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Too Afraid to Ride My Carbon Road Bike

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Too Afraid to Ride My Carbon Road Bike

Old 12-06-21, 11:04 AM
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Too Afraid to Ride My Carbon Road Bike

I have a 2019 Trek Domane SL5 carbon road bike that, after significant weight gain during a riding hiatus, am now too afraid to ride in fear that I will damage the frame.

I am currently 305 lbs. and working hard to get some weight back off. In July I put smooth tires on my mountain bike and have been averaging 60 miles per week since. I, so badly, want to get back on the Domane but donít want to over-stress it and, potentially ruin it, for when I get back down under 275 lbs. (Trekís weight limit). When I originally purchased the Domane, I also invested an additional $1000 on heavy duty custom-built wheels (DT Swiss, RR 521ís with 32 heave-gauge spokes and hubs meant for bike touring). I am confident in the wheels but, even being a very conscientious rider, I just fear for the frame.

I have registered for a two-day, 150-mile ride in May which I intend to do on the road bike (Texas MS 150). This being said, I feel I should be training on the road bike (at least for my long rides on the weekends).

I am reaching out to the group to gather feedback on whether my concerns are warranted and if my decision to wait is wise, or if I am over-thinking it.
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Old 12-06-21, 11:30 AM
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I think you're being smart. Trek says 275, ah, for a reason. Might not know the reason, but you gotta respect it. Meantime, focus simply on getting more and more time in the saddle of the MB.
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Old 12-06-21, 11:44 AM
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Ride it, The weight limit is to protect trek but they are tested to a much higher weight. I rode my carbon road bike as high as 364 with no negative implications. Any frame issues i have had have surprisingly been on the aluminum parts.
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Old 12-06-21, 01:04 PM
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You shouldn't second guess Trek unless you have some actual knowledge to the contrary. Use the bike as an incentive. It's going to be hard to lose weight this time of year. Having the bike to look forward to may help galvanize your self control. Good luck!
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Old 12-06-21, 05:36 PM
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Personally, I would set the carbon bike aside for now. How many pinch flats do you really want to repair? Pick up a nice steel MTB or hybrid from the 90's for $100-200 and go at it. I just converted a lugged steel trek 930 MTB to drop bar, and am getting ready to do the same to a lugged steel Trek 790, which has the same frame as the 520 touring bike. No reason you couldn't do a two day,150 miler on either one.
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Old 12-07-21, 01:40 PM
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Get on it and ride! The frame will be fine, and it sounds like the traditional weak points in the wheels won’t be an issue either. Go for it! This is coming from someone in exactly the same situation as you and damn near bang on the same weight with a carbon Canyon road bike
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Old 12-07-21, 02:30 PM
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Bike frames are very strong being composed of a triangular structure. The wheels and in particular the spokes are the weakest link. When a spoke breaks it can result in a damaged rim. On the other hand spending thousands of dollars more to have a bike that is 2 lbs lighter than an aluminum alloy one makes little sense in your situation.

A gravel bike should be able to better support your weight or a bike designed for rough roads like the Specialized Roubaix. Even with a downhill speed of 30 mph I would not want to have the catastrophic failure of the bike. There might be no damage to your body or you might end up with a broken shoulder or collar bone or damaged knee cap and these injuries taken months to heal. I evaluate risks based on the worst case and the impact it will have on me and if that is a concern then I don't proceeed.
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Old 12-12-21, 05:37 PM
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have been riding a 2010 Roubaix for a couple year from 255-265 lbs with out issue. I am extra careful over bumps, but that is any bike, especially the skinny tire bikes I ride. I am also very cautious on down hills, but I would be whether was 165 or 265.... I don't want to fall LOL

You could also convert a 90's MTB inexpensively. I am riding this Singletrack with winter. $100 Bike, $50 for the new Brake Levers, recycled bars, new bar tape. Good luck!


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Old 12-13-21, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by justcynn
You could also convert a 90's MTB inexpensively. I am riding this Singletrack with winter. $100 Bike, $50 for the new Brake Levers, recycled bars, new bar tape. Good luck!


I bought a new 930 back in 1992 for city and unpaved rail-trail riding. Even took it on one real MTB ride. I abused the hell out of that thing for more than a dozen years. It rarely complained. Finally put it out with the trash, dented frame, twisted rear rim and all, when i was cleaning out my mom's house. Someone took it in less than two hours. I hope they got more years out of it.
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Old 12-18-21, 08:31 AM
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Carbon frames are very strong and you should be fine. I rode a carbon frame when I was around 280, no issues and you have a very strong set of wheels. You will be fine.

This guy on a carbon bike and carbon wheels....again, you will be fine.

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Old 12-20-21, 12:11 PM
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I found this exact same bike for sale near me. The seller says it is a 26." I'm 5'10" tall. I think this may be too small. Judging from the head tube, yours looks like a bigger frame.



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Old 12-23-21, 05:44 PM
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26" refers to the wheel size in that illustration. With that kind of seat and stem extension it may well fit someone 5'10".
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Old 12-27-21, 06:53 PM
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the bike will be fine. just ride it
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Old 12-27-21, 08:43 PM
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Though the advice to "just ride it" isn't misplaced, it should be taken with the caveat that you should "ride nice." That means no bunny hops, no standing sprints, "float" over the bumps, etc...IOW: Don't ride it like a gorilla.

Taking care of the wheels situation was a smart move. Ride 'em. That's what you bought ''em for.

Unfortunately, You can't ride your way out of weight gain. For that, it is 100 percent calories in versus calorie out. Though riding can be an important part of that equation. It is only part of the equation.

You know what to do here. It's a matter of execution. That's the hard part. I recently lost 20 pounds in 16 weeks for the purpose of respecting weight limits on some premium ($$$) bike parts. It was not easy. Even harder was admitting I needed to.

You can do this. You'll be there soon if you follow through on executing a/the plan.
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Old 12-29-21, 11:24 AM
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@base2, thank you for the words of encouragement. As info I started using the LoseIt app to track calories and have lost 7 lbs since Dec 1st.
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Old 12-30-21, 01:43 AM
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I put 2100 miles on a BMC Gran Fondo GF01 and another 1800 miles on a Domane 5.9 back in 2017-2018 when I was over 275 (max was 319).

Had zero issues on either bike, the wheels got a once over on the truing stand every 500 miles.
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Old 12-30-21, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Grudey1
@base2, thank you for the words of encouragement. As info I started using the LoseIt app to track calories and have lost 7 lbs since Dec 1st.
You don't need no steenkin' app. You will tire of using it after a month anyway. What are you tracking anyway? You cut out ALL granulated sugar. ALL crap junk. You know what junk is. Cut it out. No cookies, sweets, etc. They are dead to you. No more! You probably ate plenty of junk over the Holidays I know I did. Well, you are done for a long, long time. I'm not even going to mention cheat days. No such thing. Zero tolerance. Cheating is cheating. You will do it, of course, you're human. But 'cheat day' means it's allowed. It isn't. You can use Stevia or maybe Xylitol in coffee or tea but avoid the cheap artificial sweetners they are a poison in their own right. Which means NONE of the 'Zero' soft drinks. No carbs at night. You have breakfast and lunch to carb out. Simple, no? No calorie counting, no apps, not tracking. Just sensible eating. Then give it time. You didn't get here overnight, it will take time to get down to fighting weight. Happy New You!
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Old 03-18-22, 09:01 PM
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I wish I could buy this topic.
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Old 03-18-22, 09:21 PM
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The only bike frame I ever broke was steel. I weighed 170 lbs at the time.

Ride it. The wheels are much more likely to be the weak point than the frame. Don't huck it or try to get airborne and you will be fine.

The weight limit is there for the warranty/liability. If you do break the frame when you are over the limit, it probably would void the warranty. So if you can live with that, ride the hell out of it and soon enough you'll be under the limit. (Actually, watch your diet too. Riding makes me eat like a pig.)
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Old 03-26-22, 02:48 PM
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I would lose a little more weight first, use the carbon bike as an incentive! I don't think you'll damage it, but why take the risk, if something did happen you'd kick yourself and now that you've put the question out there you'd be even more pissed!
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Old 03-26-22, 04:12 PM
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For serious weight loss the answer is a zero carbs diet which means no processed foods whatsoever. There is a reason why there are no fat vegans running around. The real benefit is to the health of your liver which is what takes a beating with a high carb and fructose sugar diet. But you are effectively out of time for a May ride.

I would not want to bicycle with a 100 lb load on the bike and that is effectively what you are contemplating doing. A separate concern is the weather as the humidity can be very high and that results in even fit athletes overheating. When I was living in Dallas they held an Olympics marathon trial there and a local runner died during the race of heatstroke. I found it strange to have to slow my pace because I could tell my body was seriously overheating on rides in the Dallas area.

With a bike there are static and dynamic loads and the latter are what can damage a bike and its rider. The max weight rating takes into consideration dynamic or impact loads on the bike frame and forks.
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Old 03-27-22, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
For serious weight loss the answer is a zero carbs diet which means no processed foods whatsoever. There is a reason why there are no fat vegans running around. The real benefit is to the health of your liver which is what takes a beating with a high carb and fructose sugar diet. But you are effectively out of time for a May ride.

I would not want to bicycle with a 100 lb load on the bike and that is effectively what you are contemplating doing. A separate concern is the weather as the humidity can be very high and that results in even fit athletes overheating. When I was living in Dallas they held an Olympics marathon trial there and a local runner died during the race of heatstroke. I found it strange to have to slow my pace because I could tell my body was seriously overheating on rides in the Dallas area.

With a bike there are static and dynamic loads and the latter are what can damage a bike and its rider. The max weight rating takes into consideration dynamic or impact loads on the bike frame and forks.
I like the rest of your response except the bold line above made me laugh! LOL. I know plenty of overweight vegans! Iím not criticizing them however, thereís many reasons one can be overweight.
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Old 03-27-22, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes
I think you're being smart. Trek says 275, ah, for a reason. Might not know the reason, but you gotta respect it. Meantime, focus simply on getting more and more time in the saddle of the MB.
Originally Posted by ahultin
Ride it, The weight limit is to protect trek but they are tested to a much higher weight. I rode my carbon road bike as high as 364 with no negative implications. Any frame issues i have had have surprisingly been on the aluminum parts.
You both make valid points on both ends of the spectrum.

Iíll take a middle ground: If your carbon frame is in top condition (no cracks, chips, dents, damage) it is going to support your weight under normal roading conditions. Trek engineering and lawyers put a significant safety factor on the recommended weight limit on their marketing literature.

Your Achilles heel is in your wheels, tires, and maybe seat post. Wear components like brake pads and crank bearings will have lower life.

Get out and ride!
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Old 03-27-22, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RVRBTR
Personally, I would set the carbon bike aside for now. How many pinch flats do you really want to repair? Pick up a nice steel MTB or hybrid from the 90's for $100-200 and go at it. I just converted a lugged steel trek 930 MTB to drop bar, and am getting ready to do the same to a lugged steel Trek 790, which has the same frame as the 520 touring bike. No reason you couldn't do a two day,150 miler on either one.
+1 and you may just decide to sell the carbon. Get a steel road and mtb so your covered for both and have strong and sturdy backups.
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Old 03-27-22, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by joesch
+1 and you may just decide to sell the carbon. Get a steel road and mtb so your covered for both and have strong and sturdy backups.
I used to see this on here a ton, and would roll my eyes until I actually did it. I had a trek 1.5, and I was planning on upgrading to carbon. I also wanted to get in to touring a litle, so I put the carbon bike on hold and bought a surly LHT, but still planning on keeping the Trek for group rides, and upgrading to carbon down the road. I loved the steel so much, I sold my trek. Still love the surly, look at carbon bikes often, but also now love looking at custom steel too. (all of that is personal preference -but I never would have discovered that had I not tried).

But aside from that, I think the weight limits on bike are on the light side. I would think that is where the manufacturer would indicated that failure COULD occur, but not a given. But there is a reason why they stuck with 275 - so it is probably best to respect that. But if keeping the carbon not only motivates you be healthier and ride more - by all means hold on to it and best of luck in your journey.
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