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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: zanq's Avatar
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    Feb 2004

    General suggestions/specs for my Clydesdale friend?

    A close friend of mine has been having some health issues over the past year and it finally took a trip the Mayo Clinic to sort it out. He received positive news that his rare condition (Parsonage-Turner Syndrome) has the potential to resolve itself but he has some work ahead of him. There really isnít any treatment other than be as healthy as he can to give his body the greatest chance to recover. He's tired of being sick and has a baby on the way, so he sounds determined to make changes. I offered my help with knowledge of biking and he seemed really excited by the idea.

    Heís roughly 6í1Ē, in the mid to high 200 lb. range, has a back that isnít the best and his condition can get him winded quickly. I figured biking offers a good workout while being able to throw needed rests/coasts in easily and feel like you are still accomplishing something. Iím hoping someone can check my math/ideas here (based on what Iím gathering from the forum) for assembling a solid, reliable rig for him. I would say that 100% of his riding will be pavement, gravel berm, or gravel road in a flat, rural, Midwest area. Here is what Iím thinking:

    Frame - Steel, mountain hardtail (steel will be a little more compliant; a more upright geometry should be okay for his back; I need to measure him for sizing)
    Fork Ė Rigid steel (I never see him trail riding so I think a rigid fork will be fine for now and offer less complexity)
    Wheelset Ė 29er with 36 hole rims/hubs (from what Iím reading, rim size doesnít really matter but 36h is pretty standard for a heavier load), probably XT level hubs and Sun Rhyno Lite rims unless we find a decent prebuilt option.
    Tires Ė Schwalbe Big Apples or similar (high volume will provide some suspension, offer float if he drops off the pavement to a soft berm, good for pavement and should be fine for gravel pounding)
    Components Ė Deore level will probably be fine, anything better is a bonus. I will probably suggest 3x9.

    We have yet to discuss budget. That will ultimately dictate buying parts/full bike used, a mix of new and used, go with something new from a shop or I piece something together. I just want to make sure my head is in the right place as I continue to do research and help him out as there are details to consider that I wouldnít typically think about for my personal riding.

    Iím trying to be especially mindful of the wheelset. It sounds like guys with low spoke counts or weak hubs end up destroying them.

    Thanks for any help and/or recommendations!
    Ventana El Rey - 3x9
    Schwinn High Plains w/ drop bars - 3x8
    Surly Ogre - Alfine 8/SS

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    The guy's not that big. I wouldn't think he'd destroy wheels by riding for fitness on pavement and gravel. These wheels aren't going to suffer sharp impacts from hitting rocks or going off jumps.

    Kids are expensive, let him save his money for that

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: GOTA's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Honestly for what you are describing I wouldn't even be looking at a mountain bike. A Trek FX series, Giant Escape, Specialize Sirrus type bike is going to tick all the boxes. Every brand has a sporty hybrid they put in the city, fitness or commuter category. See what brands the dealers in your area carry and you should have no problem finding one.
    He who dares....wins!

  4. #4
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    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Don't get wound up over frame material. It's fatter tires that will make a better ride for him. A hybrid will give him the ride you think he wants but stay low spec. Higher spec hybrids tend to get lighter wheels as upgrades and us big lads get on fine with low spec high-spoked wheels.

  5. #5
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    Reputation: Flamingtaco's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by Balto78 View Post
    The guy's not that big. I wouldn't think he'd destroy wheels by riding for fitness on pavement and gravel. These wheels aren't going to suffer sharp impacts from hitting rocks or going off jumps.

    Kids are expensive, let him save his money for that
    Can confirm, put over 2000 miles on a set of cheap Formula hubs at mid to upper 300's, and have two kids.

    36H is overkill even for the rear with a properly built wheel. I am the kind of person that doesn't care about losing 1/4 mph for four extra spokes, and hitting the trails well above 300 kinda dictates I use more spokes, but for road and occasional gravel, 32 front and rear should be fine. I ran 28 front with no issues once I had the wheel tensioned properly, on trails. 32F/32R should be fine for his weight and activity, 32F/36R would be a good bit of extra insurance, 36F/36R, no need.

    Deore is really good gear, rather close to XT in performance is what most have to say about it. You can find some great prices on previous years XT, though, so be sure to shop around. Just picked up XT front and rear deraillers myself, both came in well under $50 each.

    Definately go with 3x9. He will appreciate the extra gear in the front, and the smooth and uncomplicated operation in the rear. Especially if he's not a "bike guy" and is going to be shifting under load too often.

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