I've found that most of the research I've been doing recently has come from this forum, so I thought it might be better to simply make a post myself. I'm currently an "Uber Clyde" at 6'1" and about 410lbs (down from 445). I'm doing my best to get healthy again, and my wife has just picked up a new bike to ride around town pulling our 16 month old daughter.
It sucks not to be included in the rides, so I'd like to set myself up to go as well. This is proving to be difficult. I've looked over the bikes at supersizedcycles.com and quite honestly none of them appeal to me. Mostly because we live in a slightly hilly neighborhood and I'd like to have more than 3 speeds to help me out.
In all of my online research, it seems to be a nice and solid steel frame with a good set of wheels (26") will support my weight as long as I'm not to harsh on it. Many suggestions I've seen point to an older Kona Hoss, but they aren't made anymore.
An option I've recently found is a 2011 Kona Steely (http://2011.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=steely). The things I like are the steel frame, the hydraulic disc brakes, and the fact that my LBS has it on sale for a little under $800. I've found a place in town that will build some beefy 38 spoke wheels for about $400. So I figure even if I get the Kona and pop a spoke, I could always upgrade the wheels later if necessary. The front suspension is a combo of spring and oil (according to the dealer), so although I know I'd be more comfortable with a solid fork, at least having a spring fork will give me the best shot until I have to replace it.
With everything out there, and a budget of less than $1200 ish, it seems like a good answer. Am I missing something? Is this bike not beefy enough? Anyone have any input that may help?