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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-19-10, 01:21 PM   #1
Makai
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Weight Limit For Most Bikes?

Does anyone have an idea what the weight limit is for most "standard" adult bikes? Is there any sort of industry standard or does it vary from brand-to-brand model-to-model? Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 01-19-10, 01:36 PM   #2
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Does anyone have an idea what the weight limit is for most "standard" adult bikes? Is there any sort of industry standard or does it vary from brand-to-brand model-to-model? Any advice would be appreciated!
Varies from brand to brand / model to model. The main point of failure is usually the wheelset, although many clydes are a little skittish about riding carbon.

I'm a little concerned that this question is coming from someone with an online bike shop.
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Old 01-19-10, 01:47 PM   #3
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I'm a little concerned that this question is coming from someone with an online bike shop.
We get customers asking this all the time...and many bike manufacturers seem to provide little to no guidance with regard to weight limits.
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Old 01-19-10, 02:37 PM   #4
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We get customers asking this all the time...and many bike manufacturers seem to provide little to no guidance with regard to weight limits.
I would ask your insurance provider what they recommend, given that they're going to be shelling out if someone has a problem.

Some people seem to think anybody over 225lbs needs a therapeutic tricycle, others think the sky is the limit as long as you've got a steel frame and 36 spokes or more in your rear wheel.

I would ask each of your manufacturers, so that at least you've got a paper trail regarding their input.
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Old 01-19-10, 03:02 PM   #5
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If there is no published weigth warning that comes with the bike, wheels, ect, the there is no weight limit. Obviously there is an amount of weight that will cause it to break, but its highly unlikely anyone able to ride it will be that heavy. Most high end racing gear I've seen with a weight limit of 180-220 pounds and I think its rare to see that.
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Old 01-19-10, 04:47 PM   #6
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If there is no published weigth warning that comes with the bike, wheels, ect, the there is no weight limit.
Can you provide a source for this assertion?
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Old 01-19-10, 08:33 PM   #7
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A while back, I downloaded Cannondale's generic owner's manual, and it had weight limits in it- check it out.
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Old 01-19-10, 10:06 PM   #8
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I have seen weight limits of 230 lb on folding bikes. If the bike doesnt break when the buyer tries it at the bike shop, any subsequent breakage could be attributed to owner misuse. Practical weight considerations apply to rear wheels, where the wheel should be checked for even and high tension before delivery, 36 spokes for >250 and tandem wheels for >350.
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Old 01-19-10, 10:12 PM   #9
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Specialized and Trek claim to "test" road bikes with 300 lbs. I got this info from the owner of my LBS.
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Old 01-20-10, 07:07 AM   #10
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each brand has its on limits and components have limits, and the crap changes. I'm within the frame weight limit for my bike in 2009 and outside of it for 2010; the frame design hasn't changed. I weight 101 kg so that tells you spec is really pressing down on their weight limits for higher end bikes.
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Old 01-20-10, 12:18 PM   #11
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Can you provide a source for this assertion?
It doesn't need a source because it is such a simple statement it is obviously true. If there is no published weight limit then there is no weight limit. Of course they've probably tested to find out at what weight the structure will fail, but that weight is so far from the average rider that their insurance doesn't require them to publish it.

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Practical weight considerations apply to rear wheels, where the wheel should be checked for even and high tension before delivery, 36 spokes for >250 and tandem wheels for >350
I don't agree, I'm >250 and have always rode 32 spoke wheels and when I learned how to properly tension them I haven't had problems. I did crack a 28 spoke wheel but it was a weird and extra light weight design.
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Old 01-20-10, 12:51 PM   #12
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It doesn't need a source because it is such a simple statement it is obviously true. If there is no published weight limit then there is no weight limit.
Really? Then why does Worksman bikes, makers of some of the strongest utility bike frames on the market, have a weight limit of 300lbs for their bikes, while many less well-constructed generic road / beach cruisers, made of varying qualities of steel, lack them entirely? Are they really capable of handling more weight?

Simple statements are NOT obviously true. Just ask Copernicus, who disproved the "obvious fact" that the sun went around the Earth. (I mean, come on, you can see it setting every night.)

If you're going to make a statement, especially one as potentially important as weight limits for bikes is to a bike seller or heavy bike rider, it really helps to have some facts at your disposal, rather than claiming that what you're saying is "obviously" true.
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Old 01-20-10, 02:19 PM   #13
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Really? Then why does Worksman bikes, makers of some of the strongest utility bike frames on the market, have a weight limit of 300lbs for their bikes, while many less well-constructed generic road / beach cruisers, made of varying qualities of steel, lack them entirely? Are they really capable of handling more weight?

Simple statements are NOT obviously true. Just ask Copernicus, who disproved the "obvious fact" that the sun went around the Earth. (I mean, come on, you can see it setting every night.)

If you're going to make a statement, especially one as potentially important as weight limits for bikes is to a bike seller or heavy bike rider, it really helps to have some facts at your disposal, rather than claiming that what you're saying is "obviously" true.
well it is obvious...
he's simply saying if there is no published weight limit then there is no official weight limit, not that there is no actual weight limit.
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Old 01-20-10, 09:25 PM   #14
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I'm debating this with you because I don't believe fat people don't need to be all that worried, within reason, about the bikes and equipment they ride. Its a personal belief I've devoloped after years of being a fat rider. I feel strongly about it and will argue about it all day. People get on here sometime and act like if you weigh more then 250 pounds you need to be riding a workman industrial tricycle with triple braced frame!

I looked at the workman bike website and saw the 300 pound load claim. That is a really lame claim. If those bikes can't support more then 300 pounds then they aren't worth the Hi-tensil steel they are welded from.

But since they have published a weight claim then I wouldn't buy one of those if I was over 300 pounds.

Your Coppernicus argument is a fallacy called Appeal to Ridicule, it has nothing to do with our topic and serves only to make me appear simple.

I also looked at the Cannondale manual, I have the print manual that came with my CAAD9 and it has no information on weight limits. The downloadable one and states that their road bikes have weight limits of 285 pounds, and most other bikes have weight limits of 300-350

I was suprised to see this, as I've read that Cannondale highly tested their bikes to failure and the weights were much higher. I'd say that is a pretty conservative number.

I wouldn't be suprised if you went to most every manufacturers website you could dig up something like this, which is funny becasue most bike shops won't tell you this. I was told by the shop where I bought my CAAD9 that there was no weight limit on the bike.

My argument was more based on some ultra light road and mountain bikes I've seen where everytime they advertise the bike or even mention it somewhere a weight limit is quoted. So in that respect I concede the point, just because there isn't a heavily advertised weight limit doesn't mean there isn't one.

I don't concede that if there is no published weight limit then there is no published weight limit. Since you like anologies I'll lay one on you, my argument is as simple as saying, "If someone's not talking then we don't know what they are thinking, they may be thinking something but we just don't know what it is."

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Old 01-21-10, 11:18 AM   #15
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Big Guy / Wheel + Tires

I'm 6'3", 275 lbs. and broke rear spokes like crazy on the cheap, 32-spoke Alex 500 rims and no-name hubs that came on my Specialized Sirrus. (I wouldn't have bought this bike knowing what I do now. I've since learned to do most of my own maintenance.) I replaced the Sirrus' rear wheel with a Velocity Dyad / Shimano XT / 36-spoke, hand-built. Later replaced the front with a special that Harris Cyclery was running: 36h Deore / Sun CR-18. No broken spokes and very little truing required in the year-plus I've had the newer wheels. And I ride on terrible Chicago streets year-round.

I recently bought and resuscitated a '77 Raleigh Super Course. The steel frame and its old-school fork rides nice. I moved the Sun front wheel to the Raleigh, and am using the original Weinmann 36h rear wheel for now. (This model came with 700c wheels stock.) The bike takes my weight fine, but I'm not winning any races with the 135 lb. spandex guys on the bike path.

** Another important (maybe MORE important) consideration is TIRES! I've been running 700/32 Schwalbe Marathon Pluses on the Sirrus and the Raleigh, and NOT at full pressure. Big guys shouldn't ride skinny tires. **
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Old 01-21-10, 03:19 PM   #16
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I replaced the Sirrus' rear wheel with a Velocity Dyad / Shimano XT / 36-spoke, hand-built. Later replaced the front with a special that Harris Cyclery was running: 36h Deore / Sun CR-18. No broken spokes and very little truing required in the year-plus I've had the newer wheels. And I ride on terrible Chicago streets year-round.
I won't argue that those aren't good wheels, I'm sure they are awesome and strong, but I will say that I weigh 275 and I've rode my Mavix CXP23s with 32 spokes for 4000 miles now without touching them with a spoke wrench, these are the wheels that came on my bike. My Open Pro 32 spoke wheels on my other bike have never broken a spoke in 5000 miles and I bought them used on ebay. Had to true them a few times.

I don't see why a 36 spoke wheel for the front is a priority, especially if your not carrying front paniers. Your front wheel isn't carrying that much weight.

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I've been running 700/32 Schwalbe Marathon Pluses on the Sirrus and the Raleigh, and NOT at full pressure. Big guys shouldn't ride skinny tires. **
That's just ridicules, maybe not for you if your streets are covered in holes, you don't care about riding fast, and you want a plush ride, but a blanket statment that fat guys shouldn't ride big tires?
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Old 01-22-10, 12:16 PM   #17
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I think the notion of a weight limit may be misleading in the first place. You'd think that if the weight limit is 285 lbs, then a 284 lb person riding that bike is okay, but a 286 lb person is going to break it right in half. And of course, that's not the case at all. The maximum stresses a bike encounters are going to be dependent on the weight, the roughness of the road, the speed, and the strength of the rider. You could be considerably over the weight limit and might not have any problems, or be under the limit and destroy the thing on a pothole.

It's also possible that the published limit is based on just a single limiting factor, and not necessarily frame strength. You normally hear of heavier riders have problems with wheels more than anything. But it could conceivably be the strenth of the seatpost or something simple like that that determines a published limit on the whole bike. In the case of the Worksman bikes, they have a smaller-diameter seatpost that can be raised about a foot, and that may determine the limit for the bike.
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Old 01-22-10, 01:02 PM   #18
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I follow the weight limit discussions with interest, as I've just got a new Scott CR1 (carbon frame), that came with 20-spoke wheels (Mavic Aksiums). (I had been riding the same 1980 Raleigh that I bought new, with its steel frame and 36-spoke wheels.)

In my bike shopping, I always asked about weight limits, and every LBS I visited always told me there was no issue for me, in any of the bikes I was looking at (which included both Al and some carbon frames, from makers like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, and finally Scott).

None of the printed owners manual info that came with my bike mentions a weight limit. Nevertheless, Scott's generic (covering all models) online owners manual has a brief mention of a 110 kg weight limit (about 240 lbs), which is right where I'm at (for now, anyway).

I'm not really worried about the frame - if anything, my concern would be at the seatpost/seat tube junction, and I don't have the seat post at maximum extension. Plus, I'm pretty good about getting off the saddle for bumps, pot holes, etc.

I DO have some concern about the wheels, though. Mavic Aksiums are supposed to be pretty rugged, but they only have 20 spokes. I have been hearing some slight spoke noise (light pinging sound) when I'm mashing the pedals pretty hard (such as going up a steep hill in my lowest gear). My rear wheel is laced 2X on the drive side, and radially on the non-drive side. So torsional forces while pedaling up a steep hill are really being resisted by just 5 of the 20 spokes (the trailing half of the drive-side spokes - or is it the leading half?). But then I found that there were a couple of spokes on the rear wheel that were noticeably (by sound) under-tensioned. I haven't been able to ride since adjusting them a little tighter, but maybe that will help the spoke noise. In any case, this issue maybe only partly weight-related. I've seen no problems with the wheels in flat riding.

If I end up breaking spokes, or if my wheels need frequent trueing, then I'll obviously look into changing my rear wheel - we'll see how it goes. (Maybe I'll take off 10 or more lbs by then).
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Old 01-22-10, 02:47 PM   #19
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I have asked 3 different brands about their weight limit - Specialized, Giant, and Trek. They all said the same general thing - no weight limit on the frame/fork, but there is a weight limit (ranging from 230-260) on the components.

I'm about 245 and ride a Tarmac with Mavic Aksiums (24r/20f spokes) and they have held up incredibly well. I haven't had any problem with any of the components on the bike, although the Toupe saddle is starting to make a creaking noise.
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Old 01-22-10, 05:48 PM   #20
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Here are some items about weight limits I have learned or heard over the years from various manufacture's reps:

All of our wheels are tested to 350 pounds- Trek rep on Bontranger road wheels

All of our frames are tested to 550 pounds. It is the wheels that limit rider weight more then frames. - Raleigh/Diamondback rep

Our bikes have no weight limit. - Worksman sales rep

No warranty on our products with a rider weight over 170 pounds. - Campagnolo rep

Our frames are tested to 1500 pounds of force. - Cannondale rep (before any carbon frames were available)

220 pound limit on Ksyrims, 300 pound limit on Askiums. - Veltec/Mavic rep

No weight limit on frames, the wheels dictate weight limit. - Storck/Hawley Co. rep on Storck frames
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Old 01-22-10, 06:23 PM   #21
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I weigh 275 and im going to buy a cannondale cyclocross 6. I would think a cyclocross would support my weight better cause cyclcocross bikes go through rough terrain.
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Old 01-22-10, 06:32 PM   #22
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No warranty on our products with a rider weight over 170 pounds. - Campagnolo rep
Thanks for playing, Campy.
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Old 01-22-10, 06:36 PM   #23
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It says cyclocross cannondales are rated for 300 pounds for the person and 330 with panniers, I guess im okay then.
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Old 01-22-10, 08:22 PM   #24
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Note that in the Cannondale manual, touring bikes had a higher limit than standard road bikes as well.
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Old 01-23-10, 09:42 AM   #25
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I had cheap Bontrager SSR wheels (with no info to go from Bontrager's website) on a Gary Fisher Presidio cross bike and hit some potholes with my 330lb frame and never went out of true. And I also had road tires on it so IMO the wheels took a beating. Unfortunately I gained a bunch of weight back this fall/winter and am back to 330 (was at 290) but I am buying a Madone 4.5 soon. I plan on working out and dropping weight but the bikeshop said I have nothing to worry about. And if the wheels blow out then they're covered under warranty and I'll deal with that if and when it happens. I'm excited to see how carbon bikes ride!
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