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200+ pounds on a carbon bike

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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.

200+ pounds on a carbon bike

Old 04-13-15, 12:55 PM
  #1  
jaranth
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200+ pounds on a carbon bike

Hello peeps!~

Two months ago, I decided to finally get a road bike (traditionally a MTN biker), and went totally against common advice. That is, I purchased a brand new, pricey carbon framed bike that weighs under 20 pounds. When I started riding it, I was 220+ pounds, but the bike is supposedly rated for pretty far above that.

Since my purchase, I've ridden it a lot... almost 300 miles in two months. I switched to more robust wheels, and a new saddle. No problems with the bike itself so far... though I'm still trying to find a better saddle (I am having numb toes issues not related to shoes, but that's a different thread).

I've been very happy with my new bike, but I'm always aware of the fact that I'm heavier than the young race crowd that this bike was squarely hyped at. So, with normal usage (no wrecks or accidental impacts) I am wondering if there's anything I should watch out for...

My question is, how many of you Clydes out there ride carbon bikes? Has the bike held up, overall? Had any problems with the frame, wheels, handlebars, etc.?
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Old 04-13-15, 01:08 PM
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2434 miles on a Specialized Roubaix ranging from 250-285 lbs.

Had to get stouter wheels, but aside from that, no problem.
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Old 04-13-15, 01:09 PM
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I only have about 400 miles on my Masi carbon bike and the only thing that worried me was my wheels. So I had a set of Velocity Dyads built for it and I am not worried about anything now. Ride it like you stole it.
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Old 04-13-15, 01:14 PM
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I've been talking to the LBS owners and all of them have told me the same thing. The frame itself is fine. They should easily be able to handle over 400 lb riders. The weak spots are places like the wheels, maybe the saddle, etc. Places that companies cut weight. The shop I'm probably going to shop from has told me that I should be fine with a Trek Domane 4 or 5 series when I get under the suggested limit from Trek (listed at 275 lbs so I'm probably going go wait until about 260lbs since I carry about 15lbs of gear when using my hydration pack and going for a long ride) and that if I wanted, he could build me a sturdier rear wheel and I could ride a 4 series right now. I'd rather save the couple hundred dollars for the sturdier wheel and drop the weight and get a nicer bike (Domane 4.3-5.2 depending on the closeout prices on 2015s in either December or January).

Group riders have never told me about having any issues with a carbon bike including some riding right near the suggested max weight limit. Usually the max is actually a bit under what the bike is tested for. It is more a "cover your ass" statement from the manufacturer. Some will base warranty claims on weight limit. Some are just preventing liability issues. But most bikes can probably handle 5-20% above the limit. The biggest difference is probably just a bit of an extra cost to maintain the bike. I haven't heard too any people complaining about that when under the limit.
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Old 04-13-15, 01:15 PM
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My 1st carbon framed bike was a 2013 Scott CR1 Pro.
No problems really; just had to true the wheels a bit
after a few miles of riding on the mean streets of NYC:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-rQ...6zPoymgKaIoDLA
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Old 04-13-15, 01:22 PM
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My first carbon bike was bought and ridden when I was 235 pounds. The only thing that ever went wrong is when a truck pulled out in front of me and I came to a sudden stop from 25 or so mph. Bent the handlebars and front rim. I can't see anything wrong with the frame or fork. If you ask some folks the carbon should have @TrojanHorse 'asploded' into a bazillion little shards. I have not tried to ride the bike but I have tried flexing it to hear any cracking noises but have not heard any.

Carbon is fine. As suggested by others it's the wheels that need the attention
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Old 04-13-15, 01:23 PM
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I should mention that during the T-shirt rides that I've done over the last few weeks, I say a few guys noticeably heavier than myself on lighter carbon bikes than mine. So pretty dang big dudes on $-Works bikes for example.

Last edited by Jarrett2; 04-13-15 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 04-13-15, 04:23 PM
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I just hit 4,000 miles on my 2013 Roubaix Elite Apex. During that time, I have ranged in weight from 205 to 235lbs. My bike is still 100% stock aside from the chain and tires. I did not think that the wheels would last this long, but they are still nice a true. Once they start breaking down, I will invest in a nice set of hand-built wheels. Until then, I will just keep on riding it they way it sits. I wish that I could say the same for my mountain bike. I just dropped some serious cash and a new set of wheels for it (Hadley hubs, Stan's Flow Ex wheels).
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Old 04-13-15, 09:05 PM
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I ride an Orbea Orca 60cm frame carbon fiber bike with the Orbea 32 spoke wheels. I am 6'3" and 365 pounds.
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Old 04-13-15, 09:32 PM
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nothing wrong with carbon bike but dont expect to become a Contador just because you ride a 18 lbs bike. I ride Felt Z5 at 240lbs.
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Old 04-13-15, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
2434 miles on a Specialized Roubaix ranging from 250-285 lbs.

Had to get stouter wheels, but aside from that, no problem.
Yup, pretty much the same for me with a Trek Domane 4.5. I had to get stouter wheels as well. No other problems.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:33 PM
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If anyone tells me that carbon bikes aren't for big guys (like the idiot female rider I once encountered early in my cycling career v2.0), I immediately sprint away from them and never ask any advice of them... on any subject... ever again.

Since 2006, at 320#, I've been riding carbon bikes. Nothing but praise for them.
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Old 04-14-15, 12:02 AM
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Wow, what overwhelming support for carbon... that is really encouraging!

I'm fairly new to road biking, but I'm starting to feel that "carbon-fear" is based partially around the racing circuit (where super-strong guys crank the hell out of their poor bikes), and the rest of the horror stories are from old tech (90's or older), or perhaps just plain bad luck.

I'm taking really good care of my carbon bike; the attitude riding it is a lot different than my mountain bike, which I've punished for 15 years and is somehow still in one piece.

It's also *very* refreshing to know I didn't drop a few grand on something that's going to disintegrate on the first major bump I hit.

Thanks for all the replies!
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Old 04-14-15, 06:47 AM
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When I start wondering about carbon, I watch this video again:

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Old 04-14-15, 08:23 AM
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215#'s here, over 5000 miles on Trek Domane 6 series with stock RXLTLR wheels not an issue. Heading for 1500 miles on new Trek Emonda SLR with DA C35 wheels no issues at all (SLR frame is one of lightest carbon frames out there). Running 25 Conti 4000s11's on both 95# up front 105# out back.

Things to watch out for - pot holes. Ride with care and you should be fine.
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Old 04-14-15, 09:02 AM
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I've put over 12,000 miles on my Cervelo RS since I built it in 2009 and haven't had a single problem with it (nor with any of the carbon fiber components).
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Old 04-14-15, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jaranth View Post
Hello peeps!~

Two months ago, I decided to finally get a road bike (traditionally a MTN biker), and went totally against common advice. That is, I purchased a brand new, pricey carbon framed bike that weighs under 20 pounds. When I started riding it, I was 220+ pounds, but the bike is supposedly rated for pretty far above that.

Since my purchase, I've ridden it a lot... almost 300 miles in two months. I switched to more robust wheels, and a new saddle. No problems with the bike itself so far... though I'm still trying to find a better saddle (I am having numb toes issues not related to shoes, but that's a different thread).

I've been very happy with my new bike, but I'm always aware of the fact that I'm heavier than the young race crowd that this bike was squarely hyped at. So, with normal usage (no wrecks or accidental impacts) I am wondering if there's anything I should watch out for...

My question is, how many of you Clydes out there ride carbon bikes? Has the bike held up, overall? Had any problems with the frame, wheels, handlebars, etc.?
What you think is "common advice" is utter nonsense! 220+ pounds is that your way of saying under 230? Neither is considered high for carbon frames.

150 miles per month for a road bike is not exactly what most would consider a lot.

In June my Roubiax will be two years old. Strava says I have 11,586.3 miles on it as of this moment. Not a single issue with the frame. The fork was replaced due to problems with the paint. The OEM wheels were replaced after about 5 months because I wanted a better set. I've worn out one saddle. a handful of chains, a small ring, several cassettes, lots of tires. I just upgraded the RD to Ultegra for better shifting with less than pristine cables. In other words just general wear and tear but still a trusty bike that I expect to have for years to come.
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Old 04-16-15, 09:28 AM
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I recently purchased a triathlon bike to help give me motivation to get in better shape and to do a tri in August. Carbon Fiber Fuji which claims 250lb is the weight limit on the bike. When I bought it 4 weeks ago, I was 261 now I am 249 and can ride it
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Old 04-16-15, 09:35 AM
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I'm around 220 lbs and bought a Trek 5200 back in 2000. I put a lot of miles on that bike including things like double centuries. I crashed in a race bad enough to spend time in a hospital, yet the bike was just fine except for a few scratches and a broke wheel.

In 2010 I bought a Giant Defy Advance CF bike. No problems with it either so far except the wheels that came with it weren't that good for my weight. They were a reduced-spoke models and were really flexy even when properly trued and tensioned. I replaced them with Mavic Open Pros with 32-spokes which are great wheels.

I ride over 4,000 miles a year.
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Old 04-16-15, 11:06 AM
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I've got about 2000 miles on my Cervelo R3 and I weigh about 210-215. No probs so far. I also run 20h Zipp 101's with a G3 installed, and against all odds, haven't had a problem. I was pretty careful on spoke selection on the rear wheel, and had it built by a guy at trust at a local LBS. I've only got about 500 miles on the wheels, but they've been great so far.
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Old 04-16-15, 07:33 PM
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Carbon fiber can be made extremely strong when it is done properly, if it was as fragile as some seem to think, it would never be approved for use in aircraft.

I personally have a carbon fat bike that I have been riding hard for well over a year without issue. It sounds like you have strong wheels for it as well so I would ride and not worry one bit about it!
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Old 04-17-15, 12:10 AM
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Carbon is perfect for clydes because you can make big fat tube profiles for stiffness without the bike weighing as much as a tank. The downtube on my Felt F4 is MASSIVE and the frame would be way heavier if made out of any metal. The huge tube makes the frame ultra stiff in the BB area. Great for sprinting!
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Old 04-17-15, 03:45 PM
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Athena here riding a womens-specific bike. 2006 Specialized Ruby Pro I bought new at the end of 2008.
I suspect the women's bikes are designed for lighter-weight riders, not just for women's proportions.
I have 20,000+ miles on the frame.
I had the wheels replaced under warrantee at 10,000 miles, hairline cracks from spoke tensioning errors. The replacement carbon wheels are fine.
I do try to be gentle with the bike. No curb-hopping. I unweight if I can't avoid road features.
I have had a few falls but the bike just got a few scuffs on the pedals and brifters.

I know of a Clyde lighter than me who has cracked the seat tube on his c/f bike more than once. He was able to get the frame repaired.
Probably a combination of the seatpost being clamped in too much AND the rider producing a lot of torque accelerating.
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Old 04-19-15, 01:06 PM
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I thought for sure that there would be a flurry of posts about "how carbon will shatter/explode", or "my carbon bike broke the first week I had it". When doing searches on the net, there's a ton of that type of stuff... but in the bike forums I've read, it seems like almost everyone is happy with carbon. I know I sure am!

I figured the negative aspects were probably exaggerated, otherwise carbon bikes would have been retired long ago... but I had to ask! Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-22-15, 05:32 PM
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Great timing on this post.
I bought a Specialized Awol to get a heavy duty steel bike. I do love it but know the extra weight is making it hard to get the miles I did last year on my aluminum.
I am going to set a goal to get close to 300# and am going to get a nice carbon bike.
My fear was a bike exploding under me. I know they are rated for lower weight, but also a carbon cross is able to handle some serious pounding which is not what I do.
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