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Athena needs a bike recommendation please

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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.

Athena needs a bike recommendation please

Old 10-20-13, 01:18 AM
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Athena needs a bike recommendation please

Hi all. So, really the only thing I know about bikes is how to get on and ride. I've never really learned much about parts, or brands, or types. I was very active and fit into my early teens, but due in part to to severe depression and the resulting lifestyle, medications and stress eating, I'm now 30 years old and 330 pounds at maybe 5 foot 8. That's sadly after losing 60+ since around April from walking and trying to just eat normally. I've had a cheap "Wally World special" mountain bike for several years that I can't ride comfortably anymore because the chain has started to skip when peddling uphill, but it's lasted surprisingly long with nary a bent rim or broken spoke. I'd like to replace it, but I don't really know what to get? I'm mortified at the idea of going in to a bike shop, and I keep looking at different websites, but there are so many options that it just kind of gets overwhelming and I end up not buying anything. Can anyone recommend a bike for someone like me? I'd prefer to keep it under $1000 total if that's possible, but I can probably go higher if I need to.
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Old 10-20-13, 02:25 AM
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Welcome to BF

If you want a new bike thats cool but a skipping chain is no reason to replace the whole bike.

If you want to keep your current bike running, there are a few different things which may be the cause of the skipping chain but the most common solution would be to set up your deraileurs. search, utube, park tools .com, shimano.com, sheldonbrown.com, or any other site that comes up. it may seem intimidating at first but its not that hard. we can help if you get stuck.

If you've decided to buy a new bike, congrats, we can also help w/ that. a trip to your local bike shop (LBS) would be the first bit of advice we give to all beginners but if you're not comfortable w/that, you do have many options available online.

bicycles come in different sizes because people come in different sizes. there are also a few different types of bikes designed for different types of riding. Im assuming being a heavier rider you dont want a featherweight street racer. Id suggest a mountian bike or even a hybrid, either would be fine for you.

Buying online will require you to do some minor assembly and setup. this means you will probably need some basic tools. again the internet will be your teacher if you need help. Also keep in mind that most Lbs's will assemble and setup a new bike for you from a box if you bring one in. of course there will be a fee involved.

Ok, now with all that out of the way, down to business. You have basically 3 options. buy used locally from craigslist, which may be a little of a gamble (who knows what that bike has been through). you will save on shipping and get to see the bike in person before buying.

Buy used or new on ebay. there will probably be shipping expenses, and if its used you have the same gamble. Usually everything is on the up and up but you never know. These options will often require some repairs or at least a good inspection and once over, lube chain and bearings, replace cables....

the final online route is to buy new from 1 of many vendors. nashbar.com, performancebike.com, bikesdirect.com.(my preffered)
my suggestions less than $1000
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...print_disc.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...venture_x5.htm
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om_comp_xi.htm

I like the motos (obviously). the fantom is a hell of a bike at a great price. Ill recommend spending as much as you can afford up front but you can definitely get by w/ a much cheaper one. spend $4-500 and it will probably be better than your current ride.

Good luck. keep us posted sorry i was so long winded.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:34 AM
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Take your present bike to a shop and get some maintenance done on it. Could be you've just worn out a cog on your freewheel and need a new freewheel and chain. That will give you time to research, learn, and decide what you need. There isn't any rush.
If you don't know much about bikes, buying from a local shop is a much better bet than buying online or second hand. You can get a pretty decent bike for about $600 to $800, leaving money left over for accessories such as a helmet, rack, fenders, etc.
You say you're mortified by the thought of walking into a shop, but how they treat you when you get there is a good indicator of whether it's a shop worth patronizing or not. Walk into lots of different shops. Ask questions. If they're snooty, walk right back out again. It's your money, they need to earn it.
There are a ton of hybrid bikes out there that are great bikes to start out on. The Trek FX gets raves on this forum. If you want a step-through, the Kona Coco, Norco City Glide, or Giant Via W will be versatile enough to start out with and keep going with. If you don't need a step-through frame, there are even more choices.
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Old 10-20-13, 12:12 PM
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these guys have it all pretty well covered...

first welcome aboard... and 60lbs is nothing to sneeze at... so good work there and keep it up.

for the bike... I would bring your current bike into a shop and see what they say about it... use it as a tool to check out a shop and their attitude. it might be as simple as an adjustment or it could be something is worn or bent... the shop should be able to tell you, if it's worth fixing get it fixed and enjoy it for a bit longer as you find the bike that is right for you...

I've gone to some shops that I won't step foot in again... others have been helpful despite me being a big guy and others have seriously gone out of their way to help me out... one of those shops is now 500+ miles away but if I find that I want a bike in a brand that he sells he stands a very good chance of getting my business even if it means I don't get the ease of after service (I do my own work anyway lol)... also note that different shops cater to different sorts of riders, some are more into MTBing, others roadie, some Tri and some more fitness or just a mix... the first MTB I ever bought (back in '96 at 16 y/o) I'm fairly certain the guys who worked there have never ridden a MTB off road... looking back I should have gone to another shop but at 16 I didn't know that.

I personally would go into every LBS you can get to in your area and when they ask if they can help be very specific about what you are looking for... or at least as specific as you can be, you aren't the first big person they've had come into the store and if they are worth their salt they will listen and point you in the right direction.

before you go in though you need to ask yourself what you are wanting out of a bike, do you have any goals? do you plan to just putz around the neighborhood doing a few miles or do you want to really get out and use it as a tool for weight loss/fitness etc.
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Old 10-20-13, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Morally
I'd prefer to keep it under $1000 total if that's possible, but I can probably go higher if I need to.
Really easy to get something decent for half that. Even the Wally bike may still be servicible. Keep riding it. Get a 15mm wrench to pack with you as part of a repair kit for fixing flats, since the wallys almost never come with quick release wheels. Ride with a spare tube or two, pump of CO2 inflator. (Some in here hate CO2 inflators, I like them-pick yer poison).

Hit the bike maintenence forum, and see if you can get someone at a LBS to show you how to maintain and service your bike. If you find a shop like that, get your upgrade from that shop. I am one of many people in here who advocate shopping the shop rather than the brand of bike. Many shops offer to tune you bike in 300 miles or thirty days. Tis is something you can learn to do yourself. For a lot of us in enhances the experince
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Old 10-20-13, 02:58 PM
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If you decide you do want a new bike instead of having your current one serviced...

I was afraid to walk into an LBS too. I assumed they were only for "real" riders...not me. I finally went into 3 in my area. They were all pretty friendly, but there was one in particular that i just felt more comfortable with. They spent a lot of time asking me questions about what kind of riding i wanted to do, my fitness level, etc. So, if you can, check out a few shops. Just start with some questions, see what kind of responses you get.

As mentioned earlier, the Trek FX is a good all around bike for road riding, greenways, and even some light dirt trails. I started with the FX and it was such a difference from my original $299 cheapie big box bike. I think equivalents in other brands are the Specialized Vita and Giant Escape.

You can get a very nice bike for your budget, but you probably don't need to spend that much unless you want a road bike.

Good luck with your shopping! Ask to do lots of test rides on a variety of bikes!

Last edited by Penny4; 10-20-13 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:35 PM
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You can also look around to see if there is a bike recyclery or Co-op in your area. They can teach you to maintain a bike, and they are typically very non-judgemental. They will often have used bikes for sale.
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Old 10-21-13, 12:22 AM
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Joining a bicycle co-op can really be a long term benefit. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars by learning how to do your own wrenching.

If I were you, I'd keep the mtb and just have it repaired. Afterwards, I'd research every LBS possible, in order to establish a good rapport so that I would feel comfortable enough to allow them to assist me in finding the right bike that truly suits my needs.

If you like mtbikes, then order from bikesdirect, join a co-op and do your own repairs and upgrades. Otherwise, have the LBS do the repairs for you.

Hybrids - Giant Escape, Marin Muirwoods, Jamis Coda Elite, KHS Urban Xpress

* Research the Salsa Vaya, the Surly Troll, and the Surly Ogre. These bikes are great all around bikes. They make both great commuters and tourers. Of course, they will also require a budget increase.

Last edited by WestPablo; 10-21-13 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 10-21-13, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Morally
Hi all. So, really the only thing I know about bikes is how to get on and ride. I've never really learned much about parts, or brands, or types. I was very active and fit into my early teens, but due in part to to severe depression and the resulting lifestyle, medications and stress eating, I'm now 30 years old and 330 pounds at maybe 5 foot 8. That's sadly after losing 60+ since around April from walking and trying to just eat normally. I've had a cheap "Wally World special" mountain bike for several years that I can't ride comfortably anymore because the chain has started to skip when peddling uphill, but it's lasted surprisingly long with nary a bent rim or broken spoke. I'd like to replace it, but I don't really know what to get? I'm mortified at the idea of going in to a bike shop, and I keep looking at different websites, but there are so many options that it just kind of gets overwhelming and I end up not buying anything. Can anyone recommend a bike for someone like me? I'd prefer to keep it under $1000 total if that's possible, but I can probably go higher if I need to.
My sister and my spouse are both morbidly obese. They both have found bike shops that treat them with respect and are helpful too. My feeling is that a person is most likely to do well in a bike shop if they come prepared. That means doing homework ahead of time so you are armed with the right questions. My worst experience with a bike shop was a number of years ago when I knew nothing at all about bikes and just wanted to get a bike to ride again after not riding since I was young. I had no idea what I wanted and what my aspirations might be. So, I was sold a comfort bike that was not comfortable and was too big. I think they sold me a cheap bike like they sell to many who seem to have only a casual interest in riding and may very well give it up. I was middle aged. I was fat. I didn't know what I wanted other than I had money for a bike. It wasn't until I educated myself (in large part through this forum) that I was armed to be a better shopper. The bike shops stepped up when they saw I was serious about biking and were much more helpful.

So, think about what kind of riding you might want to do. City streets? MUPs (mulituse paths)? unpaved trails? Ratty pavement or smooth? Long rides through the country? Rides to the grocery store to pick up a few things? Tell us more about what you envision and maybe we can help. If you have trouble thinking about what you might want maybe the best beginner possibility is a hybrid bike. If you go that route do not get one with a suspension fork or a suspension seat tube. These bikes tend to be weighty, slow and not lively. You might look at hybrid like the Trek FX7 series (7.1 on up), the Specialized hybrids like the Vita and the Cannondale hybrids like the Quick. If you have a Jamis dealer around the Jamis Coda is a nice ride. All of these bikes are well within your budget. Other big bike makers like Giant and Fuji and Raleigh have similar bikes for similar price points.

I also would not over pay for a bike. You might find you love biking so much that you want to do mile after mile, maybe doing rides of 50 or more miles. If you do you might be getting a drop bar road bike someday. Or, you may end up loving trails and want a mountain bike. Or, you could be like me who loves everything and ends up with multiple bikes.

Good luck and enjoy riding. Depending on where you live there might not be a lot of inventory to look at right now in bike shops. If that is the case you can get your Walmart bike tuned up and use it for the time being while you look.
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