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  1. #1
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    $500 bike for gorilla

    All-

    I would appreciate your input on a bike. I know we are talking lower end LBS bike, but before I go looking I would appreciate some input.

    Her are the particulars:

    I am 52
    I weigh 225
    I am 6' 4"
    I have long legs (37")
    Long arms (not sure of length but off the rack doesn't work)
    Torso is average

    I live in St. Louis and have several LBS to choose from. I am sure they have just the bike for me at each one but would like to be a little more guarded when they measure me.

    I live 3 miles from a trailhead of the KATY trail which is crushed limestone. I also have a few miles of flat blacktop to ride on. Due to this I don't think a road bike would work, it would have to be a MTB or hybrid.

    I guess my question would be, are there manufacturers that build longer bikes as a rule or if looking for a used bike is there a preference.

    Thanks for the help, I know there are a lot of varibles.

    Thanks,

    Dale

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadkins3 View Post
    All-

    I would appreciate your input on a bike. I know we are talking lower end LBS bike, but before I go looking I would appreciate some input.
    Her are the particulars:
    I am 52
    I weigh 225
    I am 6' 4"
    I have long legs (37")
    Long arms (not sure of length but off the rack doesn't work)
    Torso is average
    I live in St. Louis and have several LBS to choose from. I am sure they have just the bike for me at each one but would like to be a little more guarded when they measure me.

    I live 3 miles from a trailhead of the KATY trail which is crushed limestone. I also have a few miles of flat blacktop to ride on. Due to this I don't think a road bike would work, it would have to be a MTB or hybrid.

    Dale
    You didn't mention how much you've ridden in the past and what you budgeted for this bike.

    There are 2 schools of thought: 1. Buy an inexpensive bike to see if you like the sport then upgrade if you get hooked. 2. Buy the best bike you can reasonably afford so that you have the best frame, components etc to enjoy with your first bike.

    I own a house near StL (Wildwood, duh!?!) and know the Katy. It is dusty and tough on the drivetrain (chain, cassette) I would say your alternatives are: a) hybrid or comfort bike with 700 wheels and relatively wide tires 32-38. b) mountain bike w/ 26" wheels, no need for suspension on the Katy but you may have other aspirations. c) cyclocross bike with 700 wheels and 28-32mm tires. Option c is probably the most expensive but delivers the most versatile bike for road or trail conditions and likely the best frame.

    Heck there are even a couple of companies selling a direct drive system, with no chain or cassette, that would probably be the lowest maintenance solution. These bikes would be OK for casual rides but nothing "performance oriented".

    I'm hooked on road & trail cycling (not much mtn biking) so I would go the cyclocross route, but that's just me. Ballwin Cycles on Manchester Road sells Gunnar and they can build a nice steel bike to fit your large size, delivery would be a few weeks though.

    Good luck and happy riding.
    Don't give up after 10 rides because your butt hurts, your butt will get broken in and the rest of your body will then reap the benefits.
    '81 Austro Daimler Olympian, '87 DeRosa Professional, '91 Gary Fisher SuperCaliber, 1999 Calfee TetraPro, '03(?) Macalu Cirrus, '04 Tallerico, '97 Co-Motion Tandem

  3. #3
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    Thanks Wildwood for the reply. The info you gave me on my options and possible needs are exactly the info I need. As for my riding experience it has not been much in the last 30 years. Growing up in the 1970's I did for several years ride a 10 speed and while it was not serious technical riding, I loved it. I have tried walking and running but I am sorry to say I never hit that elusive zone and get bored. I am still trying to research today's bikes and what is available. It certainly is not 1974! I would like to try to find something for $500 - $600 but that may be asking too much.

  4. #4
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    You could take a look at the Haro V3 or V4 at an LBS near you. It has a pretty good equipment fit for the price (at or just above your range depending on where you buy it). It has a pretty long top tube for its size to accomodate your height and it is pleanty strong as Haro's roots are in Dirt Jumping bikes and the like. I would recomend the LBS for your first bike as you will get better advice on the fit and better service for a first bike. Take a look at Harobikes.com

  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    There are many ways to go. Much of it depends on what kind of bike you would be most comfortable on. I would suggest looking at some hybrid type bikes and some cyclocross type bikes to see which style suits you best. If possible, try both types before you decide intellectually which you would like. Experiencing trumps reasoning imho.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I am close to your size and I use 62, 63, and 64cm road bikes and a touring frame around there, too. I can't bend like I used to, so I prefer a 59-60 top tube with a 90mm stem. It's hard to find this set-up off the shelf.
    For your trails a cyclocross would be a great choice if you can find one big enough. Try Redline and Kona. You could also use a touring bike with wide tires or even put 'cross tires on it.
    Finding a mountain bike big enough is also a challenge, and I have a strange bar/stem setup on mine to make it fit.
    If there is a cycling club in your area, maybe one of the big guys has a used bike for sale. Wheels are a big issue for those of us north of 200#.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john View Post
    I am close to your size and I use 62, 63, and 64cm road bikes and a touring frame around there, too. I can't bend like I used to, so I prefer a 59-60 top tube with a 90mm stem. It's hard to find this set-up off the shelf.
    For your trails a cyclocross would be a great choice if you can find one big enough. Try Redline and Kona. You could also use a touring bike with wide tires or even put 'cross tires on it.
    Finding a mountain bike big enough is also a challenge, and I have a strange bar/stem setup on mine to make it fit.
    If there is a cycling club in your area, maybe one of the big guys has a used bike for sale. Wheels are a big issue for those of us north of 200#.
    Mountain bikes in large sizes are pretty common- Its just that mountain bikers use smaller frames. As you are just coming back- Or starting cycling- I would not suggest Second hand unless you are mechanically minded or have a friend that is bike attuned. Cheap bikes do exist and for your sort of riding- find a local shop- Tell them you are starting and your price limit- Less $100. That will allow you to fit Slick tyres and make a couple of changes to stems and get a basic riding kit of Tube- levers and pump.

    On the wheels- They are an issue for a heavier rider- so once you are into cycling- Look at Hand built wheels. New bike and wheels will be covered by warranty so no problem.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  8. #8
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Personally, if I were looking to ride surfaced trails and roads, I would be looking more at a hybrid than a mountain bike. A mountain bike will have wider tires, heavier duty shocks, lower gearing, etc., that are needed when riding on mountain bike courses or off-road. If you aren't going to be doing those things, then they are just overkill and can even make the bike a bit slower on roads.

    However a LOT of bike trail riders do ride mountain bikes and they do work well on trails. Nice comfy ride.

    A cyclocross bike will handle your surfaces well and will be faster than a hybrid or MTB. However nearly all of them use road bike drop bar handlebars and components, and they have no suspension. It is up to you to determine if you like riding drop bars and if they ride smooth enough for your preferences.

    A step on the milder side of a cyclo bike would be a performance hybrid. Also no suspension, but using flat bars and generally a little smoother ride. Smoother yet if you get one with a carbon fork, which would be difficult at $500 new. The riding position will be more upright on these than a cyclo bike - although that can always be changed with mods to the stems, bars, etc.

    Next would be a standard hybrid, with a suspension fork and likely a suspension seat post. These are heavier, with a more upright riding position, and thus slower. But they are extremely popular for bike trails as they are comfortable.

    If you want to try the more aggressive flat bar bikes in the general $500-$600 neighborhood, check out a Giant FCR3, Trek 7.3 FX, Specialized Sirrus, a new Raleigh Cadent FT2. There are others out there too. Like a Specialized Globe Sport which is a bit more comfy than the Sirrus.

    Standard hybrids are plentiful. Trek 7300 (or 7500 on sale - a very nice hybrid), Giant Cypress LX, Fuji Crosstown, Specialized Crossroads, Gary Fisher Nirvana, Raleigh Passage, Marin San Rafael, Cannondale 400 Adventurer, and many more. All of these use many of the same parts and have very similar geometries - although they do differ a bit here and there and so one might feel more comfortable than another. All of these are decent quality bikes. The Cannondale is a bit different, as it has a made in the USA frame, however they have to cheapen some of the components a bit in order to keep the overall price down due to the higher frame cost.

    Most of the hybrids are designed to handle 250-275 pounds, as their targeted market is not the super fit cyclist.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/07_bikes/coda.html

    Steel frame and fork, reasonable weight, 700 x 28's standard (reasonable tires for the KATY) , good components for the money, good wheels for the money, size available to fit a guy your size, $450 list price. Do not discount this option without at least taking a look.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman View Post
    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/07_bikes/coda.html

    Steel frame and fork, reasonable weight, 700 x 28's standard (reasonable tires for the KATY) , good components for the money, good wheels for the money, size available to fit a guy your size, $450 list price. Do not discount this option without at least taking a look.
    Looks good- In fact looks very good. and that 23" frame is BIG.

    As to a longer top tube frame- Kona are noted for long top tubes but a bit out of your price range posssibly.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Yeah, I should have included the Jamis Coda in my post. It is kinda a cross between a fitness hybrid and a standard hybrid. It is heavier than other fitness hybrids and would be the only one on that list with a suspension seat post (always changeable if you don't like it). It also has the thinnest & highest pressure tires, which could be a negative on a gravel bike trail. My other quibble with it is that it uses SRAM SX4 derailleurs and those can be problematic - I usually recommend going no lower than their 5-level components.

    But as many really like the ride of steel, I would check it out if possible.
    Last edited by Tom Bombadil; 08-10-07 at 09:15 PM.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  12. #12
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    With a 23" frame you'll need about 8" of seatpost exposed, get a Thomson seatpost. Jamis has some nice bikes.
    I like steel, too.

  13. #13
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    Thanks to everyone for the great info and suggestions. I had done searches but could not necessarily relate the threads to my needs but with your responses the light is beginning to come on. I had bought a cycling magazine a few weeks ago and they rated the Jamis as one of the best "entry level" bikes so I had been to their website. Now I am able to look at tire size as a factor and understand that for multiple use street/trail the tire size is a balancing act. Also as has been pointed out I need to look into the different classes of hardware and become at least familiar with them. Another item pointed out is to budget in some tools, a tube etc. Easy to overlook.

    Again, many thanks to all of you. I am sure the board is queried daily with these requests but you have been great in your responses!

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john View Post
    With a 23" frame you'll need about 8" of seatpost exposed, get a Thomson seatpost. Jamis has some nice bikes.
    I like steel, too.
    A 23" frame is big- I have a riding partner who is BIG- 6'7" and around 220lbs. Inside leg is up to my armpits but I have never got personal and measured him. He rides a 23" Giant Boulder MTB and the seat post is only about 4" exposed. His big problem was wheels- but Giant have improved them in the last 5 years.

    The other thing to think about is that a Cheap bike will have cheap quality parts fitted. Some times these are heavy parts but some are just not strong enough for good life with all that power coming from a heavy rider. Crankset and bottom bracket may be the first to fail-"Just out of Warranty I am afraid sir" So be prepared to Upgrade parts on a cheap bike fairly quickly.

    If the frame is good enough- which I am certain the Jamis is- and I know the giant is- Then it is a bike worth the money to be put into it. As my mates bike proves- 6 years old and the only original parts are the frame- seat stem-Bars and Bar stem.

    Oh- It also has around 20,000 miles on it, mainly offroad, and the rider has not lost weight- but he looks slimmer and he goes up hills like a train.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Stapfam, I think you have posted pictures of that guy and told some stories about him making room for you to watch the race. Good stuff.
    One of my bikes has a 23" seat tube and the top of the saddle is 8" from the top of the seat tube. My mtb is a 21.5 inch frame and the saddle is about 10" above that mark. My inseam is 35", barefoot. The OP said 37", that's why I thought he would need more height than me.
    I agree about the cheap parts not standing up to abuse, having broken everything from pedals, saddles, seatposts, a stem, front and rear shocks, 3 frames, axles, and many wheels over the years.

  16. #16
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Inseam discussions get very confusing. Your cycling inseam is different than your pants inseam. For purposes of sizing a bike, inseam means from the floor to your pubic bone.
    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit/
    " To determine your proper frame size, you’ll first need to get an accurate inseam measurement . Stand with your back against a wall, your bare feet 6" apart on a hard floor, looking straight ahead. Place a book or carpenter’s square between your legs with one edge against the wall, and pull it up firmly into your crotch, simulating the pressure of your saddle while riding. Have a helper measure from the top edge of the book to the floor, in centimeters. (You can convert inches to centimeters by multiplying inches by 2.54.) Repeat two or three times, for consistency, and average the results to get your inseam length. "
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john View Post
    Stapfam, I think you have posted pictures of that guy and told some stories about him making room for you to watch the race. Good stuff.
    One of my bikes has a 23" seat tube and the top of the saddle is 8" from the top of the seat tube. My mtb is a 21.5 inch frame and the saddle is about 10" above that mark. My inseam is 35", barefoot. The OP said 37", that's why I thought he would need more height than me.
    I agree about the cheap parts not standing up to abuse, having broken everything from pedals, saddles, seatposts, a stem, front and rear shocks, 3 frames, axles, and many wheels over the years.
    Attachment is of us- not a good pic to compare our height but look at the size of his head tube and the height of his bars. Incidebtally- he started riding in 2001 and is still an offroader- regularly does 40 miles offroadand the occasional 50 mile offroad enduros and with slicks fitted- he can do a Metric in 4 hours on that bike. I struggle to stay in front of him.

    Edit- His inside leg (Trouser size) is 35" And riding top size is XXXL and he hopes they are made of Stretchy material.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by stapfam; 08-12-07 at 10:16 AM.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  18. #18
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    That's a really cool picture, thanks.

  19. #19
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Here's a guy with a real fit problem, he's 7'6"

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