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  1. #1
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    Back in the saddle, after 15 years away (advice for an overweight cyclist)

    Hi folks...

    Well, without going too far into the annuls of time, I have spent 15 lazy fat building years away from competitive cycling. I recently got the bug to lose the weight and have been riding (and loving it) for the last month. Sadly, I have encountered trouble with my current cycle (A Wal-Mart special) and my wife and I are looking at new bikes.

    We like to do things right the first time, once we have decided to stick with it, which we have.

    We live in a very rural area and are highly leaning towards Specialized, since that is all our local shop carries. Our only other option is Wal-Mart. Literally. We are not interested in driving 2.5 hours to get to another cycling shop for purchase and support.

    After a visit and looking through the catalog, I have decided I am most interested in the 2013 Rockhopper 29'er. I am a big guy (I believe many of you call us "Clydesdales" or something along those lines). I am 6' 3" and 285 pounds. I was over 300 before I began riding daily in March. So, with the new food choices (a permanently binding decision), I am losing the weight and anticipate continuing that trend into the 215 range or so (maybe even less, depending upon how it feels there, I was at 205 while competitive). I ride several times a day (a benefit of being self employed) and am loving it, with a lot of good old memories and that feeling I used to get returning. Nothing like conquering an ascent, even if it is in first gear.

    Anyhow... I want the bike to last for years, and anticipate the off-road/on-road time to be 50/50. We get about 80 inches of rain here a year and have some rough country to conquer. I will not be a competitive cyclist again, nor do I care about the lightest frame and components. I am going for fun, wind in my face, off-road and on-road capability and getting back into decent shape. We have been told by the dealer that are choices are wise and solid. However, I want to be sure you are all pleased with the Rockhopper quality, that it is a great bike to own and ride and that I can depend on its quality. If not, what do you suggest? I'll be honest, we are not looking to exceed $900 for my cycle, and wish they were far less expensive than that, but are willing to pay for durability and functionality.

    Also, when does the model year roll over? I had no idea that shopping for a new bike would be so similar to buying a new car.

    Thanks for the help/advice/input folks...
    Last edited by capecove; 04-18-2013 at 08:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Back in the saddle, after 15 years away (advice for an overweight cyclist)

    Depending on how often and hard you ride I think you will blow through a few of the the stock components.

    Wheels. But it really depends how well they are built. The base rockhopper I see has 36 hole rims. That's a bonus for your weight.
    Seatpost
    Rear derailleur
    Fork

    This is based on what breaks first/wears out on my friends' similarly equipped bikes.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I should have said that I am up to about 5 miles a day all told right now and that seems like it flies by. I would anticipate around 150 miles a week once in good enough shape. Maybe riding a century once a month.

    Thanks for the advice thus far.

    The owner of our local shop was a cyclist and seems to be a genuine kind of guy. We are looking forward to moving ahead with the purchase. Just hoping the Rockhopper 29 is the right model.

    I have heard that replacement pedals may be in order. I have size 14 feet, is that something you might suggest?

    And what is the deal with the locking grips? Why are they needed, or desired?

    I'm not a complete newbie to cycling, by any means, but like I said, it has been 15 years and I used to ride road bikes only.

    Thanks again folks, really looking forward to your input and suggestions.

  4. #4
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    Back in the saddle, after 15 years away (advice for an overweight cyclist)

    The MTBR clydesdale forum has some good advice on suitable parts. It's worth a look.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/clydesdales-tall-riders/

    A Specialized Rockhopper 29 should be ok in general. The new model year Specialized bikes tend to be launched at dealer events in mid July so you may be able to get a closeout deal on the old stock after then.

    The main thing you'll need to get sorted out on a new Rockhopper 29 is the fork. The suspension forks on the Rockhopper 29 range use coil springs. These springs need to be matched for your weight or the fork will be too soft. Your dealer should be able to fit a heavier spring so that the fork will function properly.

    The other thing is the wheels. For maximum life they need to be properly tensioned. Having a wheelbuilder retension the spokes of the wheels from new should help them last longer before they go out of true.

    The stock plastic pedals that come on new bikes are just for showroom purposes really. A good set of pinned flat pedals provide a larger platform and are harder for your feet to slip off. Just don't let them hit your shins because it hurts!

    Locking handlebar grips are very useful. Old style rubber and foam grips used to come loose and spin around the bars if they got wet. The locking rings stop them doing that for added security.

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone, I really appreciated all the feedback.

    I always look forward to hearing from those in the know. You guys take care, maybe we'll share some singletrack someday.

    Have a great weekend!

    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    The MTBR clydesdale forum has some good advice on suitable parts. It's worth a look.

    Clydesdales/Tall Riders

    A Specialized Rockhopper 29 should be ok in general. The new model year Specialized bikes tend to be launched at dealer events in mid July so you may be able to get a closeout deal on the old stock after then.

    The main thing you'll need to get sorted out on a new Rockhopper 29 is the fork. The suspension forks on the Rockhopper 29 range use coil springs. These springs need to be matched for your weight or the fork will be too soft. Your dealer should be able to fit a heavier spring so that the fork will function properly.

    The other thing is the wheels. For maximum life they need to be properly tensioned. Having a wheelbuilder retension the spokes of the wheels from new should help them last longer before they go out of true.

    The stock plastic pedals that come on new bikes are just for showroom purposes really. A good set of pinned flat pedals provide a larger platform and are harder for your feet to slip off. Just don't let them hit your shins because it hurts!

    Locking handlebar grips are very useful. Old style rubber and foam grips used to come loose and spin around the bars if they got wet. The locking rings stop them doing that for added security.

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