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Bike Searching

By Lloyd 18 March 2014 49

Hiya. I am looking to get into cycling (the non lycra type!). I am overweight and havent ridden in a hundred years. Does anyone know what a good bike would be for the likes of me? I have researched and it seems that 36> spokes is the go as well as a damn comfortable seat!! I intend to start really slow so any good recommendations would be really appraciated.

What’s Your opinion?


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Leon 5:47 pm 01 Apr 14

patrick_keogh said :

Lighter bikes are often built with better quality components, materials and construction methods.

Unless you can afford titanium, lighter bikes typically use aluminium alloy or carbon fibre components. Neither of these materials is as durable or reliable as steel. A friend of mine had a problem with the headset bearing on his carbon framed bike, that simply would not have happened on a steel or alloy frame. The headset bearing was so poorly constructed that it had to be replaced.

Mordd 7:57 pm 28 Mar 14

Be ultra cool and get a recumbent, no lycra required, just call Flying Furniture Cycles, your local Canberra recumbent specialist: http://www.flyingfurniture.com.au/

patrick_keogh 4:55 pm 28 Mar 14

Leon said :

The lighter the bike, the more likely it will break.

Not quite Leon. Your statement would be true in the case of all other things being equal, but they seldom are 🙂 Lighter bikes are often built with better quality components, materials and construction methods. So the common modes of failure (broken spokes, broken axles, cracked forks, broken drivetrain components) appear to occur more frequently on cheaper, heavier bikes than they do on a lighter bike with better quality components and attention to detail.

dtc 3:12 pm 28 Mar 14

Nanouk said :

Sorry, I am not sure I understand what you ask.

Look, all else being equal a lighter bike is probably better

But as lighter bikes are usually much more expensive, there is little benefit in pursuing a light bike for the sake of commuting.

Leon 11:49 am 28 Mar 14

Nanouk said :

dtc said :

So a total mass of, say, 115kg (100kg rider, 5kg pack and 10kg bike) is much easier to move than a total mass of 118kg (13kg bike?)

Of course, paying that extra $500 for the lighter bike takes some of the weight out of your wallet

buy a light road bike.)

The lighter the bike, the more likely it will break.

A lighter bike will feel more responsive, but research has shown that reducing overall weight by 3% (by spending the extra money to buy a bike that’s 3kg lighter) will reduce you journey time by only about 2%.

On the other hand, tests by Greenspeed indicate that a pair of 80 psi semi-slick tyres will reduce your rolling resistance by about 14 watts, compared with 65 psi mountain bike tyres.

Nanouk 12:58 pm 27 Mar 14

dtc said :

So a total mass of, say, 115kg (100kg rider, 5kg pack and 10kg bike) is much easier to move than a total mass of 118kg (13kg bike?)

Of course, paying that extra $500 for the lighter bike takes some of the weight out of your wallet

Sorry, I am not sure I understand what you ask. I just mean that a 100kg person on a 8kg bike will move more easily than on a 15kg bike. And I really don’t think that he should buy a mountain bike or even an hybrid bike. I am telling this because I am 100kg myself, and a lighter person wouldn’t probably feel a 5kg bike difference. When you are overweight, are not a good rider, are not much into sport, just moving yourself on a bike is quite a challenge. So I am sure you all gave him good avices, but I stick to it: buy a light road bike. We are not sure how long how often how step he will use his bike, but he wants to “start really slow”, so I think a helpful advice for him not to be discouraged is to take an easy bike and take easy rides (no I guess he won’t use his bike in the bush, so why on earth would you want him to get a mountain bike?). For instance, I bought a bike one day, a good quality mountain bike: my normal 9km ride back home took an hour. Fortunately I managed to get an exchange the same day and rode back home the same way on a lighter road bike and it took me 40 minutes. (yes, it is incredibly long anyway, but that’s going uphill all the time and I am not a good rider like you… :p)

patrick_keogh 1:31 pm 25 Mar 14

Leon said :

Did you mean to say that each of the individual factors contributes to the performance of the whole package?

If that is what you meant, then we can continue our rational discussion of the relative effects on performace of individual factors such as suspension and squishy tyres.

Well across my collection of bicycles, many of the individual factors come into effect…

Weight is a minor factor, rotating weight (tyres and rims) much more noticeable. Zero effect when riding with constant velocity on level ground, but any change of speed, altitude or direction you can notice.

Rolling resistance of the tyres. Definitely a factor. Even between different brands of 23mm slick road tyres I can notice a difference. There is recent research that shows that rolling resistance as a function of tyre pressure is VERY dependent on surface dynamics, so 110psi is not always best.

Aerodynamics only really a factor riding into the wind or at relatively high speed or for relatively long distances. It does mean however that my drop bar bikes are better than my flat bar bikes under these conditions. This could bring in fairing as an idea, but it has proven impractical in varied (e.g. crosswind) conditions.

Suspension. It definitely soaks up energy. All of the work to do those compressions and rebounds comes out of your legs. So much so that I will routinely lock out the suspension when it is not required (fire trails, paved surfaces or climbing). After an off-road ride, put your hand on your suspension. That warmth came out of your leg muscles. Any suspension system also contributes mass, but this is frequently a minor contributor. As an aside, the same goes for all those riders you see bobbing their heads. Your head is heavy. Moving it around costs energy. Your body pays.

Suspension dynamics, whether it be frame materials/design, suspension, correct tyre pressure, saddle compliance. Here’s the flip side for suspension. If you don’t have it and your body is part of the suspension system instead, then it requires energy to maintain body position. So on rough surfaces and long distances this will cancel out the energy costs of the suspension. That’s why a lot of road riders moved to titanium or carbon fibre. Not the weight, but because the suspension dynamics are less tiring than aluminium frames.

So what does all this add up to? There is no such thing as a “most efficient” bike. That depends on riding conditions. All other things being equal, on a flat, smooth surface, a track bike with narrow, high pressure tyres and only one gear is the most efficient. For non-extreme cross country mountain bike courses, it appears that at least front suspension adds value. Around town, commuting etc., I would value acceleration, steering and braking over efficiency anyway.

Last, the slowest and most de-energising ride is one where you have to stop to fix two flat tyres. That is why tubeless tyres are a runaway success on MTBs and why they will probably take over on road bikes too, as they did on cars. It also explains why heavier but more puncture-resistant tyres like the Schwalbe Marathons, Conti Gatorskins etc. are popular.

After all this slightly technical discussion, don’t lose sight of the fact that most bicycles will do pretty well at the task. That is why the bicycle continues to be the world’s most popular form of non-pedestrian transport.

dtc 1:07 pm 25 Mar 14

Nanouk said :

I don’t know much about push bikes, as I ride mostly an electric bike myself.

But I lost 12kg with an electric bike, so I guess you will indeed lose some weight with a normal bike!
Having tried a few bikes (but can’t remember names or anything), my only advice is to get a LIGHT road bike. A heavy bike, or a mountain bike on a nice road => it will be a nightmare to move your weight. I am 100kg myself, unless you are heavier than that I wouldn’t worry about bike strenght: yes, it will withstand your weight. So take the lightest bike, so you don’t add that to what you will have to move. :

So a total mass of, say, 115kg (100kg rider, 5kg pack and 10kg bike) is much easier to move than a total mass of 118kg (13kg bike?)

Of course, paying that extra $500 for the lighter bike takes some of the weight out of your wallet

Leon 10:10 am 25 Mar 14

thatsnotme said :

Leon said :

If you really believe that the Anthem is slower than the Masi because of its suspension and not because of its big squishy tyres, then you can test your theory by (1) locking out the Anthem’s suspension and seeing if you can measure any improvement in your average speed, and/or (2) putting 38 mm tyres on the Anthem (similar to the ones on the Masi) and measuring the speed improvement.

We’d all love to know the results.

The fact of it is, that it’s the whole package that contributes, not any one individual factor.

This is the sort of twisted statement that we love on the RiotACT.

Did you mean to say that each of the individual factors contributes to the performance of the whole package?

If that is what you meant, then we can continue our rational discussion of the relative effects on performace of individual factors such as suspension and squishy tyres.

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