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Fat Bloke, Hybrid or Road

chrisday1984chrisday1984 Posts: 5
edited May 2016 in Road beginners
Afternoon all,

I currently have a super cheap (fairly rubbish) MTB and am looking to move into road riding, not that my MTB would be strong enough for any off road riding! I enjoy cycling and want to use it to help me lose weight without tearing my knees to bits but my bike is very heavy, slow and I am about to go through my second bottom bracket.

I am 18 stone and play rugby so have fairly strong legs. This adds extra complexity as I don't only need a bike to be strong enough to hold my weight but also the strength in my legs and add to that the fact that I'm not exactly Mr Flexible.

Is it possible to buy a hybrid bike until I lose the spare tyre and then change the bars at a later date to drop bars to give a more aggressive riding position, similar to a road bike, or are they too differently set up? Or would I be better to go for a road bike (with strong wheels) from the get go?

ANY help would be very gratefully received!

TIA

Chris

Posts

  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    I'd just go with a sturdy road bike with decent 36 spoke wheels front and rear. that's what Martin Johnson used in ride London 2014 and he was smashing along!
  • You will need some sturdy wheels (32 spokes minimum), but your legs won't break a bike. Changing handlebars over is more hassle than it's worth - better to buy what you want in the first place.
  • Thanks chaps, Is it fair to assume that all 32/ 36 spoke wheels are strong enough or are there ones to avoid?
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    If you want drop bars and are flexible enough to use them now then go straight down that route.

    If you arent flexible enough to use them now then a hybrid with rigid forks (i.e. NO suspension) may be better until you decide you can and want to look at drops again in the future. You can get good cheap hybrids from Halfords (Boardman) or Decathlon for example.

    You might want to make sure you get a bike with enough clearance around the wheels to run 28mm tyres at least - skinny tyres at your weight would have to be pumped so hard that the ride would be a bit harsh. 28mm or even 32mm could run lower pressures and bring alot of comfort.
  • Do you have a budget in mind?
    I can highly recommend the Planet X London Road as a tough road bike.
    Designed for nasty roads and carrying lots of gear - the blurb even talks about hopping curbs with fully loaded panniers. Fat tyres, 32 spoke wheels, disc brakes for stopping all that momentum. It's also pretty light for an alloy disc braked road bike at ~10kg.

    FWIW, I hover around 14.5-15 stone, athletic build with big strong legs and regularly carry two fully loaded panniers on mine and it's not missed a beat.

    The range starts at £700 - http://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/bikes/road ... ondon-road
    There is a massive thread (20+ pages) over in 'Your Road Bikes' with lots of happy owners.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    I am 16 stone and my first Trek road bike was fine with just replacing cassettes and chains.

    I found the rim brakes were poor especially in the wet and if i stood up and pedalled hard uphill there was a bit of flex in the bike.

    Due to this i bought a specialized diverge with hydraulic disc brakes. It is a rugged bike which while quick enough on road can handle off road as well. So far it has been a great bike and has ridden well on or off road on smoother trails. There are plenty of similar bikes available.

    What budget are you looking at ?
  • As has been said - road bike.

    I've always harboured a sneaking suspicion that what we call a hybrid is really a solution in search of a problem - they frequently are really little other than flat-bar road bikes, occasionally with silly-low MTB gearing.

    Given that discs & wide gearing are increasingly common on "proper" road bikes, the main difference is the bars - and on a properly set-up bike,the position on the hoods of a drop-bar bike (which is where most people spend 75% of their riding) shouldn't be too different to a flat-bar bike anyway.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    As someone of similar size and build, I'd be wary of Trek - I've had two, both second hand, both broke on the drive side chainstay leaving me out of pocket - not designed with our size in mind in my experience, although to be fair if you buy new you will get the lifetime frame warranty.

    Some kind of cyclocross/gravel bike is a good idea, as it will be more overbuilt than a regular road bike, while giving similar position and performance. We heavy chaps are also more likely to feel the benefit from disk brakes, both from the somewhat better performance and the avoidance of rim wear, although you'll be fine with rim brakes if you aren't planning to do many wet rides.

    32 spoke front wheels and 36 spoke rears are a good shout, although rim choice and build is also important - I've had good results with Archetypes and DT Swiss RR585 rims, less good results with shallow/box rims.

    I recently took the plunge trying out the Pro-Lite Garda DS wheelset, which seemed fairly widely recommended for heavy riders while still being cheap and cheerful and having put about 700 miles in so far so good - I've had several 32 spoke factory wheelsets fail long before this point.

    The short answer is I wouldn't bother with a hybrid, but you might want to consider a cyclocross or gravel bike instead of a pure road bike - whatever you get, check the length of frame warranty, and if there is a weight limit - wheels are likely to be a problem before frame however.
  • I've always harboured a sneaking suspicion that what we call a hybrid is really a solution in search of a problem - they frequently are really little other than flat-bar road bikes, occasionally with silly-low MTB gearing.

    I'd agree that the better 'hybrids' actually are flat bar road bikes, with a geometry more suited for riding in town where visibility is paramount.
    Carrera Subway 2015
    Boardman Hybrid Team 2014
  • Thanks for everyone's help. I don't really have a budget other than "as cheap as possible but enough to not buy twice!"
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Nothing wrong with going for a fast hybrid like a Specialized Sirrus or Trek if you want to get fit.

    I have both a hybrid and road bikes. If you are planning on 50/60 miles or more I would say go for a good road bike. However if you are planning going out for an hour or two at a time, a hybrid would be fine, as you can still work as hard as you would on a road bike to get fit.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    I have happily done 100 milers on my boardman hybrid and never once wished for a drop bar bike. I am only trying a drop bar now because I was forced to replace my bike due to a crash and want to finally prove to myself once and for all whether drop bar is better for me or not - I figured that I cant keep saying I prefer flat bars without giving the alternative a proper shot. Jury is still out but I have only had a little pootle so far as my collarbone and tendons are still healing...
  • Just noticed the OP's comment about flexibility. As a former rugby player, I have back issues which make the more aerodynamic position of a road bike uncomfortable (not to mention slight arthritis in my fingers, which makes braking with drop brakes awkward). Personally, I found a flat bar road bike a lot more comfortable because of this, and since I fitted the Boardman with bar ends I'm now reasonably 'aero' and can hammer along at a fair old clip in comfort.

    Well, as aero as a 97kg big lad can be!
    Carrera Subway 2015
    Boardman Hybrid Team 2014
  • wide philwide phil Posts: 51
    Put my bit in..... Im 17st 8 5ft 11 ,48 yr old ex tight head . Have a hard tail 29er that I regularly ride and a Giant Defy 3. I had a Boardman hybrid that was great for the commute but long rides 50 miles plus felt uncomfy. The Defy, as I got into road cycling more, was far more comfy. I have flipped the stem mind, but the extra positions available on the bars make it nicer. I have had custom wheels built Hplus son rims sapim spokes, and hope hubs, as the original wheels well the rear kept popping spokes. Its been great so far, had it over a year... and last years miles was 4000 and 320000ft climbing.
    Just got back from Mallorca trip and had a Trek Emonda that had Askium Elite wheels and did 245 miles and 24k ft climbing and it was a touch less comfy with lower bars but strong enough
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Bar type is purely a preference and has nothing to do with fitness, weight or position.

    Its effectively the only actual difference between a road bike and a hybrid (given that every other thing could be pretty much the same on both).

    Road bike (drop) bars are much better for road riding (the clue is in the name) so if thats what you are going to do, then thats what you need to get.

    As to wheels. Its more about build/quality than spoke count IMO.
    Am not saying you should get low spoke count ones, more that you should get decent quality ones.
  • gimplgimpl Posts: 268
    wide phil wrote:
    Put my bit in..... Im 17st 8 5ft 11 ,48 yr old ex tight head . Have a hard tail 29er that I regularly ride and a Giant Defy 3. I had a Boardman hybrid that was great for the commute but long rides 50 miles plus felt uncomfy. The Defy, as I got into road cycling more, was far more comfy. I have flipped the stem mind, but the extra positions available on the bars make it nicer. I have had custom wheels built Hplus son rims sapim spokes, and hope hubs, as the original wheels well the rear kept popping spokes. Its been great so far, had it over a year... and last years miles was 4000 and 320000ft climbing.
    Just got back from Mallorca trip and had a Trek Emonda that had Askium Elite wheels and did 245 miles and 24k ft climbing and it was a touch less comfy with lower bars but strong enough

    Very similar to me - 6ft 4 and 17st former second row. Started off on a flat bar road bike, Giant Rapid. Have to say loved it and it got me into riding and helped me lose weight. Did a few 100k's on it. Now on a Defy (actually have two) and much more comfortable IMHO. Actually managed fine with the stock wheels but have just upgraded to a set of handbuilts with 32 hole rims front and back.
  • mcstumpymcstumpy Posts: 296
    apreading wrote:
    I have happily done 100 milers on my boardman hybrid and never once wished for a drop bar bike. I am only trying a drop bar now because I was forced to replace my bike due to a crash and want to finally prove to myself once and for all whether drop bar is better for me or not - I figured that I cant keep saying I prefer flat bars without giving the alternative a proper shot. Jury is still out but I have only had a little pootle so far as my collarbone and tendons are still healing...

    I converted my Triban 540 flat bar to drop bar this year. First ride out was a culture shock and I wondered privately if I'd made a mistake. Now that I've done 7 or 8 rides, and adjusted the position (raised the bars, moved the brakes closer) it feels natural and right. But it took a bit of getting used to.
  • fatdazfatdaz Posts: 348
    Another former tight head here. I'm 5' 10" and I was closer to 18 stone than 17 when I started taking riding more seriously. I went straight for a drop bar bike and had no issue with the riding position. If you've been propping regularly to any kind of standard you'll have a strong core and that helps massively. What I personally did have trouble with though was pain in my wrists and shoulders because they were supporting a lot of weight but a bike fit after 6 months sorted that out, it's amazing what difference I felt after a few minor tweaks under the direction of someone who knew what they were talking about.

    What will be an issue unless you are very fit and very powerful (a la Martin Johnson) is hill climbing. Climbing is all about power to weight and the 17 stone will hurt. I'm now down to 13 stone 6 after a few seasons cycling and my performance on short, flat rides is no better than it was when I was still playing rugby. My stats on longer or hillier rides have changed out of all proportion though.
  • I ended up buying a Specialized Allez with 36 spoke Rigida Flyer Sl wheels... Lovely and fast to ride but am staying on top of the bars as there is a few pints or beer between me and being comfortable on the drops at the minute! Bought second hand and was a bargain at £120 - the decals are a bit battered but has been well serviced and used as a commuter... Now to get on it and break through the "sore ar5e" barrier... thanks all
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