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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 04-20-11, 04:02 AM   #1
ritualdevice
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Bike recommendation for getting back on the horse after a few years off.

I'm 5'10, close to 300lbs and it's been about 7 years since I did any real serious riding. My last bike was a Bontrager Privateer.

I liked that style of bike and it was a good fit for my needs. I used it for daily commuting, with occasional long rides. It was ok for the kind of climbing that I did and had enough range in the upper gears that I could zip along on nice straight stretches of road. (I never ride trails or do any serious mountain biking.) I just kept breaking hardware, and ended up replacing a lot of the components. Finally, saltwater corrosion (living a ferry ride from Seattle) and the stress I was putting on the components caused me to get rid of it and stop riding. I also got sick of dealing with the constant down-the-nose looks from the reedy little bike mechanics who told me that there were no components that would work for a rider my size.
I never even heard the word clydesdale in relation to bicycling until two days ago, but it's given me hope that I can return to riding.
I'd just like to find something that's durable. My main issues before were: chewed up cassettes and chainrings, creaking/groaning bottom bracket and constant torn sidewall flats with Continental Town and Country tires.
So that's where I'm at. I'm not looking at doing anything real competitive. Just need to get active and I used to love riding. I'd like to keep it below $1K to get started. My only request is that you don't recommend something that looks like PeeWee's beach cruiser. I still have some dignity and I'd like to keep it. Thanks all.

Last edited by ritualdevice; 04-20-11 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 04-20-11, 04:25 AM   #2
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Let's start with the budget.

Not much point in talking about $3K bikes if you have $1K.

You can get wheels as tough as you want them.
I have 2 bikes with Velocity Dyad rims laced to Shimano hubs, 32 spokes.
You could tour on them.

Let's cover the basics, looking at Gunnar frames.

I ride a Sport. I have done lite touring, commuting and group rides on it.
Wonderful bike.

They have a touring bike, the Grand Tour. I don't camp, and touring bikes are slow.
But that's my 2 cents.

They have a rugged Do It All frame called Fast Lane.
Most companies would call it a cyclocross frame. That's because
a LOT of cyclocross frames are not made for cross racing at all. They're 'do it all' bikes.


If you want a high performance bike, they have the Roadie. Not super fast, but dandy for fast group rides.

http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/fast-lane/



http://salsacycles.com/bikes/casseroll/

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

http://www.habcycles.com/cross.html
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Old 04-20-11, 05:41 AM   #3
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For big guys like us I like the 8 speed rears with trigger shifters. Most any frame with MTB dropouts should hold your weight. My favorite recomendation is a Trek Fx 7.3. One question is "What kind of cadence are you running? Try to get it above 80. That will cut down on the stress to the cassettes. Are you Crosschaining? Shifting under heavy load? Taking the bike back in for tuning after purchase? With loads of our weight more preventive maintence is called for.
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Old 04-20-11, 05:42 AM   #4
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For daily commuting, you can do worse than any of the above. The cross check is an extremely versatile bike and a pretty good choice for a clyde. A complete bike and changing a few parts is more economical than choosing parts and building a bike from scratch, especially if you don't have a large parts bin.

If you're just starting or starting again, drop bars can be scary, and take some getting used too. If you get a bike with drop bars, don't let them set it up with the tops below the saddle. An inch or a bit more higher is a good place to start. You can always move bars lower, but once the steerer tube is cut it's difficult to move them higher. Drop bars come in a wide range of widths and styles and for rides over 5 miles or so are often much more comfortable since they provide a more hand positions.

Whatever bike you end up with, make sure it has braze ons (attachment points) for fenders and racks. Road bikes tend to be more aggressively set up with twitchier steering. Cyclocross bikes have a bit more relaxed geometry as do touring bikes. Basic hybrids such as the trek 7000 series are a mix of geometries with aggressive steering but relaxed seating, often making them unstable and heavy at the same time. Handlebars, tires and quite a bit on a bike can be changed and you'll need to make changes to any bike to get it just right as your needs and comfort level changes. Geometry can't be changed and a frame that's too big or too small will make you very uncomfortable.

If there's a good used bike market in your area, older bikes can offer a good way to get started but it can be hard to pick out the right thing without help. If you get an older bike, you may be able to afford new wheels. But no matter what bike you get, having it fit right is most important. Bike kitchens or coops will often be of great help. So are good bike shops that treat you well. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or talks down to you, find a new shop. For example if a shop tries to set you up in a racing position (with the tops of the bars well below the saddle) to start with, go somewhere else. Take your time in looking.

Velocity Dyad's are great rims, I put them on the bike that I built up. That being said, having wheels built probably isn't in your budget if you're getting a new bike, just make sure that the wheels are tensioned and trued when you get it and upgrade if you have issues later.

In your budget, make sure that you have room for the other things you need if you're commuting such as lights, fenders, a rack and panniers. As long as you're not dealing with a full touring load, you don't need expedition style heavy racks, but a lighter rack can go a long way towards making life more comfortable carrying things. In wet weather the KoolStop Salmon brake pads make a huge difference if you're using V brakes or cantilevers.

A bike shop will often let you switch out components at cost when ordering a new bike. Vitorria Randonneurs and Schwalbe Marathon XR are both pretty quick tires that are durable and can handle poor roads. The randonneurs feel a bit faster from my experience while the schwalbes come in a wider variety of sizes and are a bit more durable. Unless you're doing serious road racing, I'd stay away from tires thinner than 30 c to begin with.
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Old 04-20-11, 02:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lucienrau View Post

Vitorria Randonneurs and Schwalbe Marathon XR are both pretty quick tires that are durable and can handle poor roads. The randonneurs feel a bit faster from my experience while the schwalbes come in a wider variety of sizes and are a bit more durable. Unless you're doing serious road racing, I'd stay away from tires thinner than 30 c to begin with.
I'm a big fan of the Vittoria Rando line. I am running the Hypers on my Sport.
They are faster than any other large tire I have come across.
The comfort is also good, considering the durability.

They're not as comfy as my Grand Bois Hetres, but then they are a bit faster.
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Old 04-20-11, 04:17 PM   #6
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If you like hardtails, then get another one. I have a 1999 Jamis exile which I love. If still in the Seattle area this is posted on craigslist their: http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/bik/2336812331.html. http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/bik/2336710962.html

Either one would be similar to the Bontrager Privateer. If you are having problems with components then see if you can figure out why.

As far as tires go there are a lot of good ones. I have Panaracer RiBMo's on my touring/commuting bike. Scwalbe Marathons I heard are also very nice.
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Old 04-20-11, 04:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
For big guys like us I like the 8 speed rears with trigger shifters. Most any frame with MTB dropouts should hold your weight. My favorite recomendation is a Trek Fx 7.3.
+1 on the Trek fx 7.3

I recently picked up a 2010 (showroom condition) 7.3 with fenders and a rack for $375 on Craigslist. Its a nice bike with a huge range of gears, 24 in total.
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Old 04-20-11, 05:06 PM   #8
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+2 on the Trek FX 7.3.
7.5 has nicer components if you can afford it.
Tires = Specialized Armadillos = bullet proof!
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Old 04-20-11, 05:12 PM   #9
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ritualdevice, Welcome to the forum.

It seems the most popular bikes for the re-entering or starting Clydesdales and Athenas are mountain bikes or hybrids. Generally because the price point is right considering that air pumps, helmets and etc. also need purchasing. After some saddle time I suggest either a flat bar or drop bar loaded touring bike.

Preowned bikes can be a great deal, or not. Depends on your bicycle savvy. A good used bike can be tuned up at a bike shop.

Brad
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