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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the official introduction folks. My name is Ian and I've been mountain biking pretty frequently for about a year now. I started on my old 1993 Trek 930 full rigid that I've had since new, and eventually (6+ months ago) I bought a new 4" travel full suspension bike (2005 Kona Kikapu) for the trails. My old Trek has now been left for neighborhood rides and light trails. It's obviously MUCH better on pavement that the Kona, but it is still a 29+ pound bike with older XC-type geometry.

It's also been raining a little down here in Austin, TX this week and I've been unable to hit any real trails for over 10 days due to the mud in many places. I don't want to be the A-hole that's tearing up the trails. This has made me ride my old rigid around a lot more this week to satisfy my craving for riding and exercising in general. You see, I've been on a serious mission to get back into shape. I got kind of 'soft' after college and plumped up to almost 260 lbs. I year and a half later I'm down to about 215 or so, but want to continue riding as much as possible and am considering a decent (yet affordable) raod bike to keep me spinning when the trails are to wet to ride off road.

What might you folks suggest for a big guy who's new to the road thing? I don't want an all-out race machine, but hate the feel of an upright 'comfort bike' too. I feel like freakin' Mary Poppins on those things. I'm not opposed to a flat bar road bike, but i like to be a little stretched out while riding. I just hate feeling cramped by a cockpit that's too short.


I've been eyeing this used bike. What do you guys (and gals) think?

http://austin.craigslist.org/bik/174238619.html

Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Ian
Austin, TX
 

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Couple of suggestions from another Clydesdale...

The bike you linked to is gone from Craigslist, so I dunno about that. In a general way, though:
I'm about your height, though (temporarily) heavier. I'd advise you to look for something in AT LEAST 62cm, and if you can test ride a 64, try that. They're hard to find, but my experience in switching to a bike that really fit after riding for years on bikes the shops told me "will be OK if we put on a longer seat post" convinces me it's worth it. There's more to fit than saddle height.
Also, even at your present peak of fitness, you need room for bigger tires than the 23mm or so that probably will come with your bike. Check under the brake arch and between the fork blades to see if there's room for something on the order of 28 or 32mm. I do most of my riding on 35s these days, saving the "skinny" 32s for smooth roads and fast-paced group rides. I haven't used anything smaller than 28 in years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cory said:
The bike you linked to is gone from Craigslist, so I dunno about that. In a general way, though:
I'm about your height, though (temporarily) heavier. I'd advise you to look for something in AT LEAST 62cm, and if you can test ride a 64, try that. They're hard to find, but my experience in switching to a bike that really fit after riding for years on bikes the shops told me "will be OK if we put on a longer seat post" convinces me it's worth it. There's more to fit than saddle height.
Also, even at your present peak of fitness, you need room for bigger tires than the 23mm or so that probably will come with your bike. Check under the brake arch and between the fork blades to see if there's room for something on the order of 28 or 32mm. I do most of my riding on 35s these days, saving the "skinny" 32s for smooth roads and fast-paced group rides. I haven't used anything smaller than 28 in years.
Hmm, the Craigslist link still works for me, and its still listed. Maybe it's just a glitch. Anyway, thanks for your comments on sizing, but I do have one question. I don't understand what my fitness level has to do with tire size. Do you mean that heavier guys require the extra cushion of fatter rubber to prevent wheel & spoke damage on rougher roads? My neighborhood can get pretty choppy in spots.

Thanks.
 

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hallin222 said:
Hmm, the Craigslist link still works for me, and its still listed. Maybe it's just a glitch. Anyway, thanks for your comments on sizing, but I do have one question. I don't understand what my fitness level has to do with tire size. Do you mean that heavier guys require the extra cushion of fatter rubber to prevent wheel & spoke damage on rougher roads? My neighborhood can get pretty choppy in spots.

Thanks.

Not necessarily, I'm, 6'0", and I was about 235 when I started riding last year...on 23's...without a problem...It's all in your comfort preferences and what you want. There is no golden rule regarding tire size.
 

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Didn't actually mean fitness--it's your mass

hallin222 said:
Hmm, the Craigslist link still works for me, and its still listed. Maybe it's just a glitch. Anyway, thanks for your comments on sizing, but I do have one question. I don't understand what my fitness level has to do with tire size. Do you mean that heavier guys require the extra cushion of fatter rubber to prevent wheel & spoke damage on rougher roads? My neighborhood can get pretty choppy in spots.

Thanks.
The "fitness" line was just an oblique reference to the weight you've lost--your VO2 max doesn't affect tire size, but your weight does, and you're still a big guy for a cyclist. What works for a 160 pounder isn't necessarily right for you.
. Grant Petersen at Rivendell (whom I quote far too often) says nobody over 175 pounds should use 23mm tires, standard on many bikes. I weigh about 240, up from 225 last fall (which was down from 270 two years ago), and in the last few years I've used tires from 20mm to 38 on two different bikes. There's a big difference in comfort and stability as you go up, with not much loss in speed. Everything's a compromise, of course, but I feel best now on 35mm tires at 75-80 psi. Even when I want to go fast (fast for me, not FAST), I use 32s @105 or so.
 

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height isn't everything

I would recommend getting your true inseam measurement, not the one from your jeans...

I am 6'3" w/ 36.5 inch inseam and a 61cm is the right frame for me...but thats me. The inseam is more important then overall height.
 

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Since it will most likely be your rain bike you might want to look at a fixed gear bike. You won't have to do a ton of maintenance on it (clean/tension the chain, wheel stuff, that's pretty much it), and I find it's a lot more confidence-inspiring to stop if you don't have to rely on rim friction. It'll also help you with all fitness related aspects of cycling.
 

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Confused?

I'm 6'2, 200# so I'm not far off your specs.
By the way I'm giving you a standing applause for staying off muddy mtb trails.
In my experience the top tube is the more important measurement. Sounds like that is what you are looking for also. I'd stay away from the longer seat tubes if possible. Personally once you get over 60cm, frames get way flexy. You're better off getting one a bit smaller, running a zero rise stem and pulling out your seatpost a bit. (ala compact frame.) For your size, presuming normal proportions I'd look for a 58.5-59cm top tube.
Careful you may find the road beckoning more and more, even when the trails are dry. I love both, and think you will too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
zoikz said:
I'm 6'2, 200# so I'm not far off your specs.
By the way I'm giving you a standing applause for staying off muddy mtb trails.
In my experience the top tube is the more important measurement. Sounds like that is what you are looking for also. I'd stay away from the longer seat tubes if possible. Personally once you get over 60cm, frames get way flexy. You're better off getting one a bit smaller, running a zero rise stem and pulling out your seatpost a bit. (ala compact frame.) For your size, presuming normal proportions I'd look for a 58.5-59cm top tube.
Careful you may find the road beckoning more and more, even when the trails are dry. I love both, and think you will too.
Thanks for your input. I'm actually meeting a guy I know (he works at my LBS) to ride his personal road bike he has for sale. It's a 2004 KHS Flite 300 size XL (bought new in mid 2005 as a holdover). I think he said it came out to a 58.5 when he measured it. He's 6'1" and says its a little big for him but he got it for a song and thought he'd try road riding. He's more of a MTB'r / dirt jumper so it never got used. I know it's very entry level but it might be a good place to start. Especially because I can get it for around three bills. Its an aluminum frame with carbon fork and Sora compontents.

This isn't it, but its the exact same bike:

http://maine.craigslist.org/bik/167482431.html

I took a new 2006 XXL (62cm) Specialized Allex Elite Double (out of my pricerange) this weekend for a quick test ride and it seemed to fit well. The XL (58cm) seemd way too small just looking at it and I didn't even bother ride it. I'm concered that the KHS might be too small as its top tube on the XL is 25mm shorter than the XXL Specialized. That's also assuming that the 2004 KHS geometry is the same as it is in 2006.

http://www.khsbicycles.com/PDF/KHS_Frame_Geometry_Flite.pdf

VS.

http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=12389

We'll see. The KHS test ride occurs tomorrow night and I'll let you know how it turns out. If it ends up being too small for me, my wife is almost 6 feet tall also, and it might be a good bike for her. Any comments on this Flite 300 as a potential first road bike? I just want to be sure that the wheels, etc will hold up to my 215 lbs of abuse.

Thanks for the feedback folks.

Ian
 

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First post here.
Ian what part of austin do you plan on riding. if its some of the popular long haul spots like parmer or 620 you shouldnt worry about the fram holding up to your weight. I have been researching this as well going from a gary fisher to a new road bike soon for getting exercise and commuting. i weight in at about 230 and made that clear to all of the LBS guys i talked to and they didnt say anything about it being an issue.
on the other hand my roommate has been wanting to bike and since he weights in at a heft 340+ that WILL be a problem for lots of bikes. basically he can only ride a mountain frame with no suspension on the road till he looses.
what shops are you looking at in austin? i got my big sur from discovery cycle and i really like the shop but they dont do a lot in road bikes so i started looking all over. gonna take the time to look at bucks bikes and maybe even REI as a place to look. i am kinda interested in a fellow austinites opnion on the shops arround here

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Brian,

I plan on riding more on the SW end of town, like around my neighborhood (out near The Salt Lick BBQ off 1826) and the tail end of MoPac were it turns into 45. Maybe a few laps at The Veloway too. If I get more into the road thing, I might make it all the way up to the northern trips though. I think it'll probably reel me in just like the off road stuff did.

I bought my Kona Kikapu mountain bike down at New Revolution Cycles in Kyle (there on my daily commute to San Marcos). Note, I drive, not pedal, to commute.:) They're a smaller shop than even Discovery. I've been to the Discovery shop aroud 22nd(?) Street and bought a few items there, including my wifes first bike. That was a cheap Raleigh comfort bike that we've since sold. She got a 5" fully for off road, and now wants a roadie for the neighborhood and streets when we can't make it to the trails. She's so great.:thumbsup:


That KHS I'm looking at tomorrow belong to one of the mechanics at NRC in Kyle. They're all super nice guys and have treated me great personally and pricewise everytime I go in there. The owner even sold me his nice Cane Creek Terros Disc wheelset off his own personal bike (used for like 6 rides) for around half of retail when I was having repeated spoke breakage issues with my stock set-up. That included the Stan's tubeless conversion kit and Maxxis Larsen TT's that were mounted on them. He even had his guys strip down a bike they had in the shop so he could sell me the frame (for less than have of retial, installed!) after mine was damaged in a crash.

Anyway, if I decide to buy a new roadbike, instead of shopping the used market, I'll try to buy from them first. Unfortunately, they're a small shop and don't stock a ton of bikes in larger sizes (over 58cm).

Later,

Ian
 

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zoikz said:
I'm 6'2, 200# so I'm not far off your specs.
By the way I'm giving you a standing applause for staying off muddy mtb trails.
...Careful you may find the road beckoning more and more, even when the trails are dry. I love both, and think you will too.
Ditto that ... nary a truer word spoken.

Riding road to stay off muddy trails has its own rewards. Now I enjoy twice as much cycling, and try to get road sessions in whenever I can.
 
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