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.

Choosing the right bike and plus

Old 06-16-08, 01:12 AM
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lux-tenebris
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Choosing the right bike and plus

Choosing the right bike and plus

I'm 6'5" and 220 lbs and have recently entered the fantastic cycling world (quite accidentally). At the moment I ride a mid-80s Trek 400 Series, and excellent old bike that I will probably keep forever (at least for its emotional value now), with 27" wheels. The frame size I find perfect for my heigth (it's 46" I think), and it carries me with no problem.

But things must get complicated... I fell in love with speed, and would like to get a lighter bike that can carry me even faster than my butted-steel Trek 400. But I also like a "clean" ride, with no parts moving or creaking. I like to hear only the wind and the gentle sound of my cycling mechanism. I'm sure many understand. Living in an internal-combustion-engine environment, traveling fast without motor sounds makes for an incredible pleasure.

So I looked into buying a new bike (or a used one to put less strain on my budget). I considered buying and building a Giant TCR1 XL frame, whose geometry can be seen here:
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...ad/1319/29444/

But then I read some reviews where many complained of a creaking noise. One person said this was normal, mentioned weighing 220lbs+, and said you should get used to it. Now, I don't want to get used to it unless I really, really have to. And I want to ask someone more experienced whether this (creaking) is unavoidable when big people ride light frames (carbon, alu, and etc.). Which bikes would be better than others? When building a frame, which parts should I definitely avoid? And also, more basic, what frame size should I look for? This Giant TCR1 XL measures 60.5 cm from the center of the top of the headtube to the effective seattube extension and only 58.5 cm from the crank to the top of the seattube. This is considerably less than my comfy Trek 400. And this is the largest frame Giant makes. Would it work for me (b/c its geometry makes a great difference or something)? Any other recommendations?

Please advise. I will appreciate any helpful input.
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Old 06-16-08, 05:25 AM
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220 isn't that big. I would worry more about finding a bike that is the right size for 6'5". I wouldn't worry about creaks, lots of bikes creak for lots of reasons (and I doubt it is the frame). Your best bet is to probably go to a store and try some models that you can actually ride and make sure that you get the right size.
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Old 06-16-08, 09:05 AM
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I'm 6'5" and 220 lbs and have recently entered the fantastic cycling world (quite accidentally). At the moment I ride a mid-80s Trek 400 Series, and excellent old bike that I will probably keep forever (at least for its emotional value now), with 27" wheels. The frame size I find perfect for my heigth (it's 46" I think), and it carries me with no problem.

I'd double check that frame measurement. 46" is over 115cm, which would be at least 30cm taller than even the biggest custom frames I've seen in the Clydes' Rides pictures. While 70s and 80s frames tended to run taller than many of today's compact frames, you're still probably not looking at anything over 27" (~70cm)


But things must get complicated... I fell in love with speed, and would like to get a lighter bike that can carry me even faster than my butted-steel Trek 400. But I also like a "clean" ride, with no parts moving or creaking. I like to hear only the wind and the gentle sound of my cycling mechanism. I'm sure many understand. Living in an internal-combustion-engine environment, traveling fast without motor sounds makes for an incredible pleasure.

If you're looking for a "clean ride" with no parts moving or creaking, you might consider a single speed or a fixed gear. They're light and have the fewest moving parts you can get on a bike.

So I looked into buying a new bike (or a used one to put less strain on my budget). I considered buying and building a Giant TCR1 XL frame, whose geometry can be seen here:

But then I read some reviews where many complained of a creaking noise. One person said this was normal, mentioned weighing 220lbs+, and said you should get used to it. Now, I don't want to get used to it unless I really, really have to. And I want to ask someone more experienced whether this (creaking) is unavoidable when big people ride light frames (carbon, alu, and etc.).


Nope. 220 isn't anywhere near the top of the range on this forum, and you can avoid creaking parts on your bike. Even with a lightweight frame and components, you shouldn't be getting any creaking noises. If you do hear any, you certainly don't want to get used to it, because the next noise after the creaking will likely be a "snap" when something fails. There's more than a couple guys on this forum who ride light carbon fiber bikes with lighter wheels, and I don't recall any complaints about their bikes constantly creaking.

Which bikes would be better than others? When building a frame, which parts should I definitely avoid? And also, more basic, what frame size should I look for? This Giant TCR1 XL measures 60.5 cm from the center of the top of the headtube to the effective seattube extension and only 58.5 cm from the crank to the top of the seattube. This is considerably less than my comfy Trek 400. And this is the largest frame Giant makes. Would it work for me (b/c its geometry makes a great difference or something)? Any other recommendations?

I won't say what bike is better than another, because within any given price range of new bikes they're all going to be roughly equivalent.
For sizing, at 6'5" I'm guessing that you need ~62cm frame in standard geometry, which will measure a bit shorter on a compact frame like the TCR you've shown. The best thing you can do if you want to build up from a frame is to get fitted at a local shop to determine all the dimensions you need when purchasing components (frame dimensions, stem length, crank length, etc.) The next best thing is to go and test ride a bunch of bikes until you find out what fits comfortably and begin your build based on a stock bike (or buy the stock model if you like the components.)
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Old 06-16-08, 10:50 AM
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Thank you both for replying, great advices. I'm relieved to hear that creaking is not a necessity on a light bike. And I probably will go and check out bikes and sizes at a local bike shop.

The frame size of my current bike is 26" (not 46" as I said originally), my bad.

CliftonGK1: So you think Giant TCR1 XL size is good for me, since it is a compact and 2 cm shorter than what you say would be a good standard size for me?
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Old 06-16-08, 12:51 PM
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CliftonGK1: So you think Giant TCR1 XL size is good for me, since it is a compact and 2 cm shorter than what you say would be a good standard size for me?

Horseshoes and hand-grenades.
It's going to be close enough, basically. Any differences of a centimeter here and there can be made up with other components. Stem and seatpost to adjust your height and reach will be the easiest two. The big one will be making sure to buy the right length cranks. (I found out after a fit session that I'd been riding 2.5cm too short of cranks for years!)
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Old 06-16-08, 02:01 PM
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I would note that the differences between an ultralight frame and a heavier frame are negligible. Most of the weight difference comes from parts and what you carry (both under the skin and over).

You should get the best fitting, most comfortable frame you can find, and deal with weight weenieing on the parts. Shaving a pound (about the difference from a nice steel frame to a lightweight carbon frame if I remember) on the frame just doesn't do much.
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Old 06-17-08, 11:51 AM
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I ride a specialized roubaix (carbon) and weigh 270. Have over 2500 miles on the bike and no squeaks. I did change the wheels before I started riding though.
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Old 06-17-08, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by theetruscan View Post
I would note that the differences between an ultralight frame and a heavier frame are negligible. Most of the weight difference comes from parts and what you carry (both under the skin and over).
I don't know if I'd call it "negligible". An ultralight frame/fork for my size will weigh ~ 3.5 pounds, my Cross Check is almost 7.5.

I did some parts comparisons, and for over $1500 of swapping out for lighter components (including lightweight wheels which I'd feel comfortable doing a century on) I could still only shave less than 2 pounds off my bike.
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Old 06-18-08, 03:18 PM
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I'm 6'7" and 280 and thinking of getting a Zinn Bike. (www.zinncycles.com)

These guys specialise in building bikes for tall riders - and their project big bikes have some features you won't find elsewhere. (to my knowledge)

Might be worth a look.
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Old 06-18-08, 10:25 PM
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Thanks again for good advices. Sassonian, thanks for the Zinn ref, but I think I should delay dispensing larger amounts and have custom-made bikes since I'm just entering this sport and need something that I will not regret abusing (and something that will at the same time take well the kind of abuse coming from inexperience).

I found two possible deals on frames -- what would you say?

(1) 2003 Trek 2300 60cm, only frame and fork (alu) for $225, very good condition, the rest of the parts I'd have to get myself and put the bike together. I'm thinking of equipping it nicely, buying some high-end used components like Ultegra or 105 (at eBay maybe), and etc.

(2) 2003 Trek 1000 62 cm, frame and fork again (and headset) for $60, very good condition, again I'd get some good parts and build a bike.

(3) A new Leader brand road bike frame, size 60, 62, 63, or 65 cm: they go for $160 (shipping incl.) for an entry-level aluminum frame (no fork) - http://www.leaderbikestore.com/pd_ld_780r.cfm, or $240 for the next level up - http://www.leaderbikestore.com/pd_ld_736r.cfm. People say they like them and that they're a good deal for the price (see, for example, http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=301977, or http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-368468.html). At roadbikereview some say they're stiff, in a negative sense -- now what does that mean? You feel the road bumps too much?
Anyway, I'm wondering if I'm better off with a used Trek or a brand new Leader. What do you think?
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Old 06-18-08, 11:00 PM
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You could buy a prebuilt Trek 1000 or 1500 for less than it will cost you to build either of those frames. If you insist on building one, consider buying a Bikes direct bike just for the components, at that point you might as well ride the Bikes direct bike though. I just looked and the Fantom CX is available in a 64cm, just swap out the tires for some slicks and you have a Clyde worthy road bike for minimum cash.
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