Fat Guy Biking - *Long* Last Question (?!)

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Albert N. Mouse, May 12, 2003.

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  1. Hi all.

    Thanks for the many helpful replies to both of my previous threads... Everyone has been extremely
    helpful and informative. And I appreciate it!

    So, I've visited two relatively local LBSs and looked at several bikes. I've even ridden a couple
    (which must've been pretty comical to the sales staff...) just to see what's what.

    At this point, I've decided I definately want to move forward in purchasing a bike. I've set a
    budget range of $300 to $500ish bucks and browsed/test-ridden what is available... I decided to deal
    with one LBS in particular - they're relatively close to my home, seem to have a good selection, and
    the guy at the shop who I chatted with seems to know his stuff and be pretty honest/pleasant.

    He stocks 3 real brands in the price range I'm looking for - Trek, Specialized, and Raleigh. I
    haven't ridden anything at his shop... The reason is simple. Like a wine neophyte taste $20 Turning
    Leaf and a $1000 Chard, I can't appreciate the stuff enough to *really* tell the differences. The
    other bokes I rode all seemed equally odd, which I attribute to my out-of-shapeness more than
    anything else.

    I went to the Moutainbike review website (http://www.mtbreview.com/reviews/2003_hardtail/) and
    looked at what people had to say for the: Trek 4300 and 4500 Raleigh M50 and M60 Specialized
    Hardrock and Hardrock Comp

    My dealer recommeded the Hardrock, though according to reviews on the website there are often issues
    with the front suspension. With my weight, I don't want to have a problem. Co-workers have
    recommended the Raleigh (good components, but the dealer says not as well constructed as they used
    to be) and the Trek (no one can really tell me what's so great about the Trek).

    Anyone have any experience with these bikes they'd like to share? At this point, I'm leaning towards
    buying the Hardrock (~$330) based on the dealer advice and paying some extra $$ to upgrade some of
    the hardware out of the box... Appearantly, the derailleurs are weak and I should be able to upgrade
    them well and stay within the price window I've set. Perhaps look at different forks as well?

    Any feedback, suggestions, and the like is greatly appreciated as before!
    :) Thanks everyone again for taking the time to lend a hand. Hopefully
    I'll be able to give back soon.

    Best wishes, A Nony Mouse
     
    Tags:


  2. W K

    W K Guest

    "Albert N. Mouse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > Anyone have any experience with these bikes they'd like to share? At
    this
    > point, I'm leaning towards buying the Hardrock (~$330) based on the dealer advice and paying some
    > extra $$ to upgrade some of the hardware out of the box... Appearantly, the derailleurs are weak
    > and I should be able to
    upgrade
    > them well and stay within the price window I've set. Perhaps look at different forks as well?

    I quite like the hardrock as a general purpose bike because you can still get the rigid
    forked version.

    The gears - aren't they alivio (?perhaps older models) or acera now? Deore might be nicer and better
    built, but I personally would save the money for something else.
     
  3. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Albert N. Mouse" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]... <snip>
    > My dealer recommeded the Hardrock, though according to reviews on the website there are often
    > issues with the front suspension. With my weight,
    I
    > don't want to have a problem. Co-workers have recommended the Raleigh
    (good
    > components, but the dealer says not as well constructed as they used to
    be)
    > and the Trek (no one can really tell me what's so great about the Trek).
    >
    > Anyone have any experience with these bikes they'd like to share? At
    this
    > point, I'm leaning towards buying the Hardrock (~$330) based on the dealer advice and paying some
    > extra $$ to upgrade some of the hardware out of the box... Appearantly, the derailleurs are weak
    > and I should be able to
    upgrade
    > them well and stay within the price window I've set. Perhaps look at different forks as well?

    Mr. Mouse,

    The typical front fork is set to deal with a weight somewhere between 150 to 180 lbs. If you are
    outside this range, you will need to upgrade the internals of the fork to deal with your weight.
    After bottoming out my fork on a regular basis (at a particularly svelt weight of 210), a new set of
    elastomers and springs was the only solution. If you are going to spend money on upgrades, this is
    where it should be spent. Or the alternative - have them remove the suspension fork and replace it
    with a rigid fork. There are some advantages to this, mainly in maintenance. You will also have less
    energy loss due to suspension "bobbing" as you pedal along. But if your goal is weight loss, this
    might not be such a bad thing. It also works as a feedback mechanism that will help you recognize
    when you are not pedalling smoothly. The smooter the pedal strokes, the less bobbing will occur.

    As for the derailler upgrades, I wouldn't worry about them. If a part breaks, replace it with
    something nicer. It is unlikely that it will break. Shifting equipment, even the low end, has
    improved so much that any level will suit your needs. Your weight will have nothing to do with how
    the chain is moved from cog to cog. Although there are some advantages to moving up the product
    line, most of those are seen in long-term durability (different kinds of bushings) and
    lighter-weight parts (to the tune of a few grams weight savings between models). For your first
    bike, neither of these should be an issue.

    So, your biggest concerns should be getting a correct fit, dealing with that suspension fork, making
    sure the shop knows how to properly stress-relieve the wheels, and getting the right kind of tires
    for your intended use.

    Good luck, Buck
     
  4. "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Albert N. Mouse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > The typical front fork is set to deal with a weight somewhere between 150
    to
    > 180 lbs. If you are outside this range, you will need to upgrade the internals of the fork to deal
    > with your weight. After bottoming out my
    fork
    > on a regular basis (at a particularly svelt weight of 210), a new set of elastomers and springs
    > was the only solution. If you are going to spend money on upgrades, this is where it should be
    > spent. Or the alternative - have them remove the suspension fork and replace it with a rigid fork.

    Buck,

    Thanks for the post...

    I am definately outside that weight range (prolly by 100lbs or so) so your comments are most
    helpful. Since I might use the bike on packed trails, is there a particular fork or setup that you'd
    reccomend?

    Thanks much.

    Mouse
     
  5. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Albert N. Mouse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:b9ocr5

    > Thanks for the post...
    >
    > I am definately outside that weight range (prolly by 100lbs or so) so your comments are most
    > helpful. Since I might use the bike on packed trails,
    is
    > there a particular fork or setup that you'd reccomend?

    Mouse,

    If you are sure that you want to stick with the suspension fork, have a nice long conversation with
    them about what is necessary to set up the fork for your weight. If they say it will handle your
    weight without modification, look for another shop. I don't know about the RST fork on the Hardrock,
    but the RockShox fork on the Hardrock Comp can be upgraded through elastomer and spring kits. The
    shop should be able to order and install the kit. Keep in mind that highest spring rate is for ">
    260 lbs." If your weight is much more than that, you may still have problems. At least with the
    combination of springs and elastomers, you will not feel the "clunk" when the fork bottoms. The
    progressive rate of the elastomers will prevent that. Take a look at the RockShox website for more
    information.

    The Judy TT is an entry-level fork that has no damping other than the friction of the elastomers on
    the sliding parts. It won't be much more than a glorified spring on the front of your bike. To get a
    true shock with damping, you will need to spend some money on an upgrade. It may cost you several
    hundred dollars, certainly our of your stated price range. I'm sure the RST is even lower down the
    fork food chain.

    -Buck
     
  6. > My dealer recommeded the Hardrock, though according to reviews on the website there are often
    > issues with the front suspension. With my weight,
    I
    > don't want to have a problem. Co-workers have recommended the Raleigh
    (good
    > components, but the dealer says not as well constructed as they used to
    be)
    > and the Trek (no one can really tell me what's so great about the Trek).

    The TREK 4500 has a fork that is capable of re-springing for your weight, and is generally a
    no-nonsense off-road bike that's low on flash but high on basic capability. The darned things fly
    out the door and rarely come back with issues. Dealers like that in a bike. TREK also is the best in
    the business as far as warranty goes, but your dealer still represents the most important part of
    that equation, not just because they help determine what's warranty and what's not, but also because
    it's up to the dealer to make sure your bike is set up properly for your intended use (which can
    avoid "warranty" issues down the road).

    It would be preferable to get a bike that, out of the box, is as appropriate as possible. Reduces
    the finger-pointing down the road if there's an issue. Also, a bike that comes with the better
    components in places you can see may also have better components in areas you cannot (such as the
    bottom bracket and quality of spokes and wheel build). This is not always the case however; some
    bikes are masters at smoke & mirrors and will put a high-end piece in a place people notice (like a
    higher-end rear derailleur) and keep everything else cheap. That's dumb. You're better off with a
    higher-quality bottom bracket and wheelset than rear derailleur.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  7. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Mon, 12 May 2003 14:29:44 GMT, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote:

    >The typical front fork is set to deal with a weight somewhere between 150 to 180 lbs

    If true that's outrageous. I'm about 180 and absolutely not overweight.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  8. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:eek:[email protected]...
    > On Mon, 12 May 2003 14:29:44 GMT, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote:
    >
    > >The typical front fork is set to deal with a weight somewhere between 150
    to
    > >180 lbs
    >
    > If true that's outrageous. I'm about 180 and absolutely not overweight.

    No one said anything about being overweight. Rockshox ship with a pair of red springs, rated for a
    rider of 160 to 180 lbs. You can change out the springs for heavier or lighter riders.

    Of course, this doesn't apply to air shocks.

    Don't be so sensitive!

    :)

    -Buck
     
  9. Albert, I've followed the advice you've got. Listen to Mike below--everything I've read from him is
    candid and honest--as far as I know.

    The only thing I can add is that frames are rarely a problem, but wheels can be. Some entry level
    bikes have weak wheels.

    One last thing, you are very heavy but you sound like you are not going to be smashing curves and
    flying off cliffs. The 180 pound rider doing a jump puts a lot of stress on a bike, especially the
    fork and wheels.

    Alan Acock

    --
    Alan C. Acock [email protected] [email protected] http://www.orst.edu/dept/hdfs/acock/ "Mike
    Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > My dealer recommeded the Hardrock, though according to reviews on the website there are often
    > > issues with the front suspension. With my
    weight,
    > I
    > > don't want to have a problem. Co-workers have recommended the Raleigh
    > (good
    > > components, but the dealer says not as well constructed as they used to
    > be)
    > > and the Trek (no one can really tell me what's so great about the Trek).
    >
    > The TREK 4500 has a fork that is capable of re-springing for your weight, and is generally a
    > no-nonsense off-road bike that's low on flash but high
    on
    > basic capability. The darned things fly out the door and rarely come back with issues. Dealers
    > like that in a bike. TREK also is the best in the business as far as warranty goes, but your
    > dealer still represents the
    most
    > important part of that equation, not just because they help determine
    what's
    > warranty and what's not, but also because it's up to the dealer to make
    sure
    > your bike is set up properly for your intended use (which can avoid "warranty" issues down
    > the road).
    >
    > It would be preferable to get a bike that, out of the box, is as
    appropriate
    > as possible. Reduces the finger-pointing down the road if there's an
    issue.
    > Also, a bike that comes with the better components in places you can see
    may
    > also have better components in areas you cannot (such as the bottom
    bracket
    > and quality of spokes and wheel build). This is not always the case however; some bikes are
    > masters at smoke & mirrors and will put a high-end piece in a place people notice (like a
    > higher-end rear derailleur) and
    keep
    > everything else cheap. That's dumb. You're better off with a higher-quality bottom bracket and
    > wheelset than rear derailleur.
    >
    > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  10. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Albert N. Mouse" <[email protected]> wrote

    >
    > Any feedback, suggestions, and the like is greatly appreciated as before!
    > :) Thanks everyone again for taking the time to lend a hand. Hopefully
    > I'll be able to give back soon.
    >

    I have a 99 Hardrock which has served well for several thousand miles. On and off road,
    summer, winter, whatever. Only problem I've hasd was a bent rim, from waaaay too low tire
    pressure, and a curb.

    I'm nowhere near your weight, but it's a tough bike.

    Pete
     
  11. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Alan C. Acock" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:LAWva.824285

    > The only thing I can add is that frames are rarely a problem, but wheels
    can
    > be. Some entry level bikes have weak wheels.
    >
    > One last thing, you are very heavy but you sound like you are not going to be smashing curves and
    > flying off cliffs. The 180 pound rider doing a jump puts a lot of stress on a bike, especially the
    > fork and wheels.

    As I said in my other posts, make sure they know how to stress-relieve and re-tension the wheels.
    All it takes is a poor landing from a poorly executed bunny-hop in a parking lot and a poorly built
    wheel will be tweaked. Yes, I learned this one the hard way while on my first mountain bike. Make
    sure those wheels are set up right!

    -Buck
     
  12. Karen M.

    Karen M. Guest

    Buck wrote:
    > If you are sure that you want to stick with the suspension fork, have a nice long conversation
    > with them about what is necessary to set up the fork for your weight. If they say it will
    > handle your weight without modification, look for another shop. .... RST fork ... RockShox fork
    > ...Judy TT ...

    Hey! How about a tandem fork? (Doing the math, ANM might weigh close to 300 lbs.)

    --Karen M.
     
  13. M Gagnon

    M Gagnon Guest

    > Thanks for the post...
    >
    > I am definately outside that weight range (prolly by 100lbs or so) so your comments are most
    > helpful. Since I might use the bike on packed trails,
    is
    > there a particular fork or setup that you'd reccomend?
    >
    > Thanks much.
    >
    > Mouse
    >
    >

    I don't have any specific recommendation on these bikes or forks, but if you can upgrade to a
    stronger fork or with one where you could lock the suspension, that could be good. Likewise, having
    the suspension replaced by a rigid fork will make the bike lighter (useful if you bring it up a
    flight of stairs) and more maintenance free.

    For hard trails like the typical bike trail in packed gravel or asphalt and for streets, I think
    you'll get the most comfort from good smooth tires (700x37 to 47, or 26" x 1.75 to 2"). Having
    smooth tires (commonly called "slicks") instead of the usual knobby tires will also offer a very
    good improvement: less road noise (buzz) on asphalt, 2-3 extra mph for the same effort and better
    control of the bike in tight turns. If you plan to ride in snow or mud, keep the knobbies either as
    extra tires or on the bike; otherwise, have the shop swap tires, which they will probably do for
    free or cheaply while the bike is new.

    There are other upgrades and accessories to add:

    - Fenders: they are nice because they keep you clean. Check that there is enough clearance around
    the brakes, forks and stays to install them, and check that you have eyelets near the front and
    rear hubs to install them. You might want to save money by not installing fenders now, but they
    are great for you and your bike in any but dry, sunny conditions.

    - Rear rack : same comment.

    Regards,

    Michel Gagnon
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Mon, 12 May 2003 21:28:18 GMT, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote:

    >> >The typical front fork is set to deal with a weight somewhere between 150 180 lbs

    >> If true that's outrageous. I'm about 180 and absolutely not overweight.

    >No one said anything about being overweight ... Don't be so sensitive!

    OK. Although I can't imagine that huge numbers of our American cousins are going to be much lighter
    than me, per unit height ;-)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  15. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    > On Mon, 12 May 2003 21:28:18 GMT, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote:
    >
    > >> >The typical front fork is set to deal with a weight somewhere between
    150
    > >> >180 lbs
    >
    > >> If true that's outrageous. I'm about 180 and absolutely not overweight.
    >

    Not to worry. Just don't sit on the front fork.
     
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