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Back to a bike......just overwhelmed with choices!

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.

Back to a bike......just overwhelmed with choices!

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Old 03-31-12, 04:47 AM
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harpoonalt
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Back to a bike......just overwhelmed with choices!

I had a nice mountain bike and enjoyed riding it. Life got in the way and My riding time was non-existant. The benefit was my daughter now has a very nice bike that she rides all the time.
Which brings me to today. I enjoyed the mountain bike but even with road tires found it slow on the road. I did a 50 mile charity ride and just couldn't keep up. I 53 , 6'2" and a whopping 250 lbs. I want a bike to do it all. No hard core dirt, but Vermont has plenty of dirt roads and rough pavement. I'd like something to handle dirt roads and be able to do a long ride as well. I'm thinking of signing up for the charity ride again as incentive to train, but want to make a better bike choice this time as I would rather have just one bike. Budget is around $1000. I was thinking CX bike maybe? I guess my biggest concern is being able to handle dirt roads as they will always be some part of most of my rides.
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Old 03-31-12, 05:39 AM
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harpoonalt, There are two points of view, one concerns the bike and the other your fitness. Fitness, if an issue will just have to be worked on with training.

For the bike choice, I among many feel that a hard tail mountain bike is probably the most versatile platform with the hybrid the next if you prefer flat bars. If you're thinking of a drop bar bike then a CX or Touring bike with 28 or 32 mm tires should do the trick.

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Old 03-31-12, 05:43 AM
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I'm building a Surly Cross Check for similar conditions. I'm 55,6'2" and 230 and my roadbike is maxed out with 25 mm tires. I want to be able to run 35's in the rear and 28's or 32's in the front. So far I have a frameset that is at the LBS getting a Crane Creek 40 headset installed, I have a Sram Rival Cyclocross "kit in a box" in transit, a 46 cm wide Easton 50 handlebar, Brooks B17 saddle, seatpost, fenders, rack everything except a rear wheel that I'll order sometime this weekend.

Lots of choices in the $1200 new range however I'm in a "Cyclocross???" area. So finding one to test ride the correct size is near impossible. Salsa makes some bikes like this and I considered a Casserole but went with a Cross Check as so many have stated in other forums that it'd be the one bike to "do it all".
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Old 03-31-12, 05:44 AM
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You need two bikes.
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Old 03-31-12, 06:40 AM
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If you're not riding any singletrack, CX bike all the way. Or touring bike. Anything you can fit 700x35c tires on, really.
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Old 03-31-12, 06:56 AM
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Are you willing to give up comfort for speed? If so, cyclocross bikes are fine. They are basically road bikes that are more ruggedly built: stronger (heavier) frame, better brakes, and wider wheels and tires.

I bought mine thinking it would be a great all-around bike. There's no doubt over whether the BIKE can handle anything; it can. (just like the mountain bike could) It is quite a lot faster than a mountain bike too. But drop bars and a hunched-over riding position is the compromise. The tires are hard too, mine run at 100 psi. That's for lower rolling resistance and higher speed.

As an Athena, you likely wouldn't even be able to ride one. I'm male, 5'8", and 180 lbs. Just a small belly and love handles on me. Even so, my belly is a bit in the way when I bend over to get the lower end of the drop bars. Without changing them out, they can't go higher, and I have to keep the seat high enough to get full leg extension.

So based on what you're saying, I'd recommend one of those skinny-tired hybrids. They have narrower, higher pressure tires for less rolling resistance, but still have a reasonable riding position. Also, realize that only better fitness is really going to make you faster.

Being that heavy, you can't realistically expect to keep up with a group of thinner riders. It cycling, it is all about the power:weight ratio, and to a much lesser extent, aerodynamics and friction.

Use a cyclocross bike as a reward for reaching a goal. Maybe when you get down to 180 lbs., plan to buy yourself a faster bike.

Here's an idea to get started cycling: Commute on the bike, if it is possible. How far from work do you live? Start participating in the Commuting forum too. Lots of us there say the rides to and from work are the highlight of our days.
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Old 03-31-12, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by JeremyZ View Post
But drop bars and a hunched-over riding position is the compromise. The tires are hard too, mine run at 100 psi. That's for lower rolling resistance and higher speed.

You might want to maybe play around with your fit. I find flat bars to be the compromise on a MTB where you need a better combination of leverage and upright riding position. You don't need to be hunched over. You can place drop bars as high, or higher than flat bars.

Also, why are you running 100psi in a CX tire?! You might as well switch to 25c tires. I only have to run maybe 70psi and that's when the bike is fully loaded for touring.
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Old 03-31-12, 07:09 AM
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I just looked on Trek's site, I re-thought my recommendation from above. Those skinny-tired hybrids (Trek calls them "Fitness Bikes") still seem to put the rider in a forward lean.

This is the one I'd recommend, the Trek Allant:
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...llant/allant/#


It's got fenders, a rack, and a comfortable, upright riding position. I'd consider removing the front rack and fitting a rear rack though. It's got enough gears to keep you moving, despite the conditions.

Another thought, and this one blows your budget, but maybe it's worth the sacrifice? How about a Trek FX+, with electric assist?
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes.../fx_plus_wsd/#


Now that one would let you keep up with a pack of faster riders, at least up to 20 mph. You'd pedal as hard as you could, and dial in electric assist as a boost mode when needed. The only things are that they're expensive and hard on spokes. I'm thinking about something like this for the commute one day. Seems like I could use the assist to help me up hills in the mornings and prevent me from sweating. Then, when I get off of work in the afternoon, I wouldn't use it.
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Old 03-31-12, 11:06 AM
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Harpoonalt,

Let me introduce you to a very important law of cycling,.......... n+1=correct number or bikes. Where n equals your current total. None of us have the perfect bike for "everything" and my take on the do-it-all tool, is that it rately does any one thing particuarly well. With that said, and listening to what you're looking for, it sounds as though a CX or Touring frame are your best options. Both should be capable of fitting suitably wide tires. The difference will be in the geometry. The CX bikes tend to retain the steeper steering and seat angles of road racing while pairing those to slightly longer wheelbase and/or lower bottom bracket height. The tend to still be very quick in the steering department. Which, can be a challenge on loose gravel roads. Touring frames will tend to have more relaxed angles and may have a slightly longer head tube. Which, would combine to place you in a slightly more upright position and provide more inherent stability. Pick the bike that speaks to you and makes you want to take it for a ride.

JeremyZ, what about the op's post leads you to believe they are a female?
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Old 03-31-12, 11:19 AM
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My daughter is 6' tall at 13, but for the most part, 6'2" and 250 lbs is a Clyde not an Athena... And it's not that overweight for that height either. A cyclocross bike should work out quite well.
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Old 03-31-12, 12:25 PM
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Ha! I am indeed a Clyde. Maybe my avatar of "Bella, the wonder dog" threw you off. I've been strength training for the last year but my cardio for weight loss is lacking. Getting a new bike will make cardio fun. I'd never thought of a touring bike with bigger tires. That's my problem. The mountain bike was fun but too slow for distance riding. I'd get a road bike if I thought it would handle dirt roads. My old bike from years ago was a Fuji America. It would get flats at the sight of dirt.
I'm going to hit up a LBS and see what they have and tire options.
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Old 03-31-12, 12:42 PM
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Both the CX and Touring frames should be capable of handling appropriately wide tires (32-38) for gravel/dirt rodes, mixed with drop bars and higher gear ratios for speed. Chances are that both would have cantilever style brakes and room for fenders. The touring bike will have more attachement points for racks and accessories. The CX bike, quicker handling.

A developing trend that I'm seriously looking at is road frames equiped with disk brakes. The frame alone is $950, so out of your 1k budget, but, look at gunnar Fastlane or CX frames. Or, the Surly Disk Trucker. I'm incredibly torn between one of these (in steel) or a carbon "endurance" frame for my next bike.
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Old 03-31-12, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by harpoonalt View Post
Ha! I am indeed a Clyde. Maybe my avatar of "Bella, the wonder dog" threw you off. I've been strength training for the last year but my cardio for weight loss is lacking. Getting a new bike will make cardio fun. I'd never thought of a touring bike with bigger tires. That's my problem. The mountain bike was fun but too slow for distance riding. I'd get a road bike if I thought it would handle dirt roads. My old bike from years ago was a Fuji America. It would get flats at the sight of dirt.
I'm going to hit up a LBS and see what they have and tire options.

A lot of the decent sub-$1500 CX bikes are pretty much light touring bikes with mounts for fenders and racks.

One thing you might want to consider in the budget is either a second set of tires or a second wheelset. Having a set of 28 slicks for road riding and a set of 35ish CX tires for the dirt roads makes a CX or touring bike even more versatile.
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Old 03-31-12, 06:48 PM
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harpoonalt: Sorry, I don't know what made me think you were a lady. It was not intentional.

FWIW - Those bikes are all available in a male version, hehehe.
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Old 03-31-12, 07:03 PM
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My dad has the trek allant and its a nice bike. I have ridden it a few times before my latest purchase and never had any issues.
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Old 03-31-12, 07:22 PM
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Logically, if that matters , you will have to make a choice based upon what you can ride on your dirt roads. I don't know whether you mean actual dirt -- compacted soil or gravel etc.
What type of bike will best work for you under the worst conditioned roads/pathways you want to ride?

You can ride any bike on paved roads or pathways whereas, you cannot ride any bike on gravel and dirt.
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Old 03-31-12, 08:47 PM
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I'm thinking it may be better to buy a frame like a Surly Ogre or Salsa Fargo and build it to the exact specifications you need, rather than to try and find a pre-packaged bike.

That said, the Salsa Fargo 2 comes in a complete bike option, and it is made for off-road touring. It has drop bars, but it is not meant for racing so the rider position is more relaxed than a CX bike. It's a "little" outside your price range, but the additional cost may be justified. I have a Salsa Mukluk 2 and it is worth every penny I paid for it and more.
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Old 03-31-12, 09:45 PM
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Fargo's a good choice. I picked up a frameset last year for $250. Spent the winter shopping for deals on parts and should have a complete bike for ~$750.

It gives you a lot of options for tire sizes and bar configurations. Lets you experiment with where you'll land in the dirt<->road spectrum.
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Old 04-01-12, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Seve View Post
Logically, if that matters , you will have to make a choice based upon what you can ride on your dirt roads. I don't know whether you mean actual dirt -- compacted soil or gravel etc.
What type of bike will best work for you under the worst conditioned roads/pathways you want to ride?

You can ride any bike on paved roads or pathways whereas, you cannot ride any bike on gravel and dirt.
Exactly! My house is 1/2 mile away from pavement on a gravel road. The cHarity ride has about 2 miles of country gravel roads and 43 of pavement. I want a bike that can take those roads but be able to keep up on the paved sections. Vermont has a lot of rough and dirt roads that you end up on. At my weight I'm concerned the bike has to hold up to me and rougher roads. I may be overthinking this but I want to know my options. I won't be venturing into the dirt realm except for the roads I mentioned.

Thanks, I'm learning.
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Old 04-01-12, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by harpoonalt View Post
Exactly! My house is 1/2 mile away from pavement on a gravel road. The cHarity ride has about 2 miles of country gravel roads and 43 of pavement. I want a bike that can take those roads but be able to keep up on the paved sections. Vermont has a lot of rough and dirt roads that you end up on. At my weight I'm concerned the bike has to hold up to me and rougher roads. I may be overthinking this but I want to know my options. I won't be venturing into the dirt realm except for the roads I mentioned.

Thanks, I'm learning.
What are the dirt and gravel roads like there? Are they somewhat compacted or like the gravel roads I have that are basically a half foot of loose rock that will suck up tires unless you're riding a fatbike with 3.7" or wider tires?

Get in to your LBS and see what they have to say and take some test rides hopefully on the same roads as you'll normally be riding. Their advice will most likely be a lot more concise due to knowing the actual conditions you'll be riding.
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Old 04-06-12, 07:42 AM
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After much deliberation, I'm getting a Trek 7.3 fx disc. I have a good LBS and it's a bike I can keep later if I do the +1 thing.

Report in a week after some riding...thanks for the help!
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