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6'1" and 370 lbs, and looking for a first bike.

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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

6'1" and 370 lbs, and looking for a first bike.

Old 07-04-15, 04:14 AM
  #1  
Flipflingo
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6'1" and 370 lbs, and looking for a first bike.

I posted this in General a few days ago, and somebody suggested this would be better received in here:

My main concern is durability. I want to start bicycling as a part of my everyday routine (to work and back) in an effort to lose weight. Also, I could definitely find myself enjoying a ride on a trail or along the river on a weekend. I feel like I could find myself enjoying an occasional long distance ride.

The problem is, I know nothing about bikes.

I used to love riding when I was a kid. I rode everywhere. And then, I was a teen. My friends got cars. I got a car. I stopped riding.

Some years later, I bought a Wal-Mart special bike in order to ride a 24 mi round trip trail with a friend. It was an awful experience. About 10 mi in, **** rolled straight down hill. I bent the fork, broke a brake, and finally popped the tire and bent its frame. I felt like my weight played a very big factor in the bike's failure, and I probably only weighed 290 lbs back then. I haven't thought about bicycling until moving to Eugene, OR.

After packing on 80 lbs while running through a few full food service jobs, I now work somewhere where junk food isn't available to me at every turn. I stay more active; my job has me manually moving roughly 10000 lbs, 30-60 lbs at a time, all day long. I eat better; but I think it's time to find my love for biking, once again.

I'm torn between the idea of getting something that adequately gets me on the road and riding, and finding the bike I 100% truly love and want. I'm lead to believe I'm looking for a 29 in mountain bike. I absolutely love fat bikes, but I'm assuming their size and weight makes them awful commuters. Am I too big to ride on road tires? How about hybrid bikes? I see a lot of aluminum and titanium frames, do they make steel frames? I am very willing to sacrifice weight for durability. What brands are reputable? For frames? Gears? Chains? Brakes? Parts? Tires? What should I avoid?

I also don't mind opening a book and turning a wrench. Are there any recommendations for resources for a beginner to bicycle mechanics?

Basically, where do I start?

Thanks in advance for any helpful input.
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Old 07-04-15, 04:38 AM
  #2  
MRT2
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I would not suggest a 29er mountain bike unless you plan to do primarily mountain biking. I would suggest something like a Kona Sutra, Surly Ogre, Salsa Vaya, or Specialized AWOL. Steel frames, sturdy wheels and components. Wider tires than a true road bike but still reasonably fast on pavement. Maybe consider upgrading the stock wheels to something that will better handle your weight, with at least 36, and preferably 40 spokes for the back wheel.
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Old 07-04-15, 05:41 AM
  #3  
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I second the notion that you shouldn't buy a mountain bike to ride on the road.

I start riding two years ago at 6'1" and 375 lbs. and bought a Specialized Expedition Sport. It held my weight fine, but I quickly found myself bored with how slow it was. Since then I've been through a few bikes and lost 100 lbs from that weight.

I have a Specialized AWOL now as mentioned above and its a good sturdy bike. I bought some of these wheels for it:
Sun Rhyno Lite 40H 29er MTB Commuter Wheelset 6 BOLT DISC [740429] - $149.00 Velomine.com : Worldwide Bicycle Shop, fixed gear track bike wheelsets campagnolo super record vintage bike

The reason I bought those wheels is because I want to use this bike for touring with racks and heavy bags and stuff. So I'm planning on having my weight on the bike (275) plus 40-50 lbs of racks and gear. So fully loaded it would could be around 325-350 lbs and I have no doubt the bike and wheels can handle it.

That bike was not cheap though. How much do you want to spend?

Here are some less expensive bikes that can handle some weight:

Save Up To 60% Off New Cyclocross and Gravel Bicycles from bikesdirect.com. Great for commuting, racing or just having fun riding most anywhere.
Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike
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Old 07-04-15, 02:01 PM
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Buy a used 1990's mountain bike in your size for a decent price. Ride it for a while until you really get the bug then spend the money on a nice bike in the style you want. After riding for a while you will soon realize what type of riding you like (road, paved trails, dirt trails ect.). This way you don't have a big expense at first and a 90's mtn bike will have a steel frame and a large enough spoke count to handle your weight until you get to a comfortable weight for a nicer bike (not sure where you are at now). Many here have suggested this option. I personally did exactly this.
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Old 07-04-15, 02:20 PM
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Get the bike you will ride. I bought a nice 29er in March 2014 and I only take it out to pull a trailer so my youngest son can come along with his older brother and I.

I bought a road bike (Raleigh Revenio 2.0) in July 2014 and from September 2014 to January 2015 I put over 300 miles on that bike, and then the bike shop introduced me to a 60cm frame Orbea Orca (carbon fiber) and I bought it at the end of January 2015 and have just gone over the 500 mile mark this year on that bike. My oldest son is riding the Raleigh Revenio.

I am 6'3" and 360 pounds (just under) and started riding the Orbea at 375 pounds and started riding the Raleigh Revenio at 396 pounds.

both bikes have 32 spoke count rear wheels (and the Orbea has 32 spoke count front and rear).

So I say if you want to be a road rider get a road bike, if you want a flat bar urban bike get that, if you want a mountain bike get one of those, but get the bike you want to ride.
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Old 07-04-15, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheese Head View Post
Buy a used 1990's mountain bike in your size for a decent price. Ride it for a while until you really get the bug then spend the money on a nice bike in the style you want. After riding for a while you will soon realize what type of riding you like (road, paved trails, dirt trails ect.). This way you don't have a big expense at first and a 90's mtn bike will have a steel frame and a large enough spoke count to handle your weight until you get to a comfortable weight for a nicer bike (not sure where you are at now). Many here have suggested this option. I personally did exactly this.
There are still deals out there on old mountain bikes, but not like there used to be. Keep an eye out on Craigslist, but don't jump at the first $100 bike that turns up.
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Old 07-04-15, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
There are still deals out there on old mountain bikes, but not like there used to be. Keep an eye out on Craigslist, but don't jump at the first $100 bike that turns up.
Agreed. If FlipFlinog states his/her location then I'm sure someone will help scour craigslist and help pick out a few options.
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Old 07-04-15, 02:44 PM
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I went the 1990's Mountain bike route first. I my was a good idea. I learned what I liked and what I didn't. I learned what worked and what didn't. I learned I'd rather do touring than road riding.

I recently bought a surly troll. I have MTB tires in it right now but I have a set of slicks for it too. It's a heavy frame with solid wheels. They are only 32 spoke wheels but they have held up so far.

MTB gearing, but the big ring is 48 teeth which is plenty for me right now. Small ring is 26 teeth. Rear cassette is 10 speeds, 11T to about 30T

I chose the troll over the ogre is because I wanted 26" wheels. I have a 36 spoke rear wheel built on a velocity chukkar I can use in this bike if I need it.

I like the H bar, i learned I don't like drops.

Last edited by ted m; 07-04-15 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 06-28-16, 03:45 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Cheese Head View Post
Buy a used 1990's mountain bike in your size for a decent price. Ride it for a while until you really get the bug then spend the money on a nice bike in the style you want. After riding for a while you will soon realize what type of riding you like (road, paved trails, dirt trails ect.). This way you don't have a big expense at first and a 90's mtn bike will have a steel frame and a large enough spoke count to handle your weight until you get to a comfortable weight for a nicer bike (not sure where you are at now). Many here have suggested this option. I personally did exactly this.
Good advice. 90's mtn bikes are solid and cheap and simple. Trek 930.
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Old 06-28-16, 04:51 PM
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I think your next step is to find a bicycle CO-OP. With their help you can get a used fitness or hybrid bike to get started. Big guys can get a lot of miles out of standard 32 spoke wheels if they keep an eye on them. Take a look at the specs of a Trek 7.2 Fx. Just about any bike shop offers something like this. Avoid 7 speed rear axles as they're inherently weaker. 8 speeds rears are fine. You do not need a front suspension fork on a commuter/fitness bike. The idea of "hybrid bikes" just doesn't hold up in the real world.
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Old 06-28-16, 06:12 PM
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I would recommend you start visiting bike shops and test riding bikes. Test ride a bike with drop handlebars and test ride a bike with MTB handlebars, on the same visit. You'll probably decide between those pretty quickly.

Pretty much any bike you buy at a bike shop is going to be a quality bike. Trek, Specialized, Giant are the big three but there are other smaller bike companies.

The recommendation for a Surly Ogre is a great one. It is basically a 29'er with slightly stouter tubes and braze-ons for racks, fenders, etc.... Same exact geometry as the Surly Karate Monkey, which is a pure 29'er and what I ride. The biggest issue with Surly's is finding one to test ride. EDIT: Arriving By Bike is a Surly dealer in Eugene.

The 90's MTB suggestion works well for many people but the biggest issue is finding one in good working condition. Most of the them I've bought pretty much needed a complete overhaul and a lot of new parts.

Probably your best bet is to look at bikes in the $400-600 range and buy the one you like best. If you really fall in love with it again, the sky is the limit on what you can buy and Co-Motion is right there in Eugene.

I would also recommend considering sticking with steel. Aluminum and even carbon will support your weight but they have finite life spans while your grandkids could still ride your steel bike.

Here's my Karate Monkey. An Ogre would look very similar and the new ones have different handlebars.


Last edited by corwin1968; 06-28-16 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 06-28-16, 08:17 PM
  #12  
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I love my Disc Trucker. Yours could be built however you want for $1500-2000. Mine has 26" wheels, a Shimano Dynamo front hub, a 105 triple group with a trekking crank and a Tiagra 30-12 rear cassette, but the sky's the limit. You're taller and could run a 700c frame with 36 spoke wheels and it'd be every bit as durable with the right parts as a mountain bike and much faster and more aero. There are a bunch of gravel grinder bikes out there that would be even lighter than my Disc Trucker, too.
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Old 06-29-16, 05:39 AM
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Moving boxes in a warehouse, unless a UAW job, makes buying a Surly Disc Trucker or any other Surly for that matter prohibitive. Even a $600-$700 new sport hybrid like a Trek 7.3FX is out of range IMHO.

I concur with the above recommendations to find a rigid mountain bike from the mid 1990s. Miyata, Schwinn, Trek, Specialized, and Gary Fisher, are a few brands to look out for. Look for Shimano Exage, GS200, or Deore components. Suntour XCE or Mountech is good as well. I would budget $50-$150 for one of these, depending upon cosmetic and mechanical condition. New 26" road slicks, new cables/housing, and some grease will make these bikes perform adequately.

Avoid low end bikes, which can be spotted by Shimano Altus derailleurs and Altus brakes that have a grey plastic cover between the brake arm and the canti post (those grey plastic covers fall apart when you look at them and are no longer available).

I have bought a Schwinn High Plains, 1996 Trek 930, and a 1993 Trek 950 in the last year, all with good cosmetics. Total outlay for all three is $115, not including replacement parts and my free labor. YMMV

Last edited by oddjob2; 06-29-16 at 05:54 AM.
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