Q: I’m a 105kg, 6ft 4in ex-rower trying to reinvent myself as a cyclist. Problem is, both the Cannondale Synapse and Trek 5000 that I’ve bought seem to be disintegrating around me – between bottom brackets, wheels, brakes and other components the bikes are needing a whole load of dealer TLC just to stay on the road. I know that I’m far from the classic cyclist’s build, but I’m interested in your thoughts on a machine which might be able to handle a heavier build. At the risk of sounding flash, I don’t really mind what it costs, I just want something strong which won’t bend, break or buckle every week.
A: Big, powerful riders can accelerate the rate of wear in components such as the bottom bracket bearings, and you may even have broken a few wheel spokes. You can minimise the degree of wear by regularly cleaning the transmission components and selecting stronger wheels. Your Cannondale Synapse is plenty stiff enough to withstand the sort of high-torsional forces that you will be subjecting the bike to, but I feel that you have two options: keep the Synapse and spend around £400 on a pair of custom-made wheels by Pete Matthews (Tel: 0151 924 9311) – Pete takes into account rider weight and the purpose to which it’s intended, so you’ll get a thoroughly dependable wheelset; or buy a stiffer, stronger frame and fresh components. Have a look at the Isaac Kelvin; because of its supreme stiffness, it’ll work very well in the larger sizes.
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