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  1. #1
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Catastrophic Frame Failure! (And yet another heavy guy on a bike thread)

    If you want to skip the boring narrative, my question is at the bottom of the post. Thanks!
    Warning--the pics are HUGE.

    Some of you know I had surgery two weeks ago to repair a hernia, smack dab in the middle of working up to longer rides and working on fat loss. As of today, I weigh 304 pounds, down from a measured 396 on 1 June 2004 (the last time I had the same surgery to repair the same hernia.) Anyway, I've been very careful about recovering, avoiding lifting, etc. Yesterday I did four easy miles with my kids on the bike and felt great, so this morning I got up resolved to go out and go further. I was only going to go 5-6 miles, but when I reached that point, I felt great, so I decided to loop out to the next town over. We just broke a nasty heat wave and it's a good thirty degrees cooler outside today than it was Sunday, so everything felt great, the flowers were waving, the sun was shining, the corn was being corn. . . . and then the irritating little hitch in my pedaling came back.
    This started on the last 15-mile ride I did before my surgery when I stood up to do a hill and felt a weird pop and a little slip. I looked down and noticed that the cranks were loose in the bottom bracket, wobbling back and forth, so I put it down to that. Last night, though, before we took the short ride, I tightened that up and it felt great. Couldn't be the problem now. And the closer I got to town, the mushier and more wobbly it felt. It almost felt like something was "resetting" whenever I let up on the pedaling.
    So when I got to the little town square, I hopped off and checked the chain, gears, etc. Nothing. Then I looked down and it was staring me right in the face--the seat tube was completely ripped in two right above the weld that held it on the bottom bracket. How I missed that, I don't know, but there must have been a pretty good rend there the whole time. In Huffy's defense, I will say their weld apparently held firm. It was the tube itself that was completely sheared off.


    OK, now, this was the August and Venerable Huffy. A 12-year old Huffy from a department store that's far too small for me. It's not a huge loss as bikes go, but it leaves me without a bike until I can get one. I'm going to salvage the upgrades and put them on my wife's cheapie mountain bike so she can put some miles on it with me, but I'm going to the LBS to get something better. I was NOT planning on spending the money this soon, but I know I'll be happier with a better bike and I know I'm going to keep cycling, so it's not a huge loss.

    Now, to the question: this has made me rethink my attitude toward big guy bikes. Even at 305, I figured from talking to the guy at the LBS that I could probably ride just about whatever mid-value bike I want without going all the way to the Kona Hoss (or similar, I only mention the Kona because it seems to be the choice of BF uber-clydesdales.) I'm not talking super-lightweight race bikes, here, but certainly entry-level road bikes or some of the faster hybrids. Is that crazy? Or is the Huffy just that crappy?

    Part of me says not to base any opinion on the Huffy. It was cheap and I got several years of regular riding out of it, followed by years of neglect and storage and then a flurry of hard riding for a couple of months. But I was not planning on spending this money at this time, and I can't afford to get a replacement and then replace that bike after two more months of riding.


    Here's what I want out of my next bike:
    • I still have over 100 pounds to lose, which means plenty of miles in as much weather as I can. I'm aware the prairie winter is not that far off. I want to be able to ride in anything short of icy, snowy roads.
    • I want to train for centuries. I've set the goal of completing a metric next May (Tour de Stooges) and the Springfield Century next July.
    • I need to be able to ride this bike at every weight between 300 and 200 pounds.
    • I want to keep this thing for years and years if I can. I'm willing to keep it maintained, of course.


    Am I crazy to look for all this in one bike? In the opinion of this forum, do I need to buy a bike specifically for my weight? If I do that, is there a Giant entry-level model for my needs? My favorite LBS so far stocks mostly Giant.
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  2. #2
    blithering idiot jhota's Avatar
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    there's a big difference in "Duralite High Strength Steel" and a quality tubeset. if you get a good quality frame, i wouldn't be super-worried about structural failure. but i would worry about component durability, specifically wheels, crank & seatpost. i've damaged or destroyed all three at one time or another, and i barely weigh 200 lbs. so i'd make sure to get good quality parts there...

  3. #3
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    Not to stray off-topic, but that's about the dirtiest goddamn bike frame I have ever seen. 12 years old? Looks like 30 or 40.

  4. #4
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    See if you can find an old school Schwinn 10spd from the early 80's. They are about 45lbs but are very tough, with all steel parts. I saw 100's over my 10 years as a mechanic and never saw any with frame failures.

    Note: Schwinn used to have their own "size" tires and the seat post was smaller than std. for the day and they ofter became lodged in the seat tube.

  5. #5
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    Don; look at the discussions on 29" bicycles...one such is at:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-64346

    looking at the bike you had any quality mountain, ect. bike will really give you a boost in your biking pleasure. Kudos Sir on your weight loss. KUTGW

  6. #6
    Fight the good fight
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    My husband weights 297, so I had the same types of questions when shopping for his bike 6 mos ago. The Trek 3500 MTB will hold you, it cost 200.00. Kona makes a model that cost 300.00 -I can't remember which one but I'm trying to find out...I've heard good stuff about it, too. And the Specialized Hardrock has a model that cost around 200.00. The bikes will hold you untill you get to your ideal weight, but because your are putting stress on the frame, and using it as your sole bike, you should expect to upgrade in a few years. But that is a good thing! It will be your reward. The other good thing is that those 3 bikes will be a good investment -virtually problem free for at least the next 3 yrs. Then, you will put it on the back burner in favor of your upgrade. The Walmart bikes will break and cause you more stress the than they are worth. So go to a bike shop and spend a couple hundred for a low grade but half way decent bike with a strong frame. Also, because of your weight, stay away from suspension -both front and rear. That will cause additional maintenance issues. Just go with the hardtail. Let me know how it goes.

    Here is what you should do. Look up some bike shops in the phone book or local sports magazines. Call ahead and see if they have the brands your are interested in -especially that Kona model MTB that runs for 300.00. Test ride a Kona MTB, Trek 3500 MTB, and the Specialized Hardrock MTB. Come back and tell me your thoughts.
    Can you do that?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Giant makes both a touring frame and a cyclocross frame. Both will be built stronger than their ocr/tcr lines.
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  8. #8
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Not to stray off-topic, but that's about the dirtiest goddamn bike frame I have ever seen. 12 years old? Looks like 30 or 40.
    Why, thank you! I try.


    Here is what you should do. Look up some bike shops in the phone book or local sports magazines. Call ahead and see if they have the brands your are interested in -especially that Kona model MTB that runs for 300.00. Test ride a Kona MTB, Trek 3500 MTB, and the Specialized Hardrock MTB. Come back and tell me your thoughts.
    Can you do that?
    Uh, yeah, I can do that. You skipped to the end, didn't you?
    I don't want a mountain bike; the Huffy is just what I had on hand when I decided to start cycling.

    My main question as regards bike brands was whether I REALLY need a Kona Hoss or something similar simply to last under my weight. Upgrading in a few years is no problem, but I didn't want to upgrade and then immediately have to go out and spend more money. Money is tight enough as it is.
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  9. #9
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Hobo, if I understand correctly, a 29" bike is a frame suitable for cross-country or mountain biking, but it accepts 700mm wheels like a road bike, so I could use roadie wheels and tires but on a beefier frame?
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  10. #10
    cycling n00b Black Shuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
    Hobo, if I understand correctly, a 29" bike is a frame suitable for cross-country or mountain biking, but it accepts 700mm wheels like a road bike, so I could use roadie wheels and tires but on a beefier frame?

    That's what I've been led to believe as well. The Nishiki Bigfoot-models are about the only ones for sale here in Finland, but they look pretty nice

    Link to pic

    Edit: I checked Sheldon Browns homepage and it says 29" MTB-tires go on wide 700C wheels. Might be difficult to fit a 25mm tire if the rim is wide, but 28 might be appropriate. My hybrid has 700C wheels that will take a 28mm tire but my LBS adviced against putting anything narrower.
    Last edited by Black Shuck; 07-27-05 at 03:16 PM.

  11. #11
    Bent_Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn

    Here's what I want out of my next bike:
    • I still have over 100 pounds to lose, which means plenty of miles in as much weather as I can. I'm aware the prairie winter is not that far off. I want to be able to ride in anything short of icy, snowy roads.
    • I want to train for centuries. I've set the goal of completing a metric next May (Tour de Stooges) and the Springfield Century next July.
    • I need to be able to ride this bike at every weight between 300 and 200 pounds.
    • I want to keep this thing for years and years if I can. I'm willing to keep it maintained, of course.


    Am I crazy to look for all this in one bike? In the opinion of this forum, do I need to buy a bike specifically for my weight? If I do that, is there a Giant entry-level model for my needs? My favorite LBS so far stocks mostly Giant.

    For a big fella, I'd say get a recumbent bike. I'm not sure which model is rated for someone your size, but for a big fella, the normal seat that a recumbent offers would be a big plus in comfort for you.
    I hate to think of 300lbs all on a regular bike saddle. Your poor taint.

    I'd say the Easy Racers models would be best for large riders because that's who I see riding them the most. Check out the pick on their webpage.
    http://www.easyracers.com/

    http://suewidemark.netfirms.com/bent.htm
    http://mikebentley.com/bike/bents/
    http://www.bikeroute.com/Recumbents/

  12. #12
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    The farthest I've gone so far is 16 miles, but honestly, I haven't minded the saddle much. I would look into a recumbent, but I don't know much about them. I'll look at the 'bent forum, but I really enjoy riding the traditional bike, so I don't think that's a problem.

    I have a somewhat wide saddle on the old Huffy, but I do sit on my "sit bones" on it. The taintal area doesn't really make much contact.

    I started the bidding at a $2000 bike over dinner tonight; my wife made a counter offer of $50. We haggled a bit. Eventually I told her I'd go so far as to sell my treasured Glock 30 to get a better bike, but I was going to look at something in the $300-600 range. She was touched by my willingness to part with Mjolnir, so we reached a compromise. I will buy the bike, but I will not sell the *** unless we later find that we need the money. So chances are I'm going to get a new bike and keep the ***, and that's a good deal any way you look at it.
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  13. #13
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

  14. #14
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    Using the Glock properly you ought to be able to come up with as much money as you need.

    ;-)

    BTW, cleaning your bike periodically is a good idea, if only because it gives you a chance to inspect it while cleaning it. If you had spent some time maintaining that POS Huffy, you might well have spotted the crack before it actually broke through.
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  15. #15
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    Take a look at the Giant website http://www.giantbicycles.com/us/030....30.000.000.asp Many shops are starting to put them on "end of season" sale. These frames have a lifetime warranty, which makes them a-ok in my book. Check the Cypress Hybrid Comfort (Street Style) We just got one at the LBS for 299.00.

    My advice on going to an LBS is explain what you want and see what they have to offer, and if they try to "push" you into something that costs more than you want to spend, or a style you don't like, leave and go to a different one. Remember best price doesn't necessarily = best deal. When you buy a bike from an LBS you kind of buy into the LBS too, most will offer some sort of free service and tune ups for a period of time after purchase. I go to the LBS that is 15 miles away just because I am comfortable with the staff, & service and can trust what they say. There are over a dozen shops in my area and 10 of them are closer, but they couldn't touch the "deal."
    ~annie~

  16. #16
    I Am Online Now! G-Unit's Avatar
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    Don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but check out the Kona Hoss, it's built for big heavy riders. I have one and I beat the hell out of it whenever I ride it (I'm 225lbs).
    I rock peas on my head but don’t call me a pea head.
    Bees on my head but don’t call me a bee head.
    Bruce Lee’s on my head but don’t call me a Lee head.
    Now please excuse me, I gots to get my tree fed.

  17. #17
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    BTW, cleaning your bike periodically is a good idea, if only because it gives you a chance to inspect it while cleaning it. If you had spent some time maintaining that POS Huffy, you might well have spotted the crack before it actually broke through.
    Good point.
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  18. #18
    What icy wind? Wind 'N Snow's Avatar
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    I feel your pain - when I was a little heftier than I am now some LBS joker tried to convince me that first generation carbon fibre bikes were the way to go - even though I found out that the particular one he was trying to sell me was rated of 200 lbs max!

    I tried something completely different. I bought a mid priced cyclocross bike. Beefy enough to handle tough conditions and my girth, agile enough with the addition of slicks to do a century. Mine is a Myata alumicross that is still going strong 15 years after I bought it.

    I don't know what is on the market nowadays, but look into this option, it might work for you!

  19. #19
    UareFASTjustNOTfastENOUGH MasterSezFaster's Avatar
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    I road a Giant OCR for 4 years before I sold it. At the time I weighed in at 299lbs and put 17000mi/yr on it with out any problems. If you get a good bike from a respectable manufacturer it should hold your weight providing you take care of it and do not beat it to death. Meaning, do not even ride off curbs with it because our fat arses put way to much strain on the frames and keep the mechanics tuned and lubed properly.


  20. #20
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    So far I haven't had much call for riding onto or off of curbs, although there are some rough country roads out there and some of the railroad crossings are pretty deep.

    I like the idea of the OCR3 if it will hold up to my massive yet delightfully proportioned bulk. But I'll ride other bikes, and if the FCR4 or 3 feels good, I may get it. We'll see.

    I hadn't thought about a possible sale for "End of Season" but that sounds good. Maybe I can even find a 2004 or something.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    If you want a road bike, get a solid sport touring frame with 36 spoke wheels. You can upgrade and get lighter wheels as you lose weight. I ride a Cannondale R500 with Mavic CXP 10 rims. It is an older bike, but the bike has held up excellently over the last three years, and I weigh just a little less then you do, but started ridng it 35 pounds ago.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  22. #22
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    When I started 6 years ago, I was 320 pounds. I got a Schwinn Supersport road bike. The 1st wheels that came on the bike, I broke because they were aerodynamic type rims. The 2nd set of wheels I got were basic all around commuting type wheels 36spoked instead of 32 spoked and I'm still riding them. I'm down now to 220 pounds.

    In terms of components, I didn't start replacing the derailleurs until 2 years ago, when I decided to change the gearing. The only thing that ever really broke was the front derailleur and I think the bike shop broke that by tightening the clamp down, because I've never done any work on it.

    I think it's more quality of bike and how you intend to ride as opposed to your actual weight, because I ride mine in all types of weather

  23. #23
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I have a giant OCR touring, great bike, bomb proof. Cept just don't crash it as much as I do.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    I am fat too 320 lbs which is about 40 lbs down since end of April. I do 16 miles a day now.

    I puchased a MTB Rockhopper 05 because it looked bullet prof. And the fat tires are harder to push down the road.

    You don't have to be fat to kill a frame. I broke a frame when I was about 12 years old. Bad weld joint.

    You can take you frame to a frame shop and have it welded but it would cost more than the bike is worth.
    Joe
    Schwinn Super Le Tour
    Specialized Rockhopper 05

  25. #25
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    I killed a steel frame in the 80s, it was my sponsor's bike and had been welded, well, I rode the thing so much it just cracked again due to fatigue. And I weighed about 110.

    I sold a friend who's 265lbs an older Schwinn "cimmeron" I think it was called, mtb, older non suspension type, you can get those all over for $200 or so but the thing is, that was a high end MTB in its time. It's built very well, has what were top of the line componants at the time for mtb's, and very strong wheels. A $200 used old skool mtb that was top of the line in its day, might be a better buy than a new $200 mtb today. Same money though.

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