Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Obesity, Muscle Strength, and Gearing

    I am looking to get a more Road oriented flatbar / finess / commuter bike. There are a lot of different choices out there and I am looking for opinions on a few things.

    I currently ride a low end Comfort Specialized Expedition bike. I commute 7 miles from Spring to Fall on it generally at least 3 to 4 times a week. Some 15 mile weekend rides, etc. I was 370 pounds when I started on it. I am close to 310 now. My main complaint is not having enough gearing to go faster on flat and downhills. I think top speed is around 18-20mph according to my bike computer. What I DO like is having the OPTION to go up hills maybe max 20% grade in the lowest gear possible seated. (although I take most hills in a higher gear standing. I am obese but I think I have created some decent muscles sets for getting myself and 35+lb bike and backpack up hills.

    Tire/Wheels - 26x1.95 wheels.
    Casette -Shimano MFHG-37, 7-speed, 13-34t mega range
    Chain Rings - 42S/34S/24S
    Hub - Shimano FH-RM30S, cassette, 32h, QR

    I am looking hard at the GT Tachyon 2.0. Obviously with 700cc x32 wheels I know it will feel really fast and probably be amazing on flat and downhills, but what about steep hills... Is the lowest gear to heavy?

    It obviously has more road bike oriented gearing with a FSA Omega Triple 50/39/30t rings.

    Do you think I might be walking this bike up hills?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    9,866
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    The chainring you're looking at offers you a higher gear (50T vs 42T) which will let you go faster on the flat, or pedaling down a hill. What that means, is that you can replace the 11-25 cassette it comes with (if this is accurate) something that gets you more teeth. A 12-28 might be a good choice, although you could get even lower than that. If you're buying the bike from a local bike shop, they'll probably buy the cassette on the bike from you, which makes replacing it really cheap.

    For what it's worth (probably not much), I don't like FSA cranks. The Omega I had didn't shift especially well (front shifting only, obviously) and wore through chains a lot more quickly than is reasonable. The chain wear isn't only because of the cranks, though.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  3. #3
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Upland Ca
    My Bikes
    Lemond Chambery/Cannondale R-900/Trek 8000 MTB/Burley Duet tandem
    Posts
    20,031
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    3 things,

    1. your gear is not stopping you from doing 20 mph+. I've taken my MTB, knobby tires up to 24 on the flats while holding for a while keeping up with some roadies. Learn to spin more/faster. My big ring on the MTB is a 42 and I'd bet I wasn't maxed out in the back. You'll gain some speed but I bet you can do 20+ with the gerars you currently. Heck, I hold 21-22 pretty easy on the flats with my 39 ring on my roadie, but thats a roadie. I only say this cause some people think they need a big ring to go fast.

    2. Get some slick style tires maybe 1.25 rather than knobbies, if you haven't already, you'll gain some speed that way too.

    3. Don't think falt bar roaides are mro comfortable than a bike with drop bars. Like myself I ride the hoods 95% of the time which gives you nearly the same feel as a flat bar except that I find it more comfortable caue my wrists are at a more natural angle similar to bar ends which most flat bar riders end up adding for comfort.

    Drops offer more hand positions. One is close to the stem while sitting up or climbing. flat bars are limited because the components take up much of the bar space. Many flat bar riders (not all) end up going with drops in the end, there is a reason you see far more drop setups than flat bars.

    Because you have drop bars does not mean you have to ride in the drops. You ride where you are comfortable and drop bars offer more positions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    San Francisco
    My Bikes
    Trek 820, Specialized Sirrus Elite
    Posts
    171
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    "you are my new hero"

    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    What I DO like is having the OPTION to go up hills maybe max 20% grade in the lowest gear possible seated. (although I take most hills in a higher gear standing. I am obese but I think I have created some decent muscles sets for getting myself and 35+lb bike and backpack up hills.
    nazran, you are my new hero. How long did it take you to graduate to the 20% grade hills? and what is the longest distance you have covered in a day?

    Gary

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    At 370 I rode for about 3 months at night just trying to build any kind of riding muscle and endurance in said muscles. Then after three months I just started commuting to work the same path every day 14 miles round trip. I took the hill on day 1 of the commute in gear 1 spinning my legs fast (looking goofy I am sure) as they could go so I could keep forward momentum. I have never ridden more than 30 miles at a time.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Mr Beanz,

    I could be wrong on my speed... I don't think I have a good bike computer (walmart cough) My Phone GPS running exercise app states 20mph too...

    It sounds like you are discouraging me from getting a flatbar fitness/hybrid/comfort/whatever type of bike? Do you think it is a waste of money?

    It just seemed like a logical next step up. Should I go to true road bike?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    9,866
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Road bikes are great for riding on the road. And I agree with Beanz that drop bars are more comfortable ... but I would have disagreed very strongly the first few months I had drop bars. Once you get used to them, they offer more "positions" for your hands and back, and moving between them is a good way to keep your muscles fresh on longer rides. Also, he's right about the more neutral wrist position.

    On the other hand, they're more expensive, and the way you sit on one isn't for everybody. It's definitely worth a test ride, though.

    You can make the learning curve easier if you get cross brakes (not suicide levers!), because then you can ride the bike as if it were a hybrid, but that adds some cost.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  8. #8
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Upland Ca
    My Bikes
    Lemond Chambery/Cannondale R-900/Trek 8000 MTB/Burley Duet tandem
    Posts
    20,031
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Road bikes are great for riding on the road. And I agree with Beanz that drop bars are more comfortable ... but I would have disagreed very strongly the first few months I had drop bars. Once you get used to them, they offer more "positions" for your hands and back, and moving between them is a good way to keep your muscles fresh on longer rides. Also, he's right about the more neutral wrist position.
    +1 ...you could also look for a good used roadie, maybe cheaper but might expect to do some repairs (maybe). If you got the money, go new.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    +1 ...you could also look for a good used roadie, maybe cheaper but might expect to do some repairs (maybe). If you got the money, go new.
    I've got about $750 ~ $1000

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts
    2,955
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    My main complaint is not having enough gearing to go faster on flat and downhills. I think top speed is around 18-20mph according to my bike computer.
    Running 26 x 1.9 mountain bike tires 42x13 should be a 25 MPH cruising gear and 32+ MPH sprinting assuming the terrain/wind/your body are up for that. You just need to learn to pedal faster.

    I am looking hard at the GT Tachyon 2.0. Obviously with 700cc x32 wheels I know it will feel really fast and probably be amazing on flat and downhills, but what about steep hills... Is the lowest gear to heavy?

    It obviously has more road bike oriented gearing with a FSA Omega Triple 50/39/30t rings.
    That's a personal question that only you can answer dependent on how much power you can put out for various lengths of time, how steep and long your hills are, what happens to your fatigue when you're forced to pedal unreasonably slow due to lack of gears.

    A test ride when your legs are fatigued from yesterday's ride would be simplest.

    Next best would be to compare with your current gearing.

    700x35 tires (add the 622 beat seat diameter + 35mm * 2) are about 5% bigger around than 1.9 x 26 (559mm bead seat, 50mm * 2) so its stock 30x25 low gear is approximately equal to 24 x 21 with your mountain bike tires.

    1.05 * 25 teeth on your new cassette / 30 teeth on your new small ring * 24 teeth on your current small ring = 21.

    A Shimano 13-34 cassette runs 13-15-17-20-24-29-34.

    So if you can get up your hills OK using your 4th cog and small ring you'll do fine on the new bike. Or using your second biggest (29) with your 34 middle ring.

    Also note that you can swap the front small ring (a 28 will shift well and as small as a 24 will fit but you'll probably want a chain catcher) and rear cassette (cassettes ending with 28-34 tooth big cogs are possible) although an especially large cassette may dictate switching to a mountain bike derailleur.

    As a foot note, I'd skip the flat bar. Drop bars are more comfortable noting that people usually ride on the brake hoods which are sortof where mountain bike bar ends are only they're shaped more anatomically, have padding, and you can operate both brake and shift levers from that position. You can also ride on the tops when climbing or drinking or the curve next to that for something a little different.

    You want bigger tires than you can fit on a racing frame, and can get a much lower gear on a triple than a compact double so you probably want to look at road bikes that are more touring oriented.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 01-27-12 at 02:35 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Thomaston, Georgia
    My Bikes
    2013 Raleigh Clubman, 2010 Schwinn LeTour, 2012 Raleigh Sojourn, 2011 Schwinn Voyaguer 7
    Posts
    215
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My experience

    I'm 5'11"

    At 280 lbs I started riding a comfort/hybrid bike with a very upright seating position and a 40T crank with 14-24T Megarange. I can pedal that bike up to 24mph but have noticed severe discomfort in my right knee when doing so.

    At 250 lbs I replace the mustache handle bars on a 1983 Schwinn World Tourist ($125 Craiglist buy) with flat bars from a Craigslist parts bike. The WT was a road double crank 52/39 with a 5 speed 12-28 in the back. The 39 crank and 28 cassette would get me up hills but it was not comfortable and I could not feel secure when standing to pedal. Still I did a 50 mile ride with this configuration and was starting to average about 14mph on most of my rides.

    At 210 lbs I replaced the flat bars with drop bars (first from a donor and then this Christmas I did a complete rebuild with bar end shifters). Once I went to drop bars I knew there was no looking back. I also changed the gearing to a 52/40 crank with a 7 speed 14-34T Megarange cassette. On flat ground with little wind I can comfortable pedal 25mph in the big chainring. My average speeds are approaching 16mph on 20-30 mph rides and I have completed one Century and one Metric with an average speed of 14.5mph (these were solo rides). This morning I hit a 17.8mph average speed on my 21 mile commute (980ft elev. gain) and this is a Personal Best to date!

    If you have survived reading this far then I'll finally make my point. As your fitness level increases (weight loss and strength develops) you will most likely develop a taste for a road bike. I was fortunate that I was able to evolve my bike to my evolving fitness level. Might you be able to do the same? BTW, my road bike is still set-up for Endurance riding (bars higher than the seat) and shortly I'll be buy slightly more aggressive road bike.

    Big Red Riser Bars Web.jpg
    RUSA #8269

  12. #12
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    San Jose (Willow Glen) Ca
    My Bikes
    '89 Miyata 1400, '82 nishiski (current utilty/commuter project)
    Posts
    3,218
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    my prejudice it to go road bike with drops bars my experience is that flat handlebars cause lots of pain...ymmv.
    You might initially want to put the stem up a little higher than some of the road bikes come..... have the top of the stem and the seat at equal height.

    I have found that the between aerodynamics and (my best theory) biomechanical positions, I go 2 - 3 mph faster, mininum, on my road bike than on my upright commuter bike, with the same effort.

    bottom line no matter what, ride and have fun.
    '82 Nishiski commuter/utility
    '83 Torpado Super Strada ... cafe commuter
    '89 Miyata 1400
    Soma rush Fixie
    '78 Univega gran turismo (son's Fixie/SS)
    06 Haro x3 (son's bmx)
    Electra cruiser (wife's bike)

    looking for: De Rosa 58cm ELOS frame and fork internal cable routing

  13. #13
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    9,866
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    I've got about $750 ~ $1000
    Where are you? I ask because if you tell us that, somebody might find the time to look through your Craigslist and make suggestions.

    Also, have you ever done any mechanical work on a bike before?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
    My Bikes
    86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.
    Posts
    6,811
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    On your current bike-
    Get some 26X 1.25" high pressure (100 psi) tires.
    That'll give you 2 MPH easy, just from the reduced rolling resistance.

    Can you handle a 28T largest cog?
    IF so, swap the cassette for a 12-28.
    That's about 8% higher gearing at the top.

    20% or 20 degrees? There's a lot of difference between the 2.

  15. #15
    Guest
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Grid Reference, SK
    My Bikes
    I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
    Posts
    3,769
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Swapping to thinner tires will effectively drop the gears down slightly. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just that it might go counter to the gearing objective.

    Also, that bike is likely equipped with a freewheel, not a cassette, and so the smallest possible gear on the rear is likely a 13 tooth, so there is no improvement to be had there. However changing cranks might work.
    Normally for the 'I want a bigger gear to get a higher top speed' threads the correct answer is 'learn to spin faster.' However, in this case, if the OP is going 20 mph he is likely already spinning at 80 or 90 rpm, so there is only a little room for improvement there to meet the oft repeated standard of 100 rpm.

    So two possible solutions: Swap to a crank with a larger big ring (I assume the stock crank does not have replaceable rings), or get a new bike. This is one of those rare occasions where the bike really is holding the rider back, even if only a bit. In my opinion, a new bike with narrower (~32mm or so) higher pressure tires and bigger gears might give the OP a whole new level of motivation. Either sell the specialized of keep it as a grocery/commuting/rain/loaner bike.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My Bikes
    Specialized Expedition 08
    Posts
    26
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So if you can get up your hills OK using your 4th cog and small ring you'll do fine on the new bike. Or using your second biggest (29) with your 34 middle ring.
    Drew, I think this best sums up what I was originally asking, if I understand correctly. I'm not sure where this devolved in to me just swapping parts on my current bike. I am getting a new bike regardless. I think that if push came to shove I could get up my hardest hill on my current bike using 4th cog on small chain ring. The 1st cog on the small chain ring I rarely use unless I am absolutely wiped out. I typically take my tough hills with 3rd cog and small ring. With a little bit more endurance and strength and my weight loss + maybe 15 pounds less bike weight. I can do it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    My Bikes
    Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
    Posts
    4,995
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    However, in this case, if the OP is going 20 mph he is likely already spinning at 80 or 90 rpm, so there is only a little room for improvement there to meet the oft repeated standard of 100 rpm.
    Pedaling at 90-100rpm is a cruising cadence for many. If the OP were pedaling at 100rpm using his 42-13 combo he'd be traveling at 25mph. With a little work, 120rpm should be possible and yields a speed of 30mph. That's a pretty decent speed for anything except a sprint race...

  18. #18
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Upland Ca
    My Bikes
    Lemond Chambery/Cannondale R-900/Trek 8000 MTB/Burley Duet tandem
    Posts
    20,031
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nazran View Post
    I'm not sure where this devolved in to me just swapping parts on my current bike.
    It devolved at the point where you said your current bike didn't allow you to do over 20, which is not true. But hey, I say go for a full on road bike myself!

  19. #19
    Guest
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Grid Reference, SK
    My Bikes
    I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
    Posts
    3,769
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    ... a speed of 30mph. That's a pretty decent speed for anything except a sprint race...
    ... or going down a hill - but that doesn't seem likely

    Make no mistake - 42/13 with a 26" wheel is a very small top gear.

    To the OP - the GT bike you mentioned is a good one, and there are many many others. The model/brand/components are actually much less important than the fit of the bike - you need to be comfortable riding it.

    The Specialized bike you have is set up to have a lower top gear than just about any other hybrid or comfort bike out there. But a bike with narrower high er pressure tires will roll much easier and you will likely be noticably faster as soon as you swap. Just pay attention to what gears come stock on your new bike, and check it all out using sheldon brown's gear calculator...

    Also, please keep in mind the comments made here about keeping your cadence high... spinning your legs at a higher rpm is easier on your body and gives a better aerobic workout than mashing at a slow cadence - although it sounds like you are keeping your feet moving pretty fast already.

    Good luck!

  20. #20
    Guest
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Grid Reference, SK
    My Bikes
    I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
    Posts
    3,769
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    But hey, I say go for a full on road bike myself!
    It is certainly worth a test ride! I think most people would be amazed at how fast and efficient cycling can feel when they try out a true road bike (even a very basic one), especially when most of their cycling experience is on a relatively slow and heavy comfort bike (although they are excellent bikes for most of the riding they are used).

  21. #21
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Upland Ca
    My Bikes
    Lemond Chambery/Cannondale R-900/Trek 8000 MTB/Burley Duet tandem
    Posts
    20,031
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    It is certainly worth a test ride! I think most people would be amazed at how fast and efficient cycling can feel when they try out a true road bike (even a very basic one), especially when most of their cycling experience is on a relatively slow and heavy comfort bike (although they are excellent bikes for most of the riding they are used).
    +1000

  22. #22
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
    My Bikes
    86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.
    Posts
    6,811
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    ......Also, that bike is likely equipped with a freewheel, not a cassette, and so the smallest possible gear on the rear is likely a 13 tooth, so there is no improvement to be had there... .
    According to the link he posted, it's a free hub. (RM-30)

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    320
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Depending on how much belly you have, you may not be able to stay down on the drops for long due to clearance issues with thighs...six months of regular commuting solved that for me. On gears: on our tandem we run a 24-39-52 And an 11-34 x 9 in the rear. Note that this exceeds the specified take up on an SGS derailier and the gaps in front exceed 12 teeth. I can't say the front woks great, but it does work. I don't think you can get much wider gear range on a derailier bike without some custom components... Like a quad crankset.
    Cars made me fat. Now cars want to make me flat.

Posting Permissions

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