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Old 08-09-05, 08:03 AM   #1
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Over 300lbs and want to get a bike

I was hoping to get some information regarding weight limits on bikes. My brother is over 300lbs and I want to get him a bike so he can start working out. I cant afford an expensive one and was wondering if the bikes you see at Wal Mart and other places for under $300 would work. Most of these have aluminum frames. Would this be a waste of money and would he have problems riding it. Thanks for your assistance.
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Old 08-09-05, 08:10 AM   #2
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Most here will tell you to stay away from the department store bikes...they are generally crap. Crap manufactures put together with crap parts by people who really don't know anything about bikes.

If you can find a local bike shop (LBS) that sells used bikes, you can get a used quality bike for similar prices that you could get at dept. store.

As for the weight....there are a few options. Many big guys like mountain bikes as they are inherently designed to be sturdier (many ride a Kona Hoss). Hybrids and Comfort style bikes are also an option. I am 350 and have been riding a Comfort bike (Trek Navigator 300) for 1 1/2 years with no problems.

Road bikes "may" be possible, but you'll have to look carefully and be wary of those types. I'd suggest until some weight is dropped to stick with one of the above mentioned styles. You can get a NEW Trek Navigator 100, 200 or 300 for about $200, $300 or $400 (approx.) respectively. A friend of mine, who got Trek Nav 300 at same time as me, got a used one for $200.

For cost, don't forget to inlude accecories you'll need (bike bag, spare tube, helmet, bike tool, etc...).
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Old 08-09-05, 08:21 AM   #3
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I tend to agree here.get a mtn bike or a comfort bike to start.look for used since you don't know if he will even stay with it.If you go new I would go with the kona hoss is a little pricy but it will last for years.they are a good bike for the bigger guy.good luck I am sure that we are all behind him and you for helping.
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Old 08-09-05, 08:21 AM   #4
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I am 265 and just picked up a Trek 1000C (the C stands for comfort)... So far I haven't had any problems, other than a bent tube from a fall. It's a little more expensive, but you might get lucky and find an older used bike. Just thought I'd let you know that road bikes are possible.
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Old 08-09-05, 08:56 AM   #5
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Comfort or hybrid bikes will probably be a good choice since the sitting position is pretty comfortable from the outset and offers good visibility for a new rider. I have 2 pieces of advice:

1) Avoid the X-mart bikes. I went through 3 of them before I finally bought a decent quality hybrid. I was 295 when I started riding and the wheels and other components couldn't take my weight for the number of miles I was putting on commuting. I think xmart bikes are fine for lighter riders who want to run errands or go on weekend recreational rides, but not for us bigger guys.

2) Find a LBS (local bike shop) that you like and that has some experience with larger riders. Skip the ones that cater to the would be racers and find someplace where they can take a little time with a newbie rider. On any bike (with maybe the exception of mountain bikes) you will want to talk with them about the strength of the rear wheel. From experience I can tell you that a heavy rider will break spokes in the typical stock single walled rim. After a few hundred miles I wound up replacing my rear wheel with a double walled cyclocross rim and hub with slightly heavier guage spokes. As a result no more broken spokes (in over a 1000mi of riding) and only one flat do to a wire driven through the tire. A good LBS can also help you get a bike that really fits and adjust it to make your brother most comfortable. In most cases LBS will do adjustments during the break in period for free and tune-ups may be free or cheap depending upon the store.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 08-09-05, 06:26 PM   #6
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I'm over 300lbs.+ and ride an older Schwinn world tourist
that is a lugged steel framed bike with 36 spoke steel wheels.

That's the way bikes used to be made.....of steel and tough.

My point is look for a good clean used lugged steel framed
bike with no less than 36 spoke wheels and don't waste
time , money or energy on these new crap aluminum
framed "bicycles" . Don't worry for one minute if the
bike has an old 5 or 6 speed rear gear as that's all
you'll need for a while and the wheel will be stronger
due to less dishing that 8,9 10 speed rear gear requires.

This is a case where old and proven IS better. Much better.
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Old 08-09-05, 06:44 PM   #7
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You want a Kona "Hoss." Check them out via Google - they're made (and well made) for us clydesdales!
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Old 08-09-05, 08:16 PM   #8
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I weigh 350, 6'7", and started biking about two months ago.

I planned on doing city park style riding just to get out of the house, and maybe hit the trails every once in a while. The guy at the bike shop talked me into getting a Specialized Hardrock Comp Disc (which is a pretty beefy mountain bike), I was concerned about bike durability with my weight. I beefed up a few of the components such as the pedals (I cannot reccomend beefy BMX style platform pedals enough for larger guys, I love my Primo Super Tenderisers. I wanted clipless, but with a size 17 shoe, it really isn't an option).

Eventually I started riding on the road every day, and hitting the trails on weekends. So I bought slick tires for city riding since I didn't want to tear up my knobbies. Every Friday I would switch back to the knobbies and hit the trails hard on Saturday, and then put the slicks back on on Sunday.

This got annoying, so I hit the garage sales looking for a beater bike to ride on the road. I got a early 90s XC steel bike for $30, put my slicks on it, got another set of super tenderisers, and spent another $40 or so setting it up to run good. The deraillers sucked, so I just converted it to single speed (The deraillers sucking is probably the best thing that ever happened to me cycling-wise, getting home and laying on the bed after a long singlespeed ride is pretty much the same effect as taking ecstasy). It's a total beater, I don't even know what brand it is, the stickers had been taken off when I bought it.

The weather around here isn't too favorable, so I haven't even got to go to the trails on the weekends. I love riding my singlespeed beater around town anyway, so I don't even care. To me it's better to step out the door and ride, than to pack everything in the car, drive 40 miles, and then ride.

The moral of this story is, don't worry about getting a super beefy mountain bike just to support your weight. The Kona Hoss and the higher-end Hardrocks and the Rainiers and whatnot are great if you want to ride offroad, but you really don't even need that kind of beefiness. It's nice to have, but those bikes make terrible city bikes. The shocks will kill you on the road.

I'm mostly just typing this to lament on the fact that I have two bikes sitting beside me, a nice new MTB that I've invested about $700 in, and an old beater that I've invested about $70 in. The $70 gets ten times more use than the other one, and if it happens to break, it won't be a thorn in my side.

Any steel frame and any decent tires should be able to support you on the road. If you're doing hard trails, you may want to look into the Hoss or the Rainier or a higher end Hardrock or whatever. But just because you're large, that's no reason to ride a super beefy all-mountain bike on the street.

I vote something like a Trek Navigator, like the earlier guy said, simply because a new bike is more likely to get him more excited about cycling. When I first got into it, I shunned the people that said that it's best to get a used bike, but now look at what I did. I guess it takes a cyclist to really appreciate an old ratty looking hunk of steel.

Last edited by ponds; 08-09-05 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 08-10-05, 12:32 PM   #9
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I started riding when I was about 350 lbs (end of April this year) I am down to 314 lbs now. I do 16 miles a day (commuting to work and home.) And watch what I eat now.

I went with a Rockhopper but I do have an old Schwin Super Le Tour I ride as well. The MTB is harder to ride (slower) on the road. I get 12 mph with the same effort it takes to get 15 mph on the road bike. I ride for the workout so harder is not bad. And, I do have the option of hitting the dirt if I want, I do want. The extra effort is caused by 2" knobbie tires @ 80 psi v.s.1 1/4" slick tires @ 110 psi.

Looking around for a good used MTB is a great idea. But if you want a road bike there are things you can do. On my road bike I got 4 across spole laceing. I did it myself it is not that hard to do and you can get heavy ga spokes. You can also get tandem hubs. I did break some spokes on a rail road crossing, I should have walked the bike across. You could find a old Schwin Varcity or Contenental, for just a few dollars, we are talking free or less thatn $20 at a yard sale, and spend seveal hundred getting a good wheel setup. If you like biking you can upgrade to a better frame once you loose some weight and keep the wheels.

Get the bike the right size for you and get it adjusted correctly. Bad fit and incorrect size will make for a very short bike experience. Frames come is many different configurations the distance form the seat to the handle bars is critical for me, too short and I get back aches, too long and I get numb hands.

Start with short trips then work up. When I first started 4 miles almost killed me. But it only took a few weeks before I was doing 8 then 12 and now 16. My goal is 20 miles a day. Expect a sore butt for the first week or two.

Get a good helmet and gloves and water bottle. A bump on head for a minor crash could ruin you whole life. Skidding down the road on you palms sucks, I know. Being dehydrated can get you into real trouble fast. I ride in 100*F temp all the time and I drink a tub of water, the heat is not a problem if you drink lots of water. Start drinking befor you mouth gets dry.

Watch for road hazzards as the extra weight makes even small bumps hard on the bike.

Look into getting a heart rate monitor, as a big guy you want know how hard you are working. And don't want to pop a cork while on a ride.

Read a book on training while you may never want to race it will give you ideas on how to do a good work out. You have to push yourself a little as if you ride easy all the time your body will get used to easy and you wont get max benifit form the time spent riding.

Since your Bro is also going to ride it great as you have built in support.

A big pluss is all the women at work have been saying how good I look since I started loosing weight. Strokes my ego big time.

My wife thinks it great too, and she rides 8 miles a day with me.

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Old 08-10-05, 02:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kevin1968
I was hoping to get some information regarding weight limits on bikes. My brother is over 300lbs and I want to get him a bike so he can start working out. I cant afford an expensive one and was wondering if the bikes you see at Wal Mart and other places for under $300 would work. Most of these have aluminum frames. Would this be a waste of money and would he have problems riding it. Thanks for your assistance.
I have something you might be interested in. Email me for details chaoslord99 [at] hotmail [dot] com
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