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  1. #1
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    Bike to grow (down) with; 6'6" 295lbs

    In in next couple months I'm planning to purchase a bike. The trick is that this is bike is going to need to kinda do it all as I don't have the space/money available to own different bikes for the types of riding I plan to do. Any recommendations on specific bikes, resources, things to keep in mind before I drop the cash?

    -I'm 6' 6", currently 295# but will be working my way back down to around 225#
    -I use to ride pretty aggressivly, lots of curbs, potholes, rocks, accelleration
    -I'll be riding lots of rough road miles including all season (incl. snow/ice) commuting, some cross country, and eventually non-maintained trails
    -I'm leaning to a 29' hardtail for fit and durability/ease of maintenance
    -I'd like to keep the whole package under $1500 (bike, brain bucket, tools, misc.)

    Just found this forum and learned what a Clyde is. Nice to find a bike forum where I can get advice from folks who aren't 1/3 my size. Thanks all.

  2. #2
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    It's not a 29er, but the Kona Hoss is a good and inexpensive choice spec'ed specifically for the Clyde. I'd actually go for the plain Hoss over the slightly higher-spec but heavier Hoss Dee-Lux. Also the Norco Charger is a fairly good choice, although the Fork might be a bit light (I'm riding a 20" '06 Norco Storm, which is very similar to the '07 Charger in spec, at 6'3" and 265lbs, you'd probably want the 22"). I ride XC and some asphalt, can get a little aggressive, but not 4' drop aggressive.

    Good geared 29"er options are a little thin on the ground in your price range, they seem to start around $1500 for the bike itself. A Singlespeed 29"er would be in your pricerange though.

  3. #3
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    Some people may disagree, but you might wanna consider an air fork so you don't have to keep buying new springs as you lose weight. That's what I did and no regrets.
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  4. #4
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    '29er,' 'Clyde,' and 'Aggressive' don't work well together on a budget.
    you're going to destroy any 29' hoop on your budget.

    An XL Banshee Scirocco would be super burly and easy to maintain.


    The Hoss is a good recomendation too.
    As one clyde to another, don't buy a light duty wheelset. Don't buy a light duty anything, you'll break it amazingly fast and they will laugh at you on warranties.

    a Transition Vagrant is a very clyde friendly machine with the tough revolution wheelset
    good price with a fox 36 too

  5. #5
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    I've always been a heavy rider - currently sitting at 6'3" @ 300lbs and I've just bought standard off-the-rack bikes. Never had a failure yet. I wonder how much of these beefed-up bikes is just marketing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thermo1
    I've always been a heavy rider - currently sitting at 6'3" @ 300lbs and I've just bought standard off-the-rack bikes. Never had a failure yet. I wonder how much of these beefed-up bikes is just marketing.
    what do you ride? there's a wide variety of off-the-shelf bikes.

    The OP like to ride his bike hard & aggressively. So do I, and I can gobble through parts like few others

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karupshun
    what do you ride? there's a wide variety of off-the-shelf bikes.

    The OP like to ride his bike hard & aggressively. So do I, and I can gobble through parts like few others
    I've had a Marin Eldridge Grade, Marin Indian Fire Trail, Marin Rift Zone and currently a Giant Thermo 1. The only non-stock bike was the Rift Zone which I transferred the parts from the Indian to it. Admittedly I don't do jumps and stuff so I'm perhaps less prone to breaking stuff, but I think 300lbs barreling down a hill is fairly "aggressive" on the bike anyway. I think finesse plays a large part in how your bike survives.

  8. #8
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    Thanks all. Can't tell you how much I appreciate all this.

    crazyfinn, You are right on with the way I've been thinking. The Kona Hoss was actually the first bike that started looking good to me when I started checking into all this. The lack of a Hoss 29"er is the only thing that's keeping me away from this one but it looks like a good recommendation. I need to research Norco, haven't come accross that name before. Back when I rode daily I did my best to avoid 4 foot drops, hey I said agressive not insane, but big drops, rocks, climbs, and cars used be very theraputic on those more difficult days. From some of the web stuff I've seen manufacturers are getting more more 29 inch options into the pipeline. Guess I'm hopeing that this might be a trend which will make the 29 more available and affordable.

    Girl from, Hadn't thought of that but it makes perfect sense. Any recommendations on brands to consider? Also, I know that years ago there were lots of durability problems with air shocks, broken seals or getting imbedded dirt are a couple issues that I remember hearing about. Are these still problems? How does the air ride fare in sub-zero temps?

    Karupshun, Yeah I'm asking for a gold plated Mack truck for the rust covered Yugo price, Not a reasonable request I know but I need to start somewhere so I figured I'd shoot for the moon. The 29 inch rim offers lots more leverage to kill the whole wheel but are there any out there that are more bulletproof? I've heard Salsa Delgado rims might be appropriate though expensive. I just looked into the Banshee. Company website specs have it topped out for a 6' 3" rider in the biggest frame. It looks real cool but probably too small for me. I need to research the Vagrant. Thoughts on the Salsa Delgados?

    Thermo, May just be bad luck but I've crushed lots of off the rack bikes. I've cracked/bent frames, crushed wheels, snapped a crank, deformed several bearing sets, and once folded a handlebar (o.k., the car that hit me did that). A ton of the hype has to be marketing but I'm hopeing that the help from this forum will guide me through the b.s..

    I got a recommendation today for a Fisher Cobia ($850 price quote from a local non-corporate bike shop) with and extra wheel set of Salsa Dels with both the disk brake hub and the rim brake option ($380 from the same shop). Keeps me in my price ballpark. The Cobia has cable brakes which shouldn't get funky in the cold/snowy weather. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again and keep it coming.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thermo1
    I've had a Marin Eldridge Grade, Marin Indian Fire Trail, Marin Rift Zone and currently a Giant Thermo 1. The only non-stock bike was the Rift Zone which I transferred the parts from the Indian to it. Admittedly I don't do jumps and stuff so I'm perhaps less prone to breaking stuff, but I think 300lbs barreling down a hill is fairly "aggressive" on the bike anyway. I think finesse plays a large part in how your bike survives.
    Finesse & maintenance plays a huge part in keeping things running. even tough parts can get trashed through simple neglect. that being said, I don't enjoy spending money to replace parts very much, so when I do, I try to buy things that will last.

    A good wide,stiff, and well built wheelset will do wonders for you, it doesn't have to be expensive, but from personal experience, light duty single wall rims are hilarious when you're big and like to gnar

    the thermo1 is spec'd out reasonably well, and with double wall rims, it's clyde friendly

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karupshun
    Finesse & maintenance plays a huge part in keeping things running. even tough parts can get trashed through simple neglect. that being said, I don't enjoy spending money to replace parts very much, so when I do, I try to buy things that will last.

    A good wide,stiff, and well built wheelset will do wonders for you, it doesn't have to be expensive, but from personal experience, light duty single wall rims are hilarious when you're big and like to gnar

    the thermo1 is spec'd out reasonably well, and with double wall rims, it's clyde friendly
    Yeah, one of the reasons I got the Thermo was because the frame is a drop top tube design so the frame is actually three smaller (stiffer) triangles instead of two like a normal frame.

  11. #11
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    Giant Thermo 1

    I can't seem to find availability for the Thermo in the US. Can't even find anything that looks similar on the the Giant US website. It the an Aus/NZ only item? The frame geometry looks very solid as do the factory components. Agree wholeheartedly with you about buying stuff that will last, usually ends up being less expensive both financially and emotionally.

  12. #12
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    One suggestion--talk to a shop about building up a Karate Monkey (steel 29er). It's a heavy frame, but strong and affordable.

    You also might want to check out the web site bluecollarmtb.com. They have built what they are calling the bomb proof bicycle. It's not a 29er, but you may get an idea of some of the less expensive, but sturdier parts to try.

    Expensive parts don't always mean stronger. Often they just = lighter.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambi
    Thanks all. Can't tell you how much I appreciate all this.

    crazyfinn, You are right on with the way I've been thinking. The Kona Hoss was actually the first bike that started looking good to me when I started checking into all this. The lack of a Hoss 29"er is the only thing that's keeping me away from this one but it looks like a good recommendation. I need to research Norco, haven't come accross that name before. Back when I rode daily I did my best to avoid 4 foot drops, hey I said agressive not insane, but big drops, rocks, climbs, and cars used be very theraputic on those more difficult days. From some of the web stuff I've seen manufacturers are getting more more 29 inch options into the pipeline. Guess I'm hopeing that this might be a trend which will make the 29 more available and affordable.

    Girl from, Hadn't thought of that but it makes perfect sense. Any recommendations on brands to consider? Also, I know that years ago there were lots of durability problems with air shocks, broken seals or getting imbedded dirt are a couple issues that I remember hearing about. Are these still problems? How does the air ride fare in sub-zero temps?

    Karupshun, Yeah I'm asking for a gold plated Mack truck for the rust covered Yugo price, Not a reasonable request I know but I need to start somewhere so I figured I'd shoot for the moon. The 29 inch rim offers lots more leverage to kill the whole wheel but are there any out there that are more bulletproof? I've heard Salsa Delgado rims might be appropriate though expensive. I just looked into the Banshee. Company website specs have it topped out for a 6' 3" rider in the biggest frame. It looks real cool but probably too small for me. I need to research the Vagrant. Thoughts on the Salsa Delgados?

    Thermo, May just be bad luck but I've crushed lots of off the rack bikes. I've cracked/bent frames, crushed wheels, snapped a crank, deformed several bearing sets, and once folded a handlebar (o.k., the car that hit me did that). A ton of the hype has to be marketing but I'm hopeing that the help from this forum will guide me through the b.s..

    I got a recommendation today for a Fisher Cobia ($850 price quote from a local non-corporate bike shop) with and extra wheel set of Salsa Dels with both the disk brake hub and the rim brake option ($380 from the same shop). Keeps me in my price ballpark. The Cobia has cable brakes which shouldn't get funky in the cold/snowy weather. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again and keep it coming.
    I don't have any experience with 29ers, the Delgado rims get a lot of praise, and the American Classics do as well

    I would recommend against running an air spring. at 300lbs, you will need to run most forks at the top-end of their limits, causing you to blow through seals like no one else

    a Large Transition Vagrant can fit you @ 6'6" and is only a few bucks outside your price range $1,699 USD with a RockShox Pike 426 U-Turn Coil 95-140mm

    I think you should get down to 225 before you consider going 29" or ask the 29er forum about how well it will hold up for you

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambi
    I can't seem to find availability for the Thermo in the US. Can't even find anything that looks similar on the the Giant US website. It the an Aus/NZ only item? The frame geometry looks very solid as do the factory components. Agree wholeheartedly with you about buying stuff that will last, usually ends up being less expensive both financially and emotionally.
    It's called a Giant Rainier in the northern hemisphere. $699 from AEBike.com

    http://aebike.com/itemdetails.cfm?catalogId=39&id=650

    Rainiers/Thermos with the triple triangle frame seem to be a bit harder to come by now though. I think they were a bit of a niche product from Giant which didn't take off too well.

  15. #15
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    I'm in the exact same situation as you, size-wise. Style-wise, I ride rigid singlespeed over basically any terrain, but I also keep the wheels on the ground and pick my way slowly down the steeps and through the rough stuff.

    Coming from a die-hard 29er rider who will never go back, you probably want 26" wheels. Smaller wheels are stronger (hence why BMX bikes are 20" wheels) and if you want to huck stuff at your size you need the strongest wheels around.

    Also, you can get much tougher freeride-type rims in 26" size. 29er options are more limited.

    If you really want to go 29er, consider wheels built with Kris Holm unicycle rims. They are heavy but basically the ultimate in toughness at this size. 36 spokes goes without saying. Your local shop should be able to build you something, or else Mikesee could hook you up with a nice set.

    Regards,
    Anthony

  16. #16
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    Here's some comments from a 6' 5" 250 lb guy who rides a 29er and has been building his own wheels for over a decade.


    If you do decide to go with 29" wheels, look for something beefier than the Salsa Delgado rims. I think the Delgado Cross rims are too narrow for Uber-Clydes and the Delgado 29er Disc, while a wide rim, is a bit too lightweight. I'd look consider rims of a wide but heavier nature like Sun Rhyno Lites and build them up 36 hole.


    Also, I'd be very concerned about using Shimano disc hubs like the Deore M475 spec'd on the Kona Hoss. I regularly have troubles with these and XT level disc hubs in the form of bent axles and broken freehub assemblies and I'm not all that extreme a rider. I hate to think what a guy 45 lbs heavier than me would do to them

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by klydesdale
    Here's some comments from a 6' 5" 250 lb guy who rides a 29er and has been building his own wheels for over a decade.


    If you do decide to go with 29" wheels, look for something beefier than the Salsa Delgado rims. I think the Delgado Cross rims are too narrow for Uber-Clydes and the Delgado 29er Disc, while a wide rim, is a bit too lightweight. I'd look consider rims of a wide but heavier nature like Sun Rhyno Lites and build them up 36 hole.


    Also, I'd be very concerned about using Shimano disc hubs like the Deore M475 spec'd on the Kona Hoss. I regularly have troubles with these and XT level disc hubs in the form of bent axles and broken freehub assemblies and I'm not all that extreme a rider. I hate to think what a guy 45 lbs heavier than me would do to them
    I'm running M475 hubs at ~260lbs right now. They're heavy but have been bulletproof so far.

    That said, I can see a clyde bending about any 10mm QR axle in the rough stuff.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambi
    Thanks all. Can't tell you how much I appreciate all this.

    crazyfinn, You are right on with the way I've been thinking. The Kona Hoss was actually the first bike that started looking good to me when I started checking into all this. The lack of a Hoss 29"er is the only thing that's keeping me away from this one but it looks like a good recommendation. I need to research Norco, haven't come accross that name before. Back when I rode daily I did my best to avoid 4 foot drops, hey I said agressive not insane, but big drops, rocks, climbs, and cars used be very theraputic on those more difficult days. From some of the web stuff I've seen manufacturers are getting more more 29 inch options into the pipeline. Guess I'm hopeing that this might be a trend which will make the 29 more available and affordable.
    Norco is the biggest Canadian brand for decent to good quality bikes. Think Giant or Specialized. They are available south of the border as well, but may be a little thin on the ground unless you've got a lot of really aggressive freeriders locally (Norco is noted for its North Shore bikes, being based out of the Vancouver area).

  19. #19
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    FWIW, i am currently 6'4 @ 279lbs, down from 305lbs over winter... I have been riding a trek 4300 disc (HT) pretty rough for 2 years now and am getting ready to purchase my next bike. I have decided with the help of my LBS to spec and build up a Surly Karate Monkey.

    I borrowed an '05 GF Rig a couple of weeks ago to eval. About 3 miles into the test trail on a climb the front wheel slipped on something and it dumped me over. When i picked it up and went to push the rest of the way, the back tire was rubbing on the seat stay and the right crank on the chainstay. I had bent the rear stays... That kinda turned me off. I've dumped the 4300 countless times, usually alot more severe... But up until i killed the bike i was amazed at how it cleared the rocks and log crossings and climbed. 29er is a must for me now.

    Anyway, my KM will be built as a 1x9 similar to the one in this thread. a very special k-monkey that wont be ridden on trail Not sure about what to do with the wheels yet though. My lbs mechanic is knowledgeable and is pushing Bontrager Rhythm Elite or Comp wheels. These are 28 spoke wheels and i'm having a hard time with that idea.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecrazyfinn
    Norco is the biggest Canadian brand for decent to good quality bikes. Think Giant or Specialized. They are available south of the border as well, but may be a little thin on the ground unless you've got a lot of really aggressive freeriders locally (Norco is noted for its North Shore bikes, being based out of the Vancouver area).

    It's tough for Norco to sell a lot of bikes south of the border, they license the FSR linkage from specialized on a lot of their bikes, and Spesh doesn't like competition on home turf.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karupshun
    It's tough for Norco to sell a lot of bikes south of the border, they license the FSR linkage from specialized on a lot of their bikes, and Spesh doesn't like competition on home turf.
    Only reason they license the FSR patents is to sell into the US. Spesh's Horst Link patent is worthless outside the US.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecrazyfinn
    I'm running M475 hubs at ~260lbs right now. They're heavy but have been bulletproof so far.

    That said, I can see a clyde bending about any 10mm QR axle in the rough stuff.

    I think the key phrase here is "so far". I've built 6 wheelsets with Deore and XT freehubs over the last ten years and the only rear wheels I've not had rear axle and freehub problems with are the two that have not seen a lot of heavy-duty use. And the only reason I used Deore hubs for those two were that they weren't going to see much use so I wanted an inexpensive hub..

    For the wheels that see the most trail use on my 26er Curtlo hardtail and 29er Curtlo FS, I switched to Hope and CK freehubs respectively because I got tired of repairing bent axles and replacing cracked freewheel mechanisms.

    I'm not alone in this... there's plenty of riders out there on MTBR who know Shimano hubs aren't bulletproof.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by klydesdale
    I think the key phrase here is "so far". I've built 6 wheelsets with Deore and XT freehubs over the last ten years and the only rear wheels I've not had rear axle and freehub problems with are the two that have not seen a lot of heavy-duty use. And the only reason I used Deore hubs for those two were that they weren't going to see much use so I wanted an inexpensive hub..

    For the wheels that see the most trail use on my 26er Curtlo hardtail and 29er Curtlo FS, I switched to Hope and CK freehubs respectively because I got tired of repairing bent axles and replacing cracked freewheel mechanisms.

    I'm not alone in this... there's plenty of riders out there on MTBR who know Shimano hubs aren't bulletproof.
    here here
    Deore, LX, Hone, XT all the same problems.
    I'm thinking DT 340s on my next set after I fry another LX this weekend

  24. #24
    Klydesdale
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karupshun
    I would recommend against running an air spring. at 300lbs, you will need to run most forks at the top-end of their limits, causing you to blow through seals like no one else
    Marzocchi's coil spring forks with "air assist" for preload adjustment look like a good solution to me: you do not need to play with replacement springs to set them up for your weight, just add air until the sag is right. I hear light guys sometimes remove one of the springs and use one side of the fork as an air spring only.

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