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  1. #1
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    Help! I'm ready to get back on a bike.

    Hi All,

    Long time lurker; first time poster. About 8 years ago I bought a Cannondale F600, and had a blast on it. About 75% of the use was commuting or paved road/trail riding and 25% was light trail riding. On rough roads and light trails the headshok worked great, but I kept it locked out when not riding those types of surfaces. I rode it regularly (2-3 days a week) for a couple years. One problem was the frame was one size too big, and I never was really comfortable with that. I sold it with the intention of buying another bike, but never did. At the time, I thought I needed something slightly more suited for on-road riding, something with the right size frame, and something with a little longer wheelbase (it always felt a little short for some reason). In 2008 I bought a slightly heavier bike (Yamaha FJR1300), and rode around the US for a few years...which was the most fun I've had with my clothes on.

    Fast forward to now, and I'm terribly overweight, starting to eat more healthy, and ready to get another bike...a self-powered specimen. I'm 6' tall, and 355 pounds. My 7 year old son is riding his bike daily, and I want to ride with him. Additionally, I need exercise, so I plan to commute in downtown Austin everyday, cruise the neighborhoods with my son, and also take some longer rides. I also would like to be able to bike on light trails, but that will be a minority of my riding. The problem is I'm not sure which bike to buy, and I'd like hear what you guys/gals think.

    I plan to buy a new bike. Here are the models I'm considering, and I'm open to suggestions in this general price range:

    1. Cannondale Quick CX1: Seems like a good compromise given what I learned from riding the F600. Seems that it would be nimble in town, and fun on light trails, but not ideal for longer paved road rides.

    2. Surly Long Haul Trucker or Disk Trucker: I don't think it will handle light trails, and I don't know how well I'd like this type of handlebar and bar-end shifters. Seems like it would be a Cadillac on paved roads.

    3. Public D8: Something about this bike is quite charming. I doubt it would be ideal for anything, but the styling and 8-speed IGH just screams "fun"...I could be wrong.

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
    Jason

  2. #2
    Senior Member AbundantChoice's Avatar
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    I ride a Long Haul Trucker and love it. It's not going to be the fastest bike by any stretch of the imagination, but the "stretched out" wheelbase makes it super-stable under load and also makes it easy to mount panniers and whatnot without worrying about heel strike. It also comes with 36-spoke wheels stock (or at least mine did), which will hold up longer. The bike is def. strong enough to handle light trails, even if it's not explicitly designed for it, but note that the bottom bracket is really low so you're going to have some potential clearance issues over obstacles and stuff and need to be cognizant of where your pedals are if you're turning hard. The gearing it comes with is pretty good; you can leave it on the middle ring up front for 90% of your riding. I was also initially apprehensive of the drop bars but i've come to like them even though I never use the drops; I enjoy the variety of hand positions you can get between the bar flats, the curves, and the brake hoods (my favorite these days). The bar-end shifters also became second-nature very quickly. Note that people generally end up fitting a LHT one or two sizes down from what they fit on other bikes, so be sure to try one in person first r.e. sizing. Also, the stock saddle it comes with suuuuucks, so be prepared to buy a new one.

    That Canondale looks nice, but you'd probably end up locking out the front suspension anyway, if you're riding on pavement for the majority of your rides you'd want to swap in some smoother tires ASAP. It's aluminum vs the LHT's steel, so it'll be lighter at the expense of being (in general) a bit less indestructible.

    IGHs are kind of interesting, like on the Public, and if you plan to ride in crappy weather or on really crappy streets, they won't get as messed up as quickly as an external gear system.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fangowolf's Avatar
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    Leave room in the budget for a new wheel. roughly 230 ish. I'm not saying you will have to have one, but its a possability. Mine is in the mail.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by @Jason View Post
    2. Surly Long Haul Trucker or Disk Trucker: I don't think it will handle light trails, and I don't know how well I'd like this type of handlebar and bar-end shifters. Seems like it would be a Cadillac on paved roads.
    Huh? I don't have a photo of me riding mine off road, but here is the GF on Melrose Bench Rd. in Montana. 20 miles of unpaved surface ranging from fine sand to gravel to bare rock wth plenty of ups and downs.

    MB.jpgMELROSE BENCH.jpg


    Bar end shifters are easy to get used to assuming you can take one had off the bars for a few seconds. I commute, tour and do some day rides on my LHT. No issues with taking it on unpaved roads, much less light trails. In fact, I did a metric century in MA on it where about 70% of the route was unpaved and rough in many places.

  5. #5
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I like that Cannondale. I'd have no problem riding in on a century.

  6. #6
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Huh? I don't have a photo of me riding mine off road, but here is the GF on Melrose Bench Rd. in Montana. 20 miles of unpaved surface ranging from fine sand to gravel to bare rock wth plenty of ups and downs.

    MB.jpgMELROSE BENCH.jpg


    Bar end shifters are easy to get used to assuming you can take one had off the bars for a few seconds. I commute, tour and do some day rides on my LHT. No issues with taking it on unpaved roads, much less light trails. In fact, I did a metric century in MA on it where about 70% of the route was unpaved and rough in many places.
    I'm not sure our definitions of "light trail" are congruent...I'm sure I'm ignorant of the correct term. To me, your pics are of an unpaved road.

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    Yes thats a gravel road

  8. #8
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    I'm a huge Surly fan, but I don't think the LHT is the right bike for the riding you plan to do. It's a touring bike and you aren't touring.

    A Cross-Check would be better suited for your riding, as long as you continue to ride some trails. Otherwise, for merely commuting and neighborhood rides with your son, I'd say get a hybrid.

    Depending on what you mean by "trails," you may not need suspension. If it's level crushed limestone or something similar, you don't need it. If it's an entry-level MTB trail, it may come in handy. Or you can go with a radical idea:

    Get a fat bike. It can handle anything except the super-technical, expert level MTB trails (the wheels are too big for it). It can handle your weight. The huge tires act like shock absorbers, giving you suspension-like smoothing ability without all the maintenance. And the best part, they are A BLAST to ride. Hella-fun. And because they can ride over just about anything, they redefine the urban cycling environment: pot-holes, train tracks, raised manhole covers, curbs and uneven pavement mean NOTHING to a fat bike. It takes a little extra energy to ride them, which translates into extra weight loss, but you'll have so much fun you'll never know it until you step on the weight scale. And they are geared to ride up a mountain in snow, so the low gearing makes it easy to get going in normal circumstances when there is a lot of weight on the bike. The downside is only a chain lock will fit around their massive tires, and they don't always fit under a traditional bike rack. But there is no funner bike to ride, you feel invincible, and your son will think it's the coolest bike he's ever seen.

    I've got a bunch of bikes, but I only love two of them. My Salsa Mukluk 2 (fat bike), and my Brompton (folding bike).

  9. #9
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    +1 on the CrossCheck. I've seen them set up as road bikes, light tourers, and cyclocross bikes. It is a good all around frameset with adequate clearance for some decent trail tires. Bar end shifters are fine for touring but I've never seen anyone using them on trails or cyclocross. You could check with your Surly dealer to see if you could swap for a set of LHT wheels which are Delore LX hubs, 36-spoke, on a heavier rim. The combination of a CrossCheck frameset with LHT wheels should perform well for someone of your size.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  10. #10
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    I'm still working on getting a bike. I've been making the rounds through the local shops around town, and found a left-over 2010 Jamis Aurora Elite. It appears to be new. The salesman said it was new, just "left over or something from a couple years ago". I thought it was strange to see the STI shifters, because I knew this bike had bar ends...and I had to go all the way back to 2010 to find this model. What's it worth now?

    What are the opinions of this bike, compared to the Surly Disc Trucker, which is my #1 choice right now? I'm really suspicious of a "new" bike being this old. Is there anything I should ask about it, or look out for?

    Also, not being familiar with the Jamis line, I found the Dragon 29 Sport in the store. The salesman recommended this model to me...said it would be great after changing out the tires and saddle. Unfortunately they didn't have one in my size to try out. It is a little heavy, but I thought this might be a better option than the Cannondale CX1, given its steel frame. What do you think about this?

  12. #12
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    of those you've listed, the cannondale quick gets my vote hands down.
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
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  13. #13
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I'd take that Jamis Dragon, SWEEET ride. The reynold steel will take away any road buzz and also the high frequency buzz off road. The steel frame will be about 1.3lbs heavier then a light weight Alum in the same size. You won't feel the weight too much when you get it rolling.

    Good thing about the 29er is you can run the fatter knobby 2.25 tires for real dirt rides or throw on some 700c x 28-36mm wide tires for the street, Slicks or higher roller CX treads in those sizes.

    If you pick the 29er, pick its size by riding it, not the stand over with both feet flat. By design to keep the wheel base tights, it will be close touching your nuts to the top tube..

    Youcan even go monster cross w/ it too http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/i-...ss-355649.html

  14. #14
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    The Dragon really caught my eye. I've never seen a steel frame with suspension like that (other than some Surly Ogres that people have put sus. on). The Dragon 29 Race is really nice, and light, but probably out of my price range. Do you think I'd have any issues with those forks, given my weight? Sure wish I could test ride one.

  15. #15
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    You can see if the LBS will service the fork for you with thicker shock oil.

    worst case, you can get a Voodoo or Surly steel 29er rigid fork for under $80. I have the curved Voodoo one and pretty good up to about 90 min then it feels like it beats me up after that. I switched to the niner carbon fork and haven't looked back since.

  16. #16
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    I think a touring bike would be best for me, right now...then get a mountain bike later. Right now I need something that works best on pavement, to get the most out my time for the sake of exercise. I found a good deal on a Jamis Aurora Elite (a new 2010 model), but I wish it had 36H wheels and lower gears. I'm strongly leaning towards the Surly Disc Trucker, but I haven't ruled out the Trek 520 either.

  17. #17
    Senior Member @Jason's Avatar
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    Finally made a decision. I'm getting a Surly Disc Trucker. After riding all these bikes, it's the best fit for me. My only hold up now is finding out if it will be available in another color for 2014. As a bonus, my girlfriend is getting a Cross-Check. I can't wait to get them!

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