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  1. #1
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    When is "too much" really too much?

    Hello everyone!

    As a newbie, I would appreciate some input on the following subject...

    I'm a 6ft 290lb newbie commuting Clydesdale (sorta like a travelling wilbury sans the talent and with more weight! ) Three months ago, I decided to live as car-free as possible and went out and bought a budget bicycle which is used to get to work and also commute locally. Initially I was planning on getting a really descent bike, but decided to buy something cheaper because I'm in the process of finding a new apartment and my current one doesn't have a safe place to store the bike, secondly I wasn't sure I'd be able to actually become a commuter.


    Here's the bike when I purchased it without all the extras.

    Here's the question: After purchasing the bike, I've had to add a number of items deemed necessary for my convenience and safety. I know I'm pushing the limits of the bike with my 290lbs, but how much is too much when it comes to add-on's before the thing starts flying apart?



    Here's a list of items added, or already on the bike itself...

    Metal fenders (came with the bike)
    Rear metal rack - / / -
    Plastic chain guard - / / -
    Reflectors/stock lights - / / -
    Classic bell - / / -
    Front xenon light along with led backup
    Rear 9-led light
    Budget frame mounted pump
    Onguard Rottweiler bike lock
    Dual 28-liter rear panniers mostly half filled with light objects
    Frame pouch/pannier that hold some basic tools, wallet, cellphone

    ...also I would like to upgrade my lighting solution since I will be commuting during the night when winter comes; this along with the purchase of a AirZound.


    So far the bikes stood up with minor repairs due to quality, and I've been an extremely careful rider (avoid potholes, never drop to the curb with my weight on it, etc). I' worried that even if I purchase a better quality bike when I eventually move, I'll still be pushing the bikes limits on weight. Except for tearing everything off, what would you suggest as an alternative (special bike, adding some sort of support, etc). Please keep in mind that I'm also loosing weight as well, but at a slow pace.

    Thanks!
    Telly

  2. #2
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    i think you will be fine with whatever bike you decide to go with or even keep the bike you have. The rims are what you need to keep an eye on. IF you start breaking spokes, you might consider going to a stronger rim with more spokes.

    And its great yo uare watching how you right. Thats the key I believe. But if you do have to go over a pot hole or off the curb, stand up on the bike and shift your weight a little back and it will take the preasure off your back wheel.

  3. #3
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Things like the bell, lights etc do have a weight but it's truly trivial compared to the rider, even when the rider isn't heavy. A heavy lock, panniers etc obviously add more weight and if you're pushing (or over) the recommended weight limit you might have issues there.

    As a general rule I reckon a lot of the weight suggestions are more about rear-covering than an immediate danger of breaking. When I weighed 280-290 I used a micro scooter rated up to 220, a reclining deck chair rated for 150 and a bike rated for (I think) 275. I worked on the basis that the bike had a rating for the rider and another for the rider plus load, and I figured I was within the latter rating even if only just. If something is rated for 250 pounds and it breaks under 252 pounds then although you're technically over the rating I think the manufacturer would have a hard time defending themselves, especially if they claimed that you were expected to get on the scale every time you rode the bike in case you'd gained a little weight. If it broke under 350 pounds I think the rider would have a hard time claiming they didn't know they were well over the 250 rating.

  4. #4
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Forgot to say, the only issue I had with my bike was spokes on the rear wheel. I replaced the rear wheel with a stronger one and so far haven't had any trouble with it. The bike is a 2009 mountain bike (Specialized Rockhopper) and although I've never been into the more extreme forms of mountain biking it was perhaps a bit of a big ask to expect everything to take my weight over bumpy trails etc.

  5. #5
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Thanks for your inputs! So far I've taken the best care I could with my wheels, and have had the rear wheel aligned even though my LBS said it was marginal. The shop that sold me the bike commented on it having 28" rims and more spokes than that usually found on most 26" wheels, thus so far I've managed to keep all spokes straight, true and most importantly, in place.

    Tire pressure though is another thing altogether between the shop which sold me the bike, and most LBS... everyone has told me to keep in the top spectrum of the tires pressure range (65psi), while the guy which sold me the bike told me to have it filled to 55psi max.

    While on the subject of tires/pressures... allow me to pick your minds... I've been thinking of using nitrogen to fill up my tires since it's become available at gas stations and isn't very expensive. Any thoughts?


    As for the top spectrum of weight limits on everyday items... so far no problems except for deck chairs (the plastic variety)... I seem to go through them like crazy! lol

  6. #6
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    One obvious question about nitrogen is what you're hoping to gain from using it. I gather the Nissan GTR uses it for some measure of gain but unless your fitness is good enough to be looking to squeeze out every little bit of benefit it's hard to see much benefit there.

    Tyre pressure is the kind of thing that's largely down to preference. A high pressure will typically give a lower rolling resistance at the cost of a harder ride. A lower pressure will give a higher rolling resistance but a smoother ride. Too high and you risk unwanted effects like tubes popping and tyres popping off the rims, too low and you get pinch flats or wreck your rims.

    My mountain bike tyres want something like 35-70psi and I normally run them about 60, the Tricross tyres want 50-100 and I normally run them about 80-90. That's just the way I get a ride I like, depending on the riding you do and your preferences you may find you do something different.

  7. #7
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Obviously I'm not trying to squeeze any performance from my commutes (actually with me, those two words shouldn't even be in the same sentence! lol). Reading on the benefits of nitrogen when used with car tires, I would think that bicycle tires would benefit from the fact that nitrogen is less susceptible in pressure changes, and since bike tires have such a low volume of air, but are filled with much greater pressure than cars, they could benefit from a steadier pressure throughout a ride. Nitrogen is also a larger molecule and is less likely to leak through the walls of the tube/tire than air.

    just a thought... has anyone tried it here on the forum?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Look at my weight.

    You'll be fine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    You may need a new rim.

    If it keeps going out of true, look
    for a really rugged rim.

    However, wheels are made by robots these days and usually need an adjustment after some riding.
    So if it just happens once, it's not something you have to worry about.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  10. #10
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    One obvious question about nitrogen is what you're hoping to gain from using it...
    Truth is we use it all the time - I was so amazed at the marketing of liquid compressed canisters used for paint ball aplications - When looking at one canister it was listed as at least 78% Nitrogen - Hey man - Ain't that what we breath???

    Telly - Just keep on working and tinkering with your bike - The fact that you are adding or removing typical items goes to show you are showing and interest in what you are doing - The bike you are riding today may not look at all like what you will be riding a year form now - So buy fair quality components that you can easily transfer to another bike if needed and know the real power behind your bike is you...

  11. #11
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
    ... So buy fair quality components that you can easily transfer to another bike if needed and know the real power behind your bike is you...
    That's my main objective; to have the best item I can afford which can be transferred to any future bike, Unfortunately it isn't easy getting good quality bike gear in Greece, which means everything has to be bought on the net and shipped from the States or Europe if available. I'm handy with electronics, so if I have some free evenings during autumn/winter, I might tackle building a descent high powered lighting system.


    @late, so far the rims are holding although I do expect them to need truing again since the condition of the roads here are far from great.

    @Mithrandir, thanks for the pep talk and keep up the great work! (from an expat New Yorker to another!)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    One obvious question about nitrogen is what you're hoping to gain from using it. I gather the Nissan GTR uses it for some measure of gain but unless your fitness is good enough to be looking to squeeze out every little bit of benefit it's hard to see much benefit there.
    Car and motorcycle racers use nitrogen because, in theory, it exhibits less pressure change when heated which leads to more consistent performance. For guys who think they can feel a 0.5psi change, this is important. There are a number of other theoretical benefits. For bicycles, nitrogen seems like a waste of money...

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