Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    6

    Overweight Newbie who is Overwhelmed

    Hi,

    I'm 6'2" and 335 pounds.

    I want to buy a bike and am completely overwhelmed as to where to start my research. There is type of bike; what type of fork, brakes, wheels, gears, etc. So many different components to consider - so where to start??

    I want to do bike paths, but also take it camping and so possibly do trails that are not paved. No jumping, no logs or rocks or anything.

    My first instinct is a mountain bike because they are built sturdier to take more abuse than a strictly road bike. I have a bad back and am 50 years old, so someone suggested a "comfort bike" which seems to make sense if it's a cross between the two. I feel like I would be better to have the wider tires for my size, is this correct?

    I know this is a total newbie question, but where are some good places to get an overall idea of what are absolute "must haves" for a heavy rider, versus what would be really nice if money were no object. Money is an object, and I really did not want to go over $1000. From what I keep reading, I get the idea not many people think it is possible to get a decent bike for under a grand.

    My local bike shop is suggesting the Specialized Expedition or Crossroads.

    Performance Bicycle has suggested:

    Fuji Absolute
    Schwinn Sierra
    GT Transeo
    Diamondback Trace

    Any comments on these particular models for my size?

    Thanks very much for any help!
    Last edited by seahunter543; 03-03-2014 at 11:25 PM.
    No bike yet. But I have a really cool Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulator in my back!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nubster's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,958
    You have three options IMO...mountain, road, or cross. If you think you'll do much time on the road and are sure you won't be hitting trails with lots of roots, rocks, logs, ect...a cross bike may be a great option. They can handle the road and dirt paths with ease. At 335# a road or cross bike will be just fine.

    As far as must haves...I'd look for a bike that has at least 32 spoke wheels in the back. 36 spokes even better, or be ready to buy a new wheel(s) to handle the weight. Width I don't think matters so much. I rode a road bike at 320 pounds that was 19mm...that's quite a bit narrower than most mountain bike rims.

    There's a good chance you'll need to change the saddle as well. Stock ones work sometimes but I think more often than not, they need replaced.

    Otherwise, ride as many bikes as you can and go from there. Frames won't be an issue other than possibly a carbon frame but that won't matter because of your budget. $1000 can get you a solid bike. Used and you can get a really great bike that's a couple years old. Wheels and fork are the two areas that will give you problems on a cheaper bike. I'd look for something with either a rigid fork or an air shock if possible. The air fork will be a little harder to find on a bike under a grand but not impossible.

    Models...I rode a Specialized Rockhopper 29er at 320 pounds. Worked out great. I also rode a Specialized Allez road bike at the same weight down to 238 pounds. Again, no issues. I have a bad back as well and I never had a seconds problem. In fact, when riding my bikes, that's the time when my back hurts the least.

    You might consider used as well. I've been seeing a lot of road and cross bikes for sale pretty cheap. I've not been looking at mountain bikes because I'm pretty set with my current bike, but I'd imagine there's plenty of those out there as well. You may even be able to score a close out 2013 model if you check around. I know Cannondale has some available for dirt cheap.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    6
    Thanks very much Nubster for the advice and taking so much time to reply!!

    Much appreciated!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    617
    I'd recommend looking at an intro level 29er. 2.1" tires, suspension fork, decent quality for years of use and cost about $500-$600. Once you start riding, the weight will come off, and you'll start getting into mountain biking more.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bike Whisperer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    1,871
    I would recommend if you have an REI or other Marin dealer around to look at the Muirwoods. It is a multi-purpose 29er with a solid cro-mo steel frame and fork. It comes with a good base level component specification. The nice thing is the frame is a great base for a big rider and worthy of upgrades down the road. The rigid fork is better than the cheap POS suspension forks that come on sub $1000 bikes. The wheelset appears to be solid as well and the disc brakes will serve you well in all conditions. Best of all you can put full size 29er tires on it if you decide to ride off-road.

    Overweight Newbie who is Overwhelmed-ac7ee7ac-0dd0-41d5-83de-bd0165bada6e.jpg
    Former bicycle mechanic for 8 years, current soil scientist.

    Blog

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    6
    Thanks so much for the replies! Some very good suggestions.

    I ran across this bike on sale - is this worth considering??

    Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er Mountain Bike - 2013 Performance Exclusive - 29er Mountain Bikes

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Flamingtaco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    402
    You mention having a bad back, but also trail riding... what type of trail? Most trails are cut through woods, along ridges and ravines, for which no hybrid should ever travel, no matter how smooth and root/rock free they may be. MTB trails can be clean and smooth, but most still have trasitions and corners that demand a more agressive riding position than a hybrid can afford, and will tax the suspensions found on hybrids beyond their ability. Hybrids are meant for riding paved roads and the occasional dirt path. The front strut is for riding comfort, not handling terrain. The rake of the front fork and riding position is, again, for paved roads and the occasional dirt path. They are good for taking shortcuts across fields or slow jaunts along the walking trails used by seniors, but not for taking on the typical trail.

    If you can handle trail riding, sounds like you are going to be riding at a speed that most any entry MTB can handle. True MTB, that is, something sold at a bike shop, not a sports store, and not Schwinn, Pacific, Diamondback, GT, etc. What you should look at for this is is Giant, Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, etc. $1000 will get you into a very nice MTB like a Trek 4series or Cannondale Trail, and leave room for anything you might want to do, like upgrade spokes or change stem/handlebar, get a helmet, etc.

    As a 400lb+ rider, I ran 28F/32R for three years by having both wheels retensioned by a decent wheel builder. After a year I ditched the rear 1.8mm spokes for 2.0mm. I commute to work and run both road and trail cycling programs for the BSA, so I lay down a lot of on and off-road miles. My commute has me lugging 20-30 additional pounds over the rear axle. I am not afraid to do 100mile charity rides on consecutive weekends. I hit the trails a lot harder than any sane 400Lb man should. While I don't jump logs or do rock gardens, I do love speed and technical trail. I am not easy on wheels. In three years on my F5, I've broken less than ten spokes, and replaced five due to signs of fatigue. At under 350Lbs, and especially if you ride easy because of your back, you should have zero problems with your wheels if you have them retentioned by a professional from the start. Can possibly even get away with a 34 hole rear wheel with 1.8mm spokes for a few years before they start to give.

    If you have the option to upgrade your wheels to more and/or thicker spokes, I'd jump on that, but if not, you should be ok if you've got a decent builder to retension your wheels.

    I don't feel any of the bikes you mentioned are trail capable. If you really are going to trail ride, at 300+Lbs, I think you should shoot for a real mountain bike. If you are wanting to lay down miles to lose weight, most entry level true MTB's are equipped to take the abuse of a heavier rider, and, as you lose weight, can take increasing aggressiveness on the trail. Get a set of smooth rolling tires for road use. I bought two sets to compliment the Kenda Nevegal's that came with my bike. I use Geax Evolutions most of the time as they roll smooth on the road and also grip well on dry, packed trails. The Nevegal's come out only when the trails are wet. When I am going to do a long road ride like a century, I put on a set of Geax Roadsters, lock out the suspension, amd keep up with my roadie buddies (except for lugging my 400lbs butt up a hill).

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    You mention having a bad back, but also trail riding... what type of trail?

    .
    Flamingtaco - thank you for taking so much time to help me!

    I think I may have said the wrong thing with trails. I think I really mean "paths". The majority of riding I see as being paved bike paths with the goal of losing weight. I live right off of two very long, nice bike paths so I'm very fortunate. Then, if I go camping or to the beach, I can see going down a dirt path or packed gravel, (or bark-dust I've seen even) at campgrounds and just the occasional "improved path". With my back - pretty bad from L3/4 down to L5/S1) I do not envision true trail riding, at least not until I would lose significant weight and see how my back responds. I guess a true mountain bike is overkill for just paved and paths, my only thought being is they are built more sturdy. However, now I am not sure if I should nix the mountain bike and go "comfort bike" (which I assume is a hybrid?), or just go with more of a street bike. I was steered toward the comfort bikes because folks said with my bad back, the more upright seating would be much more comfortable. So, if I go with a comfort bike, would it still be a good idea to get a suspension fork, or just go rigid? I will try to make upgraded wheels part of my package as that seems like the weakest link besides the fork?? Ah, the more I learn, the less I know!

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    87
    For the type of riding you just described I think you are correct thinking a true mtb as overkill. I'm your sized down from 420# thanks to riding and if I'm road/path riding I really don't break much on any of my bikes. If I'm trail riding (real single track) I am very hard on my Giant XTC and it does suffer some failures. On road/paths I ride a Giant Rapid, Gary Fisher Presidio, Surly LHT, and some vintage stuff. All seem to hold up fine and I enjoy them more than I would a mtb on the road. I would encourage you to look into steel frames as they provide a much nicer ride than aluminum. The Marin suggested above looks nice. I personally prefer to ride a rigid bike unless I'm doing real trail riding. Although forks can be locked out it seems you wouldn't need suspension unless your riding plans change. If they do keep your road/path bike and add a mtb.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    449
    Quote Originally Posted by seahunter543 View Post
    Thanks so much for the replies! Some very good suggestions.

    I ran across this bike on sale - is this worth considering??

    Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er Mountain Bike - 2013 Performance Exclusive - 29er Mountain Bikes
    I have that bike. Bought it when I was 310# and now i'm 275 (sloooow process )
    Never even had to true the wheels (yet)
    I ride on road and singletrack. No hucking or jumping (i'm close to your age and that style riding doesn't interest me) and I also have a bad back (knees too)
    The weak link is the fork. Suntour has a loyalty program (which I'll take part of when taxes come in) where you can upgrade for a much reduced price. But, the stock fork will work for your intended use.
    The brakes take a bit to dial in but they do what they are supposed to.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    84
    Look into that Marin. Steel forks are a good option for paths under a large rider with a $1000 max budget.

    Sent from my S2 using Tapatalk and CM 10.2

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Joules's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,258
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatLakesWaterman View Post
    Look into that Marin. Steel forks are a good option for paths under a large rider with a $1000 max budget.
    This. Even if it's not that bike, I'd look at something similar. Rigid fork, nothing fancy about it. Suspension is nice in theory, but... 2 problems: first it's moving parts, which means maintenance and failure modes, second good suspension isn't cheap, cheap suspension isn't good (you can easily spend more than your bike budget on a fork). The forks that city or comfort bikes come with don't work well; providing all the drawbacks of suspension with basically none of the advantages.

    My GF has an older version of the muirwoods, I'm impressed with it. With a tire change it's as trail-capable as any fully rigid bike I've seen. Bonus for city riding: it's plain and doesn't look like much (you never want to have the flashiest bike on the bike rack).

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    6
    Thanks again for all the replies!

    So, steel frame and rigid fork is sounding reasonable for my intended use...

    Appreciate you all taking the time to offer advice!
    No bike yet. But I have a really cool Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulator in my back!

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    84
    http://m.rei.com/product/832566/nova...buzz-bike-2014 another possibility.

    Sent from my S2 using Tapatalk and CM 10.2

  15. #15
    Rep Power: Potatoe
    Reputation: BigRingGrinder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1,538
    Yea, another vote for the muirwoods. That's actually quite a sexy bike. Wouldn't mind grabbing one to use as a city ride.
    "Bigring, that's deep. ...Well, I suspect it is. I didn't read it."

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    6
    You might look into one of these: Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0

    I am about your age and weight and have an Electra Townie. My thought process was it would be more "comfortable" to ride while losing weight. It's okay, but it is soooo slow...and heavy.

    As a former mtb racer, I am selling it and moving into a Airborne Goblin. It will simply be more fun, more versatile as I lose weight and possesses really good components for the price.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bike Whisperer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    1,871
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatLakesWaterman View Post
    Novara Big Buzz Bike - 2014 at REI.com another possibility.

    Sent from my S2 using Tapatalk and CM 10.2
    I think the cheaper steel version is a better choice. The 36h stout wheelset is a nice touch.
    Novara Buzz Bike - 2014 at REI.com
    Former bicycle mechanic for 8 years, current soil scientist.

    Blog

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    84
    Good point, Bike whisperer.

    Sent from my S2 using Tapatalk and CM 10.2

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Whisperer View Post
    I think the cheaper steel version is a better choice. The 36h stout wheelset is a nice touch.
    Novara Buzz Bike - 2014 at REI.com
    This is a nice one. I like that is has the disc brakes as well.
    No bike yet. But I have a really cool Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulator in my back!

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    90
    Hey Seahunter,

    First, welcome....I was you a year ago.....

    Second, go out and look at the bikes in person and gather as much info about the different bikes out there. I started out looking at one brand and type of bike and ended up with a different type of bike, a brand I never heard of and I found this website by chance......

    Third, take your time.....I am guessing you want to make a purchase and stick with it for a few years (unless you are secretly wealthy), so take your time, read about the bikes, forks, tires, seats, etc.....and gather info because there are a lot of nice bikes out there.

    Fourth, if you can be a little flexible in the budget area, meaning stretch the budget $100-$200, for better components (brakes, forks, etc), that would be best.

    Lastly, be prepared to spend extra cash for items after your purchase (shoes, lights, gloves, jackets, shorts, etc).

    Whichever bike you purchase, ride the heck outta the bike!!!!!

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: reamer41's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    294

    Overweight Newbie who is Overwhelmed

    Perhaps more important than which bike, is where you buy it. Ideally you want a shop that will work with you on fit and comfort. They should work with you before you buy, and after. This may mean swapping out the stem to get you a comfortable reach to the handlebars. Having a shop that is willing to spend the time on this can really help: if you're just starting out you may find it difficult to make changes on your own, and the cost of a second, third or forth stem, in the quest for a comfortable riding position may keep you from doing it. You can expect to buy a saddle to find a comfortable one. Check with the shop and see if they will let you demo a saddle or swap if the upgrade saddle doesn't work for you. Seats are pretty personal. Bigger is not always better when it comes to saddles.

    If the bike isn't comfortable you probably won't ride it much. In which case an on-sale bike from an unwilling retailer isn't much of a bargain!
    --Reamer

    SC Tallboy LTc
    Ventana ECDM 26
    ventana el Ciclon
    Litespeed Classic
    Seven Ti Axion Tandem
    1989 Stumpjumper

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 50
    Last Post: 04-24-2013, 11:08 PM
  2. Fat But Not Overweight
    By MichiganClydesdale in forum Fat Bikes
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 02-07-2013, 11:23 AM
  3. Overweight newbie...
    By Cuso in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 04-13-2011, 09:35 AM
  4. overweight women mtn bike riders out here?
    By vtpugs in forum Women's Lounge
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-23-2011, 07:53 PM
  5. OverWhelmed newbie.... :(
    By aztlan805 in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-15-2011, 08:13 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •