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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 07-22-12, 08:04 AM   #1
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A new Clyde looking for a bike.

I have been in the process of losing weight and getting in shape for a month or so now, I started by watching my diet and purchased a gym membership where I go religously for an hour or so a day mon.-fri. I have been splitting my time between weight training and cardio first on the treadmill then I moved to the stationary bike and enjoy it so much more. I'm down 15lbs so far and I am considering buying a bike to ride the country roads around my house on the weekends but I don't really know what to look for. I'm 5'11" and weigh 334lbs and would be looking for something just to ride black top roads not off road, I have been told to look for good non-suspended MTN bikes with good tires/wheels I would be interested in a hybrid/Comfort bike also but I am oblivious to what brands are good or bad I would like to spend no more than $600 or so out the door. Can you guys or ladies recommend a few for me to look into?
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Old 07-22-12, 10:39 AM   #2
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Most brands except for the $100 stuff from Wally's are probably good enough. You can get a Schwinn at Target for about $250 I think. You will not get good service there though. Go to a bike shop. Some will show you lack of respect for being Clyde, but most, in my experience, will act like they appreciate your business.
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Old 07-23-12, 07:22 PM   #3
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I would check out the Electra Townie 21D. It's a great ride withe nice components. Also check out the Giant Suede DX.

Last edited by otis66; 07-23-12 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 07-25-12, 09:51 PM   #4
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I looked at the Specialized Expedition, a Jamis, The Giant Suede and the Giant Sedona. The Jamis was my least favorite. I was pretty sure I was going to want the Suede, but after riding it, it turned out that the Sedona was the bike on which I felt the most comfortable. It also offered the biggest bang for the buck. The choice you make will be highly subjective, based on what looks and feels good to you. And be aware thet you can make inexpensive customizations that will not cost you an arm and a leg, but will make the bike uniquely yours. (I got rid of the grip shifters, added ergonomic grips, swapped out the saddle, added a rack and fenders, dual water get the idea.)
Find a LBS that will work with you. Each and every person at my LBS has been terrific. And even though I didn't need to pay more to do business with them, it would have been worth it.
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Old 07-25-12, 10:35 PM   #5
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Do you know what brands your local bike shops carry - that may help focus the advice.
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Old 07-26-12, 06:12 AM   #6
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Buy the bike I got - it's great, the Giant Escape 2, retails $420. Here's a picture of mine -

I've been riding it for about 1-1/2 weeks and it is very strong a high quality for the price.
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Old 07-26-12, 06:24 AM   #7
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In addition to mountain bikes and hybrids, you might also want to test ride some touring bikes and cyclocross bikes. It might be beyond your budget, but you never know what you might find on sale this time of year.
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Old 07-26-12, 06:34 AM   #8
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I'm not sure how big of a town you live in. If it's a large city, I would visit as many bike shops as you can. If it's a smaller town, visit every bike shop. Ask what they carry, what they would recommend. Give them your budget and listen. Do they up-sell you? Do they talk down to you? Or, are they there to truly get you on the right bike for you, within your budget. Now, I'm not saying if they say "In my opinion, for another $100, this bike would be a significant improvement because......., but it's your call." That could be up-sell, that could be legitimate advice. If that happens, bring that info back here and let us help. Also, ride every bike they will let you ride. It is amazing how one can just "click" for you, while others are just bikes. If you narrow it down to two or three that you just can't decide between, get the one that looks hotter. Hey, the one you like to look at is the one you'll ride more!

I have not commented on a single model. Every major manufacturer makes good bikes. The components are all off-the-shelf and the same as the next guy's. One may bump on a component or two, or lower one or two to hit a lower price point, but I don't know of a single major-named bike company that makes a bad bike. Again, it's which one fits you best.

If you go with a mountain bike, a non-suspension bike is the right way to go....or at least a front suspension that can be locked out. Hybrid will be lighter and maybe SLIGHTLY more efficient. A road bike with a more upright position will offer more hand positions for longer rides. That may be a good choice for bike #2 once you see if you like this and build up the miles.

Good luck. Please let us know how it goes. We are here to help.
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Old 07-26-12, 05:28 PM   #9
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I would suggest that if you can find what you want in good shape you consider buying a used bike, for a couple of reasons: one, there are a lot of them around that are in pretty good shape, and second, you'll probably want to change bikes after your first several months of riding.
I weigh about as much as you, but I'm taller, 6' 4". I had done some mountain biking in the '80's, and so I was aware of those bikes that were being made during the ramping up of the production mountain bike business, and went looking for one. Today they are prized classics, though, and therefore tend to be bid up, and my size made the search even more difficult. So I changed course and bought a newer mixed use bike with suspended front fork, a 2002 Gary Fisher Solstice, which was priced new at $500 or so and probably sold for well under that most of the time. Approximately one week later I did find the bike a had been looking for, a 1985 Stumpjumper in my size, and bought it also.

I immediately began looking for a buyer for the Solstice, but I also used it experimentally and found I liked it. It is a very comfortable bike and has very easy-to-use indexed shifters. So I use it for commuting and running errands. For one thing, I'm not very concerned about it going missing. The difference between the two bikes, though is quite noticeable. Riding the Solstice after riding the Stumpjumper is like pedaling through molasses, and since the Stumpy is a mountain bike any road bike would be much faster than that. On pavement suspension accomplishes little and absorbs energy, bobbing a bit with every pedal effort.

So, if your experience is like mine, in the beginning low outlay, comfort and rideability will be very important, but very soon better performance will become a goal. For a Clyde the one problem with buying a low dollar bike whether new or used is that it is a very competitive market where price is more important than quality and, frankly, the buyers tend to be unsophisticated about what quality in a bicycle actually looks like. So, the manufacturers cut costs wherever they can. One place that shows up is in spoke count. The Stumpy has 36 spokes, the Solstice 32. This will not matter if you keep the wheels in good shape and you do not ride the bike hard, but it seems to me the kind of riding you propose--country roads-- could very easily require a generous margin of wheel strength for a Clyde rider. And this will become even more true as you become more comfortable and adept at riding; you will want to go faster, and you will, so the wheels will take more stress. Also recent or new crossover (or hybrid) bikes will often have a suspended fork, as the Solstice does. Obviously that is a more complex component than a solid one, and on an inexpensive bike, especially a used one, it may be a weak point, more so for a heavy rider

Another factor is that on pavement with an unsuspended bike steel frames tend to be more comfortable, but almost all new bikes, certainly all the inexpensive ones, are made of aluminum. The classic '80's mountain bikes, except the Cannondale, were steel alloy, some of them quite beautifully made. If you can find one of these bikes to begin with, that would be the way to go, I think. It may take a bit of hunting, but your price limit, even with budgeting for some tune-up/repairs, should cover the tab, by a wide margin, with a bit of luck.

Last edited by Classic Bicycle; 07-27-12 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 07-27-12, 09:03 AM   #10
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I like the idea of a steel frame hardtail (no suspension) mountain bike. Alot of good chassis came from 80's era.
I ride a classic MTB, '85 raleigh elkhorn. Although, admittedly it was a bike I aready had and used it to commute in the late 80's when I was weighing in the 270-290lbs range. I currently ride the same bike at well over 400lbs (down from 435+). I did wind up putting some work into the rear wheel ("tandemized" with stronger spokes). Turned it into a little bit a a hybrid Mountain bike as well. All has held up well for over three months of daily riding.

I have a nice road bike as well, but wouldn't even dream of even trying to ride it at current fitness levels (weight). Of coarse that makes an intersting goal for me once I lose more weight.

Cycling can be a very fun fitness vehicle, once you get hooked you just won't feel right without it.
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