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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-08-12, 12:26 PM   #1
BigScott
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Is a Mountain Bike the right choice for me?

I'm new here and currently looking to purchase a bicycle. I am 6'0 and 284 lbs. I am wanting something fun to ride and will last me a while. My riding will consist of the country roads around where I live. About 25% of the roads are gravel and the rest are paved but mostly in poor shape.

After visiting my local shop, they suggested a mountain bike. I was there to check out both mountain bikes and hybrids. The hybrid was nice but I liked the wider tires of the mountain bike. The 2 mountain bikes that I'm considering are the Trek 3900 disc and the Specialized Hardrock disc. They are at 2 different shops so riding them back-to-back isn't possible although they both feel about the same. I am also open to any other suggestions on bikes as well as styles other than mountain bikes.

My main concern is with the front suspension. Am I going to trash it with my weight? If I'm looking at having to convert to a solid fork am I better off with a hybrid (such as the Trek FX) and switching to wider tires?
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Old 03-08-12, 12:36 PM   #2
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For the type of riding you plan to do, I'd look into cyclocross bikes. Once, a long time ago, a drunk road bike met up with a mountain bike. They enjoyed a long 'walk' at the beach, went out for dinner, and then ducked behind a grove of trees on a hilly back road and went to town, having nasty bike sex with (chain) lube and all that. Nine months later, there were a bunch of itty bitty little baby bikes. The babies took after both their parents, having heavier (read that as stronger) tubes, wider tires, disc brakes, and sportier geometry.

The parent bikes are still very much in love.
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Old 03-08-12, 12:41 PM   #3
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For the type of riding you plan to do, I'd look into cyclocross bikes. Once, a long time ago, a drunk road bike met up with a mountain bike. They enjoyed a long 'walk' at the beach, went out for dinner, and then ducked behind a grove of trees on a hilly back road and went to town, having nasty bike sex with (chain) lube and all that. Nine months later, there were a bunch of itty bitty little baby bikes. The babies took after both their parents, having heavier (read that as stronger) tubes, wider tires, disc brakes, and sportier geometry.

The parent bikes are still very much in love.

Too funny! i almost wet myself reading that!!!!

I agree whole heartedly, if you can afford it go cyclocross as you get into it more you will be looking (like myself) for something more roadish... and then gotta find more room inthe stable for yet another bike...

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Old 03-08-12, 12:45 PM   #4
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Skip the hybrid idea.

The fork WILL hold up to your weight without issue.

The idea to look into a cyclocross bike is a very good one
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Old 03-08-12, 12:46 PM   #5
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For the type of riding you plan to do, I'd look into cyclocross bikes. Once, a long time ago, a drunk road bike met up with a mountain bike. They enjoyed a long 'walk' at the beach, went out for dinner, and then ducked behind a grove of trees on a hilly back road and went to town, having nasty bike sex with (chain) lube and all that. Nine months later, there were a bunch of itty bitty little baby bikes. The babies took after both their parents, having heavier (read that as stronger) tubes, wider tires, disc brakes, and sportier geometry.

The parent bikes are still very much in love.
That might be one of the funniest things I've ever read! And thanks for the suggestion, I had no idea such a category of bike existed.
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Old 03-08-12, 12:50 PM   #6
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From you height, would be looking towards a 29er rather than a 26" bike, and from the description of what you are riding on, would look more towards a hybrid, although if looking at Trek, their DS line rather than the FX line. The DS line has wider tires (38mm over the 32 the FX has) so is simiar to an MTB
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Old 03-08-12, 12:59 PM   #7
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Great story Seattle!

I agree that a cross bike sounds quite suitable, but it depends on what you prefer. I'm more partial to road bikes than mountain bikes, so if I lived in an area with poor roads, I'd probably look at a cross bike as a good option. Many Cyclocross bikes also make good tourers and commuters.
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Old 03-08-12, 01:10 PM   #8
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Here's some more on CX bikes. This post won't be as funny as my last, but as a consolation, I'll try to make it more specific in the hopes that that's useful.

Let's start off with a picture of a typical cyclocross bike, and then of some CX races.

[img]http://****************/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/cyclocross-bike-focus.jpg[/img]

Now, they don't all have disc brakes (but discs are wonderful!), and they don't even all have drop bars. We can talk about handlebars later. There are lots of opinions on those. And, whether you go with drops or not, this particular one is set up in an aggressive racer position, which is something you can do ... but don't have to. Ok, that out of the way, let's have a look at how they're meant to be used.



^ It's not that a CX bike is so lame, people don't even ride them. More like, they're made for courses so brutal there are obstacles you have to get off and shoulder the bike over. Like this:



They take abuse and like it.





You don't need smooth (or any other kind of) pavement to ride a CX bike.



I used to take mine on a lot of dirt and gravel trails, go down stairs on it, etc. I could handle deep gravel on 28 mm tires, just barely. I had a bunch of different hand positions, which meant I could stay comfortable on longer rides, stretch my back without having to stop, etc. I could take roads just as well as trails ... and that was really nice, because I'd almost always ride the bike over city streets to get to parks with great trails.

I wouldn't take one on a technical mountain trail. But since you said you'll be doing about 75 % of your riding on crappy paved roads and 25 % on gravel, it's a good option.
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Old 03-08-12, 01:14 PM   #9
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I'm new here and currently looking to purchase a bicycle. I am 6'0 and 284 lbs. I am wanting something fun to ride and will last me a while. My riding will consist of the country roads around where I live. About 25% of the roads are gravel and the rest are paved but mostly in poor shape.

After visiting my local shop, they suggested a mountain bike. I was there to check out both mountain bikes and hybrids. The hybrid was nice but I liked the wider tires of the mountain bike. The 2 mountain bikes that I'm considering are the Trek 3900 disc and the Specialized Hardrock disc. They are at 2 different shops so riding them back-to-back isn't possible although they both feel about the same. I am also open to any other suggestions on bikes as well as styles other than mountain bikes.

My main concern is with the front suspension. Am I going to trash it with my weight? If I'm looking at having to convert to a solid fork am I better off with a hybrid (such as the Trek FX) and switching to wider tires?
Get a road bike.
My son-in-law loved riding his.
You will need 32 or 36 spoke wheels.

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Old 03-08-12, 01:45 PM   #10
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I would also recommend a CX bike. I have a 2011 Specialized Tricross Sport with 700x38 tires on it and it is a gravel grinding machine.
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Old 03-08-12, 03:33 PM   #11
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I would also recommend a CX bike. I have a 2011 Specialized Tricross Sport with 700x38 tires on it and it is a gravel grinding machine.
my LBS has a few they are putting on clearance soon... per the manager (shhh) I have been ogling them every time I stop in to get a tube or something... Hoping and waiting to see how much the clearance price will be...

So you really like it? I really like the look and the ride, just need to sell it to the warden... oops I mean the wife
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Old 03-08-12, 06:18 PM   #12
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I'm thinking about getting a cyclocross bike as well. Being in the great corn and soybean desert, when you ask about them at the LBS generally you get puzzled looks and questions about where you'd actually race them. They're generally over $1000 so the question is where in the Midwest would one actually be able to ride one in the proper size? My guess is that a trip to Chicago would be necessary.
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Old 03-08-12, 08:16 PM   #13
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cyclocross is a great idea. try one, see if you like it. the only sticking point would possibly be price; entry level mountain bike is probably $200+ less than an entry level cyclocross.
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Old 03-08-12, 08:29 PM   #14
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for the type of riding you plan to do, i'd look into cyclocross bikes. Once, a long time ago, a drunk road bike met up with a mountain bike. They enjoyed a long 'walk' at the beach, went out for dinner, and then ducked behind a grove of trees on a hilly back road and went to town, having nasty bike sex with (chain) lube and all that. Nine months later, there were a bunch of itty bitty little baby bikes. The babies took after both their parents, having heavier (read that as stronger) tubes, wider tires, disc brakes, and sportier geometry.

The parent bikes are still very much in love.
lol
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Old 03-09-12, 03:56 AM   #15
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If you like the fatter tires of a MTB, you might not like a cyclocross bike.

But never fear, the constant inbreeding of ideas in the bicycle world has come up with a new category, the drop bar mountain bike: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/fargo/

But a cheap 29er might be the way to get started.

I have a CX bike and love it and all, but if you like fat tires- you really should get a mountain bike.

Of course, some may argue that I've taken this to extremes.
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Old 03-09-12, 04:41 AM   #16
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I'm new here and currently looking to purchase a bicycle. I am 6'0 and 284 lbs. I am wanting something fun to ride and will last me a while. My riding will consist of the country roads around where I live. About 25% of the roads are gravel and the rest are paved but mostly in poor shape.

After visiting my local shop, they suggested a mountain bike. I was there to check out both mountain bikes and hybrids. The hybrid was nice but I liked the wider tires of the mountain bike. The 2 mountain bikes that I'm considering are the Trek 3900 disc and the Specialized Hardrock disc. They are at 2 different shops so riding them back-to-back isn't possible although they both feel about the same. I am also open to any other suggestions on bikes as well as styles other than mountain bikes.

My main concern is with the front suspension. Am I going to trash it with my weight? If I'm looking at having to convert to a solid fork am I better off with a hybrid (such as the Trek FX) and switching to wider tires?
I started life on an MTB (Specialized Rockhopper) and subsequently bought a Specialized Tricross which is a cyclocross bike.

Most of the riding I do these days is on the tricross, as I've tended to gravitate more towards surfaces that are either paved or at least reasonably hard and reasonably smooth. That said if you're talking about rutted gravel and poor quality roads although a cross bike should handle it just fine you might find it more comfortable to ride on a bike with some kind of suspension. There's a path near my home that's slightly rutted gravel - on the MTB I'll ride it at 15-20mph if it's clear (which is most of the time) but on the tricross I'll stick to about 10-12 because much faster than that it feels too juddery for me. The bike will cope, it's just that the rider doesn't like it much.

Another thing to consider is whether any riding you do apart from your local country roads will be on something closer to smooth tarmac or something closer to a twisty path criss-crossed with roots. Again a cross bike will probably handle more than you can right now but a bike with suspension could be more comfortable for you.

As a precaution check your weight against the rating of the bike. When I got my Rockhopper I was slightly over the rated weight for it but within the weight for the rider plus baggage (not sure why they quoted the two separately but they did) so I figured I'd be OK until I lost some weight. At the time I was about the same weight as you.

If disc brakes are important to you I think it's only fairly recently (possibly even this year) that disc brakes appeared on cross bikes. If you're looking at a Hardrock for budgetary reasons (as opposed to a Rockhopper, Stumpjumper etc) you may find a cross bike with disc brakes is outside your budget.
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Old 03-09-12, 09:05 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I really think going with a MTB is the right choice. It's what I was familiar with before and, if I find that a different bike suits me better later, they always seem popular for selling used.

On a side note, I've pretty much narrowed my choices down to the Trek 3900 disc and the Trek 3700 disc. My LBS is big on Trek and I would like to help keep them in business as well as service after the sale. Will a new rider such as myself notice or appreciate the differences enough to warrant the $80 price increase between the two?
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Old 03-09-12, 09:14 AM   #18
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my LBS has a few they are putting on clearance soon... per the manager (shhh) I have been ogling them every time I stop in to get a tube or something... Hoping and waiting to see how much the clearance price will be...

So you really like it? I really like the look and the ride, just need to sell it to the warden... oops I mean the wife
It is the bike I ride the most. I was riding a MTB on gravel, but it was just overkill. The Tricross is faster and for me more comfortable than my MTB. Drop bars seem to be more ergo than flat bars for me (YMMV). The 700x38's I have on it ride very nice. It simply fits my riding style.

I understand the issue of getting a PO# from the wife. Mine is an accountant.
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Old 03-09-12, 09:38 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I really think going with a MTB is the right choice. It's what I was familiar with before and, if I find that a different bike suits me better later, they always seem popular for selling used.

On a side note, I've pretty much narrowed my choices down to the Trek 3900 disc and the Trek 3700 disc. My LBS is big on Trek and I would like to help keep them in business as well as service after the sale. Will a new rider such as myself notice or appreciate the differences enough to warrant the $80 price increase between the two?
Good choice, a CX is a bizzare suggestion for a new rider weighting 284 lb. The uptick in price gets you a more sturdy fork? I'd say it's worth it if the better fork has a preload adjustment, though these Suntour branded forks are nothing to write home about. It simple enough for you to test ride both and see how you feel about the forks, correct?
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Old 03-09-12, 10:02 AM   #20
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I like the Mountain bike idea personally. You can change the tires out if you are doing more streets and smooth dirt roads to a cross tire. If you start getting more aggressive and liking the knarly dirt trails, then get some beefy fat tires is an easy choice. In that price range the bikes are pretty similar. I think the better braking system for your weight is a smart choice. I started riding at 245. Its tough to slow our momentum down on a downhill.
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Old 03-09-12, 11:09 AM   #21
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There is a lot of good (and funny) advice here. My $.02 - I am 6' 200-220 depending on how many birthdays were that month, and started on a mountain bike. It was a hard tail 29er and I loved it...for a year. Then I wanted to go faster, longer (sounds like the cx story) so I switched to the cross bike. I have seen bigger guys than you on many a carbon frame racer so certainly dont worry about that, and I also pasted many a carbon racer on my steel 29er so again, whatever. I would strongly recomend avoiding any suspension especially the lower end stuff. It will not last, it is super heavy and other than robbing you of your efficiency, does nothing. Again just my opinion
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Old 03-09-12, 11:14 AM   #22
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An aero helmet?

I hope he won in Ironic Class.
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Old 03-09-12, 11:58 AM   #23
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An aero helmet?

I hope he won in Ironic Class.
I rode a 3 day charity ride once and a guy wore an aero helmet the entire time. Needless to say he was kind of an odd dude.
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