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Old 01-12-05, 02:21 PM   #1
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Bicycle for 275 LB Rider

Recently there have been several posts my a member seeking information for a reasonably priced and sturdy bicycle for his 275 lb body. After some thought, I have a solution, though it will be controversial to some.

I believe the best solution is a good quality ATB. Most road frames regardless of the tubing have recommended maximum rider weights of 200 lb, but good ATB tubesets do not have weight limits. While they are heavier, by virtue of their thicker walls, this is just what is needed to safely carry someone of this weight. Yes, I realize that that the frame designers have built in safety factors and that many of us have ridden long term on frames that were not rated for our weights, but for this rider, this seems to a big concern and I believe he is best served by an ATB tubeset.

The high rolling rersistance of knobby tires is easily overcome by going to high pressure, non-knobby tires such as Specialized Fat Boys.

The wide range gearing of an ATB is probably more appropriate for an unconditioned novice when trying to move his heavy body up a hill.

The wheels, provided they have box-section rims, should be be better capable of handling the load than a road rim.

The lack of hand positions are can supplemented with a pair of bar end extensions, to make climbing easier.

So, in the end, I suggest a good, used, medium level mountain bicycle. Something with box section, aluminun rims and a good ATB tubeset (such as Columbus Crommor OR, Reynolds 501 ATB, Ishiwata MTB, Tange MTB or the equivalent). Add a set of high pressure, non-knobby tires and bar end extensions to make the road riding more practical. A touring bicycle with an ATB tubeset would serve just as well, but these are a little harder to find than an ATB.
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Old 01-12-05, 02:42 PM   #2
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Interesting. I've been considering his plight for a few days myself, and never thought about that.
All in all, not a bad suggestion. For what its worth I'm about 240 and my primary commuter is an 88 specialized stumpjumper with nitto drop bars, technomic stem, shimano 600 crank, suntour arx deraileurs, bar end shifter conversion, and 1.5" slicks on old deore/matrix wheels. Nitto rack up front, blackburn in the rear. full compliment of lights. Baggins handlebar bag and seat bag. Full fenders.
Of course I still ride my lighter bikes, but for utilitarian work, the stumpy is great.
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Old 01-12-05, 05:18 PM   #3
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T-Mar, Great advice as usual, though I don't expect there's much concern about climbing sizeable hills. He lives in Florida.
In search of what to search for.
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Old 01-13-05, 12:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for the help again, and I am that new rider this thread is about. Again, more questions: Spotted a couple of Trek 6000 mountain bikes (used) with aluminum frames. Would these be suitable? Also spotted a bike of a brand I have never heard of (you guys probably have). It is a GT brand and it looks to be more of a female type design but maybe not. It is a Slipstream model and seems VERY well constructed. After reading this thread I stumbled across a catalog that showed this model. Here is a link and it is on page 49. Your comments? It looks sturdy and at a minimum maybe my wife could use it. It is at a thrift store at about $65. and looks in very good condition.
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Old 01-15-05, 12:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
Recently there have been several posts my a member seeking information for a reasonably priced and sturdy bicycle for his 275 lb body. After some thought, I have a solution, though it will be controversial to some.
Is this not a vintage bicycle list? These new weight limitations are mainly limited to the newer frames. Virtually any vintage frame will readily accept 275 lbs without problem. The people that I see who have problems can often be classified under one of the following headings: too lazy or not sufficiently informed to pump up tires appropriately; never learned how to use their body as shock absorber; sit too upright thereby putting too much weight on the rear wheel.

If you think about it, tandems have been built for years using often similar tubing to singles without problems. You should also think that an 85 kg (about 200 lbs) pro cornering on an alpine road descent at full speed will readily apply more force to a frame when you add in g-force, than does your average 300 lb weekend rider.
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Old 01-20-05, 04:55 PM   #6
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-- And let's not forget the sturdy Worksman brand which is one of the oldest in the USA.
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Old 01-21-05, 12:15 PM   #7
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That GT looks a good buy at $65, provided it fits your wife and she likes the look of it.
A similar quality bike would be fine for your weight, if it had box section (double wall) rims, but you would have to get the bike shop to make sure the spokes are tensioned properly, and rechecked after a couple of weeks riding. Wheels are the critical components for heavy riders.
You might also want to get slightly fatter tires (35 - 38 mm), to give a smoother ride, but these are not expensive to change after you have been riding a bit.
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Old 01-21-05, 03:10 PM   #8
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I agree. My old Austro-Daimler handles my 250 lbs just fine (so far and it's not heavy at all.
On the newer side, my primary road bike for the last three years has been a Kona 'Jake the Snake' cyclocross bike with skinny tires. With it I've managed to keep up with the faster riders in the area and I have the stay clearance to run fatties during the winter.
It's been through nearly 20,000 miles under me with no sign of distress. (though, for most of that time I was around 200 lbs)
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Old 01-21-05, 05:38 PM   #9
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I just helped my dad get a bike. He is a definite clydsedale at 5'9'. The guys at the LBS were point at the me everytime My dad joked about how he wanted something in the 750cc range. I finally conviced him on the Specialized Hardrock. It not too expensive and the frame/wheelset are sturdy. After changing out the stem and seat he has been a happy camper. He is now talking computers and toe clips. I found a use for my old Yak-roof rack.
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Old 01-21-05, 05:54 PM   #10
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The needle on my scale scratched 270 this past fall, but has since retreated to high 250s. I have been riding a road bike for two years now, previously a Specialized Crossroads. While I did shatter a used '97 aluminum Allez frame, I have been riding a surly pacer (steel) and love it. I draft off traffic and commute often carring 25 or more pounds. So I put my bikes through a lot. Today I shopped for a party, and I carried two magnums of wine, a handle of rum and a liter of something and 3 six packs. (you guys coming over or what?) I think you can still ride a road bike. Someone mentioned above that wheels are going to be the challenge and that is very, very true. I gave up buying crap and had some open pro's built up, 36 hole and the largest gauge spoke -14? I ride Conti top touring 28's Knock on wood, nary a problem.
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