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  1. #1
    Member CrashGordon's Avatar
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    Commuting bike for a clydsdale over 60?

    My first question was where to put this, but since age seems to define how much energy that I have, I will put it here.

    I am looking for a bike to ride to work. I am over 260lbs and live in the Washington DC metro area, so most of the paths are pretty level and paved. I currently own a Cannondale T800, but it is a large framed bike and really too big to ride comfortably. I want something that will move along at a pretty good clip (I have a mountain bike for those leisurly rides with the wife), but my price is limited by what I am willing to chain up in the parking garage. So I am guessing somewhere around $1K, plus or minus.

    Are curved HB better than flat bars for commuting?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Think stout wheels and puncture resistant tires. Handlebars are pretty much up to the user. My guess is that if you're used to flat handlebars you probably won't want to change.

    Oh - and build quality is the real key that makes stout wheels stout. If your LBS has a wheel guy who can equalize the tension and retrue a stock set of wheels, that'll probably be adequate.

  3. #3
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Why do you say the Cannondale is too large to ride comfortably? Remember, with a horizontal top bar, it is actually okay for it to touch your groin when straddling it (my Europa does and hasn't bitten me since I bought her in the eighties) provided it doesn't touch your pelvic bone. I'm wondering if perhaps it isn't some other problem, such as having the bars set too low (I love my stem extender - bars are now above the seat )

    Richard
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  4. #4
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    If you are looking for a somewhat rugged bike that has flat or flat'ish bars that weighs in the low 20's then some '07 and '08 models would include:

    2007 Specialized Globe Expert - with carbon fiber fork, seat stays, seat post
    http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=22057

    2007 or 2008 Specialized Sirrus Comp ($1000 in '07, $1200 in '08) - a bit more of a road bike than the Globe:
    http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=22260

    2007 or 2008 Gary Fisher Mendota:
    http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/model/mendota

    2008 Trek 7.6 FX - carbon fork, stays, seat post. Slightly curved bar. Very comfortable ride.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/road/fx/76fx/

    2007 Jamis Coda Elite: carbon fork, steel frame:
    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/...codaelite.html

    Cannondale also has their "Bad Boy" series.

    Giant has the FCR series. I don't find the FCR1 to be quite as comfortable as some of the above, but it is a nice bike. Their new FCR Alliance looks promising, but is $1500.
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  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashGordon View Post
    My first question was where to put this, but since age seems to define how much energy that I have, I will put it here.

    Thanks
    Despite how wrong I believe you are with this statement, I hope you find a good bike. You'll get good advice and a lot of opinion here.

    What type of bike is right for you has more to do with your tastes and physical condition than your age. Many people of all ages prefer drop bars for most types of riding, many prefer upright bars. One or the other is not better. But one or the other may work better for you.

    Are you saying your Cannondale is sized too large for you to ride comfortably? Fit is extremely important. Maybe some simple adjustments and/or parts swaps can fix that. Or maybe not.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nightcap's Avatar
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    How long is the commute? Under 10 miles, flat bars are probably fine. More than that and I miss the ability to change my hand positions, and prefer drops.

    Here's the big thing: how much of your weight are you carrying around your middle? Again, short rides you're fine in a more upright posture, but it gets wearing on long rides. Being the same weight as you, I found a longer top tube allowed me to stretch out a bit more, so less bumping of knees against belly.

    Unless you buy a touring bike, you will probably need to have the wheels rebuilt before taking the bike home. In your end of the market, there is no frame that is not more than strong enough to handle you, but the wheels are another matter. The rule of thumb I've heard is that over 180 pounds, you need 36 spokes on the rear wheel and at least 32 on the front. Mavic Open Pros or Velocity Deep V are well regarded. I've had no trouble with the Mavics on my old bike, and just had them built and installed before I took delivery of my new bike. Plan on spending a couple hundred on the wheels - it'll pay off with fewer trips back to the bike shop to get spokes replaced and wheels re-trued.

    There are a bunch of great bikes that will suit you. Spend some time checking out the stock and test driving at a good local bike shop. My wife and I recently bought bikes at a truly world-class establishment with fantastically knowledgeable salespeople - it was a pleasure to hand over my credit card. It was even a pleasure to pay the bill....

  7. #7
    Member CrashGordon's Avatar
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    Still Looking for the Bike

    Thanks for all the advice.

    First off, the Cannondale T800. I am saying the bike is too large because with a 29" inseam, I am sitting on the crossbar...there is no free play and the seat post is all the way down. It is a good bike, but just not what I need. The LBS that sold it to me claimed it was the perfect size (and the last one in stock).

    I visited 3 LBS this weekend and tried out several bikes. My first inclination was to go with flat bars, then I looked at curved bars with brakes at the top of the bar and finally just standard curved bars. After riding several larges and several mediums, I realized that not all bike makers use the same standards for their sizes. Specialized seemed to fit me well and I have just about settled on the Roubaix Elite. While it is not really listed as a commuter bike it is very comfortable for a road bike. I think it has 24 spoke wheels in the front and 28 spoke wheels in the back....will check on better wheels.

    Reactions? Wrong approach?

  8. #8
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashGordon View Post
    Thanks for all the advice.

    First off, the Cannondale T800. I am saying the bike is too large because with a 29" inseam, I am sitting on the crossbar...there is no free play and the seat post is all the way down.
    That's a good working definition of too large

    **scratch one theory**
    Don't you just love bike shops?

    As for the Roubaix - I have no experience with it myself by seem to remember quite a few nice comments about it here. The important thing is to love that bike, to have an emotional connection with it. You can do whatever you want on a bike you love, a bike that is purely a 'rational' decision usually spends a lot of time in the shed. Go with your heart my boy

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

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    Stand-over height is the very least important measurement for a road bike. The top tube length and other considerations are very much more important. So, if you think the Cdale doesn't fit because of just the SO height, forget that.

    I have short legs and a long torso, (I used to be 6 feet tall) and have little, if any SO height, and I have about 20,000 miles of my Lemond BA. I have a pants inseam of 29" also, and ride a 55cm bike.
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    It really comes down to the mission. How far do you need to go and how hilly is it? Will you need to carry any payload?

    Other than that, can you easily mount fenders and lights, and how much maintainance will it require?

    Paul

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Think stout wheels and puncture resistant tires. Handlebars are pretty much up to the user. My guess is that if you're used to flat handlebars you probably won't want to change.

    Oh - and build quality is the real key that makes stout wheels stout. If your LBS has a wheel guy who can equalize the tension and retrue a stock set of wheels, that'll probably be adequate.
    Many of us here have found the benefits of a good wheel builder and For a heavyweight- It is more important.

    Basically any bike will work for you but the stock wheels will let it down.Do not go for a low spoke count wheel- You have to look at 32 as a minimum and 36 would be better. And get the wheel builder to sort the wheels pretty soon- or before - buying the bike.
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  12. #12
    Member CrashGordon's Avatar
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    I live in the Washington DC area and will be using it on the Mt Vernon trail to go to and from work and to just get a workout in the evenings. So not really very hilly and mostly paved. I do have a MB for more rugged places to ride.

    The bike wheels come with 24 spokes front and 28 spokes back. The LBS owner said that he checked and the wheels will handle normal commuting riding up to 300lbs. So I should be safe?

    I am open to any ideas/suggestions as I don't pick the bike up until Sat so I have lots of time to think it over.

    What bike would you suggest? Price of Roubaix is $1200, which is my top limit....funny how the LBS found this bike right at my limit...they should be selling real estate...LOL

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    I think a road bike might be overkill for a ten mile, flat commute. I'm familiar with the Mt. Vernon trail, having used it a lot to go to DC. My philosophy is that a bike must be ridable in street clothing and must be more reliable than a car and require no more maintenance. Based on that, I'd suggest siomething like a Breezer Uptown with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. I commuted on a Specialized Crossroads hybrid for three years, and it was like using a violin to drive nails. A road bike would require even more fiddling.

    However, this is all about you, not me. The only important questuion is "do you really like riding the Roubaix?" If the answer is "Yes", it overrides all other considerations. Some people like to tinker and don't mind sacrificing reliability and convenience for performance. I appreciate that viewpoint, seeing as it's how I regard cars.

    Enjoy your commute! The DC area is a wretched place to car commute, but a wonderful place to bike commute. Maybe I'll see you out there!

    Paul

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I've ridden wheels with less spokes than that at 250 pounds, and had no problems. One thing you might do, though, is see if the shop will check the spoke tension by hand before you pick up the bike. The Roubaix is a nice bike, and Specialized is a favorite with many in my club. Ask the shop if they will swap out the regular Specialized tires for Specialized Armadillo tires, since you will be commuting on it.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  15. #15
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    That sounds like a nice bike, but I would recommend test riding a few different bikes. You can always come back to that one and you will have something to judge the others against. I don't agree with the constant tinkering that a road bike would need over another. My wife and I both have road bikes and I hardly ever do more than an occasional cable adjustment. One big difference is the tires. If you buy the lightest, go fastest tires you will have more flats because they are thinner than a touring or commuting tire.

  16. #16
    Member CrashGordon's Avatar
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    I do have to admit that you all have me rethinking my decision.

    First, the Roubaix wasn't $1200 but $1700 (thank the Wifey for straightening that out). So I am thinking, I put the kevlar tires on the Cannondale and last night I was tinkering with the bike getting ready to post it on Craigs list, when I noticed that the stem appears to be almost a foot long. Maybe I am too hasty on this, perhaps a shorter and higher stem would do the trick as the wheels and frame are designed for a heavier load. Is there any formula or relationship between the seat and handlebar on a road bike...on a MB there is this 2" recommendation (I can't remember right now if it is higher or lower).

    Also with the Roubaix, the frame, fork, etc is composite so there is no chance of mounting stuff to it. Is weight a critical factor in a commuting bike or is that just a mental thing with the road racing crowd?

    Maybe a couple of fitting changes would make all the difference in the world. A new stem at $50 is a lot cheaper than a new bike at $1700. The sales pitch on the Roubaix was that it is a long distance, comfort road bike....sounded good to me.

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    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You might want to review these articles on bike fit. I don't agree with everyting they say, but it is an interesting perspective:

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...izing_position
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-18-07 at 06:23 AM.
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  18. #18
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    If you can get the fit worked out with the Cannondale 800T you'll have a fine bike for commuting. It has lots of room for fenders, will take racks front and back, and even has a set of water bottle bosses on the underside of the downtube in which you can put a battery for a good lighting system. Since it's a bike you already own, any money you were planning to spend on a different bike can be used to upgrade wheels, add fenders and lights, even invest in really good riding clothes for commuting in all kinds of weather. BTW, Dnvr's links to the articles on bike fit are good ones.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashGordon View Post
    Also with the Roubaix, the frame, fork, etc is composite so there is no chance of mounting stuff to it. Is weight a critical factor in a commuting bike or is that just a mental thing with the road racing crowd?

    Maybe a couple of fitting changes would make all the difference in the world. A new stem at $50 is a lot cheaper than a new bike at $1700. The sales pitch on the Roubaix was that it is a long distance, comfort road bike....sounded good to me.
    I often ride on the Mount Vernon trail pulling my 60 lb daughter on a 25 pound Trail-A-Bike. That's nearly 90 pounds added to my bike. It slows me down by only a few mph. Even in hilly areas, I don't notice any penalty up to about 20 pounds of cargo. In my experience, weight is good on a commuter bike, as long as it buys you reliability or convenience.

    When I started commuting, my strategy was to use my existing bike, a Specialized Crossroads hybrid. A few years riding the thing every day allowed me to establish what I needed and did not need for a commuter bike, allowing me to spend my $1,500 or so wisely. $50 for a new stem, plus $100 for lights sounds like a good, safe strategy.

    Paul

  20. #20
    Member CrashGordon's Avatar
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    First off, thanks Fox for the links. I took my measurements, and found that the bike really fit into the XL size range and just couldn't get it to fit the sizing that I think I need. I went out and bought the Specialized bike last night and will make the adjustments to it tonight and ride it to work in the morning.

    Hey PaulH, I will be looking for you on the trail......I will be the clydsdale wiht thinning grey hair riding a road bike, hopefully with a sh*t eating grin on his face.

  21. #21
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashGordon View Post
    Hey PaulH, I will be looking for you on the trail......I will be the clydsdale with thinning grey hair
    Yeah, right, like that really narrows it down!

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