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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post here. This site has a wealth of knowledge. I've done a ton of searches and am starting to get a clue but I need a little help.

I am 6' 4" and 255-260 lbs (out of shape but not too bad) and 29. I am new to mountain biking and am looking for something to ride to school (2.5 miles one way) and ride out in the canyons (Palo Duro in Texas) on the weekends with the wife and friends. I'm a student so funds are limited and have been shopping around at the LBS in my area, but it seems the selection is kind of limited. I did find an XL Specialized Rockhopper at the main LBS here that fit really well, although at this point I'm not sure that I could tell the difference. It's the right price but I think that the Axel comp fork will get thrashed pretty easily with my size. The sales guy was a really nice guy and very helpful but he was the opposite side of the spectrum from being a clyde, so I wanted to check with you guys first to see what else I should be looking at for around $400-$600.

Thanks in advance!
 

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You're right about the Axel

amams said:
First post here. This site has a wealth of knowledge. I've done a ton of searches and am starting to get a clue but I need a little help.

I am 6' 4" and 255-260 lbs (out of shape but not too bad) and 29. I am new to mountain biking and am looking for something to ride to school (2.5 miles one way) and ride out in the canyons (Palo Duro in Texas) on the weekends with the wife and friends. I'm a student so funds are limited and have been shopping around at the LBS in my area, but it seems the selection is kind of limited. I did find an XL Specialized Rockhopper at the main LBS here that fit really well, although at this point I'm not sure that I could tell the difference. It's the right price but I think that the Axel comp fork will get thrashed pretty easily with my size. The sales guy was a really nice guy and very helpful but he was the opposite side of the spectrum from being a clyde, so I wanted to check with you guys first to see what else I should be looking at for around $400-$600.

Thanks in advance!
First off, welcome to the forums. Glad to see you've already done some of your homework.

As for the bike selection, the Rockhopper's a solid choice, but if memory serves me correctly, the stanchions on the Axel are 28 mm. At your size, you need a fork with 30 mm or 32 mm stanchions. The problem here is that in the price range you're looking at, most of the bike options you have will be lacking in the fork area (even those with 30 mm stanchions). Forks are one of the most expensive components on a bike, and by skimping here, bike mfrs can keep bikes at specific price points.

I'm not sure I have a good suggestion as an alternative, so I'll leave that to others. My only thought is to either negotiate a swap at the LBS for a more suitable fork (be prepared to shell out some additional $$$) or look at some leftover 2004 models that might be a better bang for the buck.

Best Wishes,

Clyde
 

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mtbr Buckeye...in Austin
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amams said:
First post here. This site has a wealth of knowledge. I've done a ton of searches and am starting to get a clue but I need a little help.

I am 6' 4" and 255-260 lbs (out of shape but not too bad) and 29. I am new to mountain biking and am looking for something to ride to school (2.5 miles one way) and ride out in the canyons (Palo Duro in Texas) on the weekends with the wife and friends. I'm a student so funds are limited and have been shopping around at the LBS in my area, but it seems the selection is kind of limited. I did find an XL Specialized Rockhopper at the main LBS here that fit really well, although at this point I'm not sure that I could tell the difference. It's the right price but I think that the Axel comp fork will get thrashed pretty easily with my size. The sales guy was a really nice guy and very helpful but he was the opposite side of the spectrum from being a clyde, so I wanted to check with you guys first to see what else I should be looking at for around $400-$600.

Thanks in advance!
Got a Full Suspension frame for sale if you wanted to swap part over from your Rockhopper. 2004 XL Specialized Enduro Expert, ridden less than 7 months. Had the propedal rear shock wiht lock out, so you could turn it into a hardtail on your trips to school, yet engage the 4" or 5" of travel in the Canyons.

Would like to sell it locally or to someone on BikeMojo or Here before using Ebay.

I'm in Austin.
Check you PM (Private Mail). (upper right corner, just in case your a new newbie ;) )

Erik
 

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The Duuude, man...
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At 6'4" it's a miscarraige of justice that you ride a baby wheeled bike. You should be on a 29er. You shouldn't be one the same size wheels as short women and children.

Read all about it and see what you think.

Fisher makes some good bikes that will fit the bill for you. Ebay is always the place. I've often seen bikes that would fit the bill for your intended usage, and fit you like you never knew was possible. For the first time in your cycling life, you'll see the benifits of a bike that fits, including the wheels, instead of a goofy frame size built around the same size wheels children ride.
 

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Rockhopper

The specialized would be a good choice. And from the type of riding you mentioned I don't think you'd have a huge problem with a lot of broken parts. The fork may not stand up to really heavy abuse, but it would get you going and (again considering the type of riding you mentioned) really won't be a huge problem with maintenance.

What it comes down to is this: the only way you can know what will stand up to you and the riding you do is to get something and ride it. If a part fails, get a better model of that part. Rims warp? Get better rims. Spokes pop? Get better spokes laced onto your old hub and rims. Fork gets all floppy? Be ready with $400 saved up for something beefy - or go rigid.

You can see where I'm going with this. A lot of people on this forum will tell you you need a particular brand of hub, crank, headset etc. - and the parts they are talking about will usually increase your cost significantly. But the advice they give is based on what works for them. What you need or what works for you may be completely different. A mid/entry-level bike will not explode underneath you, you will not grow hair on your palms, and you will not be struck by lightning. A part that wears out and breaks will usually do so gradually, and then you replace it.

Get the Rockhopper if it feels comfortable, then ride it into the ground over the next four years, then you can consider getting the ideal bike with parts that will never break. But the Rockhopper is a great start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ncj01 said:
At 6'4" it's a miscarraige of justice that you ride a baby wheeled bike. You should be on a 29er. You shouldn't be one the same size wheels as short women and children.

Read all about it and see what you think.

Fisher makes some good bikes that will fit the bill for you. Ebay is always the place. I've often seen bikes that would fit the bill for your intended usage, and fit you like you never knew was possible. For the first time in your cycling life, you'll see the benifits of a bike that fits, including the wheels, instead of a goofy frame size built around the same size wheels children ride.
ncj01,
Thanks for the reply. I understand what you're saying and I have looked at that option, but there are too many advantages to the 26" that apply to me. Maybe somewhere down the road I'll be able to get into a 29".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
TobyNobody said:
The specialized would be a good choice. And from the type of riding you mentioned I don't think you'd have a huge problem with a lot of broken parts. The fork may not stand up to really heavy abuse, but it would get you going and (again considering the type of riding you mentioned) really won't be a huge problem with maintenance.

What it comes down to is this: the only way you can know what will stand up to you and the riding you do is to get something and ride it. If a part fails, get a better model of that part. Rims warp? Get better rims. Spokes pop? Get better spokes laced onto your old hub and rims. Fork gets all floppy? Be ready with $400 saved up for something beefy - or go rigid.

You can see where I'm going with this. A lot of people on this forum will tell you you need a particular brand of hub, crank, headset etc. - and the parts they are talking about will usually increase your cost significantly. But the advice they give is based on what works for them. What you need or what works for you may be completely different. A mid/entry-level bike will not explode underneath you, you will not grow hair on your palms, and you will not be struck by lightning. A part that wears out and breaks will usually do so gradually, and then you replace it.

Get the Rockhopper if it feels comfortable, then ride it into the ground over the next four years, then you can consider getting the ideal bike with parts that will never break. But the Rockhopper is a great start.
Toby,
My thoughts exactly. As you could tell my only real concern was the fork, but if that will last for this year at least I can look for a zokie z1 or similar at the end of the season. Thanks for being a voice of reason,
Jason
 

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amams said:
ncj01, but there are too many advantages to the 26" that apply to me. Maybe somewhere down the road I'll be able to get into a 29".
I respect that, and I understand that your heart must be in it when buying a new bike.

However, I respectfully submitt that (disclaimer: in my opinion) there are no 26" advantages for your stated usage (or at all for that matter)...if you have spare time and are up for some reading, I really recommend digging into the the FAQ on the 29er board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
ncj01 said:
I respect that, and I understand that your heart must be in it when buying a new bike.

However, I respectfully submitt that (disclaimer: in my opinion) there are no 26" advantages for your stated usage (or at all for that matter)...if you have spare time and are up for some reading, I really recommend digging into the the FAQ on the 29er board.
I just read the whole 29er FAQ and I really like the idea of riding one. There are some great points of support for it. But, the major deciding factor is that I can't find a new solid introductory complete bicycle with a lifetime waranty (just in case) on the frame for around $450 that is a 29er. Now, later after school is over..... I'll be hunting down a 29er. Unless of course, you know someone who would like to donate one to this poor grad student? :D
 

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amams said:
I just read the whole 29er FAQ and I really like the idea of riding one. There are some great points of support for it. But, the major deciding factor is that I can't find a new solid introductory complete bicycle with a lifetime waranty (just in case) on the frame for around $450 that is a 29er. Now, later after school is over..... I'll be hunting down a 29er. Unless of course, you know someone who would like to donate one to this poor grad student? :D
well, i can't argue with that.

I would consider getting a Karate Monkey, used. For 6-800 you could get a nice used, geared one...I know it's above you price range, but I've never HEARD of anyone breaking one of those frames...they'll survive a nuclear winter probably...

This one is decked out, but gives a flavor for what a Monkey can be:



but if
1) complete bike
2) new bike
3) lifetime warrenty
4) less than 500 bucks

are ALL sticking points for you, then a real 29er will be hard to find. Of course a "REAL" mt bike of any kind will be hard to find, but I see where you're coming from.

Wait, how about a Fisher Utopia? Good for light trail - like city parks/paths, etc, has disc brakes, a shock, lifetime warrenty, and it's a 29er. Full Retail is 750, but you should be able to pick it up for around 600 if you shop smart...
https://fisherbikes.com/bikes/bike_detail.asp?series=dualsport&bike=Utopia

 

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The fork is going to be your biggest problem...

Whether you decide on a 29er or a standard, what your going to need to look at is a front fork that can withstand your size. Many forks on the market are spec'd out at about 225 lbs. So heavier guys like us continuously max out the usage... ie blow seals and o-rings. Plus, the smaller stantions are more likely to be damaged due to use. Marzocchi makes great forks, as does Fox. Fox Float has the larger stantions and are about the same cost as the Zokes, so you might want to go that route. You're still looking at spending more money than you had hoped, but due our sizes, we really can't get mass marketing benefits like smaller people can. Things just aren't built for Clydedales the way they are for puny little cookie-cutter riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, it seems to be harder to find a bike built for a "larger" (read tall and wide) person. I am hoping that the Axel comp fork will make it through the summer and at that point I am hoping to pick up an '05 Marzocchi on closeout. Thanks for all the advice y'all.
 

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Axel comp

amams said:
Yeah, it seems to be harder to find a bike built for a "larger" (read tall and wide) person. I am hoping that the Axel comp fork will make it through the summer and at that point I am hoping to pick up an '05 Marzocchi on closeout. Thanks for all the advice y'all.
It will 'make it through the summer' for sure. You really souldn't worry about it so much. The worst things that will happen are: 1. Seals and bushings will wear out (the fork may develop a bit of play); 2. you will notice that it feels very soft (bottoms out); 3. you will notice it to be a little flexy.

There are very simple solutions to these problems: 1. Expect the fork to last one or two seasons and get a new one. Sounds like this is what you are doing. 2. Get a stiffer spring. At 250lbs you will need to do this with any fork you get. 3. Don't worry about the flaex. The type of riding you described will not overly tax this fork. Enjoy it and if you find it is inadequet over the long term, replace it when you get more scratch. At this point you've got notiong to compare it to, so it won't bother you too much.
 

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You might want to check on heavier springs...

Some shops have springs on hand that will help buffer the gravity problem. But, like I said, you will need to move to a different fork. If all you do is sit on the seat and ride road, you will be ok. However, you're going to notice how weak the fork is under your weight, the very first time you get on it and pedal hard. Sorry, I'm just full of bad news today... :(
 

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tobynobody is right

buy either bike, buy any bike, just get out and ride. no $400-$600 will withstand abuse or punishment. your intended useage is not that agresive. if it brakes your having fun, if it breaks alot then you have to come up with more $$$ to upgrade, you may not end up doing alot of serious riding. buy a bike and go find out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You guys definately have some good points about the fork and the components of a $400-600 bike. I fully expect to be replacing the fork and components eventually. But, that's should be fun too... I like working with my hands. I'm liquidating an Early Bronco project to fund the mountain bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
First off thanks to all that replied. I bought the Rockhopper and it has been good so far. Memorial day was the first trip to the trails and I can't wait to get back out there. It should be a ton of fun getting in shape while riding. I did loose my chain a few times though, 1-4, 1-3, and 2-3.... is this normal? Oh yeah, I broke my right thumb while hurdling the handlebars. It's gonna be interesting shifting for the next few weeks.

Thanks all
 

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amams said:
First off thanks to all that replied. I bought the Rockhopper and it has been good so far. Memorial day was the first trip to the trails and I can't wait to get back out there. It should be a ton of fun getting in shape while riding. I did loose my chain a few times though, 1-4, 1-3, and 2-3.... is this normal? Oh yeah, I broke my right thumb while hurdling the handlebars. It's gonna be interesting shifting for the next few weeks.

Thanks all
I am glad you are still happy with riding even after hurting yourself. I broke my thumb on my first ride on Slickrock in Moab...within the first mile. Still rode (and hiked) the rest of the trail. That was several years and several thousand miles of riding ago.

One good thing about the Specialized is the lifetime warranty. If the frame ever fails or cracks, you get a new one, no questions asked. (Just need the receipt)

Bring the bike back into the shop for a once-over and let them know about the chain issue. Most new bikes need a bit of tweaking after the first few rides and I think most shops will do it for free if you bought the bike there.

And again...don't let the broken thumb turn you off of riding...there are plenty more breaks and bruising and cuts to come! Soon you will wear the scars like trophys. Or at least use them for good stories.
 

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amams said:
Oh yeah, I broke my right thumb while hurdling the handlebars.
Thanks all
Glad you got a bike.

You can begin to see more and more why 29ers are prefered, as they sit you more down in the bike instead of way up on top of the bike with small wheels...29er's don't endo very well...it's a rubber side down thing...

Glad you're getting the bug for riding though...

:)
 
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