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  1. #1
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    newbie uber clyde bike question

    I'm 6'4 360 and I'm looking to get onto a bike and get moving. I've been on a walking plan and dropped some weight but its just so boring I want to try something different. Some of my friends bike all over town and love it so I thought I'd give it a try. I know threads like this get posted all the time, sorry!

    I have been trying to read about good bikes for uber clydes on this forum but I have a few questions that you can hopefully answer. My main concerns are safety (I don't want to have something on the bike break while I'm on it and send me crashing/injury) and also be able to get up to 10-15 mph rides on paved road eventually. I think that is the speeds my friends do when just riding around town, they aren't racers, just go places on bike. I don't want to slow them down too much, although they said they would go slower with me.

    I want to buy a new bike for $600 or under simply to get the best fit for me at the lbs. Hopefully sales people will know what I need in terms of frame size.

    Questions:

    1. Hybrid or mountain bike or casual commuter? I definitely don't want to be in a road bike seating position. Will both hybrids and mountain bikes support me? I read that mountain bikes are better for uber clydes and if you get slick tires on them they are fine to use around town. I know either bike I should probably get 36 spoke wheels.

    2. I read that bikes with no suspension are best for uber clydes, but looking around at some of the recommended mountain bikes (specialized hardrock for example), I notice these have front suspensions on them? Is there a good bike that I can purchase for $500-600 that has no suspension or am I being too worried? I notice hybrid / commuters like the trek 7.2 fx and kona dew do not have suspensions but cannot find any new mountain bikes without them? Maybe I'm looking at the wrong stuff.

    3. Any bike recommendations for under $600? Hybrid or mountain or casual that will support me and make me not feel like I'm going to break the front suspension and also be able to get up to an ok speed.

    thanks for any and all help

  2. #2
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    I'm in a very similar situation. I've been doing research and this is what I've found. (While this all sounds good on paper I would defer to the judgement of more experienced people, if you find them. I am, after all, still shopping.)

    1)--In my mind, if you have a $600 budget, you'll be going with basically a stock setup with a few minor mods. Stock setups in this price range have a 250-lb design weight for the rider--with a road bike, the 250-lb rider will be highway and 'drome racing; with a hybrid, the 250-lb rider will be tackling streets and urban trails; and with a MTB, the 250-lb rider will be riding over logs and jumping puddles. Which one's going to hold your weight better?

    You want the stock setup to be as sturdy as possible. Mountain bikes will come stock with heavier-duty frame and wheels than their road or "hybrid" inspired brethren. For this reason I'm looking at a mountain bike to convert to urban assault vehicle. A medium 29er works ideally for my geometry, I'm 6'2" & 320 lb. You may consider a large 29er or an XL 26er MTB.

    The 32 vs 36-spoke debate is constantly raging on this board. Understand that with a limited budget, you're not going to be able to get everything on your wishlist. 36-spoke wheels are not priced for the entry-level market--they're considered a specialty item. Doubly/triply true for 29er MTB wheels. This is a conversation you need to have with your local bike shop. Some people suggest making any sale contingent on swapping out for a stronger wheel. ...good luck with this. This is more likely to work if you're purchasing something in the $800-900 range where there's a little more meat on the bone for the bike shop to work with. Consider it justification to expand your budget. At least at that point, it's easy enough to swap out for new rubber because they have to build a new wheel anyway.

    All things considered, the same rim/spoke configuration will be stronger in a 26" than in a 29"/700c setup. Selecting a 26" might help you not have to "move up" in rim quality immediately--but if the 29er fits, and you can swing the budget, demand the 36-spoke doublewalls, mount your high horse and never look back.

    2) When MTB shopping, you want to look for hardtails, and MAKE DAMN SURE that any front suspension comes equipped with a "mechanical lock-out", or at least a "speed lock-out". The lock-out prevents front suspension travel and makes the fork handle ~95% like a rigid fork. This is a feature that isn't present on the very-low-end bikes but should be available on bikes in the $600-range. BTW: the forks on any bike in that price range are crap, and likely won't have enough pre-load or dampening to be worth using at your stature. Lock it out and forget you even have one.

    3) Select better fit over better features--hydraulic disc brakes and Deore shifters aren't going to help you if you quit riding because you're not comfortable on the bike.

    You may want the help of a LBS to get you into your first bike. If you're near an REI, there's a good sale going on right now which gets you 20% off one of their stock Novara bicycles + 10% of the sale price back to you in a year as store credit. Their bicycles are decent quality and have better components than most name-brand bikes in the same price range. Might be an easy way to score a better deal.

    If you don't want the hands on experience of the LBS and are mechanically inclined/willing to save out $50 for a bike build and willing to take your own dimensions for fitting, bikesdirect.com is an EXCELLENT way to buy bigger than you'd normally be able to afford. The disadvantage is you can't ride a bike over the Internet. Spend a week going to stores and riding bikes, get an idea for what you like and what you don't, and take pictures and notes. Then use your new knowledge to buy from the store or online.

  3. #3
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    mconlonx commented on my thread with this advice concerning wheels:

    If you're worried about the wheels because of what people are saying here, recognize that shopping on budget and getting something perfect for your not-the-norm situation are incompatible. Confirm with (the bike shop) that their bike wheels will support your weight, find out what the warranty is on the wheels, and expect to either be replacing wheels under warranty within their period of warranty coverage, or spending $400-600 for custom bullet-proof replacement wheels down the road, or $200 for another set of wheels with a very limited lifespan, considering your situation.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    $600 is a nice starter budget but it may only get you into an entry level NEW bike these days.

    Lots of things the OP posted about, like MTB versus hybrid versus road, and stronger wheels, and non-suspension are all good points. But I find it really hard to achieve that even on an entry level bike without some DIY wrenching.

    Hence, I recommend you hang out on the Bike Mechanics forum and learn how to wrench, read up on Sheldon Brown's links to bike maintenance, and look for a Craigslist 58 - 63cm framed hybrid, no suspension with 700x35c tires and 21+ speeds for under $300 in decent shape. Take your time. Wait for a good bike and then pounce. With the remaining money, get a used bike and buy tools. They'll pay for themselves very quickly. Good floor pump, good repair stand, good cone wrenches, cable cutters and crimpers, 4th hands, cassette removers, crank removers, chain whips, BB tools, wheel truing stand, spoke wrenches, and headset tools and a tool box that organizes and makes this portable.

    And to make riding more pleasant, save some money for some nice anatomic gel saddles, gloves, helmet, and padded cycling shorts that fit. Water bottle, computer, front and rear bright LED lights with blinkers, and a med-large saddle bag and frame pump, patch kit, spare tube, and multi-tool/levers.

    If you have $$$ left over, think about buying some lower end rims and hubs, and build your own 36 spoked wheels. You might be able to buy a cheap set with super cheap spokes that are likely to break anyway. But build you own and spend say, $35 on name brand DT spokes and get some low-end but beefy semi-aero rims and lace them to say, Shimano Tiagra hubs.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  5. #5
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    Wow, thanks for taking the time to type all that info out guys. Definitely helps me narrow down what will work and what won't

  6. #6
    Senior Member tergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algrant33 View Post
    2) When MTB shopping, you want to look for hardtails, and MAKE DAMN SURE that any front suspension comes equipped with a "mechanical lock-out", or at least a "speed lock-out". The lock-out prevents front suspension travel and makes the fork handle ~95% like a rigid fork. This is a feature that isn't present on the very-low-end bikes but should be available on bikes in the $600-range. BTW: the forks on any bike in that price range are crap, and likely won't have enough pre-load or dampening to be worth using at your stature. Lock it out and forget you even have one.
    .

    All the above advice is great , I will just point out what my local LBS said . In regards to Hydraulic lock outs , you need to every few rides just unlock them and let them move. Other wise the oil they use will just sit and they won't lock out as well.

    may be true may not be, always worth checking
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  7. #7
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    I like the riding position of a Mountain bike. The wider tires and stiffer brakes will provide some security once you start picking up some strength and confidence. I rode a 65 miler over the weekend for A. Diabetes Assoc. I am a clyde (220, down from 245) and was impressed by a number of 300+ pounders on the 65 mile route. Don't get down on yourself. You will make progress and enjoy yourself with a bit of consistency. Enjoy yourself and let us know which bike you pick up.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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  8. #8
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    I started ridding only last Nov and seem to be tracking gyozadude's advice. At 63 yrs old and 250 lbs I picked up a used trek hybrid, 7500, a HELMET, high visable shirts and jacket and most of the tools he suggests. A quick cleaning and tune up i was off . Then another tune up to correct my mistakes with the first one , changed the bars and grips , adjusted seat and stem until i like the riding position, now it's even better !!! Since then i have 400 or so miles on my bike and it's working perfectly, total fun to ride, the nicest part of the day. I think about the N+1 every day and every ride !! lol I've learned a lot about the mechanics of a bike and i'm sure someday it will help me on a ride.

    The point i am trying to make is get something decent and get out there riding. Today would be better than tomorrow!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    Hence, I recommend you hang out on the Bike Mechanics forum and learn how to wrench, read up on Sheldon Brown's links to bike maintenance, and look for a Craigslist 58 - 63cm framed hybrid, no suspension with 700x35c tires and 21+ speeds for under $300 in decent shape. Take your time. Wait for a good bike and then pounce. With the remaining money, get a used bike and buy tools. They'll pay for themselves very quickly. Good floor pump, good repair stand, good cone wrenches, cable cutters and crimpers, 4th hands, cassette removers, crank removers, chain whips, BB tools, wheel truing stand, spoke wrenches, and headset tools and a tool box that organizes and makes this portable.

    And to make riding more pleasant, save some money for some nice anatomic gel saddles, gloves, helmet, and padded cycling shorts that fit. Water bottle, computer, front and rear bright LED lights with blinkers, and a med-large saddle bag and frame pump, patch kit, spare tube, and multi-tool/levers.

    If you have $$$ left over, think about buying some lower end rims and hubs, and build your own 36 spoked wheels. You might be able to buy a cheap set with super cheap spokes that are likely to break anyway. But build you own and spend say, $35 on name brand DT spokes and get some low-end but beefy semi-aero rims and lace them to say, Shimano Tiagra hubs.


    No offense, but this seems a bit excessive. The OP just wants to ride a bike with his friends, it looks like. Also, reading between the lines on his post, I'm guessing that he has little to no bike-wrenching experience/inclination. A person doesn't need to learn all of that stuff just to ride.


    To the OP: You have a budget that will be pretty modest in the "new" market. If you don't mind used bikes, however, you have a pretty decent budget. You could end up with a very nice, not too old, hybrid for $300-$400 without too much effort, then use the balance of your budget for some spare tubes, a helmet, a good lock (depending on your location and needs, I guess), lights (even if you don't ride at night, it's a good idea to at least get a red blinky for the back if you are city-riding), a pump and patch kit, etc.
    Also, be prepared to try different saddles. Those big couch-cushion things are not as comfortable as you may think after a few miles.

  10. #10
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    You could buy something like a giant roam 0 and lock out the suspension?
    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  11. #11
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    With all of the types of bikes that are manufactured for the type of riding you plan to do, there's no reason to buy a mountain bike. Like a road bike, the frame geometry is made to position a rider in a manner that is suited for the bike's purpose, for example with a road bike the rider is leaning forward and down compared to other bikes in order to lower the body's aerodynamic drag.

    One of the reasons why so many mountain bikes were turned into commuters is because mountain bikes have been around for a long time now and there was plenty of them around to mess around with, hybrids are relatively newer. Hybrids are basically the bicycle manufacturer's response to filling a need in the market that was only being met by converting old mountain bikes for city riding. Mountain bikes are built for heavy duty use, but a well built hybrid or other bike should be able to handle your weight. A comfort bike will have a thick frame and wider tires like a mountain bike, but it will also have a more upright riding position like a hybrid, in fact comfort bikes are even more upright than hybrids in that regard. Many comfort bikes have multiple gears which you will want in order to keep up with your friends, and there are many comfort bikes to choose from which are well-within your budget.

    Ultimately, you'll want to test ride each type of bike before making your decision. Also please note that there are different types of hybrid where some are built for speed and others are more for commuting, and some hybrids may be grouped into the comfort category by the bike store when they're really just a hybrid. For an example of a comfort bike look at the Novara Jaunt, but I don't know anything about that particular bike so it is not a recommendation, it's just a good example of what features a comfort bike has.

    One thing to keep in mind-how many gears are on the bikes your friends ride? If they are riding 24-27 gear bikes, you'll probably want to get the same range of gears or close to it. You'll want to avoid the 3-7 speed bikes and the single speeds if group riding with them is a goal.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfwerx View Post
    No offense, but this seems a bit excessive. The OP just wants to ride a bike with his friends, it looks like. Also, reading between the lines on his post, I'm guessing that he has little to no bike-wrenching experience/inclination. A person doesn't need to learn all of that stuff just to ride.
    Yeah, I admit, I'm hard core. Anything I get into, I eventually become a master at it. Not sure why I'm like that, but it started out as a kid I guess. However, if you study the price-performance curve on what you can get as stock bike parts and service, and you and I being Clydes, it's not easy to find quality parts or service that takes care of heavy riders. You end up paying through the nose and folks in bike shop tend to say all sorts of lame things about that "fat clyde" who keeps bringing his bike in because he's too "fat." Well, I'm chunky, not really that fat. I weight 279, but look 230 because I'm really dense. That puts a huge stress on my frames and components. If I didn't learn to maintain my bike myself, do you think anyone else in a shop would do it right? Maybe, but could I find one locally?

    Having worked in a shop, I know the cost of running a shop. It isn't cheap. But that means the cost must be borne by customers. I'm simply not willing to pay. And from the OP's post, he has a limited budget. If the intent is to just get on any bike and do a few rides and retire forever, then sure, you're right. Blow $600 on a piece of junk and be done. But if you really want a classic bike that will last a long time, ride well, and live 20+ years, and carry you over 10000 miles (I have 4 bikes in my garage that have done that since college), then I really see no choice except going hard core.

    Some folks might call it the "Bushido" ethic. Some might call it OCD/CDO). I call simply call a strong believe in Emersonian Self-Reliance. My sister simply puts it, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well."
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  13. #13
    Senior Member fatpunk's Avatar
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    I have a Giant Sedona and I out weight you easy and close to the same height. Mine is stock and I haven't had any issues. It does have a adjustable front fork but I just tightened it a few turns and it rides just fine around town and off the road. I defiantly recommend a good local bike shop. Don't let them talk you into something outside of your budget! The first one I went to tried to sell me on a 900 dollar Specialized Rock hopper and I have no desire to fly down a mountain and jump off crap with my bike. The Sedona has nice wide tires and rides smooth. My local shop is going to hand tighten the spokes for me in a week or so after I put a few more miles on it and get everything stretched out and broken in.

  14. #14
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    My local shop is going to hand tighten the spokes for me in a week or so after I put a few more miles on it and get everything stretched out and broken in.
    That's one way you know you've got a good bike shop...

    In general, you want to get the bike's brake & shift cables adjusted after it is broken in. There's probably a numerical figure most people use in terms of miles ridden, but that number most likely wasn't developed for us Clydes. A good bike store will do a quick tune-up like that as a favor, and while you are waiting instead of having you go through the trouble of racking the bike and driving it to the store.

  15. #15
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    Just wanted to throw another personal experience out there.

    I'm 6'3" and weight 380lbs (right now) and rode a stock Trek 4300 to commute with daily until this past Thursday. If you just want something to get out there and get moving find a local bike shop that sells used bikes and get something like a Trek 4300 and have them replace the knobby tires with road slicks. I have a feeling once you start riding you'll get the bug and want to start riding everywhere, I know I did.

    One thing that can't be stressed enough is to find a good local bike shop to work with. I'm pretty lucky that the first one I went to (Spokes in Fairfax) hit it out the park when my wife and I were shopping for a bike for her. They have really went out of their way to repair my old Trek when it broke down from abuse and really helped me out when I bought a new bike yesterday.

    Anyway, get out there and get riding - I have a feeling you'll not want to stop once you do.

  16. #16
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    My experience is that a bike that's perfect for you at one weight and fitness level isn't going to be perfect as you get closer to your goal. In my own case, the bike/configuration that was perfect for me six months ago when I started a fitness program isn't perfect at all right now, except to ride to the store. So I'd like to throw another possibility out there: Your first bike as an uber-clyde isn't going to meet your needs in a year, if you stick to a diet and exercise plan.

    I'm a bottom-feeder, I freely admit it. I've only bought one new bike in my adult life (I'm not counting the Ross Eurotour II that I bought in 1975...). The rest have all been bought used, and pretty cheap. An older, pre-suspension Specialized HardRock is a great frame to work from - mine is probably early 1990s. You can probably pick one of those up for less than $100 on craigslist or at a flea market. But just about any halfway-decent rigid frame MTB frame will do. Then, you can spend money on upgrading the wheels. Or not - I'm still using the stock 36 hole wheels that came with the bike, and they've never given any bit of trouble.

    Slicks, maybe new KoolStop brake pads, maybe a better saddle, and a little work on the shifters if they need it, and you've got a bike that will get you through the next couple of years for way under your budget.

    Another alternative is a 1970s road bike frame to work from. These are available REALLY cheap - I just bought a 1970s Raleigh Record in good rideable condition for $50, and probably could have gotten a similar one cheaper if I waited for flea-market season to heat up. These are built like tanks, and chances are that with just a new set of brake pads, one of these would carry you through the first 50 lbs or more of weight loss with nothing else done to it. The bars are drops, but (sacrilege alert) it's really easy to flip them up to make "bum bars", which will give you a much more upright ride for your first few months of riding. (Unlike the usual configuration for bum bars, you might want to move the brake levers ... but this is an individual choice ).

    Anyway, just another approach to consider.
    L'asino di Buridano...

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    Rid: I tried to PM you but it said that you decided not to receive PM's. Would you consider changing that?

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    Tony - do you think an '80s Raleigh road frame would hold up? I just bought a Cross Check, but I really want to restore a Raleigh Competition (or really any steel Raleigh) as a single speed/fixed gear.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Rid: I tried to PM you but it said that you decided not to receive PM's. Would you consider changing that?
    The OP needs at least 50 posts to reply to a PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    The OP needs at least 50 posts to reply to a PM.
    Thats why I always add my email address in the PM's. He can STILL get pms but he has to turn the pm on first.

  21. #21
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4st7lbs View Post
    Tony - do you think an '80s Raleigh road frame would hold up? I just bought a Cross Check, but I really want to restore a Raleigh Competition (or really any steel Raleigh) as a single speed/fixed gear.
    I haven't had experience with a load of frames, just the ones I've had. The Record was Raleigh's low-end "road bike" (in quotes because the bike is 31 lbs, which makes a little hefty for what we normally think of as a road bike). It was built on their steel 3-speed frame, which was a tank made from 1020 steel tubing - . I expect it could handle 3 of me without complaining.

    From what I've read, the mid-80s Raleigh Competition was built from 510SL tubing - I have no experience with it. My guess is that just about any steel frame from a reputable manufacturer would be OK, but, to be safe, I'd ask on the Bike Mechanics forum.

    A SS/FG bike is a good example of one I'm going to wait until I'm lighter to fool around with - It's pretty hilly around here, and my knees are pushing 60 years old
    L'asino di Buridano...

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    I just bought the Giant Roam 1. It's a more off-road-centric hybrid with a front suspension (which locks out). I'm roughly the same size as you (slightly shorter slightly lighter), but it was the bike that two LBSs recommended. They also recommended the Giant Escape which didn't have the front suspension.

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    sorry for disappearing, have had a busy 2 weeks with travel and work and such. I'm actually going to go to a bike shop today to test some stuff if I can find one open. My PMs are on btw! I don't think I can get messages unless I hit 50 posts

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    I went all over today and looked at a bunch of hybrids (specialized sirrus, trek 7.2/7.3, giant escape, raleigh misceo). Overall I was disappointed in 2/4 shops so I'm definitely not going to buy from them (didn't seem to want to help, etc). I'm leaning heavily towards the giant escape 2(thanks mojo for the recommendation) because the LBS was real helpful and has good store hours and the bike felt good. My question is should I grab the escape 2 or escape 1? I don't know much about the parts, is the escape 1 worth the extra $110 for me? Both are within budget.

    giant escape 2 ($420):
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/....2/8910/48614/

    giant escape 1 ($530)
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/....1/8910/48613/
    Last edited by ridill; 04-07-12 at 07:09 PM.

  25. #25
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    You're getting an aluminium fork, slightly better brakes,front derailleur and crank. I think there would be more difference in how well you maintain the 2 than what the 1 offers. In other words a well maintained 2 is better than a indifferently maintained 1. Either looks like a good bike to discover cycling.

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