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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 09-17-12, 07:54 AM   #1
deftone
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New Clyde on the forum!

Hi folks!

Im Steve, I live in the Houston area and Im looking to get back on my bike

A little bit about me - when I was younger I was very sporting, semi-pro Rugby player in the UK etc, however work and life came along... I lost the sporting lifestyle, but kept up the rugby diet. Im now 28years old, 6ft3 and 275lbs.

Now Im first of all looking to get back down to below 200lbs. (heck even 215 would make me happy). When I get down to a good weight and high level of fitness I want to start looking at more advanced riding, racing etc. That brings me to the big question....what bike do I get?

I want to start out with a low budget road bike, sub $500 if possible. Ive been looking around the forum and it seems like the best way to go is with a used bike. Then when Im in better shape I can splurge on the carbon framed gold plated super mega bike

One question I had was with regards to walmart bikes...I understand that they are cheap and usually poor quality, but we were in getting our 7 year old a bike and I noticed they are selling schwinn bikes. I was under the impression that schwinn was one of the better manufacturers..am I wrong. The one I was looking at was the Schwinn Varsity 1300 XL. At $249 new would it be a good investment to buy it and upgrade the wheels?

Link - http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-Schwi...em+Description

Thanks for reading! I look forward to gettin out there. Some of your success stories are a real inspiration!!
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Old 09-17-12, 08:01 AM   #2
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Hey deftone.

Welcome to Bike Forums.
Pass on the box store bikes.
My neighbors Schwwin is rated for an under 180 lb rider.

Start with a CL bike. You will learn much from it. When you get in shape you will know what bike you need.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:06 AM   #3
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Welcome, I too am new and back to riding after many years. Schwinn USED to be a quality manufacturer but they went bankrupt years ago and someone bought the name and is producing bikes and selling them as Schwinn's. They have 2 levels of bikes, the low end big box (Walmart) bikes and the higher quality stuff they sell online and through dealers. Regardless, both are not that high a quality and are more about aesthetics that anything else.

If you just want to hop on and take a ride around the block with the kids, then either level is fine for that. If you want to put anywhere close to serious mileage on a cheap bike and it will begin to show its true form, things get bent, broken and worn out in a hurry.

After years of riding an old steel beachcomber Schwinn I just bought a Giant brand hybrid bike and it made a world of difference. I weigh about 210 (down from 375 two years ago - that's another story ) and it caries me just fine and is so much easier to use as it's lighter (aluminum vs steel) and the 21 speed opposed to 6 makes it much easier to choose a gear that works in the situation.

Again, welcome and biking.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:07 AM   #4
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Hey deftone.

Start with a CL bike. You will learn much from it. When you get in shape you will know what bike you need.
Sorry....Whats a CL bike?
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Old 09-17-12, 08:10 AM   #5
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I started road riding on one like this.

http://houston.craigslist.org/bik/3265165567.html


Put 1500 miles on it. Got me in shape for a new bike.

You might have problems getting a bike for you height.
Bike are much like shoes as they need to fit.
The one above is too small for you.

Keep checking and one will soon show up.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:14 AM   #6
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Craigs List. Can be pretty hit or miss depending on where you live. If you play your cards right though, you can find a real gem!
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Old 09-17-12, 08:31 AM   #7
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Welcome to BF. You have found a great source of encouragement and information.

Are you mechanically inclined? There is a company there in Texas called Bikes Direct. They are a mail order bike company and I'd put them as a step above box store and a step below your LBS (local bike shop). There are pros and cons to BD, but if you are looking for a bike just to get your feet wet, it may be a good option, as well. They have many bikes under $500. www.bikesdirect.com.

I'd also go talk to your LBS. If they don't give you the time or respect a customer deserves, walk away and find another shop. If they take the time to talk to you, listen to your needs, make suggestions without upselling, they are probably a good shop. One thing MANY shops will do with a larger rider is try to sell better wheels. If you find a bike you like, find out what wheels are on it and come post here. Somebody will probably be able to tell you about them. I have the cheapest FSA RD80 wheels on my bike. I'm 230 and have had zero problems, including hitting a huge pothole HARD. I'd be more inclined to run what's on there and replace them IF necessary.

CL is a good call, too. You can get a better bike for the money, if you're patient. And fit is really important. You may want to play around here:
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO
or, if you go to an LBS, they can tell you, too.

Please let us know what you decide!
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Old 09-17-12, 08:52 AM   #8
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Are you mechanically inclined? There is a company there in Texas called Bikes Direct. They are a mail order bike company and I'd put them as a step above box store and a step below your LBS (local bike shop). There are pros and cons to BD, but if you are looking for a bike just to get your feet wet, it may be a good option, as well. They have many bikes under $500. www.bikesdirect.com.


Please let us know what you decide!
I am pretty mechanically inclined. I am an engineer in the oil industry and I restore classic cars, so hopefully I can work on my bike a little bit. bikesdirect looks like a great site!

One question I have with BD... are these brands generally regarded as decent quality? For example I was looking at the Windsor Wellington 2.0 I have not heard much about that brand before. It retails at $800 and they have it on clearance at $350

Spec -

Frame - Kinesis 6061 Series Aluminum, 2xH2O mounts, replaceable rear derailleur hanger, rear rack braze-ons
Fork - DuraForte TaperBlade CroMoly
Crankset - RPM by FSA ALUMINUM triple 52/42/30T polished black finish
Bottom Bracket - Sealed cartridge
Pedals - Traditional Clip and strap Road pedals or Platform Pedals (no choice)
Front Derailleur - Shimano FD2203 for triple
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Sora 8 speed (24 gears total)
Shifters - Shimano 2200 STI 8 speed (24 gears total) (integrated with brake levers)
Cassette/Freewheel - Cassette May come with 11-28T OR 12-25T (No Choice/Cannot Select)
8 speed (24 gears total)
Chain - KMC IG for 8spd
Hubs - Forged aluminum (black finish) with Quick Release
Spokes - Stainless Steel
Rims - Alex aluminum with aero section (may not have decals)
Tires - Maxxis High pressure road 700c, presta valve tubes
Brakes - Aluminum dual pivot black finish
Brake Levers - Shimano 2200 STI (integrated with shift levers)
Handlebar - Kalloy Aluminum alloy black
Stem - Kalloy Aluminum alloy quill
Tape/Grip - Black cork
Saddle - Comfort Groove
Seat Post - Kalloy Aluminum alloy Micro Adjust
Seat Clamp - Machined Aluminum Alloy with bolt
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Old 09-17-12, 09:25 AM   #9
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Welcome Steve, from another Steve!

I agree that Craigslist is a good way of getting a quality bike at a great price. But you have to know what you are looking at to be sure of getting a good deal. Lots of overvalued junk is being flogged as well as some good bikes at fair prices and an occasional great deal. If you see something you are interested in, post a link here on BF, and the people here can steer you the right way.

Bikes Direct offers some good values. I know a handful of people who have some of their bikes and they are all happy with their purchases.
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Old 09-17-12, 10:09 AM   #10
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Oh, I forgot to mention, BD is the king of lame marketing gimmicks. Ignore the "retail" value. It means NOTHING. I think every bike is on sale, slashed from an insane "retail value".

Their brands are their own, usually names that are purchased from defunct bike builders. For example, in high school, I rode a Motobecane Super Mirage. It was a French bike. They went out of business and BD now sells Motobecane. It ain't the same company. However, with that said, the Motobecane Titanium bike has a great reputation and is a screaming deal (for Ti).

If it were me, I'd look to Tiagra level components. Will a lesser group fail you? Probably not. I just like the way the shifters work on the Tiagra stuff better than the Sora. I have ZERO experience with microshift.

Another question - do you want a racier geometry or more comfort oriented. A racier geo will have your back more horizontal. Comfort will have you a bit more upright. I ask because the "Gravity" is supposed to be a knockoff of the Giant Defy, which is a very well respected "comfort" bike.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...omp20_gold.htm

I linked to the 105 version. I'm not trying to upsell, but this is a great deal for a 105/mix bike. I say mix because the cranks and brakes are FSA/Tektro. They're cheaper, but they work. I just bought a Lynskey Titanium and to save some money, I went with this exact setup. I don't love the brakes, but I can change those out in time. They work, pretty well. I want better, though.

Here's the Sora Gravity.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../liberty_2.htm

I would think you would be looking for a comfort for now. Your next bike, when you're in better shape with more core strength and flexibility may want to be a racier geo.
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Old 09-17-12, 11:19 AM   #11
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Nothing to add on the bike purchase front from me.

However, WELCOME to the C/A forum.
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Old 09-17-12, 11:27 AM   #12
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Welcome to the forums. Looking forward to hearing about your bike achievements.....enjoy your bike when you get it.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:00 AM   #13
deftone
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Thanks for the warm welcome and all the advice! This forum is great! Im in Europe this week, so I have no way of measuring myself to know what size bike to buy, so I guess I will need to wait until next week when I get home.

It sucks because I was hoping to have one waiting for me when I got there
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Old 09-18-12, 06:37 AM   #14
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Welcome from Alabama. You should have lot's of bikes to choose from on CL in the Houston area. I'd spend a couple of hundred on a CL bike and ride it a while. It will help you sort out what you really want and need and you'll probably be able to sell it for about what you have invested in it.

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Old 09-18-12, 07:20 AM   #15
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That brings me to the big question....what bike do I get?
Hi Steve, Welcome!

I'm pretty new at this too (about two months and 600 miles). My advice is to initially ride whatever you've got or get a reasonable bike from Craigslist.

You sound a bit like me in that it is easy to start looking at bikes and justifying the 'better' equipment - all they way up to a $5k ride. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't really KNOW what it is that I want. I've most recently been playing with mountain biking (mostly double-track out in the wilderness). I'm pretty sure I'm the type that needs at least four different bikes. However; my point is to get something affordable and start riding. Then set some rewards for yourself - something to work towards. Maybe a new bike when you reach 240 lbs. By that time, you will likely have a much better idea of what you want - road, mountain, hybrid, TT - and will know if you want to ride upright, if the roads in your area acceptable for a road bike, and so forth...

A potential advantage to waiting is that once friends/neighbors start learning that you are a cyclist, rarely used equipment that is for sale (cheaply) may start to ooze out of their homes/garages and you may find some great deals.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:18 AM   #16
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Does this seem like a good bike? Price?

http://houston.craigslist.org/bik/3232309050.html

There isnt much information, what should I be asking?

Thanks guys!!
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Old 09-18-12, 10:53 AM   #17
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If that bike is in good shape AND it fits you, it's a terrific deal. 600 used to be Shimano's second from the top line. Down tube shifters are a PITA compared to brifters, but they're also super easy to use and require no adjustment.

That thing's a classic, go check it out.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:54 PM   #18
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That thing's a classic, go check it out.
Email sent....fingers crossed
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Old 09-18-12, 02:05 PM   #19
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Which side of town are you on? I know a couple of good bike shops with weekly rides and pub crawls on the west side tons of good stuff on craiglist, just make sure to get on them and peddle a bit before you accept it
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Old 09-18-12, 02:23 PM   #20
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. And fit is really important. You may want to play around here:
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO
or, if you go to an LBS, they can tell you, too.

!
I went and tried the fitment calculator on this link...and to be honest Im more confused than ever

The Competitive Fit The Eddy Fit The French Fit
Seat tube range c-c 53.4 - 53.9 54.6 - 55.1 56.3 - 56.8
Seat tube range c-t 55.1 - 55.6 56.3 - 56.8 58.0 - 58.5
Top tube length 56.1 - 56.5 56.1 - 56.5 57.3 - 57.7
Stem Length 11.8 - 12.4 10.7 - 11.3 10.9 - 11.5
BB-Saddle Position 70.6 - 72.6 69.8 - 71.8 68.1 - 70.1
Saddle-Handlebar 55.9 - 56.5 56.7 - 57.3 58.4 - 59.0
Saddle Setback 6.3 - 6.7 7.5 - 7.9 7.0 - 7.4

apologies for the formatting.. I guess the C-T figure is the one that is most used? I thought being 6ft3 I would be looking at something 60+cm. From what I read here I should be looking at 55-58? Is that correct? I dont want to look like a cartoon elephant riding the little bike!

Last edited by deftone; 09-19-12 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 09-18-12, 02:24 PM   #21
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Which side of town are you on? I know a couple of good bike shops with weekly rides and pub crawls on the west side tons of good stuff on craiglist, just make sure to get on them and peddle a bit before you accept it
Im North East (Kingwood). Im always up for a pub crawl though!!
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Old 09-18-12, 03:43 PM   #22
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I'm 6'2" and was told 58 or 60 from everyone I talked to. The common consensus is that you should ride anything you're considering to make sure your comfortable on it. I broke the rules and ordered my Lynskey based on their recommendations. I could not be happier and am quite relieved at how it turned out. Maybe I go lucky, though.

Sorry for the confusion! I forgot it gave you all those different "fits". My bad!
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Old 09-18-12, 03:53 PM   #23
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I'm North East (Kingwood). I'm always up for a pub crawl though!!
Measure your bicycle in seam.

I am 6 ft with a 34" bike inseam and ride 60cm's

http://veloweb.ca/bike-fit/

This is what a 60cm looks like with a 6 ft rider.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...heels/YC19.jpg

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h.../9000mione.jpg
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Old 09-18-12, 03:57 PM   #24
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I can't remember the difference between the Eddy and the French fit but if you're new, you don't want a competitive fit (think pro tour riders). Way too wadded up.

From the CC site:

Top Tube Range
This measurement is along the top tube, from the midpoint at the seat tube to the midpoint at the head tube. No single piece of frame geometry has a greater impact on comfort than your top tube. If you plan on paying attention to one measurement and one measurement only, make it this one. Keep in mind that we do not measure the actual top tube on bikes with compact frame geometry. Rather, we use an "Effective Top Tube" measurement � an imaginary line drawn parallel to the ground along the length of the top tube.

You will probably focus most on effective top tube length nowaways, since the seat tubes can be all over the map for the same "size" frame.
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Old 09-18-12, 04:00 PM   #25
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Oh, I'm 6'1.5" with a 35.5 cycling inseam (I think that's what it was) and really wasn't comfortable on a 60cm. My 58cm fits fine. It's different from person to person so don't expect that because somebody else who is your exact height prefers a size X bike means you should get a size X bike too.
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