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too strong for a bike is it possible?

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too strong for a bike is it possible?

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Old 11-30-16, 12:01 AM
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TreyWestgate
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too strong for a bike is it possible?

wanted to ask what does everyone think about this.

I bought a 24 speed bike in 07 which ran great until I replaced the chain. after that it was all problems with the drive system. I replaced the cassette because the new chain slipped over the old gears. The man at the bike shop said that the chainring looked good and shouldn't have needed to be replaced but said that I had become too strong for a geared bike and I had too much torque which was causing the chainring to throw the chain

I am tall 6.4 and have legs that have a lot of natural leverage on a bike as well as being strong and so because of this I now ride singlespeeds because of the closer chain contact as well as the bigger chain and tooth profile of the gears. No ramps and all.

This happened the most in 32/18 or so.

but this happened on new geared bikes I tried for a time as well.

Basically I think it was like it was like putting a motorcycle engine on a machine designed for human power

So my question is can any human actually exceed the limits of a bike?. have enough power to cause failure or malfunctioning of the parts?. Throwing or breaking chains, bending crankarms, chainring etc.

I know that track bike sprinters with those frighteningly huge legs can put out upto 2 hp and go up to speeds of over 40 mph and they ride single speeds mostly, probably because of how they would tear down a geared bike with even a moderate touch of power.

While I might not have that power as those guys I probably could say that when I was 17 back then and at my peak that I could have had at least 1 hp since I in fact had beaten a small engine bike when I still rode the 24 speed.

could I really have a touch of superman in my legs??
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Old 11-30-16, 12:13 AM
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Pros touch 40 miles after grinding out ~125mi in a tour. A local vlogger on YouTube can push 1200+ watts on his sprints. Both examples use geared bikes.

I would look at the component setup. Most modern road bikes have a double up front, and the higher end components are premium because of both their light weight and durability. Your 24 speed is a triple up front, so not the most modern I assume. My Ultegra drivetrain for instance can hold me over well... I'm 260lbs and although I don't have a PM I have pushed to 35mph... no thrown chains to date.
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Old 11-30-16, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TreyWestgate View Post
wanted to ask what does everyone think about this.

I bought a 24 speed bike in 07 which ran great until I replaced the chain. after that it was all problems with the drive system. I replaced the cassette because the new chain slipped over the old gears. The man at the bike shop said that the chainring looked good and shouldn't have needed to be replaced but said that I had become too strong for a geared bike and I had too much torque which was causing the chainring to throw the chain

I am tall 6.4 and have legs that have a lot of natural leverage on a bike as well as being strong and so because of this I now ride singlespeeds because of the closer chain contact as well as the bigger chain and tooth profile of the gears. No ramps and all.

This happened the most in 32/18 or so.

but this happened on new geared bikes I tried for a time as well.

Basically I think it was like it was like putting a motorcycle engine on a machine designed for human power

So my question is can any human actually exceed the limits of a bike?. have enough power to cause failure or malfunctioning of the parts?. Throwing or breaking chains, bending crankarms, chainring etc.

I know that track bike sprinters with those frighteningly huge legs can put out upto 2 hp and go up to speeds of over 40 mph and they ride single speeds mostly, probably because of how they would tear down a geared bike with even a moderate touch of power.

While I might not have that power as those guys I probably could say that when I was 17 back then and at my peak that I could have had at least 1 hp since I in fact had beaten a small engine bike when I still rode the 24 speed.

could I really have a touch of superman in my legs??
To your question, no. At least not if the parts are non defective genuine made by reputable manufacturers.

And secondly you need to keep in mind that some of the best track sprinters advance to road cycling and use all of their potential sprint power in finish line sprints of grand tours without skipping chains or breaking components.

What is likely though is that the component / frame combination is unusually flexy which can turn the front chainring out of alignment thus throwing the chain. I've had this happen with a badly designed aluminum frame which I subsequently sold. After that I've used stiffer frames and bottom bracket interfaces which have removed the issue completely.

If you're a big guy (I'm too) and something keeps going wrong, it's never that you're too strong, it's that something is either going bad, badly installed, or just badly designed.
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Old 11-30-16, 05:33 AM
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Two posts and his story doesn't match the bikes in his profile. I'm calling BS.
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Old 11-30-16, 06:40 AM
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I think this is a real, and very serious, problem affecting many people. There's even been a short feature film made about those so afflicted:

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Old 11-30-16, 07:07 AM
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I once thought this was possible but then I learned that "spinning" is the best and most efficient way to cycle. I do not often break into sprints but have never faulted the equipment when everything is ability.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:22 AM
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Short answer: NO, there is ZERO chance that you are putting out more power than a pro cyclist on a road bike, or even a pro MTB rider on a geared bike.

It is either bad/cheap equipment, or (more likely) badly adjusted equipment.

Also, find a new bike shop if someone told you you were too strong for a geared bike. He doesn't know what he's talking about.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:35 AM
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It's not his fault he was born with such strong guads.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:38 AM
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This is the type of thread where I wish we had world-class sprinters weigh in on the question.

I also do a lot of sprinting (but I'm not a racer), but I've wondered if I've broken parts of my bike from sprinting too hard. Granted there would have to be some wear involved usually, but not enough wear that would be noticeable under normal riding conditions. Remember, the pro sprinters have world-class mechanics working on their bikes, so I wonder if they must change out certain components on their bikes more often than the others? Especially during training when they do most of their sprinting.

Of course another factor is the quality of the bike/components in the OP's case and how much wear occurred with the new chain before he replace the rear cog. I always change the two as a pair; I don't bother with checking for chain wear.

Another question in my mind is from the OP's first sentence: "I bought a 24 speed bike in 07 which ran great until I replaced the chain."

Did you experience any slippage before replacing that chain?

I think many of the professional sprinters could break many of the bikes out there that we mere mortals ride around on.


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Old 11-30-16, 07:58 AM
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I'd say "yes" to the original question. I have a friend, a football player and athlete who weighs in the 375# range. He can put down massive amounts of torque. I have been his "go to" emergency bike repair man. And the things that I have seen...


- Bent crank arms. Yes, the crank arm.
- Broken chains - breaks at multiple links simultaneously. Granted, not new chains, but not significantly worn. Twisted and broken...


He's a wrecking ball. Don't get me started on the day he lodged a stick in his drivetrain on a new rebuild that I had just completed for him...
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Old 11-30-16, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by TreyWestgate View Post
So my question is can any human actually exceed the limits of a bike?. have enough power to cause failure or malfunctioning of the parts??
Benedikt Magnusson deadlifting 1015lbs:


-rides this:

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Old 11-30-16, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I'd say "yes" to the original question. I have a friend, a football player and athlete who weighs in the 375# range. He can put down massive amounts of torque. I have been his "go to" emergency bike repair man. And the things that I have seen...


- Bent crank arms. Yes, the crank arm.
- Broken chains - breaks at multiple links simultaneously. Granted, not new chains, but not significantly worn. Twisted and broken...


He's a wrecking ball. Don't get me started on the day he lodged a stick in his drivetrain on a new rebuild that I had just completed for him...
What kind (and quantity) of spokes does he ride around on? Any problems in that area?
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Old 11-30-16, 08:29 AM
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Cavendish would often throw the chain off his front ring when he used SRAM, then they beefed up the chainrings. So it happens.

OP, try to dial it back until you get a better bike.
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Old 11-30-16, 08:30 AM
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Are you slam dancing on the pedals? You should try spinning instead. if Peter Sagan isn't breaking his bikes, I think you are okay and should find a new bikeshop
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Old 11-30-16, 08:33 AM
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Almost reminds me of this thread
http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...ing-tires.html
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Old 11-30-16, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by TreyWestgate View Post
wanted to ask what does everyone think about this.
Yes! You're so strong you should leap from your location to your destination.

Whenever I've replaced a chain that I have left on for too long I'm so strong that its links jump off of the cassette's cogs and/or the chainrings. After I replace the cassette and/or the chainring I'm merely mortal again.
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Old 11-30-16, 08:38 AM
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Oh gosh - they are even the same height! Coincidence? Conspiracy?
Originally Posted by zeleuo View Post

I'm 6'4" 210lbs,solid,& Fairly Fit.I tend to outwork EVERY tool I use in life so Cycling I expect to be the same to a degree.I ride FAST,& HARD.Slamdancing would probably define my style of riding best.ESPECIALLY in turns.

Not sure that there's ANYTING in production out there that can keep up with me,but I at least have to try,& get my Paws on whatevers the closest to it.
Originally Posted by TreyWestgate View Post

I am tall 6.4 and have legs that have a lot of natural leverage on a bike as well as being strong and so because of this I now ride singlespeeds because of the closer chain contact as well as the bigger chain and tooth profile of the gears. No ramps and all.

This happened the most in 32/18 or so.

but this happened on new geared bikes I tried for a time as well.

Basically I think it was like it was like putting a motorcycle engine on a machine designed for human power

So my question is can any human actually exceed the limits of a bike?. have enough power to cause failure or malfunctioning of the parts?. Throwing or breaking chains, bending crankarms, chainring etc.
OP - if you are for serious and not trolling us, sorry - I love bringing that thread up though.
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Old 11-30-16, 08:48 AM
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People often confuse the concepts of strength, power and speed. While they're related, they are different and somewhat independent of each other. One can be strong, but neither fast nor powerful. By the same token, one can be powerful without being especially strong.

If you consider horses, a draught horse is both stronger and more powerful, bur a race horse is fasrter.

Back to the OP's question.
Yes, it's possible to be too strong. This won't make you fast, but does impose more stress and wear on the machinery. What you want to do, is use the gearing to reduce the input torque, and maximize the output, then learn to pedal faster at lower loads. In short, think like a race horse instead of one pulling a heavy wagon.
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Old 11-30-16, 08:51 AM
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The OP may or may not be a troll. But this is a question that I've pondered myself and it's one I really wish we had more inputs from the pros, both the sprinters and the mechanics and probably some coaches. I bet there's a lot to be learned here.
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Old 11-30-16, 09:15 AM
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Depends on the bike, and how you ride it. I think that the average 150 pound rider could trash some bikes if he put his mind to it.
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Old 11-30-16, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post

- Bent crank arms. Yes, the crank arm.
- Broken chains - breaks at multiple links simultaneously. Granted, not new chains, but not significantly worn. Twisted and broken...
I'd love to see photos of both of those!
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Old 11-30-16, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Depends on the bike, and how you ride it. I think that the average 150 pound rider could trash some bikes if he put his mind to it.
Very true.

A few weeks ago when I was perusing some of the used bikes at my LBS a guy brought his newish Kona Dew in for repairs. He had worn out his cassette, chain and chainrings. I struck up a conversation with the guy and he told me he wears out chains at a rate of one per month and cassettes at one every other month. And this was the second big chainring he has worn out in a year. I said that seemed like a lot of wear as I have had chains last for a couple of years, cassettes for longer, and chainrings last for decades.

So I asked if he ever uses the smaller chainrings when going uphill or at slower speeds, or the big cogs on the back of the cassette. He said, no, as that would not be efficient. (as an aside, I wonder if folks who ride like this ever learned to drive a stick shift. You wouldn't start out from a stop shifting into 4th gear) I suggested he try riding in an easier gear when going slow or uphill as he will go faster, and greatly reduce chain wear.
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Old 11-30-16, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
What kind (and quantity) of spokes does he ride around on? Any problems in that area?

I advised him from the start to run 36H MTB wheels, and he has. We had a few spokes go on stock wheels, but I went and re-tensioned them. They've held up okay. I think that I recall that he created a small flat spot on a rim once. It wasn't too bad.
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Old 11-30-16, 09:43 AM
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I'm 6'5" and when I used to commute back up the hills from Saint Paul, I;d stand in the pedals applying massive power and the bike would literally break in half at the bottom bracket. I would the run it home on my back and weld it back together for the next day's ride.

They just don't make bikes for large powerful men such as ourselves. Your best best is to find a early 20th century motorcycle with medals, remove the motor and pedal that 60lb steel frame. It's the only thing that can survive such massiveness
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Old 11-30-16, 11:15 AM
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I have a friend who's a former pro. He's American but he lived in Belgium for several years and raced Pro Continental including some big classics in the early nineties. He's 6'4" and a classic "rouleur". His job when he was a pro was to put his nose in the wind in flat races and hammer until everyone but his team was gone. He told me that when he was a pro he used to break chains and even frames frequently. This is back in the days of thicker chains and steel frames. Based on the insane power he can still generate in his early forties, I have no problem believing it.

Having stipulated that it's possible, unless the OP is a former pro no he's not overpowering his bike.
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