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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys, this my first post but I have been lurking around the forums and getting some good info.

I'm 6'2, 340 lbs and looking to upgrade from my 2000 Rockhopper Comp to a full suspension bike that won't break the moment I hop on it. I live/ride in the SF Bay area so I am partial to Santa Cruz bikes.

I'm looking to spend about $2000, I don't do anything crazy 1'-1.5' drops at most and want something that won't make it any more difficult to climb than it already is lugging my 340 lbs butt up the hill.

At this moment I'm leaning towards a Heckler D AM for $1800. I emailed Santa Cruz asking what they thought about a rider my size on a Heckler and they said that they don't have an official weight limit for the Heckler but they would recommend a Bullit over the Heckler for someone my size.

Although the Bullit R FR is not too far out of my price range at $2300 I am not sure that it would be my best bet for a bike that can climb up a hill with relative efficiency. I am not as concerned with the 40 lbs weight as I am with the freeride geometry and possibility of very squishy climbing.

Any comments from people that have some experience with either being a big rider on a Heckler or climbing with a Bullit are greatly appreciated.
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
Hi Guys, this my first post but I have been lurking around the forums and getting some good info.

I'm 6'2, 340 lbs and looking to upgrade from my 2000 Rockhopper Comp to a full suspension bike that won't break the moment I hop on it. I live/ride in the SF Bay area so I am partial to Santa Cruz bikes.

I'm looking to spend about $2000, I don't do anything crazy 1'-1.5' drops at most and want something that won't make it any more difficult to climb than it already is lugging my 340 lbs butt up the hill.

At this moment I'm leaning towards a Heckler D AM for $1800. I emailed Santa Cruz asking what they thought about a rider my size on a Heckler and they said that they don't have an official weight limit for the Heckler but they would recommend a Bullit over the Heckler for someone my size.

Although the Bullit R FR is not too far out of my price range at $2300 I am not sure that it would be my best bet for a bike that can climb up a hill with relative efficiency. I am not as concerned with the 40 lbs weight as I am with the freeride geometry and possibility of very squishy climbing.

Any comments from people that have some experience with either being a big rider on a Heckler or climbing with a Bullit are greatly appreciated.
My buddy has your physical stats and rides a Heckler. Believe he runs a 750lb. coil on a DHX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good to hear that the Heckler is standing up to some heavy weight punishment. The stock 07 Hecklers come with a Fox R shock in the rear, do I need to swap this out for a DHX coil shock?

That's 300 bucks I'd rather not spend initially.
 

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YES..sorry I"m a little under you (330-ish) but started heavier at 6'2" (I don't know why I always put my height..Maybe it makes me feel less fat:thumbsup:

I upgraded from a hardtail to a fs last year and went with the bullit. If you want to email me or call me i can go into a lot more in depth with my research....

The bullit is a great climber.. We are not "normal" riders we/you need freeride based stuff If you are doing any kind of aggressive singletrack small jumps and stuff. I run a JR T up front and a 750lb spring on my coil. The JR T was a cost decision.. at some point i will get a stronger single crown fork (Magaru wotan?)

there isn't a air shock That I think would hold up to you for any long time period. I use to run the azonic outlaws until I just toasted my freehub. I just got a mavic deetracks so.. we will see. But, I have gone thru 3 cheaper rear wheels in 2 seasons.. and I don't think it cool to break stuff.. IT just happens.. I ride at least 3 times a week...

Maybe the heckler will "hold" up to you If you are really just doing light stuff. But you and I doing a 1 foot jump is like a 180lb guy doing a 15ft drop:p :p

Becuase we are such a minority in cycling there isn't a manufacterer that really has a clue to what there stuff will do with us on it.

Like i said pm me and i'll check in the morning and we can talk....
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
Any comments from people that have some experience with either being a big rider on a Heckler or climbing with a Bullit are greatly appreciated.
No experience on either a Heckler or Bullit, but they both seem like they could be good choices depending on your intended use. And since you said you want to retain climbing efficiency the Heckler is probably the better choice. I would recommend that you look into upgrading the rear shock to a coil, and making sure beforehand that there is a coil spring available in the spring rate you will require. Also think about getting the shock custom-tuned by Push Industries. Most likely any shock that the frame comes with will be valved for someone over 150lbs lighter than you. A custom re-valve will probably go a long way towards giving you optimum suspension performance.
 

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The problem is unless someone is really up at our weight "probably " won't cut it.

The heckler is a great bike bu the rear triangle is not strong/stiff enough for our weight. It will flex way too much.

I run the stock 5th element/ as well as I picked up a blow out manitou 6 way from SC. I got the 750 pound spring from phattire.com for $20.

The biggest thing noone has mentioned is the way the shock's stroke is. Different shocks have different stroke lengths that effect the spring rate. On the bullit the 750 is almost too much for my weight vs. another bike with a fox I needed a 1000lb spring..
 

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tonyl11 said:
The problem is unless someone is really up at our weight "probably " won't cut it.
Agreed. I'm a bit lighter at 275lbs geared up and given the issues that I've had with suspension tuning and frame flex I sympathize with a rider that's 50lbs+ heavier than me. An in depth discussion with the key players (the frame and shock manufacturer and/or Push Industries) would clear up some of these questions of what will and won't work.

The heckler is a great bike bu the rear triangle is not strong/stiff enough for our weight. It will flex way too much.
I think you've described pretty much every full suspension bike. ;) I agree again, but I don't think the best answer is to ride a freeride frame when it's overkill in terms of amount of suspension travel and the geometry may be wrong for the rider's intended use.

Another frame possibility is the Knolly Endorphin. Some of the purported features of Knolly's suspension design include a fairly low leverage ratio and a laterally stiff swingarm. Knolly owner Noel is very accessible and likely could answer any questions regarding a heavier ride and his frames. The downside to the Knolly, of course, is price. A complete Heckler (with upgraded shock) could probably be had for less than just the Endorphin frame.

Several models from Ventana would probably fit the bill as well. The Ventana's frame designs are customizable and can be built to suit the rider's needs. Again, the frame price is pretty high.

I run the stock 5th element/ as well as I picked up a blow out manitou 6 way from SC. I got the 750 pound spring from phattire.com for $20.

The biggest thing noone has mentioned is the way the shock's stroke is. Different shocks have different stroke lengths that effect the spring rate. On the bullit the 750 is almost too much for my weight vs. another bike with a fox I needed a 1000lb spring..
I have that issue with my Turner RFX. I can't run it at 6" travel because I would need a 900lb spring, which no one makes in the size required. So I'm running 5" travel with a 750lb spring, which works out fine.

IIRC the '07 Heckler has a 2.25" shock stroke which should give a decently low leverage ratio. What spring rate will be required, I don't know. If the shock valving will work well, I don't know. Confirming this info with SC, Fox and a shock tuning specialist should give better answers.
 

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I was at the same place you are up until about a month ago. I am 300lbs and 6'4" tall and I was looking at the Heckler and I finally found one to test drive. I found the Heckler much to flexy at my weight. Actually the bike flexed so much as to pop the chain off the crank and land me on my knee. I actually have always had a problem with flexy bikes. I currently am riding a stumpjumper that is beginning to fail in the rear end. I ended up ordering a semicustom ventana that would match my weight and riding style better. I should receive it begining of August hopefully.

The Ventana's are pricey but I have found nothing else that matches them in strength and rigidity yet. That is my $.02 worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll look into the Knolly and the Ventanas. Although the wife may not be too receptive to a 4k+ bike, I can always give it a shot.

I'm hoping to lose some of my girth by the time I receive my bike, I hope to be sub 300 by that time. (At least that's the deal I made with the wife for budgeting a pricey new bike).

I've been trying to ride the Rockhopper quite a bit over the past few weeks to drop as much as possible already down 10 lb :) I've got a couple bent wheels and a broken bottom bracket to prove it.
 

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Throw away those rockhopper wheels and buy something tougher! That will help. I'm about your weight and my stock wheels on my Comp Disc were totally not up to the job. So far some Rhynolites tied to some XT hubs with fat spokes has held up really well on some decent drops and rough rock garden downhills.

A couple frames to look no one has mentioned yet would be Chumba XCL and Transition Covert. Both are overbuilt frames and almost all the feedback i've read is very positive.

The XCL frame cost is about $1300 and the Covert is around $1000, so some of the better deals for clyde friendly frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you using the 32 or 36 spoke version of the Rhyno Lite? I think I'll pick up a pair, use them with the Rockhopper with V-brakes for now and use them with disc brakes on my next bike once I get it.

Are you happy with the XT hubs?
 

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Another possibility is to find a not-quite-latest model Titus that uses the fsr-style and has their "freeride" lowers. SwitchBlade can do it, Hammerhead 100x, and of course both the Quasi-Moto and the Super-Moto.

The Super-Moto in particuarly can be setup with a wide variety of shocks (air or coil), travel, are pretty stiff, and is not a bank-breaker (sub 2k frameset for sure). Put some 36-spoke wheels on it (could be Shimano XT to start with and save $), and you could get away w/o breaking 2k by TOO much (or go a bit better on some parts and still keep it below 3k).
 

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XT hubs are holding up so far, at least a lot better than the Specialized and Deore hubs that came on the rockhopper did. They probably aren't as nice in the long run as Mavic, or Hope, or Funn, but they seem a-ok.

I bought mine from wheelworld.com (actually from the wooldand hills store). Another supplier may not have the same durable spokes on their builds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've decided to continue riding my Rockhopper for now since the frame is still doing well and is a good fit, I'd rather not deal with the hassles & expenses of FS for a 300+ pounder.

I'm gonna try to drop a good amount of weight by next season and get a Heckler or maybe a Nomad if I'm extra nice to the wife.
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
Are you using the 32 or 36 spoke version of the Rhyno Lite? I think I'll pick up a pair, use them with the Rockhopper with V-brakes for now and use them with disc brakes on my next bike once I get it.

Are you happy with the XT hubs?
I would avoid XT hubs at your weight. I do have a set on a pair of wheels and really don't like them. Perhaps it's a personal thing though, I'm sure someone will chime in and say they are ok.

I am running a set of RhynoLites (36 h) on some Hope pro II hubs, the Rhynos have held up really well, considering my weight of around 250-260. I'd rather drop some extra money on some good hubs like Hadleys or Hopes laced to a good set of rims (Rhynos or WTB Dual Dutys) with DT champs, rather than lace them to a set of hubs that will probably be trashed a year from now. If I was going the handbuilt route, that is. Don't even think 32h. Oh, and there are lots of rim choices out there, and you might even consider some prebuilts from Azonic, AtomLabs or others . . .

SC makes some great bikes, can't go wrong there.

Just my .02 . . . .
 

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My two cents....

big_mountain_biker said:
Hi Guys, this my first post but I have been lurking around the forums and getting some good info.

I'm 6'2, 340 lbs and looking to upgrade from my 2000 Rockhopper Comp to a full suspension bike that won't break the moment I hop on it. I live/ride in the SF Bay area so I am partial to Santa Cruz bikes.

I'm looking to spend about $2000, I don't do anything crazy 1'-1.5' drops at most and want something that won't make it any more difficult to climb than it already is lugging my 340 lbs butt up the hill.

At this moment I'm leaning towards a Heckler D AM for $1800. I emailed Santa Cruz asking what they thought about a rider my size on a Heckler and they said that they don't have an official weight limit for the Heckler but they would recommend a Bullit over the Heckler for someone my size.

Although the Bullit R FR is not too far out of my price range at $2300 I am not sure that it would be my best bet for a bike that can climb up a hill with relative efficiency. I am not as concerned with the 40 lbs weight as I am with the freeride geometry and possibility of very squishy climbing.

Any comments from people that have some experience with either being a big rider on a Heckler or climbing with a Bullit are greatly appreciated.
You've got me beat by about 100 pounds but I've ridden Hecklers and owned a Bullit. With the advancements in stable platform for rear shocks, I think either of these two bikes will climb the same. They're basically the same bike but the Bullit is beefier.

You'll want to ensure that whatever shock/spring combination you go with is right for your weight. My advice here is to over-spec the spring. I've ridden a bunch of FS bikes with a spring spec'd for "my weight". In all cases, the "correct" spring was inadequate for my size and riding style. A stiffer spring doesn't really hurt big fellas. So if there's a doubt, upsize. Even if you drop weight, you'll still want a robust rear shock.

Good luck, have fun and welcome to the madness.
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
I'll look into the Knolly and the Ventanas. Although the wife may not be too receptive to a 4k+ bike, I can always give it a shot.

I'm hoping to lose some of my girth by the time I receive my bike, I hope to be sub 300 by that time. (At least that's the deal I made with the wife for budgeting a pricey new bike).

I've been trying to ride the Rockhopper quite a bit over the past few weeks to drop as much as possible already down 10 lb :) I've got a couple bent wheels and a broken bottom bracket to prove it.
Hey Big_Mountain_Biker:

I know that you're going to continue riding your current bike for now, but if you're looking at FS in the future, here are some things to consider (and are applicable to any larger rider).

I think the other people who have contributed to this thread have got most of the information that you require. Since our brand (Knolly) was mentioned, I'll throw out my $0.02 as well:

As others have said, you're weight is going to basically mandate that you buy a more "burly" frame that what a 160 pound rider will need. As a manufacturer we deal with this all the time: we have customers that range in weight from 100 pounds to 300+ pounds and the difference in stress on a frame and the components is obviously massively different. So, the lightweight riders get the short end of the stick because the frames and components that they want are all designed for someone twice their weight (imagine you pedaling a 100 pound bike up hill). They end up with a bike that's proportionally (to their body weight) much heavier than what us bigger guys have to deal with.

The flip side is that if you're a heavier rider, you'll find that you may break components designed for "regular" riders or that components flex too much which negatively affects their performance. Or you might just not be able to set up the suspension properly (mainly forks) because springs aren't available for your body weight.

We have some customers in particular who while not the heaviest guys out there (around 200-230 pounds), are very tall (6'5") and very strong - think Bruce Lee - only a foot taller :)

These guys pretty much HAVE to upgrade to more durable, stronger, heavier, components. We had one that bought a Totem fork and sold it after 3 weeks because it flexed too much for him - a 1.5" Totem!!! He's now running an 888SL ATA fork and while he really wanted a single crown fork for his big bike, he was pretty much forced into getting dual crown fork because of his strength and his size.

So, as most of the others have said, I would err on the side of "burlier". Even if you really only do very small drops and can get by with a lighter frame from a "strength" perspective, you might find that the frame flexes so much that the benefits of steeper climbing geometry and less travel are offset by poor shifting performance, reduced durability and poor rear wheel tracking. Of course, being a manufacturer, I'm going to be biased and err on the side of "stronger" just as Santa Cruz suggested.

Fox air shocks on pretty much any frame aren't going to work - they have a maximum recommended static pressure of 300 PSI. Our frames have some of the lowest leverage ratios in the bicycle industry (the Endorphin has a 2.4:1 leverage ratio) and are also highly progressive and I can say that you'll exceed the recommended pressure of either the Fox RP23 or the Fox DHX air. The one exception would be the new Marzocchi Roco air shocks - they run MUCH lower pressure than the Fox shocks and that might be an option if you want to save the weight of a coil spring. However, a coil shock is really the most simple way to ensure that you get a shock that works for you.

Finally, one last thing: if you can find a frame with a progressive suspension set up, it might save a few headaches. As PCinSC mentioned, stock shocks that are set up for regressively designed suspension bikes might not have enough high speed compression damping to resist bottoming out. A progressively designed suspension bike might save you having to have your shock re-tuned by an aftermarket shock tuner. That being said, the additional performance benefits of custom tuning are well established, so it's something to consider independently on its own merit.

Cheers,
 
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