Advice Needed - Big Guy Needs A Bike!



Mr. Matic

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Feb 15, 2010
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I was an avid recreational rider about twenty years ago, when I was younger and much more fit. Back then, I weighed about 235 lbs, which wasn't bad for a 6'3", large-framed guy. My blue Univega Nuovo Sport took me on great rides down the Santa Ana River trails, through Griffith Park, and threw me on my butt more times than I want to remember on LA's potholed streets - before it was stolen.

Due to a series of injuries, illness, and being lazy, my weight has ballooned to 360 lbs, and I just don't want to be this person anymore. I want to take up cycling again, but I don't know what kind of bike to get, and what would be best to support my weight. I'm thinking a road bike's lightweight frame wouldn't be the best - and the idea of being hunched over with my hands in the drops doesn't really appeal to me. But is a road bike the way to go? Is a mountain bike good for me? A hybrid? I don't plan on doing any offroad riding, but need something that won't bend like a pretzel should I hit a pothole or something.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Mr. Matic said:
... I'm thinking a road bike's lightweight frame wouldn't be the best - and the idea of being hunched over with my hands in the drops doesn't really appeal to me. But is a road bike the way to go? Is a mountain bike good for me? A hybrid? I don't plan on doing any offroad riding, but need something that won't bend like a pretzel should I hit a pothole or something.
FWIW. Look at the RALEIGH XXIX+G ... it is a 29er which is basically an over-sized MTB.

The last time I looked, the retail was ~$1400 ... less if it is NOS year-or-two-old (e.g., 2009 model, or earlier). There is a Single Speed version which costs about half as much (no gears and a 'rigid' fork), but requires a certain mindset & (probably) fitness to ride.

You could (that is, I would) get the SS version of the XXIX PLUS the replaceable derailleur hanger and then outfit with a geared drivetrain ... and, in my case, drop/("road") handlebars.

Other 29ers seem to cost more and have alloy frames (which may-or-may-not be what you are looking for ... I prefer steel frames, in general).

The Raleigh should be more than robust-enough for you.

If you do opt for a 29er then you probably want one with an X-LARGE frame.

I'm not keen on suspension forks for bikes which are being ridden on the road, but the fork on the XXIX+G (plus gears) is a "real" fork (unlike the marginal suspension forks that are on some Hybrids) whose ride characteristics can be tuned ... and, with a 29er tire (a massive 700-52 to 700-58) the suspension is superfluous on most roadways.

A 29er can use almost any size 700c tire ... so, at anytime that you want, you can theoretically use a smaller diameter 700c tire, change the handlebars to ROAD bars, and even replace the suspension fork with a rigid fork.
 

Mr. Matic

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Feb 15, 2010
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alfeng said:
FWIW. Look at the RALEIGH XXIX+G ... it is a 29er which is basically an over-sized MTB.

The last time I looked, the retail was ~$1400 ... less if it is NOS year-or-two-old (e.g., 2009 model, or earlier). There is a Single Speed version which costs about half as much (no gears and a 'rigid' fork), but requires a certain mindset & (probably) fitness to ride.

You could (that is, I would) get the SS version of the XXIX PLUS the replaceable derailleur hanger and then outfit with a geared drivetrain ... and, in my case, drop/("road") handlebars.

Other 29ers seem to cost more and have alloy frames (which may-or-may-not be what you are looking for ... I prefer steel frames, in general).

The Raleigh should be more than robust-enough for you.

If you do opt for a 29er then you probably want one with an X-LARGE frame.

I'm not keen on suspension forks for bikes which are being ridden on the road, but the fork on the XXIX+G (plus gears) is a "real" fork (unlike the marginal suspension forks that are on some Hybrids) whose ride characteristics can be tuned ... and, with a 29er tire (a massive 700-52 to 700-58) the suspension is superfluous on most roadways.

A 29er can use almost any size 700c tire ... so, at anytime that you want, you can theoretically use a smaller diameter 700c tire, change the handlebars to ROAD bars, and even replace the suspension fork with a rigid fork.

Thanks for your reply. $1,500 is a bit rich for my blood, but I'll take what you've said under consideration.
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Mr. Matic said:
Thanks for your reply. $1,500 is a bit rich for my blood, but I'll take what you've said under consideration.
If you can DIY, you can cobble together a well equipped bike for a fraction of that amount ...

You can fit 700-42 tires in almost any MTB frame ... yes, I've done it.

You can get an XXL steel (or, alloy -- again, I prefer steel) Hardtail MTB frame (or, whatever has a 64cm virtual top tube ... 62cm might be "okay" if you use a longer stem) + a rigid fork for under $100 off of eBay (they will be "used" or NOS).

Then, add either 700c or 26" wheels ... plus, brakes + drivetrain component (Shimano SLX is the current "best buy") & miscellaneous components (seatpost, saddle, stem, handlebars, grips) + tires/tubes.

Voila ... done. You should be able to piece it together for between $500-to-$700 depending on the components you select.

SOME bicycle specific tools will be required, but the majority of tools can be bought from Sears, Harbor Freight, Ace Hardware, etc.

N.B. 700c wheels/tires will require mounting a ROAD brake caliper on the rear seat stay bridge ... drill out the nut side of the fender mounting hole to accept a recessed nut.

Select the fork whose cantilever brake bosses match the wheel size you decide to use OR get a fork which has a disc brake mount.

Using 700c wheels on a Hardtail MTB frame which is designed for 26" wheels will result in a bike whose BB is about an inch higher than a 29er's BB would be. Not a big deal, IMO, particularly for a taller rider.
 

Mr. Matic

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Feb 15, 2010
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alfeng said:
If you can DIY, you can cobble together a well equipped bike for a fraction of that amount ...

<snip>

Using 700c wheels on a Hardtail MTB frame which is designed for 26" wheels will result in a bike whose BB is about an inch higher than a 29er's BB would be. Not a big deal, IMO, particularly for a taller rider.

Thanks to you both for the great advice. I can see we're leaning toward a MTB, as I suspected. And I hadn't thought of Ebay at all! I'll take this all under consideration and see if I can conjure up DIY memories from the old days...back when I had to call Nashbar on the phone to get parts... ;-) And if anybody else has any suggestions, I'm open to them! Thanks again!!
 

jagonz456

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Jan 27, 2010
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I would look at a hybrid. I think you would be more comfortable in an upright position. Take a look at the trek 7200,the Giant cypress DX or The Fuji crosstown these bikes will help you get back into riding without braking the bank. The 700c wheels that come with these bikes will travel fast and give you that road bike feel but in a comfortable position.
 

new_rider

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Jan 22, 2010
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The 'Dales have always been well known as incredibly stiff bikes because of their massively oversized tubes. No one in their right mind under 180 lbs. dared ride them, except on a lark:

Cannondale | Road

Cannondale is using a lot of carbon fiber now, but because of their reputation for stiffness, they are still worth a look.

Gary Fisher's road bikes perhaps best personify a combination of stiffness, handling and affordability however:

You can buy The Rail for as little as $879:

Rail | Gary Fisher Bicycles
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Cannondales have changed quite a bit since they first released the bike with the 3" diameter down tube. Lot's o' lite weight folks are ridin' CAADs. Their not the jackhammers that their Al bikes were in the 80's.