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Newbie: Need help finding a bike on a budget

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Newbie: Need help finding a bike on a budget

Old 04-12-20, 08:30 PM
  #1  
casek
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Newbie: Need help finding a bike on a budget

Hello! As Iím sure youíve gathered, Iím new to this whole thing. Iíve been reading around after a bout of frustration at the fact that biking is something Iíve wanted to do for years now only to find that itís not the easiest thing to get started doing at my weight. That landed me here where my head is kind of spinning with all the new information.

As of right now, Iím 5í 6Ē and around 400#. My goal is to use biking to help me lose weight as well as a recreational activity (especially with the social distancing!) Iíve read around a bit and been perusing Craigslist in an effort to find a good bike that will hold me for a decent price. Iím on a tight budget where $250 is pretty much the most I can spend. Initially, I was going to go for one of the more expensive Wal-Mart bikes, but my research deterred me from that.

Basically, I need help figuring out what bike to look for on a super tight budget (I know Iím not going to get anything new with my limit). Iíd also appreciate any advice on sizing if possible, as there are no LBSís open near me right now.
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Old 04-12-20, 11:40 PM
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If the issue is to get out and get started. IMHO at your size/weight you might look for something along the lines of a Beach cruiser. With the beefier wheels and frame, along with a lower seating height with a nice comfortable seat it will at least get you out the door and rolling.

see if it works and look for a better bike after youíve dropped a little weight.
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Old 04-13-20, 08:02 AM
  #3  
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I'd be looking at a rigid mountain bike (no shocks), in the appropriate size, at your weight. Watch your diet and ride that bike for a while.

Size? There's any number of fit calculators out there. Your inseam is probably more important that total height. Starting guess would be about 16" (bottom bracket to top of seat tube). Note that most beginners have their seat set too low; you want your knee only slightly bent when the pedal is at the bottom and you're sitting on the saddle.
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Old 04-13-20, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by casek View Post
Hello! As Iím sure youíve gathered, Iím new to this whole thing. Iíve been reading around after a bout of frustration at the fact that biking is something Iíve wanted to do for years now only to find that itís not the easiest thing to get started doing at my weight. That landed me here where my head is kind of spinning with all the new information.

As of right now, Iím 5í 6Ē and around 400#. My goal is to use biking to help me lose weight as well as a recreational activity (especially with the social distancing!) Iíve read around a bit and been perusing Craigslist in an effort to find a good bike that will hold me for a decent price. Iím on a tight budget where $250 is pretty much the most I can spend. Initially, I was going to go for one of the more expensive Wal-Mart bikes, but my research deterred me from that.

Basically, I need help figuring out what bike to look for on a super tight budget (I know Iím not going to get anything new with my limit). Iíd also appreciate any advice on sizing if possible, as there are no LBSís open near me right now.
Cycling will not help much with losing weight, but it can be beneficial for your health to exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day, 4 or 5 days a week. But I can tell you from experience, losing weight is 90% diet, maybe 10% exercise. So watch what you eat for weight loss, ride for health and enjoyment.

I will be honest. There are zero new bikes you can find on your budget of $250 that will hold you at 400 lbs. I would suggest an old mountain bike or hybrid at a small to medium size frame, or about 16" to 17.5" frame. Something like an old 90s era Trek 800. 820, 830 or 850, or 720 to 750, Specialized Rockhopper, Bianchi Advantage (I had one of these. fantastic bike and still ran great when I gave it away a few years ago), or equivalent from any of a dozen bike brands (Giant, Kona, Raleigh, GT, Cannondale, etc..). IT MUST BE A SOLID FORK. NO SUSPENSION FORKS, AS THESE WILL NEED REPAIR OR REPLACING WHICH YOU CANNOT AFFORD. You may or may not need to upgrade the wheels, but at a minimum, 36 spokes, or even better if higher spoke count. If you buy something like this privately, you will probably need to change out worn parts like chain, freewheel, brakes, tires, etc) so keep that in mind. So if you can find such a bike from a seller in ready to ride condition, it is worth spending a bit more than something that is right out of someone's garage or shed, and needs some work.
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Old 04-13-20, 12:14 PM
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where are you located at.....if you give a general location or craigslist are people can give ideas of things that look good

are your going to be riding on streets only or ???

also are there any coops near you
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Old 04-13-20, 01:02 PM
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I think you're going to have a difficult time meeting both your weight and price requirements, new or used. There are very few bikes available that can safely handle 400lbs without modification (probably less than 1% of the bikes on the market) so finding one will be difficult. Adding to that your price limit, compounds the difficulty. I searched Craigslist within 200 miles of me (the distance limit) and found none.

If you're interested in an adult trike there are many more possibilities and you may be more successful.

Having said all that, I commend you for your desire to ride and hope you're successful. If you find a bike and want some feedback, post specifics.
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Old 04-13-20, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony P. View Post
I think you're going to have a difficult time meeting both your weight and price requirements, new or used. There are very few bikes available that can safely handle 400lbs without modification (probably less than 1% of the bikes on the market) so finding one will be difficult. Adding to that your price limit, compounds the difficulty. I searched Craigslist within 200 miles of me (the distance limit) and found none.

If you're interested in an adult trike there are many more possibilities and you may be more successful.

Having said all that, I commend you for your desire to ride and hope you're successful. If you find a bike and want some feedback, post specifics.
Don't you think an old steel mountain bike, modified with some heavy duty touring or tandem wheels would work?
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Old 04-13-20, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Don't you think an old steel mountain bike, modified with some heavy duty touring or tandem wheels would work?
Yes, I do, perhaps with the addition of a seat. If we accept the manufacturer weight limit as accurate, though, 400lbs is hard to come by. The other issue is cost and heavy duty rims are likely to cost at least $100 for the pair. Getting the bike and rims for $250 will be difficult, at least I think so. That's not to say it's not possible.
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Old 04-13-20, 03:18 PM
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You want mountain bike tires, or fat bike tires. Narrow tires may squash all the way to the rim, and be damaged.

You will most likely want to buy a large seat. A small seat may be too uncomfortable.

At your height, many frames will be a good size.

If you are on a budget, I would suggest checking out second hand bikes, until you find a suitable one.

A fat bike like I have would be ideal for someone like you. You would just want to change the seat for a large one. I have seen fat bikes advertised second hand at cheap prices. Someone gets one as a gift, and doesn't like it, so they sell it cheap. My fat bike is really tough. I ride on rough tracks often, and the bike is about as close as you can get to unbreakable.
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Old 04-13-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
You want mountain bike tires, or fat bike tires. Narrow tires may squash all the way to the rim, and be damaged.

You will most likely want to buy a large seat. A small seat may be too uncomfortable.

At your height, many frames will be a good size.

If you are on a budget, I would suggest checking out second hand bikes, until you find a suitable one.

A fat bike like I have would be ideal for someone like you. You would just want to change the seat for a large one. I have seen fat bikes advertised second hand at cheap prices. Someone gets one as a gift, and doesn't like it, so they sell it cheap. My fat bike is really tough. I ride on rough tracks often, and the bike is about as close as you can get to unbreakable.
I am sorry, but this is not necessarily true. The saddle is made to support the sit bones. Just because a person is carrying excess fat doesn't mean he or she needs an extra wide saddle. Any more than I need to switch to a super narrow saddle since I lost 60 lbs.
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Old 04-13-20, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I am sorry, but this is not necessarily true. The saddle is made to support the sit bones. Just because a person is carrying excess fat doesn't mean he or she needs an extra wide saddle. Any more than I need to switch to a super narrow saddle since I lost 60 lbs.
Just making suggestions. The OP can decide what suits them.

Racing bikes have small, light weight saddles. Many people think these are ideal, and get the same. Then they find they are uncomfortable, so they need padded pants. I think, if the average casual rider has a larger saddle, it will be comfortable, and padded pants are unnecessary.

There are large numbers of different individuals, who all have different experiences. They can all decide for themselves.
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Old 04-13-20, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
Just making suggestions. The OP can decide what suits them.

Racing bikes have small, light weight saddles. Many people think these are ideal, and get the same. Then they find they are uncomfortable, so they need padded pants. I think, if the average casual rider has a larger saddle, it will be comfortable, and padded pants are unnecessary.

There are large numbers of different individuals, who all have different experiences. They can all decide for themselves.
I don't ride a wide, squishy saddle, and I don't ride a super narrow saddle either. But my saddle is firm, as I believe all saddles more or less should be, regardless of the width. But I do wear cycling shorts, and no, they are not padded, but they do have a chamois, which helps with chafing, and that is the issue for a lot of cyclists. And since we are on the subject, a person weighing 400 lbs will actually have a bigger problem with chafing from a wide, squishy saddle.
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Old 04-13-20, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
You want mountain bike tires, or fat bike tires. Narrow tires may squash all the way to the rim, and be damaged.

You will most likely want to buy a large seat. A small seat may be too uncomfortable.

At your height, many frames will be a good size.

If you are on a budget, I would suggest checking out second hand bikes, until you find a suitable one.

A fat bike like I have would be ideal for someone like you. You would just want to change the seat for a large one. I have seen fat bikes advertised second hand at cheap prices. Someone gets one as a gift, and doesn't like it, so they sell it cheap. My fat bike is really tough. I ride on rough tracks often, and the bike is about as close as you can get to unbreakable.
Large seats are not a good idea, they may seem like they would be comfortable, not don't work that way and can cause chaffing

also a cheap bike whether new or used is a pain.. any bike that has recently been a "thing" like fat bikes are often going to have cheap used bikes that were cheap walmart/target etc bikes

many frame sizes is also not true there would be range in road bikes and in mountain bikes.. that would fit, but not many

I would suggest looking for and older specialized stumpjumper ro rockhopper (these were pretty common) at a 19 in frame size and as noted avoid shocks anything like that. if you are on roads only swap out knobby tires for smooth tires and your are set
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Old 04-14-20, 09:50 AM
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Thank you all for the advice.

With regards to where Iíll be riding, Iíll be on paved trails and roads. Nothing super taxing on the bike terrain-wise. Keeping in mind that my tax return should be hitting soon, Iíd be willing to up my price range to $400-$450. Iíll also be willing to up it significantly more once I know whether Iíll be receiving the stimulus check. The issue now is that Iím living on a teacher salary that just doesnít let me toss $800-$1k on a bike regardless of how much Iím willing to commit to the sport.

I also live on the Indiana Illinois border. I know someone asked for Craigslist reasons.
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Old 04-14-20, 10:44 AM
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ok used terra haute craigs list as a base (big guess)

here are some examples

this is about as large as you should go $180
i really like this one as it has swept back bars which IMHO are more comfortable than pure mountain bike bars

https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/...102345435.html


1984 Schwinn High Sierra Mountain Bike - $240 (Downtown)

https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/...101908941.html

cannondale

https://bloomington.craigslist.org/b...087236971.html

11111
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Old 04-14-20, 08:37 PM
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I don't know if you have hills, but if your area is flat, this cruiser may be an option. Note that it is an older ad so it maybe gone.

https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/...092599653.html

I don't usually suggest these types of bikes, it's a lower end bike, but should be overbuilt. Just make sure the tires are properly inflated. I'd offer $40 on that one.

I also like this Rockhopper, but not sure the stem would work for you.
https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/...103566605.html
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Old 04-14-20, 09:27 PM
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I just found a Trek Skye-Comfort/Hybrid on facebook marketplace for $225. Wheels are brand new (36). It looks almost brand new. Does this sound like it could fit the bill?
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Old 04-14-20, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by casek View Post
I just found a Trek Skye-Comfort/Hybrid on facebook marketplace for $225. Wheels are brand new (36). It looks almost brand new. Does this sound like it could fit the bill?
Link?

I believe the Skye has front suspension, which may not work well for you. It may be OK permanently locked out (if it has a lockout).
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Old 04-15-20, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by casek View Post
I just found a Trek Skye-Comfort/Hybrid on facebook marketplace for $225. Wheels are brand new (36). It looks almost brand new. Does this sound like it could fit the bill?
No link, but no for a couple of reasons. 1. Those bikes have a front suspension and suspensions are bad in general, but especially for someone weighing 400 lbs.
2. It is a Women's bike.
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Old 04-15-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by casek View Post
Thank you all for the advice.

With regards to where I’ll be riding, I’ll be on paved trails and roads. Nothing super taxing on the bike terrain-wise. Keeping in mind that my tax return should be hitting soon, I’d be willing to up my price range to $400-$450. I’ll also be willing to up it significantly more once I know whether I’ll be receiving the stimulus check. The issue now is that I’m living on a teacher salary that just doesn’t let me toss $800-$1k on a bike regardless of how much I’m willing to commit to the sport.

I also live on the Indiana Illinois border. I know someone asked for Craigslist reasons.
I understand you are on a budget, but in the scheme of things, $800 isn't a lot of money for the increase in performance and enjoyment you will get over the next 10 to 15 years of riding. . You are not there yet, as all you want is a very basic bike that can hold your weight. The issue at this point is, because of your weight, whatever used bike you buy, you may have to spend another couple of hundred on a set of wheels that will hold your weight.

Going forward though, there is always the hope that as you lose weight, you will get the cycling bug and want to ride more. And should cycling become your thing, then get used to the prices of new bikes. $400 to $500 is really pretty entry level, $800 to $900 is still just a step above entry level. And the real sweet spot in terms of cost/quality/performance is probably closer to the $1,500 price point. Though that sounds like crazy money, hear me out for a minute or two. With cycling, most of your expenses are up front, with nothing but routine maintenance/repairs for the next 10 or 15 years after the initial purchase. Compare cycling to other activities such as classes where you have to pay for expensive monthly gym dues, or golf where you pay for expensive gear and monthly club fees, or skiing, where you have to pay for gear, plus lift tickets, lodging and transportation costs.

Last edited by MRT2; 04-15-20 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 04-15-20, 11:05 PM
  #21  
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You can achieve your goals. When I was more active on the touring forum maybe a decade ago there was a guy who was overweight and lost over 100 lbs just cycling every day, over the course of about a year. At first he could barely ride around the block but he kept at it, got stronger and rode more and more. He posted regularly and it was an amazing story.

I agree with the other guys that a used mountain bike from the late 80's or early 90's with a rigid fork (no suspension) will do the trick. They can be found for $2-300, are steel and practically bombproof. Something like a Trek 850, 870, Rockhopper, etc. Spend half your budget on the bike and keep the other half in reserve for a tune-up, misc parts and a strong wheelset. I'd say $5-600 total.

Good luck Casek.

Last edited by mtnroads; 04-15-20 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 04-15-20, 11:14 PM
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You can achieve your goals. When I was more active on the touring forum maybe a decade ago there was a guy who was overweight and lost over 100 lbs just cycling every day, over the course of about a year. At first he could barely ride around the block but he kept at it, got stronger and rode more and more. He posted regularly and it was an amazing story.


I agree with the other guys that a used mountain bike from the late 80's or early 90's with a rigid fork (no suspension) will do the trick. They can be found for $2-300, are steel and practically bombproof. Something like a Trek 850, 870, Rockhopper, etc. Spend half your budget on the bike and keep the other half in reserve for a tune-up, misc parts and a strong wheelset. I'd say $5-600 total.
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Old 04-16-20, 12:43 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
No link, but no for a couple of reasons. 1. Those bikes have a front suspension and suspensions are bad in general, but especially for someone weighing 400 lbs.
2. It is a Women's bike.
casek can you let us know if you are a man or woman.

I have sometimes picked up decent women's bikes in the trash, and ridden them. If the bike does the job, I am not concerned what other people think. One even had surface rust on the frame. I liked that bike. Apart from being comfortable, it was a bike nobody would want to steal. A couple of women's bikes I rode for many months each, until I found a better bike in the trash. I know, not everybody is like me.
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Old 04-16-20, 01:00 AM
  #24  
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I was looking on Amazon. There is a new 26 inch fat bike for sale for $379.99, with Shimano gear. You don't need to spend a lot of money.

This one was available. But they have a lot less models available than usual, with the current situation.
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Old 04-22-20, 02:30 AM
  #25  
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Iím deffinetly no expert and thereís a lot of knowledge here. But I can talk about my experience.

When started riding many years back I was 6í 350lbs. I was concerned about bike choice and cost. Asking here raised my concerns about cost. But I went to the LBS and bought a very basic entry level bike a GIANT Bolder SE. It seemed comfy and sturdy but had a cheap non lockout suspension fork I was warned about. But I figured I can ride it till it wore out an replace with a better fork with a lock out when time comes.

Well in three years of riding and dieting I had lost 100lbs. And the bike was still functioning just fine.

un related to the bike I then got very injured (hit by car on my motorcycle) and was unable to return to cycling till this year (7 years later). But after a quick service I dragged that old mountain bike out with its cheap fork and am cycling as weather and pain levels permit since January.

Its not a great bike. Itís not pretty and itís not glamours. Iím sure that forks screaming at me every ride. And Iím not doing massive mileage (never was). But I got out there relatively inexpensively, Turned some cranks, reached some goals, and most importantly had fun doing it.

I did buy a better bike over the years but the boulder se is still the bike that seems the most use. I still find it more comfy. And it just feels special to me for some reason. This year I intend to cycle as much as I can mostly for strength building and fun. And I know that old mountain bike though fun is probly due to be replaced or at the very least upgraded for any serious riding. But I suspect it will be in the garage first to the door for some time, just for puttering about around the neighborhood and with my daughter (sheís 3 and on a balance bike) for some time still.




Me at 350lbs




today I stand at 260lbs but shorter now thanks to injuries in said motorcycle accident.




My point is. Though what every one is saying is most deffinetly correct. The most important thing is to get out there. Even if the bikes not ideal. Find something your comfortable on and with financially and get out there and have some fun. You can always upgrade later as $$$ permits.
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