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Bike shopping for the first time ever - can you add to the list?

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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.

Bike shopping for the first time ever - can you add to the list?

Old 10-30-14, 07:56 AM
  #1  
americanrecluse
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Bike shopping for the first time ever - can you add to the list?

I'm 44, 250lbs and 5'7". My last bike was a 10-speed from Sears. I was 13 years old. I have a bum knee and will need full extension when I pedal (my knee doesn't bend much beyond 90 degrees, although I'm working on it). I want an upright seating position and a handful of gears. I'm super duper out of shape. The riding I plan to do is neighborhood riding, plus a nearby paved bike path.

I'm looking at the Jamis Citizen, the Specialized Expedition, and the SE Palisade. I know I shouldn't buy based on looks but I also know myself - I have to like the looks if I'm going to actually take it out. I dislike the swoopy look of the low-entry type bikes.

Have you any suggestions on what bikes to try? Is there other info I can provide to help you help me?

Thanks!
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Old 10-30-14, 08:22 AM
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There are a number of bicycle in the comfort category that have more upright riding positions, every manufactuer has on in the plush or endurance category. I ride a Specialized Roubaix and love it, they also make the Ruby in a female version; Trek has the Domane series as well. Many good bikes in this category.
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Old 10-30-14, 08:36 AM
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What ever bike you end up buying please read this regarding your knee.
Range of Motion Limitations & Crank Length
I recently switched from 170 mm cranks to 135 mm cranks and my knee pain vanished while riding.
Good luck.
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Old 10-30-14, 08:36 AM
  #4  
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The best bikes for knee problems are recumbents. Sun Bicycles - Product
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Old 10-30-14, 08:47 AM
  #5  
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Raleigh has the Revenio series which is more of an endurance geometry. My Revenio 2.0 is 9 gears on the rear cassette with two on the crankset. You can change the crankset out to have more of a touring gearset. I don't even think at your weight you would have to have a rear wheel built as the stock wheel lasted me almost 70 miles (it is out of true with loose spokes) before I had the bike shop get me a heavier duty rim.

www.bikenhike.com has a couple of the Revenio 3.0 for $990.00 as they are last years models. My Revenio 2.0 is an aluminum frame with carbon fiber fork and weighs in at 20 pounds.

Which ever bike you choose make sure to get it fitted to you.
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Old 10-30-14, 09:19 AM
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I'm not going to tell you what I think you should buy. I'm going to tell you that I think you should go talk to a good shop and ride everything you can. It's amazing how two bikes of similar design from two manufacturers can feel so different. My wife bought a Cannondale Quick. In the process, she rode the Trek FX, Specialized something-arother, and a Giant. Sorry, don't remember all of the model names. The Quick was by far the most comfortable for her. I had the same experience in test riding endurance road bikes.

You are fortunate that you live in any are with some great shops. OK, only know of the Jamis dealer in your neighborhood, but you have Wheel World down south, In-Cycle to the East, Helen's near the beach, etc. etc. etc. I'm sure you can ride just about everything by visiting a few shops and see what works best for you.
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Old 10-30-14, 09:26 AM
  #7  
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I also have ROM limitations, and almost any Hybrid will give you what you are after. Seat height will determine how far you have to bend your knee....... and repetition will work it looser and farther. I start out about 15 degrees to 90 degrees, and can "almost get to 115 after a few minutes, as long as I keep cranking............

The Expedition will definitely keep you upright...............
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Old 10-30-14, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by americanrecluse View Post
I'm 44, 250lbs and 5'7". My last bike was a 10-speed from Sears. I was 13 years old. I have a bum knee and will need full extension when I pedal (my knee doesn't bend much beyond 90 degrees, although I'm working on it). I want an upright seating position and a handful of gears. I'm super duper out of shape. The riding I plan to do is neighborhood riding, plus a nearby paved bike path.

I'm looking at the Jamis Citizen, the Specialized Expedition, and the SE Palisade. I know I shouldn't buy based on looks but I also know myself - I have to like the looks if I'm going to actually take it out. I dislike the swoopy look of the low-entry type bikes.

Have you any suggestions on what bikes to try? Is there other info I can provide to help you help me?

Thanks!
Buying a bike you like to look at and ride is probably more important than we want to admit but I say go for it!

Anyway, why do you want an upright seating position? Just curious. I have very little cartilage left in one knee but cycling doesn't appear to bother it much. I can't run more than about 20 yards before pain sets in. Your range of motion issues may not be a problem but you'll need to test that theory yourself.

If you want to get a little crazy with a more upright seating position, check out "crank forward" bikes - here's one: Zenetik

One of the people who no longer posts here much swears by his and says it's significantly more comfortable than a standard diamond frame bike.
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Old 10-30-14, 10:48 AM
  #9  
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I messed up my right knee some walking a lot, and even jogging/running downhill some, too far too fast too soon more or less.

The good news is that cycling was nearly zero impact compared to trying to walk some and recover from that knee injury, I was able to rack up over 300 miles the first month back riding. I weighed 280 the day I got my bike out of the shed out back, that was June 1 2014, I weighed in at 210.6 today....and still dropping :-).

My bike was a Trek 7200 hybrid.

The handle bar type and where you set the stem (many bikes have an adjustable stem angle and height, this effectively raises and lowers the handle bars) pretty much determines how upright you sit.

I think in the Citizen I would focus on the non suspension versions......suspension for pavement in my opinion just adds weight, complexity, and offers no benefit, and costs $$ that take away from other important parts of the bike within a given price range. The Citized has a low enough gear to go about anywhere really. 700x38 tires are pretty good to start, the 36 spoke wheels are a good feature too.

If there are many hills where you would want to ride the Palisade is really limited on gearing, if you can stick to flat ground it is lots simpler than the others because it does not have a front Derailleur........but really windy days, and or hills might make it less than fun to ride some days :-).

Bill

Last edited by Willbird; 10-30-14 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 10-30-14, 11:53 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by americanrecluse View Post
I'm 44, 250lbs and 5'7". My last bike was a 10-speed from Sears. I was 13 years old. I have a bum knee and will need full extension when I pedal (my knee doesn't bend much beyond 90 degrees, although I'm working on it). I want an upright seating position and a handful of gears. I'm super duper out of shape. The riding I plan to do is neighborhood riding, plus a nearby paved bike path.

I'm looking at the Jamis Citizen, the Specialized Expedition, and the SE Palisade. I know I shouldn't buy based on looks but I also know myself - I have to like the looks if I'm going to actually take it out. I dislike the swoopy look of the low-entry type bikes.

Have you any suggestions on what bikes to try? Is there other info I can provide to help you help me?

Thanks!
I am putting in my vote for team Expedition.. My mother owns this bike and it is very nice, quality and comfort. I ride it when I am visiting them at the beach. I have no experience with the others mentioned.
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Old 10-30-14, 12:32 PM
  #11  
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I have a couple of Townies, a Diamondback comfort bike, a Diamondback hybrid and a Trek hybrid. The Townie is the easiest on the knees because of the crank-forward design. The ladies version does have the swoopy frame that you don't like, but the men's doesn't. One thing about the Townies is that they aren't very fast. I was riding the Townie because I was too heavy for our other bikes. Now I've lost enough weight to ride them all, but I still ride the Townie most often because I ride with my daughter who's on a 20" kids bike, and the Townie goes about as fast as she can.
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Old 10-30-14, 12:40 PM
  #12  
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Thank you for the link, Midtown!

Wanderer - that is exactly what I'm hoping for, that riding will help loosen things up a bit.

TrojanHorse - good question about the upright seating position and honestly I don't know why I want it. I don't have a big belly but I fear being uncomfortable.

Willbird - that's good to know about the Palisade. That might just strike it from my list. And congrats on your great progress with your weight. You guys are so inspiring!

Judi - I thought about the Townie but I was standing waiting to cross a street when someone rode by on one, and judging by his calves I thought it looked like he was working really hard.

All - I definitely plan to hit up a couple bike shops and let them tell me what to try. My hope is to find one or more shops that have more than one of the bikes that I should try, but given what so many of you have said here, it looks like that's going to be true just about any shop.

Last edited by americanrecluse; 10-30-14 at 12:44 PM. Reason: I left out most of my reply!
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Old 10-30-14, 07:43 PM
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Another thing to ponder... you probably will be uncomfortable with whatever you choose and your tastes will likely change if you stick with it no matter what you buy, so it might be good (mentally) to get something now and just expect that you'll want something different in 2 years.
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Old 10-30-14, 07:51 PM
  #14  
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Don't expect your first bike to be your ONLY bike! I started with a Giant Suede comfort cruiser . . . And 18 months later have added a road hybrid and then, finally, a true road bike! But, there is no way I would have been comfortable starting on a road bike.

Just get something you want to ride now (it doesn't have to be brand new) . . . And move to others as you become more comfortable with biking overall.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-30-14, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by kaisersling View Post
I am putting in my vote for team Expedition.. My mother owns this bike and it is very nice, quality and comfort. I ride it when I am visiting them at the beach. I have no experience with the others mentioned.
Well, here's a vote of ho-hum regarding the Expedition... It's heavy. Like 34 lb heavy. The gears.... 1st is not useful unless you're climbing Mt. Everest. 7th is for going downhill on Mt. Everest. 6th is also not very useful. 2nd is for uphill. So you end up with 3 gears. Between the gears and the weight (and my 55 year old engine) uphills are not fun. On a flat road I can go forever.

Now the good. The bike is very responsive, supremely comfortable, and the tires and fork absorb a lot of what would end up on me. The build quality is very good considering the price except those nasty aluminum screw insert thingies that you bolt water bottles and the like - they need care.

To address the gearing you could get the Expedition Elite (or something) that has a triple front derailleur (thank you spelling checker). Also awesome support from my LBS, very knowledgeable people and lots of info on the web.

Finally, if you plan to add a bike computer with sensors, the bike's shape requires some thought (see my post with pics about installing a Sigma ROX 6.0). Overall, I like the bike but would go for something lighter.
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Old 10-30-14, 10:08 PM
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Hello and WELCOME!

I can't speak to knee issues but I'm also 5' 7" and when I started back to riding in summer 2011 I weighed above 250.

i did not think a road bike could hold my weight so I did not even consider them. I ended up buying a Trek 7.2 FX. This is me the first time I made it the 8.5 miles to the beach from my house.


The next spring I really got serious as I had only lost 2 lbs from the known weight I started at. I met some other ladies to ride with and found I wanted the road bike to keep up. I purchased the road bike when I was still above 240.


I am now down to 213 and this picture was taken at my most recent century


I have hip issues as well as mild lumbar spinal stenosis and walking is not easy but I can ride my bike all day.

I thought a road bike would be uncomfortable too but have found it to be my most comfortable bike. My FX barely gets out now.
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Old 10-31-14, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Another thing to ponder... you probably will be uncomfortable with whatever you choose and your tastes will likely change if you stick with it no matter what you buy, so it might be good (mentally) to get something now and just expect that you'll want something different in 2 years.
That is very wise, TrojanHorse, and you and Jimbosays are absolutely right - that this is a temporary bike and my body and goals will change as I ride it.
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Old 10-31-14, 05:53 AM
  #18  
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Beachgrad05 - wow wow wow look at you! What an inspiration! I have seen that Trek 7.2 mentioned so many times that I will have to add it to the list.
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Old 10-31-14, 05:58 AM
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Nicely done. Keep on keep'n on...


QUOTE=Beachgrad05;17264579]Hello and WELCOME!

I can't speak to knee issues but I'm also 5' 7" and when I started back to riding in summer 2011 I weighed above 250.

i did not think a road bike could hold my weight so I did not even consider them. I ended up buying a Trek 7.2 FX. This is me the first time I made it the 8.5 miles to the beach from my house.


The next spring I really got serious as I had only lost 2 lbs from the known weight I started at. I met some other ladies to ride with and found I wanted the road bike to keep up. I purchased the road bike when I was still above 240.


I am now down to 213 and this picture was taken at my most recent century


I have hip issues as well as mild lumbar spinal stenosis and walking is not easy but I can ride my bike all day.

I thought a road bike would be uncomfortable too but have found it to be my most comfortable bike. My FX barely gets out now.[/QUOTE]
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Old 10-31-14, 06:41 AM
  #20  
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Just so we are on the same page here though :-).....................biking is good, I love it, and it is good for me, but strictly controlling my total caloric intake has been the real key to becoming a smaller person :-).

I use Myfitnesspal, I have a 184 day streak.....every single day logged since I started :-). I have it set on "Active" and "lose 2 lbs a week"...and it reduces cals as you go...every 10 lbs it reduces your calories, it just chopped me to 1880.....you get credit for exercise and can eat some of that back, but I only use about 100 of that every day unless I have something epic planned riding wise, Metric, 75 miles (did one of each this summer).

Bill
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Old 10-31-14, 06:49 AM
  #21  
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Oh yes, I do have MyFitnessPal. I find it easier to control my food intake when I'm exercising regularly. I think it's mental for me. Like, I don't want to "cancel out" the exercise with a bag of sour cream and onion chips, so I don't eat them or stop at the first handful, that sort of thing.
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Old 10-31-14, 08:21 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Midtown View Post
Nicely done. Keep on keep'n on...


QUOTE=Beachgrad05;17264579]Hello and WELCOME!

I can't speak to knee issues but I'm also 5' 7" and when I started back to riding in summer 2011 I weighed above 250.

i did not think a road bike could hold my weight so I did not even consider them. I ended up buying a Trek 7.2 FX. This is me the first time I made it the 8.5 miles to the beach from my house.


The next spring I really got serious as I had only lost 2 lbs from the known weight I started at. I met some other ladies to ride with and found I wanted the road bike to keep up. I purchased the road bike when I was still above 240.


I am now down to 213 and this picture was taken at my most recent century


I have hip issues as well as mild lumbar spinal stenosis and walking is not easy but I can ride my bike all day.

I thought a road bike would be uncomfortable too but have found it to be my most comfortable bike. My FX barely gets out now.
[/QUOTE]

Gotta love the smiles!
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Old 10-31-14, 09:23 AM
  #23  
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Can't speak about weight issues seeing as i weigh less than most people's girlfriends and wives do. However i can speak about knee pain... thank you marine corps. I guess there are consequences to sending a 110 lb guy carrying a 60 lb pack over miles of rough terrain.

I can pretty much assure you that your knees are going to be the limiting factor in your mileage. It will get better though. A lot better infact, turns out biking is excellent physio for knees. My knees work better now than they have in 10 years. You just have to make it past the first month, don't give up!

Also a 1/4 inch change in seat height can make a huge difference in knee comfort. Most people's seats are too low. Have a someone knowledgeable help you set your seat height.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

PS... i switched from a road bike to a Trek FX. It's now highly modified and i love it. Definitely test ride some sort of FX series.

Last edited by EvilWeasel; 10-31-14 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 10-31-14, 09:46 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by americanrecluse View Post
Oh yes, I do have MyFitnessPal. I find it easier to control my food intake when I'm exercising regularly. I think it's mental for me. Like, I don't want to "cancel out" the exercise with a bag of sour cream and onion chips, so I don't eat them or stop at the first handful, that sort of thing.
I tried the "biking but eat like a horse who has a tapeworm" back 20 years ago, did not work, tried and succeeded cutting from 300+ to under 200 with very little exercise outside of work, that worked. But this time is the first time I have put the biking and the cutting together at the same time, and it REALLY works :-).

Work for me is over 6000 steps too, and the same flight of stairs up and down probably at least 30 times a shift. Every person to some degree is variable about how much effort is in their work day. Most programs give ZERO credit for work related exercise....technically "exercise" is only counted as something we do not "have" to do, but do for the health or training benefit, but ignoring vocation and what is involved in that IMHO does not give us an accurate basis for comparison.

When I cut before I say I did zero exercise really, BUT I was still all over a 125,000 square foot building that had two production lines down the middle, that required 6' of stairs again at least 20-30 times a shift, and sometimes that shift was 12 hours, so my "nothing" is not equal to other folks "nothing" :-).

One benefit I reaped from getting thinner and more fit is that I do not use the handrails on the stairs any more, it may not sound like much, but it took a few weeks really to get into that habit, and you use a lot more core muscles climbing stairs that way if you can do it safely :-). I never really noticed how much upper body was contributing to climbing them until I just stopped using the handrails :-).
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Old 10-31-14, 10:05 AM
  #25  
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EvilWeasel - my bad knee is from repeated injury so to that extent we are probably on the same sort of journey! I appreciate your comment, that it's going to be hard and maybe not that much fun at first, but that it will get easier. I need to keep this in mind.

If I wind up buying Specialized, there's a concept store here and I thought I would pay for the fancy fitting if I have the funds (or go back for it later if I don't). Also there's that helpful link from Midtown about crank length, which I think will be really helpful.

Willbird - I know what you mean about handrails, and I do indeed use them. I see people breeze by me at a trot on the stairs and think "how do you do that?" when I know I used to do it too. One day that'll be me again.

You guys, I'm so glad I posted here. You're all awesome and I feel so hopeful!

Last edited by americanrecluse; 10-31-14 at 10:09 AM. Reason: I can't spell.
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