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  1. #1
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    What Bike should I Purchase?? Very Overweight

    Hello,

    I just joined this forum as I have been working on getting healthier and now I'm in the market for a new bike. I haven't rode a bike in 15 years and am a bit nervous about getting back into riding. I'm going to be honest in this post and I hope everyone who replies to me is also honest with their opinions. I have been exercising and eating healthier, but we have recently moved within 2 miles of the downtown area and want to start adventuring out on a bike. My wife is healthy and I'm buying her a new bike next week, she is normal weight so it was very easy to find her a good bike.

    I'm:
    33
    6ft
    430lbs
    $1000 Budget(absolute most I can afford to spend)

    I know I'm heavy but I still get around just fine as I have played sports my entire life but just really have let myself go way beyond any point I ever thought I would get. I've had enough and want to make serious changes, especially since we are wanting to start a family in the next couple years. I know I will get lots of looks and probably even some comments from people since I am large and will be on a bike, but I am willing to deal with it to get healthier.

    What Brand?
    What Bike?
    What type of parts should I be looking for?
    What should I avoid?

    Any and all help it greatly appreciated!!

    Thank you so much

    J

    GO BLUE!!!
    Last edited by jpodsiad; 04-01-13 at 07:26 AM. Reason: Hit enter on accident

  2. #2
    Senior Member BigJeff's Avatar
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    Whatever makes you want to go outside and ride, daily.

    The Trek FX series is popular... or similarly designed... you can find a deal on one at a local shop (most likely). Smaller model numbers are less expensive.

    Ebay is also a good place.... but shipping is expensive ~$100 above sale price.

    Seat and shorts are the two items that will help the most for comfort.

    (and I use A+D... found in the baby section next to the diaper cream... it isn't quite vasaline and not quite desitine, but it fixes a sore bottom before it happens...or after it happens...)

  3. #3
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    A bike with no suspension at all. A rigid bike is a much better choice for a heavyweight. The suspensions tend to bottom out and not work well with big people.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  4. #4
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    Oh and try to avoid the huge gel padded spring seats. I ride a normal sized seat and have no real problems even though I'm 350+ pounds.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  5. #5
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    You have to have a few things in your new bike. First arewheels in your price range you should be able to find bikes with 36 spokewheels. Before riding if you buy from a bike shop have them true and tensionthe wheels if not take it to a shop and have it done, a must IMO. Second asmentioned above a ridged frame no suspension. Third you will need low gears. Onthe flats you won’t have a problem but even slight hills become difficult withmore weight. You said you are strong and the urge is to use that leg strengthto mash the hills but it’s extra hard on the knees and you should learn to geardown and spin more. The object is to get fitness but also be able to do it overtime without injury. There are several types of bikes that kind of fit what youneed without a lot of changes. The least expensive if you can find one is amountain bike made in the 80’s they are 26 inch wheels and no suspension theyhave great low gearing and you can adapt them to take wider road slicks thatare higher pressure tires. You can change out the mtn bars for a morecomfortable handlebar without much trouble. The second type of bike and what I liketo ride as an all-around bike is a touring bike. They are designed for ridersand all their camping and cooking gear with a more comfortable geometry. They docome with drop bars and may or may not be what you want to ride. I have founddrop bars are nice for a bigger rider as long as the stem is changed to bringthe bars up and back a little. You will want to try a few saddles no matterwhat kind of bike you have. Many will tell you don’t get a comfort saddle butin the beginning it might be what you need for a while to keep you riding.

    Take it slow at first riding will be much like you rememberas a kid, but you now have a much higher center of gravity and those leaning corners you remember willfeel a bit different.

    It’s great you are doing it together.

    I know you were looking for a specific bike model and if youfind some locally you are thinking about post back and you will get opinions.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Find a bike shop that you feel comfortable with (friendly helpful employees). Tell the owner/manager what your goals are, how often and where you plan on riding and your budget. You should find a decent bike for $500-700. Test ride all the bike they suggest and any that you like. Buy the one you feel comfortable on.
    If you don't like the shop or the employees, keep looking for a good shop.
    Good luck and have fun.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    All good advice above. I'm going to weigh in from my personal experience, because your situation sounds much like mine a few years ago. I was 6'0", 375 pounds, but still pretty active and able to get around fine. But, I could feel myself slowing a lot and becoming much more sluggish. I wanted to start cycling, so with no research I walked into a local bike shop and bought a Trek 7.2FX and began commuting to work, 17 miles each way all on a bike path. I also changed my diet and began eating very healthy, but not necessarily cutting calories. I just replaced all the junk with healthy foods. The weight melted off, an I graduated to a road bike a few months later, and now, five years later, I am at 240 pounds and racing regularly, both road racing and cyclocross.

    I share this story to give encouragement. Cycling has changed my life, and I like to share with anybody who is where I was. Don't worry about the looks, don't worry about what other people think. The bicycle shops will be more understanding than you might expect. I never once felt uncomfortable in a shop. They see it all the time, and they're glad to be helping with your weight loss journey and hopefully gaining a lifelong customer. I wore mountain bike cycling shorts from Aerotech Designs for the first year, then at about 325 pounds I started wearing lycra bib shorts. I joined a cycling club and just hung in there best I could until I got lighter and faster.

    I highly recommend the Trek FX series for solid, entry level bicycles for us big guys.

    You can do it, and it can be a life changer. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BaseGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJeff View Post
    Seat and shorts are the two items that will help the most for comfort.
    Be prepared - even with the right seat and decent shorts, expect your tail to be really sore the first week or 10 days. Then, miraculously, your body adapts to it and the pain goes away.

  9. #9
    Living 'n Dying in ¾-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Good on you, for asking before spending your money. @57, 6'1", and 300lbs, I decided to start biking. Started with a used Cannondale MTB. Two years later, I moved from South Florida to Fairbanks, AK, and "traded-up" to a 1990 Bianchi Volpe. It's steel, designed for the rigors of cyclocross riding, so the frame is sturdy. The wheels are 36-spoke, and I went with 700C x 38 tires (would've liked fatter, but even without fenders, that's the largest she'll take). Cost me a few hundred dollars on eBay, plus another couple of hundred for a Nitto "dirt drop" stem and Nitto "Noodle" handlebars. Steel IS real.

  10. #10
    Senior Member craigrrr's Avatar
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    When I first started riding a bike again, which was not too long ago. I weighed 347# and 6'1, So I bought a used Trek 950 Steel lugged frame bike it was a mtb.
    I put on different handlebars ones that had a 5.25 " rise cause I like to sit up straight when riding, II am not into the hunch down try to be one with the wind etc.. or go fast as I can.. that is not for me so it might work for you also. Check craigslist but do look for double walled rims with 36 spokes, now seats, I think to each his own. I first bought a 200 dollar brooks saddle the B190 it was nice and big felt good for a while but there is a front spring that just gets in the way. then I tried a Brooks B67 sprung saddle that was ok, but not exactly then I tried the Selle Royal Gel saddle with a spring it was great just what I needed. SO keep trying saddles till one is just right.
    main thing get out there and go around the block for a few days and increase from there. you can do it

  11. #11
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Trek FX 7.3 or 7.4 are good bikes. Better than the lower end Trek "7" series but still geared low. The 7.3 is listed for about $690 and the 7.4 is listed at $800 but you might find them for five or 10% off.

    Consider buying an upgraded wheel set or at least new rear wheel. Or, you could wait and see if you have an issue.

    Marin makes the Muirwoods with both 26 and 29 inch wheels, without a suspension. This might be a good possibility to look at. http://www.marinbikes.com/2013/bike_...riescode=URBAN These bikes are steel and are basically mountain bikes with city tires. The 26 inch wheels arguably are stronger than 29 inch or 700s. The 26 inch is about $700 and the 29er is about $800.

    Another possibility is to go the mountain bike route and put slick tires on it, to replace the knobbies. It can be hard to find a non-suspended mountain bike that there are a few rigid ones still sold, like this Jamis, which is only $350: http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applica...at_grp=mtb26_4 Rigid mountain bikes can be pretty easy to come by used. I bought a Trek 800 in the $100 range last year and it was in great shape.

  12. #12
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Lots of great advice. The two tips I want to add a +1 to here are the bike shorts and having your wheels adjusted by a wheel man at a bike shop before you start riding. For bike shorts, someone else mentioned AeroTech Designs in a post - I use their bike shorts and love them. Treat yourself to one good pair of bike shorts. I like AeroTech Design's Top Shelf shorts. They come in lots of big sizes, too. Machine washable. I have been machine washing them and drying them on extra low temp in the dryer (although the mfgr recommends line dry) for a year, and they are still in great shape. Lastly, once you get set, ride, ride, ride! With some effort and determination, you will (hopefully) love it, drop pounds, and maybe this time next year you will find yourself like me, treating myself to a second bike that has everything I learned I want, and (unfortunately) needing to buy new pants because all my old ones are huge on me. Good on you for wanting to change, and good luck on everything. Except... go Illini!

  13. #13
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    Trek FX is right up your alley.

  14. #14
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJeff View Post
    Whatever makes you want to go outside and ride, daily.
    This is really the most important thing.

    Go to an LBS (local bike shop) and see what they can do for you. If you don't like the first, try another (and another).
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

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    A couple other people have mentioned the Trek 7.2FX. I bought one of those last year, and while I don't weigh quite as much you do, I still weigh too much (probably 260 after Christmas lol). I've found it to be a good bike for my needs. It's not the fastest thing, but the tires haven't flatted on me yet and it has places to mount all your accessories. Also, I've had it all loaded up and hit plenty of bumps and potholes that I thought would destroy the bike but it has held up just fine.

    The gearing is not something to overlook either. It can go pretty low, and I tell you what there are days when I need that!

  16. #16
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    Hi,

    Thank you for all the advice, it is greatly appreciated. With my lack of bike knowledge I am just curious how the thinner tires on the Trek FX will hold up to my weight? Do you have any knowledge of the KONA Dew Plus, I noticed it has the higher spoke count then the FX series? Just curious of your opinion as I really know very little about bikes. Thank you again.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    All good advice above. I'm going to weigh in from my personal experience, because your situation sounds much like mine a few years ago. I was 6'0", 375 pounds, but still pretty active and able to get around fine. But, I could feel myself slowing a lot and becoming much more sluggish. I wanted to start cycling, so with no research I walked into a local bike shop and bought a Trek 7.2FX and began commuting to work, 17 miles each way all on a bike path. I also changed my diet and began eating very healthy, but not necessarily cutting calories. I just replaced all the junk with healthy foods. The weight melted off, an I graduated to a road bike a few months later, and now, five years later, I am at 240 pounds and racing regularly, both road racing and cyclocross.

    I share this story to give encouragement. Cycling has changed my life, and I like to share with anybody who is where I was. Don't worry about the looks, don't worry about what other people think. The bicycle shops will be more understanding than you might expect. I never once felt uncomfortable in a shop. They see it all the time, and they're glad to be helping with your weight loss journey and hopefully gaining a lifelong customer. I wore mountain bike cycling shorts from Aerotech Designs for the first year, then at about 325 pounds I started wearing lycra bib shorts. I joined a cycling club and just hung in there best I could until I got lighter and faster.

    I highly recommend the Trek FX series for solid, entry level bicycles for us big guys.

    You can do it, and it can be a life changer. Good luck.
    Awesome, and thank you very much!!

  18. #18
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    My two cents, and worth every penny:

    Look at a steel cyclocross or touring bike both are sturdy and have a relaxed geometry. The usually come with heavier duty wheels as well. Surly has the CrossCheck and the Long Haul Trucker (LHT) in the $1,000 - $1,200 range. If you can find a holdover or a trade-in you can probably keep it under $1,000. The Trek 520 is a good bike for Clydes but comes in at closer to $1,400. Raleigh has the Port Townsend that comes in at around $900 and it is pretty good for an entry level touring bike. Ask around your LBSs and you might be able to score a used model in good shape in the $400-500 range.

    Another advantage of touring and cyclocross bikes for Clydes is that you can run larger tires to reduce pinch flats and absorb road vibration. Many road bikes limit you to 25mm or 28mm tires and may not allow the use of fenders should you desire them. Touring and CX bikes will usually take at least 32mm and sometimes as large as 38mm and still have room for fenders. They also usually have rack mounts and either cantilever or disk brakes.

    If you happen to find an old Trek 700, 720 or 730 in your size in good shape, they are excellent framesets. I'm also a big guy and have one set up as a touring bike and another as a mixed surface gravel grinder/trail bike. The big difference in the 1990 era 700 series framesets is that the 700 has a chrome-moly main triangle with hi-ten stays and fork. The 730 is all chrome-moly with butted main tubes. The 730s are nicer but harder to find. The 700s are a dime a dozen (well, almost, I got one of mine for free and the other for $35 in ridable condition, both with clean, straight frames and forks).
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    My two cents, and worth every penny:

    Look at a steel cyclocross or touring bike both are sturdy and have a relaxed geometry. The usually come with heavier duty wheels as well. Surly has the CrossCheck and the Long Haul Trucker (LHT) in the $1,000 - $1,200 range. If you can find a holdover or a trade-in you can probably keep it under $1,000. The Trek 520 is a good bike for Clydes but comes in at closer to $1,400. Raleigh has the Port Townsend that comes in at around $900 and it is pretty good for an entry level touring bike. Ask around your LBSs and you might be able to score a used model in good shape in the $400-500 range.

    Another advantage of touring and cyclocross bikes for Clydes is that you can run larger tires to reduce pinch flats and absorb road vibration. Many road bikes limit you to 25mm or 28mm tires and may not allow the use of fenders should you desire them. Touring and CX bikes will usually take at least 32mm and sometimes as large as 38mm and still have room for fenders. They also usually have rack mounts and either cantilever or disk brakes.

    If you happen to find an old Trek 700, 720 or 730 in your size in good shape, they are excellent framesets. I'm also a big guy and have one set up as a touring bike and another as a mixed surface gravel grinder/trail bike. The big difference in the 1990 era 700 series framesets is that the 700 has a chrome-moly main triangle with hi-ten stays and fork. The 730 is all chrome-moly with butted main tubes. The 730s are nicer but harder to find. The 700s are a dime a dozen (well, almost, I got one of mine for free and the other for $35 in ridable condition, both with clean, straight frames and forks).


    Thank you for all the advice. I had a question, I have an old Sedona(Giant) that I bought about 19 or 20 years ago and it is still hanging in my parents garage. Is it worth it to spend money on putting new tires(& whatever else it needs) or am I just better off getting a brand new bike all together. I don't want to dump 500 until a super old bike if I can get something new for a couple hundred dollars more. Just curious what your opinion is on this? If you think it would be worth it to put new tires, etc... on the bike what would you recommend I put on the bike. I don't have a LBS that I deal with as we just moved to this area in the last month. Any tips would be awesome. Thank You!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Raleigh has the Port Townsend that comes in at around $900 and it is pretty good for an entry level touring bike. Ask around your LBSs and you might be able to score a used model in good shape in the $400-500 range.
    I have a Port Townsend and it's a great bike for me but is not really a touring bike. You might want to look at the gearing since it a double.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpodsiad View Post
    Thank you for all the advice. I had a question, I have an old Sedona(Giant) that I bought about 19 or 20 years ago and it is still hanging in my parents garage. Is it worth it to spend money on putting new tires(& whatever else it needs) or am I just better off getting a brand new bike all together. I don't want to dump 500 until a super old bike if I can get something new for a couple hundred dollars more. Just curious what your opinion is on this? If you think it would be worth it to put new tires, etc... on the bike what would you recommend I put on the bike. I don't have a LBS that I deal with as we just moved to this area in the last month. Any tips would be awesome. Thank You!
    I'm also riding a 80s era Bianchi Roadmaster mountain bike. When I started riding again all it needed were tires, tubes, and brake pads. If you don't see anything you like you should be able to get the Sedona going for less than 200. But that is only worth it if you liked the bike.
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

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  21. #21
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Going the route of old steel touring or mountain bike is a great way to go. All my bikes are vintage steel and most are over 20 years old and going strong. I collect Bridgestones, and love the ride. Even the older MB4, MB5 and MB6 ride great and while they're heavier, they are sure sturdy. Your Giant Sedona probably is fine. 20 years is a long time to sit in the garage, and probably you need new tubes and a tune up, but you probably could get some fat slicks for the roads and simply start riding. Save up the money or make yourself a deal, like $1 for each 2 miles you ride to spend on upgrades or a new ride. After 2k miles, you've got some nice money to reward yourself with something that reinforces a great habit.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpodsiad View Post
    ...... I had a question, I have an old Sedona(Giant) that I bought about 19 or 20 years ago and it is still hanging in my parents garage. Is it worth it to spend money on putting new tires(& whatever else it needs) or am I just better off getting a brand new bike all together. I don't want to dump 500 until a super old bike if I can get something new for a couple hundred dollars more. Just curious what your opinion is on this? If you think it would be worth it to put new tires, etc... on the bike what would you recommend I put on the bike. I don't have a LBS that I deal with as we just moved to this area in the last month. Any tips would be awesome. Thank You!
    That may be an ideal starter bike. If it's a 1993/94, it should have a Double Butted Chrome Moly Frame!!!!!!
    I believe it has a free hub rear- More desirable than a Free wheel rear hub.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html

    Maybe a little tune up. Clean & lube wheel bearings & cables. Maybe some smoother street tires.
    Have the spokes tensioned on the wheels.

  23. #23
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpodsiad View Post
    Hi,

    Thank you for all the advice, it is greatly appreciated. With my lack of bike knowledge I am just curious how the thinner tires on the Trek FX will hold up to my weight? Do you have any knowledge of the KONA Dew Plus, I noticed it has the higher spoke count then the FX series? Just curious of your opinion as I really know very little about bikes. Thank you again.
    I think the KONA is a fine choice, lots of good reviews from owners. 36h wheelset, disc brakes, triple crank..what's not to love? Seriously, the components are low end of their respective lines, but that's about the best you are going to do in that price range unless you're talking about buying used, but you probably don't know enough about bikes to buy quality used bike. If you can find a Kona dealer who will take care of you, you're golden.

    As far as the old bike hanging in the garage, are you a tinkerer? Don't mind old and funky components? I enjoy rehabing old bikes, but it's not for everyone. I don't think you objective is tinkering with an old bike, it's riding. If you caught up in updating an old bike, making it commute worthy, you can expect to dedicate some real time and money to just that activity.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 04-07-13 at 08:49 AM.
    Specialized Roubaix Comp
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    ........As far as the old bike hanging in the garage, are you a tinkerer? Don't mind old and funky components? I enjoy rehabing old bikes, but it's not for everyone. I don't think you objective is tinkering with an old bike, it's riding. If you caught up in updating an old bike, making it commute worthy, you can expect to dedicate some real time and money to just that activity.
    He doesn't have to tinker if he doesn't want to!
    $50-100 at the LBS should have it working flawlessly and give him a better bike than an $800 new bike will.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NJ/PA
    My Bikes
    Terra Rover
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    I went with a trike but was almost 500 pounds

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