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  1. #1
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    Another fat guy looking to get back into riding

    Found this forum while researching bikes. Lots of great information and some very inspirational members. Im 6'3 and currently 475 with my highest weight being 609 back in May 2007. Dropped over 100 pounds right after that and unfortunately have yet to finish the job. Since the first of the year I have learned to live with better eating habits and choices, even losing a pound or two per week most of the time. But I need exercise. For the past few years, most of my exercise has come from swimming and weights. But Im really interested in getting back into riding a bicycle. Especially since there are so many paved greenways in my area. I rode bicycles as a kid and teenager almost daily just because it was fun. I can't imagine something I did for fun as a kid would not be something I can get into as an adult for exercise.

    So thats how I found this place. Now I need a bike. Were my pockets deep enough, i would probably have one of these. http://www.supersizedcycles.com/Heav...utybicycle.htm
    This one is more in my price range but I fear my height may make it feel too small. http://www.supersizedcycles.com/Zize...zizedatlas.htm
    Ive also looked at the Worksman bikes but have the same concern for them as ive read on here that being over 6 feet might not make it a comfortable choice.

    Thanks to information Ive learned lurking this forum, Im also considering trying to find a used Specialized Hardrock or Expedition, having some rims made for it, buying a more comfy seat, and swapping out the front shocks for a solid fork since I assume my weight would quickly wear out a suspension.

    This forum has helped my research tremendously. I would appreciate any suggestions if you have them.

  2. #2
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum. Sounds as if you've made some great strides in losing the weight. I can't make any suggestions for a bike that would fit you. If it were me I'd go into a LBS and ask them what they would have in mind. Perhaps they could call the manufacturer and get any weight limits for what they sell.
    I don't see why a mountain bike wouldn't work for you. Good luck and keep us posted on what you find.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    Start walking, a lot. You'll start building some endurance up for when you get your bike. What is your budget? That will help us make recommendations.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Almost any frame should hold your weight, and I'd probably forget specialized bikes in your shoes, to have more options. You're going to have trouble with wheels, though.

    You're right not to want a suspension fork. I don't know whether you'll wear one out, but it'll "rob you" of a lot of the energy you're trying to use to move the bike forward, and instead use it to push your front end up and down... Plus, it can make sharp turns feel weird.

    If your budget is around $1,000, you can probably get the most out of it buying a used bike (if you can judge its quality) in the $600 to $700 ballpark, and putting the rest toward wheels. Don't replace the wheels immediately, though; get your money out of them, until they're of no use to you anymore. Put a little less into the bike itself if you want other accessories for it - you mentioned a new saddle, and lights and a speedometer are good to have.

    Congratulations on the weight loss! You're right - bikes are tremendous fun.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  5. #5
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    If I were starting out again Id look at the Trek Fx series. Good, strong bikes with high regards here on the forums. Id also look to Craigslist. Last year I picked up a loaded (fenders, racks etc) Trek FX 7.3 Disc with literally less than 50 miles on it for around $300. The gear ratios are excellent and the build quality the same.

    Example: Here's one for $350 in the Seattle area - where are you?

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bar/2863112703.html

    Good luck and welcome!

  6. #6
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Post where you live if you're comfortable doing it. Someone here may know a good clyde-friendly bike shop in your area or maybe even have a line on a used ride

  7. #7
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    I started riding at 365 pounds. I bought two Giant bikes, a mtn bike for commuting to work and a road bike. Both wheels I needed to go with DT spokes, 36 spokes and a 4 cross thread. Worked like a charm.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies. I live in Raleigh NC.

  9. #9
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    Before I go the LBS route I have been looking on Craigslist etc for a used bike just to get me started and make sure this is what I want to do. Another option I was just looking at is something like this. Cafe Express 8 in a 22", http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_express8.htm Even with upgrading the rims and tires for my weight I would be in it for less than $1,000.

  10. #10
    gbg
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    Quote Originally Posted by bassjones View Post
    Start walking, a lot. You'll start building some endurance up for when you get your bike. What is your budget? That will help us make recommendations.
    +1
    While biking is fun, for purely weight reduction purposes walking/jogging/running is superior. Weight bearing burns way more calories. For time vs results walk, for fun bike.

  11. #11
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    I don't walk all that often but rather I swim laps at a local fitness center (though not as often as I should). My reason for swimming over walking is with the help of a dirt bike and ATV over the years Ive been through a broken leg with screws, broken ankle with screws, a broken foot and a knee that is simply gonna give me problems until I get the weight back off. Those injuries all happened between the ages of 15 and 22 and I feel them now that im over 30 and obviously because of my weight. The swimming not only impacts the bones and joints less, I feel it is an all around better aerobic workout than walking anyway.

  12. #12
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Good to see you wanting to diversify your program. I weight half as much as I used to and the only thing I can add is to get consistent. Maybe you are but you said "not as often as I should" Finding a mix of things you can do 6 days a week is better for you than pushing hard once a week but you probably already realize that. Look out phlydude another young wippersnapper gunning to push us down the list of biggest losers.

  13. #13
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Find yourself an older chrome-moly MTB frame like something from the 1980-90s Trek 800 series, Giant Yukon, or Specialized Hardrock with a rigid chro-mo fork. Get some good quality MTB or touring wheels designed for loaded touring, usually 36-40 spoke with double-wall rims and mid-level or higher hubs. If you need a seatpost, stem, or handlebar pick alloy units designed for hard offroad use or downhill as they are built for strength rather than weight savings. A wider touring or hybrid tire and thornproof tube will complete what you should need.

    The older chro-mo frames and forks are a bit heavy, but as tough as they come, and fairly cheap to come by. Put a decent amount into wheels and tires as that is a more likely source of problems. Any chro-mo or heavy alloy seatpost will be fine. You should be able to put one together for under $500 as long as the starter bike comes with decent drivetrain and brakes.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Hi DLine,

    First, welcome to the forum! And congratulations on your success.

    Now, as far as a bike goes, I had a conversation with my bike shop a few years ago about bikes for riders over 400 pounds. My shop's recommendation was the step above entry level Trek mountain bike, the 3000 series. They felt the entry level 820 would work too, but the thought the better components on the 3000 series were worth the small additional price. Only drawback is the suspension fork, which you should lock out.

    Other bikes you might consider are the Trek Navigator 'comfort bike' (lock out the suspension and replace the suspension seat post with a straight post) and the Specialized Hardrock, which was once the "house bike" of the Clyde Forum.

    As stated, you will probably eventually have problems with the wheels. Use the stock wheels until you can't anymore, and then replace them with something built for your weight, whatever it is then.

    In the meantime, find joy every day. You have a lot to be joyful about.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Ive been looking at all the classified sites for my area this morning. Ive found a few hardtail mountain bikes with a large enough frame for my height. Most however have a front suspension. If the front suspension has a lockout, will that suffice or should I still plan to swap it for a rigid fork?
    Like i said, this bike is just to get me going. If this works for me I plan to upgrade later. If I don't have any luck with the local classifieds, Im still considering something like this and upgrading the rims and tires. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ht_new_xii.htm

    On a side note, Ive noticed a lot of the classifieds have a similar story. Example: "Bike purchased new in 2008. Ridden 4 times". I certainly hope I don't continue that trend.

  16. #16
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    lockout function works nicely. I have that on my mtn bike commuter but it is key to have the lockout ability.

    My personal two cents: start off slow when riding. Its not about the miles nor the speed at first (or at all really). Dont compare yourself now to when you were younger. I rode a lot when I was 16 and could do a century on a whim but now I am older and fatter. When I started, I went about a mile and a half. Thought it was at least 20 miles and nope.... it wasent. But from July to the 31st of dec of last year, I logged in 1600 miles. I am still amazed.

    You might consider a bike computer. Just something that has speed and miles. Track your miles and you will see something amazing!

    Stick with it bro. We have all been there.

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLine View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Ive been looking at all the classified sites for my area this morning. Ive found a few hardtail mountain bikes with a large enough frame for my height. Most however have a front suspension. If the front suspension has a lockout, will that suffice or should I still plan to swap it for a rigid fork?
    Like i said, this bike is just to get me going. If this works for me I plan to upgrade later. If I don't have any luck with the local classifieds, Im still considering something like this and upgrading the rims and tires. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ht_new_xii.htm

    On a side note, Ive noticed a lot of the classifieds have a similar story. Example: "Bike purchased new in 2008. Ridden 4 times". I certainly hope I don't continue that trend.
    Hmm. When I had a Trek Navigator, the shop got a stronger spring in the fork to make it lockout more securely, but still, the lockout was never very good. I don't know how effective the lockout on mountain bikes will be.

    The reason those bikes gathered dust in the garage is that people bought them as magic weight loss pills. You aren't doing that. So if you want to ride, you'll ride. And from your posts here I think you do.

  18. #18
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Finding a MTB without a front suspension and big enough is asking a lot. Big enough far outweighs any other consideration. My Sedona is a Large which roughly compares to a 20". I'm 6'2" and I wish the LBS had an XL to tryout. He sai it's more like a 22.5" so It might have been a little on the large size.I think the rode 4 time deal is that they expected cycling to be as easy as it was when they were 10 years old and weighted 60 lbs. I rather like the idea that this is something that takes dedication. Even though I'd been doing 30-40 minutes/day at the Y for a year, riding 2 miles on a bike was a big deal.

    Another point is that very few of us that have over a season's riding in are still riding that first bike. We probably still have it but now ride something else most of the time. We also suffer from N+1.

  19. #19
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I think the rode 4 time deal is that they expected cycling to be as easy as it was when they were 10 years old and weighted 60 lbs. I rather like the idea that this is something that takes dedication. Even though I'd been doing 30-40 minutes/day at the Y for a year, riding 2 miles on a bike was a big deal.
    My experience fits with this. About six years ago when I bought my "comfort" bike I did not process the fact that I was sedentary, totally out of shape, and lived in a town of steep hills. I remembered the fun of biking and wanted it back. Instead of fun it was close to impossible. It took retirement and moving away from the city of hills for biking to become possible for me. And it took dedication to find the fun again. The first few months were difficult. I had a bike that didn't fit. I couldn't ride very far. I had to walk some very small hills and I had to ride in the easiest few gears almost all the time. My butt hurt. My hands went numb. My neck hurt. I worried about having a heart attack. I had to do other exercises to be able to bike. But somehow the time was right for me and riding has become one of the greatest pleasures of my life. And the pleasure is substantially enhanced by the fact that I drag along 1/3 less weight.
    Every living thing is a GMO.

  20. #20
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLine View Post
    I don't walk all that often but rather I swim laps at a local fitness center (though not as often as I should). My reason for swimming over walking is with the help of a dirt bike and ATV over the years Ive been through a broken leg with screws, broken ankle with screws, a broken foot and a knee that is simply gonna give me problems until I get the weight back off. Those injuries all happened between the ages of 15 and 22 and I feel them now that im over 30 and obviously because of my weight. The swimming not only impacts the bones and joints less, I feel it is an all around better aerobic workout than walking anyway.
    I started with walking and my back bothered me. Swimming really was helpful. Jethro is right, it is good to diversify what you do. As you start riding one thing that really helped me was doing exercises to strengthen my core. It did a lot to improve bike comfort for me and helped strengthen my back as well as my "abs". I've posted this link before, it shows a variety of core exercises you can try: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/core-strength/SM00047 Unfortunately, their slide show starts with the most difficult one first, which I skip because my balance is just not up to it! There are plenty of good beginner core exercises in that slide show.

    My husband rides a Trek Navigator. He bought the bottom of the line one that has only seven speeds and no suspension. It has been a good durable bike for him to start on. The only issue he has had was the need to get a better seat post clamp as the seat would tend to slide down. He was able to find one for cheap as he bought the prior year's model in the spring.
    Every living thing is a GMO.

  21. #21
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLine View Post
    On a side note, Ive noticed a lot of the classifieds have a similar story. Example: "Bike purchased new in 2008. Ridden 4 times". I certainly hope I don't continue that trend.
    How do you think I scored a 3 month old Trek FX 7.3 for $300 - I personally love the trend. Talk about "Shark Tank"

    Dont worry - if the want is there, you will do great. Keep it simple. Start with two to three SCHEDULED local rides that you cant talk yourself out of. Smaller rides but frequent. In the early days, dont get distracted with "buying stuff'. Get your bike and ride it. All the other cool gadgets will come the longer you stick with it. Many new riders have a "honeymoon" period of buying stuff and riding, riding, riding. At some point, there's nothing left to buy and they have set up such a brutal schedule that when they skip a few rides they mentally beat themselves up - and quit.

    Keep it simple and you'll be great!

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Motivational articles for DLine. The subjects are posters here:

    http://journalstar.com/news/local/ar...367ef5cef.html

    http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=265144

  23. #23
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    check out Giant Roams. They have front shocks and the lockout is great. Have the shop put DT spokes in the bike. Switch from nobbies to gatorskin city slicks and if you bum hurts after riding the stock saddle, go with brooks b-17.

    This is what I did. It could work for you too. Just a suggestion. My 2011 Giant Roam was $750 I think.
    Last edited by chefisaac; 02-26-12 at 04:47 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    Both of those were great stories!

    I really like the hybrids that have been mentioned in here. Hopefully his week I can get something. This first bike will most likely be a mountain bike since they seem more readily available used in my area. If by any chance I were to find it overly uncomfortable being hunched over the bars, couldn't I just swap out the stem and/or handlebars to make it ride more like a hybrid/comfort bike? (provided there was enough slack in the cables I suppose)
    Last edited by DLine; 02-26-12 at 02:51 PM.

  25. #25
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLine View Post
    Both of those were great stories!

    I really like the hybrids that have been mentioned in here. Hopefully his week I can get something. This first bike will most likely be a mountain bike since they seem more readily available used in my area. If by any chance I were to find it overly uncomfortable being hunched over the bars, couldn't I just swap out the stem and/or handlebars to make it ride more like a hybrid/comfort bike? (provided there was enough slack in the cables I suppose)
    You probably could. Here I am on a Long-Haul Trucker adapted to my back. Shop put on a massive stem riser:




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