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Thread: New to cycling

  1. #1
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    New to cycling

    Hello, I have a few questions about bicycles and I know it must get old responding to these but I'm totally lost. I consider myself an outdoor enthusiast I try to get a toe into every sport. Basically if there is something to do I want to be there or atleast try it. My wife and I are avid backpackers/minimalistic campers as a primary hobby but now that we have a little one it maybe 3 years or even more till were back at it.

    I'm 6'1" 278 lbs but i'll drop back down to 240 probably in a few months. I never want to weigh less than 230. I became a father this Jan and for the last 9months I went from an extremely active strength training lifestyle to baby proofing house and eating icecream with pregnant mommy. I have a mountain bike and it is a cheapy but I destroyed the wheels mountain biking with a few friends this week. I had to carry it on my shoulders for 3 miles to get back to the car. Yet I had great time, and it made me think that bicycling at least to work everyday would be a great hobby till the baby is older.

    So now to the questions, If I destroyed a MTB at my weight on the trail then should I even worry about getting another bike till I lose the 38lbs? What kind of bike do I need, if i want to use it to commute 15miles one way everyday? Will this bike be durable enough for me to take a turn to fast and eat gravel without destroying the bike? Can this bike be used in duathlon, I would be happy just to complete(I only run 5k&10k but maybe someday)? Is that asking to much for one bike? I will buy another mtb later I just want an activity I can do daily, trails are too far away for me. Also I really don't want to spend more than $500 until I do it for atleast a year.

  2. #2
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    Welcome!
    You certainly don't need to wait until you drops some lbs to start commuting, in fact the regular riding will help a lot. There is a forum called "Clydesdales" that is for larger riders (I'm 230 myself) where you can ask questions specific to those issues.
    A little more info would be helpful - you say your commute is 15 miles one way. Will you be riding round trip (30 miles) every day? Is the route paved, dirt, hilly flat, windy. etc? Do you need to carry clothes on your commute, can you change at work, etc? How much riding do you do now?
    There are many bikes that will serve for your commute. The main issue for bigger riders is wheel durability (as you found mountain biking) and it might be tricky to find an inexpensive bike with decent enough wheels. You will want at least 36 spokes, (maybe even 40 on the back until you are down to your desired weight), and the ability to fit 35mm tires at least.

  3. #3
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I'd agree that the main reason you killed the wheels was that you had a cheapie. Even a lower end bike store model should hold up reasonably well. I had a $250 Gary Fisher Wahoo that I bought about 10 years ago. Finally busted a spoke this past summer and it took the wheel far enough out of true that it was unrepairable. But it lasted 10 years.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Yeah, the wheels are the thing to pay attention to. A halfway decent bike, that has had the wheels properly set up by a competent mechanic, should take your weight. You will need something a little bit special though if you're off-road and taking hits.

    If you mean to be competitive in the duathloan, then you'll either need 2 bikes, or commute on a racer. If you just want to finish in a reasonable time, you might look around for a cyclocross bike, you can switch tires as necessary for the race/commute/gravel.

    Whatever bike you get, make sure it fits.

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    The commute is Amarillo, TX so very flat and very windy. There is two possible routes 10miles through town or 15 on a farm highway (low traffic). I ride a stationary bike on a hill interval 2 days a week for an hour at 15mph the other 3 days are hour jogs. That is my morning cardio then at night I strength train an hr 4 days a week. I have the ability to change but not shower at my job. Although when I ride a stationary bike I don't get winded or tired usually a mild leg burn its boredom that makes me stop.

    Im not looking to be competitive in duathlons I just don't want to burnout because of a bike. I never competed in an event like that but I would like to. I've done some powerlifting, olympic lifting, 5k, 10k, and mud runs but no endurance events. Somthing like a duathlon would be a very long distance goal. Maybe have a different bike by then.

    I'm on a buisness trip in Philly currently I went to a bike store here, it felt like they were really trying to push a trek on me. They basically told me that if I wanted a road bike I need touring wheels on top of the cost of factory bike. Yet a hybrid trek 7.2fx would be fine factory. I was irritated by the way the dealer was forcing trek on me I decided to come to the forums. I don't want the best I just want a suitable bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladomain View Post

    I'm on a buisness trip in Philly currently I went to a bike store here, it felt like they were really trying to push a trek on me. They basically told me that if I wanted a road bike I need touring wheels on top of the cost of factory bike. Yet a hybrid trek 7.2fx would be fine factory. I was irritated by the way the dealer was forcing trek on me I decided to come to the forums. I don't want the best I just want a suitable bike.
    Well, if you told them that you were thinking of gravel, or any kind of off-road, they might have a point about upgrading the wheels on a race bike. Those bike get to be that much lighter because the components are pared down in weight. What's the spec difference between the wheels on the7.2 FX and whatever else you were looking at?

    Nothing wrong with a Trek, but do have a look at others, and do watch out for someone selling you something that's the wrong size because they happen to have that one in the shop.

    Ask if they destress and re-true the wheels as they come from the factory, machine built wheels are OK, but doing the destress and re-true definitely adds to their lifespan, and the machines can't do that. ( yet )

  7. #7
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I think a cyclocross bike would fit your situation well. They're great for commuting and with slick tires they can be a decent duathalon-type bike. They're also pretty much made for taking turns too fast and eating gravel. (I do that on a weekly basis on mine during the fall.)

    Within your budget, your only options for CX bikes are used and Bikes Direct (and even Bikes Direct would stretch your budget a little). Any new bike you get for under $500 is either going to be very poorly made (X-Mart) or have flat bars. Flat bars aren't really very well suited for something like a duathalon, even if you don't want to win. I also wouldn't want to do a 15 mile commute on a bike with flat bars.

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    Shops often try to sell you what they have.
    For a flat, windy 15 miles (sounds like the country roads are a nicer ride) you might want drop bars - not sure if you have any preference. The Trek has flat bars. If you've ridden 15 miles into the wind on flat bars and like it, then go for it. Also, the 32 spoke wheels on the Trek are probably too light.
    In all honesty, the best way to get the wheels you need without buying a bike AND extra wheels is to look at "touring" or cyclocross ("Cross") type bikes. The $500 price point is tough! This kind of bike setup is probably best for your commute, but obviously doesn't help you much with trails or the duathlon.

    A cross bike might be more to your liking, but the wheels still run light:
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202396
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx3.htm
    You should run the biggest tire you can fit to smooth out the ride and protect the rims.

    Here's a decent touring bike setup in your price range:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm
    And there's always Nashbar: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202339

    Hope this helps some.

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    Something like this would be too flimsy? http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/2832578014.html

    I haven't seen a used cyclocross in Philly area that's in my price range. I guess I could always wait until I return to tx but higher pop in Philly.

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    Looks nice. Other will have to tell you if it's a good deal for that bike. I know nothing about 'em.

    I think the wheels are the weakest link. Low spoke count, radial, and the frame probably won't fit tires wider than 25. At 280 you'd need to inflate the tires to steel-like hardness to prevent pinch flats, and you'd then be stressing the rims and spokes pretty hard. Breaking a rear spoke is a minor problem (other than walking home), but breaking a front is no fun at all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaQJB_bWA4c

    You could buy it and budget for some new wheels in the near future. You can usually find 32 spoke Open Pro/105 level wheel sets for $250-$300. That won't solve the tire size issue, though.

    Of course, I'm sure you could find twenty 250 lb guys on this forum who have been riding 18 spoke wheels for years with no problem. For me, if it's my front teeth I'm risking, I'd want beefier wheels. It's up to you what you are comfortable with.



    Quote Originally Posted by Gladomain View Post
    Something like this would be too flimsy? http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/2832578014.html

    I haven't seen a used cyclocross in Philly area that's in my price range. I guess I could always wait until I return to tx but higher pop in Philly.
    Last edited by Rockfish; 02-15-12 at 01:33 PM.

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    Btw, backpacking with kids under 3 is definitely doable. You might want to check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/Babes-Woods-Ca.../dp/1594853436 and/or this forum: http://outdoorbabynetwork.com/

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Keep in mind, spinning indoors @ 15MPH and trying to do 15MPH into a stiff headwind are VERY different!

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    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with getting an inexpensive but LBS quality hybrid or mountain bike with at least 32 spoke wheels. As you lose the weight, you'll no doubt want to upgrade, and by then you'll have a good idea what you really want in a bike.

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    Hey thanks for the help guys. Figure I would give an update, this weekend bought an older Redline Conquest Pro. The wheels are Velomax Sagitta, the tires appear to be no good, and the tubes are flat. I was thinking about going with Specialized Armadillo, any recommendations?

    Still in Philly for about another month before I return home and start commuting with it.

  15. #15
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Specialized makes nice stuff. I've been happy with most of the products of theirs I have bought over the years. I've used their tires on my road bike a few times.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

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