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  1. #1
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    Obesity and biking

    Hey all, I originally checked for help via the /r/bicycling forum on Reddit, and somebody was kind enough to point me in the direction of this site, so I'm hoping someone can help me.

    As stated in the title, I'm an obese man. Due to issues with my lower back, which is exacerbated by my weight, being on my feet for any length of time is extraordinarily painful, making walking anywhere quite a huge pain in the butt. As such, I'm hoping to find a bike that I can ride, alleviating the pain in my back, and giving me an alternate form of exercise.

    The problem is, I can't really afford to shell out $2,000+ for a bicycle. I need a bike that will support up to 550 lbs, and all the online retailers I've looked at don't seem to sell any bikes of that carrying capacity for less than a couple grand. I thought that trying to find a bike used would be a good alternative, but that's when I hit my brick wall.

    I don't actually know what I'm looking for.

    I only now realize that there are a load of different types of frames, wheels, chains, gears, brakes, and everything else under the sun, and I just don't know what I should be looking for. Google doesn't do me any good if I don't know what key words I should be using, you know?

    So, can anybody help me in my predicament? Something as simple as telling me what sort of bike I should be looking for, or a cheaper alternative to the expensive retailers I've found online... just something to help me narrow my search a bit!

    I looked over the stickies, and the sheer number of links were pretty daunting, so if my question is answered somewhere in there, I apologize for bothering you over something that's already been discussed!

  2. #2
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    I don't have any actual recommendations, other than to don't give up hope. There's plenty of pretty heavy riders here, and you can be sure that you'll get the help you need in finding a bike, for something approaching a decent price.

    A cheaper bike doesn't mean it'll be less sturdy, simply less refined. I weigh 310, and I'm riding my 20-year-old Pederson Sports special (cheap) MTB...other than investing in some beefier wheels and a better groupset, it's doing just fine. It's heavier than an expensive bike, but it's sturdy as hell.

    ...so, yeah. You've come to the right place.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  3. #3
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    I can't really help you, but welcome to the forum. Lots of great folks here and lots of motivation as well. Maybe take a look at Worksman Bicycles, they are an industrial manufacturer and the bikes are made for heavy loads. I know a lot of folks with back problems seem to like the recumbents, but that's a whole different thing I know nothing about. http://worksmancycles.aitrk.com/shop...s.html?teng=go

  4. #4
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    What is your budget?

    Zize Bikes has a few options under $2000 for people over 500 pounds. The Superized Tallboy is $799: http://www.supersizedcycles.com/product-p/wmtboy.htm

    There are other options on that site as well.

    Another option is to get an older steel mountain bike and put beefier wheels on it. The frame likely will be fine. You might have to put a beefier seat post clamp on it. My spouse has trouble with standard seat post clamps and slipping posts. Quick releases never seem to work for him. Don't get one with any kind of shocks/suspension. Older Trek 800s and Specialized Hardrock are a couple of examples.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 07-04-13 at 07:17 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Step one. Hang out here, and lurk the other forums. Step two. Focus on diet.

    I was about 300# when I started. I am not going to sugar coat it, at your size it's going to be hard, but not impossible. It may be tempting at times to give up. Don't

    I don't usually recommend full suspension bikes, but at your size it may be appropriate. My attitude about shocks on bikes is go all the way and don't get just a front suspension bike. You can get a descent bike for $500-$700. My 16 speed road bike was $700 and I have put almost 5k miles on it, starting at a weight of 250, and now down to 215, and a lot faster than when I started.

    Do not be embarrassed about finding a good bike shop. The good ones want your business. You can get a good bike for less money on the internet, but you will get zero support. Shop for the "shop" then buy one of the bikes they sell. At the price point you will be shopping in, brand name of the bike is much less important than the service you will get.

    Are there hills where you are? At first you will want to avoid them if you can. (unfortunately I cannot). This is more a matter of physics than physiology. The more weight you have to lift, the harder you have to work. My inspiration to loose weight comes from looking out my front door. http://goo.gl/maps/KKe0q
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 07-04-13 at 07:30 AM.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    I cant help you with advice but I can say this forum has been a godsend for me. Two years ago I was just waiting to die at 350 pounds.
    The amazing recovery stories here and the fellowship helped me turn my life around.

    Anyway welcome Greyfeld

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  7. #7
    Senior Member epiking's Avatar
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    ml's bike 001 sm.jpgI have been riding a mountain bike (without suspension). I started at 450 lbs. and am now down to 380 lbs. I did have to pay attention to the rear wheel in the earlier period, doesn't seem to be as much of an issue now. I started out with the initial goal of just getting 15 min of exercise a day and ramped up from there as my condition improved. The biggest part is to have fun doing it and enjoying it.

    Best wishes and have Fun.
    1985 Raleigh Elkhorn
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Shepp30's Avatar
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    Watch Craiglist or Ebay as well as garage sales for old rigid frame/fork mountain bikes...Trek 800s, 830's, 850's come to mind, you can typically pick um up for 100 to 200 bucks in basically lightly used or unused condition. Add slick tires and ride it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    What is your budget?
    I'd prefer to stay under a grand. Ultimately, though, I know that my weight is going to make things difficult for me in this area. Most "heavy" bikes seem to be built for a capacity of about 350 lbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Zize Bikes has a few options under $2000 for people over 500 pounds. The Superized Tallboy is $799: http://www.supersizedcycles.com/product-p/wmtboy.htm
    Case in point, the weight limit on the bike you linked is only 330 lbs.

  10. #10
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    a "classic" or "vintage" mtb is prob the best way to get started for the obese crowd... the frames where steel and the components sturdy... but at that point you are dealing with 20+ year old bikes so the bike may or may not be in good condition so having a friend that knows bikes is a good thing to bring along.

    also as with all things cycling... the most important thing is fit, if it doesn't fit right you won't ride and that "great deal" you found may require a ton of new parts.

    *edit* i'll also add... the older MTB also are rigid... so you aren't fighting crappy suspension... in your budget I don't know of a single suspension fork that works well for my 300#... some new large volume tires at the correct PSI will make a HUGE difference in ride comfort.
    Last edited by donalson; 07-04-13 at 09:58 AM.
    mtbr clyd moderator

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    o yes i just remembered that workman bikes are very heavy duty and less than $500

    i think if u just google workman bikes u will find it ill try myself to see if i remembered right

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    I just checked and its worksman bikes

    charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    oops i forgot they are trikes o well nvm

    charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  14. #14
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    I'd humbly suggest a recumbent. Probably a trike would do it. Look for a used one if you can. Recumbents aren't cheap. But may be the best for you at you're current weight and with you're back issues. Good luck and don't give up hope.

    Mark Shuman

  15. #15
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyfeld View Post
    I'd prefer to stay under a grand. Ultimately, though, I know that my weight is going to make things difficult for me in this area. Most "heavy" bikes seem to be built for a capacity of about 350 lbs.



    Case in point, the weight limit on the bike you linked is only 330 lbs.
    True! Sorry about that. You could beef up the wheels. This one is 450, which is probably closeenough: http://www.supersizedcycles.com/Cust...p/zb-29max.htm But that is over your budget.

    Or, as suggested, get the older rigid mountain bike and put beefed up wheels on it. Or a Worksman.

  16. #16
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    Worksman personal activity vehicle trikes look pretty nice. They are around $1000, they say they support 550lbs, and they will be far more stable than a two wheel bike. http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_s...html/pav3.html
    Last edited by likebike23; 07-04-13 at 11:17 AM.

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    For those of you suggesting a trike, I appreciate the sentiment, but I'd much rather go with a bicycle. I don't really like the handling on trikes, and I don't have enough room in my apartment to store one. Hell, I barely have enough room for a regular bicycle.

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    I'll also add my vote for a used, 90's steel mountain bike. I remember reading about people on this forum at 450+ lbs riding steel rigid mountain bikes (trek, specialized, etc)--And many with amazing results! Even if you spent $250 and another $200 on beefed-up wheels, you'd be on a safe, proven bike at well under your budget.

    The best thing you can do is to just get started--somehow, someway, take that first step. Bring all your questions here and you'll find many will chime in to help. Good luck!
    "I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin8r View Post
    I'll also add my vote for a used, 90's steel mountain bike. I remember reading about people on this forum at 450+ lbs riding steel rigid mountain bikes (trek, specialized, etc)--And many with amazing results! Even if you spent $250 and another $200 on beefed-up wheels, you'd be on a safe, proven bike at well under your budget.

    The best thing you can do is to just get started--somehow, someway, take that first step. Bring all your questions here and you'll find many will chime in to help. Good luck!
    I'm guessing my best bet for something like that would be on Craigslist?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyfeld View Post
    For those of you suggesting a trike, I appreciate the sentiment, but I'd much rather go with a bicycle. I don't really like the handling on trikes, and I don't have enough room in my apartment to store one. Hell, I barely have enough room for a regular bicycle.
    If that's the case, a steel mountain bike would probably be ok. You can always customize it to better suit your needs. Putting on wide slick tires, more upright or swept back bars, cushier seats, etc. make mountain bikes much better for every day riding. Left stock they can be crappy to ride on the road for any amount of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyfeld View Post
    I'm guessing my best bet for something like that would be on Craigslist?
    Yeah there are usually a bunch on craigslist.

    If you are looking for examples, it would be something like this:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TREK-MOUNTAI...item417416310c

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Trek-Mountai...item3cd31134bc

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Specialized-...item3cd3205998

    As you can see they are cheap. The ones I picked are probably a little too cheap, but there are nicer ones for not much more. Just giving you an idea of what's out there and will get you riding.

    You might have to buy or have built some heavy duty wheels for the bike which might be 200-300 or more but you can always transfer them to another 26" mountain bike.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aramis View Post
    Yeah there are usually a bunch on craigslist.

    If you are looking for examples, it would be something like this:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TREK-MOUNTAI...item417416310c

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Trek-Mountai...item3cd31134bc

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Specialized-...item3cd3205998

    As you can see they are cheap. The ones I picked are probably a little too cheap, but there are nicer ones for not much more. Just giving you an idea of what's out there and will get you riding.

    You might have to buy or have built some heavy duty wheels for the bike which might be 200-300 or more but you can always transfer them to another 26" mountain bike.
    So I should... what... pick up a steel frame mountain bike on the cheap, then find a place that will make specialized 40-spoke wheels, get some fat tires for weight distribution... what else should I look into upgrading to make sure I'm not going to break down mid-ride?

    Also, what sort of seats should I be looking into to minimize the pain and wedgies on my fat ass?

  23. #23
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    higher count spoke wheels are good... but not needed until you start having some issues with the current wheelset...

    a late 80's to mid 90's steel RIGID mtb is going to be a good starting point...

    but first I would hop around to a few local bike shops (LBS)... my old shop offered to glance at CL posts for a thumb up/down knowing that if they got a good starting bike they would likely be back in the shop for repairs and in a year or so for a new bike... but in the end his concern was getting people on 2 wheels... a few times he recommended bikes I was selling (used) to potential customers...

    if you can find a shop that seems to be more in the business of getting people into cycling rather than a salesman you've found a good shop... it can be difficult to find but they do exist and won't turn you away just because you are overweight.
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  24. #24
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    as for saddle fit...
    http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

    that web page has an amazing amount of information for all parts of cycling... but for saddles bigger isn't necessarily better... but no matter what, when you first start riding you will be sore... the first thoughts will be to jump on the biggest most cushy seat you can... read that web page before you do that ;-)
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    higher count spoke wheels are good... but not needed until you start having some issues with the current wheelset...
    I'm not sure I understand. Wouldn't "issues with the current wheelset" mean spokes popping off and the wheel warping? And if that's the case, shouldn't I just forego that issue altogether and get something that's known for higher weight capacity right from the get-go?

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