From my title, you probably already know the drill. Here are the details and criteria on my friend.
1. It's been a few years since I've seen him but I remember him being 5'10".
2. 300 lbs
3. $800 budget.
We used to BMX in our high school days (we're both 39). He was a fairly aggressive and daring rider. It's been a long time since he's been on a bike but he's fairly active, is into martial arts and snowboards occassionally. He's interested in getting into the sport and part of his concern about purchasing a bike is if he should spend more and jump in head first or ease himself in and buy a nicer bike/upgrade as he gets more into it (considering he likes it that much).
I live in New York and he lives in Maryland. I am going to take a trip down to help him make a decision on a bike (and of course, help him break it in) and would like to know of a few good shops in the Rockville/Beltsville area. I am considering Performance Bicycle because of the 10% kickback for extras like a helmet, gloves & such plus from what I see online, there are a few solid choices in the $800 price point. I can probably get him to even spend $900 if it's worth it. REI was also another choice. I even considered what bikesdirect.com had to offer. Although he wouldn't have a bike instantly, the parts spec on their bikes is pretty good and he could always upgrade the frame later.
Full suspension would be nice but I don't know if the terrain in MD warrants it. I thought he would appreciate the ride better because he's a big guy but I also was leaning toward suggesting a 29er for lighter weight, faster ride and possibly a slightly better component spec. Plus, he could get a good workout on the local streets commuting on the 29er since he is trying to lose some weight.
So with all that's been said, I hope you guys can offer some insight. I would definitely like some responses from my clydesdale crew.
Oh, and while you're at it, toss in a few local trail suggestions. Stuff that's challenging for a vet like me but that will give my buddy a moderate intro and show him what's to come as he progresses.
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