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Bike for a fat beginner

Old 04-23-20, 07:05 AM
  #1  
michigan0626
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Bike for a fat beginner

Hello,

I am looking at buying a bike to get in shape (350 lbs) and spend more time with my son. Being really fat means I need a strong bike. So yesterday I went to a couple LBS's. One box store girl recommended the Verve 2. The other shop suggested the Electra Townie. Looking online last night I saw somewhere that they recommended a touring bike because they are overbuilt tanks.

I am trying to stay near that $500 mark so that if i don't enjoy it i won't be too much money. So this has me looking used. Prices I am seeing are a lot higher than bicycle blue book. 😳

I found a used Fuji Touring for $450 with a small frame. Fuji size guide says 5'3" to 5'7". I'm 5'8" with only a 28-29' inch seam. Would this be okay to jump into?

Should I be looking into certain brands? Or different style of bikes completely?
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Old 04-23-20, 08:00 AM
  #2  
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well, i'm not an expert on this but I do enjoy various biking disciplines to be able to take a few steps back to get a better view on your situation. I think if you are really just starting out and especially if you want to spend time with Your son I am thinking these bullets apply:

1. son - child - safety
2. heavy beginner - start with shorter distances
3. sturdy, forgiving bike
4. minding the low budget one will only get one bike that will be fun 12 months out of the year.

Here is my advice: get a used Surly Pugsley Fat Bike, subscribe to some fat biking resources in your area, maybe download an app like Trailforks, head out to the various single track, snow track, gravel and off road trails around where You live.
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Old 04-23-20, 10:16 AM
  #3  
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You might want to ask your question here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdal...-200-lb-91-kg/
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Old 04-23-20, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by michigan0626 View Post
Hello,

I am looking at buying a bike to get in shape (350 lbs) and spend more time with my son. Being really fat means I need a strong bike. So yesterday I went to a couple LBS's. One box store girl recommended the Verve 2. The other shop suggested the Electra Townie. Looking online last night I saw somewhere that they recommended a touring bike because they are overbuilt tanks.

I am trying to stay near that $500 mark so that if i don't enjoy it i won't be too much money. So this has me looking used. Prices I am seeing are a lot higher than bicycle blue book. 😳

I found a used Fuji Touring for $450 with a small frame. Fuji size guide says 5'3" to 5'7". I'm 5'8" with only a 28-29' inch seam. Would this be okay to jump into?

Should I be looking into certain brands? Or different style of bikes completely?
Hi Michigan 0626...I'm guessing for your price point you want to consider used. My go to for used bikes, if it's not Kijiji, is a website called Pinkbike. It's free and it has a buy and sell section on it that will allow you to search for a particular bike. You may be really lucky and find something in your area.

I think you need to ask yourself what kind of riding you plan on doing before you can decide on a bike. Will you do dirt trails, roads, moderate singletrack, etc. That will be the decider for you when you're considering what kind of bike to get. Old mountain bikes are good all around bikes for me but may require some modifications when you buy them to suit your style. You might luck out and get an all around bike that would suit your weight.

Once you figure out what kind of riding you want then you can search for a bike. Take your time on the forum here to learn as much as you can about what it is you're into. If you choose to do some touring you may want to break it down further...do you like bikepacking or biketouring? Take a look around and if you can you might get a used bike through this forum...

Ask a lot of questions once you narrow down your initial choice to narrow it down further. Keep doing that until you're better informed and know what it is you're looking for. Questions cost no money.
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Old 04-23-20, 10:57 AM
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extra heavy and just wanna ride around a bit at first, maybe start to lose some weight?

boring old-fangled MTB, or a 3-speed cruiser with balloon tires.

you can probably find something used at a bike shop, possibly even goodwill.
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Old 04-23-20, 11:05 AM
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It would be on paved bike paths and sidewalks only. There are bike paths within the city i am moving to (which is within a quarter mile of the house I am buying), they're just not all connected or flow without having to backtrack to go down a different path. Within a half hour drive there is a trailhead of a 39 mile paved bike trail, which would be a long term goal. And within 15 minutes is a 5 mile loop bike trail around a lake.

Southern Minnesota is pretty flat, unlike Northern New Hampshire which has tons of mountain biking. So it will be easier for me put in longer mileage i think.

My ultimate goal is to lose enough weight and get in shape enough from biking to start adding in jogging; to eventually complete an Ironman. Its a bucket list life goal since i was a kid. But I realize now its better to come up with smaller more manageable goals leading to an ultimate goal. So besides committing to spending a certain amount of time X number of days, my first realistic goal is to bike the 5 mile loop with a 7 RPE without slowing down.
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Old 04-23-20, 11:30 AM
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Get a cruiser with an IGH for sure. SA 3 or 5 sp or Nexus 3 or 7 sp. Any old single speed would be OK too. Those you could add a 3 speed later.
Forget anything with derailleurs. You don't need the gears anyway.
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Old 04-23-20, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Get a cruiser with an IGH for sure. SA 3 or 5 sp or Nexus 3 or 7 sp. Any old single speed would be OK too. Those you could add a 3 speed later.
Forget anything with derailleurs. You don't need the gears anyway.
??? What is igh
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Old 04-23-20, 12:01 PM
  #9  
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Let me tell you what I did. 2 years ago I weighed 360lbs and today I weigh 170lbs. Like you I wanted to start riding with my boy when I taught him. All I knew was that I needed a strong bike, and I live where there is more dirt than pavement. I didn't want my 9 year old boy on the highway anyway, so I bought us both used Trek Mountain bikes off the local face book marketplace. $50 for me and $100 for him. I looked into sizing but was about clueless. I got him an extra small frame, and me a medium, which was close enough to ride.

What I really want to convey though is that I hadn't ridden enough to know what fit me and what didn't at that time, and as I lost 190 lbs,my needs changed. I bought another slightly larger $100 Trek 820 single track not long after that first bike that fit me better but I still needed a larger bike. Eventually I bought a Trek Marlin 5 in a large frame that I have ridden hundreds of miles for $250. Recently I bought a Surly LHT for $900 that only had 30 miles on it when I got it. I use the Trek off road and the LHT mostly on road.

I would probably look for a good used MTB if I were you for under $250 and start there. Now if you have plenty of money to avoid any possible bike service problems on a used bike then get one new or at least a used one from a bike shop that has been checked over. I just wouldn't spend a lot knowing that your needs will change as you learn what you like, and what a good fit feels like and changes as you lose weight.

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Old 04-23-20, 01:09 PM
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IGH = Internal gear hub, they have one cog front and back. Like Sturmey Archer hubs. Their 3 speed was invented in 1902. They still work fabulously, the new designs are even better. Very simple to set up and take apart. Their strength is because the spokes have even tension on both sides. They last forever with proper lubing after 3 or 4,000 miles. Lots made in 1950s are still in use.
The absolute BEST no trouble no service brakes are SA DRUMs. Mine has 24,000 miles.

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Old 04-23-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by michigan0626 View Post
It would be on paved bike paths and sidewalks only. There are bike paths within the city i am moving to (which is within a quarter mile of the house I am buying), they're just not all connected or flow without having to backtrack to go down a different path. Within a half hour drive there is a trailhead of a 39 mile paved bike trail, which would be a long term goal. And within 15 minutes is a 5 mile loop bike trail around a lake.

Southern Minnesota is pretty flat, unlike Northern New Hampshire which has tons of mountain biking. So it will be easier for me put in longer mileage i think.

My ultimate goal is to lose enough weight and get in shape enough from biking to start adding in jogging; to eventually complete an Ironman. Its a bucket list life goal since i was a kid. But I realize now its better to come up with smaller more manageable goals leading to an ultimate goal. So besides committing to spending a certain amount of time X number of days, my first realistic goal is to bike the 5 mile loop with a 7 RPE without slowing down.
https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2725661/

This is a link for a 54cm Trek 520 from Pinkbike. It's going for $400 USD so it's within your budget. It may need to be shipped to you as its in Wisconsin, or it you're feeling adventurous you could try to drive and pick it up. I wouldn't mind getting people's opinions of this bike in regards to fit for the OP...

I think the previous post about older mountain bikes is a good one too if you plan on riding mostly on sidewalks and streets. You should be able to pick something up cheaper than the Trek 520 and pour some of the savings into repairs and new gear. One of the pros is you will save money but a con is you may have to spend more to fix it up...
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Old 04-23-20, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by michigan0626 View Post
Hello,

I am looking at buying a bike to get in shape (350 lbs) and spend more time with my son. Being really fat means I need a strong bike. So yesterday I went to a couple LBS's. One box store girl recommended the Verve 2. The other shop suggested the Electra Townie. Looking online last night I saw somewhere that they recommended a touring bike because they are overbuilt tanks.

I am trying to stay near that $500 mark so that if i don't enjoy it i won't be too much money. So this has me looking used. Prices I am seeing are a lot higher than bicycle blue book. 😳

I found a used Fuji Touring for $450 with a small frame. Fuji size guide says 5'3" to 5'7". I'm 5'8" with only a 28-29' inch seam. Would this be okay to jump into?

Should I be looking into certain brands? Or different style of bikes completely?
I like the idea of touring bike as such a bike is purpose built for loaded touring which means it can handle you unloaded.

So, examples of good touring bikes
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Trek 520
Salsa Vaya.
Kona Sutra.

There are many others. As for size, at 5'8", 54 cm should be pretty close. 52 cm will likely be too small and 56 or bigger, too large.
Alternately, you could look for a used hybrid or mountain bike. If you go that route, look for one without suspension forks, as used ones can be problematic. And put slick or semi slick tires on it.

One more thing. In general, do not ride on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are dangerous places for cyclists as you have to deal with pedestrians, dogs, and cars pulling out of driveways or turning, and they are not looking for cyclists riding at 10 to 15 mph, so they often times will not see you until it is too late.
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Old 04-23-20, 03:24 PM
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The OP is unlikely to lose any significant weight just by taking up cycling. Needs to change diet as well as exercising more.
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Old 04-23-20, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2725661/

This is a link for a 54cm Trek 520 from Pinkbike. It's going for $400 USD so it's within your budget. It may need to be shipped to you as its in Wisconsin, or it you're feeling adventurous you could try to drive and pick it up. I wouldn't mind getting people's opinions of this bike in regards to fit for the OP...

I think the previous post about older mountain bikes is a good one too if you plan on riding mostly on sidewalks and streets. You should be able to pick something up cheaper than the Trek 520 and pour some of the savings into repairs and new gear. One of the pros is you will save money but a con is you may have to spend more to fix it up...
If the OP wanted a road style I would say that bike is fairly ideal for his purpose assuming it doesn't have excessive wear. Those LX hubs has decent seals on them and are very reliable, reliable enough that NOS examples on Ebay still demand a decent price when I looked up a pair to build faster wheels for my kid's cross bike. Guessing 36h with a reasonably sturdy rim, it'll hold his weight but not ideal to what I would want to put on there. 54 might start to get a little big but he's in the right ballpark and the bike is a bargain in my opinion.

I'd also second going with a mountain bike, try to find something with a cassette hubs, these always come on slightly more expensive models and usually feature double wall rims, these two features will be integral to the wheels holding up longer and not needing as much work. Look for a 16" frame though a 17 might work ok, wouldn't suggest smaller then that. Feel free to post up finds here like the above and ask opinions.
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Old 04-23-20, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by michigan0626 View Post
Hello,

I am looking at buying a bike to get in shape (350 lbs) and spend more time with my son. Being really fat means I need a strong bike. So yesterday I went to a couple LBS's. One box store girl recommended the Verve 2. The other shop suggested the Electra Townie. Looking online last night I saw somewhere that they recommended a touring bike because they are overbuilt tanks.

I am trying to stay near that $500 mark so that if i don't enjoy it i won't be too much money. So this has me looking used. Prices I am seeing are a lot higher than bicycle blue book. 😳

I found a used Fuji Touring for $450 with a small frame. Fuji size guide says 5'3" to 5'7". I'm 5'8" with only a 28-29' inch seam. Would this be okay to jump into?

Should I be looking into certain brands? Or different style of bikes completely?
You wouldn’t go wrong with the Fuji. Touring bikes are built to carry heavy loads and the Fuji is a pretty good inexpensive touring bike. It has stronger wheels than the Verve and it’s not as funky as the Townie. At your height, you aren’’t too far outside of the range of fit. Ride it if you can.
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Old 04-23-20, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
The OP is unlikely to lose any significant weight just by taking up cycling. Needs to change diet as well as exercising more.
X2 on that, but cycling combined with strict diet enabled me to lose 190lbs in less than 2 years.
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Old 04-25-20, 09:12 PM
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Thanks for the feedback so far. Keeping my eye out for a deal.
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Old 04-25-20, 10:05 PM
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have you considered riding posture?

are you wanting a more relaxed, sitting upright position?

do you think you would be comfortable riding a "racing style" bike with 10-speed curved bars?

how about frame style? the verve that was recommended is step-thru, easier to mount than some road-style frames.
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Old 05-11-20, 10:32 AM
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Go to Leonardmlee on youtube. He's a big guy who covers all aspects of fat people biking. He's got a lot of videos on all aspects and one in particular, helped me out.
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Old 05-11-20, 12:33 PM
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For your price point, I agree with everyone that says to find a decent old 90's rigid MTB. If you can find a touring bike in your price range, it'd be a good choice, but they're not that common, at least in SE Michigan local sale sites.

Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
The OP is unlikely to lose any significant weight just by taking up cycling. Needs to change diet as well as exercising more.
Agreed that cycling isn't a great weight loser in itself, but it doesn't mean he won't experience noticeable other health benefits.
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Old 05-11-20, 06:42 PM
  #21  
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Being a fellow Clydesdale, I agree with jefnvk. Start with a rigid, high quality steel 90’s mtb. They are exceptionally rugged and have strong 36-hole, 26 inch wheels. Slap on some 26x1.95 smooth tires on it and ride it like crazy.

These mtb’s are exceptionally affordable used and will outlast you and me combined.

Just my two cents.
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Old 05-12-20, 01:58 PM
  #22  
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Good for you!
Lots of good advice. RHClark particularly. Get something, anything. Whatever you get will be wrong; even if it is perfect, as you ride, you will change ad want/need something different. At that point you will know better than ay of us what kind of bars, gearing, seat, frame material, color, etc. you want. Then you can sort to read the N+1 threads.
Good luck
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Old 05-17-20, 07:04 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by michigan0626 View Post
Hello,

I am looking at buying a bike to get in shape (350 lbs) and spend more time with my son. Being really fat means I need a strong bike. So yesterday I went to a couple LBS's. One box store girl recommended the Verve 2. The other shop suggested the Electra Townie. Looking online last night I saw somewhere that they recommended a touring bike because they are overbuilt tanks.

I am trying to stay near that $500 mark so that if i don't enjoy it i won't be too much money. So this has me looking used. Prices I am seeing are a lot higher than bicycle blue.

Should I be looking into certain brands? Or different style of bikes completely?
Bicycle blue book is a negotiating tool. That's about it's only use. A bike is worth what the value is to you..
If your starting out I'm not sure why a touring bike. The seating is a bit of a acquired taste. It's efficient and comfortable after awhile but usually not immediately. A hybrid bike would be a little stronger and probably feel more comfortable initially at anything under 20 miles. A mountain bike, particularly the non-suspension bikes with a set of road tires might even better fill the bill. Changing out the tires from nobbies to smooth will give you confidence in the most important skill in cycling. Seriously those old mountain bikes can be easily made into anything including the toughest touring bike around. Building it into that will give you all the skills to do your own maintenance. Poor maintenance is the reason bikes end up rusting in the corner. Drop bars can be fitted or just decent bar ends to change the character the bike along with road tires of course. Fenders, racks, panniers, lights. Oh, the humanity. Welcome.
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