I want to buy a bicycle. Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by TheGoodTexan, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I have tried to keep myself in incredible physical shape for many years. But at 46, I'm to the point now that the impact from running is just not worth it any more. I do swim, but it's difficult to go swimming on a whim - you have to plan for it, and pack a gym bag.

    So - I want to start doing some trail riding on a bicycle. My wife would like to join me.

    My challenge? I'm 220lbs, and a former BMXer. In other words, I'm very hard on bicycles. The last time I borrowed a bike from a family member, I ended up having to replace the rear wheel for them because it was warped at the end of my riding.

    I don't mind replacing the occasional wheel, I'd like to find a mountain bike that will stand up well to hard riding. What brands do I need to be looking at, and what type of budget to I need to be considering?

    (My first job was assembling and repairing bikes at a bike shop. So I know how bikes work, and how to repair, adjust, and maintain them well.)
     
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  2. jannodude

    jannodude Tele-Holic

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    Will you be doing some road riding or paved trails? I’d recommend a hybrid as it still maintains an upright posture while giving you the freedom to ride on light dirt trails/loose terrain and paved roads.

    I always tell folks getting into bikes to try them in their local bicycle shop as a bicycle's "geometry" might work for one but not for another. They normally allow people to try riding their bikes around town and sometimes give you a proper fit.

    You’d be good between $500-$1000.

    Cannondale, Raleigh, Trek are brands that come to mind.

    I believe there's a REI (Brentwood, TN). They carry beginner-mid level bikes. Check em out if you can.

    How tall are you TGT?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  3. Bortyeast

    Bortyeast Tele-Holic

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    If you ride hard like I do (and I'm 157lbs. soaking wet), a $1,000 bike is going to fall apart in a few rides.

    You're going to hear "buy a Trek. They're awesome" and "buy a Salsa. They're awesome". But you won't go wrong with a bike from Yeti, Santa Cruz, Knolly, Intense, Ibis, Orbea, Rocky Mountain, Orange, Canyon, Fezzari, Niner, and 49 other brands. Plan on spending $150 more than you can afford. You won't regret it.
     
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  4. Shuster

    Shuster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    https://www.terratrike.com/

    Once you have taken a Recumbent for a spin, you're hooked! And to me, it's a tougher workout than a 2 wheeler. I haven't been on mine for while, medical reasons, but getting myself back in shape to take it on our Greenway trails.
     
  5. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you used to work in a bike shop then there not be much we can tell you that you don't already know. The drive train components are typically SRAM or Shimano. The big companies like
    Trek, Specialized, and Giant tend to have the best prices for what you get because of their economies of scale. They have house-branded OEM parts like saddles, rims, hubs,
    and stems that are generally quite decent.

    There tends to be a big price break between aluminum and carbon frames so you might want to go aluminum if you want to save money. A modern, full suspension mountain bike
    should hold up very well. You might need to true up the wheels once or twice, especially in the first few months. Here's an example of a good mountain bike that is great value
    for the price and should hold up just fine Trek Fuel EX 7. You could get a hard-tail and save money, but if you are going on anything really bumpy and rocky once you try full
    suspension you'll wonder why you ever stuck with a hard-tail. Some new changes to bike tech that may have occurred since you were in the game:

    - tubeless. You can ditch the inner tube and use Stan's liquid latex to seal up the tire to the rim. It's a little messy and less simple than an inner tube, but it self-heals on
    small punctures (like thorns) and you can run much lower pressure-- like 15 psi. You don't get pinch flats anymore. You can still carry tubes in order to fix a flat out on the trails.

    - hydraulic disk brakes-- much more powerful, quite reliable, but if something goes wrong out on the trail they're harder to fix in the field.

    - thru-axles-- instead of quick releases, thru axles take slightly longer to use but make for a much stiffer connection between hubs and dropouts/forks for less frame flex.

    - 1x12-- Huge gear range on rear wheel allows for rear shifting only, getting rid of more finicky front derailleurs and less dropped chains on the trail, and more chainring ground clearance.

    - dropper post-- very convenient. Push a lever on your handlebar and the seat drops for steep descents. Push the lever while raising your butt off the saddle and the seat pops up again.

    - wheel size-- You can go with 27.5", 29", 27.5+. I would say if you are 5"10" or taller than a 29er may be your preference, but it's a personal choice. I run a 27.5+ and am 5'9", and really
    like it. It splits the difference between classic 26" wheels and the larger 29" wheels. The + means its an even higher volume tire-- fat. The front country here in Santa Barbara is super rocky,
    so having the higher volume makes for a more comfortable ride.

    The bigger bike shops will usually let you demo their nicer bikes. If you end up buying one, typically the demo rental cost gets applied to the bike purchase. But if you choose not to buy,
    then you just pay the cost of the bike demo rental, somewhere around $40-$50, usually.

    Like the electric guitar market, hot competition has really benefited the consumer. Perhaps more so, because the consumer mostly wants to see technological advances and "upgrades".
    All of that comes at a cost, though. Bikes these days are shockingly expensive! But you get a lot for your money....stuff we never dreamed of back in the day.

    upload_2019-7-15_9-49-11.png
     
  6. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I'm 5'11"... and humbly... I'm built like a running back, like a tank. Almost no fat.

    My wingspan is 6'4" , meaning that I have an astounding reach for my height.

    I tell you these things because I know this geometry matters for proper bike fitting.
     
  7. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    This is what I'm scared of.

    I'm not going to be riding this back back and forth from my house to anywhere. I will be carrying it in my truck to a beginning/intermediate trail, having a fun ride for my age... maybe being slightly aggressive here at there, but not taking stupid risks. Then load up and come home. I don't want to have to replace components after every ride. And I don't want to risk breaking weld joints.

    When I was in riding BMX as a 16/17/18 year old... I regularly broke handlebars at weld points.

    Now, I will not be riding as aggressively as a 18 year old BMXer... but the fact remains that I weigh 220 pounds, and I'm basically a strong person.
     
  8. cc50fralin

    cc50fralin Tele-Meister

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    I agree with everything you said, jannodude.

    I have a Specialized Cirrus, which is a flat bar road bike. I guess you could call it a hybrid.

    It's frame is a little thinner than a mountain bike, but a little more robust than a pure road bike.

    Also, the tires are a little wider than a road bike, but thinner than a mountain bike.

    The handlebars are flat, like a mountain bike, not drooped like a road bike, so you are sitting up straight, not hunched over the handlebars. It's very comfortable.

    Mine was $500 new, but I added a different seat, hand grips, bike computer and tires, which brought the total to about $750.

    I ride only on paved roads.

    If you're tough on bikes, go to your local bike shop and talk to them; they'll hook you up with something that will work for you.

    Good luck.

    Mike
     
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  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    @chris m. has some great guidelines to go shopping with. Since you are replacing running, consider this a long term investment in your health. Because of your personal body-frame size, I would go to a high end bike shop that can set you up on a riding machine to measure the correct geometry for your body and type of riding you plan to do. Components are relatively easy to replace, but frame size and tire size are not. Then buy the right size bike/tire combo and have it set up professionally. This will include stem, seat post and perhaps even crank arms. Have @chris m. 's list with you as a reality check.

    Good luck with you new phase in life.
     
  10. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Holic

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    It is important to get a good fit on a bike. Especially if you have a non-standard build. I'd find a good bike shop and work with them for that.

    I'm old school. I collect vintage bikes, including some early mountain bikes. I was just helping a friend find a bike on Craigslist, and I was a little overwhelmed. I do like the technological advances that @chris m. mentioned, but I don't like some things. For example, I'd recommend that you try to stick with steel rather than carbon fiber or even aluminum for a frame. Steel will last longer, can often be repaired, and has some flex to it which makes for a more comfortable ride. However, it is difficult to find a steel frame these days unless it is an extremely cheap junker or a high end maybe even custom frame. Sure carbon fiber and aluminum are light, but so is steel if it is made properly! Plus, unless you are racing, the few extra ounces aren't going to be a real problem.

    Also, if you get a decent bike but have trouble with bending the rims, you can always get a stronger set of wheels made up. Bikes are like the original Telecaster in that respect, you can swap out most parts to your heart's content.

    If you do figure out your size, don't overlook Craigslist. I see a lot of nice bikes there for good prices. However I do understand you may prefer to go through a dealer to get the service that comes with that.

    Just try to go with steel over carbon fiber if you can.
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 the expensive bikes are made to take bike weight out .. so more aluminum parts and magnesium parts and so on. All the fancy stuff that is the first to break off.

    Best tough bike I had for twenty five years was an old Schwinn from the 70s. Big orange 10-speed road bike. Like a tank. But all steel construction.

    Especially if the bike is for fitness, not trying to win races, it doesn't matter if it's a heavy bike -- maybe it's better to have a heavy bike because the workout is more intense.

    I'd just look on CL and start buying some beat up used bikes. Do the repairs needed. If they wear out go buy another. One of my kids has a $10 garage sale 10 speed that's on the more rugged but cheap side (fewer light weight doo dads), the other kid we took the hulks of two junked bikes we salvaged and made one out of it.

    .
     
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  12. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I’m with Chris m. On this one. Bought a stump jumper 29er a couple of years ago,hydraulic discs, 5 inches of travel front and back, dropper post etc. amazingly capable and comfortable. Stoutly built (and consequently heavy). I got mine for 1000 off of list price at an end of season sale. Still a lot of money for a bike but it’s a lot of bike! You may find yourself doing sillier things than you intended to.
     
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  13. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I wouldn't want to get on an elevator with a guy like you!
     
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  14. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm 225ish, not a bmxer but I have a Giant hybrid that has held up pretty well.
     
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  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    You could save money if you go with direct on line. There's bikesdirect.com (Motobecane branded), and there's also Canyon bicycles, which has a direct on-line sales model. Don't be surprised if your
    LBS (local bike shop) gives you the stink eye when you come in for service....but they will still service it, nonetheless.

    Steel is good, and so it titanium, but none of these modern frames are going to wear out before the components do. The big companies all stress test the bikes under heavy loads and impacts and make sure
    to fabricate the frame in a manner that saves weight while still having sufficient reinforcement at all the stress points on the frame, handlebars, stem, etc. Even a "Clydesdale" like you can pound the heck out of a modern
    mountain bike and you are very unlikely to hurt it. Falling and crashing the frame itself directly onto hard rocks is another story, but barring that all frames should really hold up quite well. If you crash
    on the drive side the typical outcome can be a bent derailleur hanger, but the non-steel frames are typically spec'd with a replaceable derailleur hanger just for that reason. It's worth buying one ahead
    of time and having it in your saddle tool bag along with the right removal/replacement tool if you are doing long distance off-road treks.
     
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  16. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Delay gratification and check out all the wonderful choices.

    If you're a former BMX rider you should learn about the current state of off road riding because you could get a bike that will bring back some of that and be practical for other use.

    You did say mountain bike. A fun modern MTB that is or is modeled after a Honzo or Nimble 9 might work.

    My only caution about many of the direct sales models is some do not have the quality others do. I feel that pain over and over with all the people beginning or returning to the sport. If you want something like those the better Mongoose bikes seem to have better support and quality.

    The place to start is try modestly priced thoroughly modern bikes set up for your weight. This is especially important if you want to have fun off road. You don't want big wheel bikes that handle like crap or some open mold or spec frame that copies someone's old and often wrong out of date design.
     
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  17. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    I ran for quite some time when I was in my 20's and 30's, also raced bmx and did quite a bit of mountain biking, also raced motocross for many years..

    Just recently while walking through Gander Mountain, I spotted something called a fat bike! These look pretty tough and they are very simple. You may want to do a bit of research and see if one of these would fit your needs.

    Good luck!
     
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  18. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would suggest a fat tire bike if your that hard on wheels. That should take that worry of the table.
     
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  19. abrianb

    abrianb Tele-Meister

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    Describe trail. Is it gravel, dirt, lots of big downhills? I would not want to take a hybrid on really tough trails. I am 57 and ride on pavement. Really tough trails got to be too tough on me. But I do have nice paved trails nearby. Keeping good air pressure in the tires will help with
     
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  20. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I keep an eye on that bikesdirect page. There's some screaming deals on there.

    Having worked at a shop that was a Giant dealer I have to say most bang for your buck as they are THE largest manufacturer out their. All in house supplied really. I ride a Giant Toughroad in the dirt. 29" wheel no suspension. I dont need it for my type of riding. I'd recommend a bigger wheel than a 26"/27.5. For you maybe a 27.5B at least?

    Giant has lifetime warranty on their frames too.

    Another thing... learn to ride. I rode BMX for many years. Adapt to the bike. If you want to ride it hard get something capable of withstanding it. Dual suspension possibly? Built to take the punishment.

    There was nothing like the customers bringing us mangled frames/wheels on an entry level bike that they rode far beyond its capabilities. They think it's funny & a bit annoyed that the bike couldnt stand up to 30mph through the gnarliest baby headed rock garden. That's ok as we always took their money.
     
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