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Old 02-16-05, 06:15 AM   #1
Amator
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Advice for Overweight Newbie?

Hi, I'm 26 years old and very obese(325 lbs). I haven't rode a bike since I was a kid but figured it would be a good low-impact excercise for me, and perhaps I can replace some of my local(within 5 mile) errands with bike trips after I get used to it.

I'm planning on buying a good starter bike with my tax refund from my local bike shop, but I wanted suggestions of things to look for/avoid as an overweight newbie on a bike. I'm looking for a comfort/hybrid as right now my balance isn't that great and I'm still a little nervous about taking a big spill(funny how that was never a concern when I was a kid with my Wal-Mart BMX knockoff).

Anyway, any advice, anecdotes, etc would be appreciated. Thanks. I'm also 6'3" btw, if that calculates into any suggestions.
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Old 02-16-05, 08:51 AM   #2
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Amator,

Congrats on taking this step! You won't regret it!

Get yourself to your Local Bike Shop (LBS). Let them know what your wanting to do. The LBS should be able to "fit" you for a bike. Fit is the most important issue. Especially when your first starting out. A good fit will moderate the pain that will come when you first take up cycling. Also, insure you get 36 spoke count wheels.

Once you get your bike. Start slowly as to prevent injury.

Good luck~!
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Old 02-16-05, 09:28 AM   #3
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Good for you. Get out there and do it. I am also pretty well overweight but cycling is helping and my plan is to use it to get me all the way back to the weight I should be. I have lost 20-30 lbs since last summer and that is without much diet control, simply adding the exercise. Goal is to loose another 50 lbs or so in the next year to 18 months.

I agree with the above poster that you should go to a local bike shop (LBS) and get fit properly for a bike. Again like above you want at least 36 spoke wheels (maybe even 40 spoke tandem wheel). There are a couple different bikes designed for larger people, the Kona Hoss is one of them and they are supposed to be very nice.

Have fun, cycling can take you anywhere be it work, the store, or to a gaol of a lower weight. Enjoy the outdoors.
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Old 02-16-05, 09:53 AM   #4
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awesome! I don't know much about hybrids, so I just posting to say have fun.
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Old 02-16-05, 10:18 AM   #5
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Getting a bike and using it in your daily activities is a great way to get active.
For a utility bike, you may want to fit a luggage rack and fenders so make sure the frame has some threaded eyelets at the rear.
Wheels are always the weak point and more spokes make a stronger wheel. 36 spokes should be enough. A really good bike shop will be able to tune the spoke tension because factory built wheels are always a little uneven.
You wheel choice is between large 700c and smaller 26" (mtb) size. For the same spoke count, the smaller wheel is stronger and a lot of expedition tourists are switching to the 26" size.
I would usually say avoid suspension on a road/utility bike but a suspension fork may help protect the bike from peak loads, esp when you ride slowly over a pot-hole or curb.
Dont underspend on a bike. A good benchmark for entry level quality is the Specialized Hardrock. Similar quality in other styles or brands will also work. Find a good local bike shop.
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Old 02-16-05, 10:29 AM   #6
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Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

My LBS (http://www.greatescapebikes.com/) seems friendly and talked about fitting a bike for me. They didn't mention anything about spoke counts. The bicycle that was reccomended was a Giant Suede. Here are the specs of that bike:

msrp $350
size One Size Fits All
color Silver, Also available in Black
frame Oversized ALUXX Aluminum
fork Hi-Tensile Steel
shock N/A
shifters SRAM MRX 7-Speed Twist
front derailleur N/A
rear derailleur Shimano Tourney
brakes Alloy Direct-Pull Cantilever
levers Alloy Comfort
cassette Shimano 14-34T, 7-speed
chain KMC Z51 7-Speed
cranks Alloy 46T
BBr Cartridge
rims Alloy 36H
hubs Front Alloy 36H, QR/ Rear Alloy 36H, QR
spokes Stainless Steel 14G
tires City Comfort 26x1.95"
handlebar Steel 4" Riser
stem Alloy Quill
headset Steel 1 1/8"
seatpost Alloy Suspension 30.9mm w/QR Seat Lever
saddle SuperGel Comfort Plus
pedals Giant Comfort Platform
extras Chainguard

Is there anything potentially offputting about any of that? Also, the LBS is charging a little over the MSRP($375), is that a bad sign? I know I'll need to buy a good helmet(any suggestions for something for my huge melon, my hat size is 8) and get bottle cages, pumps, flat kits, etc, but that will probably wait a week or two as I get a feel for it and make sure I'm comfortable with everything.

Please keep the suggestions coming. Thank you all!
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Old 02-16-05, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amator
Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

My LBS (http://www.greatescapebikes.com/) seems friendly and talked about fitting a bike for me. They didn't mention anything about spoke counts. The bicycle that was reccomended was a Giant Suede. Here are the specs of that bike:

msrp $350
size One Size Fits All
color Silver, Also available in Black
frame Oversized ALUXX Aluminum
fork Hi-Tensile Steel
shock N/A
shifters SRAM MRX 7-Speed Twist
front derailleur N/A
rear derailleur Shimano Tourney
brakes Alloy Direct-Pull Cantilever
levers Alloy Comfort
cassette Shimano 14-34T, 7-speed
chain KMC Z51 7-Speed
cranks Alloy 46T
BBr Cartridge
rims Alloy 36H
hubs Front Alloy 36H, QR/ Rear Alloy 36H, QR
spokes Stainless Steel 14G
tires City Comfort 26x1.95"
handlebar Steel 4" Riser
stem Alloy Quill
headset Steel 1 1/8"
seatpost Alloy Suspension 30.9mm w/QR Seat Lever
saddle SuperGel Comfort Plus
pedals Giant Comfort Platform
extras Chainguard

Is there anything potentially offputting about any of that? Also, the LBS is charging a little over the MSRP($375), is that a bad sign? I know I'll need to buy a good helmet(any suggestions for something for my huge melon, my hat size is 8) and get bottle cages, pumps, flat kits, etc, but that will probably wait a week or two as I get a feel for it and make sure I'm comfortable with everything.

Please keep the suggestions coming. Thank you all!
Hello Amator!
I'm also relatively new to biking. From what I know this will be a good starter bike in that it is very easy to get on and off. It will be easy to put your feet on the pavement. However, it will not be a bike you will want to go long distances on (20 miles+) because it will be difficult to get the most power from pedaling. The reason for this is that your seating position is back from the pedals and not directly over them, it will be harder to stand up on the bike.
Similar bikes: Trek Sole Ride and Electra Townie
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Old 02-16-05, 10:49 AM   #8
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Do you mean the Giant Suede or Sedona ?
One size does not fit all. Bikes are usually sized by the standover clearance at the Top Tube. You can also size it by the reach from saddle to bars, this is a more critical dimension for getting into a comfortable riding position. You will probably need a large size.

Those specs are for a 7 speed bike. That will be adaquate for riding on most terrain but if you want to take it on steeper roads and trails you may want to use a wider and lower range of gears with an MTB style triple chainring.

When you are buying a new bike it is much easier to negotiate a discount on extras rather than get cash off the basic price.
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Old 02-16-05, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amator
...my balance isn't that great and I'm still a little nervous about taking a big spill.
Anyone who's serious about cycling falls, especially at the beginning or when they make big changes (like pedals). If you never ever wind up on the pavement or dirt, I'll laugh at you

Just remember when you're on the ground... "now I'm a real cyclist"

As for your bike, yeah, don't spend more than $400. You're either going to ride it so much and lose weight that you're going to want a better bike -- and you don't yet know what kind (road, hybrid, cx, mt, folding, touring, bent) of bike(s) you really want -- or you won't ride it that much and $1000 bike would be a waste of money. So, my point is, buy the bike, ride the bike and don't stress over whether it's the perfect bike

EDIT: "one size fits all"? didn't see that before and like the others, have concerns. More for your height than weight. I just can't see a "one size" bike being big enough for 6'3"!

Last edited by LordOpie; 02-16-05 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 02-16-05, 11:04 AM   #10
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Hi,
I was in a similar position a few years ago. Created a new life for myself. I am a little concerned about the fact that that is 'one size fits all'. Such things tend not to fit the big or the small.

Here is a bike I have tried. I think it's kinda neat.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/breezer/index.html
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Old 02-16-05, 11:14 AM   #11
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Amator, good for you! I don't know much about the bike you describe but the "one size fits all" raises a red flag. By far the most important thing about a bike is that it fits you and I doubt you can get a good fit by just raising or lowering the seat. If that's what your LBS is proposing, shop another place and keep shopping until you find one that will take the time to fit you properly, regardless of the price of the bike.

And let me recommend bike commuting. There are many folks on this forum who ride every day to work and they'll be happy to share their tips, tricks, and experiences.

Good luck and good riding!
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Old 02-16-05, 11:24 AM   #12
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Good for you it is alot of fun and it'll help you out just go slow and build up your skills and wear a hemet to be safer , I am just back on my bike I was flat on my back for 5 weeks with a work injury not being able to ride or walk far and gained 25 pounds I am just shy of 300 pounds now but I will burn it off >Steeker
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Old 02-16-05, 11:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
Do you mean the Giant Suede or Sedona ?
The Suede.

Quote:
One size does not fit all. Bikes are usually sized by the standover clearance at the Top Tube. You can also size it by the reach from saddle to bars, this is a more critical dimension for getting into a comfortable riding position. You will probably need a large size.

Those specs are for a 7 speed bike. That will be adaquate for riding on most terrain but if you want to take it on steeper roads and trails you may want to use a wider and lower range of gears with an MTB style triple chainring.

When you are buying a new bike it is much easier to negotiate a discount on extras rather than get cash off the basic price.
Thanks for the advice. Like Lordopie said, who knows if I'll end up sticking with it, so I should get something not too expensive that I can afford to upgrade from but is not a beater. If I don't hear any posts along the lines of "Don't get that bike, it's a huge mistake" I'll probably grab it today.
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Old 02-16-05, 11:56 AM   #14
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Also, thanks everyone for tips about fit. I'm going to go back to the LBS and get them to see if that bike fits properly, and if not to steer me in the direction of a similar bike that will.
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Old 02-16-05, 11:57 AM   #15
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Congrats on your decision. I'd echo the "one size fits all" concern. Be sure to get a bike that fits YOU!

Also, don't wait to get a helmet. Falls can happen anywhere, even close to home. Please get a bike that fits and a helmet that fits (try on lots of them), and start out slowly. Do you have a doctor or trainer to guide you through this transition?
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Old 02-16-05, 12:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by velogirl
Also, don't wait to get a helmet. Falls can happen anywhere, even close to home.
Even in your home as your sitting there enjoying your new bike
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Old 02-16-05, 12:42 PM   #17
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And one other piece of advice from one who is in the process of going through shedding lots of weight. If you have a big-old-belly get upright handle bars. Having your knees making milkshakes in your tummy as you ride is not fun.
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Old 02-16-05, 02:57 PM   #18
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Well, got back from a 1 1/2 hour trip to the LBS. One of the guys there who isn't a small fry himself(250) spent some time going over what was important about bike fit and what parts of the bike are important not to skimp on.

He started out with the importance of a quality deraileur. He made a list of top to bottom: SIS, Altus, Acera, Alivio, Deore, LX, XT, and XTR from worst to best. He immediately crossed off SIS and Altus as too wimpy as well as XTR, and said I should probably look at something with an Alivio. He then took a few bikes off the rack and measured my inseam and if I had enough leg room on full extension as well as upstroke. The Trek I was measuring on had an 18 frame, which was a little small. I got on a Giant 19, and that was a lot more comfortable, but I still didn't get a full leg extension comfortably.

He went to check to see if they had any 20s there, and after they did not he changed his approach and started to sell me on Giant's Revive line. I was very skeptical, but went on a test ride, and I have to admit it was a very comfortable ride, but a good bit more than I wanted to spend ($650). I'm thinking about going to another bike shop in my city to get a second opinion before forking over the dough for a revive, helmet, etc.

I hate the looks of the revive, but it's just so easy to ride and went up the hill like a creampuff, I just leaned back into the seat and let my legs carry me up the hill. Maybe I should get the Revive? Anyone have any opinions on them?
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Old 02-16-05, 03:02 PM   #19
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I don't know the Revive--looks like a recumbent, which might not be a bad way to go. Check out the Recumbent discussion topic for more info. Alot of people swear by them

You may end up loving it, but if you don't like it, you won't ride it.
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Old 02-16-05, 03:04 PM   #20
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Agreed, try posting that question in the Recumbent forum.
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Old 02-16-05, 03:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amator
He went to check to see if they had any 20s there, and after they did not he changed his approach and started to sell me on Giant's Revive line.
I'm sorry bro, but they sound like they suck huge!

I ride a Giant mt.bike that's 19" and I'm 5'10". You're FIVE INCHES TALLER THAN ME! They shouldn't have even thought about putting you on a 19" frame.
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Old 02-16-05, 03:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amator
Hi, I'm 26 years old and very obese(325 lbs). I haven't rode a bike since I was a kid but figured it would be a good low-impact excercise for me, and perhaps I can replace some of my local(within 5 mile) errands with bike trips after I get used to it.

I'm planning on buying a good starter bike with my tax refund from my local bike shop, but I wanted suggestions of things to look for/avoid as an overweight newbie on a bike. I'm looking for a comfort/hybrid as right now my balance isn't that great and I'm still a little nervous about taking a big spill(funny how that was never a concern when I was a kid with my Wal-Mart BMX knockoff).

Anyway, any advice, anecdotes, etc would be appreciated. Thanks. I'm also 6'3" btw, if that calculates into any suggestions.
Congrats bro on taking that first step towards freedom; you absolutely won't regret it.
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Old 02-16-05, 04:10 PM   #23
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If you have a chance, see if any dealers have Fuji near you. They usually have some bigger frame sizes that other makers may not have. I too would be a little suspect of a one size fits all. Someone as tall as you will most likely be on the largest frame in anyones line. Don't let them "sell" you what they have.
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Old 02-16-05, 04:19 PM   #24
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At 325lbs. I would consider getting a Steel Frame and start out with a Hybrid or Mountain bike with a large range of gears. If you're considering Aluminum check out the Specialized Hardrock, it's got a tough frame.

What you don't want to do now is get the wrong bike that will end up discouraging you from riding.
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Old 02-16-05, 05:08 PM   #25
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I am 450lbs man...I ride a Kona Hoss and the Specialized hardrock pro is similarly equiped. Get a bike with high gearing...so you can go up hills. Also, you will most likely need to replace the springs in the fork you get with your bike or go to a rigid fork. Disk brakes for big guys is not a bad idea.
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