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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.

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Old 08-03-08, 09:59 AM   #1
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Bike selection help (returning to bikes after long time away)

Hi all,

I'm getting back into bikes after a long time away ... and have been completely overwhelmed by all of the choices. I originally posted in the Commuting forum, and they sent me and my 6' 290 lbs of laziness and lard over here. My target weight is 230-235 (at 220 I look like I'm sick) ... so even when I get there I'll still be a Clydesdale. So ... I guess I have found home. ;-)

I am going to visit several LBS, but I want to have some idea about what I want before I go. I don't want to buy something just b/c I visit a dealer who doesn't carry a line I should be testing.

Anyway, here is what I can tell you about what I want ... and I'm hoping someone can offer either bike recommendations or point me in the direction of a resource/book/whatever that'll give me details without totally overwhelming me.

* I started off looking at hybrids b/c I wanted to be able to do both pavement and light trails. I have two nice, long trails within minutes of my home --- the W&OD trail (paved MUP) and the C&O Canal Towpath (unpaved, which I have read requires wide tires). The Bad Boy Ultra seems like a great fit because of this. Are there other bikes that can swap out road and wide tires ... or should I look at "cyclocross" bikes?

* Even aside from my weight, I need the bike to be able to handle rough handling. I grew up racing BMX and won't be able to resist the urge to hop curbs and push performance beyond just speed.

* Most of my riding will be on local roads or paved bike trails (I live in Lansdowne, VA ... a stones throw from the W&OD trail). Long term, I'd love to be able to take it into DC for city riding.

* I have been told the distance I intend to ride matters ... I envision 2-3 hour riding sessions, I'm not sure what that'll translate to distance-wise. I have an office in and within walking distance of my home, so my "commuting" is going to be more like riding to a coffee shop, or riding on a bike trail just because I picked a direction and headed that way.

* I'd rather not do the whole "entry level until I see if I'm serious thing." I dive into things completely when I do them (and obsessively). I don't mind spending $$$$$ on a great setup, but I want value for it ... not just the most expensive thing in the shop.

* From what little I have been able to gather from forums, I think I'd like to try a Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra (the ability to do both road and light trails is a plus), a Janis Coda Elite, and a Kona Dr. Dew (the latter two mostly b/c I see them recommended a lot). But, when it comes right down to it, I have no idea what the pros and cons are ... and why I might or might not want them.

Any help, comments, feedback ... even questions or ask or bikes to test out ... would be very much appreciated. I'm very excited about getting back to this ... and need some help to make it happen.


Last edited by mc2600; 08-03-08 at 11:57 AM. Reason: found out about C&O towpath, changed critera
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Old 08-03-08, 11:59 AM   #2
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Look at lots of bikes, ride lots of bikes. Buy the one that puts the biggest smile on your face.

All the bikes you've mentioned are good rides. Do look at the Specialized and Surly line, bothm as well, though.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:09 PM   #3
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The 20" should fit you better.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:52 PM   #4
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2 to 3 hours riding sessions probably means about 25 to 40 miles (figure 12 to 15 MPH). You will appreciate a bike with multiple hand positions so you can move your hands around a lot. Many bikes will meet the requirements you have posted, so just try several and pick one out. Do consider that any suspension bikes (front forks or suspension seat posts) are designed for 150 pound riders. So they are a marketing gimmick that have no value for larger riders.

I personally prefer N+1 (multiple bikes) for several reasons. Do you have more than one pair of shoes? Of course. Well, a bike ideally suited for efficient road riding, will not be well suited to trail riding, and so on. So you could end up with a road bike, a touring bike, a moutain bike, and more.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:18 PM   #5
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I would suggest talking to multiple LBS' and tell them what you are wanting to do and let them give you different bikes to try out.

If it was me again, I would buy another road bike, like I did. I thought I wanted a hybrid, but I am glad I went with a road bike. You may love a hybrid and call it good.

Good luck with it and have fun.
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