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  1. #1
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    Looking for a good entry level bike

    Hey guys, new to the forum, and this is my first post. I'm just getting in to biking again, so go easy on me, as I'm still learning the lingo.

    I'll start by saying that I am 6'0" and I weigh about 350 lbs, so I'm not real tall, but I am real big. I've been riding on an old Wal-Mart Schwinn Jaguar for the past 2 months, and I've already probably put atleast 200 miles on it and dropped 50 lbs in the process, but it's about to give up the ghost on me (no suprise, as big as I am and as much as I've been riding it.) The rims are far out of true, and the breaks are dragging because of it, which makes for a tough ride. I go as easy as I can on it. I mostly ride paved trails, ranging from 5 miles to 20 miles at a time, but I also ride through my neighborhood, and the streets can be pretty rough in certain stretches with lots of pot-holes (typical Michigan roads...).

    I've been looking at getting a mountain bike with a front suspension, and yesterday, I found a GT Avalanche 3.0 on my local Craigslist. It caught my attention because a good friend who I've been riding with most of the time has an Avalanche 2.0. He was my size when he bought it, and he's had decent luck with it so far, though he has replaced the crank set and the wheels, but it should be noted that he was riding pretty hard off-road when those components failed on him. The bike was listed at $300 or best offer. Initially, the guy told me it was a 2.0, so I had planned on going to check it out today and I was going to offer him $250 if it looked to be in good shape, but he messaged me today about an hour before I was going to look at it to tell me he was mistaken and it was actually a 3.0. I told him I would have to hold off on checking it out until I did a little more research.

    I figured if anything, maybe by delaying a little longer, he might come down on the price a little more, especially since riding season is almost over here in Michigan, and maybe I could get it for around $200 and invest a bit in to some better components. The biggest difference that caught my eye between the 2.0 and 3.0 was that the shocks aren't adjustable at all and don't have a lock-out function which would be nice to have for some of the smoother trails that I ride.

    Am I on the right track here? I had planned on spending around $600 next spring to get a decent bike, but it looks like I'd spend about that much on one of these new, so I thought it might be a better opportunity to get this one used and replace components as I go. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    With you weight you need custom wheels, just get a 26er and throw some strong wheels on it.

    To get a good bike for a guy like you mine cost like 12 to 15 hundred and that is cheap and was the most cost effective route as well.

  3. #3
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    Being a noob as well, I have read and understand that it is always more expensive to "upgrade as you go" then to spend a few extra bucks up front. I considered going used as well but in the long run it was worth going new for the warranty and the LBS assistance with tuning and maintenance. A non adjustable fork or shock would be a No Go in my opinion. If you are riding for fitness and weight loss like me then the ability to adjust is a must as you start to lose weight.
    With your riding season being almost over, my suggestion would be to hit up one of the LBS's during the off-season and try to cut a deal. Heck go to as many as you can, find out which shop you like best and want to support, that will support you as well and see what they have to offer.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I've been checking out some new bikes as well online, and I plan to check around to some of my LBS's as well. Now that I've done more research on my own, I'll definitely be passing on the Avalanche 3.0, mainly because the fork isn't adjustable. I wish 12 to 15 hundred was within my budget, but at this point, it just isn't. I guess I'll start by finding a decent 26er with an adjustable fork and check in to some custom wheels. Anything else anyone could add? Any recommendations? Thanks for the help.

  5. #5
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    Looking for a good entry level bike

    I'm 6'1" and 290. I picked up an XL Jamis Trail XR and have been riding the dog snot out of it. It's not something that I could win any sort of comp with, but it suits my needs and then some. The stiff fork was a winner for me. I don't need suspension, and instead, would like to tune my body to handle it. Keep in mind, I'm 99% pavement (only 75% of that is smooth stuff, though).

    Keep it safe, keep it clean, and keep it fun. You don't need a 1,000 dollar bike to feel like you're 8 years old again.

  6. #6
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    It just depends on how hard you ride, my xxl Rock Hopper wheel set collapsed on me like quick. So I went out and bought a 500 $ wheel set to solve the problem. I am dirt cheap too but a wheel set at your size can keep you out of the hospital.

    A 29 for sure needs good wheels because the added stress on the wheels. A lot of the cheaper bikes are good for clydes but none of the stock wheels are.

  7. #7
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    You are getting some good advice. I would look at used bikes and maybe some chromoly frames. Some of the more expensive bikes cost a lot, in part, because they are made with lighter materials. I would not worry about the weight of the bike. Whether it is 25 lbs or 35 lbs., the 10 pounds won't feel much different when you are already hauling 350 lbs around. I would look for an overbuilt chromoly frame and get strong wheels. And don't go too crazy hammering down the hills until you get under 300.

    If you can swing it financially, there are some bikes out there designed for bigger guys. If it were me, that's what I would do. There is no amount of money worth more than your health. You already see the difference biking can make to your weight an health. Even if you spend $2k or more, it will be a huge bargain when you are in the best shape you've been in a long time.

    I'm not a superclyde but I was weighing in at 227 at the start of February 2013. I am 6'1". I used to be an athlete and was in great shape until I was seriously injured in a car accident 15 years ago. I had gained 35-40 pounds since the accident. To make matters worse, I work in an office. A couple days ago I broke the 200 barrier for the first time since right after my injury. I know you did 50 already and have me beat but I can tell you mountain biking has helped me a lot. (Unfortunately, I was 201 this morning so I'm still a clyde.).

    Good luck

  8. #8
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    Hey Rford, i say just pick out an entry level bike you feel comfortable with and ride it until stuff starts to break, and replace as needed. as somebody else said, you'll need new wheels eventually, but you can ride what comes with the bike for now, and save up from some others later.
    "Pops trippin', he want me to ask for my bike back. You know I wouldn't trip."

  9. #9
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    I will tell you who makes a heavy duty cheap frame for a platform start and that is Trek. My 4300 frame was built like a tank, I ride a Rock Hopper now but in no way do I feel the frame is as solid as the old 4000 series Trek!

  10. #10
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    Used may be the best way to go with your budget. I would STRONGLY recommend looking for a bike with an air sprung front fork. After that, it is all gravy. Buy a bike knowing that big guys are hard on wheels.... that will be the likely first weakness of any bike you ride.
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  11. #11
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    I spent 500 on a used FS bike from my local Craigslist. I got a badass dual air Bomber all mountain SL (Fork) that can easily handle my weight (280) and a Fox RP23 rear shock that easily handles my weight as well. I have had to upgrade the wheelset, but also found a decent set online for a couple hundred bucks. Everything else is tits...XTR deraileurs, XT Shifters, Race Face cranks, bars headset and stem, XO disc brakes.

    The trick is to look at bikes about 75% higher than your budget. People always post higher than they are willing to take. You are going to get a way better deal going used than new.

    A new fork alone that would handle your weight will cost north of $600 all by itself.

    Good luck!

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