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  1. #1
    "You want to do WHAT???!!
    Reputation: CrashGordon's Avatar
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    Need Help on First Mountain Bike

    Setting the Stage: I am a computer geek that is out of shape, overweight (270lbs), short (5 foot 9 inches), haven't ridden a bike since high school, know only a little about mountain bike riding (reading a few magazines, reading the forums and visiting my local bike shop). I do know that I live in an area full of park and great trails. My wife and doctor have convinced me that I need to get away from my computer more and take up a hobby that requires some exercise. So I have chosen riding a mountain bike. Oh yeah, after reading some of the threads here...I posted here cuz I am obviously a clydsdale. Most of my height is in my upper torso as I have short legs. Enough about me.

    Needing Help: I really need to understand where to enter this sport and what kind of bike to ride. I cannot see myself doing 6' drops and going airborn doing tricks. I do see myself riding the trails, maybe joining a mountain bike club and getting into better shape. In the past, I typically have entered a new hobby on the cheaper side only to upgrade several time in the first year, which typically costs me a lot more money than just buying the right equipment from the start. I am not budget driven, but don't know nearly enough about the sport to pick a really good bike (over $4,000) and really don't know the difference between Shimano and Sram (no hope of just building one from scratch). So I probably need to buy a complete bike that is already set up. After reading the magazine reviews and notes from the forum, it appears that the Yeti 575, Santa Cruz Heckler and Titus Motolite are really good bikes....is this too much bike for me? Is a dual suspension not a good place to start and should I just buy a hard tail? Is there a price range that I need to consider? Should I just go to the local bike shop here in Woodbridge and buy whatever they sell me? My guess is that they will be biased towards whatever they sell.

    Sorry for all the questions, but it is a lot of money to spend in an area that I know very little about.

  2. #2
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    I would simply go to two different local bike shops. Go a few times to each. Check them out, get comfortable with the workers and tell them what you want. Buy a bike from the shop that makes you feel more comfortable. They'll steer you in the right direction.

  3. #3
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    Yes, find a local bike shop, even if local is an hour away, that makes you feel comfortable. Hardtail vs. Full Suspension is a matter of preference and the type of riding you do. Me? I prefer hardtail.

    Ride as many bikes as it takes for you to be comfortable with your decision and on the bike. Again, even if it means traveling a little to get the job done. I'm lucky in that I have two great bike shops right near by with a wide variety of things to choose from and great staff to work with, so its easy for me to pick from 4 or 5 different bikes.

    Most importantly, make sure you are comfortable on the bike, with its weight, and with its features. Be realistic - if you're going to be riding more hard packed dirt trails and smooth fireroads, it may be more beneficial to get a hard tail (more bike for the money, primarily), but if you're riding rooted rocky rutted single track, a nice FS bike may be the ticket. I would love to think that I ride a lot of rock gardens... but honestly, 90% of my riding is bike path and washed out dirt roads. Its just what is near my house. Thats why a 6 or 700 dollar hardtail will be fine for me, even at 290lbs.

  4. #4
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    I'd personally start out on a hardtail given what you said.

    Make sure your LBS sells you a bike with a heavy duty crank and bottom bracket cause I'm 225 6'1" and I destroyed my cheap OEM BB/crank setup within a few months.

    You're 100% correct when you said what you said about just spending the money upfront and getting the good stuff then and there.

    I've had to replace so many weak links in my bike I could have bought a pretty sick bike by now.

    Learn from mistakes that guys like me have made and spend the $600-$1000 for a good hard tail.
    Trek 4300 2006
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  5. #5
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    I agree - spend the money up front on a beefy bike. I'm 210#. I replaced every single part on my first mtn bike within 3 years except the headset. Yes, even the frame was replaced!

    I disagree on the price, for a solid mtn bike you'll be over 1500.

  6. #6
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    Reputation: Kyoseki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TallMon
    I disagree on the price, for a solid mtn bike you'll be over 1500.
    I'm 270 and still riding my 2004 Hardrock with the only replacement parts being the wheels.

    That's maybe $500 worth of hardtail if that.

    ... now my dualie on the other hand, I suspect he'd be looking at well over $2k for a solid one.

    I bought a $1500 KHS xc604 in 2004 and have had to replace just about everything, I destroyed the pedals within the first 2 miles (ok, it was a rock), wheels went after the first bunny hop, cranks went, blew the forks out twice, destroyed the rear derailleur with a hamfisted gear change, bent the shifters (ok, another fall), burnt out the brake discs and pads, you name it, I broke it.

    I'm rebuilding it next week with a new frame and components (basically transferring over the parts I replaced), leaving the only original parts the handlebars and quick release skewers.

    The frame itself however held up surprisingly well, the Rockshox BAR is still working ok and there's no cracks or bent frame components.

    For full suspension, don't use any half measures, go full bore or you're risking injury, going cheap with full suspension just costs you more in repair bills, I found this out the hard way.
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  7. #7
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    $1500 for a hard tail?



    I mean I know they even get more then that but for a first timer?
    No one should spend that kind of money on their first bike, they need to graduate from something. One person's opinion of course.
    I've learned to do about 75% of my repairs and maintenance now with about 9 months under my belt.

    If everything was top end components I probably wouldn't of had to balls to wrench on things in fear that I could ruin a $200+ part.
    Trek 4300 2006
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    El Notre 7075 Seatpost
    Laser V saddle

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MillerSHO
    No one should spend that kind of money on their first bike, they need to graduate from something. One person's opinion of course.
    Gotta agree, learn to ride on a machine with fewer moving parts and so fewer things that can go wrong or break when you screw up
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  9. #9
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    Reputation: CrashGordon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the inputs so far.

    I really do appreciate the inputs so far. I was just about to purchase a Titus Motolite from an internet bike shop for around $2600, am no going to visit some local bike shops and see what I can put together in a hardtail. I live in Northern Virginia, so if anyone knows of a good LBS, please let me know.

    I see by the reviews that the top hardtails are around $1500...dont mind saving a cool $1K. Any suggestions as to which brands to look at?

  10. #10
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    IMHO, you should shop for the shop, not the bike. There are hundreds of bikes out there for every type of riding and price range. If you pick a range -- say $1500 hardtail -- each shop would likely have 3-4 options for you that are all pretty comparable.

    What will make the difference for you is a shop that is willing to work with you. First, by spending time listening to you and finding a bike for your needs, swapping out parts if necessary, and second by spending time getting that bike properly set up and fitted to you.

    Do not let them just swipe your credit card and roll you out the door. You'll be posting here on these forums asking questions about stuff that they should have set up for you.

    If you get a bike that fits you well and is reliable, you'll enjoy riding it and ride lots more. If your bike is ill-fitting or always breaking down, well...

    Regards,
    Anthony

  11. #11
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    What he said ^

    $1500 buys a LOT of hard tail, find the place with the best service.
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  12. #12
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    Have you met Biker Bob

    Some folks put me in touch with a guy named biker bob. He really took the time to walk me through a Titus and then modified the kit to meet my needs. He changed the suspension, put on pedals, changed wheelsets and even upgraded the brakes. Is a really good guy, very patient with noobies and willing to work with you. So I bought the bike.

  13. #13
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    Sounds like a decent guy, good service goes a long way - I bought an Intense 5.5 from my LBS because they're always super helpful and gave my buds great deals on bikes.

    ... frame should be in next week, congrats on the new wheels, where's the pictures?
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  14. #14
    "You want to do WHAT???!!
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    Will Post Pictures Soon.....

    He had to order a new one and I should be getting it later this week. Will show pictures.!!!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashGordon
    He had to order a new one and I should be getting it later this week. Will show pictures.!!!
    My general Clyde/Newbie advice- stick with XC for a while, and avoid steep hills like the plague until you drop some fat and build some muscle. Riding a bike up a hill, no matter how low you've geared it, (and you'll want a 22 front 34 rear low) is gut wrenching- no use having a heart attack on your first ride. There's no shame in walking up a hill, but even that could be a grind if you're out of shape.

    Since you're a programmer you make your money using your brain and your hands so protect your assets- always wear your helmet, and always wear your gloves. (You bought a cycling helmet and gloves, right?) Also, you'll want cool clothing- polyester, polyester, polyester. They don't make cycling jerseys for people your size, but I bet you can get a bowling shirt that big (love to ride in bowling shirts). Get a real bowling shirt, not a bowling style shirt- how can you tell? Real bowling shirts are 100% poly, and cut longer at the back than the front- perfect for cycling.

    And another important thing for Clydes- stay hydrated. We sweat more than others, and heat stroke is a real possibility this time of year for big guys.

    Good luck. You're going to love the sport
    To the troll mobile, away...

  16. #16
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    http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Bike-Jerseys.html

    Men's Jerseys
    Chest 42-431/2 44-451/2 46-471/2 48-491/2 50-511/2 52-531/2 54-58



    jerseys for people our size...but they dont really have choise in color
    IBEX Ignition, 05 Marzocchi DJ1 Outlaw wheels 2.3 tires Saint Crank ATACzPedals LX Drive Train w11-34 185mm BB7&SD5 30lbs

  17. #17
    "You want to do WHAT???!!
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    Thanks for the advice

    Hmmm, guess I have a lot to learn. OK, have helm, gloves, will get water bottle and will look for a shirt and shorts. Is it better to buy a pair of lycra shorts and wear them under a pair of baggies or just buy a baggie with a chamois liner?

  18. #18
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    Comfort is key

    When I first started riding (and I was HUGE back then), I did the lycra shorts underneath a pair of lightweight outdoor shorts that fit me. One of the things you'll want starting out riding is to feel comfortable doing it. The more comfortable you feel (in terms of wearing clothes that don't make you look like a stuffed sausage or Jerry Garcia during his final days), the more you'll ride.

    Really right now, the key is just getting on the bike and riding three times a week. Even if it's only 15 minutes a shot at first. But get into the habit of riding. Once that's established, your fitness will increase; you won't be able to help it.

    Once your fitness increases, your fun will increase.

    Focus most of all about having fun on your bike rather than losing weight on your bike. The weightloss will come as a consequence of your fun gain.

    My first ever ride on trails was literally one mile and it nearly killed me.

    I'm much better now!

    You will be, too.

    Here's wishing you many, many miles of fun out there. Be safe, be sane, be realistic. But don't forget the fun!

  19. #19
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    Crash--


    I would have to agree with Blister--keep it fun! I started out exactly where you are at right now. It only takes time before you will be climbing hills and bombing the down hills! Do not worry about the weight, if you keep riding it starts melting off!! KEEP IT FUN!!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmgrapid
    I would have to agree with Blister--keep it fun! I started out exactly where you are at right now. It only takes time before you will be climbing hills and bombing the down hills! Do not worry about the weight, if you keep riding it starts melting off!! KEEP IT FUN!!!
    I'm going to jump on the "me too" bandwagon, excellent advice Blister...

    .... now if I can just stop drinking all this damned beer, the weight might start melting off me
    Due to a lack of interest, tomorrow has been canceled

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by merchant
    http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Bike-Jerseys.html

    Men's Jerseys
    Chest 42-431/2 44-451/2 46-471/2 48-491/2 50-511/2 52-531/2 54-58



    jerseys for people our size...but they dont really have choise in color
    I stand corrected, and I've bookmarked the page
    To the troll mobile, away...

  22. #22
    "You want to do WHAT???!!
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    Thanks for the workout advice

    I was going to approach biking the same way I approached running in my 40s. Do it a little every day, focus on keeping my heart rate in the "zone" for a 1/2 hour. Then as my workout effort increased to keep in the "zone", extend the workout periods. Luckly the building I work in has a good gym and I just ordered a wardrobe for my office. I will put my suit/stuff/etc into the wardrobe and start riding to work a couple of days a week (10miles of pretty flat trail). Hopefully in a month or so, it will be habit and a new way of life...now to rethink my caloric intake.....hmmm so a pizza and six pack is not a balanced diet...and here I thought anchovies, pepperoni, and veggies made it health food.

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