Cycling at any level is fantastically enjoyable and fantastic exercise. Clearly there are a lot of Clydesdales out there that agree for me because this sections on bikes for heavy riders have been one of the most popular pages on my blog.
So what should you look for in a bike for a Clydesdale in 2017 and beyond?
- Strong frame
- Strong wheels (lots of spokes)
- Disc brakes if you can afford them
- Gear range that suits where you ride
Things like suspension forks are not required if you are just looking for a bike for a larger rider and casual riding. Save your money or spend it on equipment upgrades you’ll actually benefit from.
Today I’m just going to look at entry level riding for sealed bike tracks and roads. Budget less than $1000. I focus on Giant bikes because they have a great range at great prices. Other brands have similar models that might suit your needs and budget as well. But by looking at what giant has to offer you can get to see the basic points.
Wow what good value!
- Frame is stronger than a “road bike” but not as heavy as a cheap mountain bike frame
- Road bike size wheels with large tires that will roll fast and comfortably.
- 32 stainless steel spokes front and rear. Giant always pays attention to decent quality wheels even at these price points.
- Hydraulic disc brakes?? On a $650 bike!!
- 27 gears thanks to the triple ring crankset. You can challenge yourself on those steeper hills with the gears on this bike
There are cheaper models in this range. But as you step down to the Escape 1 at $600 you go back to older style mountain bike rim brakes which won’t give you the same stopping security specially in the wet. Heavy riders need strong brakes!! The next level down again the Escape 2 then drops the level of spec for the gears. But at $415 the most important thing is that you have a bike and ride it!! The Escape 3 might be a little too low quality for a Clydesdale who wants to ride on a weekly basis.
While the escape range look more mountain bike style, the Any Road range looks far more racy with road bike style drop handle bars. This range is intended for people who will ride a bit more swiftly, but will encounter maintained dirt roads and walking tracks as well as older condition sealed roads. The up right handle bar position is perfect for heavier riders as it maintains a comfortable but more racy looking position on the bike
- Strong, racie, fancy looking frame that is strong enough for a heavier rider on maintained road surfaces
- Large tires that give plenty of grip and cushion
- Good quality road bike size rims with plenty of stainless steel spokes make the wheels plenty strong enough for a Clydesdale.
- The disc brakes are fantastic, but don’t get put off because they are cable actuated unlike on the Escape Disc 1 above. Hydraulic brakes with road bike style handle bars and levers add considerably more price.
- Road bike 18 speed gearing system, but gears so low for getting up those slopes you’ll wonder if it is faster to get off and walk!
This model is at the bottom of this model range. If you have a larger budget, you start getting better brakes, gear systems etc, but the soul of the bikes remain the same. These bikes are great if you are a bigger person who wants to ride a bit faster and not be so worried about the road condition.
Now to drop down into lower price ranges. Yes I said you don’t need a suspension fork. But to get a Clydesdale worthly bike at a lower price point you have to look at a 29er mountain bike which enviably means a suspension fork. But if you are pushing into super Clydesdale or Rhino class (I’m inventing these terms, but you likely get my point) you are likely going to be riding slower and a bit of cushion will help lessen the bumps. These forks might easily get over taxed for “real” off mountain bike riding though.
For casual riding whether it be on sealed roads or maintained dirt a 29er is the way to go. The wheels roll along much faster and are less bothered by any bumps along the way. They also give more grip without having to use wider tires.
So What does the Revel 29er offer for only $465 USD?
- Frame built strong enough for a normal size rider to take off road. So it will be strong enough for a bigger cyclist on moderately well maintained surfaces and casual riding
- Looks cool and giant has made a good quality frame with some shaped tubing
- A short travel suspension fork which may not be stiff enough for a Clydesdale hammering through a forest it will prove control and comfort for casual bike rides
- You still get decent brakes thanks to the discs front and rear.
- Wheel quality has not been completely forgotten about. You’d have to abuse this bike to have issues with the wheels
- The tires are mountain bike tires. Talk to the bike shop about where you plan on riding, but ultimately what Giant typically specs will be fine for casual riding even on sealed roads. When you wear them out you can replacement with something that suits where you have been riding more.
- The 24 speed gears will surprise you. The small ring at the front with the wide range at the rear will give you gears so slow you will have trouble staying upright before you run out of ratios. The big ring will also give you the ability to cruise easily at 30kph if you have that leave of fitness
What is stopping you?
So just by looking at what a Giant dealership has to offer for a Clydesdale bike for casual riding, there is very little excuse to but buy a quality bike and start riding. Once you have gained some initial fitness these bikes will allow you to enjoy your riding more and more. Then if you get really into cycling – you can look at a more serious road bike or proper mountain bike for a Clydesdale.