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Hello all....I've been lurking for a while to build up some info on making a new bike purchase, and I was hoping to get some advice from the wizened souls here on my choices. To preface, I guess you could throw me in the clydesdale area, as I'm 6'3", 300lbs, so that is definitely a factor. My riding is going to be a mix of trail and street, I'd say right now 60/40 trail, to shift more in the future as I gain in skill and experience. It should also be said that the last bike I purchased was a Specialized HardRock around 12 or so years ago, so I'm fairly new at all this. What I am mostly looking for is something that can handle being ridden by a person of my size....something that can handle some punishment. I'm not expecting miracles, just something that I won't have to start worrying about parts breakage from that cause the moment I take it for it's first ride. My general price limit right now is in the area of $750 or so, but is negotiable probably up to the $1k mark.

After doing some research here, and other sites, I headed down to my LBS, in this case Danzeisen and Quigley, as it's a 5 minute drive from where I work (at which I seem to spend a goodly amount of my time). They were extremely helpful at answering my questions, and allowed me to test-ride some of their offerings. To whit:

Gary Fisher Tassajara
Trek 6700
Cannondale F600 (wanted to do the F400, but they did not have a Large frame in it, so we did the F600 in it's place)

I probably spent about 35 minutes or so demoing the bikes, mostly my concern was for fit and comfort. I was rather suprised that I was not a big fan of the Trek. It rode well, but it just did not feel a 'fit' for how my body was placed on the bike. I found the Gary Fisher to have the best overall comfort, beating the F600 by just a hair, and ride wise I felt the F600 was my overall favorite....to me it felt a very solid ride, turned well, and felt very comfortable...I definitely like it! Of course, that being a $1k bike! I was hoping to head to another shop to test ride an offering from Specialized, and a Kona Hoss, but it was not there (as in, out of business...completely gone from the shopping center). Basically, of the bikes that I tried, if forced to choose I'd very confidently choose the F600.

I guess my questions would be as follows:
1. Are there any other bikes that one would strongly recommend I try, considering my particular situation? I know, I know, a handful of bikes does not a test ride make!
2. Are the bikes I tested suitable for said situation? From what I gather they are, but I just wanted to make sure...
3. I test rode the F600, but it's just a touch out of my price range.....is there a huge difference between the two (F600-F400) to justify the jump, or would it be better to consider an F400, and if so would there be anything to upgrade on the F400 (I recall from reading reviews that it had some issues with the fork/shocks)?

Any recommendations, advice, or assistance you could render would be gratefully appreciated!
 

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the unvarnished nonsense
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Well, hard-case, I'd say you're off to a very good start. Unfortunately, I can't really offer you any opinions on your specific questions, but I will tell you this: You're very fortunate to have gone to what must be a reputable dealer. They let you demo the array of bikes they had that fit your general needs and wants. You understand that fit is more important than what you saw in some glossy bike mag ad. Generally speaking, I'd say that bikes in the $750 to $1K range are not entry level bikes and should be trail worthy. Make sure the LBS will let you bring the bike back in after a month or so for a tune-up. Cables will stretch (normal) and need some slight adjusting at this point. Personally, the bike that feels the most right to you is probably the one you want. And don't fret too much about breaking things, it sort of goes along with the territory the first few years of riding, at least it did for me. Try as many bikes as you possibly can, but the feel you get from the bike shop itself is important as well. You'll be going back there frequently, regardless of whether or not you've broken anything. Best of luck on your purchase and welcome to our dysfunctional little group.
 

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www.derbyrims.com
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6,766 Posts
You are doing the right thing by test riding bikes for fit and feel. You should test ride the Kona Hoss, it's specifically designed for extra large riders.

Go with a larger manfacturor with a good warrantee, they have good relations with the dealers and any need for warrantee is usually very easy.

Happy shopping and Happy trails!

- ray
 
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