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  1. #1
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Is it possible for a super clydesdale to get truly comfortable on a bike?

    Have any of you guys who are way above the 200 lbs threshold (say 300 + lbs) figured out how to get truly comfortable on a bike to the point where you can ride for hours? I weigh 400 lbs and I can't image ever being comfortable given the range of saddles, pedals and grips. I can only manage 2-3 miles before I'm in so much pain that I have to stop riding. I've tried different saddles, different grips and about a thousand different set-ups for fit, yet I still can't find a point where I could sit on a bike for even 10 miles, much less 20-50 miles.

    The main culprits are severe pain in my feet and burning in my perineum/genital area. I've tried different shoes (always flat pedals) and a split saddle, but neither helped.

    I'd love to hear some people here's experiences in getting comfortable on a bike.
    Currently riding a custom built 1x9 Surly Karate Monkey. Dreaming of a 26" wheel build, either an 80's MTB or a Surly LHT.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Somewhere around 325 I got a bike fit on my first road bike and it got comfortable to me.

  3. #3
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Can't really help you since I'm not 400lbs but... BURNING? Do you have bike shorts?

    As for shoes, my feet can't ride in normal sneakers anymore - I need a stiff sole. Maybe some hiking shoes or something with a steel shank might help?

    I've ridden with an assortment of 300 pounders and they all seemed to do fine. I'm a little thrown by your comment that you can't go further than 2 miles - something must be really off to be that painful that fast. What kind of saddle are you using? Is the bike the right size? Have you had anybody local to you check you out on the bike to see if anything stands out?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Can't really help you since I'm not 400lbs but... BURNING? Do you have bike shorts?

    As for shoes, my feet can't ride in normal sneakers anymore - I need a stiff sole. Maybe some hiking shoes or something with a steel shank might help?

    I've ridden with an assortment of 300 pounders and they all seemed to do fine. I'm a little thrown by your comment that you can't go further than 2 miles - something must be really off to be that painful that fast. What kind of saddle are you using? Is the bike the right size? Have you had anybody local to you check you out on the bike to see if anything stands out?

    Sore feet? What's your cadence? Feet can only stand so much pressure...
    Mike
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    About saddle pain, you could look into a 'bent....
    Mike
    RUSA# 9648

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    I've ridden at a weight as much as 320...saddle...for me it was just time. It takes time to develop bike arse. A few weeks of riding 3-4 times a week. Not knowing how much you ride and how long you've been riding...it's hard to say whether it's you or the saddle or both. Also, you have bike shorts? If not, get some. They help a lot. It's not so much that the chamois helps with padding though it does slightly, but it absorbs moisture and prevent chaffing.

    Shoes...stiff soles. For me, the stiffer the better. I currently ride carbon soled shoes on the road. My mountain bike shoes are nylon I think...not carbon but they are very stiff. Are you on a mountain bike, road bike, hybrid? Perhaps it would pay to get a professional fitting. Also, make sure you get shoes that actually fit. That's all I can offer. I haven't had too much comfort issues other than a sore bum now and then and I am going through some numb hand issues at the moment.

    For the record, currently 275 pounds and I've done several centuries...so yeah, it's quite possible for us big guys to put in some miles.

  7. #7
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    I suspect that I unconsciously put more weight on specific body parts to take weight off of others. I suspect I mainly put more on my feet to get my butt lighter on the saddle.

    I don't know my cadence but based on comparing my gearing and riding speed to Sheldon Brown's gear calculator, I'm probably around 70 rpm. I'm always faster than his 60rpm and slower than his 80rpm. I'm currently riding a single-speed with very low gearing (@55 gear inches), mainly because it's a blast but I also hope I'll develop better spinning ability.

    I'm riding a medium rigid Surly Karate Monkey (MTB) and I'm 5'11" tall.

    The saddle I'm using is a $30 Bontrager that is fairly flat and not overly plush. I've got a Serfas RX that is a split design and it's more padded and I don't like it at all. Too much material interferes with how I sit on the saddle.

    Pedals are flat BMX.

    handlebars are wide MTB (maybe 70cm or so).

    I've contemplated a professional fitting but I expect it to be quite expensive and I'm skeptical that it will work.

    000 My Karate Monkey.jpg
    Currently riding a custom built 1x9 Surly Karate Monkey. Dreaming of a 26" wheel build, either an 80's MTB or a Surly LHT.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    I suspect that I unconsciously put more weight on specific body parts to take weight off of others. I suspect I mainly put more on my feet to get my butt lighter on the saddle.

    I don't know my cadence but based on comparing my gearing and riding speed to Sheldon Brown's gear calculator, I'm probably around 70 rpm. I'm always faster than his 60rpm and slower than his 80rpm. I'm currently riding a single-speed with very low gearing (@55 gear inches), mainly because it's a blast but I also hope I'll develop better spinning ability.

    I'm riding a medium rigid Surly Karate Monkey (MTB) and I'm 5'11" tall.

    The saddle I'm using is a $30 Bontrager that is fairly flat and not overly plush. I've got a Serfas RX that is a split design and it's more padded and I don't like it at all. Too much material interferes with how I sit on the saddle.

    Pedals are flat BMX.

    handlebars are wide MTB (maybe 70cm or so).

    I've contemplated a professional fitting but I expect it to be quite expensive and I'm skeptical that it will work.

    000 My Karate Monkey.jpg
    I am taller at 6'6" but flirt with 375-400lb weight and really never had that kind of discomfort, even when I started and was probably north of 400.

    You need to have someone with experience look at your setup and see what is wrong - it seems like something is way off. If they could ride with you, it would be even better. I went through all of the bad bike, big saddle, bad fit, bad clothes stuff and I guess i was lucky that none of that was the type of thing that limited me to a mile or two. It was more of a can't ride the next say thing, or walk up stairs.

    I do wonder about your cadence. When I first got a computer to measure RPM I was in the 50-60 range on flats which means 40-50 on hills and that would be miserable death for me now even though I am much lighter and stronger. So I wonder if you are much lower or much higher than you think and that is part of the problem? Mashing would be painful, and 100rpm would be very tiring for most people (including me)

    Anyway, good luck with it. Don't be afraid to ask for help from locals - there are a few jackasses around but most everyone in cycling is pretty helpful.

    DaveW

  9. #9
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Sore feet? What's your cadence? Feet can only stand so much pressure...
    85 - 90 or so with occasional forays into the high 70s. I said I can't ride with sneakers anymore, not that I'm still trying. ... I have snappy Sidi shoes now that do the trick. Although, after about 50 miles, I need to take my left shoe off for about 5 min. No idea why! It feels like there's a cleat screw pressing on the ball of my foot, which is of course, not happening. I do have a plate in that foot so who knows. Plenty of screws floating around.

  10. #10
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    I am currently around 360lbs and right now and have very minimal pain caused by the bike even after 20+ miles. Took me a while to dial in the fit on my bikes and find a saddle that works. Sounds like you may have already done this, but try moving your saddle forward or back. I found that I was constantly having to move my rump back to get comfortable on the saddle. Moving it forward meant I was sitting in the proper spot more often. You may also want to experiment with moving the nose of the saddle up or down. I started out level and now prefer a slightly nose down setup. Look for a bike store that has test saddles. Maybe try out one of the noseless saddles like the triathletes use. Try out several models for more than 1 ride. I really enjoy my Fizik Aliante saddles and could ride all day on my Fizik Kurve Bull. Very minimal padding, but they all work great for my rump. The wider and more padded saddles really caused me discomfort. Seems like the more comfortable they look, the less comfortable they are.

    Other than that, I will echo what others have said that the pain goes away the more often you ride. If I take a few months off, the first few rides are brutal on the rump and the hands.

    Just do your best to keep riding. I know I feel better now with consistent riding and losing about 15lbs so far has helped. Us larger folks put a lot of pressure down on the sit bones and perineum.

    I hope you find a solution that works for you!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Fangowolf's Avatar
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    I've ridden from 315-350 and have several rides over 4 hours. Just looking at the bike it looks like you have a long inseam. I'm 5'9" and have a short 29" inseam. I ride a 54cm Surly LHT and my seat is only a couple of inches above the lowest spot. My handlebars are also way higher than yours in comparison. Some people like the bent over aero feel, I much prefer the see everything upright position. Personally I find it much harder to keep your balance if you are leaning forward and riding. Have you tried a stem extender or High riser bars? If you like the more aero position better, the feet hurting might be the seats still to low and you are putting to much pressure at the bottom of the strokes and standing. I have my seat where if I lock my knee I'm barely an inch maybe over my saddle.

    Don't worry about the seat failing, I have had that happen to me and it isn't catastrophic. You just get a clunk like a bad bump and the seat slumps and flops around. To prevent it make sure the seat isn't to far forward or backwards so the seat stays won't snap.

    I had a pro fitting for my bike and it ran $250
    Last edited by Fangowolf; 09-26-15 at 12:13 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    I think I'll start with the saddle. Even the less-cushy Bontrager in the photo may be too big. I have a hard time getting situated even on it because my own "padding" has to work around it and find that sweet spot. I've intuitively avoided narrower and less padded saddles but a random experiment on what I thought would be a too long stem proved my intuition on that dimension to be false.

    I ride in Crocs (fairly flexible) but since I'm on big platform pedals, I don't think it makes a difference since there isn't anywhere for them to flex at the contact point.

    I may also put on an h-bar with more rise.
    Currently riding a custom built 1x9 Surly Karate Monkey. Dreaming of a 26" wheel build, either an 80's MTB or a Surly LHT.

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    I'm 6'5" and 320 lbs. and 62 years old to boot. This summer, I got a set of bib shorts from Performance Bikes. With Chamois Butter, it makes a difference. It took some self convincing to get into Spandex, but actually, it doesn't look as bad as my imagination made it. I transferred my B-17 saddle from my hybrid to my sports/touring bike and that made a big difference also. A new Brooks flyer on my hybrid is becoming a favorite. I use MKS Lambda platform pedals with my size 15EE shoes. The wide, long platforms allow me to pedal with the pedal axle further back on my foot and I have had no pain issues in my feet despite tendonitis in both feet. I can also shift my foot position just as I can change hand positions on the handle bar for hand comfort. I can now ride 8-15 miles a day now and am building up. Hope this gives you something to think about.
    Last edited by Cascades T700; 09-27-15 at 02:20 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cascades T700 View Post
    I'm 6'5" and 320 lbs. and 62 years old to boot. This summer, I got a set of bib shorts from Performance Bikes. With Chamois Butter, it makes a difference. It took some self convincing to get into Spandex, but actually, it doesn't look as bad as my imagination made it. I transferred my B-17 saddle from my hybrid to my sports/touring bike and that made a big difference also. A new Brooks flyer on my hybrid is becoming a favorite. I use MKS Lambda platform pedals with my size 15EE shoes. The wide, long platforms allow me to pedal with the pedal axle further back on my foot and I have had no pain issues in my feet despite tendonitis in both feet. I can also shift my foot position just as I can change hand positions on the handle bar for hand comfort. I can now ride 8-15 miles a day now and am building up. Hope this gives you something to think about.
    I decided to get a pair of biking shorts. Last night, I realized that I was having trouble getting comfortable when I first got on the bike and the reason was my baggy shorts were causing a lot "looseness" in my crotch and nothing could get settled.

    I also paid more attention to what I'm doing when I ride. I coast frequently (for short periods) and when I coast, I put most of my weight on my feet instead of my saddle. So, I think once again, it goes back to a saddle issue. I just can't decide if more or less padding is needed. Back in the 90's I was riding daily at a weight of 235 lbs and I had very soft saddle and that worked for me. I may look for an inexpensive padded saddle or buy a gel cover for mine and see how that works.
    Currently riding a custom built 1x9 Surly Karate Monkey. Dreaming of a 26" wheel build, either an 80's MTB or a Surly LHT.

  15. #15
    Senior Member dagray's Avatar
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    I started riding at 400 pounds and was uncomfortable until I went and had a bike fit. We put a new stem on the bike to get me a more upright position, adjusted seat height and position, and put shims under the cleats of my riding shoes to correct my feet pronating while pedaling.

    I am now down to 360 pounds, riding a bike that has me a bit more leaned forward and riding road shoes with the SPD-SL cleats instead of mountain bike shoes with SPD cleats.

    Once the bike fit was done I could spend most of the day on the bike if I took a short break to stretch every 10 or so miles

  16. #16
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Uhm, crocs?
    Mike
    RUSA# 9648

  17. #17
    Senior Member rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    I decided to get a pair of biking shorts. Last night, I realized that I was having trouble getting comfortable when I first got on the bike and the reason was my baggy shorts were causing a lot "looseness" in my crotch and nothing could get settled.

    I also paid more attention to what I'm doing when I ride. I coast frequently (for short periods) and when I coast, I put most of my weight on my feet instead of my saddle. So, I think once again, it goes back to a saddle issue. I just can't decide if more or less padding is needed. Back in the 90's I was riding daily at a weight of 235 lbs and I had very soft saddle and that worked for me. I may look for an inexpensive padded saddle or buy a gel cover for mine and see how that works.
    Try the other direction and look at a Brooks Flyer (my avatar).

    Leather gives a "hammock" effect that spreads the support out to more of your butt, reducing the pressure on any given area.

    The springs are great, too; you don't feel them in action, you just get a more comfy ride.
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    Have any of you guys who are way above the 200 lbs threshold (say 300 + lbs) figured out how to get truly comfortable on a bike to the point where you can ride for hours? I weigh 400 lbs and I can't image ever being comfortable given the range of saddles, pedals and grips. I can only manage 2-3 miles before I'm in so much pain that I have to stop riding. I've tried different saddles, different grips and about a thousand different set-ups for fit, yet I still can't find a point where I could sit on a bike for even 10 miles, much less 20-50 miles.

    The main culprits are severe pain in my feet and burning in my perineum/genital area. I've tried different shoes (always flat pedals) and a split saddle, but neither helped.

    I'd love to hear some people here's experiences in getting comfortable on a bike.
    Somewhat recently I got back into riding after spending about 20 years getting fat. I was somewhere north of 440 (tbh, that's just where my scale stopped).

    Butt pain was the first thing to tough out. Well ok, technically, the first thing was to be able to ride more than a mile at medium speed without feeling like I was going to die. After that, butt pain was high on the list.

    I got advised by many people who are avid riders, to just tough it out and things would get better as my tissues toughened up. That didn't happen. 3 months in I realized that but pain was keeping me from riding as much as I wanted to. Going to a big (well, medium sized) cushy seat helped a lot. In the course of that, I tried several saddles, including two brooks loaners (17 and 67). I cant say I have ever found a great saddle that I have no discomfort on, but none of the mainstream seats were even close, even when I gave them a couple months of daily riding.

    What helped infinitely more, for really long rides, was going recumbent. I ride my Greenspeed Magnum for hours at a time and have no discomfort at all.

    Also, regarding foot pain, throw those crocs in a FIRE where they belong. Seriously, crocs + pedals=bad, crocs + heavy = bad for your feet. Doing both is not going to be good for you.

    If you have or start having hand/wrist pain, consider a trekking bar, or something similar that that gives you some additional hand positions.

    Here are pics of my most common daily riders. The shiny one is the bike I bought in December 2013 to try and get more fit on, and frankly assumed that at my weight, it would last 6 months. I did bend the original seat post, wore out my original big chainring (not a fan of aluminum chainrings), but other than that, the bike has served me quite well. The white one is a 32 year old univega from back when MTB's were just road bikes with a different handlebar. The image angle exaggerates it, but both of the seats are indeed somewhat tilted forward/down, because of undesired testicle tennis/scrotum soccer.

    20150928_142011-compressed.jpg20150928_141947-compressed.jpg20150928_135248-cropped-compressed.jpg20150928_135223-cropped-compressed.jpg

    You might notice some similarities in how they are setup

    TL: DR:
    Try one of those more sporty padded seats.
    Do shift around a bit to keep the pressure from hitting all one spot.
    Burn your crocs, shoes with a stiffer footbed will spread the pressure onto your feet better.
    Also, seriously consider a recumbent.
    Last edited by Tailor; 09-28-15 at 02:34 PM. Reason: added pics

  19. #19
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    I was up beyond the 400 lb mark when I first got on my bike.

    What I learned has already been stated.

    Cadence, I used to do harder gears, because I felt like I was getting more power for my rotation. I have eased up on the gears, and my feet don't hurt as much. The amount of pressure I was putting on my peddles was unreal to me.

    My hands and forearms were killing me until I talked to my LBS. I wanted gloves or new grips. When I told the guy how new I was, he says. I will be glad to sell you a pair of gloves, but I think its more likely your grip on the bike. Apparently, I was gripping on for dear life and had my elbows locks. So I was apparently He explained I just need to loosen up.

    I loosened my grip., I unlocked my elbows, When I hit a bump or a dip or something, I let it go through me instead of bracing for it and trying to stop it. This has alleviated all of my pain.

    The pain in my Arse got worse when I bought a bigger saddle, or even a gel cover. I just ride what my bike came equipped with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Uhm, crocs?
    You took the words right out of my keyboard.

    OP: Try some shoes with good support all around your feet and a stiff sole that resists compression.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    Crocs are a terrible idea for riding bicycles in. If you don't want to do the whole clipless thing, get some BMX/Skateboard shoes to wear while riding on platform pedals.
    Further, faster, harder.

  22. #22
    Senior Member rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Uhm, crocs?
    Mario Batali is not a good role model for cycling...
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    Have any of you guys who are way above the 200 lbs threshold (say 300 + lbs) figured out how to get truly comfortable on a bike to the point where you can ride for hours? I weigh 400 lbs and I can't image ever being comfortable given the range of saddles, pedals and grips. I can only manage 2-3 miles before I'm in so much pain that I have to stop riding. I've tried different saddles, different grips and about a thousand different set-ups for fit, yet I still can't find a point where I could sit on a bike for even 10 miles, much less 20-50 miles.

    The main culprits are severe pain in my feet and burning in my perineum/genital area. I've tried different shoes (always flat pedals) and a split saddle, but neither helped.

    I'd love to hear some people here's experiences in getting comfortable on a bike.

    I'm 6'6 and 325 and when I first started riding I bought a 58cm schwinn hybrid. The biggest pain for me was crotch pain and numbness, to the point that I was having performance issues. This was before I did the appropriate research and found that that I needed a bigger bike. Anyway, I bought a hornless schwinn seat and I have had no crotch pain or numbness since. The problem I am running into now is I am having discomfort from the width of the seat on my legs.

    I went and tried an appropriate sized bike, a 25 inch trek and I couldn't believe how comfortable the stock seat was. This whole time, I was having the pain, because of improper fitting. I took it for a couple miles and had absolutely no pain, to the point that I didn't even think about the seat until I left. So, maybe a better fitting bike might help with the pain. Check out your local LBS and see what they say.

  24. #24
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    I ordered a pair of cycling shorts and when I got them....too small for me.

    I've also ordered a new saddle with more cushion but no wider than I'm already riding. I remember back in the 90's when I was riding daily, I had to get a more cushy saddle. It may have the opposite effect of what I'm hoping for but I'm going to give it a try and see what happens.

    I'll also look for inexpensive, stiff-soled shoes and try that but I really think my foot pain is linked to my butt pain. I'm keeping weight off my butt and it goes to my feet.
    Currently riding a custom built 1x9 Surly Karate Monkey. Dreaming of a 26" wheel build, either an 80's MTB or a Surly LHT.

  25. #25
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    They aren't what you imagine when you think bike shoes, but I use Keene Detroit soft toe boots. They lock onto my platform pedals nicely, have a stiff enough sole for riding, and in the wide size I require, are among the few shoes that I can do a lot of walking comfortably.

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