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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 02-26-14, 12:52 PM   #1
Southbound35
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6'7", ~350 Lbs, ex NFL Offensive Lineman, looking for a road bike

Hi,

I am new to the forum and looking forward to meeting new people. I apologize if anything below reads like I have no idea what I am doing, as I can assure you that that would be an accurate assessment.

As the title says, I am 6'7" & ~350-360 Lbs ... not too much different than my playing weight, but I've definitely traded a lot of muscle for fat over the past decade. I kept eating the same after I was done playing, topped out at ~400 Lbs, dropped down to 325 around 2 years ago, tore a meniscus and the weight started creeping back up. I am in 'decent' shape, nowhere near where I was, but few are. Sadly, I can no longer dunk a basketball.

Got my old mountain bike from storage about a year ago to start towing the kids who are now 3 & 2. I have a 2002 Trek 4500 Alpha with a 24" frame. http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/B...4500&Type=bike

Modifications include:
  • 26" 'Clyde' wheels (typing this from work, not sure of the brand ... they say Clyde and were purchased 11.5 years ago)
  • Hybrid tires
  • Either SPD or steel pedals (with a power strap)
  • Road bike seat
  • Rusted front derailleur which is no longer functional. I am stuck on the 42 tooth chainring

I am basically using this as a road bike in a very flat part of the country. I think I am ready to either make the switch to a road bike or upgrade the crankset/chain/cog for a higher gear ratio.

Whenever the weather permits, I am getting at least one 15-20 mile ride in per week and 1-2 shorter rides. My average pace is 15 mph, it is closer to 16-17 mph on flat/straight/uncongested paths. I can easily get over 20 mph on flat ground during the first half of the ride. It is a 24-speed bike (as noted above, I only have access to 17-24 ... 11-32 teeth cogset if it helps). I rarely drop below 20. I frequently cruise at 24 and would like to have a set-up where a higher gear ratio was a possibility.

Option A) New Road Bike. I am clueless, the only road bike I have been on is some $5,000 Trek that is well above what I want to spend here. I've searched the forums and there is a lot of advice. I realize that my height/weight/activity/leg strength combo is a bit odd. Max I would be willing to spend is $1,500, but I would much spend less $ on a better used bike and upgrade as necessary. Given my size, I am not trying to shave ounces on anything that isn't me.

Option B) Continue to modify Mountain Bike. I want a higher max gear ratio. As noted above, component weight is no issue. Can I fit a larger Crankset on my bike? Would I need a new cogset & chain as well? Will i be able to transfer more power with this set-up?

Option C) Replace the front derailleur on my current set-up and continue doing what I am doing until I get closer to 300 Lbs, which I haven't seen since I was 15.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can provide!
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Old 02-26-14, 01:12 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. The cheapest option is to repair or modify what you have. That option will likely cost you $100 or less, depending on whether you just repair the front derailleur or decide to switch out the chainrings. Maybe some mechanics on the forum can opine on how much it would cost to switch your mountain bike to bigger chainrings, replacing the front derailleur, and whether that could be done without switching out the shifters. I suspect it can be done.

Should you want to switch to something more road oriented, you might want to consider something more touring oriented, as the frames and wheelsets would better handle your weight. The challenge is to find a frame large enough to fit you.

This is what I was thinking of in the $1,500 price tag.
Salsa Vaya 3
http://salsacycles.com/bikes/2014_vaya_3

Trek 520
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ouring/520/520
Surly Long Haul Trucker
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker/bike_info
Jamis Aurora
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-bike-ec041517
Specialized Tri cross
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/tricross

Soma Double Cross
http
://www.somafab.com/archives/product/double-cross-disc-complete-bicycle
This is not an exhaustive list. I am sure there are other bikes like this. Fit is very important, so take your time with test rides.
PS. You didn't, by chance play for the Packers.

Last edited by MRT2; 02-26-14 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 02-26-14, 01:24 PM   #3
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One more. Jamis Bossanova. The challenge for you is finding a frame large enough to fit your 6'7" frame.
http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applica...cat_grp=road_9
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Old 02-26-14, 01:29 PM   #4
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Welcome!

As I understand it, it gets hard to find bikes to fit properly at your height.

You're rolling along quite well at 20-24!

Others on this site would know if you can use larger chain wheels on your current crank. Else you could have a compatible road crank installed to increase your top gear.
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Old 02-26-14, 02:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Southbound35 View Post
Hi,

I am new to the forum and looking forward to meeting new people. I apologize if anything below reads like I have no idea what I am doing, as I can assure you that that would be an accurate assessment.
Welcome. And you sound like you very much know what you're doing. I don't have much experience to share regarding your size frames or upgrading mountain bikes, so I'll keep my mouth shut on that. However, what part of the country are you in. I like to use www.searchtempest.com to search all local craigslists for stuff. It can help save a ton of time. Tell us what part of the country and we may be able to find a good used deal.
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Old 02-26-14, 02:36 PM   #6
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Thank you for the feedback. Some great leads. At a quick glance, the Surly & Soma look promising. From a conversation at a LBS, 61mm is the absolute minimum frame size, but 63mm+ would be far preferable.

Since I have a suitable frame & wheels and no future interest in mountain biking, the mod option does sound logical. If I go that route, I will investigate going 'all-in' and installing a drop handle bar and new shifters as well. I will bring my bike into the neighborhood store this weekend and see what they have to say.

Negative on the Packers.
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Old 02-26-14, 02:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Southbound35 View Post
Thank you for the feedback. Some great leads. At a quick glance, the Surly & Soma look promising. From a conversation at a LBS, 61mm is the absolute minimum frame size, but 63mm+ would be far preferable.

Since I have a suitable frame & wheels and no future interest in mountain biking, the mod option does sound logical. If I go that route, I will investigate going 'all-in' and installing a drop handle bar and new shifters as well. I will bring my bike into the neighborhood store this weekend and see what they have to say.

Negative on the Packers.
That may be more trouble than it is worth. If you want a drop bar road bike, it is probably better to just buy a drop bar road bike that fits you than to try converting a mountain bike into a road bike. Some things are easy to switch out, like tires. Other things, like shift and brake levers, are far more expensive. Road shifters are not compatible with mountain derailleurs. so you would have to completely change out the entire drivetrain. Not saying it couldn't be done, but it may be cost more than the bike is worth.

Last edited by MRT2; 02-26-14 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 02-26-14, 02:42 PM   #8
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Welcome. And you sound like you very much know what you're doing. I don't have much experience to share regarding your size frames or upgrading mountain bikes, so I'll keep my mouth shut on that. However, what part of the country are you in. I like to use www.searchtempest.com to search all local craigslists for stuff. It can help save a ton of time. Tell us what part of the country and we may be able to find a good used deal.
I am currently in Memphis. Odds are I could get someone to pick up something off of Craigslist for me in Philly, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis, Nashville, etc.
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Old 02-26-14, 02:47 PM   #9
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I am currently in Memphis. Odds are I could get someone to pick up something off of Craigslist for me in Philly, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis, Nashville, etc.
Best to find something local, unless you know exactly what you want. Fit is important.
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Old 02-26-14, 03:21 PM   #10
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Going to a hybrid / trekking crank (48t ring) will get you about 15% higher top gear. I have considered this mod for my own similar mountain bike. You need the crankset ($40), a new longer chain because there's more teeth to cover ($20), and possibly but not definitely a wider bottom bracket so the bigger low ring clears the frame by the tire ($20). I imagine a bike shop could do it for you, no problemo, and clean up or replace the front shifting too. This will at least get you back on the road while you make up your mind about your new bike. And when you have the lower gears back, it makes a great tug.

I don't think your bike is a good candidate for conversion to a fast drop bar road bike. There are too many little incompatibilities between mountain and road parts and by the time you've fixed them all you might as well start over. There are people on this forum who have done mountain to road conversions but it's usually with older bikes that were not so different to begin with.

The road bike guys think you ought to be pedaling about 90 rpm which implies using lower gears than you are, and spinning faster. But it can seem like flailing around if you are big.
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Old 02-26-14, 03:39 PM   #11
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I'd say the Surly might be your best option. With respect to the Trek 520, looks like the biggest frame offered is a 60 cm, and that's the size Madone that I rode. I'm half a foot shorter than you.
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Old 02-26-14, 03:54 PM   #12
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I just noticed that the site is showing me an ad for Zinn Cycles, which specializes in large bike frames and long cranks for gigantic people. But it's not cheap!

http://zinncycles.com/Zinn/index.php...etball-players
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Old 02-26-14, 03:54 PM   #13
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...tore a meniscus and the weight started creeping back up. I am in 'decent' shape, nowhere near where I was, but few are. Sadly, I can no longer dunk a basketball.
Welcome to the club! One possible solution for you is to get a hoop with an adjustable rim. Lower that thing to 7 feet and BAM, glory days are back!

As for the bike, the bad news is you are outside the norm for height, so it will be hard to find a bike. The good news is there won't be much competition for it. Keep an eye on fleabay for 63cm+ frames - here's a 65cm bike that looks good for cheap

look for a guy named bigfred here on this clyde board, he's round about your height and can probably offer some relevant advice that most people can't.

A guy named Lennard Zinn makes a living crafting bikes for the really tall crowd, so keep an eye peeled for his bikes. Gunnar also makes customs for tall folks. Obviously buying them new would blow your budget but keep an eye out for used ones.
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Old 02-26-14, 04:02 PM   #14
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Clicking around on that site also gave me the KHS Flite 747, which is a big-and-tall road bike with long cranks, right around your budget.
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Old 02-26-14, 04:11 PM   #15
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....Road shifters are not compatible with mountain derailleurs. so you would have to completely change out the entire drivetrain....... .
The above ONLY applies to 10 speed. Up through 9 speed, MTB and road derailleurs and shifters are compatible.

********

It is easy to swap out components on bike to make things suit you.
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Old 02-26-14, 04:21 PM   #16
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We also specialize in building bicycles that have greater rider requirements and as I volunteer at our co-op will keep an eye out for a suitable off the peg frame as they do show up from time to time.
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Old 02-26-14, 05:50 PM   #17
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http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...y-stock-frames

Check this thread out for some relatively recent discussion on the new frames that are available to suit your height.
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Old 02-26-14, 06:13 PM   #18
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Clicking around on that site also gave me the KHS Flite 747, which is a big-and-tall road bike with long cranks, right around your budget.
Thank you, very intriguing. I would have to confirm the capacity of the rear wheel of course.
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Old 02-26-14, 06:39 PM   #19
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Going to a hybrid / trekking crank (48t ring) will get you about 15% higher top gear. I have considered this mod for my own similar mountain bike. You need the crankset ($40), a new longer chain because there's more teeth to cover ($20), and possibly but not definitely a wider bottom bracket so the bigger low ring clears the frame by the tire ($20). I imagine a bike shop could do it for you, no problemo, and clean up or replace the front shifting too. This will at least get you back on the road while you make up your mind about your new bike. And when you have the lower gears back, it makes a great tug.

I don't think your bike is a good candidate for conversion to a fast drop bar road bike. There are too many little incompatibilities between mountain and road parts and by the time you've fixed them all you might as well start over. There are people on this forum who have done mountain to road conversions but it's usually with older bikes that were not so different to begin with.

The road bike guys think you ought to be pedaling about 90 rpm which implies using lower gears than you are, and spinning faster. But it can seem like flailing around if you are big.

Thanks for the advice. I am bringing my bike into a couple of shops this weekend and will see what they can do.

I am going to research a lot of the options listed here while I see how often I can get out during the spring/summer. If I am consistently over 200 miles/month, buying new makes for a much easier argument.
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Old 02-26-14, 06:40 PM   #20
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In the short run, I'd just replace the FD, those are really cheap.

In the long run, if/when you feel able to do 3+ hour rides, your main objective is to get a bicycle that fits. Component weight obviously does not matter for you, the challenge is to find a frame that's big enough. Be aware that different brands have different geometries, you can't assume that, say, 60 cm Trek 520 would fit you the same as 60 cm Surly. Your height puts you either into custom-frame territory or at least above the largest size for most brands/models. There's a real risk that an unscrupulous LBS might try to put you on the biggest bike they have, which would still be too small for you.

The best course of action is probably to buy a used road bike off Craigslist, look for the largest frame you can find, adjust the stem and seatpost (there are some general rules, for example, your knee should be slightly bent when the foot is on the pedal and the pedal is all the way down, and your back should be roughly at a 45 degree angle to the ground when your hands on the shifter hoods), and put some miles on it. That will give you an idea of the size/fit you really need. Then sell it on Craigslist and start educated shopping.
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Old 02-26-14, 07:24 PM   #21
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A good touring bike to look for used is the Cannondale t1, or the T1000. They are excellent bikes but Cannondale has stopped manufacturing them.

To keep it quick and simple, I would ask a bike shop that carries Surly to bring in a 64 cm Long Haul Trucker. Test ride that. I think you will be impressed and it will fit your price range. Remember to get a good lock and helmet.

Just to let you know, the $300 + helmets are made for people with very little brain. They can't afford to damage the small brain they have in an accident.

Spring is just around the corner. Great time to be thinking about cycling.
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Old 02-26-14, 07:27 PM   #22
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Zinn

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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I just noticed that the site is showing me an ad for Zinn Cycles, which specializes in large bike frames and long cranks for gigantic people. But it's not cheap!

http://zinncycles.com/Zinn/index.php...etball-players
+1
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Old 02-26-14, 07:44 PM   #23
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Welcome to the forum.

I'm 6'5" (used to be a little over 6'6" before the back injuries), 45y.o., 250-260lbs and a former collegiate wrestler. If you have a $1,500 budget to workwith and a desire to have a road bike, I'm going to strongly suggest you investigate a KHS Flight 747 from Zinn or a local bike shop:

http://www.bigandtallbike.com/KHS-Fl...NOW_p_334.html

Last year I built up a proportional crank bike for myself. The thread is here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...uild?highlight=

Or, check out Adrian McKenzie's Everydaytallstories blog: http://everydaytallstories.wordpress.com/ He's a former rugby player turned keen cyclist and another proponent of the proportional frame and crank idea.

Then, invest the little that will be required to maintain your very capable Trek as a Mountain/Trail bike and use it for it's intended purpose. Instead of trying to turn it into somthing it is not.

I realize Zinn is selling the 747 for a little more than the $1,500 you've indicated as your upper limit. They were a couple hundred less last year. But, having been through the frame search for appropriate sized bikes slighlty smaller than you for the last 30 years, I really think you're going to be hard pressed to find a frame that will better suit you than the 747. Unless you go custom.
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Old 02-26-14, 08:05 PM   #24
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Lennard Zinn is a niche manufacturer. You are his niche:


The KHS Flight 747 is a joint project between him and KHS to provide a stock geometry option for those who can't afford a custom frame directly from him.

Really, really, give a good look. It wouldn't hurt to take the time to measure yourself according to his measuring procedure and enter those numbers into his fit calculator to see how close the 747 is to your ideal dimensions. When you're as tall as you are, morphological annomolies can be quite a determining factor.
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Old 02-26-14, 09:18 PM   #25
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Welcome to the forum! I've worked with a few ex pro players on weight loss, etc. Biking is one of the things we move towards due to all the abuse you fellas have taken over the years. Though I never got as far as you did I experienced some of the same challenges and fight that fight on a constant basis. Maybe someday we can chat about it.

You are getting some great advice in this forum. Very helpful people. I have steered several of the people I've worked with this way and if they listen to what they are told they are pleased with the outcome.
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