cycling question for chess9 or any other knowledgeable person

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by timokabo, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    after posting my thread about a week ago i have started to do some research. the companies in no specific order i found that seemed to be good where specialized,gary fischer,kona,trek,raleigh,cannondale,ironhorse,and diamond back. i was wondering if any one can give feed back on these companies. also im 5 ft 10 in and weigh 265 pounds.


    dominic (timokabo)
     
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  2. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

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    Not familiar with Kona nor Ironhorse. All the rest are respectable manufactures that also supply bikes to professional cycling teams. They are all good.
     
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  3. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    what kind of bike are you looking for?
    i ride a jamis and love it.
     
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  4. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    im looking for a cross between mountain/cruiser since i live in michigan and roads are crappy so i need sturdy/strong rims but also whant to travel 8-15 miles a day on it
     
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  5. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    Wouldn't recommend Ironhorse or Diamond Back. While these companies still offer decent high end versions of their bikes, they are now marketing the mid to low end bikes to big box sporting goods stores (*****, Sports Authority, etc), who don't generally have knowledgeable service staff on hand to properly build the bikes, and the frames are poorly crafted and parts specs are particularly shoddy. If you plan on being rough at all with the bike, expect parts to start breaking. In addition, because the frames are pretty poorly made, shifting and brake adjustment is hard to dial in (poor chainlines, poorly placed brake posts). I worked for three years as a bike mechanic, and saw first hand how fragile these bikes are. Other brands to stay away from, IMO are Schwinn (obviously), Mongoose (another obvious), and Motobecane. Motobecanes are deceptive, because they spec their bikes pretty well. But they ride horribly harsh, and have the same poor frame construction as the others I mentioned.

    On the other hand, the other companies you listed are all reputable and solid. From there, it is just a matter of riding several bikes and deciding which one feels the best to you. Price points will be similar for all of them. A few to add to your list are Jamis, Fuji and Giant. All three of these companies are making great bikes at great prices. Gary Fisher is made by Trek, so it is essentially a Trek bike. Trek and Specialized offer full lifetime warranties on their frames. I've seen the Specialized rep replace 25 year old frames for customers. Same with Trek.

    Bottom line, you can't really go wrong with any of these manufacturers as long as you like the feel of the bike. It is of utmost importance that you test ride any that you are thinking about.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
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  6. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Any of those companies are fine. You should be more concerned with the specs of each bike. If you find a bike you like, go home and research the specs for that bike. Also, do some pre-research before you go to the stores. A good place to look at bikes is on E-b-a-y. Simply read the ads! Read the ads of the most expensive bikes, and you will see how the high end bikes come equipped. (the down side to this is that you will want a $8,000 Euro weenie bike :) ) Then read the ads for the lower priced bikes, e.g., the $3,000 bikes, then look at the $1,000 bikes. Etc. www.bicycling.com is a great site, but there are at least a dozen other ones. www.roadbikereview.com is another good one.

    Here's my personal take on this given your size:

    I would want you to be safe, comfortable, and have fun. So, I would avoid carbon frames, unless you are willing to spend $3,000 or more. (even so, a friend of mine is permanently disabled from a snapped fork on his $5,000 carbon bike) I would suggest steel for comfort and strength. They are HEAVIER however. For you, weight of the bike should be a secondary consideration. I would get a Shimano 105 component set if you get a road bike. Mountain bikes have a wider array of component sets so ask the salesman if the gruppo on your bike is as good as the top bike in his store, and if not, what is the difference. If the salesman can't explain the differences between the gruppos, go to another store. (a gruppo is the front/rear derailleurs, brakes, shifters, crankset, sprockets, and may also include stem, bars, etc., but rarely does)

    One thing you will rarely hear mentioned is this: YOU MUST LOVE YOUR BIKE. If you don't absolutely love your bike, you will not ride it as much. Among the guys I ride with, many of them would rather lose their car than their bike. Bike aficianados have a near religious experience with their ride. I once had a bike that was about $20,000 worth of bike, gruppo, wheels, custom paint, etc. I would take it to races and guys would gather around it and ask questions about it. At Ironman UK the mechanic was tuning it up in front of the castle and about 20 guys were standing there watching and asking me questions. Life is short. Don't dance with ugly girls and don't ride an ugly bike, unless you can't afford it. Maybe some day you will understand....If your bike gets you fit, you just might think of it as your life saver. :) Then you'll understand, mate.

    Best of luck,
    Robert
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
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  7. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    Robert thanks for your insightful post. I know Ill be getting a mountain bike due to my weight and also the roads in Michigan are complete utter crap. Since this will be my first major bike purchase I want to limit my purchase to the 300-750 dollar price range. Are there any specific part questions due to my weight i should ask the sales man since the last two bikes i had were 100-150 dollar bikes and after about 6 months of riding the back tire would wobble then eventually seize up and get stuck and would be un-ride-able.


    Dominic (timokabo)
     
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  8. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    Double walled rims will be a must for you. Also, go hardtail. You cannot buy a good full suspension bike in your price range. Shimano LX or XT components are what you should look for, or in the Sram group, at least X7 (groups go X5,X7,X9, and XO for the highest end). Also, Robert had a good point about the frame material...steel will feel the best and carbon will be the lightest. Unfortunately, at your price point you won't be able to find any bike in those materials. Aluminum it will be for you. That's okay, because frame material doesn't matter all that much in mountain bikes...it's road bikes that really feel the difference. Look for a shop with a good service department, as well. Most shops offer free check ups for 90 days, and some offer them for a full year. That "tire wobbling" thing you spoke of has everything to do with how hard you ride, how heavy you are, and how fragile the rims are. If you have a good shop to true your wheels for you when needed, you won't have that problem, assuming you go with double walled rims and strong spoked wheels.
     
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  9. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I'd ditto this. But, in that price range, you might be putting your life on the line. I've seen welds fail on more mountain bikes than road bikes and in the low price range, some of the bikes are just pieces of junk.

    You might consider getting an older, used mountain bike. Some of the $1,000 mountain bikes that are 5 years old can be had for $500. I suspect that might be a good compromise. Remember too, to get a helmet, bike shorts, gloves, maybe a bell, and some lights if you are thinking about being out after the sun goes to bed. :)

    Enjoy!

    -Robert
     
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  10. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    Ok. I have never seen a weld fail on a bike but i have never done seriuos off roading stuff. My main focus with the bike is I want something that is sturdy enough to last and ride on normal city roads.I have no intent on going off roading with it
     
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  11. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    Thanks, I know rims get beat up over time and thats happens to most bikes in michigan, but the last 2 bikes where the only ones that got seized up.
     
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  12. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    You know, if this is your focus, there are several companies now making commuter specific bikes. They aren't mountain bikes, and they aren't road bikes. And, they aren't the old guy "hybrids" that you see around, either. They are specifically made for folks who are using their bikes for utility. They have slightly knobby tires that are skinny and high pressure, which will make riding them a good bit more efficient, and the wheels themselves are larger diameter (like road bike rims) so they are more efficient at speed. They are also set up more upright, so they are extremely stable. The other upside is that even the most expensive of these bikes is well under $1000. Check out the commuter bikes by Trek, Redline, Specialized, or Bianchi. Again, several other companies are making these nowadays. They are extremely fun to ride, and are best suited to city riding. They have flat bars and powerful brakes. They usually have no suspension, front or rear, to save weight. They also have many "braze ons" for fitment of racks and bags for storage and transport.

    There is one caveat, though. If you do think you'll be tempted to take this thing off any drops or off-road at all, I would recommend getting a mountain bike and putting slicks on it. These commuter frames are incredibly strong and will not break under normal use. But, four foot drops are not defined as "normal use" in these bikes!
     
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  13. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    yeah i looked into the new hybrids but think a mountain bike will be my best bet to get, since when i do get into better shape there are a few trails 10 miles from me. From doing somefurther reasearch i saw that with the double walled rims also get the wheels with 32+spokes. are there any other parts i should get to make my purchases a durable piece of machinery.Also Water and Chess i greatly appreciate you two helping me out since i want to get fit so i can live a long healthy life and when I was a kid I loved biking.

    Dominic (Timokabo)
     
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  14. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    If used properly, most mountain bikes in the $500 and up range will last you longer than you will want to keep it. I have had the same mountain bike for nearly ten years. With regular maintenance you will have the bike for quite a while.

    Yes, you do want to look for 32 spokes, at least. 36 would be better. More specifically, look for 15 gauge spokes in those wheels that are in a "3 cross" pattern. This will produce a wheel that is stiff and durable. There is also some evidence that suggests that spokes that are anodized (colored) are weaker than non anodized spokes, but this is getting a bit nit-picky.

    The other things to look for...

    Fully sealed headset

    a suspension fork made by a major fork manufacturer (Fox, Rockshox, Manitou)

    LX or higher crankset (I've seen many, many non-drive side cranks fail catastrophically in lower end cranksets under fairly normal use)

    You'll also have the option at this price point to get disc brakes. These are wonderful, if adjusted properly, and of good quality. Look for Avid BB5s or BB7s in Mechanical disc brakes. You probably won't have the option for hydraulic discs at this price. Keep in mind also that good V-Brakes (the standard rim brakes on all mountain bikes) are still really good. Look for avid single digits in these. They will be easier for you to adjust than disc brakes, and will have less problems, but won't stop quite as well.

    Good pedals. If you want flat pedals, insist on getting some all metal ones. if you want clipless, most options will be good, but you'll need shoes. There are two sided pedals...one flat side, one clipless side...that are nice also.

    This about covers it. Feel free to ask more questions after your test rides, if you need it!
     
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  15. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    go for an old steel frame, 105 9spd, and some mavi open-pro's laced to whatever hubs 32/36 spokes, 3x
     
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  16. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    Water just so im clear would this be the type of bike/specs id be looking for. http://americancycleandfitness.com/itemdetails.cfm?id=4166
     
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  17. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    you happen to have a picture of it?
     
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  18. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    I'd go a tad higher end than that. The shifters are pretty poor, and the fork is a bit fragile, IMO. In addition, the brakes (made by Tektro) are decent, but I have seen them fail. On the other hand, the frame looks pretty beefy, and that's a big concern. You can replace parts, but you're stuck with a crappy frame. The frame on this bike looks pretty good. Maybe there is a better spec'd version using this frame?
     
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  19. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Here's the frame. Mine was painted slightly OFF-white, but close to this color. The frame was $5500 at the time I bought it about '03. http://www.racycles.com/GriffenVulcanB4C04-idv-5892-385.html
    Zipp wheels, rear disk, with integrated Power Tap, full Dura-Ace, ceramic bearings, sewups (Conti), titanium bolts, etc. Lots of extras.
    The bike is pictured in my avatar.

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
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  20. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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  21. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    beautiful, and it looks quite aero
     
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  22. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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  23. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    yeah im leaning for the wahoo. for that price it cant be beat. only thing is i do not know if the rims are double walled since i could not find any info online about them. also at my lbs they offer a 4 year extended warrenty on all part for an extra 70 bucks so i know ill get that for what ever bike i purchase
     
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  24. watermantra

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    I'd say your best bet is the Marlin. That bike is stepping up to good derailleurs and shifters. The Wahoo disc has decent disc brakes, but takes away the shifting solidity of the Deore setup.

    I have a friend who recently got into cycling who bought the Trek 4500. It's a good entry bike, as well, but the Marlin is a bit better. Treks and Gary Fishers ride completely differently, though. Even if you buy used or online, go test ride both of them before you make your decision.
     
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  25. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    ok. i would not be buying used since i would want to get new and also have all warrenties and stuff
     
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  26. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    Smart move, I think. Buying locally is also smart, though you may pay a little more than mail order. You'll get perks like free service, and you'll be a face in the shop. Sometimes they through in extras like water bottles, and give you a discount on necessary accessories (helmet, gloves, etc.)

    Some things to look for during the test ride:

    How does the bike handle quick turns? Slow turns? Is it stable at speed? Does the bike feel "twitchy" or turn too quickly for your comfort? Does it "dive" in turns (front end dig in) or does it tend to wash out in turns (front or rear end slide out from under you)? Does it brake smoothly or does it ramp up too quickly for your comfort? Is the front end "light" enough for you to comfortably ride up curbs or over obstacles? Do you feel balanced over both tires, or do you feel more heavily weighted over one or the other?

    Try to get a ride in on as many different kinds of terrain as you think you might tackle on the bike. Ride them for as long as you can. Take your time in deciding, as well, and try not to be swayed by looks or discounts.

    Also, it should go without saying that you should get a bike that fits you properly. Find a reputable shop with salespeople who can accurately fit you. Also, though mountain bike fitment is not as critical as road bike fitment, you should be given the option to change stems and have bars cut to your specs free of charge. They should also help you set seat height, angle, and aft/fore position, and adjust clipless pedal cleats on your shoes, should you choose to go that route.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
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  27. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    after doing my initial calling around to find info and gauge what is the best lbs by me and i found it. the guy was very knowledgeable over the phone and ill be going there tommorow to test drive and hopefully purchase a bike,since its best to call first instead of wasting time and gas. the companies his shop stocks are mongoose(higher end),gt,fuji,raleigh,and schwinn. what are the top companies out of the ones he ahs to offer
     
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  28. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Of that group, I'd go with Fuji, but I wouldn't buy any of those name brands. I'm a bike weenie though....:) I'd love to see the models you are considering, but you will go and choose something on the spot most likely and then live with it. Make sure you get a free tune-up within the first 30 days. All the cables are going to stretch, a wheel might go out of alignment, and bolts might come loose, so plan on taking it back for a tune-up, and then DO IT. Afterwards though, buy a recent book on bike maintenance and read it. You can do most of your own preventive maintenance. Before you ride each time, check your tires, breaks, and cables.

    Enjoy!

    -Robert
     
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  29. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    Ok. If you do not mind why would you not go with any of these brands,since what i heard raleighs and fujis are pretty good. also i have donje some research and found the bikes ill be testdriving,since being a informed shopper is better than going in their with no idea at all. here are some of the models ill be looking at.

    http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/mountain/mojave-40/?page=specs

    http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/comfort/venture-40/?page=specs

    http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/hybrid/detour-45/?page=specs

    http://fujibikes.com/2008/bikes.asp?id=449

    http://fujibikes.com/2008/bikes.asp?id=533

    http://www.mongoose.com/mtn/ProductDetails.html?id=2349&enc=mtn|12

    http://www.mongoose.com/mtn/ProductDetails.html?id=2340&enc=mtn|8

    also this shop offers free tune ups/maitnece for first six months. also they have custom wheel making there so i will have to look into that when there tommorow.

    thanks for help again

    dominic (timokabo)
     
    #29
  30. BillyIdol

    BillyIdol Rookie

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    Timokabo

    Hey, you may have never heard this before, but get a recumbent. I like Easyracers from easyracers.com. I have a Gold Rush Replica with a body sock. The other bike is the fastest production bicycle in the world: the Lightning F40. The Lightning is faster than the Gold Rush. On flat ground and rollers, I have never been passed. One time I did a one mile time trial on flat ground and averaged 36mph. Check it out at: http://lightningbikes.com/f40.htm This is very good for people with more weight, plus your rear end, hands, and neck won't be killing you.

    I hope this helps. You don't have to get the expensive recumbents. Just get an entry level model.

    John
     
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  31. ojingoh

    ojingoh Rookie

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    LOL nooooooo on recumbents :p too low to the ground and if the roads where he is are bad he will get bounced around like a cork. Front suspension fork is a must for him.
     
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  32. ojingoh

    ojingoh Rookie

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    Dom, don't get an aluminum bike -- the fujis you linked are Aluminum. For road/hybrid use you'll hate it. Stiff and whippey.

    Steel is very plush. And for a first serious bike, focus on fit first -- fit is essential for comfort, even moreso in my opinion than material. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic is awesome in road bikes but overkill for someone ihmo riding for fitness and recreation, at least under $2k. Titanium is a nice material for recreational bikes, but it's hard to find a good ti frame anymore.

    For your weight I'd recommend disc brakes, especially if it's wet where you live. Offroad no question you should go for disc brakes. On a stage racing/criterium/tri bike, not worth it, but for your fitness/commute bike definitely.
     
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  33. ojingoh

    ojingoh Rookie

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    OH yeah, one final thing: look at cyclocross bikes. I think that might be what you're looking for.
     
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  34. BeHappy

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    With all the training you do Chess9, is that enough to compensate for your age when competing physically against yur average 20 year old?
     
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  35. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Good points.

    -Robert
     
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  36. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    I've not played many 20 year olds recently. I did play against a 6.0 challenger kid about a month ago. I won one service game and was totally stoked. Most of the guys I play are in their 40's.

    Generally speaking, hard training (if you can do it), can keep you playing longer. It reduces the amount of speed you lose on court. Although I have classical strokes, they aren't mentioned as often as my speed. I have lots of speed for an old fart. I notice that the better older guys are very thin and shorter and still have some of their speed.

    To be honest, I probably train hard mainly for two reasons:

    1. I've done it forever, so it's an integral part of my lifestyle. Only an occasional woman can keep me away from the gym or a workout. :)
    2. I'm vain enough to want to stay fit, i.e., I might be over-invested in looking good. :)

    As an aside, I've been recording my heart rates during my match, using PolarPro Trainer software with my heart rate monitor. During last night's loss, for instance, I notice that I had about 30 heart rate spikes up to 152 bpm. Essentially, those are on-court interval training. So, running all out for balls is a great way to keep your speed, improve your heart stroke volume, and endurance. I go for balls that I realize afterwards I had no chance of getting. I simply GO. If you are fit now, you can do the same. If you aren't fit, be careful, i.e., pick and choose your spots to GO.

    Several studies have shown that those who are active lose less of their aerobic capacity, less of their muscle mass, and less of their speed. The problem is with FOOD and DRINK. :) Most of the guys at my club have not optimized their diets, and diet is where the 'blubber' meets the road. :)

    -Robert
     
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  37. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Ok for non-mountain bike trails and the occasional road, but he wants a mountain bike. The recumbants have gotten very popular and more hi-tech the last 5 years. I will be riding one when I'm 80. :)

    -Robert
     
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  38. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Well, as I said, I'm a bike weenie, so I probably wouldn't buy a bike under $2,000. :) I don't mean to sound elitist, but can't deny that I'm just too enthralled by stuff like silky smooth shifters, Italian styling, twitchy steering, narrow gauge tires on pricey wheels, etc. Please don't think ill of me, as I'm very sick. :) Maybe I should take two Schwinns and call Lance in the morning?

    -Robert
     
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  39. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    i would never think ill of you. as i can tell this is your true passion and you love it.i used to road bike a ton on my schwinn la tour before i was hit by a drunk driver almost 3 years ago. after anaylizing all my options and since my price range would not be able to get me something id truely want for a mountain bike, im just going to upgrade this steel frame i have in my garage. its still fairly new only with about 300 miles on it. for crankset all i know is it says shimano sis on derailer,so i dont know if that will need upgrading. i know that i will need to get a bulletproof back wheel though and ill try and get it set up with disc brakes. also ill most likely keep the front wheel since its still perfect and the disc brakes on it are great.also ill want to get a comfortable seat, a new bike helmet (thank god i used my old one when i was hit),a bag to hold repair stuff,and also maitnence book and tools. im thinking a couple hundred dollars can turn this into a beast.
     
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  40. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    Kudos on getting back on the bike after your accident. I know tons of guys who are still gun shy after their collisions with cars.

    Visit your local bike shop and talk to the shop guys about building a good rear wheel for you. They can use tandem spokes and 36 spoke rims and build a bulletproof wheel for you. The Shimano SIS just indicates that the derailleurs are compatible with index shifting. Downtube shifters will be the cheapest option for you. (This is a road frame, right? If not, you might have to get special mountain shifters, especially if the bike has less than eight speeds in the rear) You won't be able to get disc brakes on this old frame, because it won't have the dropouts (points of mounting) for it. Just have the brakes tuned up well, and replace the pads. You'll be fine. I'd expect to spend a bit more than $200, but it can be done. Good luck!

    -just read that the front wheel already has a disk on it. You may be able to put a disc on the rear, after all...
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
    #40
  41. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    yeah it is long due for me to start riding again. i put on almost 100 pounds since then and have shed 40 of it so far. i did vist the bike shop today and they are in process of building me a bullet proff doubled walled wheel as we speak with 36 spokes. it is a mountain bike also but i dont think ill be doing much to crank set at current time,since once i lose another 30-40 pounds ill be off buying a road bike :). i decided ill just replace the brake pads in rear during tune up.thanks for info and 150-200 bucks is much better than spending over 450 to get a decent bike to shed some pounds.

    dominic (timokabo)
     
    #41
  42. watermantra

    watermantra Rookie

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    Great! Happy riding!
     
    #42
  43. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    At your size you should also take a look at oversized aluminum frames -- Klein and Cannondale come to mind.
     
    #43
  44. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    At your size you might also consider an oversized aluminum frame -- Klein and Cannondale come to mind.
     
    #44
  45. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    steel is a stronger metal than aluminum,my main goal is getting the bullet proof rear wheel
     
    #45
  46. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    The increased diameter of aluminum frames create a stronger frame. With steel frames, there are ways to increase the strength of seamless tubing by making it thicker at the lugs or welds, or with spiral reinforcement (i.e. Columbus SLX) but the limiting factor is the strength to weight ratio. The other problem is the ride quality; heavy steel loses the whole magic of a good steel frame and gets progressively more uncomfortable as the steel gets thicker. OS Ti works even better but is cost prohibitive given what I think are budget considerations (look at Merlin if you want). OS aluminum is lighter than a comparably strong steel frame, rides great and has a real-world cost.

    I know a bit about this having raced competitively for over 30 years at a fairly high level on everything from road, cyclocross to mountain bikes. Big guys love Cannondale & Klein or any other good OS aluminum frame.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
    #46
  47. Max Winther

    Max Winther Semi-Pro

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    See the bolded responses in the quote above. If you have access to this store, I would test ride the marlin and the wahoo disc. Ask the salesman if there are any bikes with similar specs as these 2 and test them out too. Hope I could help.
     
    #47
  48. Max Winther

    Max Winther Semi-Pro

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    ^^^ did not read that you were going to upgrade a steel frame you have instead of buying a new one. probably a good decision.
     
    #48
  49. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    yeah i think it is wiser to upgrade, since this will be my weight loss/beater bike. next winter im going to hunt for a nice road bike,since ive seen some nice ones on **** and craigslist but think i can get them cheaper in the fall/winter
     
    #49
  50. Max Winther

    Max Winther Semi-Pro

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    Good call. No sense beating on a new bike when your trying to lose weight. I would try to go used when you do want to get a new bike. You can find a 2-3 year old bike with better components than a new bike for the same price. Course you do lose the warranty or free tune ups and whatnot, but with some of the money you save, you can pay for annual tune ups and the occasional broken part.
     
    #50

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