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  1. #1
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    Newb to road; Advice for big rider

    So after searching the forums for a while and reading a ton.. I decided to post up..

    I am new to the forums, I currently ride MTB a few times a month, but have the itch to start riding road. I am an athletic(Played D.1 NCAA Football) 6' 3 3/4" and currently 290. Just finished up my football career and would like to shed my playing weight.

    My question is what Is a good entry/intermediate level bike that I am not going to out grow in 6 months. What Features should I be looking for to make this bike good for someone my size?


    I would like to stay under or around $1k.

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    While I know you are going to hate hearing this, I would head to my LBS and have them fit you onto a suitable bike. Ask around to find a good shop that will spend some time doing a proper fitting and take it from there. They will know how to fit you to eliminate some of the aches and pains associated with larger riders and ill fitted equipment as well as be there to do the adjustments when something doesn't feel right. Good luck, I know you will enjoy riding!

  3. #3
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum. Cycling and diet (lifestyle, not "going on a diet") can be a great way to shed the weight.

    As far as bikes, your weight will not stop you from riding any bike out there. You'll get a variety of opinions as to wheels, however, there are many clydes riding on stock, low spoke-count wheels with great success. Just ask the LBS to tension them when you buy it then after a couple hundred miles. IMO, ride them until you need to replace them.

    As far as what bike, the best thing you can do is go ride as many as you can. Keep in mind, in "road" bikes, or those that look like them, you have race, relaxed, tri and cyclocross. I'd rule the tri bikes out right away. They're not setup for long distance riding comfort. Cyclocross can be a good choice, especially if you want to ride some light trails or fire roads. Race geometry is more aggressive than relaxed. Race leans you over further. Relaxed leaves you in a slightly more upright position - though nothing like a hybrid or MTB.

    I would start by riding all the relaxed and race bikes you can, and all manufacturers make them. It's amazing how they can vary in feel. In one day, I rode a Specialized Roubaix, Canondale Synapse Carbon, Felt Z, and a couple of levels of Giant Defy (carbon). The Defy was by far the best bike I rode....FOR ME. Others swear by their Roubaix's, or Synapse, or.......whatever they like the ride the best of. Whatever it is, the more you like the ride, the more you ride the bike.

    See if you can do longer test-rides, especially of the final choices. A spin around the parking lot does virtually nothing to tell you how it rides.

    In your price range, you'll be looking at aluminum with carbon forks. There are plenty of good choices.

    If you find one bike at one shop that is as good for you as another bike at another shop, you should consider the shop as part of the decision. Were they supportive? Helpful? Give you a good vibe? That's important for future support.

    Good luck on the hunt.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huskysibe View Post
    While I know you are going to hate hearing this, I would head to my LBS and have them fit you onto a suitable bike. Ask around to find a good shop that will spend some time doing a proper fitting and take it from there. They will know how to fit you to eliminate some of the aches and pains associated with larger riders and ill fitted equipment as well as be there to do the adjustments when something doesn't feel right. Good luck, I know you will enjoy riding!
    I am planning on heading to my LBS today or tomorrow after work to see what they have. Thanks for the advice.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    Welcome to the forum. Cycling and diet (lifestyle, not "going on a diet") can be a great way to shed the weight.

    As far as bikes, your weight will not stop you from riding any bike out there. You'll get a variety of opinions as to wheels, however, there are many clydes riding on stock, low spoke-count wheels with great success. Just ask the LBS to tension them when you buy it then after a couple hundred miles. IMO, ride them until you need to replace them.

    As far as what bike, the best thing you can do is go ride as many as you can. Keep in mind, in "road" bikes, or those that look like them, you have race, relaxed, tri and cyclocross. I'd rule the tri bikes out right away. They're not setup for long distance riding comfort. Cyclocross can be a good choice, especially if you want to ride some light trails or fire roads. Race geometry is more aggressive than relaxed. Race leans you over further. Relaxed leaves you in a slightly more upright position - though nothing like a hybrid or MTB.

    I would start by riding all the relaxed and race bikes you can, and all manufacturers make them. It's amazing how they can vary in feel. In one day, I rode a Specialized Roubaix, Canondale Synapse Carbon, Felt Z, and a couple of levels of Giant Defy (carbon). The Defy was by far the best bike I rode....FOR ME. Others swear by their Roubaix's, or Synapse, or.......whatever they like the ride the best of. Whatever it is, the more you like the ride, the more you ride the bike.

    See if you can do longer test-rides, especially of the final choices. A spin around the parking lot does virtually nothing to tell you how it rides.

    In your price range, you'll be looking at aluminum with carbon forks. There are plenty of good choices.

    If you find one bike at one shop that is as good for you as another bike at another shop, you should consider the shop as part of the decision. Were they supportive? Helpful? Give you a good vibe? That's important for future support.

    Good luck on the hunt.
    Thanks for some great info! The giant defy was actually one of the bikes I had on my radar. Looked like a nice bike and nice price.

    I was under the impression that I would have to swap out the wheels on any bike I bought, but was hoping that is not the case. I will be heading to my LBS in the next day or two to begin sizing and finding bikes.

    Are Carbon forks something I would want to make sure the bike has?
    Last edited by H3NDRIX; 05-19-14 at 12:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Roughly your size, albeit 274 (down from a high of 293 earlier this year) and 6'3 (also a former football player, but NAIA and A LONG time ago!).

    PhotoJoe makes good points ... you should be able to ride pretty much anything you want. LBS is my suggestion as well. I have two bikes (well three, but my MTB doesn't get too much love these days and needs to be replaced.

    My roadie is a Trek 1.2 ... was under $1K when I bought it, and I upgraded the wheels a few years back to Fulcrum Racing 7s and I love them. And I have cyclocross bike, Kona Jake, I use it primarily for commuting now and hope to race this fall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    Roughly your size, albeit 274 (down from a high of 293 earlier this year) and 6'3 (also a former football player, but NAIA and A LONG time ago!).

    PhotoJoe makes good points ... you should be able to ride pretty much anything you want. LBS is my suggestion as well. I have two bikes (well three, but my MTB doesn't get too much love these days and needs to be replaced.

    My roadie is a Trek 1.2 ... was under $1K when I bought it, and I upgraded the wheels a few years back to Fulcrum Racing 7s and I love them. And I have cyclocross bike, Kona Jake, I use it primarily for commuting now and hope to race this fall.

    thank you for the info! I was also looking at a trek 1.2 online.

    I have a few different LBS around, I know they carry trek, giant, cannondale and then a few smaller brands I think.
    Last edited by H3NDRIX; 05-19-14 at 12:04 PM.

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    I say run! Don't walk! Go to www.rei.com/outlet and order the GT Corsa 1.0 @ $640

    It's got a chromoly steel frame and a Tiagra gruppo.

    It's the big REI anniversary sale that ends on the 26th of this month. They will no doubt sell out of this model soon at the current price...

    Tiagra is just one step below 105 and is considered as quite acceptable for most roadies. The 105 gruppo is the most popular gruppo amongst roadies, though Ultegra is one of the very best and near the top of the line.

    * If you like cycling, you can always upgrade componentry later. You can then go to 105, if you find it necessary.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-20-14 at 07:59 AM.

  9. #9
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    By the way, you are going to be looking at a 60cm frame or thereabouts for your riding needs. Don't let a shop tell you they can fit you on a 56 and probably not even a 58 (different manufacturers measure their bikes separately, so these are just notions, not hard and fast rules).

    In other news, 60cm frames are not exactly common in shops either, you may need to order one. We're coming up on the end of the bike model year so you may get lucky with some bikes going on sale from this model year.

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    I was figuring I would need a 60-61cm

  11. #11
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H3NDRIX View Post
    Thanks for some great info! The giant defy was actually one of the bikes I had on my radar. Looked like a nice bike and nice price.

    I was under the impression that I would have to swap out the wheels on any bike I bought, but was hoping that is not the case. I will be heading to my LBS in the next day or two to begin sizing and finding bikes.

    Are Carbon forks something I would want to make sure the bike has?
    I would make carbon forks part of the "must have" list, if the budget will support it. They'll help absorb the road buzz MUCH better than aluminum. I think you'll be happier in the long run.

    As far as wheels - I would have the LBS tension them and ride them until they start breaking spokes. I'll bet they'll last longer than you think!

    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    It's got a chromoly steel frame and a Tiagra gruppo.

    Tiagra is just one step below 105 and is considered as quite acceptable for most roadies. The 105 gruppo is the most popular gruppo amongst roadies, though Ultegra is the very best and at the top of the line.

    * If you like cycling, you can always upgrade componentry later. You can then go to 105, if you find it necessary.
    Keep in mind Shimano uses the trickle-down theory. I agree, Tiagra will serve you well. It is basically the last generation 105, which was the previous generation Ultegra. I'd prefer the 105, but at the budget you've stated, Tiagra would be a good move.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

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    any reviews/knowledge of a cannondale CAAD8 7 SORA or a scott speedster? found a great deal locally on these. I am going to head down to the shop to try it/ride them.
    Last edited by H3NDRIX; 05-19-14 at 03:30 PM.

  13. #13
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    My riding pardner rides a CAAD8 and loves it. My opinion for what its worth is all major and most of the smaller manufactures make good bikes. Most have a good variety and most have something similar to the others. The main thing is to get one that fits you, has the features you want and at a price you can afford. Also as has been said the service and treatment of the bike shop you pick can make a lot of difference. I know some people consider Performance Bike to be the Walmart of bike stores, but I really like them. If you buy something and its faulty, it doesn't fit, you don't like it, your dog eats it, the cat pees on it, your wife complains, your A friend friends giggle at you, or any other reason you want something different they will take it back. A friend rode a bike a year and decided he wanted something different. They gave him everything he had paid including the sales tax back on another bike. No one can say that's not above and beyond most retailers these days.

  14. #14
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H3NDRIX View Post
    I am planning on heading to my LBS today or tomorrow after work to see what they have. Thanks for the advice.
    It's terrible advice.

    Because

    1. Many shops are incompetent

    2. Most are immeditate sales oriented, so they'll try to put you on a bike they have in stock - which is especially bad if you are an odd fit and need a non-standard bike type

    3. Most have only a small range of bikes

    4. Very few have any knowledge how to fit or choose a bike for an athletic almost 300lber.

    The poster who suggested a crosser was exactly right. Thin-tyred racers aren't impossible for someone your weight to ride, but they're a bad idea - the design is optimized people weighing more than 100lbs less than you and the particular circumstances of racing. (And very often give even these riders spine problems.) Just trying to get the tyre pressure right for someone of your weight means abusing the hardware your safety relies on. Tyres might be cheap to replace, they're key to braking and turning, and therefore not going under a truck, and I'm doubtful that you'll be able to keep 25mm tyres in the design range for PSI without risking pinch flatting, rim damage and sudden blow outs.

    A crosser with the right tyres will be more comfortable, brake and turn better, and be less liable to give you a spine injury. Oh - and you'll probably want to get it fitted with wider than standard handlebars as well as 32-45mm high performance road tyres like Marathon Supremes.

    The other thing you should do before ever going near a store is to research bike fit for yourself - google "bike fit calculator" and when there are options choose those that give the most relaxed fit. Then consider buying online from somewhere like Bikes Direct and having a local mechanic tune and check the bike, because you really can save about half the sticker price this way. Look at information on required tyre width/pressure and weight carried too!

    Bottom line: the more you know, the less likely you are to be screwed over - deliberately or by accident. And the further you are from the ordinary customer, the more responsibility you have to take for your own welfware.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 05-20-14 at 06:01 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H3NDRIX View Post
    thank you for the info! I was also looking at a trek 1.2 online.

    I have a few different LBS around, I know they carry trek, giant, cannondale and then a few smaller brands I think.
    Contrary to a recent comment, shopping your LBS isn't "terrible advice."

    But do make sure you visit a reputable LBS and that they're serving you. Not the other way around. Buying local will indeed cost more, but it also creates (ideally) an ongoing relationship between yourself and the shop. Go in with the mindset that you're going to get what you want, or you leave, and you'll be fine. I've never regretted buying a bike locally. When I bought my roadie it was in stock at a different store, but they had it brought over to me without asking for a deposit/etc. It's those little things that make or break the experience. A good LBS knows that your visit to the store to buy the bike is the first of many visits for follow up service, parts and accessories or even a new bike down the road.

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    Sorry, but all the worry about wheels is overblown. I'm near your size, 6'1" and about 260, and have something around 10,000+ miles over several years on my CAAD5 with 24-spoke Mavic wheels. In all that time, I've broken exactly one spoke. That was over a year ago. I had the spoke replaced, the wheel tensioned and trued, and have had no problems since then.

    Find a LBS that you like, that doesn't t treat you like an alien just because you aren't in the 130 lb. range, and go from there.

  17. #17
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    Contrary to a recent comment, shopping your LBS isn't "terrible advice."
    It is if it is ***unconditional.**

    But do make sure you visit a reputable LBS and that they're serving you. Not the other way around. Buying local will indeed cost more, but it also creates (ideally) an ongoing relationship between yourself and the shop.
    But so what? It isn't the bike store that works on your bike, it's a mechanic. So why not buy a $1800 bike store bike for $900-$1200 and then pay a local mechanic $100 for asembly and tweaking if you're not up to doing it yourself? He'll take better care of you than any bikestore - you'll have an individual relationship with him and won't get eg the shop's incompetent new hire or star wrench at random.

    Plus, you really will save an awful lot of money...

    As for bike stores treating you fairly because of future sales: very few consider this. Most people go too long between bikes, or never buy another, or have will have moved, will go to a store selling the model/brand they want, or will shop around regardless. It just isn't good business for most stores to think this way, especially in a tight economy.

    Bike stores are not unbiased: they are in business, motivated by profit and survival, and extremely responsive to incentives offered by manufacturers. If they have a higher margin selling you X rather than Y, then they will try to sell you X. You need to approach them exactly as sceptically as you would a used car lot - and why people think there is or should be a difference, I have no idea!

  18. #18
    Senior Member TJClay's Avatar
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    You're going to get many varied opinions of what is the right bike for you, I think the best thing you can do is visit a few bike shops, ride many bikes and pick the one that makes you want to ride. Don't let "skinny tires" steer you away from road bikes, they'll support your weight and wont pinch flat as long as you keep them inflated properly. There's a good chance that the first bike you buy wont be your last and there's nothing wrong with having a road bike, a hybrid, a cross bike, a MTB and a cruiser!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by H3NDRIX View Post
    any reviews/knowledge of a cannondale CAAD8 7 SORA or a scott speedster? found a great deal locally on these. I am going to head down to the shop to try it/ride them.
    I am 6'4" and 265-270 and ride a 2013 Scott Speedster in Size large, its a wonderful bike and very comfortable. I tried the Giant Defy side by side with the Scott Speedster and knew almost immediately that I was buying the Scott Speedster, it was noticeably more comfortable right out of the chutes. It gets a great big Husky seal of approval from me lol

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    My 2 cents worth on the LBS, my local shop is awesome, the owner is the wrench turner and he has 1 kid that works for him and is competent as well. Free tuneups whenever I want, even if its weekly, they don't mind, they also offer a trade in service since I purchased there. If I want to trade up to a newer model year or go up to a little better components on a bike they will accept my trade knowing the history of the bike. And in the end, its not a bad idea to support your local shop so they stay in business. I'm all for saving a buck, but blending your purchases between online and LBS isn't a bad practice, in my opinion.

  21. #21
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJClay View Post
    You're going to get many varied opinions of what is the right bike for you, I think the best thing you can do is visit a few bike shops, ride many bikes and pick the one that makes you want to ride. Don't let "skinny tires" steer you away from road bikes, they'll support your weight and wont pinch flat as long as you keep them inflated properly.
    Ok: so what is the correct PSI for a 25mm tyre with a 300lb load??? And how many tyres are specced for this pressure? You don't know! Giving advice that something is safe to do unless you know this type of detail might make you feel good, but it isn't actually helpful.

    In fact, most road tyres simply have a maximum PSI that's usually quoted as being riders as over 180lbs or so - i.e. this optimum for a rider of that weight, and at the same time the most the tyre will safely take. So anyone weighing more than 180lbs will be riding on an underpressure tyre. Now, that's not too bad if you're 230lb and flabby - but if you're nearly 300lb and have great leg strength (which imposes its own loads on tyres) you are now waaaay out of the design spec. Which, aside from the safety concerns, means that the wheel will roll more slowly than it should. (People think thin tyres are fast, but the real physics is much complex - it's about hysteresis energy, not friction: a thicker tyre at the correct pressure will be faster - at least if it is made out of race grade low-hysteresis energy rubber, like the Supremes.)
    Last edited by meanwhile; 05-20-14 at 07:44 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    though Ultegra is the very best and at the top of the line.
    Shimano and those riding Dura-Ace 11 might have something to say about that contention.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Shimano and those riding Dura-Ace 11 might have something to say about that contention.

    Oooops! I guess I went just a tad too far with that one, didn't I?

    Thanks, Indyfabz!
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-20-14 at 09:11 AM.

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    Last night I stopped by one of my LBS and rode the Scott Speedster 50 and a Cannondale. I rode a 61cm and 58cm Cannondale. The 61 felt good but felt maybe alittle too big. the 58 felt alittle more comfortable. The Speedster was a XL(58cm) and it felt pretty good also. I am not sure if it is better to go up to the 61cm and have it maybe slightly too big(might be ok after I get used to it), or to go with the 58cm and have it be slightly small.

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    Quote Originally Posted by H3NDRIX View Post
    Last night I stopped by one of my LBS and rode the Scott Speedster 50 and a Cannondale. I rode a 61cm and 58cm Cannondale. The 61 felt good but felt maybe alittle too big. the 58 felt alittle more comfortable. The Speedster was a XL(58cm) and it felt pretty good also. I am not sure if it is better to go up to the 61cm and have it maybe slightly too big(might be ok after I get used to it), or to go with the 58cm and have it be slightly small.
    Whenever between bicycle sizes, always prefer the smaller size. Adjustments can always be made in order to accommodate you with a smaller bike. A bike that's too large, it just too darned large. You'll never acclimate to it...

    * Try the Cannondale Synapse and see if you still observe this sizing phenomenon.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-20-14 at 09:08 AM.

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