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  1. #1
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    New question here. Help choosing a solid budget ride

    Aloha!

    After much research I find myself still puzzled and hence you have this, my very first MTBR posting

    I'm 6'2" 350lbs and quite out of shape (44/46 pants; 58 chest; used to be a gymrat) but can climb a fair number of flights of stairs and run around the yard with my kids. looking to get back on the saddle after a 15 year hiatus (college, work, marriage, kids )

    The challenge I have is to find a "first bike" in the 400-500$ range. I fully understand that you usually get what you pay for but cannot justify the additional expense right now (understanding that helmet, shoes, accessories clothing would also need to be purchased). I certainly am not looking to "just stick a bike on a credit card and pay it off over time" and plan to save up for a better bike to reward myself as I get my "groove" back and shed off some pounds to allow more freedom in bicycle choices (FS etc.. )

    Some "features" I seek:
    -29er (assuming it to be the way for super/ultraclydes)
    -Fully Rigid (assuming no suspension at the pricepoint can carry the weight)
    -Steel (assuming it's more solid/durable at my starting weight)
    -Disk brakes (or tabs to allow future upgrade, i guess)
    -SS ("gearable"; hoping SS doesnt kick my A$$)

    I'm hoping the combined wisdom of the MTBR forum members could provide me with teh much needed guidance to get back in the game.
    Last edited by chakujitsu; 05-30-2009 at 12:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    There would seem to be a lnumber of bikes within an acceptable price range if I disregard the expectation of having a Steel 29er. The ones I'm looking at are:

    -Specialized Hardrock
    -Trek 3700-3900-4300(the latter if heavily discounted )
    -Giant Boulder?

    I found a 2008 Kona Blast for a little over my max budget so that's also open for feedback

  3. #3
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    Maybe checkout the Nashbar 29er rigid. Has disc brake tabs and is SS. But has a rear derailleur hanger if you decide to add some gears. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...00_10000_17004

  4. #4
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    These don't meet all of your criteria, but they may be worth a gander:

    Motobecane Outcast 29 Mountain Bike
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...tcast29_08.htm

    Monocog 29er-Single Spd Redline
    http://www.derbybicyclecenter.com/st...--(Brown).html

  5. #5
    Clydeosaur
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    I have what sounds like a very similar situation to yours. I also had similar criteria. I dropped SS and went with a 1x8 but basically have a bike that meets the rest of your criteria.

    For ss there are a few options. The two that I found which meet yuur criteria pretty closely (if not exactly) are the redline monocog and the gt peace 29er ss. There may be others as well.

    By going up about $100 you can expand your options a bit. You can get a gt peace 29er geared in that range. Also the redline d440 should be in the $500 - $600 range as well. The d440 is a 1x8. Again, there are some others as well.

    I went for the redline d440. It's a strong, steel bike. The gears are nice. I'm really enjoying it

  6. #6
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    I'll second both the Trek 4300 and 3700 and the Giant Boulder for great beginners bikes, based on personal experience with them. I started on the Boulder SE for two seasons at 310+lbs and the only things I changed in that time were the pedals, tires and saddle. My nephew and sister-in-law have used the 3700 and 4300 respectively for years without problem.

    To me a 29er is more of a niche product for now, most racers still use 26in wheels for the weight savings, not that a couple of grams matters much to clydes...

    The same applies to fully rigid bikes, even a basic suspension fork offers a much more comfortable ride, and more control as the tire will leave the ground less often

    Steel is pretty much out of favor as a frame material and hard to find in my experience, with the except of really low end bikes (cheaper) and hand built frames (easier to work with.) Aluminum is more than strong enough to support us large riders.

    Disk brakes... hard to say either way. Really good rim brakes can work better than cheap mechanical disks. Unless you plan on riding in very wet and muddy conditions, then disks have the advantage in clearing the water and gunk to stop you.

    Do yourself a favor and start with a geared bike, it takes powerful, well conditioned legs to grind up a hill and still have enough left to make it up the following ones, again, currently a niche area.

    The best advice of all is to find and visit your local bike shop (LBS) and try a bunch to see what you like and what fits. And remember, the worst bike you can own is the one that sits and collects dust. Get out, ride and have fun.

  7. #7
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    To me a 29er is more of a niche product for now, most racers still use 26in wheels for the weight savings
    Most racers are little people and therefore ride little bikes, but the tall ones such as JHK and Todd Wells (an Olympian) are using 29ers. 29ers were a niche market a few years ago, that is no longer the case. Even companies who claimed a few years ago that they would never make a 29er because its a fad (Specialized) are now making several models.

    The same applies to fully rigid bikes, even a basic suspension fork offers a much more comfortable ride, and more control as the tire will leave the ground less often
    I couldn't disagree with you more on this point. A cheap, flexy, undamped fork will provide less control as it bounces all over the trail. A good rigid fork will provide better control and steering precision. With a 29er, a rigid fork is even more effective as the larger wheel will roll over obstacles that a 26er will slam into.

    If you can push your budget just a little more, the Redline D440 can usually be found for around $550 and is a great bike.

  8. #8
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    Don't cheap out on your bike..... you'll only end up spending more later as you find the parts or construction are poor.

    For instance.... don't skimp on wheels. They are more important than the frame. Large riders really need a great set of wheels, built by someone who knows what they're doing.... and that doesn't include machines.

    I realize we all have budgets though....... but a bike is along term investment..... not a disposable thing like a vacation or fancy dinner. In general..... many people waste money on silly stuff, then cheap out on things they really DO need or want. It's ass-backwards.


    -It's just an opinion..... we all got one.

  9. #9
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    Thank you all for the feedback, it is indeed very helpful.

    On the 29er front, the race is on between:
    -Redline d440 (still loooking for a source with it decently priced)
    -GT Peace 9r multi 2008 (found at performance bike online; sadly they dont show a large frame on the site)


    I'm looking further into :
    -Redline monocog
    -Nashbar SS 9er (Anyone know much about this one?)


    On the other hand, I keep seeing better and better deals on entry level 26ers so am wondering what the general consensus (if there ever is one) about aluminium framed 26ers for heavyweights like me. (Adding the GT outpost disk to my previous list of 26ers)

    @Garthr: If I was "cheaping out" and/or looking for "disposable" kit I would've hit the departments stores already. I'm just trying to stick to respectable entry level because I am indeed at that stage and my expectation is to add biking to my fitness/health regimen and re-hone my skills so as to look into the larger variety of bikes when my capabilities improve and weight decreases. This is as stated in my original posting; I appreciate the feedback but am clearly looking for bike suggestions not a repeat of generic philosophy everyone here fully understands and espouses. With that said, what would you suggest that fits the criteria and has strong wheels
    Last edited by chakujitsu; 05-31-2009 at 10:02 AM.

  10. #10
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    I have not seen a more Clyde-Ready frame than on my 08' Haro Escape Sport.. she's on the heavy side, but at 306#, I cannot see myself coming close to breaking it. You have to find an LBS for it, so just call around.
    Be excellent to each other.

  11. #11
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    Point taken chakujitsu !

    I'd suggest at least 32 or 36 spokes..... and wide rims.... at least 26mm wide. Wider would be even better. Don't use 15g spokes. Double butted 14/15 or 14g are fine.

    Depending on your terrain, do you really want a singlespeed? (Monocoq) Unless you're riding on pure flat, or are Lon Haldeman.... get some gears.

    The GT Peace 9er looks alright.... the rims are fairly wide. They don't list the spoke gauge, so I'd ask. 15g is a guaranteed headache!! REI has it for $859 in a beige color. http://www.rei.com/product/784254 I don't know if you're familiar with REI, but they have some of the best service and warranty. If the anything on the bike fails, they'll fix/replace it for you at N/C. Read the REI warranty. Of course, this works best if you live near a REI store.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the data points Good info to keep in mind with all the choices.

    I was actually looking at the '08 Peace 9r multi at performance bike which come out to about 506 out the door. More within the budget.

    With that said, I looked into REI and note that they have no stores in VT or NY so that won't work as i'm physically located in Montreal Canada but have no issues traveling to nearby US cities.

    My plan was to identify the bext chouice and pick it up dirung my trip to Houston this coming week. Any Texans recommend bikes/retailers that have suitable bikes?

  13. #13
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    I'm currently riding an '08 GT Peace 9r Multi from Performance.

    I can't determine the gauge of the spokes, but I can tell you that, thus far, the stock wheels have been able to withstand my abuse. After a couple of months and roughly 250 miles (plus a couple of wrecks), the wheels are still straight. That being said, I do plan on upgrading the wheels/hubs when needed.

    I'm roughly 6'2" and 290#.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dog.gone
    I'm currently riding an '08 GT Peace 9r Multi from Performance.
    What size 9r multi are you riding? performance currently has a sweet deal (would be sweeter if i could find a valid 10% code the only thing shown on teh site is a medium and small.

    FYI Bikepedia says 15g http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...ulti&Type=bike

    Anyone have an idea what the Redline d440 runs as cost out the door (will be looking around Houston next week).

  15. #15
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    I was going to recommend the Peace 9r Multi, but I too saw that they were out of large size. If your going to Houston, you may want to check out Cycle Spectrum. They are the same people who own Bikes Direct and the Motobecane and Windsor brands. Both these brands have 29ers under $600 with disc brakes and the Dart 3 fork. While I'm not a big fan of the Dart, its a descent entry level fork and several Clydes on this forum use it.

  16. #16
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    I sent Performance Bike an email asking about the 08 Peace 9r availability in size Large in the Houston area.

    While awaiting their response, I'm currently looking into exact pricing on the D440 (redline) as it was my next choice.

    I hadnt been looking into the Motobecane models because they're all Aluminium, What are thoughts on Alu frames for the very heavy *-clydes?

  17. #17
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    The Moto and Windsor frames are pretty beefy...I can't imagine you'd have any problems with them. Both are well into the mid 4lbs range (the Large Windsor for instance is 4lbs, 6oz and I think the Moto is even heavier).

    Still, if you can get the GT or Redline in your price range, that'd probably be my first pick.

  18. #18
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    patiently awaiting Performance's response, however find it unlikely taht they would have one lying around unless its a return (and I cant see a reason someone would just return a Peace

    I'll definitely be walking into both Performance Bike and Cycle Spectrum when in Houston (i get there tomorrow night and staying through Friday.

    Will post impressions of what I find at the Brick/Mortar shops.

    Thank you all for the input and keep it coming ,

  19. #19
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    I ride the the large frame and I feel it is the right size for me in terms of both standover and top tube.

    I, too, would have mentioned it early, but recently noticed that Performance no longer has the large as listed in stock. While their NC warehouse may not have any large frames, it's possible (though not probable) that individual stores may have stock.

  20. #20
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    So after a long day of meetings and various routine work stuff, I got to the Performance Bike store before they closed and had a looksee. It's funny how just being around great bikes made me feel like a teenager at a stripjoint AaAaannnyways,

    The store didn't have a large GT Peace 9r Multi (As expected) but had a medium one in blue and a large Peace SS. I figured what the heck, since I was there, give the Large Peace a try on for size. Little did I know it would end up being TOO BIG (to be precise, there was contact where thee should be clearance and I barely was able to get off the bike without falling, granted I was in khakis but i'm usually fairly flexible). Those still reading this thread form teh beginning will remember that I'm 6'2" so this was a shocker to me. So I get on a medium and there's still not too much clearance (couple of inches at best.) By then I'm grinning in disbelief. The clerk passes me a SMALL Peace, so I straddle it and get sufficient clearance and a pretty decent riding position. So I tried the medium 9r Multi and thought it fit well (better top tube slope?)

    Sadly, I had to run off for a dinner meeting and was unable to ride the 9r more than once around the shop to get a decent feel but will be returning tomorrow for sure.

    Anyone have thoughts about what the heck is going on here? In jeans I'm in between a 30 and 32 length so I reckon it's a torso/leg ratio thing. Would appreciate any thoughts on the matter but trust that it can only be settled with a decent test ride (or two or .. )

    That said, If I end up finding the small (or medium) to be the true right size, I might be able to grab one of the last 08 9r multis off the website for a decent price (sucks that I missed last week's 75$ off sale )
    Last edited by chakujitsu; 06-02-2009 at 10:07 PM.

  21. #21
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    29ers will generally have less standover than a 26er. At 6'2" with a 32" pant size...you obviously have a long torso (I'm 6' with a 32" in-seam so I feel ya). But don't just buy a bike based on standover. You need room on your bike to have a strait back, not hunched over. I can guarentee you the small will be too cramped. The medium actually has a quite long 24" Effective Top Tube...this is good.

    Sounds like based on your experience you should be down there when the doors open and scoop up a medium Peace 9r Multi

  22. #22
    Clydeosaur
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    I had the EXACT same size issue. I'm also 6'2" with a 31/32 inseam. I call it my gorilla build.

    Ordered a large d440 and it was too big. No standover at all. That's not the only sizing criteria but it was a concern. I found it odd since the large was a 19" frame and my older bikes are 19 or 18 frames.

    The medium was a 17" frame and when it came in it was close on standover. But it fit pretty well all around. In fact it was a tad too long for my build so I just switched over to a shorter stem with a higher rise. Now it's nicely dialed in.

    So my suggestion is give that peace a good spin and see if you like how it rides. I considered them but they would have been about the same as the redline with shipping. Also I liked the idea of the 1x8 and buying from a local shop (assuming pricing wasn't out of line). But I'm still tempted to have a relative who lives near a performance pick one up.

  23. #23
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    Go with the medium if it feels good.

    I have a slightly longer inseam and went with the large Peace 9r; it works for me but I don't have a lot of room for error, if you know what I mean...

  24. #24
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    Frame Size Small Medium Large
    Seat Tube Center-Top 15 17 19
    Horizontal Top Tube 23.5 24.1 24.9
    Standover 26.8 28.6 30.3
    Chain Stay 17.5 17.5 17.5
    Wheelbase 43 43.1 43.6
    Fork Offset 1.8 1.8 1.8
    Head Tube Angle (degree) 71 72 72
    Seat Tube Angle (degree) 74 73 72


    Those are the specs from GT. Standover is typically mid-tube, so maybe you're standing more forward and that's why the size Large seems too big. Some people like a bigger bike , some don't. I would try to ride a Med and Large at the store, even if the Large is a new model year, the frame is the same. You may like it, you may not..... but the only way to know is Try It

    I agree about the TT.... you don't want it too short. From my experience of riding too short of TT bikes(I'm 6'4"). ..... I much prefer to have a longer TT and a shorter stem, than a short TT and a long stem. It's all about weight distribution over the wheels.

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