Bike buying advice for a middle aged fat man.



buzzcut72

New Member
Jul 30, 2011
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I recently got into cycling to improve my health and fitness. Because of the fact that I had not biked in years, my first bike was just a cheap Walmart junker. I couldn't see spending a lot of money on equipment until I knew that I would stick with it more than a few weeks. I am 46 and fat. Not a little out of shape, but fat. I am up to the point where I can routinely do a 15 - 20 mile ride on my Walmart junker. It takes forever, but I manage to do it. I am at the point where I'm looking to upgrade to a little better equipment, but I'm on a budget, so I can't go out and spend $1000 on a new bike. I have been reading the forums and reviews and I'm still not sure on what is the best bike for me. I ride mainly on paved roads and paved bike paths. My ultimate goal is to be able to go out and complete a 50 mile ride and of course improve my fitness level. I've read alot information and still can't decide if I should get a road bike or a hybrid (i.e., performance hybrid or fitness bike). Any solid advice for noob would be greatly appreciated.
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
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Originally Posted by buzzcut72 .

I recently got into cycling to improve my health and fitness. Because of the fact that I had not biked in years, my first bike was just a cheap Walmart junker. I couldn't see spending a lot of money on equipment until I knew that I would stick with it more than a few weeks. I am 46 and fat. Not a little out of shape, but fat. I am up to the point where I can routinely do a 15 - 20 mile ride on my Walmart junker. It takes forever, but I manage to do it. I am at the point where I'm looking to upgrade to a little better equipment, but I'm on a budget, so I can't go out and spend $1000 on a new bike. I have been reading the forums and reviews and I'm still not sure on what is the best bike for me. I ride mainly on paved roads and paved bike paths. My ultimate goal is to be able to go out and complete a 50 mile ride and of course improve my fitness level. I've read alot information and still can't decide if I should get a road bike or a hybrid (i.e., performance hybrid or fitness bike). Any solid advice for noob would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome aboard Buzzcut. If you are on a limited budget and are interested in upgrading into a better bike more quality can be obtained at a lower price point in the Hybrid models. Hybrid bikes have stronger wheel sets with more spokes and wider tires which would acommodate your weight.
 

AlanG

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
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If your primary purpose in bike riding is to lose weight then unless your bike is failing you in some way, why would you want something that is more efficient and thus takes less effort to ride? Now if it is uncomfortable, you want to keep up with a group, or you need to cover a given distance in a shorter time, then a better bike might help. If your main goal is to burn a lot of calories, you will just have to put in sufficient hours on any bike. (And control your diet too of course.)

Why not have a weight goal where you will reward yourself with a new bike when you meet it?
 

BadWolf

Member
Jul 17, 2011
43
6
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While exercising to lose weight and get in shape it's probably also more likely to be more successful the more fun you have. As you get in better condition you'll be able to cover more ground and probably want a bike that is a bit more comfortable or easier to go the distance on. Shop carefully and become the most educated buyer you can be. Once you buy a new bike, it's yours and you won't get much of your money back out of it should you discover it was a poor choice.
Watch for end of model year sales on bikes you like.
 

Attlus

New Member
May 31, 2011
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not sure how "fat" you are but I am 240lbs and im looking at buying my first road bike upgrading from a hybrid. i suggest a road bike because the hybrid does put you more upright but it isnt as fun as a road bike and while road bikes are easier to ride as far as effort, when you can do a lower effort for a lot longer, you will burn more calories over time. plus with a road bike you can grow with it, it may seem like you dont need a road bike now but you will have more options with it later as opposed to the limited use of a hybrid (short rides, commuting). currently, 2011 models of Fuji road bikes are on deep discount. I suggest going to your Local Bike Shop and asking about them. You get great customer service, bike help and support, and support a small local business all while getting a quality bike when you take the LBS route. I suggest the Fuji Roubaix 3.0, Im no expert on the weight but I think it should hold up even though we dont have an exact weight of yours. the best part: this entry level road bike is nice looking, and easily upgradable and a cool $615(at my LBS at least, I think it will be about that at yours too because Fuji mostly controls the price). Good luck
 

buzzcut72

New Member
Jul 30, 2011
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1
I guess I should further explain. I started riding again for fun and to improve my health. The Walmart beater is okay for rides of less than 10 miles, but after that point, it becomes more of a struggle. So, I guess you could say that in addition to improving my health, I would also like to be able to ride farther and faster. Seeing those improvements would help to motivate me to continue to ride.
 

Attlus

New Member
May 31, 2011
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I understand the motivation part. That is why I suggest starting on the road bike because road bikes inspire more confidence than a hybrid would and you will be able to go faster and a lot longer. Hybrids are good for about 15-20 miles max but road bikes are fine for that distance PLUS further when you work up

Originally Posted by buzzcut72 .

I guess I should further explain. I started riding again for fun and to improve my health. The Walmart beater is okay for rides of less than 10 miles, but after that point, it becomes more of a struggle. So, I guess you could say that in addition to improving my health, I would also like to be able to ride farther and faster. Seeing those improvements would help to motivate me to continue to ride.
 

Cicatric

New Member
Jun 24, 2011
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0
I used to be a middle age fat guy. Was 220 and 40yo. Started in the gym on an stationary bike starting Jan 2011. In the spring, I rode my Fuji 2.0 hybrid when I couldn't stand being inside. The Fuji kicked my butt on long rides (literally). It was off-the-shelf at Performance.

However, I became addicted to riding and competitive with my in-shape friends. I quickly bought a road bike (Colnago Ace). The brand wasn't so important as getting one that fit right. Nothing will stop you from riding quicker than a bike that is not comfortable. Spend a little extra money and go to a local bike shop. You will find the customer service well worth the money. Don't skimp on the bike apparel. Especially if your big - your a** is going to hurt. The comfort of a fitted bike with decent components will go a long way in your enjoyment of the sport.

So, in less than 8 months, I'm 5% body fat, 155 pounds. I did a 100miles tour last week and averaged 19mph. Not bad for a middle aged fat guy.

So, my advice: if this is the sport you really want to focus on, its worth the extra money to spend on real equipment. And make sure you have people that can teach you the ins and outs of the sport. On the low end, 2-3K for bike, apparel and other stuff that goes with it. Be careful at going too cheap, if you really start having fun, you will just end up upgrading in a year. I told myself I would wait until next season to get the Zipp 303s and power meter. Got to be reasonable in you needs/wants /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
126
48
Originally Posted by Cicatric .

I used to be a middle age fat guy. Was 220 and 40yo. Started in the gym on an stationary bike starting Jan 2011. In the spring, I rode my Fuji 2.0 hybrid when I couldn't stand being inside. The Fuji kicked my butt on long rides (literally). It was off-the-shelf at Performance.

However, I became addicted to riding and competitive with my in-shape friends. I quickly bought a road bike (Colnago Ace). The brand wasn't so important as getting one that fit right. Nothing will stop you from riding quicker than a bike that is not comfortable. Spend a little extra money and go to a local bike shop. You will find the customer service well worth the money. Don't skimp on the bike apparel. Especially if your big - your a** is going to hurt. The comfort of a fitted bike with decent components will go a long way in your enjoyment of the sport.

So, in less than 8 months, I'm 5% body fat, 155 pounds. I did a 100miles tour last week and averaged 19mph. Not bad for a middle aged fat guy.

So, my advice: if this is the sport you really want to focus on, its worth the extra money to spend on real equipment. And make sure you have people that can teach you the ins and outs of the sport. On the low end, 2-3K for bike, apparel and other stuff that goes with it. Be careful at going too cheap, if you really start having fun, you will just end up upgrading in a year. I told myself I would wait until next season to get the Zipp 303s and power meter. Got to be reasonable in you needs/wants /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

2-3 K is OK for someone who can afford it. The OP is on a limited budget. FWIW there is great value at price points well below your suggested range.
 

buzzcut72

New Member
Jul 30, 2011
6
0
1
I'm getting some great advice and really appreciate everybody's input. The biggest constraint for me is the budget. My max is $600.00. I've done some comparison shopping at the LBS's and outside of finding a closeout gem, that pretty much locks me out of a road bikes. That is unless I go the online route and purchase from someplace like Bikes Direct, but I've heard a mixed bag regarding customer service and damaged product. Not to mention, the fact that you have to assemble the bike (or pay the LBS to assemble it for you). That being said, I would prefer to keep the money in the community and deal face to face with a person. I've seen some decent bikes in my budget, such as the Trek FX 7.2 or the Specialized Sirrus Sport. They both seem to be fairly comparable. Does anybody have any experiences with either of these bike? Again, I appreciate you help. Thanks.
 

64Paramount

Well-Known Member
Jul 25, 2009
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Buzz, keep your eye out for good used bike too. You might be able to find a 2 or 3 year old bike for half the money a new one would cost.

You just need to know what size you need and be able to determine if the bike is in good condition if your buying from an individual.

If you buy a used bike from a bike shop, normally they've done any needed repairs to get the bike in good condition and often have some kind of warranty or return policy that you can ask about.
 

Attlus

New Member
May 31, 2011
26
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0
I own the Sirrus Sport and it is a nice hybrid bike. If you really cannot buy a road bike that is a few years old then I suggest the Sirrus. But my best advice would be to tell you to get a road bike that isnt brand new to put it in your price range. The Sirrus isnt a bad ride though and it is comfortable too.

Originally Posted by buzzcut72 .

I'm getting some great advice and really appreciate everybody's input. The biggest constraint for me is the budget. My max is $600.00. I've done some comparison shopping at the LBS's and outside of finding a closeout gem, that pretty much locks me out of a road bikes. That is unless I go the online route and purchase from someplace like Bikes Direct, but I've heard a mixed bag regarding customer service and damaged product. Not to mention, the fact that you have to assemble the bike (or pay the LBS to assemble it for you). That being said, I would prefer to keep the money in the community and deal face to face with a person. I've seen some decent bikes in my budget, such as the Trek FX 7.2 or the Specialized Sirrus Sport. They both seem to be fairly comparable. Does anybody have any experiences with either of these bike? Again, I appreciate you help. Thanks.
 

Bosock

New Member
Aug 6, 2011
3
0
0
Ok...my first post in this forum. I am an optimist...believe you are going to do well and grow to love cycling...so with that in mind here goes. Budget seems important here so you should get something that will help you now and that you can grow in. I recommend a used steel bike...you can get great used steel frames in my area from Bianchi or the lemonds for 500-600 dollars well equipped. Steel bikes from the 1996-2005 period were made with good quality Reynolds steel and were designed very well. Steel will give you the comfortable ride that steel does and has efficient power transfer for you to continue to grow into as u get healthier and want to challenge yourself to go faster. Plus there is nostalgia in those steel bikes in that when u do become that middle age biking enthusiasts you will really appreciate. Not all good here though...buying second hand steel you need to give the bike a good look over...steel does corrode unlike aluminum and carbon. Steel can also be fixed easier than the other two components as well. Steel bikes are generally heavier...not by a ton...but a few pounds or more. This generally doesn't make them the fastest climbers but they can climb and well with a properly built up engine (rider)...will out climb a hybrid or should. The ride of a good steel bike is stellar and steel bikes are under appreciated now that carbon is mainstream and brings so much to the table...so u should get good price on one. Learn to maintenance them and your set for hours of inexpensive quality riding...steel is great for charity rides and centuries as well. What ever u get ride the snot out of it...it is fun, improves health, and for me clears the mind...good luck on your purchase.
 

Look 566 Rider

New Member
Aug 4, 2011
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I do not see anyone suggesting Graigslist. See what might be available there as well. If you live in a fairly big town you can probably find a decent deal. I am not a big fan of ebay, but my son has made some great deals there.

If that does not work then do what others have said, go to your LBS for help. Concentrate on a entry level road bike that will allow you upgrades as you can afford them. You WILL want to upgrade! Fit is the most important part of the purchase. Some LBSs will even give you a basic fit/sizing session without buying a bike from them. This will help if you go the Graigslist-ebay route.
 

buzzcut72

New Member
Jul 30, 2011
6
0
1
Originally Posted by Look 566 Rider .

I do not see anyone suggesting Graigslist. See what might be available there as well. If you live in a fairly big town you can probably find a decent deal. I am not a big fan of ebay, but my son has made some great deals there.

If that does not work then do what others have said, go to your LBS for help. Concentrate on a entry level road bike that will allow you upgrades as you can afford them. You WILL want to upgrade! Fit is the most important part of the purchase. Some LBSs will even give you a basic fit/sizing session without buying a bike from them. This will help if you go the Graigslist-ebay route.
I did look through Craigslist, but I live in the Detroit area and Craigslist is an open invitation to a mugging (at least around here). I wanted to stay away from the internet/ebay route, because I'm the type of person that needs to see it before I buy it. I did shop around at several local bike shops and there really isn't much in the used market that worked for me. I ended up test riding several flat bar bikes (Trek 7.2 FX, Specialized Sirrus, Giant Escape 1) as I am just more comfortable on them. I ended up putting the Giant on layaway at the LBS. For me, it just seemed like a more stable bike, as I am a big guy (6'2"/300 lbs). Granted, this bike isn't the fasted thing in the world, but at my size, I'm not looking for speed as much as a comfortable bike that will keep me riding. I see this as a nice step up from the Walmart junker. Thank you all for the help.
 

VictoriaTegg9520

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Oct 22, 2018
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Delhi
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After being uncomfortable on several bikes, I saved my money and bought a Bike Friday New World Tourist. I was custom fitted and asked all sorts of questions about my type of riding. Although some may think I’m the ape on the tiny bike at the circus, I’m the one out and about, riding and smiling away!
 

papa2000

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Apr 3, 2019
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In the wake of being awkward on a few bicycles, I spared my cash and purchased a Bike Friday New World Tourist. I was uniquely fitted and gotten some information about my sort of riding. Albeit some may believe I'm the gorilla on the small bicycle at the carnival, I'm the one out on the town, riding and grinning ceaselessly!