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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I guess the title just about says it all. I'm about 50lbs over weight, 5' 11" tall, have some experience riding, but not really serious experience. I've never owned a "good" bike.

I want a bike that I can use mostly for commuting, but will also use for pleasure rides (light training). And I want to still like the bike after I drop these pounds. Most of my commute is flat or rolling hills; it's 16 miles each way.

I have little money to spend, which means I'd like to keep it in the $600-700 range; if it's cheaper, that would be great.

There are so many choices, I don't want to go to my lbs, drop to the floor and cry "HELP ME!". I'd like to have a bit more composure and smarts. Is there a short list of bikes I should be looking at?

Thanks for your help.

Bill
 

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There have been a number of posts on this subject. A search should turn up plenty. Search on "Clyde" or "Clydesdale."
That being said, you can ride any bike you want, as long as it isn't crazy light. In the price range you mentioned, you won't get anything like that anyway. Go test ride some bikes, and see what you are most comfortable on. You do want to stay away from low-spoke-count wheels. You should probably have at least 32. But if you really like a bike that comes with some wheels with 24 spokes, ride them and plan on replacing them soon.
 

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Hello Bill, I am also about 30 pounds overweight (5'9" 205 lbs). 1st of all I think you're going to be very pleasantly surprised at what you wind up capable of on these fast light bikes and how addicting it all is. Just starting out I am doing 2 to 4 20+ mile rides a week and doing them without no discomfort at all (even one that was 50 miles!). That said, in my wealth of 4 weeks experience with a "real road bike" i.e. something other than the walmart mountain bikes I've always bought and ridden prior, I am a big fan of buying used off of cragslist if you live in an area that has alot of people listing bikes. Please remember that to use these bikes with any comfort and efficiency for the long distance rides that you're going to want to do, it is pretty nigh impossible without laying out some cash for startup gear. My must haves are:
bike gloves 20.00/ padded bike shorts 20.00 on sale/ jersey (with the little pockets in the back) 20.00 on sale/ decent bike frame pump 20.00/ 700c inner tubes(at least two to take with you) 4.00<for 2> on sale/ under saddle bag 15.00/ clipless pedals (hopefully you can buy the bike with them on it already) 40.00 or so on sale/ bike shoes with the cleat screw holes 50.00 on sale/ cleats 12.00 to 20.00 depending on pedal model/ helmet 20.00/ patch kit and tire levers 5.00 (learn to mount your tires without using those damned levers-they will cause you way more ruined 2.00 to 5.00 dollar tubes than glass or thorns ever will-but I'm not bitter !!!) / good floor pump 25.00 on sale (these high pressure road tires lose air fast so you need to really stay on top of pumping air into them almost every ride).
Theres a bunch of stuff that I've bought but I think that ought to get you a good positive "holy cow is this fun!" start. Most of these items are cheapest at Performance bicycle stores. I would love to patronize the smaller shops more because I want them to exist but I can't generally afford them given how many things I've needed starting out.

Also-please spend some time on the retro bikes forum in this website so you don't pass on a really cool fun to ride bike just cuz you think its too old. I got a nice 2005 Raleigh Supercourse(aluminum w/ carbon-Shimano STI Brifters) and then a little later got my wife a 1993 Specialized Allez (Cro-Mo frame-down tube shifters) and you know what? Raising the seat I've done a couple of long rides on her Allez and while its undeniably more convenient to have the shifters on the handlebars, the old Allez was just as fast and fun and the shifting was smooth and reliable! Mark bikepedia.com as a favorite and enter bikes you see in stores and online for sale in there to see what it cost new and its components listed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Will and Idaho, thanks a lot for taking the time to give me that info . . . especially the info about how many spokes I'm looking for . . .

The only thing is, I'm kind of bummed out to know I'm considered a "Clydesdale". Boy, if that isn't a hard dose of reality!

"Retro" is 1993? wow.

thanks!

Bill
 

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You don't say much about where you will be riding the bike. Is your commute rural or urban? Is your workplace in a safe location where you can store your bike without worrying about it getting damaged or stolen? You might want to consider those sorts of practical things when deciding on a bike.

For example, if you ride in a mostly urban area and your only option for storing your bike during the day is on a bike rack outside, you might want to get something that isn't too expensive and is durable. If you're riding rural, maybe you want a really nice, light bike so you can fly down those country roads and if you have a safe place to store it during the day, then you will probably feel better about spending more on it. I've also heard some people who commute in urban areas say that hybrids work well for them, so maybe that's something to consider.

Also, don't be afraid to just go into your LBS and just ask for help. Tell them what kind of riding you want to do and ask what they would suggest. Then take your list home, look up those bikes online, and when you're ready make a purchase. Even if you don't buy your bike from them, they will probably still be happy to help you, since they know you will probably be coming to them to get all your various accessories. They can be a good resource for you in trying to choose a bike.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cross Chained said:
You don't say much about where you will be riding the bike. Is your commute rural or urban? Is your workplace in a safe location where you can store your bike without worrying about it getting damaged or stolen? You might want to consider those sorts of practical things when deciding on a bike.
I live in a pretty rural area, mostly traveling into small towns. A lot of farm land around where I live, which is nice, but the road quality varies. It's a new job, but I think I'll be able to keep my bike in my office. If not, the area is safe.

Otherwise, there will be times when I'll want to lock my bike up, which I'm not sure about; what are the options?

thanks!
 

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billhector said:
There are so many choices, I don't want to go to my lbs, drop to the floor and cry "HELP ME!".
Actually, that is perhaps exactly what you should do. Of course, apply some reasonable filter to what they say. Not every bike shop employee is competent and honest, but you really should listen to what they have to say. And make sure they listen to you first.
 

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Don't forget Fit and comfort

Well if you read enough post here you will get the idea that having a bike fit you well is of great importance. If it doesn’t fit right, you could be miserable, limited in performance and then eventually get tired of riding in discomfort without much gain in performance which may cause you to quit riding. A good bike shop should help you get something that fits you and your goals.
Also, it may just be my opinion, but most of the new bikes in the <$1000 range are pretty much the same. Geometry and the all so important color scheme may change, but the quality of the components is about the same. So just make sure you like how it looks, (I am serious, you will get tired of an ugly bike) and fits well.
For comfort and durability I feel a wheel set with 32 spokes that are 3-cross are bullet proof and should be good for you. A 700 x 25 tire at ~110 psi will be comfortable too
Since you are commuting think about what kind of load you will have to take with you. I commute but I leave clothes at the office and the days I drive in I drop off clean clothes and bring home the laundry. But if you need to carry things like a computer, you will need to decide if you will carry your stuff on you or on the bike. This could play in your decision of what your bike needs are. A touring type of bike will have eyelets for a rack and panniers if that is the way you want to go. Also for your budget, think about the other stuff that you will need. Helmet, pump and patch kit, tool kit and under seat bag for carrying such items. The list of accessories will go on so be prepared.
And finally, this doesn’t have to be your last bike. If it is set up as a commuter with panniers and fenders, you can enjoy the commuting process. As you really get into cycling, you may get the bug to have this as a dedicated commuter bike and you might want something for your fun rides and eventual centuries.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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billhector said:
I live in a pretty rural area, mostly traveling into small towns. A lot of farm land around where I live, which is nice, but the road quality varies. It's a new job, but I think I'll be able to keep my bike in my office. If not, the area is safe.

Otherwise, there will be times when I'll want to lock my bike up, which I'm not sure about; what are the options?

thanks!
Well, ultimately, the decision is up to you, but if I had a commute like what you describe and could keep my bike in my office, I would probably get a reasonably nice road bike (maybe a price point of around $2000, give or take a few hundred bucks- depends what features you want). As far as locking your bike up outside, you'll need a good lock, which your LBS can sell you, but more importantly, just be sure you strip it of everything valuable (the cyclocomputer, your seatpack, etc).

I actually do the vast majority of my riding on roads that are like what you describe- mostly farmland, a few small towns. Sometimes the road quality is not the best- a few roads are heavily cracked and some of them are covered with that chip-&-fill crap. But what I like about being out there is the lack of traffic and the lack of stop lights and stop signs. You can really fly down those roads. A road bike is really pretty ideal for that kind of riding, so that would be my personal recommendation to you, but again, it's all about preference and what you feel comfortable with.

Since you did mention a concern about your weight, probably the one thing you need to consider when looking for a bike is the wheelset. Sometimes a very heavy person can damage the rims of their wheels, which is not good. A few people suggested that you look for wheels with a certain number of spokes and that is good advice. However, the bike you like best may not come with the right wheels for you, so leave room in your budget to replace the wheels if necessary. A bike store employee will probably be able to help you choose some that are suitable for you. However, if you start biking to work on a regular basis, you will probably start to lose weight pretty quickly and then you can use whatever wheels you want.

As far as specific bike recommendations go, I would suggest that you go test a ride few first and decide what you do an don't like about those bikes. Then all of us here can make suggestions based on what we know your preferences to be. Do you want a style that is racy and puts you in a good aerodynamic position or maybe something that is a little more upright to save on your back muscles? Do you like the feel of aluminum or carbon better or do you maybe prefer a combination of the two? Do you want a compact or triple crank? Consider stuff like that when you test ride. Granted, there are many things that can be changed about a road bike, so if you think the reach of your handlebars is too long, for example, you can always put a shorter stem on it.
 

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Heavier

My boyfriend weighs about 290. He is currently riding a mountain bike because with its big fat knobby tires, looks like its the only one that can handle his weight. He taught me how to ride and now I am on my second bike and going so much faster than him uphill or downhill. He is looking for a road bike but we don't know if there is anything out there that will be suitable for him. He wants to continue riding, but he wants it to be a little easier.
 

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I think all of these are excellent answers. Once you find what you like, your only concern will be the wheelset. In all honesty, try to aim for a 32 spoke wheelset- 36 spoke even better. This especially applies to your boyfriend V7.I'm 6'3" and 210 lbs and I've had nothing but trouble with wheels. I've tried countless number of wheels ( including the Mavic Ksyrium Elites and SLs) and spent lots of money to experience failure on each of them. A set of 36 spoke custom road wheels with good spokes and a strong hub is practically bulletproof. Every bike shop that I've spoken to and every Clydesdale rider around 300 lbs that I've spoken to say the same thing. Not only that, you can have a custom-built 36 spoke, durable wheelset built up for less than most of the lightweight wheels that you find on the average road bike. We're 200+ lbs. Those lower spoked wheels are designed with racers in mind. Most racers average between 140-170 lbs. Another option is a touring bike or at least a touring bike wheelset. Those are built to carry outrageous amounts of weight. More often than not, the wheels on those bikes will remain trouble-free for years with the abuse they go through. Food for thought......
 

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v7rockista said:
My boyfriend weighs about 290. He is currently riding a mountain bike because with its big fat knobby tires, looks like its the only one that can handle his weight. He taught me how to ride and now I am on my second bike and going so much faster than him uphill or downhill. He is looking for a road bike but we don't know if there is anything out there that will be suitable for him. He wants to continue riding, but he wants it to be a little easier.
Those knobby tires create a lot of extra resistence. When I switched from a knobby tired MTB to a entry level road bike, I knocked 9 minutes off my short 4 mile commute. The increase in speed, ease of travel, and my enjoyment skyrocketted.

Some people put slick tires on MTB's for commuting and riding on pavement. You really only want the knobby tires if you're going to be riding off road.

My suggestion is that he go talk to a local bike shop. See what they can offer. He should communicate what his current riding includes, and what he would like to get out of a new bike (farther, faster, etc.). He may be surprized what options are available to him.
 

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The heavier you are the more important a custom built wheel is. You may be able to find a 32 or 36 spoke stock wheel on a bike but that doesn't mean the rim is strong. Specific interior boxing is also what makes a rim strong including the shape of the rim, the thickness of the metal, the width, the depth. You won't be able to find these features on a stock wheel.

I see no reason a 300 lb person can't ride a road bike if he buys the right road bike and he gets custom wheels. As he loses weight, those custom wheels can be used later also. Just because a person loses weight doesn't mean those wheels aren't any good anymore.
 

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I'm 250lbs and given my experience I'd say stay away from lugged steel (tig welded steel and aluminum are good); inexpensive carbon fiber anything (Carbon will work, but not the cheap stuff); don't be overly concerned about the weight of whatever you buy (In fact, in some ways, slightly heavier stuff is better, but don't get carried away with this approach either...We've already got extra mass, don't make it too much worse); get a saddle that is wide enough to support your 'sit bones'; and be skeptical of advice from anyone under 225 on what will work for you.

Cycling for big guys (and gals) is a different world than it is for typically sized riders, and I've found that they usually don't have an adequate frame of reference on lots of stuff that we encounter. I always get a kick out of riders who are 30 or 40 pounds less than me making reccomendations like we're in the same boat just becuase we're both over 200 lbs. That's like comparing a 130 pound cyclist to a a 160 or 170 pound rider.

Also, don't be afraid to spend a little extra on what you believe will work for you. I've got a basement full of wheels, frames, stems, handlebars. forks, and other components that I bought because they were "the rage" for the average cyclist and performed like a wet noodle for me. Pay a little more if you can and buy what will work for you the first time.

My favorites are Campy Proton/Neutron wheels (for road bikes not a commuter bike), good quality 36 hole wheels (all 36 hole wheels are not made the same), and the Serfas RX saddle.

Don't be worried about speed or pace at first. It takes a long time for larger riders to get into the physical cycling groove. Just stay with it and before you know it you'll be spinning along, charging up hills, and recovering quickly after hard efforts. Just be patient and don't get discouraged. " The air is great up here." Come get some!
 

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Im new to cycling. I used to alot when I was a kid but now at the age of 18 Ive gotten out of exercising and wanting to slim up a little bit. I 6'4" and around 260lbs so im a pretty good amount overweight. My father bought a mountain bike at a yard sale the other day and I rode it for around 2 miles and came back. I was quite tired but I had forgotten how much fun it was and I want to get a road bike that I can start out on. I want a Schwinn fastback or something around that price range. I went to a LBS a couple of days ago and he wanted me to get a Fuji because they give him a discount or something but I really want a schwinn or something along the lines of that. I took a trip to walmart last night and seen a GMC Denali bike, I know this is a very very low end bike but I wanted to get someones opinion on if I should get that bike or save up and get something that will last and is worth the money. Thanks.
 

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Don't do it! Go with the local bike shop. Fuji's are decent bikes. The kind of stuff that will make a real difference immediately are the way you fit the frame, frame rigidity, wheel quality/stiffness, overall bike weight. If you are looking at anything that does not have quick relese wheels and a saddle, run!

The saddle is also an important thing when you first start riding. Big soft saddles feel good sitting in the store, but a few miles into the ride you may find you glutes worn out from trying to hold your butt on the seat. This is where firmness can be a big help. Whatever you do, make sure the saddle is wide enough. You can't enjoy riding if you can't tolerate sitting on the bike.
 

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The only thing that bothered me about our LBS. They dont make alot of money and have like no road bikes in stock. The owner is the only person that runs the store, its just not a big hobby in the city I live in. He would have to order the Newest and I dont really know if I will like the bike.
 
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