Intro to cycling and this forum, help please!
Hello everyone! I've just joined up and I apologize if I fail to meet etiquette on my first couple of posts, I'll try to get it right quickly.
I'm interested in getting into cycling but I'm not sure where to start. My first reason is because I always enjoyed it growing up, and I'd really like to hit some of the great trails I've heard about around here. My second reason is that I'm horribly out of shape and I'd love to use this to build up cardio and muscular systems. My one concern is that I'm pretty heavy and I'm not sure what bike will work for me or if I'm too heavy or not. I'm about 6' and weigh in at around 280 - 290.
I don't have much money, so I'm looking for a fair beginner mountain bike that can handle my weight and will allow me to ride streets for now but can get me down a few of the easier trails in upcoming months. I'm hoping to spend under $300, which I think should be possible. Could anyone provide suggestions of where I might want to start looking (beside Jenny Craig)? I appreciate any help that anyone can provide.
Deported by koffee
You are not alone as far as your weight being over a little. You can get many different opinions in this forum based on real experiences.
I think it's a good idea to start with mountain bike. Budget limit of $300.- maybe a bit tough considering you'll need a few other things like a helmet besides the bike. But it's still not a bad idea to go look at what bike shops have, so you can check the latest technologies. You may find a bike within your budget. If you have time to look around either thrift store or garage sale, you can sometimes find incredible deals, but you have to have minimal knowledge of separating a good bike from not so good ones. At least you want to avoid Mart bikes.
I see many new people posting their comments that they have re-discovered how fun it is to be on the saddle and peddaling again. You just have to experience it. Ask your friend or relative, if you can borrow their bike for a week or so. Many people even forget they have a bike in the garage.
The most important part is to get your butt on the saddle. The rest will follow.
By the way, wecome to the forum.
Any MTB frame will be strong enough for you, the problem is the poor quality of wheels on entry-level bikes. Most of these wheels just need some fine-tuning of the spoke tension and they will be good enough. Get your bike at a decent local bike shop (LBS) where they check the final assembly and spoke tension and ensure that you chose the correct size.
It doesnt matter which of the major brands you chose, they all make pretty similar offerings.
A front suspension (hard-tail) design will be more practical than a full suspension bike for general purpose riding. For practicality, ensure that the frame has threaded eyelets for a rear luggage rack and fenders.
Thanks for the information! My wife (who is also interested in biking) wants us to just buy a couple of bikes from Wal-Mart, which may be fine and dandy for her, but I somehow just don't think they would carry an appropriate bike for me. However, I decided to look and was fairly surprised to see Schwinn and Mongoose in their list of bikes. They have aluminum frames and most of them are hardtail which I don't see as a problem since I don't think I'll be hitting the trails anytime soon. There are a couple of shops between work and home, so I think I'll drop by one if I can find it and see what they offer.
REI is right around the corner from my office, does anyone think they might be able to provide enough knowledge to get me started?
Deported by koffee
I think you should talk to many people. Do not take just one person's opinion and make a impulsive decision, specially when he's working for the store. It always helps to get some neutral opinion who is not trying to sell you anything, like this forum. If someone gives you wrong information there will be someone else correct it.
Originally Posted by CelticSkyhawk
Chairman of the Bored
Originally Posted by CelticSkyhawk
Easy enough, go to your local bike shop, get the most basic mountain bike you can, and a helmet that fits and is comfortable (think of ventilation too). This should be all within your $300 with change to spare.
After putting on a 100miles or so, find out what you don't like offhand on the bike, the things I changed out on my old MTB was in this order: pedals, saddle, grips. Pedals since the plastic ones were kinda slippery, so I went for some alloy pedals that were far more grippy. Saddle since the one that was on the bike wasn't very comfortable...it was just shped wrong for me...so I got a serfas Rx saddle (cheesy looking and a bit pricey, but man is it nice), and for grips I wanted longer and slightly softer (the grips that were on it were like concrete)...and those were about $9. Those mods together were less than $80. BUT....I would never advise doing this until you have put on some miles on that bike to know for sure what works for you, and what needs improvment, after all, it's about what fits YOU, and not what fits anyone else here
At one point I outweighed you by 100 pounds. These days I'm going about 250 and I attribute a lot of that to time on a bike.
I did my heavyweight riding on a steel-frame hybrid with 700c wheels (more road-oriented than mountain bike.) I had to replace the rear wheel with a double-wall rim because I kept popping spokes. Other than that, I had no problems.
If I were you, I'd avoid the Wal-Mart bikes. They tend to be poorly assembled and junky. Better to buy a good used bike or something low in the line of a reputable manufacturer. I know, for example, that here in Chicago you can easily buy a low-end Trek MTB or hybrid well within your price range.
I'd strongly recommend buying from a local bike shop. Actually, I'd recommend visiting several shops until you find a sales person who you feel comfortable talking with. One of the best services that any decent bike shop will offer is helping you to pick the right size. You wouldn't buy shoes that are too small just because they only cost half the price would you? Bikes are the same way. A right-sized bike will be much more comfortable, efficient and fun to ride so you'll be much more likely to want to ride it.
Besides the bike I do recommend wearing a helmet. I'm guessing that you'll want an aftermarket saddle too. Each of those things are going to cost in the $35.00 range so your $300.00 budget might be a little unrealistic. Compared with health maintenance costs, however, an extra $200.00 is nothing.
Walmart bikes are for people who don't understand the difference between features and quality.
On my TARDIScycle!
You also may consider a "comfort" style bike. I have a Trek Navigator 300 comfort bike. It has wheels that are sort of a combo for trail (pavement) and off-road riding as they are smooth in center, but knobby on the sides. It has served me quite well and I'm 350 pounds of Clydesdale muscle!!
I paid $400 for the Nav 300, probably $500 with accesories like helmet, gloves, etc.... They do however have a 200 (~ $300) and 100 (~ $200) model. An even better idea is to see if there is a bike shop that sells used bikes. You can get some great bikes that have been conditioned back into great shape for little $$. A friend of mine bought same bike as me a Trek Navigator 300 (prevoius years model) for $200 about same time I got mine.
Whether you go with a mountain bike or a comfort bike, consider a used bike.....they are great deals oftentimes.
Originally Posted by coffeecake
Thanks for all of the information, everyone. Its good to know I'm not the only one with an interest in cycling for exercise and weight benefits and that its not outside of my weight range. I've done a little looking around and found a few bike shops locally that I'm going to try to visit this weekend sometime. Used bikes are my goal, but I'm going to talk to the sales folks and see what happens.