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  1. #1
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    Help needed to find the right bike for an Ogre!

    Hello everyone,

    I am 38 years-old and 349 pounds. Having come down from 405 with a change in eating habits, I need to start exercising to reboot my weight loss, gain muscle tone, and improve my general health.

    I am 6'6" but mostly torso -- my inseam is 33". I am looking for a classic styled, steel frame touring bike that will take Schwalbe Fat Franks (700x50, though some say they are closer to 42) with fenders. I'm looking at canti breaks, braze ons for front and rear racks, and because of my lower back problems I'll have to start with upright bars -- though I'd like to transition to drop bars once I lose a majority of my belly.

    To give you an idea of my taste, my current frame-of-choice -- if I could afford such a build -- is the Rivendell Atlantis, and this particular bike has the same tires with fenders that I'd mentioned above (although I would want this color).

    I'd like to find a bike or frame in this style, that I could make into an upright rider like this.

    I'm looking for suggestions for a frame or existing bike that would have a good fit for my freakish proportions. I'm fine with a older frame, or something scratched-up as I have someone here in Kansas City that can refinish it for me.

    So far, I've been looking at the following:
    - Giant Via 1 - $600 (not a touring candidate, but maybe a good starter bike?)
    - Navara Safari - $764 (lots of raves about this bike, but I'd still need to replace the saddle and handlebars - if I can't get a good upright position)

    Any feedback on these two bikes? Any other suggestions in that price-range for a classic, steel, touring bike that I could grow into as a rider?

    Thank you all in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    If the safari fits...

    Ask to order one w/o stem cut, though there are extensions out there.

  3. #3
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    Take your time. Double your budget and make your dreams come true...

    This is your new bike: Ogre | Bikes | Surly Bikes

    www.jensonusa.com The Surly Ogre @ $1575
    Last edited by WestPablo; 06-10-14 at 09:14 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tip, Null66. I will be visiting an REI shop next week, to check one out in person.

    WestPablo -- I had looked at the Surly Ogre, and it is a nice frame -- but I am wanting a road bike frame over a mountain bike frame. I'm sorry, I should have clarified that in my original post. As for taking my time and doubling my budget, I'm wanting to start with a less expensive bike to make sure it is something I will enjoy doing for years to come. Only then will I invest in a forever bike.

    My attention span has burned me more than once on new interests that fizzle quickly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    I don't know. I ride a Salsa Casseroll, and if you can find a new/old stock frame, you can pretty much build it up however you wish. Drop bars, touring bars, northern bars. I use 700 x 32 tires, but I could go down to 25, or 28, or up to 38 or 40. Road components, mountain components, single speed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BIGDCYCLES's Avatar
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    Neither look much like the Rivendell but if it were my choice I would go for thr Giant. Or as stated before start with a quality frame similar to the design you like and your size then spec it out how you want it.

  7. #7
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    MRT2 - I'd love to find a NOS or even used frame, but so far I've found nothing in my size. Any recommendations for places to find larger frames would be greatly appreciated.

    BIGD - I've found nothing similar to the Riv in more affordable prices. The Safari is the closest thing I've found. Do you know any other classic-style steel frame bikes with 700c wheels in the $600-750 range?

  8. #8
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Depending on your budget, the Velo-Orange Camargue might be the PERFECT bike for you. It's a brand new model with the first batch of framesets expected any day now. The frameset will be around $600 (way cheaper than an Atlantis), it's heavy duty, will take 700c x 60mm tires, has touring geometry (actually designed for off-road touring but it's perfect for a big guy) and is very similar to the Rivendell Hunqapillar but at a fraction of the cost.

    camargue 1.jpg
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    Depending on your budget, the Velo-Orange Camargue might be the PERFECT bike for you. It's a brand new model with the first batch of framesets expected any day now. The frameset will be around $600 (way cheaper than an Atlantis), it's heavy duty, will take 700c x 60mm tires, has touring geometry (actually designed for off-road touring but it's perfect for a big guy) and is very similar to the Rivendell Hunqapillar but at a fraction of the cost.

    camargue 1.jpg
    What kind of handlebars are on that bike?

  10. #10
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    What kind of handlebars are on that bike?
    It's a proprietary bar by Velo-Orange that was initally called "Casey's Crazy Bar".

    attachment.jpg
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  11. #11
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Cool

  12. #12
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    Help needed to find the right bike for an Ogre!

    I would look for a Schwinn Crosscut from early 90's. Great versatile bikes and can be had for $100-150.

  13. #13
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Cannondale Aluminum - reputable seller, I bought from him
    Cannondale H400 Mens Large Hybrid Road Bike XL Mans 29er Mountain Bicycle CAD 1 | eBay

    A Trek Multitrack early 1990's would be great, any 700 series. Steel frames pretty much same geometry as the 520. XL frames are out there, like the one below I picked up for $35 in 2012.


    While you are at REI, check out the Novara Randonee and the Marin Muirwoods 29er.
    Last edited by oddjob2; 06-11-14 at 07:28 AM.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1, Miyata 912

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    Depending on your budget, the Velo-Orange Camargue might be the PERFECT bike for you.
    corwin1968 -- Why did you show me this? I've been drooling over it ever since! I was already into VO's stuff, and this is definitely a dream build in the making.

    In the meantime, I took oddjob2's advice and picked up a Trek 720 Multitrack while visiting family in Minneapolis.

    I want to upgrade some things and make it into a cheaper VO-clone, to get me by while I save up for a Camargue build. After I get it powder coated, I will want to replace the headset, stem, bars and seat post. How do I find the sizes needed for an old 720? Has anyone else done this already? A head start on parts that fit would be a great help!

    Also, it already has 700x42 tires. Do you think the same wheels will handle the Fat Frank 700x50?

  15. #15
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogrepraxy View Post
    corwin1968 -- Why did you show me this? I've been drooling over it ever since! I was already into VO's stuff, and this is definitely a dream build in the making.

    In the meantime, I took oddjob2's advice and picked up a Trek 720 Multitrack while visiting family in Minneapolis.

    I want to upgrade some things and make it into a cheaper VO-clone, to get me by while I save up for a Camargue build. After I get it powder coated, I will want to replace the headset, stem, bars and seat post. How do I find the sizes needed for an old 720? Has anyone else done this already? A head start on parts that fit would be a great help!

    Also, it already has 700x42 tires. Do you think the same wheels will handle the Fat Frank 700x50?
    Glad I could steer you in an (eventually) right direction. I hope the largest Camargue is big enough for your height.

    Do you know the year or your 720? I'm a big fan of the Multitracks and own two 1995 730's. Stem is a traditional 1" quill (actual quill diameter is 22.2mm, I believe), bar clamp will be 25.4 or 26mm and seat post should be 27.2. Your 720 is probably the same. I just bought my first item from VO, the new black seatpost, and it's seat leveling control is so incredibly precise. The best I've ever used.

    The Camargues should be in any day now, based on an e-mail reply from VO a couple of months ago at most. I had the cash and spent it but I'll still be sorely tempted to order one.

    I'm doubtful that the 720 will handle Fat Franks but I've never tried. If it does, please let me know because I'd love to put Big Apples on my larger 730. In fact, I would probably forgo the Camargue as the wider tires is my primary motivation for ordering one.
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  16. #16
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
    Cannondale Aluminum - reputable seller, I bought from him
    Cannondale H400 Mens Large Hybrid Road Bike XL Mans 29er Mountain Bicycle CAD 1 | eBay

    A Trek Multitrack early 1990's would be great, any 700 series. Steel frames pretty much same geometry as the 520. XL frames are out there, like the one below I picked up for $35 in 2012.


    While you are at REI, check out the Novara Randonee and the Marin Muirwoods 29er.
    If I could get that bike for $35 and it fit Big Apples, I'd probably never buy another bike in my life. I've already got 19" and 21" green 1995 730's and this larger size would round out my collection quite nicely.


    000 (2).jpg
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  17. #17
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    Here's what I think is a Trek 850 sporting the 700x50 Big Apples. Am I correct in thinking that a 720 from the same era would also take them?

    downsized_1219081708.jpg

    Also, here's a bike of the same year and color that I bought -- although mine is sporting city bars, and will soon be painted/powder coated.

    20140312_1344411920x1080.jpg

  18. #18
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogrepraxy View Post
    Here's what I think is a Trek 850 sporting the 700x50 Big Apples. Am I correct in thinking that a 720 from the same era would also take them?

    downsized_1219081708.jpg

    Also, here's a bike of the same year and color that I bought -- although mine is sporting city bars, and will soon be painted/powder coated.

    20140312_1344411920x1080.jpg
    The 800 and 900 series Treks were mountain bikes with 26" wheels. They will easily take even a 55mm Big Apple. That's what I have on my 820. The 700 series Treks were hybrids (actually gravel grinders 20 years before they came into vogue) with 700c wheels and maximum listed clearance of 41mm tires. My 730 will easily take 40 Schwalbe Duremes. My understanding is that Big Apples often end up closer to 45mm in width and the 700 series may or may not have clearance for those. I'm not sure of the width of the Fat Franks. I'm almost 100% certain the 700 series won't take those fat tires PLUS fenders.
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    I'm not sure of the width of the Fat Franks. I'm almost 100% certain the 700 series won't take those fat tires PLUS fenders.

    I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I wasn't planning on putting fenders on this bike -- just the Fat Franks.


    The guy at the bikeshop who put on the new wheels and tires (which are 700 x 42 Continentals) said that there was enough room to add fenders with these current tires. I would hope that means there's enough room for the 700 x 50 Fat Franks.


    I'll actually be a little miffed if the Fat Franks won't fit, because I only asked for three things: 1) a steel frame 2) that fits me, and 3) will take 700 x 50 Fat Franks.


    If the Franks won't fit, is there a balloon-esque tire in the 700 x 42 sizing? I'd like to find a larger, rounder tire. These Continentals have almost a conehead profile.

  20. #20
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogrepraxy View Post
    I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I wasn't planning on putting fenders on this bike -- just the Fat Franks.


    The guy at the bikeshop who put on the new wheels and tires (which are 700 x 42 Continentals) said that there was enough room to add fenders with these current tires. I would hope that means there's enough room for the 700 x 50 Fat Franks.


    I'll actually be a little miffed if the Fat Franks won't fit, because I only asked for three things: 1) a steel frame 2) that fits me, and 3) will take 700 x 50 Fat Franks.


    If the Franks won't fit, is there a balloon-esque tire in the 700 x 42 sizing? I'd like to find a larger, rounder tire. These Continentals have almost a conehead profile.
    The blog "Lovely Bicycle" tested out a set of Fat Franks and found that the 700 x 50 version will fit on a Surly Cross Check and a Surly Long Haul Trucker so I would say it's possible they will fit on your 720. The only way to know would be to find one and try it out. I haven't found measuring clearances to be really useful. Keep in mind that wider rims will result in a wider tire. I have Velocity Dyad touring rims, which are 24mm wide, which is on the wider side of things. On top of that, my new bike's fork has pitiful clearance compared to a Cross Check or LHT so 50mm tires are a no-go for this bike. But, I took my 730 to the LBS to have a headset installed so I can put my 40mm tires on it and see how much clearance I get. I'll try and get pictures and post them and maybe someone can tell you based on that whether the Fat Franks would likely fit. Here is the bike with the 40mm Duremes but I never really looked that closely at the clearance. If the Fat Franks max out at 45mm, which is common with Schwalbe 50mm tires, it would only be 2.5mm more clearance on each side.

    Lovely Bicycle!: The Surly Cross Check: a Worthy Host for 700C Fat Franks


    IMG_1274.jpg
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  21. #21
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Those Camargue frames went on the website today at $600. I know that's not cheap but almost all of the components (headset and stem being major exceptions) from your 720 would swap right over. Drivetrain, brakes, saddle, wheels, seatpost, handlebar...all that would fit the Camargue and you could upgrade to new components as you can afford it. I went the opposite direction and bought new components, bit by bit, and put them on my 720 and then when I had most of them I bought the Handsome Devil frameset I'm riding now. I wish I had the money to order a Camargue. I'd probably place the order today if I had it.
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

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