Last year I decided that since I live in Moab, I should try this Mountain Biking thing and bought myself a Windsor Cliff29er Pro (see specs herehttp://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...cliff29pro.htm ). I'm a pretty big guy at about 300lbs (working on getting skinnier, hence the bike), so I opted for a hardtail, hoping that the front suspension and larger tires would help smooth out the ride enought to keep me interested while still being fairly efficient, and it seems to be a good setup for me.
However, I'm finding that I'm not so much interested in the technical mtn. biking, and more interested in touring, and while I'd eventually like to buy a dedicated road touring rig, I'd like to start taking some trips on the local backroads. I could really use some advice on how to setup my bike for those kind of trips. I'm sure most of my miles on the bike will end up being pavement, but I'd like a tire that will work decently off-road, too. I also have a problem with flats, both pinch-flats and thorns!
So I guess what I'm asking is, what would you recommend as far as tubes/tires, racks, and panniers, for a fat guy on a budget How would you set up a bike, and why? Can I even set up a bike to carry me, some overnight supplies, and a gallon or two of water and expect to make it 50 miles down a road (dirt or otherwise), without messing stuff up?
You might find that the 29er is fine for road too. Not ideal perhaps, but good enough that another bike might not be necessary. You first need to decide where you are in the weight/bulk versus comfort continum. My comments are for comfort over weight/bulk, which maybe is more appropriate for you since you plan to carry two gallons of water.
Since you're 300 lbs already and you have 32 spoke wheels, you might want to consider going with a single wheeled trailer, the BOB Yak or Ibex (suspension) with the 28" fork. The longer fork gives you clearance for 29er tires or fenders using thinner 700c tires.
1) A properly loaded trailer puts only one third of its weight on the rear wheel. Your 300 lbs on this thus marginal 32 spoke wheel is plenty already.
2) The height of a 29er tire may not clear a rear rack (might be fixed with an adapter set).
3) Your disc brakes will make installation of a rear rack tricky. You may be able to mount through the rear drop outs an OMM rack specified for 29ers, but you'll need also to use clamps on your seat stays.
4) Your front suspension means the selection of a specialty Tubus Swing front rack that mounts above the shock, or an OMM rack that mounts through the fork dropout below the shock. IMHO, the latter will wear your supension out prematurely. But you may be able to get away without a front rack. YMMV.
Bar ends: Touring requires a variety of hand positions to minimize hand numbness. Ergons are the best, but pricey.
Tires: Schwalbe makes several tires that are suitable for you. The Evolution series is the best for all around touring performance. If you want superior flat protection you can consider the very heavy Marathon Plus. Tubes don't really matter. Many people do not like tire liners and filled (Slime) tubes, so it's better to buy good tires to start with.
At one point I weighed 265, and toured fully loaded. I would just switch to 1.5 inch slicks. They are fine on road, and I simply switch tire when I want to do another kind of riding. I have done 40 mile secions on dirt/sand on the bald tires, and they were fine, preferable to doing the other thousand on treads. But if that doesn't suit you just get some semi treaded high pressure comfort bike type tires.
Get the wheels gone over by a tech if you have any concerns about their build. You should be on more spokes, actually I don't think a 29er on 32 spokes is all that sensible, and certainly not over 200 pounds. That said, I don't think big guys wreak wheels as much as agressive riding at any weight.
To eliminate pinch flats, just inflate to 80-90 pounds.
I do agree with Cyclesafe, these wheels are not strong enough for dirt road touring... I bought Windsor Cliff29er Pro last year, because I wanted to do some on and off-road touring on it, but after some deliberation and reading other users opinions on net, I decided to replace frame /Haro Mary/ and rear wheel /Halo Freedom+XT hub 36/ for my loaded trips. But I am still using my older wheel for light biking - last week I had 3 broken spokes and I am "only" 225lbs... As for rear rack I use Axiom Streamliner Road Rack with seat-post adapter /much cheaper option than OMM; about 40$/ . On front- Odyssee Suspension Lowrider, but after some mods to fit fork. When you think about touring on dirt which is much bigger fun then roads you need to be prepared for this, or you may carry your stuff and broken bike on your back for next 60 miles to nearest bike mechanic...
And yet another (important) reason you might want a trailer is that the distance between the middle of your botton bracket axle and your rear drop outs must be long enough so that you won't have rear pannier heel strike.
Last edited by Cyclesafe; 02-03-10 at 08:35 AM.
Reason: Forgot that you don't have braze ons for rack mounting.