I need help looking for my first bike in 15+ years. I have been looking at a lot of information on these forums, but it has been hard to find other posts with riders my size. My first concern is safety of course. I am 6'4" 375#'s and will be carrying about 14-20#'s of additional weight via backpack while riding most times (embarrassing I know, let myself go really bad a few years ago). I am looking for something to handle mostly flat riding and probably all hard surface till I lose a good amount of weight. My LBS (Spokes in Burelson, TX) carries mostly Giant cycles but it concerns me that they are all ALUXX aluminum alloy and I don't know enough about bikes at this point to know how sturdy those are. If anybody at my weight has rode a giant I would love to hear about it and how it rides for you. My budget is about 1400 bucks and from what I have read wheels and seatposts are the most important upgrades to get first. I was thinking about getting a mountain bike since I would assume they are the strongest frames, plus I can't stand the traditional road bike handlebars (the ones that curve around) but if a road bike would be better I guess I could get new handlebars. If Giant bikes will handle my weight can anybody recommend a model that you have experience with that you know to be especially sturdy, that is in my budget including the upgrades I need? Also concerning the wheels, the only handbuilt wheels I have been able to find via the google method have run 400+ and was wondering if there is a set of wheels that are handbuilt with 36 (or more) spokes that will run less than that?
A couple other things, definitely don't want a coaster brake, and would prefer something with around 9-10 speeds at least.
I weighed 470#'s less than 2 years ago so I can only assume the weight loss trend will continue as I stick to my current lifestyle, but man it would be really awesome if I could get on a bike again I am tired of waiting. I really miss it! I used to ride a 14 mile circle around here twice a day when I was younger and in infinitely better shape and it would be great to get back to that again. I always felt so free doing that, no interruptions, just me and my bike.
I would really appreciate any info you guys can help me with. I know zized bikes offers a bike to handle my weight, but I really don't want to have to wait 6 weeks for a bike, also I really want to buy locally for maintenance packages with my purchase.
Thanks for any help guys!