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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 03-13-12, 10:49 PM   #1
Theresse
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I want a particular higher-end hybrid but it has 24 spokes and thinner 700x28c tires

Hello -

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:

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ness/fx/7_5_fx

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!
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Old 03-13-12, 11:33 PM   #2
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The bike should work fine for you as is. If you buy it, ride it with the wheels that are on it and don't worry about it until/unless they break. You might be surprised. Do ride the bike for a couple hundred miles then take it back to the bike shop and have them re-tension the wheels. If they do it properly they will give you a long life.

As far as putting bigger tires on there someone here may know if the frame/fork will accept larger tires but the 28's should be sufficient if you are riding on the street.

Again, don't buy new wheels until you need to.
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Old 03-13-12, 11:34 PM   #3
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Here's the bike:

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ness/fx/7_5_fx

Ain't "she" purdy?

Ok so the issue obviously is this is a lightweight aluminum bike with 24-spoke wheels. Not good. 6 questions:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
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!
Most likely, however, it depends upon the inner rim width. See this for an idea of the range http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html The OEM wheels likely would accept a wider tire, so you could check (the outside of the rim may have a label indicating the inner width ... e.g. 700x17 or ask the dealer)

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Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
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?
Aluminum is fine unless the manufacturer explicitly states that it has weight limits for their frame/fork etc.

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Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
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?
I'm sure others can provide some recommendations, I don't know of any hard and fast rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
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?
Hate to say this, but, it depends .... It certainly doesn't hurt to ask and given the bike you are buying, I would see no reason the LBS wouldn't help you out.

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Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
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.
The bike is fine and the most important thing is how you feel about it.

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Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
6. Can you recommend specific wheels that are a good compromise between being touring quality and not-too-heavy (nor too unnecessarily expensive)?
Others may have personal experience with those wheels and have opinions one way or the other. IMHO I would not worry about the wheels at this point unless you have some reason(s) to be concerned?

It's a nice bike and good luck
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Old 03-13-12, 11:55 PM   #4
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I rode an aluminum bike (custom Klein) for 25 years on a lot of long rides on very rough roads. At times I weighed over 230 pounds. The bike has been rebuilt a 2nd time is now an offroad camping touring bike used by another fellow in Utah.

I have been riding the last 10000 miles on 20 spoke Mavic Krysium wheels with 23c light weight tires - a lot of that time I weighed over 235 pounds. the wheels have not needed to be trued in the last 6000 miles. I ride a lot on rough remote roads with no problems. In fact, I have done quite a few hundred miles on unpaved dirt roads with those wheels.

I don't think you have much to worry about.
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Old 03-14-12, 06:31 AM   #5
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I would use the wheels it comes with until there are problems.

Some shops will change the tires and may charge an additional cost if there is a price difference.

I weigh around 230 lbs and have wheels that have as few as 20 spokes in them, and they have been fine. I also have wheels that have 36 spokes and they have been fine.

Some of this has to do with how you ride, if you ride up and down curbs, roll through pot holes, then you eventually need some sturdier wheels. I always inflate the tires before the first ride each day. I stand on the pedals when hitting a bump, don't ride over curbs or even small rocks if it can be avoided.

Is your SO the same size as you in height and leg length? If he is planning on sharing the bike, will it fit him. If you buy it to fit him, will it fit you?

Last edited by cyclist2000; 03-14-12 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 03-14-12, 06:54 AM   #6
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An aluminum frame is more than strong enough, I am a big guy 6'4'' and hover between 300 and 350# usually (I need to keep it closer to that 300!) but my point is that I ride aluminum bikes and have not had an issue yet.

I have trek Xcaliber and LOVE the frame geometry and I think it is because I too have a long torso and short legs and the GF bikes seem to have a longer top tube so my short legs and long torso/arms seem to like the way they fit. Have you looked at the Trek DS Models? they share the same long top tube as the Xcal and similar models and sound like what you are looking for going off of your description besides being more mountain than road 48/36/26 for the 8.4 DS triple vs a 50/34 double on the bicycle that you linked, The DS model may be something to consider.

I also agree with the posters that say if it ain't broke don't fix it with the wheels, but I would think that most shops would be willing to give you credit for the wheelset trade off of the new bike if you were upgrading the wheels through them, thats how the LBS I use works anyways.
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Old 03-14-12, 06:59 AM   #7
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I have a bike with 24 spoke wheels with 25 mm tires and @ 230 lbs I'm just retruing them after 2000 miles. I also have a Hybrid with 3000 miles with 32 spokes and 35 mm tires and I've only had one spoke break. I've had to retrue the hybrid several times. The 24 spoke wheel is a much higher quality wheel. They're both "Bontrager approved" wheels so it's hard to say what they really are.
The rest of the bike will be stout enough. I'd ask the LBS about going to a higher spoke count rear wheel but if he just wants to swap one off a cheaper Trek Hybrid I don't know if you'd gain anything. That's where the "Bontrager approved" comes in... you won't know what you're getting.

I think bicycle Mfg's have to make many assumptions about marketing bikes and the current thinking is low spoke count wheels sell. But then again most people don't ride 4000 miles a year and those that do realize that their wheels need attention and there are compromises to be made especially if you're heavy.
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Old 03-14-12, 03:10 PM   #8
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Might consider the disc version for an extra $100. While I agree the spokes should be fine, the disc has 32 fr and back. I also like disc brakes better.
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...fx/7_5_fx_disc
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Old 03-14-12, 05:20 PM   #9
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Hi everyone -

Thanks so much for all your help. I bit the bullet and ordered the white and red Trek FX 7.5 (men's in size 17.5 so fits me better). I called Trek today and they said all their hybrids have a weight limit of 275 lbs. They suggested doing what a few of you have suggested which is to just leave the original wheels on and change it only if I have issues, which they don't think it will. My LBS said they won't give me a discount for new wheels but they agree I shouldn't need them and I can always put new tires on if I want.

Here's the bike, which arrives sometime under 2 weeks:

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ness/fx/7_5_fx

Tire info: Bontrager Race All-Weather Hard-Case, 700x28c - wondering what types of tires might be more durable...

Thank you guys so much and let me know what you think! I'm so relieved to be done with it. I'm castrating it with a red powder-coated metal front basket.
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Old 03-14-12, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
Hi everyone -
Tire info: Bontrager Race All-Weather Hard-Case, 700x28c - wondering what types of tires might be more durable...
Eh, who cares... tires are consumables anyway. Wear them out and then replace them. Enjoy your new bike!
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Old 03-14-12, 07:29 PM   #11
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I weigh 255 and ride a 2010 trek 7.5 and have had no problems at all with the wheels / tires that are on the bike , I had a 2007 7.5 I put many miles on and had no problems with the wheels on it either, so I would say you are good and you will love the bike. You made a great choice. Here is mine I picked it up second hand on craigslist for $400 and it was only ridden a few times by the first owner.
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/P2260567.jpg

Here is a picture of my 2007 7.5 that I sold.
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/P9230359.jpg
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Old 03-14-12, 10:42 PM   #12
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Just buy it - Treks warranty is one of the better ones in the industry (at my local shop they'll replace or repair failed wheels no questions asked). If they sell you the bike they probably should have thought of the wheel issue in the first place.
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Old 03-15-12, 12:16 AM   #13
Theresse
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Eh, who cares... tires are consumables anyway. Wear them out and then replace them. Enjoy your new bike!
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Old 03-15-12, 12:17 AM   #14
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OMG that 2010 is a BEAUTY! Love those tires! Very sharp looking bike. Thanks for sharing the info and glad it's worked out for you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmagruder10 View Post
I weigh 255 and ride a 2010 trek 7.5 and have had no problems at all with the wheels / tires that are on the bike , I had a 2007 7.5 I put many miles on and had no problems with the wheels on it either, so I would say you are good and you will love the bike. You made a great choice. Here is mine I picked it up second hand on craigslist for $400 and it was only ridden a few times by the first owner.
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/P2260567.jpg

Here is a picture of my 2007 7.5 that I sold.
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/c...0/P9230359.jpg
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Old 03-15-12, 12:18 AM   #15
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Oh - you must have misread what I wrote cause I did buy it. Thanks! I agree with what you wrote - that makes sense.

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Just buy it - Treks warranty is one of the better ones in the industry (at my local shop they'll replace or repair failed wheels no questions asked). If they sell you the bike they probably should have thought of the wheel issue in the first place.
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