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New,confused, looking to get started on a road 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.

New,confused, looking to get started on a road bike

Old 08-04-14, 07:08 PM
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New,confused, looking to get started on a road bike

So i am 6 foot and probably around 280lbs right now. I am looking to get a road bike to join some people i know and to get some much needed exercise. I am told i need a size 58 bike for my height but that i should purchase a certain type of frame because of my weight. The frame i needed just so happened to be the more expensive model, so i immediately felt like i was being duped. I was told carbon frames wont support me and i need tires with as many spokes as possible. I am pretty clueless about all of this. What i am looking for is best bang for your buck in the $700 dollar range. Jamis seems to be the dominate brand at the bike shops around here, but If i could get a deal on the internet and have it shipped that would be great. I don't know why but the Italian sounding brands always caught my eye hahaha
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Old 08-04-14, 07:15 PM
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Have you considered a flatbar road bike (aka hybrid)? There are probably many that would appeal to you. Look at the Giant Escape, Trek 7.5, Specialized, Fuji Absolute, etc. You might be happier with these bikes.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:19 PM
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I wanted something that I would be happy with even after i lost the weight. I know everyone says this but to me this weight is temporary. I have been here before and lost most of it. I already have a mountain bike which kinda fulfills that need and really wanted to get into road bikes
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Old 08-04-14, 07:19 PM
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Hello, and welcome.

You've found what may be the nicest corner of the internet.

You don't need one kind of bike vs another. You're not heavy enough to worry about different frames. Wheels might be a problem, but there's plenty of threads on that. 58 sounds about right, but the best bike for you is one you try and you like and you want to ride again and again. If nobody else likes it, really, who cares?

Let us know why you want to ride, what kind of rides (surface, terrain, distance, time) you're contemplating and do lots of searches here (there is a ton of good info -- check out the sticky threads to start).

And a road bike would be just fine. Drop bars give you more hand positions, and allow for more flexibility.

Feel free to ask whatever you need to know. And again, welcome.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:24 PM
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Thanks for the welcoming post. It would be straight paved road. My group rides about 20-30 miles a day. I want to lose weight obviously but it is also time doing something enjoyable. I have 2 jobs, go to graduate school and have 2 children and a wife. Part of it is getting out and doing something else. I remember reflecting a lot while riding my mountain bike and i would like more of the same on a road bike, again i just don't know which are worth the investment.
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Old 08-05-14, 08:24 AM
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just make sure you have solid wheels and go ride. i am 6'' 330lb and i ride a cannondale synapse 5 carbon 105 and it's great no problem with it i did change out the wheels for mavic a119 32h
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Old 08-05-14, 01:11 PM
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I wouldn't worry about carbon as a frame material. Wheels certainly need a bit of thought, a high spoke count would be a good plan.

Do you have a decent bike shop within travelling distance? Seeking their advice, test riding a few, these would help clarify your thoughts.
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Old 08-05-14, 03:19 PM
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Iam 6' 290lbs, a cpl weeks ago I purchased a Cannondale CAAD8 61cm. My first choice was a Synapse 105 Disc at 58cm, but after a test ride I fit better on the CAAD8 61cm and I wasn't impressed with the disc brakes on the Synapse. Not to mention I saved $500. I did change the tire size from stock 23s to 28s
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Old 08-05-14, 04:18 PM
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wow good deal on your caad 8 here in Canada the synapse 5 disk is $400 cheaper then the caad8. I do agree that the disc brakes are not the greatest for heavy riders my wife as one and for her at 115lb it works great
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Old 08-05-14, 04:34 PM
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You will get conflicting advice about this.

The oldschool advice is the more conservative voice, meaning you'll hear things like "you'll break carbon" and "get a hybrid until you lose weight." Sometimes the advice is "get a used mountain bike and put slicks on it."

The newschool advice is basically "get what you want, maybe pay attention to wheels, and go have fun." As manufacturing and process experience with frames has come along, things seem a little more tolerant to higher weights now compared to 3-5 years ago.
I'm more of a middle-ground on these. Some mfrs publish weight limits for their frames and forks. It's worth checking, knowing that there's PROBABLY a decent margin of safety in these numbers due to liability issues and mfg controls/tolerances. At your weight, I wouldn't expect you to be destroying wheels with any regularity. As others have posted, there are quite a few guys your size riding on same/similar rigs.

Personally, I started at 283 lb on a Giant Hybrid bike. At ~260 (I think), I moved to a steel-frame road bike with a carbon fork. I'm ~195 today. Early on, I had to rebuild a wheel due to breaking spokes and continued to have issues until I figured out how to "ride light" and properly mount/dismount, but thankfully (knock on wood) haven't had many issues since.
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Old 08-05-14, 06:27 PM
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For a road bike, you're going to be more constrained by your budget than by your weight.

If your friends are riding road bikes, you do want a road bike (with drops or flat bar -- more selection around with drops, especially in the used market).

I'd suggest looking for an aluminum frame with carbon fork. If you go with a new bike, probably the best group set you'll get is a Claris (or, if a prior year's model), maybe a Sora). Used, you might get Tiagra or even 105. (I'm using Shimano models because I'm stupid about the SRAM line -- but you get my drift.)

A nice consequence of having to go with a lower-end (good brand) bike is that the wheels will bear your weight. It's only when you get to the better, lighter wheels (with low spoke count, etc.) that they become an issue for Clydes and Athena.

You probably know this, but most road bike manufacturers have "race" lines and "endurance" lines. For example, Trek has the more racy Madrone and the more endurance-oriented Domane. You should try both, but I suspect you'll find the endurance bikes more comfortable.

Ironically, many of the cheaper road bikes come with skinnier tires (23); you may be more comfortable with the 25's.

If you do go the used route, have one of your road bike friends go along when you look at candidates. Most cyclists will be happy to do so; vicarious buying is the next best thing to actual buying.

Good luck!
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Old 08-05-14, 06:45 PM
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I know you mentioned road bike but when I hit 300lbs I started with a hybrid and went to a road bike later.
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Old 08-05-14, 07:07 PM
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My issue with starting off with a certain bike and moving to a completely different one is the money.The bike i buy now needs to last me a while. I tried out a Trek 1.2 58 and a Jamis 61 (not sure what, but was around $700 brand new) and immedietly i felt uncomfortable on the 61. Felt very big to me. I really liked the trek but it is my understanding that the trek is over $1000. Would these bikes come with higher spoke wheels or am i really looking at buying new ones? I also looked at the Giordano Libero and possible upgrading the wheels with the money i saved on a more expensive bike, but i see a lot of mixed reviews

I live in Northern NJ. There are several bike shops around me. Weather or not they are any good is still a mystery to me
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Old 08-05-14, 08:35 PM
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You might think about bikesdirect.com, you can get a lot of bike for your money. Everyone I've talked to seems to be satisfied with their Motobecanes, Here's one in your price range Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Motobecane Grand Record. You will have to be right on about the size, I assume you've ridden a 56cm and you're certain that's too small. Make sure you know the top tube length on your perfect fit bike, and match top tubes, not "58cm".

As far as high spoke count wheels, 32/36 wheels have been problemactic for me; I changed to riding 16/20 when 240, but I'm quite a bit lighter now. Good low spoke count wheels are damn strong. My two cents. Disclaimer, I ride Nugent's wheesets.

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Old 08-06-14, 07:30 AM
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wow. That's a nice bike at that price point.
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Old 08-06-14, 11:34 AM
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Definitely consider the road bike with drop handlebars vs. flat bars. You get more hand positions (on flats, on corners, on hoods) which relieves hand fatigue. You should be able to find lots of choices for solid entry-level aluminum bikes in that sub-$1000 price range. Trek, Giant, Specialized and lots of others all have excellent choices in that "starter road bike" category. I rode a Trek 1000 for years until I crashed it, and I was in the 250 pound range at that point. If there's a Performance Bike shop near you, they also have good pricing on their Fuji line.

Carbon frames are going to take you well over your price point.

My advice: get a solid entry-level bike, get it expertly fit to you, and get out & ride!
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Old 08-06-14, 11:47 AM
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At 6' you may be anywhere from a 56 to a 61, depending on the individual manufacturer and frame. There is no uniform standard for frame measurement. You need to go to a knowledgeable shop and get sized.
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Old 08-06-14, 03:42 PM
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IMHO in your price range you will need to keep whatever wheels come on the bike you buy. Have a competent wheel builder finish the wheels by stress relieving and tensioning. This is much more important than spoke count. Even high spoke wheels will break spokes if not properly tensioned. unless you can find a good used bike carbon seems to be out of your price range. Bang for buck and if you are mechanically inclined then Bikes Direct may be a good route. I am mechanically inclined but I don't go that route. All of my bikes were in the "I can afford at the time" zone and price never was the most important consideration.
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Old 08-07-14, 07:25 AM
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Thankyou all for your advice. I may try and see about something used on craigslist if everything seems to be out of my range locally. I have no idea about a place i can get wheels worked on around here but then again i have not really asked around too much. That is something i will look into. The bike in the link up top looks great and i will have to see if there is a shop nearby that sells them so i can actually check it out. Thanks a lot everyone.

One other question. I noticed in riding some bikes that the distance and feel of the handle bars while reaching for the gears and brakes was uncomfortable. Is this a standard measurement or does it differ from bike to bike? Or is it something i just get used to?
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Old 08-07-14, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 8figgas
Iam 6' 290lbs, a cpl weeks ago I purchased a Cannondale CAAD8 61cm. My first choice was a Synapse 105 Disc at 58cm, but after a test ride I fit better on the CAAD8 61cm and I wasn't impressed with the disc brakes on the Synapse. Not to mention I saved $500. I did change the tire size from stock 23s to 28s
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Old 08-07-14, 09:33 AM
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This would be a good starter bike:

Specialized Bicycle Components

When I bought mine I was 6'1" - ~320lbs, now I'm at 263 and its still a good bike. It's held up fine for over 1000 miles now. I got the Expert Disc. I like the Disc brakes at our weight. I kind of wish I would have gone for the Roubaix now and taken the plunge into Carbon.

At the moment, I am looking at these bikes because they offer lighter weight, stronger material, better parts and theoretically a more comfortable material to ride:

Save Up to 60% Off Titanium Cyclocross Bicycles | Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom Cross Team Titanium | Cross Bikes

Save Up To 60% Off Titanium Cyclocross Bicycles | Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom Cross Team Titanium | Cross Bikes

Specialized Bicycle Components
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Old 08-07-14, 10:19 AM
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My best advice is to a find a good local bike shop and befriend everyone in there... ask to speak to the owner and tell them what you want. While you can buy bikes online (and basically I usually do) for your first road bike get it from a shop so you can be properly fitted. Road bikes are very particular and while I am a 53 on one I may be a 54 or 51 on another... it depends on that bike's geometry.

All major brand are fine and have good models. For your price range you can't be all that particular but you should be able to get a decent bike. Most likely material will be aluminum which can be "harsh" but add wider tires and the ride smooths out.

Again go to a shop and get fitted... learn what you can through the process so when you are ready to upgrade you can then do CL or some online retailer... on the first road bike just so many adjustments to take into consideration - stand over height, reach length, placement, crank length.... it goes on... support your LBS and in return, you will be better satisfied. It's like the adage "measure twice and cut once"... you need to go through the process with a person knowledgeable in bikes in order not to have to buy again because the bike is too small, or too tall, or too uncomfortable etc.
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Old 08-07-14, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I see what you are saying. However a browse if craigslist came up with this 2009 Trek 2.1 Compact. Assuming I go to look at it and feel comfortable riding it. Is this bike a good deal at 500-550 or are the parts too outdated? It is my understanding that the 2.1 is a pretty nice bike but it is already 5-6 years old. Is a cheaper but newer bike better than this one?

Trek 2.1 Road Bike 60cm
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Old 08-07-14, 11:15 AM
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Personally I am not a fan of CL buys unless you are very informed and know what you are doing... would you be able to assess the components/frame/wheels and the condition they are in? If not, and you don't have an informed person to take with you to see the bike (you would not buy it sight unseen right?) then pass... buy from a shop. That way if any problems you can bring it in... don't know you and if you are a mechanic and know something about bikes, then consider buying online but if you are a "newbie" and have stuff to learn... you will thank me later for saying buy from a shop...

Plus you really have to spend time sitting on a bike. With a CL's buy you will be allow, if even, to ride it around a parking lot... with a bike shop buy they put the bike on a trainer and you can ride it for hours, if you want (and I recommend at least 40 minutes), while they adjust the reach, stem, crank length, saddle height etc. And you get to find out if the bike is comfortable for you.

Again remember "measure twice, cut once..."

PS the above bike is very low end Trek... price is probably not a good deal but I like the colors. No reason to buy a bike though... although it is a reason I have (and ashamed to admit)

BTW you mentioned Jamis - not a bad buy in the $700 price range. I've notice Jamis' tend to have better components than rival Treks, Specialize, Giant etc - guess they need to try harder to win customers but they are decent bikes and definately a value in your price range
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Old 08-07-14, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Armyofscipio
Thankyou all for your advice. I may try and see about something used on craigslist if everything seems to be out of my range locally. I have no idea about a place i can get wheels worked on around here but then again i have not really asked around too much. That is something i will look into. The bike in the link up top looks great and i will have to see if there is a shop nearby that sells them so i can actually check it out. Thanks a lot everyone.

One other question. I noticed in riding some bikes that the distance and feel of the handle bars while reaching for the gears and brakes was uncomfortable. Is this a standard measurement or does it differ from bike to bike? Or is it something i just get used to?
The reach to the bars is usually adjustable by one way or another. The reach from bars to levers not as much however some models do have slight adjustments. IIRC some levers/ shifters come in smaller sizes with closer reach.

Originally Posted by Armyofscipio
Thanks for the advice. I see what you are saying. However a browse if craigslist came up with this 2009 Trek 2.1 Compact. Assuming I go to look at it and feel comfortable riding it. Is this bike a good deal at 500-550 or are the parts too outdated? It is my understanding that the 2.1 is a pretty nice bike but it is already 5-6 years old. Is a cheaper but newer bike better than this one?

Trek 2.1 Road Bike 60cm
I'd pass. I think for that level of components it is way over priced. Consider you can for $200 more get brand new with warranty and after sale shop support. Often shops will give with purchase a 6-12 month free adjustments or repairs.
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