I've gone through hell and back trying to find the right bike for my bizarre body (overweight and shorter legs with taller torso) and also my 240-lb husband will occasionally use the bike (plus some extra weight from the typical add-ons). This whole bike-hunting "journey" has been made even more challenging by the fact that the girly-girl in me wants a color that makes me feel better about the whole thing, superficial as that sounds.
I've come to realize my body type will best fit a 17 or 17.5" men's bike. I want either a Trek FX 7.3, 7.4 or 7.5 cause I really love the feel of the bike (both comfy and sporty) plus the all-around excellent reviews, but unfortunately there are no men's colors that make me happy except a cheerful white one w/ red details that unfortunately happens to be an FX 7.5 (most expensive of the three, ugh). I already have the front basket in mind, powder-coated red, to fully emasculate it.
Here's the bike:
Ain't "she" purdy?
Ok so the issue obviously is this is a lightweight aluminum bike with 24-spoke wheels. Not good. 6 questions:
1. If wheels were replaced with something sturdier (e.g. 32 spokes?), would the bike take wheels (tires?) that are able to be a bit thicker as well, considering they're originally 28c's? I don't want them too thick though cause I want a hybrid that leans a little more toward a road bike (though can still take a little bit of off-roading). It's so ironic or just...ridiculous - that I want the tires of a less expensive model!
2. Is an aluminum frame sturdy enough, regardless of wheels? I'm sure steel bikes are better for heavy people but isn't aluminum pretty strong these days?
3. Is there a general rule of thumb that has to do with spokes and/or aluminum frames re. weight, even though I get that it would be just a generalization?
4. Would the average local bike shop be willing to sell new tires for less or do a partial credit/trade to save the customer some money, do you know?
5. Do you know these FX bikes and is there any reason to believe this shouldn't work? I know about other hybrids that are just as good if not better for less money (maybe a Fuji or a Jamis to name a couple) but this is the place I've rested on in my research. I had my last bike for 20 years so I figure this price isn't too bad if it lasts me the same amount of time.
6. Can you recommend specific wheels that are a good compromise between being touring quality and not-too-heavy (nor too unnecessarily expensive)?
I feel really embarrassed about buying a bike that's so expensive ($900-ish) all because color matters to me so much...but it's only a few hundred more than I'd originally planned on paying which in the larger scheme of things isn't the end of the world. I don't want to have the bike custom painted and I figure at least I'd get component upgrades (wheel issue being the exception in my case!). But paying all that and THEN the cost of new wheels is just awful.
Thanks for reading all this!