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  1. #1
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    Specialized Awol for 300lb+?

    It's been several years since I was active on the forum or biking in general. I'm a big guy, 6' and about 340#, 31 years old. I used to ride a CAAD9 several years ago when I was in good shape around 250-270#. I'm pretty out of shape now and sold the Cannondale last Fall since it didn't exactly fit my new "physique" and it had been sitting in the garage unused for a few years. I'm looking to get back on a bike again and have started researching/shopping.

    I'd still like something a little "sporty" with drop bars, but stronger and more comfortable than my old C'dale. I noticed Specialized has a new model called the Awol (linked below). It looks nice, except for pushing the boundaries of my budget a bit. I'm going to check one out in the next day or so at my LBS to see if it's comfortable. Does anybody happen to own one yet? Is there anything that stands out as being potentially clyde friendly/unfriendly? 99% of my riding will be on smooth pavement.


    Specialized Bicycle Components

    I also may look at a couple CX bikes like this Fuji:

    31-1401-BLK-SIDE.jpg
    Fuji Cross 1.5 Cyclocross Bike - 2014 - Road Bikes
    Last edited by gearhead82; 04-14-14 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    If you want to avoid the big brand markup, most vendors have nice cross bikes that might suit your needs and Fuji is a solid brand. keep an eye on performancebike, they unload Fujis all the time and/or have double or triple point weekends that can go a long way to providing accessories for your new bike.

    Larger volume tires will be more comfortable and less likely to flat but won't corner as well (no crit racing on these things!) and the top end tends to be lower too, so you'll get a 46 tooth chainring instead of 50-53. It's probably not a big deal.

  3. #3
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    There's a thread over on RBR about it. Still pretty new so there are not a lot of reviews. Shimano is releasing a hydraulic disk brake version of 105 next year so that might be worth waiting for if you feel like you must have disc brakes.

    2014 awol

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    If you want to avoid the big brand markup, most vendors have nice cross bikes that might suit your needs and Fuji is a solid brand. keep an eye on performancebike, they unload Fujis all the time and/or have double or triple point weekends that can go a long way to providing accessories for your new bike.

    Larger volume tires will be more comfortable and less likely to flat but won't corner as well (no crit racing on these things!) and the top end tends to be lower too, so you'll get a 46 tooth chainring instead of 50-53. It's probably not a big deal.
    Thanks. I stopped by the shop after work yesterday and took a look at the AWOL. They had it on display with racks and fenders and every accessory imaginable. It looks very nice in person. I like the idea of steel and also like the slanted top tube. I didn't ride it because I wasn't wearing comfortable clothes. I'll go back in a couple days and try it out if I decide my budget has enough flexibility for it.

    I also have a Performance store nearby and stopped by there last night. They didn't have any great deals on Fuji cross bikes in the store at the moment. I'm thinking a true cross bike might still have a little too aggressive geometry for me but won't know until I ride one.

    I did ride a Diamondback hard tail 29er mountain bike at Performance last night. It felt really strange and uncomfortable after having ridden mostly road bikes for the past 5 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
    There's a thread over on RBR about it. Still pretty new so there are not a lot of reviews. Shimano is releasing a hydraulic disk brake version of 105 next year so that might be worth waiting for if you feel like you must have disc brakes.

    2014 awol
    Thanks for the link. I'm not set on needing disc brakes, but I do think they're cool and I've wanted a bike with disc brakes ever since I was a teenager. I've read that the mechanical ones on the AWOL are pretty good and I'm sure they would be just fine for me if I go that direction.

  5. #5
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    Don't be afraid to try the CX or a regular road bike. I waver between 320 and 330 and have had no issues with the road bike at all. The only 'bigger' thing it has is 700x25 slick tires.

    I just bought a cross bike to try commuting a couple days a week as work allows. It still fits more like a road bike, but certainly feels beefier. Alot of them have rack mounts, fender mounts, etc. if that was an option you were looking for.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by datsme40 View Post
    Don't be afraid to try the CX or a regular road bike. I waver between 320 and 330 and have had no issues with the road bike at all. The only 'bigger' thing it has is 700x25 slick tires.

    I just bought a cross bike to try commuting a couple days a week as work allows. It still fits more like a road bike, but certainly feels beefier. Alot of them have rack mounts, fender mounts, etc. if that was an option you were looking for.
    That's good to know. I've added a couple more bikes to my list. The Surly Straggler (basically a Cross Check with disc brakes and brifters instead of bar end shifters) and the Salsa Vaya, which is very similar to the Specialized AWOL. The Kona Rove is also very similar.

    I like the idea of a steel frame. I think aluminum would be fine for my weight, but when I had the CAAD9 I somehow got a ding on one of the seat stays even though I was always careful with the bike. I feel like I wouldn't have to worry about that as much with steel.

  7. #7
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    The Vaya and the AWOL feel pretty similar in my opinion. Sloping tubes, steel frame, low BB drop. The AWOL is a bit less expensive and probably more readily available to test ride. I can’t say enough good things about the Vaya. It is very relaxed and comfortable. I built mine from the frame up. Ultegra components, triple chainring, brifters, Avid BB7 road brakes, 36 spoke Mavic wheels with XT hubs. It is built like a tank but is still a pretty snappy bike. I use mine for about everything including touring. The bike is nice and stable even fully loaded. The only nit is that I personally don’t like the feel of the Shimano brifters with the mechanical disc brakes. . It isn’t bad, but could be better. My buddy’s SRAM seems to have a better pull. I think the Vaya fits a little small. I am 5’10 and around 190#. I usually ride between a 54 and 56. The 54 Vaya felt tiny to me. The 56 is a perfect fit.

    If I were buying today, I would probably go with the AWOL over the Vaya. With everything else being somewhat equal, the AWOL is right at $150-200 less than the comparable Vaya and the AWOL can fit up to a 29X2.2 tire where I think the limit on the Vaya is 700X45.

  8. #8
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    It's good to hear you've been happy with the Vaya. I'm very close to pulling the trigger on one. I spent a good amount of time test riding yesterday.

    I've actually had much better luck finding Vayas to ride compared to the AWOL. The shop with the Salsas is great. Super friendly and knowledgeable and spent lots of time with me and got me to ride as many bikes as possible yesterday. I rode the Vaya in both 57 and 58 sizes. Both felt very smooth and comfortable. The 57 maybe slightly moreso. I'm exactly 6' with a longish torso and shortish legs. My CAAD9 was a 58.

    The Specialized shop on the other hand was terrible from a service perspective. It felt like a Walmart. I eventually rode an AWOL in a size Large, which I think may be a little too big for me actually. It was nice but didn't feel nearly as comfortable. There are 3 Specialized shops (the same chain, but with 3 locations) in my area and none of them have a Medium for me to try and they gave me a very cold "we will order a medium only if you commit to buying it" speech when I inquired. I understand they can't just order any bike a customer inquires about, but they didn't seem at all like they cared about getting me on the right bike.

    I like the way the AWOL looks with the kinda satin/naked steel color. The only thing I'm not thrilled about the Vaya is the color. The Sora equipped Vaya 3 comes in green and the 105 equipped Vaya 2 comes in kind of a light blue. I hate the green but the blue is growing on me a little. It's one of the reasons I'm considering stretching the budget and going with the Vaya 2, which costs exactly the same as the AWOL Comp (SRAM Apex equipped I believe).

  9. #9
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    at your price range don't forget to consider the option of building.

    on ribble.co.uk you can buy a complete new 105 groupset for just over $400 shipped, you'd need different stoppers to go with whatever frame you end up with... another $400-700 for frameset leaves a good chunk for building up the rest of the bike.

    if the exchange rate stays this way I really would like to build up a soma ES... will fit 32c tires without issue (with fenders), steel frame, geometry I'm comfortable on (very similar to my old sport touring Trek) as it stands I stick with my 31 year old trek crit frame with an older component build... it fits 32c tires on it and is fairly comfy... just would prefer a little slower geometry.

    if you want to stay with the CX type bikes there are plenty of options as well, your choice of Canti's or Disc stoppers... although to be honest even at your weight (which is very close to mine) unless you are riding wet, muddy trails there is little benefit to discs... I only have discs on my touring bike because I was building it using parts I had.

    just another thought/consideration for ya
    mtbr clyd moderator

  10. #10
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    I ended up going with the Vaya! It's the 105 equipped version in a 57cm. I want to give praise to Paradise Garage in Columbus OH. I worked with 3 different guys on 3 different days and everything about the experience there was top notch. Obligatory pics:
    photo 1.jpgphoto 2.jpgphoto 3.jpgphoto 4.jpg
    Last edited by gearhead82; 04-23-14 at 07:35 AM.

  11. #11
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    Congrats! Looks like a great bike.

  12. #12
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    Thanks! I love it so far. Definitely the most comfortable bike I've ever been on.

    I also had a chance to test the AWOL in both medium and large sizes. It's a nice bike but for me it wasn't nearly as comfortable. The Vaya on the other hand felt like it was just made for me every time I got on it.

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