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Introduction & Buying My First Bike

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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.

Introduction & Buying My First Bike

Old 05-06-14, 04:55 PM
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Introduction & Buying My First Bike

Hi all,

I'm new to the forum, and am interested in starting up biking. I am 6'2" and weigh-in at 305 lbs (down from 420 lbs last May). I haven't really ridden a bike since grade school. Though I'v been walking & seeing a trainer at the gym 2d/wk, I'd like to add some exercise that I'll can real enjoy.

I'm looking for advice on getting started and picking out and customizing my first bike.

When I first started researching this, I assumed I would have to do much customization so the components don't break under the load: upgrade seat post, pedals, build a 36-spoke wheel, etc. However, after a day of reading this forum it sounds like most of you folks started with stock components and had no issues. That's a relief! I also kinda assumed that most Clydesdales choose mountain-bikes because they are designed to take more stress - but it seems that is not necessarily the case either.

I anticipate most of my biking will be daily commute to work and weekend fitness/pleasure rides. My commute is a bit tricky. I live on an island near Seattle. It is popular destination for bikers on the weekends because of the hills. But these hills are what have kept me from starting. There is little biking I can do with tackling these hills. In fact, just leaving my house, I start with a 15% grade gravel driveway. I have a feeling I will be walking my bike the 100 yards to the end of my driveway, at least for a while. The ride to the ferry is about 8 miles, once I cross the water to Seattle, I have about a 2 mile ride through downtown to my office. So the commute is some dirt road, 8 miles of hilly rural roads, and 2 miles of urban commute. Until I'm fit, I'll probably initially ride 2 miles to a bus stop and put the bike on the bus over the island hills then resume the commute in Seattle.

I'm not expecting to do a lot of off-road stuff, except the half mile of dirt road (though there is a lot of opportunity for it where I live).

The first bike that attracted my attention was the Surly Ogre. It seems to be a pretty good all-round bike, capable of off-road and on-road. The price tag (~$1600) seems a bit steep for a first bike. I don't want to buy a cheap bike, but I've seen some bikes in the $700-800 range that look nice as well (i.e. Kona Dr Dew or Jamis Coda series)

Sooo... I'd welcome any feedback on the bikes I mentioned above, particularly in terms of compatibility to Clydesdale riding. Or feedback on the process of picking a bike and whether I need to customize it etc.

Thanks, this looks like a really great forum!

thomco
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Old 05-06-14, 05:51 PM
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It's a 29er

Welcome to the forum. WOW great weight loss so far!! I don't know anything about those bikes except they look pretty good. The best bet would be go try different bikes out. Every manufacturer has differnt ideas about how to best build a bike. One manufactureres geometry may just feel better to you. I always feel that within a given price point all name brand bikes are of about equal quality. The fit and feel are the most important.

I'm 6'3" and feel much more comfortable on a 29er MTB. The 26" felt small and I was cramped. The bike shop gave me a great deal on a 26" MTB but I went with the 29er for fit and comfort.

Also as some may say one may just look better to you. Make you say I WANT to ride that bike.

Best of luck!!

Bill

Last edited by LongT; 05-06-14 at 05:58 PM. Reason: Add info
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Old 05-06-14, 07:14 PM
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Whatever you do, get a triple. 300 lb + lots of hills... you'll thank me later. Honestly, I wish I had a triple lots of days.

And congrats... and welcome to the forum.
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Old 05-06-14, 07:23 PM
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I like the concept of the Ogre for you. It checks a lot of boxes and would be a versatile commuter that could handle some off road. Quality steel frame, nice components, plenty of gears for hills, and sturdy wheels. You need to decide if you are ready to spend $1,600 on a bike.
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Old 05-06-14, 07:27 PM
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Welcome to BF and congratulations on the weight loss! Sounds like you live in a great place for cycling once you get your fitness up a bit.

Enjoy your ride!
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Old 05-06-14, 07:38 PM
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I am 250 pounds. After breaking spokes on two of my bicycles I bought a Worksman industrial bicycle to ride until i lost some more weight. There is no breaking these spokes.
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Old 05-06-14, 07:58 PM
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If you decide that you don't need to spend $1600 on a bike, you could buy a used bike on craigslist. You could even pay an agreeable LBS to be a third party and inspect a few bikes before buying one, because your new to all this, which would support your LBS, scare off anyone selling stolen bikes, and if there is anything wrong with the bike it would give you haggling room knowing how much it will cost to fix. Then you'd have money left to customize your ride. Buy a pump, helmet, lights, fenders, tools, a second bike, and all other things a new commuter might need. The hole can get deep. How far are you going?
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Old 05-06-14, 09:23 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Great job on the weight loss so far! I have a Breezer Storm Comp 29er. I'm sitting at 325 lbs right now and so far so good! Breezer also has the Greenway LX which I liked but my LBS gave me a good deal on the Storm. Both are in your $700 - $800 range.
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Old 05-06-14, 09:55 PM
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The three bikes on my profile have held up plenty fine (no issues at all) under 330 -> 300 lbs. of regular riding weight . . . Get the model YOU want and have fun!
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Old 05-07-14, 07:01 AM
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+1 on the "triple" .... that's really good advice
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Old 05-07-14, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2
I like the concept of the Ogre for you. It checks a lot of boxes and would be a versatile commuter that could handle some off road. Quality steel frame, nice components, plenty of gears for hills, and sturdy wheels. You need to decide if you are ready to spend $1,600 on a bike.
+1

Trust me, you won't regret investing in the Surly Ogre! It's quite probably one of the most versatile bikes in the world, in terms of tire clearance, brake choices, fenders, and rack compatibility. $1600 is trivial when you consider that the bike will become a principal source of much needed exercise and pleasure for the remainder of your entire life span.

Good Luck and welcome to BF!
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Old 05-07-14, 07:49 AM
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I commute and tour (on and off pavement) on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. It's a sturdy, comes in a bunch of sizes and has a triple. There is also a disc version. I am not going to win any races on it, but it is a good getting around bike. And if you ever decide to do some touring (I have started two long tours from Seattle), you would be set bike-wise.
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Old 05-18-14, 02:01 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions


UPDATE: Over the past week, I visited several LBS and test rode several bikes. Ultimately, I chose to go with the Surly Ogre. There was just a whole lot to like about this bike! I've ordered the bike through one of the shops, and it should be arriving Tuesday and put together by EOD Wednesday.


For the most part, I'll be going with the stock parts on the bike. I want to add a rack, fenders, and water cage. And there are a few parts, I might want to change:


First, the shifters. Other shifters had indicators on the shifter to tell me what gear I was in. Some of them also were trigger design - single click to shift one gear up or down. Maybe it's just because I'm a newbie, I found those other shifters easier to use. I'm planning to discuss my options with the bike shop when they start putting the bike together. But I'm looking for any suggestions from this board. The handlebars on the Ogre are Jones Loop - which is a kind of swept back closed H-bar. I don't know if that limits the type of shifter I can use.


The other thing I think I'd change is the tire. The Surly Ogre come stock with WTB Nano 29er Comp Tire. These are pretty nobby tires - great for the trail, but most of my riding with be on the pavement. I'm thinking about switching to something like the Schwalbe Marathon tire. I wonder how much rider weight considerations should effect tire selection. Welcome any feedback on that topic as well, and will be searching the Clydesdale forum for discussions on tires for big guys like us.


I'm assuming (hoping) the bike shop will allow me to pay the difference between the parts that come with the bike and the replacements I'd prefer. Maybe it depends on how easily they can reuse/sell those parts I don't want. But if that is not the case, should I stick with the stock tires for now and buy what I want only when they wear out. How long does it take to go through a set of tires?


Thanks again,
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Old 05-18-14, 03:40 AM
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Hi there, Thomco!

Glad to see that you went with the Ogre!

Insofar as your shifters and tires are concerned, I most probably would have discussed those things prior to actually pulling the trigger. However, these people most probably will still be willing to accommodate you in terms of satisfying your component desires. As they'd like to keep your business and have you recommend them to others, in order to have their business grow.

If I were you, I'd call the LBS first thing in the morning and ask the manager about my options in term of properly outfitting the Ogre according to my own specifications, instead of going with stock components.

The convenience in discussing modifications or stock changes prior to actually paying for the bike, places the ball in your court. You could easily just walk away and the LBS loses a sale! However, after the fact, the ball is placed in the court of the LBS, because the sale has already been made and certain components needed, may have been ordered already.

Surly just might send all the stock components along with the frame and anything outside of that delivery, just might be considered as a replacement part for which you may be required to pay. I dunno, we'll just have to wait and see, because I'm only speculating here.

In truth, we're not certain exactly what's been ordered, or what the operating procedure is with respect to this LBS in particular. Therefore, just give them a call in order to shed more light upon your options. Whatever the case may be, you've made an excellent choice and I'm most certain that you're gonna be happy with it!

Sometimes, the operating procedures are printed upon the sales receipt....


* Keep us posted for more possible suggestions

Last edited by WestPablo; 05-18-14 at 03:51 AM.
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