk for a few miles at a time.) Going from post-operative, maybe walking 100-500 feet before pretty much dying not only from being out of shape, but neuropathic pain, makes it dismal... But now, just walking alone, I can push 2-3 miles before I really need to take a break. My hope is to be able to ride the MS150 yet again. Before I turn 40!

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    There are many on here with experience of riding at your weight, and they may be more help to you than I, a mere 200+ pounder, can manage. But there are a number of things that occur to me.

    You must find a bike shop where you can get some considered advice on what will fit. In the first place, your long torso has got a couple of inches shorter since you bought your last bike. In the second place, your surgery may have changed your posture, flexibility etc. and you need to sit on a few bikes of the right size to establish what sort of riding position works for the new you. So patronise a place where they will spend some time talking about your specific needs and don't allow anyone to just sell you what they happen to want to get out of their stockroom.

    Second, consider what riding you want to do. You mention paved, bridle paths and off-road trails. Do you want something that will handle all of these? The Trek you've been looking at won't handle much of the latter, so you'd really have to think about a mountain bike. I'd suggest you'd only need front suspension since I can't imagine that at this stage you want to do serious downhilling. If you're thinking about paved plus bridle paths, then a hybrid with or without front suspension - if you get suspension make sure you can lock it out for road use - might be the thing. If you only want to go paved, the field is pretty much wide open and restricted only by what you want and feel comfortable on.

    As for frame materials, your weight isn't really an issue, you can build a strong frame out of anything. But most of what you look at is likely to be aluminium or steel. Wheels don't have to be custom, there are some pretty strong wheels out there - the 26" Rigida MTB wheels I have on my touring bike would probably hold you, for example - but some of our heavier members will have more specific advice for you on that.

    I can't really emphasis enough that the most important thing is to be comfortable on the bike. So establishing a riding position that feels right should be your priority, then look for the bikes that meet that need.
    Thanks! I do remember, having to make an absurd amount of adjustments/replacements on my old Raleigh, but I could ride all day long, and at the end of the day, zip on home, and I would have no aches, pains, or strains. It was well worth the time and effort to get it just right. In terms of what you bring up, I know for a fact that the surgery and scar tissue altered my posture, and actually increased my flexibility. Trunk movements now are actually better than previous, and at least according to the last go round of crazy tests from the neuro and orthopedics, I have about a 12% increase in flexibility in my lower spine (because of the bone/disc that was removed/altered), I know that when I hopped on my old ride, it was actually somewhat uncomfortable simply from my leaning position. I had to use a lot more muscle to maintain my position, but that wasn't an issue. Try 3+ years of intense physical therapy focused on your core muscles, wow do you feel different after that.

    As for the riding, I should probably be a bit more specific, not true off road, oh god no. I like my pain level as it is now (almost nonexistent), and want to keep it that way, merely that the bridle trails here, tend to be, well, less maintained than the multipurpose and bike trails, and as such, are going to be a lot more tore up, rutted, washed out in some places, and in a few instances (even had this back 10+ years), completely trashed, and I'll end up having to cut through dried marsh, fields, and such, in order to get around. Won't be doing any hard downhill or off road, thats for sure.

    And yeah, the biggest thing is comfort. Luckily some of the smaller shops locally are not only patient, but incredibly helpful. The place I got my Raleigh from 10 years ago is even still in business, and that's my first stop. They were so helpful, I'll probably grace them with my presence this morning for a huge round of Q&A.

    Thanks again for the tips. My quest shall now begin!

    Chris

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Minor Updates!

    Okay, so been to a bunch of bike shops, and I guess the quality of service differs greatly with local shops! The first one (Where i bought my old Raleigh) was of no help, new staff, new management, and all they were like "oh, here's a Trek, 7100, looks about the right height. It's $389.00, would you like to use our lay-away plan ?" Oh, well, we need your License, a credit card, and you have to provide a helmet for liability purposes. Well! I'll be back tomorrow then, its late in the day and I don't feel like coming back all the way out here tonight in rush hour traffic. The reply? "We'll be able to rent you a helmet for a test ride, its $10.00"... I don't have cash. Oh, we can charge it to your credit card! Bah, I'll just come back some other time, or maybe not at all. Off I went!

    Day two was actually more productive. Visited Eddy's bike shop in Cleveland, and the sales guy actually listened to what I said, and was incredibly helpful for the most part. I ended up riding like 7 different bikes that day, and found a few were actually more comfortable than I thought they would be. A moderately comfy saddle, and higher bars, made for a much better ride than I have EVER been used to. Ended up liking the Trek Navigator 2.0 a whole lot, and with minor adjustments at the shop, after a few rides around the building and on the side street near the shop, I figured this one might work. One worrying thing though, the guy at the shop had no ideas on why there was a creaking noise in the back. I know why! That wheel probably did not like me, hahaha. Talked about upgrading it a little bit, and he was pretty clueless. One of the mechanics was alot more helpful, but hinted at it might be upwards of 300-500 for a decent wheel set, in addition to the 459 for the bike. Ow! But it still was a very comfy ride, and easy to enjoy it without pain/discomfort.

    Off to Edge, they were incredibly helpful. Found a Jamis Explorer 2.0, completely not familiar with the name, but probably the best ride I found yet. Comfortable, even standard the bike took my weight, and my lower body strength, no creaking or any odd noises... But the back end felt really really squishy when it was bearing my full weight. Again though, some folks there had no idea on upgrading the wheel set, or much of anything. Pretty much the mentality "Hey, who cares if you're a big guy, today's bikes are made to handle almost everything!" That worries me.

    Today's adventures landed me at Fairview Cycle, and ironically again looking at a Jamis Explorer 2.0. The guy there was incredibly helpful, and sort of was trying to find out my weight, and I just flat out told him. All he could say is I didn't think that high, but that's okay. We partner with a guy that can build a set of wheels that will handle you with no problems! It'd be about 200+$ more, and he warned me of the weight. Got me all straightened out, figured on a good size, and such. They had to go grab one from stock and assemble it, so I won't be able to give it a good go through till Thursday, but if it is anywhere as awesome as the one I rode earlier in the week, hey! So, in the end, I am looking at bout 439$ + the 200$ for the wheels, on something that hopefully will give me hours on end of enjoyment once again, and a lot more comfort than my old Raleigh. For a moment, I thought about using the old wheels off my Raleigh, but I don't want to inherit more problems with a brand new bike.

    So, if all goes well, Thursday I'll know for sure if I'll be going with the Jamis, unless I find out something is majorly wonky with their bikes or something drastic. So if anyone knows anything about em, please feel free to fill me in!

    Thanks, and hopefully I'll post some pics of my new ride come Thursday! (Going to make one more stop tomorrow, to see if anything there interests me too.)

    ~ Chris

  7. #7
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Mattoon,Ill
    My Bikes
    Trek 7300 Giant Sedona E-Bike Trek Madone 4.5 Surly Cross Check
    Posts
    1,977
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You're going at this a lot smarter than I did. Keep the updates coming.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Thanks!

    Haha, thanks. Well, the downside to this, is I have always been a cautious shopper. I hate spending money, and I hate spending money needlessly even more!

    Anyways, talked to another local place, and they had the 2011 Jamis Explorer 2.0 (18" sized), and 26" on it (some odd heavy duty wheelset) for another customer. I got the honor of taking it for a spin after talking to em on the phone. I think I have no complaints, other than the squisy saddle thats on its own shock absorber, will be a nuisance for me, but luckily, thats an easy fix I'll once again though, know absolutely for sure thursday, unless something good comes up tomorrow! But if anyones got ideas, please let me know!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •