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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.

Help a newbie

Old 06-21-16, 08:41 PM
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jgw
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Help a newbie

Hello all! Absolute newbie here trying to make a decision about how to get into biking. I am 6ft, 320 lbs. After going through the forums here a bit I thought it might be a bit tricky to find a bike to get started with due to my weight.

I was thinking about a hybrid style bike like a trek fx 7.2 mainly because it seems to get lots of good reviews and it seems like something that I could grow into. Right now I would do mostly neighborhood riding, the occasional trip to work (3 miles one way) and hopefully build my way up to longer rides over the summer. We have several local metro parks with great paved bike paths.

I finally walked into my local bike store today honestly just wanting to see what they would say about bike options for a guy my size. To my surprise the sales person thought it would be no problem finding a bike for me. He pointed me to a Electra? townie first, then a trek verve 2. He was hesitant to recommend the fx saying he wanted to be sure I would be comfortable riding (makes sense). I asked him if he thought my weight would be of concern with the fx and after asking the tech they said it would be no problem.

So here I am feeling encouraged that I might be able to get a bike without having to worry too much about weight (hopefully I will lose at a decent pace anyways) but a bit confused about my options.

I really thought perhaps the trek fx 7.2 would be what I would try to start with, the verve 2 was not even on my radar. Getting something comfortable makes sense, but I wonder if the fx would be better as I get more in shape and want to go on longer rides.

I would take any advice you can give. Is there a distance where the verve 2 is just less practical or is the fx really a challenge for beginners?

The sales person seemed to think my weight would not be an issue, should I be cautious of this advice?

Last edited by jgw; 06-21-16 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 06-21-16, 10:00 PM
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Primitive Don
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Trek FX series seems to get some good opinions from Clydes on this forum. I did buy the WSD version of the FX 7.2 for my wife (not an Athena though) and it seems like a better equipped bike (Shimano cranks, decent Shimano shifting) than some of the competitors in that low price range (Felt comes to mind). The wheels seem decent (double wall Bontrager), but I would plan on investing in a more solid wheel set — down the road — if you really like riding. I'm a bit smaller at 260, but I definitely have modern 36H wheel sets on my bikes, especially my older steel bikes that came with single wall aluminum wheels.

Some will say get a used rigid mountain bike, which is good advice if you enjoy bike maintenance. But if not, those Treks are a decent way to go for little $$$. Some will also advise spending more, but you have to set your budget.

As for the Verve, I personally am not a fan of the cheap Suntour suspension fork and adjustable threaded stem on that type of bike. My Fuji came with a similar setup, the adjustable stem creaked loudly under my weight and I didn't see any advantage with the suspension fork. I ended up switching to a rigid fork and a threadless headset/stem setup, which is what the FX 7.2 already has.

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Old 06-21-16, 10:05 PM
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Recommend 36 Spoked Wheels.
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Old 06-22-16, 03:17 AM
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I started riding on a Trek 7200 at 280...if I recall it is quite similar to the 7.2 (I'm on phone right now) it has 32 spoke wheels and I never had to touch a spoke on a wheel in 2000+ miles.

Many hybrids are 28-38-48 up front and something like 11-32 in the rear....that gives you plenty of gears for hills and wind. The 7200 has an adj stem and I never had a single issue with it. I spoke with a local bike shop owner about switching it over and he said he has never seen a single person have an issue.

It might take you some trials to find s saddle that works for you....

Try to ride some every day, my longest ride on that 7200 was 75 miles but I did 20 daily and 30 once a week at least building up to that 75 mile event.

Iv moved onto a road bike now but still use the Trek with carbide studded tires in the winter :-)
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Old 06-22-16, 03:25 AM
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Once you get everything together for a ride it seems to make sense to ride for at least as long as it took to get ready :-). If you develop some routes that start and end at home you will develop a routine :-).

Often times getting out the end of the driveway on two wheels is half the battle.

Myfitnesspal led me to walking at 300+....knees got me riding again...this is my third time a cyclist :-) in life.

One cannot out ride an uncontrolled calorie intake, but the improvements to blood pressure and fasting blood glucose were massive...it only took 60 days or so for me to be able to eat 100g of oatmeal and not have sugar hit 200+ like it used to :-). I
Have recorded some BP as low as 105/65....my Doctor and his nurse were both amazed really :-)

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Old 06-22-16, 05:54 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I think I am so out of shape I do not even know how to gage how much I will be able to do on a bike. It's all theoretical until I get out on the road. I don't even know how to judge distance goals what's realistic and what's not. Thus I think it's hard for me to tell the sales person what I want to do with the bike. I would love to ride some everyday or at least most days a week. In my head head right now working towards an hour each day seems like something to shoot for.

With this in mind should I aim at something like an fx 7.2 or a verve 2?
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Old 06-22-16, 06:27 AM
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I think when I'm nervous about something, I just need to remember to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving until I gain some momentum and eventually get where I'm going. Same with riding a bike. If you start by aiming to ride 1-2 miles, this gets you out on a bike, hopefully to the point where you start grinning and enjoying yourself. Then you want to set goals and and want to get out there and do it because it's fun and satisfying.

As for the difference between, the two bikes, just muster the courage to ask for a quick test ride on each bike, and buy the one you like the best. What you think is more important that what we think.
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Old 06-22-16, 07:26 AM
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I don't have an opinion about those bikes and your weight, as I was 250 when I started, but I do have an opinion about the bikes!

I got the Trek FX 7.3 mostly because I didn't like the colors of the 7.2 that year, so obviously I think that's a great bike choice. I was such an uncertain rider when I started that I found myself wishing I'd gotten the Townie as a starter bike. But my cash flow is not such that I would be able to replace it, so.... My fear/anxiety about riding faded pretty quickly, and a month or so after I started riding regularly, I was glad I hadn't gotten the Townie.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Did you hop on and take a ride?
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Old 06-22-16, 08:07 AM
  #9  
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It's not uncommon for a bike shop to push a heavier rider towards a "comfort" bike like the Townie. He may not being saying it's due to your weight, but it is.

My advice would be to ask for a test ride of the FX, and the others.

My guess is that if you get into riding, like @americanrecluse, you'll be glad you went with the FX rather than the "comfort bikes".
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Old 06-22-16, 09:45 AM
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I didn't really test ride the bikes other than just sit on a few. Maybe it was my weight but it looked like the tires were flat on the verve so i wasn't too keen on pedaling it around the store. The sales guy kept talking about how the shocks would make the ride more comfortable. I honestly had not thought about shocks. I kinda figure my weight would continually stress the springs or whatever the shocks are made of. (In hindsight it might not have been the rear tire I was feeling squish as much as the shock)

When I got home I looked up the verve and most reviews say the shocks are not all that great for riding on pavement which is where I plan on doing most of my riding. Ironically I went to Best Road Bikes 2016 - Compare Components and Reviews to compare models and the Verve 2 came up with this "Tourney is the cheapest Shimano groupset, and is usually found on children's bikes and the most basic of mountain bikes. Tourney is not designed to be ridden hard or off-road." So I guess I am feeling confused internet opinion is that shocks are not of much benefit on the road and the parts set is not designed for off-road.

I know these are pretty entry level bikes as far as price is concerned, but i have never put down $500-600 on a bike before. I want to make a smart choice. Something that will give me a good chance of success and grow with me a bit.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jgw View Post
Thanks for the advice. I think I am so out of shape I do not even know how to gage how much I will be able to do on a bike. It's all theoretical until I get out on the road. I don't even know how to judge distance goals what's realistic and what's not. Thus I think it's hard for me to tell the sales person what I want to do with the bike. I would love to ride some everyday or at least most days a week. In my head head right now working towards an hour each day seems like something to shoot for.

With this in mind should I aim at something like an fx 7.2 or a verve 2?
I hate the cheap Suntour fork on the Verve, and the grip shifts are not great. If it come down to a choice between the Verve and the Fx, I would go with the Fx.

The bike shop is pushing you towards a comfort bike because of your weight. But past a certain threshold (maybe once you can do more than 5 miles maybe) a somewhat light and sportier hybrid will be better than a comfort bike. If you have a little courage, a light touring bike with drop bars would be even better.

And if you ride, you will get there fairly quickly. Every season, I get out there and find myself struggling with rides of about an hour, or 12 to 14 miles. After a couple of months of riding, 14 miles is really just a warm up, or a recovery ride, and 25, 35, or 50 miles is what I consider a real ride.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
It's not uncommon for a bike shop to push a heavier rider towards a "comfort" bike like the Townie. He may not being saying it's due to your weight, but it is.

My advice would be to ask for a test ride of the FX, and the others.

My guess is that if you get into riding, like @americanrecluse, you'll be glad you went with the FX rather than the "comfort bikes".
I agree. Maybe they see a heavier rider coming and think they won't be able to ride that far. Annoying they sell us Clydesdales short.
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Old 06-22-16, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jgw View Post
I know these are pretty entry level bikes as far as price is concerned, but i have never put down $500-600 on a bike before. I want to make a smart choice. Something that will give me a good chance of success and grow with me a bit.
I understand. I went to a bunch of stores dealing in Trek, Specialized, Giant and Felt looking for a bike for my wife. To me it's about getting the best frame for the type of riding intended with the best quality parts available at that price point. It's actually kind of amazing you can get that much bike for that low of a price, really. You could easily spend that much at Dick's Sporting Goods and almost that much at Target getting something really horrible.
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Old 06-22-16, 10:56 AM
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At your current weight, I would avoid the whole "shocks" thing... the shocks on the cheaper bikes are next to useless... the FX is one of the best all around bikes out there...
it is Treks best overall selling bike and has been around for a long time...
when you first start out, you will actually have some comfort issues, not because of the FX but because you are simply not used to it... for most folks it takes a good two weeks just to get used to a bicycle seat, even if it is the right type and size for them... be sure and get the lbs to fit the bike to you...the problem for a lot of newbs on a test ride is that they do not know how the bike is supposed to feel and are not sure what to tell the salesman after the test ride when he asks how did it feel...
do not set goals too high.. if the first few rides you can only go around the block, so be it... do what you can do and move on... just keep it fun and keep doing it...my first ride I went a whopping 3-1/2 miles and had to stop and rest for 20 minutes before i could ride home and was tired for the rest of the day...now it takes me farther than that just to feel warmed up and feel like riding...
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Old 06-22-16, 11:11 AM
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I started with a comfort bike at 375 or so and went back and got a FX 7.2 about a month later.

I also bought a DS 8.3 and rode it a bit more until I got my first road bike.

I wish I would have started with the DS 8.3 and transitioned to a road bike quicker.
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Old 06-22-16, 12:53 PM
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My wife and I are no longer clyde and athena....however...
she has both a nice carbon fiber road bike and an FX 7.5...
for rides less than 3 hours, she prefers her FX.... go figure.
Ride a few, get the one that feels best to you... the one that makes you want to ride...
who knows, after you shed some pounds, get in better condition, you may want a different bike... but for now, get the one that gets you out riding... no matter which one it is...
it will not be wasted if you actually ride it...if you only use it a few months and move to something else... it will always be the one that got you started.
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Old 06-22-16, 01:51 PM
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Welcome!

Welcome to cycling! You'll learn to love it very quickly if you are anything like I am. I started back in February at 6'0 right around 305 and am now in the low 280's(I was laid up for 6 weeks with a hernia surgery). My advice is get a bike that you'll want to ride in a few years. If you don't you will get a bike that isn't right for you like I did and go back and spend a lot more money sooner than necessary. I myself, went from a little Trek mountain bike to a Specialized Roubaix sl4 Sport. When you find the right bike, it's not exercise as much as it is a necessity in life to go riding.
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Old 06-22-16, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jgw View Post
Thanks for the advice. I think I am so out of shape I do not even know how to gage how much I will be able to do on a bike. It's all theoretical until I get out on the road. I don't even know how to judge distance goals what's realistic and what's not. Thus I think it's hard for me to tell the sales person what I want to do with the bike. I would love to ride some everyday or at least most days a week. In my head head right now working towards an hour each day seems like something to shoot for.

With this in mind should I aim at something like an fx 7.2 or a verve 2?

I really have no use for suspension on bicycles. That does not mean "I tried it and did not like it".......I'm not trying it period :-).

Now that said they DO keep advancing things and I saw an advanced road bike in the shop where I bought my Cannondale Supersix Evo and it had a rear suspension system with a LITTLE give in it, once that is sorted out yea I might be into that.

But the front suspension forks on the Verve would be a no go for me for riding on paved roads :-). IMHO that adds complexity, and in a lower price bike it is kinda crappy parts that takes AWAY from say a $500 bike in some OTHER area where the money would be better spent.

That is my .02. But RIDE both as far and as long as they will let you...ride as many bikes as you can, test rides are FREE :-).
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Old 06-22-16, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jgw View Post
Thanks for the advice. I think I am so out of shape I do not even know how to gage how much I will be able to do on a bike. It's all theoretical until I get out on the road. I don't even know how to judge distance goals what's realistic and what's not. Thus I think it's hard for me to tell the sales person what I want to do with the bike. I would love to ride some everyday or at least most days a week. In my head head right now working towards an hour each day seems like something to shoot for.

With this in mind should I aim at something like an fx 7.2 or a verve 2?

I would lean towards a more road friendly bike, I.E no suspension what-so-ever and don't worry about distance. Get on the trail, ride as far as you can and keep track of it. You will see yourself riding much, much further over time.
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Old 06-22-16, 02:14 PM
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Also start using Strava on day ONE :-). I used cyclemeter first then transitioned to Strava....I was able to import all the Strava data but it was a pain in the butt to do that. I'm kind of a data freak though :-)......but it is nice to look back to day 1 or week 1 if I want to :-).
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Old 06-22-16, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Willbird View Post
Also start using Strava on day ONE :-)
^ this ^
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Old 06-22-16, 03:59 PM
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The Verve 2 is just too cheap. That fork is forcing Trek to cut corners on the things you really need.
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Old 06-22-16, 04:36 PM
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I rode an FX 7.2 for five years at a weight of 360+ pounds with no issues and that was with stock wheels. I simply stayed on smooth surfaces (pavement, packed dirt, packed gravel) and avoided large potholes and never rode off curbs or anything else.

The FX is a great bike for your purposes, probably the best choice out there, but there might need to be some adjustments to make you comfortable. A higher rise stem and possibly riser handlebars might be necessary and the shop should install those for minimal or even no charge before you take the bike home.

Every major bike brand has an equivalent to the FX line and any of those would work just as well.

Stay away from suspension. You won't need it for your described riding.

If you find you really enjoy riding then sometime down the road, do some serious research into upgrading your tires. Nothing you can do to a bike will make as big a difference as adding GOOD tires.

Here's mine was set up to be comfortable. Note the higher angle of the stem that gets the handlebar high enough. You'll probably want yours higher than the saddle level.


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Old 06-22-16, 04:52 PM
  #24  
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I'm still a relative newb, but I'm currently on a 2016 Trek 7.2 and love it. Perfect for where I ride, and the wheels have been holding up just fine with my weight (300). Everything is stock on it at the moment. Zero issues with it thus far!
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Old 06-22-16, 07:52 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, it has been very encouraging. I think I am leaning towards the fx 7.2. I did notice that the allant 7.2 is on sale for 479.99. It looks to me like its identical to the fx except it has disc brakes. Is there something else that is different about it?
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