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I'm a fat bastard looking for a steel ride

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I'm a fat bastard looking for a steel ride

Old 04-11-21, 03:12 PM
  #1  
Anatolia
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I'm a fat bastard looking for a steel ride

Former athlete who has taken his "I don't care about life anymore" knocks, I've put on some pounds over the years. Well, happy to report I've regained that "I do care now" myopia and want to get back into riding hard again. I've got like 60-70-80 pounds I need to lose. Yeah, yeah. Keep the fat jokes to yourself because it wasn't that long ago I was on the other side making them with you. Point is -- I'm still athletic to alter course and can be sickly intense and obsessed when it comes to commitment towards my goal.

So in a nutshell, I'm buying a steel bike and since I enjoy long distance (90-95% pavement) riding and could give a rip about being in a 'racer' position -- a touring bike seems ideal. Right? Well I don't want some tank either so a light or credit card touring bike seems ideal? Sure. Only problem is such marketing gimmicks ten years ago when I bought my last touring elite bike have changed. I'm seeing things like 'Adventure' bike and all sorts of things. But it would seem bikes like (no particular branding order here) Surly, Trek, Salsa, and Kona still come into play. There have been several threads in this forum addressing the pros and cons of each. But I'm giving you the opportunity to pipe in and call me a fat bastard -- wait I just said please don't -- ok I'm giving you the opportunity to call me the skinny challenged or equivalent. Ok, I'm really hoping to get your opinions on the best steel bikes out there that can handle a load (me and my 5-10lb) paneers. I seriously doubt I will ever go beyond the 50 miles out and 50 miles back thing so having things like bar end shifters is not a must since my wife could easily find me (save your wife jokes AND fat jokes please). What probably does matter is the lower end (or granny) gears for some hill climbing this area is notorious for. Again more evidence pointing towards a 'touring' or 'adventure' or 'steel' bike that meets the requirement of handling weight, a sturdy ride, a more upright position, and pannier bags to stuff things in there for good Lord who knows what.

Thoughts? Opinions? Fat bas--- err skinny challenged?
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Old 04-11-21, 03:29 PM
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You refer to yourself as “fat“ about a dozen times, and you seem to think that this should drive the bike recommendations – but you don’t tell us how much you weigh…?

You mentioned some good brands - Surly and Kona in particular have plenty of steel framed bikes that will suit you. Just start looking at them. Sounds like you’ve bought a decent bike before, you understand the gearing options. What do you need to know from this forum?

Last edited by Koyote; 04-11-21 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 04-11-21, 03:42 PM
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Welcome to the forums. There are plenty of touring rigs out there, and other variations on the touring or light touring theme. I ride a 2012 Salsa Casserol, though I have changed out the wheels on it twice now. Back in 2012 only Salsa and its QBP sister brand Surly made this type of bike. These days, almost all the big and small brands make this type of bike. Some call it an adventure bike, others a gravel bike, bike packing bike. And of course, if you want something really sturdy, the Surly Long Haul Trucker and Trek 520 are still in production. I am pretty certain the Casserol is out of production, but I believe the Vaya is still in production. All City, another QBP brand makes the Space Horse. Kona makes the Sutra, as well as the Rove. Jamis makes the Renegade. Fairdale makes a bike called the Weekender.
This is not an exhaustive list. I am sure you can find other nice bikes out there.

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Old 04-11-21, 03:55 PM
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Why not oversized aluminum?

Cannondales - new or used have all kinds of options that would be perfectly robust for even the heaviest of riders. For maximum durability, having custom wheels built is where I would put a good percentage of my budget...
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Old 04-11-21, 03:58 PM
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As mentioned already, if you share how fat you are, people may make some good suggestions.

I get the impression you are only a little fat. In that case, you have a lot of options.

If you are really heavy, you might break bikes, and need to have a strong bike, particularly strong wheels.
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Old 04-11-21, 04:39 PM
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Jamis Renegade should be on that list.
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Old 04-11-21, 04:51 PM
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I weigh about 240 and I am 6'2". I have ridden plenty of steel bikes in large sizes over the years. I think you have lots of options. If you are interested in older steel bikes, check out the Classic and Vintage forums. You can get a lot of recommendations there.
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Old 04-11-21, 04:55 PM
  #8  
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Anatolia.....have you looked in the Clydesdales/Athenas (200+lb/91+kg) threads?
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Old 04-11-21, 05:00 PM
  #9  
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This is an easy one. Get a Richey Outback. Well into the comfort zone but has going fast in its heart. Steel. Only a touch heavier than the svelte Swiss Cross V2 it shares some DNA with.

Not a gas pipe heavy pig like so many of the "touring" setups.

Gear it at 2x11, 46/30 front and 11-36 rear. GRX 600 with an aftermarket crank set basically. Sram Rival or Force 1x can shift 11-46, even if they say that 42 is the top. So 40x11-46 would also work but might leave you between gears depending on how sensitive to that kind of thing you are.

Start with slick or file tread 38-40mm tires, the bike can go more or less depending on how that first set of tires feels for you.

It'll weigh around 22lbs and cost around $3000.
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Old 04-11-21, 05:33 PM
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6'2" is definitely fat as defined by BMI >25, it's getting in the lower but truly obese territory so not good for your health. That said it's really good you are thinking of taking a turn for the better. At 240lbs a lot of bikes are available to you. The good news is that bikes are WAY over-rated in terms of weight. I mean I wouldn't buy a bike rated up to 160lbs but I learned this recently having helped a friend who is 6'2" but 305lbs who wanted to change his game after a mutual friend died and he got scared staring down his 50th birthday. At 305lbs the options are truly limited. So we called around a bunch of shops and companies and here is what I learned in a nutshell.

Most bikes will still be mostly OK. The wear will be faster the heavier the rider. That said whatever the factory max weight for the bike is, let's say for my friend we found the Salsa Journeyman Flat Bar Claris 700 was 300lbs. Salsa (and every other manufacturer I contacted) told me they arrive at this by taking the max weight forces the bike is rated to accept and dividing it by four. So a bike that is rated for a 300lbs rider is really made to withstand 1,200 given the forces of acceleration, decelration, jumps and bumps on the road. So if you're starting out riding with the intention of making a total lifestyle change whose objective is to lose weight you're probably OK as long as you don't pick a truly "skinny" bike.

What I mean is that when you start out, you are not going to be very good. You will be out of shape and slow so the forces on your bike, despite your "fat" weight, will be less overall. As you improve you will be hopefully losing weight as your lifestyle changes take effect but by the time you are performing at a higher level that will tax the bike your weight will have dropped. So unless you buy something truly fragile and stick with gravel, hybrids mountain or general all purpose steel bikes even of the department store variety that aren't total junk you will probably be fine and as you lose weight and your capabilities increase the problem will take care of itself.

As always it pays to contact the manufacturer and ask them specifically what the max rider weight is and proceed accordingly. That's what I did for my close friend and we learned a lot. I suggest you do the same.
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Old 04-11-21, 08:30 PM
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Anatolia, at 6'2", 240 lb is not exactly fat anymore. Losing 60 lb would put you at about the minimum you would want to be at. My brother is 6'3" and 335 lbs He Shreks most bikes but does fine on a steel fat bike. It should be easy to find a bike that will work at your weight. Here I was thinking 350+ pounds.
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Old 04-11-21, 08:44 PM
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About any steel frame would be fine; most are way over engineered. The big thing would be tires; if you are worried about them holding up; buy tandem rims and tires. A standard tandem team can be 400lbs+ and no one in the tandem world thinks twice about that.
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Old 04-11-21, 09:03 PM
  #13  
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I’m 6’4” 270#.

I ride a Jamis Renegade for road and light gravel and trail , 1x11 SRAM Apex 1, drop bars.

I ride a salsa Fargo with 2.8” wide tires for mostly off-road, bikepacking, single track and rougher stuff. 1x12 Shimano SLX flat bars.

I’d recommend either one to you.
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Old 04-11-21, 11:26 PM
  #14  
Bill in VA
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Originally Posted by Anatolia View Post
Former athlete who has taken his "I don't care about life anymore" knocks, I've put on some pounds over the years. Well, happy to report I've regained that "I do care now" myopia and want to get back into riding hard again. I've got like 60-70-80 pounds I need to lose. Yeah, yeah. Keep the fat jokes to yourself because it wasn't that long ago I was on the other side making them with you. Point is -- I'm still athletic to alter course and can be sickly intense and obsessed when it comes to commitment towards my goal.

So in a nutshell, I'm buying a steel bike and since I enjoy long distance (90-95% pavement) riding and could give a rip about being in a 'racer' position -- a touring bike seems ideal. Right? Well I don't want some tank either so a light or credit card touring bike seems ideal? Sure. Only problem is such marketing gimmicks ten years ago when I bought my last touring elite bike have changed. I'm seeing things like 'Adventure' bike and all sorts of things. But it would seem bikes like (no particular branding order here) Surly, Trek, Salsa, and Kona still come into play. There have been several threads in this forum addressing the pros and cons of each. But I'm giving you the opportunity to pipe in and call me a fat bastard -- wait I just said please don't -- ok I'm giving you the opportunity to call me the skinny challenged or equivalent. Ok, I'm really hoping to get your opinions on the best steel bikes out there that can handle a load (me and my 5-10lb) paneers. I seriously doubt I will ever go beyond the 50 miles out and 50 miles back thing so having things like bar end shifters is not a must since my wife could easily find me (save your wife jokes AND fat jokes please). What probably does matter is the lower end (or granny) gears for some hill climbing this area is notorious for. Again more evidence pointing towards a 'touring' or 'adventure' or 'steel' bike that meets the requirement of handling weight, a sturdy ride, a more upright position, and pannier bags to stuff things in there for good Lord who knows what.

Thoughts? Opinions? Fat bas--- err skinny challenged?
I can relate to your situation and dedication to get back to bicycling. Been there also (I was as high as 245 before I retired and made weight loss a priority, and now have to drop the COVID weight.) You may also wish to check out the Clydesdale/Athena Forum on BF.


Since you specced steel, I would recommend you take a look at a new or used Bianchi Volpe. This is a Taiwanese made CroMo butted steel frame that has been in the Bianchi line-up for many years. It has been marketed as a Touring bike, an entry level Cyclocross bike, an All Road bike, and a Gravel bike.


It is a cantilever rim brake equipped bike, although for a few years (2014-2019?) also had a Volpe disc brake model. It has had a number of component packages. Mine has a 2016 Tiagra 10 speed with a triple, but other years have been doubles or triples and currently it is a Sora package with Tektro brakes.


It has relatively short chain stays of 425mm but usually comes with 28mm tires but easily clears 38mm tires. The wheelbase on my 55cm frame is 40” so it is more compact that a full blown loaded tourer like the Surly and or Salsa Marrakesh, but more maneuverable. I have heard that the shorter chainstays can cause heel strikes on some panniers and some with large feet have mentioned toe overlap in turns for very large feet. I use XXL deep toeclips and size 47 (12) shoes with no overlap.


In my experience it is a good climbing frame with no flex even out of the saddle and meets all of my needs for road, light Credit Card touring, and canal towpath and gravel road surfaces. There are plenty of braze on bottle, rack and/or fender mounts. I tend to keep a bike for a long time (rode a 1973 Fuji until 2015) I suspect this one will be a long keeper.




The wheel above are a second set with Velocity Dyad rims for for rougher roads and wider tires.

Good Luck.

Last edited by Bill in VA; 04-11-21 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 04-12-21, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Anatolia View Post
I'm buying a steel bike......... and could give a rip about being in a 'racer' position -- a touring bike seems ideal.
You give more of a rip about being on a steel bike to fit in with the touring crowd?

Seriously, why does it have to be a steel bike?
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Old 04-12-21, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
You give more of a rip about being on a steel bike to fit in with the touring crowd?

Seriously, why does it have to be a steel bike?
Whenever this topic comes up, I remember a big guy (a tall weightlifter, well over 250 pounds) coming into the bike shop in 1985 who complained that every bike he'd ridden lately felt like "over-cooked spaghetti." Figuring that an aluminum bike might do the job for him, I put him on a Cannondale and sent him out the door for a test ride. He came back 15 minutes later and said, "Sold."

Four or five months later, when he came in for his free tune-up, he told me, "You get any other big guys in here, send them to me. I'll tell them to buy a Cannondale."

Steel bikes are still fine---I have Reynolds 531 and 853 bikes collecting dust in the basement that I keep meaning to clean up so that I can ride them once in a while---but I love my aluminum bikes. Why steel? My guess is internet-driven retro cachet, like vinyl versus digital and tubes versus transistors.
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Old 04-12-21, 05:56 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by beicster View Post
I weigh about 240 and I am 6'2".
Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
6'2" is definitely fat as defined by BMI >25, it's getting in the lower but truly obese territory so not good for your health.
Originally Posted by KPREN View Post
Anatolia, at 6'2", 240 lb is not exactly fat anymore.
Just thought I would point out that beicster , who is 6'2" and 240 pounds, is not the person who asked for bike recommendations.
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Old 04-12-21, 06:35 AM
  #18  
KPREN
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Just thought I would point out that beicster , who is 6'2" and 240 pounds, is not the person who asked for bike recommendations.
good point
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Old 04-12-21, 09:13 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Just thought I would point out that beicster , who is 6'2" and 240 pounds, is not the person who asked for bike recommendations.
Now I feel like an ******* for not pointing this out...
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Old 04-12-21, 09:21 AM
  #20  
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Breezer has some nice steel rides
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Old 04-12-21, 10:10 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Now I feel like an ******* for not pointing this out...
Huh? Why?

I was merely pointing it out so that people don't waste energy recommending bikes specifically for a person with that height and weight.
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Old 04-12-21, 10:13 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Just thought I would point out that beicster , who is 6'2" and 240 pounds, is not the person who asked for bike recommendations.
I noticed that last night, too. We still don't know if OP is 5'6, 220 lbs or 6'6" and 320 lbs.
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Old 04-12-21, 10:15 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I noticed that last night, too. We still don't know if OP is 5'6, 220 lbs or 6'6" and 320 lbs.
Newer users, who've just come to bf, seem to do this -- post a Q, then come back a day (or two or three days) later to check for responses. Which is probably much healthier than those of us who check drop in 50x per day.
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Old 04-12-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Huh? Why?

I was merely pointing it out so that people don't waste energy recommending bikes specifically for a person with that height and weight.
You were helpful. I noticed the same problem and didn’t take the time to point it out.
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Old 04-12-21, 10:21 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
You were helpful. I noticed the same problem and didn’t take the time to point it out.
I noticed it last night, too, and only pointed it out this morning. So if that makes you a *****, then I'm a ***** too.
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