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Bike Recommendations

Old 05-10-20, 10:09 PM
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miss_Tiffany
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Bike Recommendations

Hi,
I am looking for advice, I would like to purchase a bike so I can ride with the kids. It has been 10-15 years since I have ridden. I am in Washington so we have a lot of hills, so I would like something where I can switch gears etc. I am 5'10 and close to 300lbs. I am looking to spend 1000-2000 for a bike.
We will probably be riding a mixture of roads and trails. I would also rather not get an electric bike. I was leaning towards a hybrid maybe?

Any help would be appreciated.
Tiffany
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Old 05-10-20, 10:14 PM
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I like mountain bikes. The wider tires on mountain bikes are also beneficial for reducing pinch flats, particularly for people on the heavier side.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by miss_Tiffany View Post
Hi,
I am looking for advice, I would like to purchase a bike so I can ride with the kids. It has been 10-15 years since I have ridden. I am in Washington so we have a lot of hills, so I would like something where I can switch gears etc. I am 5'10 and close to 300lbs. I am looking to spend 1000-2000 for a bike.
We will probably be riding a mixture of roads and trails. I would also rather not get an electric bike. I was leaning towards a hybrid maybe?

Any help would be appreciated.
Tiffany
Sort of an open ended question, and a lot of questions. What did you ride 10 years ago? What did you like/dislike about your previous bike? Do you want flat bars, or are you amenable to drop bars which may not be optimal to get started but in the long run would be a better choice for longer rides. I have been 300 lbs, and never found myself needing tires any wider than 32mm, but that is me. You might want something a little more plush.

At 300 lbs, the main issue you will deal with is wheels. I know I did on several bikes. Look for a bike with a 36 spoke back wheel or prepare to have one built for you eventually.

Many choices to consider, from flat bar fitness type bikes like the Specialized Sirrus, Trek FX series or Giant Escape. These are bikes that feature flat bars and relatively light weight for a hybrid. Or you could go with a bike with 650B size wheels and fatter tires such as the Kona Dew Plus, Jamis Sequel. Surly makes a similar bike with the Surly Ogre and Troll, but with 29er wheel or 26" wheel.

If you are prepared to go with drop bars, I would suggest something like the Kona Rove or Rove ST, or the All City Space Horse.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:32 AM
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I like the Kona Dew Plus. Big range of gears, hydraulic brakes, wide tires. Not sure about availability in your area, but it is only about $850 CAD here in Canada. So much less for you.

It is under you budget, but that shouldn't be a bad thing. They have more expensive models of the same bike, but they do not offer the same range of gears. The 9 speed Shimano group should be cheap and reliable.

That is my 2 cents, Happy hunting!
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Old 05-11-20, 09:09 AM
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I'd say stomach clearance might be the #1 problem. Don't buy a bike with bars below seat level. Wheels will take a few hundred miles to develop problems, so look for a bike with a reasonable number of spokes (32-36 per wheel), and see if the shop mechanic knows how to tension and stress-relieve the wheels before you leave the shop.

You've got a reasonable budget. When or if you're allowed, go look in your local shops, talk with the people there, and take lots of test rides. Buy the bike you want to ride.
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Old 05-11-20, 09:09 AM
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What did you ride 10 years ago? - it was a mountain bike, I don't remember the type, but it was a sturdy bike that I had for years
What did you like/dislike about your previous bike? - Again I liked that it was sturdy, and it didn't require a lot of maintenance, I had to do some tuneups(at a local bike shop) but for the most part it was a good bike. - dislike- when I would ride with other people, it was much slower than the road bikes that others were riding, however I didn't have any tire issues like their bikes did when we did gravel trails. (that bike unfortunately is long gone after several moves)
Do you want flat bars, or are you amenable to drop bars which may not be optimal to get started but in the long run would be a better choice for longer rides. - I would probably go with flat bars right now
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Old 05-11-20, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by miss_Tiffany View Post
What did you ride 10 years ago? - it was a mountain bike, I don't remember the type, but it was a sturdy bike that I had for years
What did you like/dislike about your previous bike? - Again I liked that it was sturdy, and it didn't require a lot of maintenance, I had to do some tuneups(at a local bike shop) but for the most part it was a good bike. - dislike- when I would ride with other people, it was much slower than the road bikes that others were riding, however I didn't have any tire issues like their bikes did when we did gravel trails. (that bike unfortunately is long gone after several moves)
Do you want flat bars, or are you amenable to drop bars which may not be optimal to get started but in the long run would be a better choice for longer rides. - I would probably go with flat bars right now
Two reasons why your friends riding road bikes might have been faster putting in the same effort as you on your mountain bike. One is tires. Though the trend in road bikes is towards somewhat wider tires of 28, or even 32 mm, a chunky mountain bike 2" or 45 mm wide tire will slow you down. And of course,knobbies will really slow you down, so if you are riding paved surfaces, get a smooth or semi smooth tire. Second, the drop bars allow your road bike friends to get lower in the drops, which is more aerodynamic. And with drops, you can set your bike up for both multiple hand positions and multiple riding positions (very relaxed on the tops, neutral on the bends and hoods, and aggressive in the drops) On a bike with flat bars, you will need to pick basically one riding position and stick with it. There are some workarounds to the limitations on flat bars, such as the Jones H bars, Velo Orange Crazy Bars, or Surly Moloko bars, but most flat bar bikes don;t come with those types of bars.
Also, when you say you are going with flat bars for now, that effectively means, you are going with flat bars. While it is possible to do a flat bar to drop bar conversion, it is usually more expensive than just the cost of switching out bars.
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Old 05-11-20, 11:00 AM
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While it is true that drop bars add multiple hand positions, I think that the costs outweigh the benefits.

On any bike with a new rider or someone getting back into the sport, I would consider comfort, convenience, and confidence to be top priorities. Comfort comes from a good fit, convenience from reliability, and confidence from stable handling and good braking.

For good braking, I would consider hydraulic brakes to be a priority. Unfortunately, the cost and complexity of hydro shifters/brakes on drop bar bikes is significantly higher than flat bar bikes. You could purchase a drop bar bike for 2x the price of a flat bar bike, and still not be getting hydro brakes.
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Old 05-11-20, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cchmilar View Post
While it is true that drop bars add multiple hand positions, I think that the costs outweigh the benefits.

On any bike with a new rider or someone getting back into the sport, I would consider comfort, convenience, and confidence to be top priorities. Comfort comes from a good fit, convenience from reliability, and confidence from stable handling and good braking.

For good braking, I would consider hydraulic brakes to be a priority. Unfortunately, the cost and complexity of hydro shifters/brakes on drop bar bikes is significantly higher than flat bar bikes. You could purchase a drop bar bike for 2x the price of a flat bar bike, and still not be getting hydro brakes.
Hydraulic discs do certainly work well, but until very recently, they were only available in the mountain bike world. IMO, disc brakes strike me as something nice to have, but not necessarily a priority, as rim brakes and even non hydraulic disc brakes can be set up to work very well.
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Old 05-11-20, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cchmilar View Post
While it is true that drop bars add multiple hand positions, I think that the costs outweigh the benefits.

On any bike with a new rider or someone getting back into the sport, I would consider comfort, convenience, and confidence to be top priorities. Comfort comes from a good fit, convenience from reliability, and confidence from stable handling and good braking.

For good braking, I would consider hydraulic brakes to be a priority. Unfortunately, the cost and complexity of hydro shifters/brakes on drop bar bikes is significantly higher than flat bar bikes. You could purchase a drop bar bike for 2x the price of a flat bar bike, and still not be getting hydro brakes.
Having personally been through a similar situation, based on my personal experience I would disagree. I bought a hybrid first. I put maybe 100 miles on it before I decided that having my hands locked into one position wasn't going to work for me. That's when I purchased my Giant Defy. Sure, it took a few rides to get used to the drop bars and not having a very wide grip, but I found the variety of hand positions available to significantly improve my comfort.

Additionally, I find recommending hydraulic brakes and shifters to someone getting back into riding a bit strange. Sure, they may be better, but they are hardly necessary. Disc brakes -- absolutely! I wish my bike had disc brakes! But there's absolutely nothing wrong with mechanical shifters/brakes, especially for someone just getting back into the sport.

As far as my recommendation... as much as I disliked the hybrid I bought, I would actually recommend starting with a relatively inexpensive hybrid bike. Take $1400 of your $2000 budget and stash it in your sock drawer. Then go out and buy a $600 Giant Escape with disc brakes. Ride that around. If the flat bars work for you and you are happy with the bike, then great, you've just saved $1400. If not, then you can at least know that you enjoy cycling and are willing to invest more into the sport. Go out and buy a bike with drop bars.
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Old 05-11-20, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by insignia100 View Post
Having personally been through a similar situation, based on my personal experience I would disagree. I bought a hybrid first. I put maybe 100 miles on it before I decided that having my hands locked into one position wasn't going to work for me. That's when I purchased my Giant Defy. Sure, it took a few rides to get used to the drop bars and not having a very wide grip, but I found the variety of hand positions available to significantly improve my comfort.

Additionally, I find recommending hydraulic brakes and shifters to someone getting back into riding a bit strange. Sure, they may be better, but they are hardly necessary. Disc brakes -- absolutely! I wish my bike had disc brakes! But there's absolutely nothing wrong with mechanical shifters/brakes, especially for someone just getting back into the sport.

As far as my recommendation... as much as I disliked the hybrid I bought, I would actually recommend starting with a relatively inexpensive hybrid bike. Take $1400 of your $2000 budget and stash it in your sock drawer. Then go out and buy a $600 Giant Escape with disc brakes. Ride that around. If the flat bars work for you and you are happy with the bike, then great, you've just saved $1400. If not, then you can at least know that you enjoy cycling and are willing to invest more into the sport. Go out and buy a bike with drop bars.
You guys are right, mechanical discs are fine on flat bar bikes. On drop bar bikes, they can be OK if set up properly and maintained. Most of the time, they are not.

I am making the recommendation that most people are looking for a bike they can just get on and ride. Hydros generally require less maintenance (until they don't, in which most people need to take it to a shop to bleed). They self adjust for pad wear. More power and control.
On a drop bar bike, mechanical discs are not great. They require a very good set up. Even then they are just ok. There just isn't enough cable pull at the lever.

The point for me is, at this type of price point it is pretty easy to get hydros on a flat bar. In fact, a $600 Giant Escape has hydro disc brakes.
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Old 05-12-20, 05:10 PM
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Thank you for your recommendations
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Old 05-19-20, 09:11 AM
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I've had zero issues with disc brakes on any bike. Way less maintenance and way more grip. I have only had hydo disc, no mechanical disc.

At your weight, you will have a little problem with wheels getting out of true, and most would suggest since you're going to be approaching the weight limit for most lighter weight wheels, that you get a beefier wheelset for any bike. That's probably a good idea. Most bikes don't come with wheels for riders above 250lb - talking about higher end lighter weight road and mountain bikes. You can get a really good custom built set for $400-500 easily. Perhaps some of the more commuter bikes, and maybe the ebikes come with beefier wheels, I don't know, but its something to think about to be safe.

Without knowing what kind of shape you're in, some would say an E bike for some can really help them keep up. My opinion is that's what the E bike should be used for. It give riding access to people that wouldn't otherwise have the ability - help them keep up, go a bit longer etc. That is one option, you can adjust how much its helping you based on how your body feels, or shut it off, if you feel like getting more exercise. Whatever gets you out, doesn't hurt, and lets you have fun.

If the E bike isn't an option, then I would say something with higher volume tires and a bit more upright position. That will make the ride much more comfortable. You'll probably hear that from everyone.

There are a lot of all-road type of bikes available now since thats the "in" thing. I really like them because I've pretty much always ridden sort of odd hybrid setups. A CX or gravel bike, that looks like a road bike with bigger tires could work perfectly. You can get one with a bit easier stand over clearance, relaxed geometry so you can site a bit more up, and even get very wide drop bars with flared ends that give you hand positions like a mountain or road bike. Personally I really like riding on the hoods of the shifters, and I take breaks on the flat top of the bar. I haven't graduated to a really wide drop bar, but I might try that in the future. To me the brakes are just a preference, and a secondary concern if you're getting back into it. Rim brakes work fine, I like disc and they work better for me, but that is less important to the mountain of other choices you have to make.

I suggest buying used. Trying a few out. You can get $3500 carbon CX and gravel bikes for $1500 that would more than serve you. Throw on your favorite seat, maybe get a wider drop bar with a riser stem?

Salsa has the cuthroat and the warbird which are sort of mountain bike, road bike hybrids. The cutthroat is more mountain bike, the warbird more road. They even have the waroad now that is more of a road bike but thats probably more aggressive that you want. These are higher end bikes that you probably don't need, but it give you an idea on what types of things are available. There are A LOT. lots of other companies are offering similar bikes.

Giant has a gravel bike now with built in front suspension. I forget the name. Cannondale has the topstone all road type of bike with a light rear suspension.

You could get a really light weight higher end 29er mountain bike and put road tires on it. That gives you the gearing and the positions you might like and would be fine for climbing.

Trek Makes the FX series of hybrids that are kind of a light duty all road bike. My girlfriend rides one of those.

I have a Warbird with a front suspension fork and wider 700x38 tires. Its not a very upright position but otherwise eats up the road very nicely.

Last edited by ArchEtech; 05-19-20 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 05-19-20, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ArchEtech View Post
Salsa has the cuthroat and the warbird which are sort of mountain bike, road bike hybrids.
Salsa also has the Journeyman. It is one sweet bike. Available in flat-bar, drop-bar, 650B or 700C. Claris build, Sora build, Apex build ... the combinations are dizzying. The Feminist in me chafes at the name (pronouns: he, him, his btw) but other than that there isn't anything not to like. You can spend as little as $699 (sale) for the Claris build or much more for the other builds. I also like the Surly Bridge Club. These are not going to be fast bikes. Big rubber is not faster than skinny rubber no matter what Rene Herse says.
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Old 05-20-20, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Salsa also has the Journeyman. It is one sweet bike. Available in flat-bar, drop-bar, 650B or 700C. Claris build, Sora build, Apex build ... the combinations are dizzying. The Feminist in me chafes at the name (pronouns: he, him, his btw) but other than that there isn't anything not to like. You can spend as little as $699 (sale) for the Claris build or much more for the other builds. I also like the Surly Bridge Club. These are not going to be fast bikes. Big rubber is not faster than skinny rubber no matter what Rene Herse says.
It sounds like an updated version of my bike; the Casserol, from 2011/2012.
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