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Old 05-30-09, 03:47 PM   #1
aeiadart
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How much weight is a road bike built to handle?

Hey guys

I was wondering if any1 had any insight on this topic, i was told that road bike frames built in the late 70's and 80's were built to tolerate up to 510 pounds. I just want to know because i am considering spending around 1000 dollars on a new bike and i want to know that it can handle my weight, im about 6'1 235-240 pounds. Does anybody know? Im thinking about getting something like thishttp://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/1196192848.html


thanks
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Old 05-30-09, 03:49 PM   #2
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The frames themselves can take 1000lbs easily. The wheels are another matter and depending upon whether the load is static or dynamic, the amount will vary. About 300-500lbs each on the wheels is about right. Hitting a pothole at speed can load the wheels and frame up with 2-3x your weight in force.
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Old 05-30-09, 04:01 PM   #3
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That bike, as well as all in your price range, should handle your weight with no problem.

I am not all that well versed on Cannondale products but that does seem like a lot of money for a CAAD4.
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Old 05-30-09, 04:18 PM   #4
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The frame will be fine as far as supporting the weight. But, the wheels? You should be riding at least 25mm tires, 28 would be even better. I've been your weight in the past...... anything less and it's high flat risk. Can the frame take 25 or 28mm tires with any room to spare? How well are they built.... they better be real good to prevent spoke breakage. That's another reason for clearance, if a spoke breaks is there room to still ride or are you stranded?
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Old 05-30-09, 05:59 PM   #5
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I agree with the above information from Garthr. I'd only add that the wheels should be 3-cross & laced. Avoid any of the new trend - radial front with 18 - 22 spokes and a 24-spoke 2X rear.

That's my 2 cents.
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Old 05-30-09, 06:15 PM   #6
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As stated, wheels are the main issue. You should be looking at 32 spoke wheels minimum, 36 would be even better. And as stated, 25mm to 28 or more for tire width. Make sure there's clearance for that. Forget speed and lightness (for now anyway) and focus on durability. I recommend a steel frame. Something along the lines of a cyclo-cross bike or even a touring bike. The Cannondale is not a good candidate.
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Old 05-30-09, 06:57 PM   #7
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Actually they build most good bikes to take 240 pounds. The above poster mentioned 1000 pounds, but that's 240 pounds magnified when 240 pounds jumps a curb and lands suddenly the impact weight could go to 500 or 600 pounds or maybe more. HOWEVER, some of these low spoke count wheels cannot handle more then 180 pounds. ALSO some featherly light bike frames and most folding bikes will even say they are built for 180 pounds or less.
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Old 05-30-09, 07:05 PM   #8
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That bike is a 52cm, and is WAY too small for you at 6'1". You want something in the range of 56-58cm. Worry less about the quality of the bike an more about the fit. I'd take a crappy bike that fit over an expensive bike that didn't - any day.

It is also pretty expensive. And I note that they tell you practically nothing about it. It could have el-cheapo components (though the pics look like Ultegra).
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Old 05-30-09, 10:59 PM   #9
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I've lost all respect for Cannondale since they sold out to the Chinese.
And I agree with most of what has already been said. Fit is issue #1, and after that, wheels.
Wheels make or break a bicycle. A great wheelset makes up for a multitude of other mistakes on the bike, while the lightest carbon frame and Campy parts can't overcome a lousy set of wheels. Put your money into the wheelset.
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Old 05-30-09, 11:12 PM   #10
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The wheelset...

1. Get double walled, double-eyeleted rims.
2. Chose training rims - 17mm across instead of "racing" rims at 14mm across.
3. Use 14/15/14 or straight 14 spokes - DT preferred. Brass nipples.
4. 36 or 32 hole and three cross.
5. Regular tubes inside of Kevlar/Carbon reinforced belt tires - in the 260 - 320 gram range and 700x23c to 700x25c range. Don't bother with 700x20c.

6. Make sure the front wheel is tensioned to a minimum 100-102 and the rear drive is at 110.

As the others said - the frame is the least of your worries - wheels are what is important.

Having quality hubs and a solid BB helps as well...for Campagnolo, I don't use any BB lower than Chorus. A Phil Wood BB would be nice if you can afford it.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-31-09, 12:00 AM   #11
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I agree with DMF that the bike is way too small for someone 6'1". I'd recommend a 58 or 59cm frame.

Checking out the Clydesdales (big rider) forum here would be a good idea too.
http://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdales-athenas-200-lb-91-kg/
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Old 05-31-09, 12:44 AM   #12
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Trek sold me an FX 7.5 and the bike was - in writing - capable of a rider weighing 300 pounds. And this came with a 20-spoke radial front and a 24-spoke X2 rear. The front, and I don't weigh near 300lbs, went out of true everytime I looked at it. So I bought some Mavic A719 rims, Shimano Ultegra hubs, and DT double-butted spokes. My build was/is 32-spoke X3 and laced. MUCH better!

So I absolutely agree with norwood above. I'd go with 32-spoke front wheel X3 laced. And a 36-spoke rear also 3X laced.

I should have added this before to my previous attempt at literary greatness. Ah well. Call me Ishmael...
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Old 05-31-09, 05:58 AM   #13
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So I absolutely agree with norwood above. I'd go with 32-spoke front wheel X3 laced. And a 36-spoke rear also 3X laced.
Actually I agree with Ismael...er Panther...at least mostly. The only change I would do is to go with 36 spokes on the front as well not just the rear. Also double butted DT Competition series for both wheel sets. And don't forget to use brass nipples.

The reason I recomment 36 all the way around is because I have a friend who was 6' 4" weighed 240 (all muscle, but weight is weight) and an LBS said the same thing, 36 rear 32 front. He was always having problems with broken spokes and truing issues with the front till he went with 36 on the front. And the weight savings between 32 and 36 would be less then 1% for the total weight of rider and bike.

36 on the front is the safer way to go regardless if 32 would marginally work.
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Old 05-31-09, 03:15 PM   #14
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I guess if you repeat something enough, people will start to believe it, and the more people that believe it, the closer it becomes to being truth. Kinda like Santa Clause and the easter bunny.

I personally weigh more than the OP, I personally don't run 36h wheels, far from it. I personally am riding a set of 20h, radially laced fronts, with 24h 2-cross crows feet in the rear with no double eyelets or anything else resembling the disinformation being disseminated here. If you want to run crappy wheels, made from crappy components, and built by a machine, then yes, 36h will help you to hedge your bets against breakeage. Guess who's wheels haven't had to be trued once since being built 2 seasons ago.....MINE! Guess who hasn't broke a single spoke......ME! Guess who's a Clyde riding on some of the worst roads in the country, daily........ME!

However, if you run a wheel made with quality components, handbuilt by a competent wheelsmith, properly relieved/trued/tensioned, then you don't need a 36h minimum wheel. It's just peoples' way of being able to use crappy wheels and get away with it. Even with 36h, on a wheel built with crappy components, there's no guarantees that it won't fail.
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Old 05-31-09, 03:27 PM   #15
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Well Mr. Wheelgod.... you didn't mention the rims,spokes, or who or what built those wheels of wonder .
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Old 05-31-09, 03:53 PM   #16
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Well Mr. Wheelgod.... you didn't mention the rims,spokes, or who or what built those wheels of wonder .
Nothing fancy, Shimano WH-R500 rims, shimano hubs, straight gauge(2.0) stainless steel spokes, basic fare on a lot of mid-level road bikes. They were originally machine built wheels that were properly relieved, tensioned and trued by me before being ridden. They aren't wheels of wonder, just wheels that were properly setup prior to riding. Once you ride a set of wheels that haven't been attended to properly, the damage is already done. Most LBS don't take the time when assembling their bikes to attend to the wheels before putting them on the floor, hence, the high failure rate on spokes/wheels under heavy riders.
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Old 05-31-09, 03:58 PM   #17
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I've lost all respect for Cannondale since they sold out to the Chinese.
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Plus. 1.. Thanks for telling us.. Missed that report.
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Old 05-31-09, 05:34 PM   #18
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Nothing fancy, Shimano WH-R500 rims, shimano hubs, straight gauge(2.0) stainless steel spokes, basic fare on a lot of mid-level road bikes. They were originally machine built wheels that were properly relieved, tensioned and trued by me before being ridden. They aren't wheels of wonder, just wheels that were properly setup prior to riding. Once you ride a set of wheels that haven't been attended to properly, the damage is already done. Most LBS don't take the time when assembling their bikes to attend to the wheels before putting them on the floor, hence, the high failure rate on spokes/wheels under heavy riders.
Thank you for making our point.
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Old 05-31-09, 10:26 PM   #19
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Thank you for making our point.
That has nothing to do with spoke count. Your point was not made. If you ride, you should do your own due diligence on your own gear before riding it. If you go out riding with loose spokes and break them, that's on you. If you don't trust your LBS to handle it for you properly, and you don't know how to do it yourself, then take your wheels to a trustworthy wheelsmith to have them gone over BEFRORE you ride them. How does that make your point for the constant insanity of preaching that if someone is over 200lbs they can only ride a 36h wheel, as everything else will fail. Quite the opposite is true. Make a point before saying that I made it for you. Reading comprehension also comes in handy in these cases, too.
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Old 05-31-09, 10:54 PM   #20
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My reading comprehension is fine thanks. The OP was asking for insight on how much weight a roadbike might handle and as was pointed out to the OP, the main consideration was likely to be wheels and their construction. All other factors being more or less equal, a wheel with more spokes will be stronger than a wheel with less spokes. And that wheel will be more suitable for a heavier rider. No one is "preaching" that anyone over 200lbs. can only ride a 36 spoke wheel. I'm happy your 20 & 24 spoke wheels are working out for you. But generally speaking, the heavier the rider, the heavier-duty the wheels should be built. For reliable performance. A higher spoke count wheel is more forgiving of an occassional loose spoke, heavier loading and rough riding surface. That's not insanity, it's common sense.
I weigh 225lbs. and ride 32 spoke wheels with no issues but I realize that's as light as I care to go spoke-count wise. Sure I could ride a much lighter built wheel like you, but why should I?
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Old 05-31-09, 11:00 PM   #21
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Reading comprehension also comes in handy in these cases, too.
Also, someone with your reading comprehension would realize that the OP is likely a novice rider and doesn't really need any wheel issues right off. (For the afore mentioned reasons).
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Old 05-31-09, 11:02 PM   #22
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Sure I could ride a much lighter built wheel like you, but why should I?
I must agree... seriously, if you're toppin' 200 lbs the extra ounce or two for a few more spokes is hardly going to make a huge impact on your performance, but if you get into a wreck for running on too few spokes you'll be kicking yourself for a long time... Can you imagine breaking your collarbone because you wanted to save the weight of a few spokes? I can't.
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Old 05-31-09, 11:55 PM   #23
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I'm 315 Lbs and have been riding this Trek Valencia for several months. Because I'm a fat *******, I'm too lazy to avoid every nook and cranny in the road and I clumsily go up and down curbs with a thud. This bike is still like the day I bought it without a single adjustment needed - except new pedals and tubes.

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ncia/valencia/

Should I have expected these wheels to give out? They're true and solid... I guess I got lucky.
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Old 06-01-09, 12:44 AM   #24
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Deep-section aero rims have a lot of lateral strength.

In Jobst Brandt's The Bicycle Wheel, he argues that a 32 spoke wheel is as strong (if not stonger) than a 36 due to the perfectly symmetrical lacing pattern... but 40 spoke wheels are a possibility.
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Old 06-01-09, 07:59 AM   #25
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Get a touring bike. You can google Windsor and find one for under 600 delivered.
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