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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologize that one of my first real posts on this forum is a lengthy question about something I know very little about...

I'm a former mountain biker with too many injuries so I've had to find my fun in road riding - once I swapped my suspension fork and knobbies for a steel rigid and semi-slicks I realized how much easier (and more fun) it is to ride the distances I've been riding all these years without fighting constant bob and the hum of the protruding grip-givers.

I really like my current bike - a 1998 Trek 7000ZX with Surly Instigator fork and Geax Roadster tires - for bike path type rides and mixed on/offroad jaunts down the poorly maintained parts of the local canal path, but I'm looking for something more... road like for commuting and general touring type riding.

My budget is pennies, not dollars, and so I was looking at some of the more inexpensive "vintage" bikes from the late 80's and early 90's (as if that is really vintage). I've found several locally in safe ridable condition for under 100 dollars, which is perfect, except for one thing...

I'm 6'2 and weigh 276lbs (as of today). Even when I was training for XC racing and at 7% body fat I was 235lbs and gaining weight via muscle mass. I'll never be small framed, or statured. Any other Clyde's out there that ride lugged steel bikes without much drama?

I'm so used to checking and rechecking wheels and tires that that is expected, same with bottom brackets... its the frame I'm most concerned about.

And just because, here is my current commuter/every day rider.



Thanks in advance for any advice, there are some amazing examples of vintage and neo-retro rides in this part of the forum.

Living 20 minutes from the Serotta factory is great unless you can't even afford a fitment!
 

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Look for a vintage touring bike...something with cantilever brakes. Touring frame are built up stronger so they should handle your weight just fine. Plus, they almost always come with 36 spoke wheels so you'll have a stronger wheelset (and more braking power from the canti's).
 

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hayduke1972 said:
Look for a vintage touring bike...something with cantilever brakes.
I agree.

There was a recent thread on another forum on this subject, and everybody chimed in on what they consider quality touring bikes. Here's the list:

Bridgestone RB-T
Bridgestone T-500
Bridgestone T-700
Centurion Pro Tour
Fuji Touring Series IV
Fuji Touring Series V
Kuwahara Caravan
Lotus Odyssey
Miyata 610
Miyata 1000
Nishiki Continental
Nishiki Cresta GT
Nishiki International
Nishiki Riviera GT
Nishiki Seral
Novara Randonee
Panasonic PT-3500
Panasonic PT-5000
Raleigh Alyeska
Raleigh Kodiak
Raleigh Portage
Raleigh Super Tourer
Raleigh Touring 18
Schwinn Passage
Schwinn Voyageur/Voyageur SP
Takara Overland
Trek 520
Trek 620
Trek 720

Personally, I'm partial to the Trek 620s and 720s, and the mid eighties Schwinn Voyageurs, but I don't think you'd have a problem with any of the bikes on the list at your weight.
 

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A couple more......

Scooper said:
I agree.

There was a recent thread on another forum on this subject, and everybody chimed in on what they consider quality touring bikes. Here's the list:

Bridgestone RB-T
Bridgestone T-500
Bridgestone T-700
Centurion Pro Tour
Fuji Touring Series IV
Fuji Touring Series V
Kuwahara Caravan
Lotus Odyssey
Miyata 610
Miyata 1000
Nishiki Continental
Nishiki Cresta GT
Nishiki International
Nishiki Riviera GT
Nishiki Seral
Novara Randonee
Panasonic PT-3500
Panasonic PT-5000
Raleigh Alyeska
Raleigh Kodiak
Raleigh Portage
Raleigh Super Tourer
Raleigh Touring 18
Schwinn Passage
Schwinn Voyageur/Voyageur SP
Takara Overland
Trek 520
Trek 620
Trek 720

Personally, I'm partial to the Trek 620s and 720s, and the mid eighties Schwinn Voyageurs, but I don't think you'd have a problem with any of the bikes on the list at your weight.
Specialized Expedition
Univega Gran Tourismo
Univega Specialisima
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to all three of you for the advice.

That list is a great help - the two I am most seriously looking at are an 87 Trek 5xx and an 83 Schwinn. Unfortunately, its been a while since I've seen either of these bikes but trust the owner (who is also my bike mechanic, but has no experience with heavier riders on older frames).

There are a bunch in the local Craigslist(s) and if I remember correctly, they match some on the list - I'll post it if (when) I pick one up.

Thanks again
 

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Look carefully.....

hayduke1972 said:
Look for a vintage touring bike...something with cantilever brakes. Touring frame are built up stronger so they should handle your weight just fine. Plus, they almost always come with 36 spoke wheels so you'll have a stronger wheelset (and more braking power from the canti's).
You'll find that some touring bikes came with a 36 spoke front wheel and a 40 spoke rear wheel, which is the way to go, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
bicyclerepairman said:
You'll find that some touring bikes came with a 36 spoke front wheel and a 40 spoke rear wheel, which is the way to go, IMHO.

I'll keep my eyes open for high spoke counts. I pretty much knew to stick to 32 or higher, didn't know that some were shipped with as high as 40 spoke count.

Watch, I'll find a great bike for 20 bucks and end up putting 2800 bucks into it in the end :D


If this is anything like vintage cars and fly fishing (with vintage gear), I can already see it coming.
 

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skyphix said:
I'll keep my eyes open for high spoke counts. I pretty much knew to stick to 32 or higher, didn't know that some were shipped with as high as 40 spoke count.

Watch, I'll find a great bike for 20 bucks and end up putting 2800 bucks into it in the end :D


If this is anything like vintage cars and fly fishing (with vintage gear), I can already see it coming.
Welcome to the club...
 

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You might have trouble finding touring bikes that fit you. The ones that come up on Ebay have been going for big $$ lately IMHO. I looked for over a year before I found a touring bike for myself that fit me well enough (Nishiki Seral). But, I will say you should be fine with many other vintage bikes. I am 6'6" and 270lbs myself and have never had any trouble from any of my bikes. Most of the older bikes are going to have 36 hole wheels front and rear, but many of the lower/mid ones only came with single wall rims. At our size we definately want double wall rims at our size. If you did buy a non-touring bike I would consider upgrading the brake pads at a minimum (Salmon Koolstops) or even upgrading to new dual pivot road brakes for improved braking power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the welcome buck-50

Good advice redxj - On just about any bike I get I expect to replace tires, chain, and brake pads at a minimum. Sort of like always expecting a used car to need brakes, tires, and a tuneup.

I'm also not concerned about the shifting mechanisms working - this bike will likely become SS eventually anyway since my commuting and touring will be mostly flat roads and I could use the extra push for the legs.

Thanks again for all the help and reassurance.
 

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Cannondale?

I understand that you may have your heart set on a steel retro, but there are a lot of 80's Cannondales around that would work. One issue with early Cannondales is that they did not have replaceable derailleur hangers, and the hanger tended to crack if they took a hit on the hanger bolt. Of course, they would still work as single speeds at that point. I remember tossing my old mid-80's Cdale road frame into the recycle bin for that reason. I had no idea single speeds would become desirable.

They are really stiff and work well for heavy riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not necessarily set on the bike being Steel, the only thing I'm set on is that its inexpensive and safely ridable.

Of course, I never even thought of the fact that the Cannondales might not be steel. Still got a lot to learn.

Thanks for the advice, the more you know...
 

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If you are willing to buy a bike with 27" wheels you can probably find one with a 25" frame (63cm), that was a standard size back in the day and would probably be a good fit. FWIW newer 700c wheels can usually be made to work with this type of frame as the brake pads only have to drop about 4mm
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also good advice - I have no problem if the bike has 27" wheels (in fact, I almost expected it to have 27 ... or even 26" wheels). It appears that Michelin still makes a 27" tire so should be safe there.

I found a 63cm Cannondale locally but when I called on it, it was already sold. $50 too.
 
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