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  1. #1
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    New Uber Clyde - Need some help

    Hello!

    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?

    Anticipatory thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    You're going to hear lots of different advise ...

    Basically, sturdy wheels are more important to consider than the frame.

    the Kona sounds like a good deal, and is a sexy beast of a bike, but really, for the riding you're talking about doing around town, it's sort of like installing a thumbtack with a sledgehammer.

    I'm not a big fan of hybrid bikes myself, but some of our members have had very good luck with Trek Navigators, and you can often find them used.

    The most important thing, is don't over think the "purchase" of a bike ... paralysis by analysis. Find a bike, ride it. Ride it lots. Lose some weight. Upgrade the bike's components as needed, or wait as long as possible and buy a brand new bike (as a reward for your weight loss).

    Just ride.

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    You're going to hear lots of different advise ...

    Basically, sturdy wheels are more important to consider than the frame.

    the Kona sounds like a good deal, and is a sexy beast of a bike, but really, for the riding you're talking about doing around town, it's sort of like installing a thumbtack with a sledgehammer.

    I'm not a big fan of hybrid bikes myself, but some of our members have had very good luck with Trek Navigators, and you can often find them used.

    The most important thing, is don't over think the "purchase" of a bike ... paralysis by analysis. Find a bike, ride it. Ride it lots. Lose some weight. Upgrade the bike's components as needed, or wait as long as possible and buy a brand new bike (as a reward for your weight loss).

    Just ride.
    What he said.

    And ignore the pitches for "Supersized Cycles" and Worksman products. A regular bike, with some thought put into the choice, is what you want.

    If you want to look at some other bikes, the Specialized Hardrock was once the "house bike" of this forum, since so many posters rode them. Also, I once asked my bike shop for advice for a 400 pound rider and was directed to the entry-level Trek mountain bikes.

  4. #4
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I recommend this http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...st/9019/48871/ though most any Mountain bike with 36 spokes should get you going. I know where you're at been there myself. You've got a long road ahead. I suggest you look at http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...fter-Pics-here! It can be done but start thinking years instead of months. I'm literally half the man I used to be. It takes time.

  5. #5
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    Just to echo what Neil said - a regular bike will work at your size. When I started commuting to work a couple months ago, I was well over 400lbs (though I'm a little taller than you at 6'3") but I rode a stock, eight year old Trek 4300 that I did very little maintenance on outside of putting road slicks on it. Just keep your spokes tight (your LBS will do this for you during a tune-up) and you'll do fine, trust me.

    Jethro - were you over 400lbs? You look really good.
    Last edited by 4st7lbs; 04-05-12 at 12:57 PM. Reason: misspelling

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the replies and support!

    I understand completely about the thumb tack with a sledgehammer, but that was sort of my intent. I wouldn't mind doing some light trail riding (we have a few dirt trails around here that are absolutely beautiful), so I was hoping the sledgehammer would work for that too. This is also the reason I had steered away from some of the Cruisers. Although the trails are fairly light, they do have one or two rough spots in them, so that's why I was going for the extra beef. I also plan on pulling my daughter in her new Carrier, so I wanted to make sure I had some better-than-average brakes. Added to that the fact that I absolutely hate using things that make me feel like I'm going to break them at any minute led me to the Kona.

    I'm going to test ride the Kona tonight. If it feels right, after the advice here and from what else I've read, I think I'm going to give it a try w/ the stock wheels.

    As to the weight loss, I know it's a long, long road. I am doing Weight Watchers as well, and that is helping a ton, but I'd like to add biking to my exercise choices just to have that little bit of extra fun activity that also helps loose weight.

    Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions!

  7. #7
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Ultimately, it's your decision ... and it sounds like you've thought this through.

    There's nothing wrong with the Kona, and really, the best way to STOP riding is to have to ride a bike you don't like.

    So try it out ... if you don't like it, keep searching

    If you do like it, make it yours and ride the hell out of it

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Even with a new bike, I'd-
    Get the spokes tensioned properly, even if you have to throw in an extra $10-15.
    Personally, I'd use that as a bargaining point.

    With disc brakes, spokes on BOTH wheels can be under severe stress.
    Front wheel takes most of the braking force.
    Rear wheel has 1/2 the spokes trying to "unwind" when you pedal.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brokkin View Post
    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?
    Given that in an ideal world you would prefer to have a rigid fork, I'd look at used bikes on Craigslist, too. And see if the LBS can work with you on a fork swap ... but you'll need one that can mount disc brakes.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  10. #10
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4st7lbs View Post
    ,
    Jethro - were you over 400lbs?





    Yep > 425

  11. #11
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Wow, Jethro! Nice transformation! That's inspirational.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  12. #12
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    I've never been 400 + lbs. 325 was probably my unmeasured max. Doc weighed me in once at 316. I've been eyeing and continue to look for older steel mtn bikes, rigid forks with sufficient clearance for 2.25 x 26 inch urban tires. A couple of things I look for are:

    1. A head tube/steerer tube that has some inside separation between top and down tubes, like over 4 inches. Reason being that it helps relieve steerer splay and stress on headsets with a longer head tube.

    2. I like a slightly larger frame with horizontal top tube so I can use a shorter seat post. In addition, a shorter seat tube extension above the top tube. Reason being that a heavy rider puts a lot of stress on the seat binder area. A long seat post really puts some stress in that seat binder area. Shortening the rise can help prevent stress cracks in that area.

    3. Axle spacing and rear wheel dish. Most MTBs are 135 mm these days. Some tandems are 140. But older are 130mm. If you can find 135 mm older steel frame, great, if you can't find one, you can cold set an old steel frame.

    The rest others have covered above about wheels and the like.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  13. #13
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    The Kona would make a fine first bike. Just talk to your LBS up front about what happens if you have wheel problems. The wheels in the picture are 32 spoke count. Probably fine but better to discuss it up front. The gears on the bike will work well in the hills. As long as you are not doing anything crazy, I expect you will not have any problems.
    Old steel makes me squeal!

  14. #14
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    Wow, Jethro! Nice transformation! That's inspirational.
    What he said Jethro!

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    Well.....I got the Kona Steely!

    The LBS was fairly cool about the whole deal. They offered to replace the fork with a non-suspension fork for free, and gave me 35% off the bike. The fork they got for me is still a "rock-jumping" rigid fork, so it should be more than strong enough.

    We talked about the wheels, and even though they are 32 spoke, they thought that as long as I kept them true it would be fine. Since they offer free lifetime labor, that should be fairly easy to do. We also talked about possible custom wheels, and there were multiple options they could do if we decided to go that route.

    The bike is still in the shopping waiting for the rigid fork and new pedals (I got some slightly larger ones as the stock ones seemed tiny and was the only real negative when I did my test ride). I have an old saddle I'll throw on to replace the overly uncomfortable stock saddle. Overall, I'm really happy with the purchase for the price and hope that it should be a great bike to get me going!

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Congratulations! Keep in mind it will probably be a while until you need to address the wheels. Your weight is going down as your mileage will increase, but your mileage will be limited at first.

  17. #17
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    Keep in mind it will probably be a while until you need to address the wheels.
    Jeez Neil, Like I said, just like an LBS worker, you are giving out some terrible info here, along with the LBS worker. If this is in fact what he said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brokkin View Post
    even though they are 32 spoke, they thought that as long as I kept them true it would be fine. !
    Bill knows what is going on, you don't wait to address wheel issues.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    Even with a new bike, I'd-
    Get the spokes tensioned properly, even if you have to throw in an extra $10-15.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    It's no longer worth it for me to advise new riders. You win, Beanz. I'll take my "terrible advice" elsewhere.

  19. #19
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    Brokkin,

    Congrats on the Steely! Now get out there and ride with those girls as soon as you can. I ride with mine as often as possible and have a great time. You will create lots of wonderful memories as you ride with them.
    Old steel makes me squeal!

  20. #20
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    Way to go man! Now, get out there and get riding!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Jeez Neil, Like I said, just like an LBS worker, you are giving out some terrible info here, along with the LBS worker. If this is in fact what he said.
    Well, in defense of the LBS, as I had already talked about custom wheels, if they had wanted to just sell me something, they would have steered me towards the custom wheels. I'm not saying any information is bad, I thank everyone for all they have given. I'm skeptical on the wheels as well, BUT as I will be riding around town for the next few weeks and not going out on huge adventures, even if I pop a spoke or worse, I can still get home. So in my mind, worst case scenario is I end up buying custom wheels within the next month. Since I was already prepared to do so, no big deal. Am I missing something?

    Please don't stop helping people. The only reason I posted here is because I was shocked and amazed at how willing people were to help total strangers.

    As to my new bike, I pick it up tonight!!! Can't wait to take it out for an extremely short and exhausting first ride in about 10 years.

  22. #22
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Brokkin - I'll speak from coming from the same area that you were. When I was over 400 pounds I started on a 12 year old Raleigh MTB with 32 spoke wheels that hadn't been trued in forever, and probably rode it a thousand miles before I broke a spoke. I replaced that bike with a Specialized Hardrock, a new one, that had 36 spoke wheels and I rode thousands of miles before the wheels fell apart - not due to weight, but due to improper brake maintenance.

    I only started to have wheel problems when my power increased - greatly. When I was 380 pounds riding a Trek FX with average speeds of 16-20mph over 20-30 miles a day, I had wheel issues on 32 spoke cheap 700c's.

    I replaced that bike with a Surly Long Haul Trucker that's got 10-15,000 (I don't track mileage directly anymore) miles under my big powerful torquey butt, and problems have ceased. *knock on wood*

    I've got a friend with a Giant comfort bike with 32 spoke wheels who is well North of 400 pounds and rides it weekly. He's yet to have a wheel issue.

    I do believe that wheels can be a weak link, but there's a ton of other factors to play. My experience, again, is the combination of weight and power that really starts to make it a problem. If you check for popped spokes every couple of days and replace/true/retension as needed - that's more important.

    (back to the shadows..)

  23. #23
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    Thanks!

    One thing I did forget to mention is that the LBS I purchased from does offer free labor for life. So taking it in for a quick tune-up is always free. Eventually I may have to pay for parts obviously, but never labor. The only downside is that the shop is 45 minutes away. But, I still think that I can take it in on a regular basis to keep it in good repair.

    Is there any kind of "home tensioning" that can be done? Like something a rider can do without having to buy some crazy expensive tool?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Captlink's Avatar
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    I have had good luck with worksmen cycles.They are two wheel tanks and in your price range for a nice custom.

  25. #25
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Good question! Wheels are a bit of an art, honestly, and take a lot of practice and patience. That said I've trued and replaced spokes on my own - it's not necessarily rocket science, but if your shop has a good wheelbuilder that's worth it's weight in gold. I'm lucky to have an excellent shop where I know everyone (they like that I promote them on my blog) and they have a killer wheel builder.

    That said I've used these before:
    http://www.parktool.com/product/spok...ion-meter-tm-1

    They're not terribly expensive, if I recall around twenty bucks. They really do come in handy, as do the Park Tools spoke wrenches. Finally Park's truing stand is fantastic:
    http://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-Prof.../dp/B0038W50Q6

    I've used that before and again, very fantastic to have. It's not cheap - at all. I've used cheap stands too and they do work - but it's easier to do with that.

    I'd heavily suggest either getting familiar with your local wrenches and asking them if they would be willing to show you some things, or finding a local bike co-op that offers classes/work that will help you with it. I've been lucky that again, my shop is more than willing to show me what to do to fix stuff on my own and in turn I purchase the vast majority of my parts through them. In fact just this week I spent a decent amount on Park tools for some crank work on my LHT, while I could have saved a significant amount online, I prefer to support them as they showed me exactly what to do and some tricks in the process.

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