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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Trek or Specialized Road Bike for 325 lbs?

    I'm thinking about trading my Trek FX 7.2 in on a road bike. I literally know nothing about road bikes. And have only been riding cruisers about 1200 miles so far since starting riding 3 months ago.

    I ride my other hybrid between 100-140 miles a week. The bike trail is starting to feel a little small and I'm thinking about doing some longer/faster rides out on paved country roads near my house. It seems like a true road bike would be more appropriate for that.

    That said, I'm 6'1" and currently 325lbs and dropping slowly now. I've had some history breaking spokes on stock hybrid rear wheels. 32 spoke rims with 700x35 tires. I'm wondering if it's possible to effectively go to a road bike at my size. I've heard the Cyclocross bikes are supposed to be more sturdy and thought that might be a possibility.

    The dealers in my area carrying Trek and Specialized, so those are likely the brands I will be choosing from.

    Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Well, your concern as you noted should be about the wheels, so you're already on the right track. Your budget should probably include a set amount (research this) for upgraded/custom wheels because most roadies come with low-spoke count, factory wheels that aren't up to the task with us Clydes.

    First, yes, it's possible to go to a road bike at your size, WITH some considerations (again, mainly the wheels). Don't let anyone tell you differently. I've put nearly 4,000 miles on my Trek and started at just north of 300 pounds.

    Second, yes ... a true road bike would be more appropriate, no doubt.

    Third, 'cross bikes are more sturdy to be sure, and definitely usually offer stronger wheels (my Kona came with 32h wheels).

    A cross bike and a road bike are different, subtly so, but very similar as well. I'd suggest riding both so you can feel and understand the differences.

    Anyway ... Trek or Specialized, both are reputable bikes so it'll come down to feel, components and cost. Again, I suggest riding both.

    And my other recommendation, and this will differ from others, is to lean toward an aluminum bike. They're typically stiffer than a steel/cro-mo bike, so they're a little more efficient in terms of putting power down and less "noodly" for us Clydes. The ride is a little harsher than a steel bike, but not enough in my mind to make it a deal breaker. And yes, carbon fiber forks will support you, and are a nice way to mitigate some of the "road buzz" you'll feel in your hands/arms.

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    What's your budget? That may help with input.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Well, I'm trading in my two month old Trek 7.2 FX. Guessing $350 trade value on it. I'd be willing to put another $700-800 on top of that. So something in the $1100-1200 range new I guess, or less if there is a decent bike.

    By the way I called Specialized and they said go with the Tricross as its the only road bike rated for 300lbs. One LBS said Madone, Dumani, Roubiaux and Secteur, I believe.

  5. #5
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I don't know if it matters or how it would affect you but the published weight limit for (it seems like most) Specialized frames is in the neighborhood of 250-275 (depending on the bike frame). I doubt that you would actually cause any issues at your weight but it may impact your warranty situation (probably worth asking the shop). Obviously wheels will definitely be an issue.

    So... having said that it might be useful for you to buy a frame with no warranty - i.e. used. most warranties only apply to the original purchaser anyway so that new bike carries a premium. Maybe you can find a trade in at a shop near you, or craigs list will have something that appeals to you, then you just need to worry about wheels.

    Having said all that yes - road bikes are great for getting out on the open road and there are plenty of 300+ pounders around here riding them successfully so happy shopping!

  6. #6
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    Tricross as its the only road bike rated for 300lbs.
    That's what their lawyers tell them to say. See what the trade in value is and so consider posting on craigslist. Next month all the bike shops will starting blowing out the prices on 2013 bikes cuz 14's will be coming off the UPS trucks as Interbike and Eurobike get under way. Aim for a bike w/ 105s or Sram Apex grouppo at $1200ish. Shop around, I'm sure you have more then one LBS in your city. If you can't find anything, save money for another month and the prices might be a tad bit lower as well.

    I think this is the shop near you
    http://bbbicycles.com/product/13trek...c-172798-1.htm

    vs the price at Trek near me, they already started cutting prices
    http://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.com...c-172798-1.htm

    Save up a few hundred for a wheelset on the side as you ride the new bike. There are some nice options starting at $200 up to $800
    Last edited by jsigone; 08-29-13 at 11:55 AM.

  7. #7
    Member gabeham206's Avatar
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    You'll be perfectly fine on a road bike, as I was concerned myself, A few months ago with this same issue. I got a specialized Tarmac in May on clearence with 23c tires and have had no issues so far. I bought it when I was at 340lbs, and it has helped me get to my current weight of 309 lbs. Frame has held up fine, as well as the spokes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    If price is the main consideration go with whatever is the best deal but when choosing between brands my advice is go with whatever brand the shop that treats you the best sells. Service after the sale is part of what you are paying for with a new bike.


    Mark

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    What about steel vs. aluminum frame? A friend suggested steel.

  10. #10
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    good steel will cost you more then alum

  11. #11
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Not to mention at your size AL will be more rigid. See my suggestion above

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    i agree with ill clyde
    aluminum is probably better
    but the difference will be small

    i recommend getting a sport touring style bike
    or a cx or touring
    that can handle slightly wider tires
    and probably has lower gearing

    23mm wide tires under a 300+ pound rider is pointless
    like carrying construction waste to the dump in your ferarri
    good 28 or 32mm tires roll lightning fast
    and dont have to be pumped to 160 psi to hold you up
    which causes discomfort and loss of efficiency

  13. #13
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    most road frames should accommodate up to 28C tires w/o a problem. Those with the aero design are more limited to tire width/circumference so say that of a Cervelo S5 is limited to a 23C tire.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    most road frames should accommodate up to 28C tires w/o a problem. Those with the aero design are more limited to tire width/circumference so say that of a Cervelo S5 is limited to a 23C tire.
    depends on the tire
    many road frames have dangerously little clearance
    with a 28mm tire

  15. #15
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    Not to mention at your size AL will be more rigid. See my suggestion above
    I don't weigh 325 lbs but when I started last year, I was above 285, and I ride steel. it didn't feel flexy or noodly to me, but, YMMV. It is a personal preference, and I have tried aluminum bikes (though not aluminum road bikes), and found the ride harsh compared to steel. When things are dialed in on a steel bike, it just feels like you can ride as far as your legs, heart, and lungs will take you. That said, there are aluminum bikes with comfort features built into them, like the Cannondale Synapse, and Trek Domane series. Worth checking out as well. I have no personal experience with those so I cannot say.

    My suggestion is, since OP already has two aluminum Treks, try a steel road bike that is not a Trek. Nothing against Trek. They make fine products. But there are other brands.

    Suggestions for steel road, or touring (or touring ish bikes) would be
    Jamis Bossanova (touring ish bike)
    Jamis Aurora (touring bike)
    Jamis Satelitte Comp (road bike)
    All City Spacehorse (touring ish bike)
    All City Mr. Pink (Road Bike)
    Surly Pacer (Road bike)
    Surly Long Haul Trucker (touring bike)

  16. #16
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    You shouldn't have any issues with frames made from any of the common materials. There will be differences between them with regard to ride qualities. Unfortunately, you don't yet know enough to know which qualities matter most to you. When I got back on the bike seriously, I was right around 300. No issues with my existing aluminum frame what so ever, nor did I ever worry. Wheels on the other hand were a challenge.

    Talk to the shops you're considering. Look at the bikes they're suggesting and how many spokes the wheels have. You really want 32h wheels (36 are basically unheard of on stock bikes anymore). Ask them if they will stress relieve and tension balance the wheels for you before you initially collect the bike, in order to give the stock wheels their best chance at providing a reasonable service life. If they suggest that is unneccesary or overkill and to just bring it back for a service after a few hundred miles, walk away. If more than one smiles and agrees to that level of pre-ride service and both have appropriate options with 32h wheels, test ride the options or pick the bike that speaks to you loudest. The more you want to ride the bike, the more you will ride the bike.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Have you taken your FX out on some of those longer/faster rides? If not, I would advise you to do so ASAP. I was in the exact same spot as you back in 1995. I bought a Trek hybrid, rode it for a few months, got the road bug and went out and purchased a road bike. Thing is, I discovered that road bike style riding bored me to death. I gave it a couple of months and it never took so I sold the road bike, got back on my Trek hybrid and haven't looked back since.
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    By the way I called Specialized and they said go with the Tricross as its the only road bike rated for 300lbs. One LBS said Madone, Dumani, Roubiaux and Secteur, I believe.
    The Trek Madone, Specialized Tarmac, and Specialized Allez are racing-oriented bikes with fairly aggressive geometries. You'll lean over more, reach further to grab the bars, and the bike will change direction very quickly.

    The Trek Domane ("doh-mah-knee"), Trek 1-series (1.1, 1.2, 1.5), Specialized Roubaix, and Specialized Secteur are "endurance" bikes with less-aggressive geometries. You'll sit more upright, the reach to the handlebars will be shorter and the bikes will have more stable handling.

    You should test-ride bikes from both categories so you get a feel for the differences in comfort and performance.

    Unfortunately, most of these bikes are out of your price range... unless you can somehow score a deep discount. In the $1100-1200 range, you're probably looking at the aluminum-framed Specialized Secteur, Specialized Allez, Trek 1.2, and Trek 1.5. If I were you, I would specifically consider the Trek 1.5 and Specialized Secteur Elite. There are the cheapest models that have reasonably decent components, though wheels may still be an issue.

    You could also look at cyclocross bikes like the Trek CrossRip and Specialized Tricross. Component specs on these bikes tend to be a bit lower than you'd find on a road bike and you end up paying a bit more for it. As an example, the Specialized Tricross Sport has an MSRP of $1300 and includes a 9-speed Sora drivetrain while the Secteur Elite goes for $1200 and includes a 10-speed Tiagra drivetrain. On the plus side, cyclocross bikes tend to have lower gearing (making it easier to pedal up hills), and you've got clearance for large, comfy tires.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    most road frames should accommodate up to 28C tires w/o a problem. Those with the aero design are more limited to tire width/circumference so say that of a Cervelo S5 is limited to a 23C tire.
    Many road frames will accommodate 28mm tires, but many won't. Even if the frame has the clearance for a 28mm tire, it's often difficult or impossible to squeeze a 28mm tire between the brake pads while fully inflated. These limitations don't apply just to "aero" bikes, BTW. My completely non-aero Cervelo RS can't fit anything larger than 700x25 into the front fork. Depending on the tire brand, some 25s won't even fit!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The Trek Madone, Specialized Tarmac, and Specialized Allez are racing-oriented bikes with fairly aggressive geometries. You'll lean over more, reach further to grab the bars, and the bike will change direction very quickly.

    The Trek Domane ("doh-mah-knee"), Trek 1-series (1.1, 1.2, 1.5), Specialized Roubaix, and Specialized Secteur are "endurance" bikes with less-aggressive geometries. You'll sit more upright, the reach to the handlebars will be shorter and the bikes will have more stable handling.

    You should test-ride bikes from both categories so you get a feel for the differences in comfort and performance.

    Unfortunately, most of these bikes are out of your price range... unless you can somehow score a deep discount. In the $1100-1200 range, you're probably looking at the aluminum-framed Specialized Secteur, Specialized Allez, Trek 1.2, and Trek 1.5. If I were you, I would specifically consider the Trek 1.5 and Specialized Secteur Elite. There are the cheapest models that have reasonably decent components, though wheels may still be an issue.

    You could also look at cyclocross bikes like the Trek CrossRip and Specialized Tricross. Component specs on these bikes tend to be a bit lower than you'd find on a road bike and you end up paying a bit more for it. As an example, the Specialized Tricross Sport has an MSRP of $1300 and includes a 9-speed Sora drivetrain while the Secteur Elite goes for $1200 and includes a 10-speed Tiagra drivetrain. On the plus side, cyclocross bikes tend to have lower gearing (making it easier to pedal up hills), and you've got clearance for large, comfy tires.
    Listen to ^this^ advice.
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  21. #21
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    most road frames should accommodate up to 28C tires w/o a problem. Those with the aero design are more limited to tire width/circumference so say that of a Cervelo S5 is limited to a 23C tire.
    Most road bikes Will NOT take a 700 X 28 tire.
    Some will not take a 700 X 25 tire.
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  22. #22
    Hook 'Em Horns
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    put some drop bars and fast rolling 32mm slicks on your current bike, it would work fine for faster rides.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    most road frames should accommodate up to 28C tires w/o a problem. Those with the aero design are more limited to tire width/circumference so say that of a Cervelo S5 is limited to a 23C tire.

    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Most road bikes Will NOT take a 700 X 28 tire.
    Some will not take a 700 X 25 tire.
    Gross generalizations are always wrong:-)

    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Many road frames will accommodate 28mm tires, but many won't. Even if the frame has the clearance for a 28mm tire, it's often difficult or impossible to squeeze a 28mm tire between the brake pads while fully inflated. These limitations don't apply just to "aero" bikes, BTW. My completely non-aero Cervelo RS can't fit anything larger than 700x25 into the front fork. Depending on the tire brand, some 25s won't even fit!
    Like sstorkel, I have more than one road bike in the garage. One will accommodate tires in excess of 28mm without issue. One can just fit 28mm tires. And, the third can't fit anything larger than a 25mm in the front but doesn't have any issue with a 28mm in the rear.

    Keep in mind that not all 25mm or 28mm tires are exactly that measure. There is a reasonable amount of variation from the stated size. Michelin tires are known to run large. Continental tires are known to run true to size to slightly under sized. A 28mm Continental may fit where a 25mm Michelin will not. And, rim width will play a role in the corresponding profile of any given tire.
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  24. #24
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    On the subject of test rides: I would recommend you concern yourself with comparing the "endurance" geometries sstorkel listed above with cyclocross bikes before you worry about comaring them to race geometries. Chances are that the aforementioned will have a better chance of aligning with where you are right now. But, I wouldn't rule out test riding a race bike or two, just in case you find that you really do like the quicker handling.

    Now adays there are a lot of blurred lines between what constitutes a "race" bike, "endurance" bike, "cyclocross" bike and "touring" bike. Often times there are bikes that could easily fill two or more of those categories.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Ive been riding a Spec. Roubaix, all-carbon for 4 years now. Never broke a spoke in 4K miles. Awesome bike and I bought it at 315lbs - now down to 280's (I know, Im a slow learner )

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