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big guy on a small island

644 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Pitch
I live on Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America. Yeah I know you feel sorry for me - it's great.

This is a long post I suppose but I sure appreciate your thoughts.

Despite being an active guy doing a lot of free-diving, spear-fishing, etc. I'm still 250lb and want to get back to riding to drop it.

No hills here but very rough roads and soft sand. The so-called paved streets are paved with octagonal landscaping pavers and there's speed bumps every few feet. Sitting at the computer a lot I have the typical wrist and neck issues.

So I imported a Trek comfort bike and it was good at first but pretty soon I broke the shock in the seat post and now I broke the derailleur. I think the tires are too narrow because locals with their Chinese beach cruizers go through the sand way better - but it could be because the are about half my weight!

I need something tough and comfortable - handlebars as high as possible. I'd really like a full suspension and a soft fork for riding the "paved" streets.

At the same time, none of the bike mechanics here have much experience with bikes that actually shift.

So I need a tough, heavy duty, high comfort bike. As little steel as possible - the salt here is horrible and it's tough to get parts and anyone who knows what they are doing. This isn't for racing - it's for encouraging me to ride the bike instead of taking the golf cart or town or the boat.

Not rich but I can spend some money on this to do it right.

Sure appreciate your thoughts.

PS. I'm about 5'11'
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spend the money on a titanium frame! Alu=harsh riding and it still corrodes. Carbon=does not like the sun. You are what 14 dregree's N Lat?

Even cheap east Asian Ti is ok. If possible, stay away from disc brakes, they will rust overnight!
Thanks Yogii! I'll look at Ti. I already try to get all my fishing and dive tools made from that. It's an awesome material.

Any thoughts from any one on components?
Components will need to be well lubed. As I said earlier try and stay away from disc brakes. Most other components are aluminum and will be ok if cleaned and lubed often.
Keep the tires out of the sun when not in use.
fat tires

If you're riding the beach or any deep sand you might look at something like a Pugsley with 3 - 4" wide tires. Take a look around the "Fat Bike" forum here. But even ~2.5" tires at a reasonably low pressure will be much better then the narrower tires that are probably on your comfort bike.

I haven't experienced any rusting problems on my disc brakes when I spend time on Cape Cod, MA, living right near the beach. But I'm not riding on the beach, so no direct salt exposure, and certainly not the humidity you probably have in the tropics. If you're riding daily I'd think the rust film would be scrubbed off quickly by the brake pads, like it is on car discs. But again, no experience there.


My wife and I spent 2 weeks on Ambegris Caye earlier this year. Ooooh, I am longing for some quality beach time and some good local food from Brando and the cooks @ AkBol (sp? the yoga retreat center N. of San Pedro), and some Mannelly's coconut ice cream :thumbsup:

Anyway, I thought about what would be the best bike for living here quite a bit when I was there. Single speed is definitely the way to go, and wide tires are a must for the sand. I would also suggest fenders, as it will keep the spray down on the inevitable forays onto the beach. The abundant cheap cruiser bikes you see everywhere are indeed "disposable," but don't need to be. They are so cheap that you cannot even service them. I would suggest Aluminum, (for corrosive resistance, no rust) but run some huge downhill tires (2.5-2.7) for better flotation. Also run big downhill tubes in there to keep your flat resistance up, but drop the pressures into the high 20's to soften the ride. Keep it rigid (no suspension) to keep the cheap fork parts simple and to a minimum. Look for sealed bearing bottom brackets and hubs, to keep out the grime. Break your bike down often and clean it, greasing it liberally.
One suggestion is the Motobecane Outcast, but swap a cruiser-style handlebar onto it. It can be had for only $400 in the states, and all the parts on it are serviceble. It should fit the bill, but not break the bank. It has fender tabs on it as I recall. As parts fail, upgrade (to sealed bearing parts). But ultimately, I think any bike in that environment will eventually fail due to the elements.
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