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New bike for a Clyde, interested in catching air and riding hard

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.

New bike for a Clyde, interested in catching air and riding hard

Old 09-12-08, 12:35 PM
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New bike for a Clyde, interested in catching air and riding hard

Hey guys, this is my first post aside from my introduction. I've been lurking for a couple of days, going back in time through old posts and such. I'm new to mountain biking, having commuted by bike before, but not taken it off road at all. At 6'2" and 215 I think I squeeze into the clydesdale class...

Not to long after I took my old bike (A GT Palomar) off road, I put cracks in a weld, bottomed out the forks, lost a grip (this really hurt...), and took a wheel out of true. This leads me to two conclusions:

1) You get what you pay for,
2) Big guys need bikes that can take a little extra.

So I went to a bike shop recommended by a friend, and the sales guy put me on a 2009 Kona Hoss. I already know that I want to keep biking, so the price isn't all that hard for me to swallow, plus he gave me 20% off (store wide sale). I asked him if he had any other bikes that he could recommend to me, and he said that he did not. I'm not tall enough to take a 29 on trail (according to him), and at my price range (topping out around 1000), I probably won't find one durable enough anyway. He said the other companies won't make one that will suite my needs for the closing price on his (just over 1000, with upgraded pedals - I don't trust this clipless idea yet).

Now I'm throwing it out to you. I'm not completely committed to the bike itself, I've put it on lay-a-away, and I can change my purchase choice at any time, all I lose is the sale savings (around 200 bones). So, the question is this: Should I stick with the Hoss (which felt great) or try out a few other bikes (that you recommend)? The only other higher end bike I've taken for a spin is a Rocky Mountain Trailhead, which also felt fantastic, but when I asked the sales guy about it, he said that the Hoss had tougher components and would put up with much more sh#t and abuse on the trail.

Any and all opinions are welcome, I've got a couple months to make my decision, so I want to consider as many angles as possible. The only reason I put it on lay-a-way was to take advantage of the sale price, in case this really was the best possible choice.
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Old 09-12-08, 12:36 PM
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Do check out the Specialized Hardrock as well.
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Old 09-12-08, 01:28 PM
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Will do, it looks like a bit of a break on the pocket book too. What components get hurt the most doing back country riding? Is there anything you do to equipment you're about to buy to test it before you buy it?

*Edit* I just found the Clyde FAQ, don't know how I missed it. That should be enough reading for a while...

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Old 09-12-08, 02:09 PM
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You are tall enough to ride a 29er, don't let the salesman fool you. I am 5'8" and ride a Monocog 29er. 29er's are mostly marketed to XC guys who tend to not ride as hard as dirt jumpers and downhillers though. I would recomend you get a replacement deraileur hanger to carry with you if yours is replaceble. A chain tool and SRAM power link or two is a good idea too. Mountain bike wheels are pretty tough, but if you start destroying those, look for something marketed towards dirt jumpers.
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Old 09-12-08, 02:27 PM
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Hard Rock Baby! My $125 bike, the "expensive one"!


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Old 09-12-08, 02:48 PM
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Between the Hardrock and the Hoss, the Hoss is a much better spec'ed bike, I don’t think that there is much to choose between the Trailhead and Hoss, whichever fits better.
Even the top of the line Hardrock has mechanical discs, mixed Alivio/Acera components, Suntour fork, etc. These are recreational level components. The Hoss has a Deore/XT mix, hydraulic brakes, a 20mm thru axle Dirt Jumper 2 fork, etc., it is not a badly spec'ed bike. It is a bit gimmicky that they call it a Clydesdale bike as you will find the same level of components on a Norco Ari or a Giant Arete, which are both women’s specific bikes.
You may want to look at some of the Norco bikes as well, a Sasquatch or Bigfoot would be reasonable choices. Giant, Fisher, Cannondale, Trek, etc. all make similar bikes but I am partial to Norco.

You need to give some thought to what sort of riding you will actually do before heading off to the store with your wheelbarrow full of cash. I bought a mountain bike thinking I would ride mostly cross country but have ended up doing way more downhill and trails with man made obstacles, I wish I had picked a frame with a slacker head angle.

What breaks? Assuming you are riding harder trails:
- rear derailleur, these hit things when your rear wheel slides off an obstacle. Most frames have a breakaway derailleur hanger that is meant to sacrifice itself to preserve the derailleur but the derailleur cage often gets bent. You can usually straighten them out and more expensive does not necessarily mean less bent.
- wheels come out of true or flat spot. The harder you go the more you need a serious rim, ride what the bike comes with and then look into something like a Sun Double Track if the rims give you too much trouble.
- plastic covers/gear indicators on shifters, send your bike for an unmanned flight and you are pretty much sure to break the gear indicators off, this is purely cosmetic.
- chain slap/chain coming off, this is not really something breaking but when you get bouncing down a trail the derailleur is going to bounce like mad and the chain will hit/gouge the chainstay and you will sooner or later have your chain come right off. You will see a lot of guys running single rings up front with a chain guide to keep this problem at bay. At a minimum, take an old tube and cut it in half and wrap your chainstay (secure it with zip ties) to keep your chain from eating your paint.
- seat rails/seatposts, an unplanned rapid descent onto your saddle will break/bend the seatpost rails or potentially the seat post. The no name posts and saddles that come with most bikes in this price range bend pretty easily.
- axles, if you go with a standard quick release it is pretty common to bend or break an axle.

As for grips, do yourself a favour and get some lock on grips right away. These stay put and also mean you can take the grip off in a flash if necessary.
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