Big man bike shopping
I used to do a lot of hiking and other outdoor stuff when I was younger. Unfortunately, my flat feet put a stop to any major walking adventures. So I stopped doing outdoor stuff, and became a full time beer drinking couch potato. Then my waistline grew, and the added weight doesnít help my feet much. So last summer I decided to do something about it, and I bought a small plastic kayak to paddle around the lake. Even on my busy lake, it is very relaxing. It reminded me how much I love being outdoors. So I decided that I would buy a bike this summer.
Now, my flat feet arenít my only disability. My other disability is much more subtle. Some people think that this disability is a blessing. I call these people short. I am 6'5.5" inches. 6'4" is the line that divides tall people from tall people that canít find stuff to fit them. If I was an inch and a half shorter, I could buy pants at any store, my kayak would fit right, I could find cross country skis, and I would still get all the benefits of being tall. So while I would really like to buy a bike, I am not to excited about the adventure, as odds are that I will not be able to find a bike that fits well.
My other obstacle is my location. I live in Alaska, and while it is an amazing place to live, there are limited shopping options. While I havenít been to any of the local bike shops yet, I have plenty of experience with the Alaskan salesman. You can expect the Alaskan salesman to tack on 20%, simply because we are in Alaska. If the Alaska salesman has to special order something, expect to pay a lot of shipping. The Alaska salesman isnít interested in finding the cheapest way to ship something; he wants the fastest and easiest way to ship something so he can collect his commission as soon as possible. And expect the Alaska salesman to try and sell you something he has in his limited stock, because he has to move his small inventory in this small market. Also expect a bit of attitude from the Alaskan salesman, because he is the only one in town who has what you need, and he knows it.
Now I could be wrong about all this. Maybe thereís a really helpful guy in one of the bike shops up here. Thing is, I wont be able to tell if he is a helpful salesman or if heís trying to squeeze as much cash out of me with the least amount of work.
So like I said, Iím not to excited about any of this. I figure my only chance is to arm myself with as much information before I go into a shop. My problem divides itself into two parts. A) Finding a bike that fits, and B) not paying too much.
A)Fit: Like I said, Iím 6'5.5", 250 lbs. I've read a bunch of posts, and I realize how important fit is, but at my height I think it is unlikely that I would be able to find a bike to big. I also think that it will be just as unlikely to find a shop in Alaska that has a selection of bikes to try out in my size. So unless I fly to Seattle and go to a large bike shop, fit is going to be a crap shoot. I suspect every bike is going to be to small, the only question is how much to small is it? So which bike should I roll the dice on? I've been looking at trek 520 and a cannondale t800 on the net. Any thoughts about those two bikes, (or any other touring bike) for a person my size?
B)Not paying to much:Is there any way to bypass the local shops? I dont want to assemble a bike myself, but if it comes down to paying 200 bucks more than I would pay for in the states, I'd almost rather buy a ticket to the lower 48 and pay a reasonable price. Ideally, if i get highballed, I'd like to have a bike mailed here, from a shop or have a relative pick it up and mail it unassembled.
So any advice or information would be most welcome.
I am between 6'4" and 6'5", and 155 lbs. For someone that is 6'4" it would be expected that a bike around 64cm would fit them, but that was not the case for me. I also have exeptually long legs, and a bike that would fit me well would have to be 68-70 cm. Of course i cannot find this, so i ride a 64 cm bike with a long seat post, and this doesn't cause any comfort problems. The only new bikes i have seen are< 62cm, so i would recomend looking at used bikes on ebay. That is what i have done twice with succes.
If you bought a bike this way it would probably come through the mail needing very simple assembly that you could probably manage by yourself, or have done cheeply. Then replace the post with a longer one. Having a bike too small for you then putting a long seat post on it may not be the best geometry for your body, but a 64cm is fairly close and has worked well for me. I do ride a lot, 30 miles most days, but i am sixteen, and riding a slightly off-sized bike may be a lot easier on a young body. Another problem you might have is your weight, most bikes are built for people around 200 lbs, and less. If you were touring with an extra 30 lbs or gear that weight may be a big stress on the bike, and you would probably want to buy a new, stronger wheel set.
I hope that helped in some way.
this bike is steel, and could probably handle your weight. It has room for tires large enough for touring, and is 66.5cm. This bike has braze-ons for a front rack and it has the braze-on for the rear rack. If you bought that bike, and a stronger wheel set you would be in a good position to get ready for a tour. Good luck, i hope you get to do your tour, and it makes you real happy.
i'm a relative dwarf at 6'2", 34" inseam, 185-195 pounds. i picked up a
great hybrid/commuter in germany, made by VSF Fahrradmanufaktur in
Bremen. Largest frame they had in the shop was 63cm, and had all the
braze-ons needed for touring & came with rear rack, fenders, lights,
700x38 tires, and custom lowrider eyelets on the fork.
i've done some centuries on this one, on the third wheelset with about
50k miles on it. i once moved across berlin on this bike, everything but
furniture, in panniers and dufflebag. this bike should fit you, and can
easily handle your weight. you might check their website, or look on
www.ebay.de shipping from germany to alaska can't be much more than
from lower 48. fedex ground, usually cheapest for frames/bikes will
be about $100 to anchorage.
Id buy a mountain bike. There's nothing that says you have to have a "touring" bike for touring. If you get a big moutnain bike with a bigger seatpost you should be fine...
Try to find something big, steel adn beefy.
And older GT or marin or something would work great.
I am 6'7", about 200 lbs. with long legs. and I have been riding a 25" (63.5 cm) Fuji Club for many years. Before that, I used to ride a 27" (68.6 cm) Fuji del Rey, but it always seemed a little too big and awkward and top-heavy. I like the feel of the smaller frame much better, and besides it is stiffer and lighter. I think you may find a 63- 64 cm frame is adequate for your height. Both Trek and Fuji make bikes this size -- probably others as well.