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  1. #1
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    6'7" 390lbs Need a Bike!

    I've recently had a health scare and have decided I want to get a bicycle, any recommendations for bike models? I've read around here for other people in my weight class and it seems like there are options for us, and the rear wheel is the main concern. As of right now I'm not medically cleared for any physical activity besides walking (for 6 weeks) and my drivers license has been suspended (6 months) . Any recommendations are welcome as well as things I should ask at LBS (spoke count, double walled wheel, etc).

    If it makes any difference on selection I'm located in Canada (southern Ontario) and don't really have a budget but I'm not looking to spend thousands.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
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    I'm 6-5, and I've found my Trek Mamba 29er frame to fit me rather well. The bike weighs 34 pounds, so it is heavy duty in many ways. You don't mention the terrain you may want to ride, but I've ridden this in a wide range of places.

    I've ridden this bike weighing 250, which is a long way from your current 390, so I can't relate directly to your weight.
    Last edited by TallTravel; 11-04-14 at 02:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    There are options. But, can you help narrow things down a bit? Are you interested in road, mountain bikes or a hybrid (grocery getter).
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  4. #4
    Member americanrecluse's Avatar
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    I became interested in the Specialized Expedition when I read a review that started with PERFECT BIKE FOR THE OVERWEIGHT NOVICE RIDER. The reviewer went on to say that he is over 300lbs.

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    Sorry I guess I should have mentioned I will mostly be riding on roads but I would like the ability to go off-road, through a field or something, nothing too crazy. I prefer the mountain bike styling, the curved handle bars of a road bike scare me.

  6. #6
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    Hybrid bikes also have straight handle bars. They generally have much narrower tires than mountain bikes, however.

  7. #7
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    Go to the bike shop and ride ride ride... on a road bike you will need to get a 32 spoke rim (my 700cm back rim cost $199.00 and we used the cassette that came on the original rim). I ride a Raleigh Revenio 2.0 which is an aluminum frame carbon fork road bike (20 pounds on skinny road tires 700 x 25mm), and I have a Raleigh Talus 29er mountain bike XL frame for off road or when I pull the trailer with my son inside. I was 396 and 6-3 when I picked up these bikes... I am now down to 368 as of the other night.

    I prefer curved bars for longer rides as I can change hand positions (and no you don't have to grab the bottom of the bar by the bar ends to ride them.... I ride mainly sitting upright with my hands on the flat part of the bar or on the hoods of the brake levers).

    There are plenty of great choices for us bigger guys.. hit the road and pedal

  8. #8
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    Nothing with any type of suspension unless you are willing to spend at least 2 grand for a new bike. Front suspension forks able to withstand a 390 pound rider are NOT going to be cheap. Same with rear suspension. All of my bikes are rigid except for one hardtail mountain bike with a 2nd to top of the line front fork from around 2008.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  9. #9
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    First, good for you for taking control of your future. Welcome to the forum!

    I'm not saying it's right or wrong for you to look at used, but just throwing stuff out there as food for thought and discussion.

    Fully loaded cro-moly commuter Steve Bauer

    Trek 800 hybrid bike (big frame)

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    First, good for you for taking control of your future. Welcome to the forum!

    I'm not saying it's right or wrong for you to look at used, but just throwing stuff out there as food for thought and discussion.


    Trek 800 hybrid bike (big frame)
    Man, that Trek is way over priced. I see those nineties era Trek 8x0 bikes all day long on CL for around 50-150. Great choice though, strong durable reliable bikes.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  11. #11
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    These are the used listings for my area if anyone wants to take a gander. The kijiji links are all suppose to be XL frames.
    Extra Large | Buy or Sell Mountain Bikes in Hamilton | Kijiji Classifieds
    Extra Large | Buy or Sell Road Bikes in Hamilton | Kijiji Classifieds

    Would there be enough tire on a road bike for someone my size? Seems like mountain bikes have a lot more rubber.

  12. #12
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    That's great you are looking to get to biking.

    My suggestions are as follows:

    - Go with a steel frame, they are usually very robust. An old (1990's even) steel mtn bike frame would be perfect.
    - Check out the seat tube diameter. You will need a very strong seat clamp and a larger diameter seat post with a strong, steel-bolted clamp (sorry, a quick release seat clamp or light weight bolt will likely not work for you). A lot of mtn bikes have seat tubes of about 30 mm or so, which would be good for you. This will help your seat stay adjusted at the height where you want it. Otherwise, it can slip down from your weight. Your bike shop should be able to figure this out for you. But be advised, a lot of the bike shop staff are scrawny and need to be educated about problems larger riders encounter.
    - Get a Brooks B67 saddle. I guarantee it is the best saddle for larger, heavier riders. It is not cheap, but if you doubt, ride a few minutes on a bargain saddle and then decide. The Brooks saddles take about an hour or two of riding to break in and then they are awesome.
    - Find a bike with larger diameter tires. I recommend a 2.0 inch minimum for your size. This size tire will work well if you end up with a mountain bike. Even though this is a mountain bike sized tire, you can get "slicks" for riding on the road - not really smooth tread, but not knobby either. This size tire will ride well over bumps given your size.
    - My guess is you are in relatively flat country and not riding in the mountains. Even so, ask the bike shop about the brake options. Disc brakes are great, but ask if they can be upsized from the standard 160 mm rotors. 160 mm will be adequate for you to ride on the flat, but not down long hills. I am smaller than you and I have 203 mm disc rotors in the front, but I ride a lot of hills. Not an issue if you are going to ride on the flat most of the time.
    - Get padded bike shorts and padded bike gloves. Aerotech Designs has large size shorts and pants. Some are just padded undershorts you can wear under other clothing. You will be able to ride with less pain with the padding - especially important when you first get started and your body has not yet adapted to riding.

  13. #13
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    Believe it or not, the "Excellent Condition" bike for $30 may be a steal. I'd want to double check the size fits you, and see if it is a name brand (Specialized, Trek, etc.). If it checks out, you can have a bike shop fix it up and have an really good bike. Be advised the tires, brake pads, chain, seat, handlebars, pedals may require replacement or upgrading. But you can probably do all of that for less than $200.

  14. #14
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    If you plan on spending "thousands" do not use the standard wheels that come with the bike trust me you will DESTROY them! Ask your LBS if it is possible to upgrade the wheels or price the bike without the wheels. Then spend the extra cash on wheels and hubs....at your size you will need them. I just recently purchased Velocity Chukker 48 spoke wheels with Phil wood Tandem hubs and had a local builder put them together. The wheels cost a pile of cash but I am confident that they will not fail. If you go this route dont forget to order the cassette and disc rotors.

    Purchase a bike with disc brakes.

    Purchase a bike with a steel frame

    Use wider tires

    Dont forget to purchase solid pedals

    Personally I like the Surly Disc Trucker with the upgraded wheels as it is SUPER strong and you everything other than racing with that bike.....plus you could ride on dirt roads too, not true MTN biking but definitely light trails.

    I am almost $2500 into this bike build but but my bike will be able to completely support your (and my) size. The way I look at it is buy the higher quality stuff and dont waste the money on things that will need to be replaced anyway.....trust me I have a shed full of broken bikes and equipment.

    Hope it helps!

  15. #15
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    There are a couple of interesting options I think. I rode a Gary Fisher Solstice "comfort bike" for a while until I lent it to my son, and I haven't seen it since. He's a road bike guy, but needed a back up for commuting and now it's his go to bike in San Francisco. It is aluminum-framed with 32 spoke wheels, wide butt seat and a suspended fork. I never rode it hard or for very long, and I'm only 320, but I thought it handled the weight pretty well.

    The simplest solution in a way is if you can run across a classic mountain bike in your size for a reasonable price, of the late 80's to early 90's. These bikes have sturdy and comfortable steel frames, often lugged, and 36 spoke wheels. Keep the wheels tight and true and they should hold up ok. The later bikes of the period have a slightly different geometry, with improved handling for street riding. Pre 85 bikes are often too collectible and that affects the price. The downside of this approach, for tall guys such as you and me, is that you will look at a lot of CL adds before finding a big one (23-25 inches). But they are out there. I have three, a Stumpjumper, a Ritchey Ascent and a Panasonic MC4500, all 23 or 24 inches, all lugged steel, all '85's. The Panasonic is the best deal, because it is a good bike and has zero cache´, so a low price.

    If you can spend the money and want to avoid the time consuming-search for a suitable older bike, you might look into a fat bike (3" tires and up) such as the Surly Pugsley. I would ask the manufacturer how they feel about the weight issue. The fat tires will be more comfortable and will take you as fast as you are likely to want to go in the beginning. They are steel-framed, TIG welded I believe.

    If you decide to go with a custom rear wheel based on a tandem 40 or 48 hole hub, keep in mind that the hubs may be 140mm. Most non-tandem MTB rear drop outs are 130 or 135. A steel frame may possibly be "cold set" for the greater width, but aluminum no.

    I second the above poster who suggested the Brooks B67 saddle, and I would also recommend you consider the B33 or B135.
    Last edited by Classic Bicycle; 11-05-14 at 03:45 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Midtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
    If you plan on spending "thousands" do not use the standard wheels that come with the bike trust me you will DESTROY them! Ask your LBS if it is possible to upgrade the wheels or price the bike without the wheels. Then spend the extra cash on wheels and hubs....at your size you will need them. I just recently purchased Velocity Chukker 48 spoke wheels with Phil wood Tandem hubs and had a local builder put them together. The wheels cost a pile of cash but I am confident that they will not fail. If you go this route dont forget to order the cassette and disc rotors.

    Purchase a bike with disc brakes.

    Purchase a bike with a steel frame

    Use wider tires

    Dont forget to purchase solid pedals

    Personally I like the Surly Disc Trucker with the upgraded wheels as it is SUPER strong and you everything other than racing with that bike.....plus you could ride on dirt roads too, not true MTN biking but definitely light trails.

    I am almost $2500 into this bike build but but my bike will be able to completely support your (and my) size. The way I look at it is buy the higher quality stuff and dont waste the money on things that will need to be replaced anyway.....trust me I have a shed full of broken bikes and equipment.

    Hope it helps!
    +1 I have a SDT and love it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by americanrecluse View Post
    I became interested in the Specialized Expedition (Sport) when I read a review that started with PERFECT BIKE FOR THE OVERWEIGHT NOVICE RIDER. The reviewer went on to say that he is over 300lbs.
    I started on this bike at around 370 and it was fine for me.

    I also had no wheels problems with the stock 26'ers.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    As tall as you are, I'm going to guess you'll be in a 64cm frame, which limits your options a little bit as most companies no longer make anything that size. Surly does and the Disc Trucker is a great option. If you want it built up for other than touring, you can buy just the frameset and customize everything else on the bike - your LBS can help with that. For road bikes, the KHS Flite 747 is a good option, but you'll likely need to have wheels built for it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bassjones View Post
    As tall as you are, I'm going to guess you'll be in a 64cm frame, which limits your options a little bit as most companies no longer make anything that size. Surly does and the Disc Trucker is a great option. If you want it built up for other than touring, you can buy just the frameset and customize everything else on the bike - your LBS can help with that. For road bikes, the KHS Flite 747 is a good option, but you'll likely need to have wheels built for it.
    Unfortunately the OP has express a fear of road drop bars and is looking for something that can go off road. I'm not familiar with the current offerings in that category, as most my riding for the last several years has been on the road.

    MTB wise, frames of effectively 23" or more. At 6'7" the OP is going to be hard pressed to find stock hardtails to fit.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    Surly Ogre might be a good option. It's available in an XXL (24") frame. Or the Cross Check SS (flat bar Single Speed version of the Cross Check), which is available in a 64cm frame as well. I'm sure you can get the Cross Check with a flat bar too - or for that matter, put one on the LHT. Most bike shops can order Surly through one of their distributors. Wish the Cross Check was disc brake equipped because I'd probably consider one myself...

  21. #21
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    Really appreciate the feedback guys, I'm going to hold off on going to the LBS until I am medically cleared to ride, but will take all the information posted into consideration. For now I'm going to stick to my walks but I will keep this post updated when I do pick up a bike or check out the LBS.

  22. #22
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    I'm only 6-4 but I was a big fatty and way too heavy for a bike at first. At 320 pounds or so I found that a Giant rigid MTB worked fine from the 90's, but oh my how the butt took a beating. I couldn't ride when I was my biggest though, I had to just walk fast at first, then when I could walk a couple miles at a time easily I got on a nice HD recumbent exercise bike. After a few weeks I could do 10 miles in my home gym at an easy pace, after I could max out the resistance I went back to an actual bicycle and ended up riding 22 miles rather quickly. But, by that time I was under 300. For me I had to get down to 280 before it was fun to ride, but who knows, everyone is different. I still ride two Giant bikes from teh 90's, my main ride is a Sedona 21 speed, kinda of a comfort bike. It handles my weight just fine, haven't broken anything, I'm still not a light weight either. I like to lift weights so I will always be a "big" guy, in decent shape I still weigh 250, I have big bones.

    My advice from a large framed thick and fairly tall fellow is to start out riding a good recubent bike indoors or maybe get a Concept 2 rowing machine. Don't harm your joints or your heart, just slowly increase the cardio work outs. I started at 15 minutes per day, now I do 4 hour kayak paddles non-stop sometimes. Just gotta get on a schedule and at least do 3 days per week at first and cut back on calories, increase nutrition. 3 thirty minute work outs every week keeping your heart rater over 100 does wonders when your just starting out.

  23. #23
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    I had a misunderstanding when I was in the hospital, and I'm not medically cleared to do any physical activity besides walking until Jan 27!!! My weight when I was admitted to hospital (Oct 16th) was 406 lbs, currently at 378 so not eating junk food and walking about 5 km a day is doing the trick for now.

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