Big Boy Athlete Needs Some Advice!!!
I'm new to mountain biking and this forum. I wanted to get some advice from you experienced riders. I'm a big guy 6'3" 240 lbs, ex college football player (my playing weight was 315). Despite my size, I consider myself to be very athletic. I run 3 to 4 times a week and weightlift 2 or 3 times a week. I snowboard at a black diamond level and have done a couple of half marathons, etc etc. Needless to say, I know what it takes to push myself to that next level.
I've never been into riding a bike (most I've ever biked is 40 miles), but after reading a couple articles about how biking can help you become a better runner I decided to incorporate it into my training schedule and after a couple of weeks, I'm hooked! I went 2 weeks alternating days between running and biking and noticed my mileage and time improved in both disciplines a lot more than I expected. On my long bike days I'm doing 25 miles (up from 16 when I started) and on my long run days I've cut my half marathon pace by 25 seconds. I think my eventual goal will be to do a duathlon.
After riding a friend's mountain bike, I figure it's time for me to get one of my own. I will be doing most of my riding on paved trails, but I intend to develop true off road skills slowly. So my question is, as a bigger athletic rider, what type of bike/what things should I be considering when buying a USED mountain? I'm not looking for info directed at large people who live sedentary lives and need beginner motivation or beginner type bikes.
After doing a little research people seem to be recommending a steel frame because of it's sturdy construction (I put a pounding on everything I do, lol), 29 inch rims, and a hardtail. What size frame should I be looking for? Specifically, I'm looking for bikes that would allow you to switch out tires to put on slicks for a better road riding experience. I'm only looking at used bikes at the moment and willing to wait for a good deal (I don't yet feel comfortable spending 1,000+ on a new bike when I don't yet know enough about the sport). Thanks in advance!
Im 6'3" 280. Using mtb as exercise/fun to get my weight down to my sexy 240-245lb self.
I don't think steel is a requirement at your size. You will destroy rims long before your frame.
A 21" or 22" frame should fit you fine.
I'm riding an airborne zeppelin elite in a 21. Fits fine except I think I need a touch shorter stem. I'm gonna reposition my bars and see if that helps.
This bike is heavier than my HT trek from back in the day but I feel like fighting a little weight will just get me working harder.
Go try out some bikes and see what feel good.
There should be a lot of entry level 29ers out there for $4-500.
One thing you might try to find is a good shock. Preferably air. My tora 289 is way under matched for my size. But for $40 I can swap my coils to there heavier set up. I'm gonna get some miles on it and get a feel before I start changing things
Jkidd, thanks for the info, very helpful. Lol at your big sexy comment! It took me a couple of years to lose my weight, my key was to keep staying active doing things I like, so it sounds like you've got a good start . I saw on another site that good rims are important for big riders, would you recommend steel for the rims? How often do you ride your mountain bike on roads? Do you switch tires a lot? I've just been riding on the regular tires on the road. I agree with the idea of fighting a little weight makes riding a better workout. I already feel my legs getting stronger and I've only been riding consistently for a couple of weeks!
I am riding about 3 miles a night on the road. I just go crank out a 40-60 minute run each night for exercise.
Originally Posted by TreFree
I'm not even gonna worry about a difference wheel/tire combo for road work.. It's no biggy for me.. Seems like more of a hassle.. I prefer to just grab my bike after work and go.
I really have minimal knowledge of rims or even tires.. I just ride. I figure that my shock will be my weak point so I am currently looking at fork options. I figure once winter takes me off the bike I will start looking into new hubs, rims and tires. As well as a new stronger crank set and perhaps going to a 2x10 set up.
I'm learning as well so I am limited in my knowledge.
1: the steel frame suggestion would have been good advice 20 years ago. These days it's simply not true that, in general steel frames are stronger than aluminum (I've read some reports that suggest that at least in road bikes the opposite is true - steel frames fail more often, probably because the manufacturers are trying to compete with less dense materials). Which is good, because if $1000 is way more than you want to spend, you probably aren't going to find much steel in your price range.
Disc brakes are pretty much a must if you want to go swapping wheels, though I'd suggest something like the Kenda Happy Medium tire might work well enough for both. Personally, I know "having" to change out tires is enough to get me to call off a short ride some days. Anyway, if you aren't willing to commit to a surface, I'd just find something that works well enough on both.
You aren't so tall that you necessarily need to go out of your way to find the biggest bike around; just knowing your height doesn't tell enough to know what size (I'm your height, with a 38" inseam, I know someone who's our height and who's legs are 6" shorter... way, way different sized bikes needed).
Looking at used bikes, like used anything, condition is mainly what you're looking for. What's likely to cause problems on any bike for someone our weight is the wheels. There are no steel rims that are worth a damn these days, and for good reason. What makes a wheel strong is the spokes, not so much the rims, specifically the spokes being evenly tensioned, which is really hard to tell. What I would do is just get whatever you like, and have someone that knows wheels look at them, and keep in mind that you might have to replace the rims and spokes eventually.
Like Joules said, aim for an aluminum frame with good disc brakes.. and make sure the rims are double walled. It seems like most are now days..
I'm 300+ lbs and my aluminum Cannondale frames have held up after more than a thousand miles, and I beat the hell out of them. If you buy used, keep an eye out for brake, wheel, and derailleur upgrades.
We can't stop here, this is bat country..
With all that awesomeness, you should spend $1000 plus to get a bike that will hold up to what you will dish out. And that's to get a used bike that was in the $1600-$2000 range when new. Otherwise, you likely won't be happy with the longevity of things like wheels and drive train.
Welcome to mtbing. You're going to like it here.
Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill