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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-21-14, 09:15 AM   #1
WebFootFreak
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First chance to hammer on new bike

My wife noted that I had been looking around for a road bike for a while. She also knew that I'd been saving everything I could get my hands on so to make that possible. Christmas rolls around, and her gift to me was a $200 Walmart card with the note: "I'd have bought it myself, but I wasn't sure of the size". So, as of Jan 8th of this year, I am the happy owner of a GMC Denali.

I'm still working on tweaking the fit on it, and there are a couple of things that could be better, but overall it's exactly what I need, and I'm liking it. With the way the weather has been around here (COLD!!) I've only managed 1 ride, and that was a lovely 6.9 mile excursion with my wife. Last night, I had to go return a rental vehicle from the weekend, and since the weather was so nice, I decided to throw the bike in the rental and ride home.

I went a total of 7.7 miles in 30:17. That included a stop on top of my favorite overpass to admire the view. That put me at an avg speed of 15.2mph. My normal avg speed on a ride is from 11-12 mph. That's a gain of 3+. Of course I have to mention that my top speed was 21.9... on the flat! Now, the bike that the Denali replaced is the Huffy Mt Havok listed under my avatar. It still had the knobby tires inflated to 60, and weighed in at a hefty 39lbs. I'll be honest, to me the Denali is as light as a feather, coming in at 28. Throw in the narrower tires, and I think that's where my extra speed came from.

Kind of a side note... I'm not terribly comfortable in the drops yet. In fact, my top speed came on the crossbar. Also, when I'm riding on the hoods, I feel like I'm going to flip over the front tire... any ideas to make that a little more... comfortable?
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Old 01-21-14, 12:22 PM   #2
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Why aren't you comfortable on the drops? Could be fit issue, or flexibility for both, really. How tall are you, and what size is the bike?
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Old 01-21-14, 01:08 PM   #3
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I'm 5'9" and I got the 22.5". My discomfort in the drops is a mix of lack of flexibility and beer gut. I'm pretty sure that'll work itself out once the weather warms up.
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Old 01-21-14, 01:33 PM   #4
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Webfootfreak,
I'm 5'-10" and 260lbs. Now I have an issue at times with the drops on my new bike (belly-fat ratio out of tilt) but I cannot say I ever felt like I was going to flip over the front tire while my hands were on the hoods. What is the distance from your seat post to your head tube? As JReade stated it coulb be a fit issue.

BTW: I am finding it takes a little getting used to a road bike profile vs. a MTB profile. Much different possition.
Also, how many miles do you plan to ride this year? Have you given it any thought?


Thanks,
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Old 01-21-14, 01:42 PM   #5
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I can attest to belly issues, last season was my first real stab at losing weight and getting rid of the gut. It took a few months but by the end of the season I had more "thigh to belly" clearance and wasn't jiggling when in the drops.

I still don't like the drops but that is because I am about as flexible as a brick....which I am working on to fix.
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Old 01-21-14, 04:25 PM   #6
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Cycle Babble (love the name, lol!) - I'll measure when I get home tonight. The last time I was on a road bike was summer of 1993. It had the normal brakes, but also an extra lever going across the crossbar, so resting hands on the hoods wasn't necessary. I'm very conscious as to how heavy I am, and I think I'm more afraid of the brake levers letting loose than anything. I'm planning on at least 1800 miles in the saddle and 360 miles on foot this year.

Chitown Mike - absolutely, my thighs slap the ol' gut around like I'm trying to juggle a soccer ball... full of water. The odd thing for me is that I've always been flexible, but age has been creeping up for a few years now. Time to start stretching I guess
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Old 01-21-14, 09:59 PM   #7
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Kind of a side note... I'm not terribly comfortable in the drops yet. In fact, my top speed came on the crossbar. Also, when I'm riding on the hoods, I feel like I'm going to flip over the front tire... any ideas to make that a little more... comfortable?
Just ride more. You'll get used to the new bars surprisingly quickly!
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Old 01-22-14, 12:29 AM   #8
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I'm "comfortable" in the drops but I don't usually care to ride there for any length of time... my neck gets stiff. I have maybe 3" drop from the saddle to the top of my bars.

As for the hoods, thats probably where i ride most of the time, or the tops. Or a hybrid, between-the-two spot near the bend. You'll figure out what works for you, and what hurts your hands the least.

Enjoy your bike - it's a low-end bike but people who take good care of them get some good usage, so pay attention to your maintenance chores and it should serve you well for a long time. You can fiddle with replacing the bars or the stem if you need to tweak your fit.
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Old 01-22-14, 09:53 AM   #9
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Trojan- I read Borobike's thread front to back. I wish he was still around with the way he was reporting on his. I'm going to throw brake pads at it, and a stem shifter to get those nasty index shifters off the bars and I'll be good!

Cycle- We had a bit of a family issue last night (teen AND toddler, lol) and I wasn't able to get out and get the measurements... will try tonight

Last edited by WebFootFreak; 01-22-14 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 01-22-14, 10:22 AM   #10
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Thats a great looking bike. Index shifters and brake pads? Is it a problem with function or preferance that you are replacing them? I am curious because I am thinking about buying one too.
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Old 01-22-14, 11:46 AM   #11
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in my opinion
what makes drop bars so good is not the one position where aerodynamics are optimized
but the fact that there are four or five positions to rotate between to keep yourself fresh

what worked for me to get comfortable in the drops
was to train myself to ride in the drops for short stints
every now and then
start with 30 seconds
work up to minute or more

then you wil have that position when you want to cruise into a headwind
or beat your personal best over some timed section of road

however
if you keep trying and just cannot get yourself comfortable
you can get a different stem with a little more rise or a little less extension
or both
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Old 01-22-14, 12:37 PM   #12
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thrllskr- in my case it's a form issue, I have rather large hands (good for bowling, bad for working on cars) and with how far off the neck they come, my index finger and thumb are wrapped around a thicker area than the rest of my hand... I just don't like it. I suppose I can admit to a touch of function as well... but since I just don't like indexed shifters that I've used in the past (never brifters, tho), it's more opinion than a real-world "it ain't workin" issue. Now I'm not trying to make this a "My Denali Rocks", or "Denali Sucks" thread at all since we have plenty of them already . So all I will say on the bike overall is: In my opinion, my bike is more than adequate for what I want and need at this point in my biking life.

Wilfred- That makes perfect sense. As the weather allows, I will add "Drop Time" to my rides.
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Old 01-23-14, 12:22 PM   #13
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Good for you, Web! You're riding it and that's what matters! Let's see some pics!
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Old 01-23-14, 03:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by WebFootFreak View Post
thrllskr- in my case it's a form issue, I have rather large hands (good for bowling, bad for working on cars) and with how far off the neck they come, my index finger and thumb are wrapped around a thicker area than the rest of my hand... I just don't like it. I suppose I can admit to a touch of function as well... but since I just don't like indexed shifters that I've used in the past (never brifters, tho), it's more opinion than a real-world "it ain't workin" issue.
if you change shifters
you can also change the bars
as i believe the twist grip style shifters that come stock on the bike
require a split bar to mount

if you want different shifters
other styles that could work are
brifters
although selection is limited for 7 speed ones
or
friction shifters that mount on the stem or on the bar ends
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Old 01-23-14, 05:28 PM   #15
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Everybody keeps talking about the bike, although being bikeforums.net, that's expected. I want to give props to the wife for giving you an awesome gift. Maybe there's a wifeforums.net although I'm not looking for it.

Maybe one of these days I'll find me a sugarmama to give me a $2000 gift certificate to the bike shop. Can always dream.
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Old 01-23-14, 07:07 PM   #16
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Erwin8r- soon. I have the required garage door pic, but need to get it uploaded which is a pain by phone.

Wilfred- The plan is to go old-school friction stem shifters. I'm happy with the bar and oddly enough, it's not a split bar.

the fly- Yeah... she rocks my world. Hehehe, I'm going to use some of what I've saved to get near something new for the summer. Hopefully, I can get her in board for N+1.
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Old 01-23-14, 07:50 PM   #17
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Hope this works, lol!

GMC (Kent) Denali. De-stickered because I hate stickers.

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Old 01-23-14, 09:23 PM   #18
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Don't worry about riding in the drops, that will come with time.

Enjoy it and ride it like you stole it!!!
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Old 01-24-14, 01:58 AM   #19
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I'd definitely rotate the handle bars up so at least the end of the drops are almost parallel w/ the ground (slight pointed up). this will also raise the hoods so you're not pushing too much weight over the front of the bike and actually feel like slipping over the front wheel. This should also make the drops more enjoyable rather then feel the pressure point between your thumb and index finger from the downward slop of the current handlebar config. Play with different angles, you'll know when it feel good then fine tune from there.

Bike looks good w/o the stickers, glad they were on top of the clear coat and not under it.
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Old 01-24-14, 06:54 AM   #20
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pushing too much weight over the front of the bike and actually feel like slipping over the front wheel. Play with different angles, you'll know when it feel good then fine tune from there.

Bike looks good w/o the stickers, glad they were on top of the clear coat and not under it.
That makes sense. The feeling of slipping over is the problem. I initially rotated them that way to make getting to the brakes in the drops easier. That was before I figured out what "riding the hoods" really was... Thought it was the top bar, lol!

I'm glad they were over the clear coat too. I understand why it's not, but I wish they had faded from the black to orange. I'm not a big fan of orange, but this not bad or garish at all.
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Old 01-24-14, 07:57 AM   #21
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Looks great. I agree the bars need to be rotated a significant degree up. I am looking forward to hearing how it rides.
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Old 02-03-14, 01:00 PM   #22
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THE BIKE ROCKS!

Because?
YOU LIKE IT!
YOU RIDE IT!

"and that's the truth"
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Old 02-04-14, 08:01 AM   #23
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THE BIKE ROCKS!

Because?
YOU LIKE IT!
YOU RIDE IT!

"and that's the truth"
Amen!

I took everyone's advice, and rotated the bars... riding the hoods is a LOT more comfortable and stable feeling. The only adjustment I can't get right is the seat. Where it is, I'm getting excessive soft tissue pressure, but if I tilt it forward at all, I slide forward out of it... I guess a seat is going on the list too...

Rode about 12 miles (Strava burped in the middle of it) and avg'd over 14... definitely faster on this bike!
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Old 02-04-14, 08:19 AM   #24
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Now I'm not trying to make this a "My Denali Rocks", or "Denali Sucks" thread at all since we have plenty of them already . So all I will say on the bike overall is: In my opinion, my bike is more than adequate for what I want and need at this point in my biking life.
VERY well said. The best bike for anyone is the one they will ride!

Congrats. Agreed on the bar angles. I'm not an expert on fit, so I have no opinion on the seat other than I've never heard "tilting it down" as the answer. Sometimes, it's just a matter of getting used to the change.

Congrats! Glad you're enjoying the ride.
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Old 02-04-14, 11:06 AM   #25
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Amen!

I took everyone's advice, and rotated the bars... riding the hoods is a LOT more comfortable and stable feeling. The only adjustment I can't get right is the seat. Where it is, I'm getting excessive soft tissue pressure, but if I tilt it forward at all, I slide forward out of it... I guess a seat is going on the list too...

Rode about 12 miles (Strava burped in the middle of it) and avg'd over 14... definitely faster on this bike!
I see stock seats as merely "seat post covers" that will need to be changed as soon as I get the bike home. They're such an individual preference thing that it stands to reason the stock one isn't working for you. And it doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune--there are many reasonably priced quality seats out there. I usually try a few used seats (off eBay, for example) before I settle on a design that works and then maybe buy a new one then (if necessary).
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