The Improbable Bulk
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
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My answers assume that you are talking about road riding, or gentle trails... For true mountain biking perspective I will abstain.
First, in case you haven't stumbled across my other posts, I weighed 365 when I started riding, and I am still at about 300...
Many people on the forums suggest beefy frames because they are compelled to buy themselves multi-thousand dollar exotic frames which are designed to be feather-weight and suit riders under 180 pounds... For us larger riders, almost any off-the-shelf type frame will be just fine for road riding. As long as you avoid the exotics, I think you will do fine.
I don't know the Raleigh M30 specifically, but I think any mountain bike will hold up great since they are designed to carry smaller riders across rough terrain. I ride a Giant Sedona DX. The front shock is tightened as tight as it will go (still some spring), and the suspension seatpost is cranked down to make it act as if it is solid. If the M30 has rear suspension, I would consider carefully its ability to work effectively with a big rider (I question the value of rear suspension for almost anything!).
I suspect at 260, if you are planning to ride on the road that any bike without rear suspension would work. My Sedona has 1900 miles in 3 years, and I have had virtually no maintenance except for a tune-up and switching to smooth tires (due for another tune-up now). I also have a Univega Custom 10 road bike that holds me just fine (older steel frame bike) except that my gut gets in the way when I am in the drops.
Are you able to determine what needs fixing on the Raleigh?
My only precaution would be to not spare on making sure the brakes are working well... For a large rider, the brakes are an issue that can not be taken lightly (pun semi-intentional). I avoid riding when it is wet strictly because I don't trust the braking power of wet brakes at my size.
A saddle is critical for any rider, but I do not belong to the school of thought that bigger people need extra big saddles. Ride a saddle for a while before giving up. I have heard that even the pros get saddle sores early in the season.
The standard seat on the Sedona is available in a LBS that sells Giants, and it has served me well. It has dual density foam, and I have never had any significant pain, although if I don't ride for a while, I don't ride two days in a row to allow recovery in the sitting area. I also have a hard leather saddle on my road bike (Brooks B-17) that with a pair of cycling shorts seems to do well, although I have limited time riding it so far.
What are your cycling goals? What sort of riding do you hope to do? How long has it been since you rode?
Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA
People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson