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Old 06-15-02, 07:36 AM   #1
Ripley
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Aluminum or Steel for heavy rider?

I'm just getting in to the sport, and need some advice. I'm a large rider 250lbs 6'5". I'm wondering if a steel frame will be more durable for someone my size. I'm looking at hardtails, like the Jamis Dakota xc, Bianchi Grizzly etc. Also, I plan on riding xc. Can anyone reccomend a good heavy duty xc bike that will take some abuse? I've heard some good things about Kona. Thanks.
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Old 06-15-02, 08:56 AM   #2
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For larger sized frames, stiffer oversized tubing is needed. A fat-tubed Al frame would probably suit you better.
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Old 06-15-02, 10:40 AM   #3
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I think providing you avoid the real lightweight race machines you should be alright with either.

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Old 06-15-02, 11:40 AM   #4
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I agree with RichardD. As long as you don't go for skinny, lightweight tubing you should be fine, especially with the size of aluminum tubes today. Steel would also work. Good luck in your search!

-Moab
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Old 06-15-02, 04:07 PM   #5
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from a fellow Clydesdale, the wheels will be the weakness, probably not the frame. Nice choices of bikes, good riding.
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Old 06-15-02, 05:49 PM   #6
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Well here is my opinion for what it is worth. I am a heavy rider as well. (heavier than you actually) I won't tell you how much other than it is too much. Anyway, ride both and decide which you like better. I think you will find that the frames won't be your biggest problem with strength. It will be the components and wheels. That much weight hammering down on you drivetrain will take it's toll eventually. The wheels are a biggie. If you catch any air you will end up with a flatspot in your rims. I would buy the bike that feels the best and not worry about steel vs. aluminum.

I had the same dilema this spring and opted for steel. I am finding out that it isn't much different than my old aluminum frame bike. It is all about the components and wheels for us biggins.
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Old 06-15-02, 09:06 PM   #7
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u can always drop 75lbs and buy w/e bike u like
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Old 06-17-02, 07:01 AM   #8
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Another BIG GUY checking in. I have a couple of bikes, a lighter weight XC bike. A Cannondale F2000, which I use for longer group rides and anywhere with significant climbs. I also have a Specialized P.3, which I use for shorter more technical trails and anything with drops and jumps.

I will have to agree that it's the wheels and drivetrain that should be of concern not the frame. I would strongly recommend a "Chain-Checker" and replace chains as soon as they hit the .75 mark. That way you won't destroy your cassette and chains are relatively cheap!

Regarding wheels. I replaced my stock XC rims with some beefier rims, and bought a second set of lightweight XC wheels for racing only! That way, I do all my riding on a heavy-duty downhill rim, and come race-day I switch them out and the bike feels feather-light!

Yes, it's more expensive to have 2 sets of wheels, but you'll find out after rebuilding your wheel for the 3rd time that it's worth it!

L8R
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