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Am I too fat for an aluminum Bike ?

Old 11-27-17, 07:47 PM
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Am I too fat for an aluminum Bike ?

Hi, I am 53 and 6'-1 at 320 lbs, I wanna start riding again and want a Trek bike. i have a budget of 750 bucks but bike descriptions on Treks site say nothing about Maximum weights....just curious, the guy at the bike shop said he been there 3 years and never heard anything about weight limits. just worried about crushing an aluminum frame. Thanks
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Old 11-27-17, 07:58 PM
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The frame won't be an issue, but the wheels might be. You're going to want 32-36 spokes.
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Old 11-27-17, 08:04 PM
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Trek does show the maximum weight limits on their website. You have to scroll down the page right below the components list.
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Old 11-27-17, 11:34 PM
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Part of the reason people trash wheels is how they ride. I rarely damage wheels at 6-6 and 260 (a former life as a defensive end in college). I have been in pacelines where lighter riders don't lift off the saddle over ruts and have bent rims where heavier riders who unweight their bike and spread the weight over both wheels or avoid the rut completely have little or no damage to the same wheels.
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Old 11-28-17, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Trek does show the maximum weight limits on their website. You have to scroll down the page right below the components list.
Trek shows the maximum weight limits on some of their bikes. What I find curious about the limits, however, is that they are the same for the lower end aluminum bikes as they are for their higher end carbon bikes. The …monda S5 carbon bike has exactly the same limit as the …monda ALR aluminum bike. It's also the same limit as the far more expensive and much lighter Madone 9.9 bike. Something doesn't add up here.

On the other hand, they don't list weight limits on hybrids

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Old 11-28-17, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by gravelfan View Post
Part of the reason people trash wheels is how they ride. I rarely damage wheels at 6-6 and 260 (a former life as a defensive end in college). I have been in pacelines where lighter riders don't lift off the saddle over ruts and have bent rims where heavier riders who unweight their bike and spread the weight over both wheels or avoid the rut completely have little or no damage to the same wheels.
This is very true. Even as a light rider I lift off the saddle on road imperfections, its much easier on the wheels. Probably much easier on the entire bike actually.
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Old 11-28-17, 06:08 AM
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I suppose it depends on the bike, but honestly I think you'll be fine. When I started I was 6 ft 330lbs. I had (and still have) a Trek Shift 3 and I've never had one issue. I've had it since May of last year and done about 1500 miles total on that one and yet to have one mechanical failure, no flats, no damaged spokes or an untrue wheel. You'll be fine. I think a lot of the "limits" are well below the actual just from legal teams that want to play it safe, which is fair, but don't let it stop you. You won't damage the frame and if your bike has the right wheel stock, you won't need anything custom either.
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Old 11-28-17, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Trek shows the maximum weight limits on some of their bikes. What I find curious about the limits, however, is that they are the same for the lower end aluminum bikes as they are for their higher end carbon bikes. The …monda S5 carbon bike has exactly the same limit as the …monda ALR aluminum bike. It's also the same limit as the far more expensive and much lighter Madone 9.9 bike. Something doesn't add up here.

On the other hand, they don't list weight limits on hybrids

An interesting point.

Do they design the bike and then test it afterward to determine the maximum weight capacity. Or do they decide on a weight capacity and then design the bike to meet it.
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Old 11-28-17, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Trek does show the maximum weight limits on their website. You have to scroll down the page right below the components list.
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Trek shows the maximum weight limits on some of their bikes. What I find curious about the limits, however, is that they are the same for the lower end aluminum bikes as they are for their higher end carbon bikes. The …monda S5 carbon bike has exactly the same limit as the …monda ALR aluminum bike. It's also the same limit as the far more expensive and much lighter Madone 9.9 bike. Something doesn't add up here.

On the other hand, they don't list weight limits on hybrids

@DrIsotope siad it in the first reply, "The frame won't be an issue, but the wheels might be. You're going to want 32-36 spokes."
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Are their wheels sets the same ones between the two? The wheels can be the limiting factor for rider weight. I have no idea about what wheels are on Treks, Bontrager I would guess. If Trek lists weight limits for bare frames, then you have a good comparison point. the OP could just upgrade to some 36H hubs and rims to meet his needs.

Frame weight is a factor of several different variables, fiber strength, lay up and resin all can make a CF frame much more sturdy and able to handle loads, yet remain light. Aluminum varies in its alloys used and in its internal formation (hydroforming for butting purposes,) also. The trend towads lower spoke counts for wheels is a big part of the manufacturers setting weight limits on bicycles.

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Old 11-28-17, 07:08 AM
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Yes, I think there is a good chance that mfgs figure wheels as the weakest part when they set weight limits. I can't recall seeing reports of overweight folks actually breaking frames, usually it's wheels. The Clyde section is a good and friendly resource for all things "biking while XL"
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Old 11-28-17, 07:12 AM
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Yes. You need to bring your weight to 250lbs to ride aluminum. Do this and award yourself with a nice, light bicycle.
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Old 11-28-17, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Yes, I think there is a good chance that mfgs figure wheels as the weakest part when they set weight limits. I can't recall seeing reports of overweight folks actually breaking frames, usually it's wheels. The Clyde section is a good and friendly resource for all things "biking while XL"
Agreed, and the wheel builders all use a error factor in their computations for wheel weight limits. No idea what % they use, in construction we usually had a minimum 50% added to weight limits on lifts and crane work. But if the Navy Crane Safety officer was on board the base, it went way up so we didn't get shut down.

When I purchased my CAAD10 4, in 2012, the Fulcrum Racing7 wheel set had the limiting factor for rider weight. By rights, I should have skipped buying it since at that time I was 290 lbs. It never gave me a worry, and now its a moot point since shedding over 100lbs.
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Old 11-28-17, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
An interesting point.

Do they design the bike and then test it afterward to determine the maximum weight capacity. Or do they decide on a weight capacity and then design the bike to meet it.
Alternatively, do they design the bike and then a corporate lawyer comes along and tells them what the weight capacity can be so that they have sufficient CYA coverage?

I suspect that it's the latter.
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Old 11-28-17, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
@DrIsotope siad it in the first reply, "The frame won't be an issue, but the wheels might be. You're going to want 32-36 spokes."
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Are their wheels sets the same ones between the two? The wheels can be the limiting factor for rider weight. I have no idea about what wheels are on Treks, Bontrager I would guess. If Trek lists weight limits for bare frames, then you have a good comparison point. the OP could just upgrade to some 36H hubs and rims to meet his needs.

Frame weight is a factor of several different variables, fiber strength, lay up and resin all can make a CF frame much more sturdy and able to handle loads, yet remain light. Aluminum varies in its alloys used and in its internal formation (hydroforming for butting purposes,) also. The trend towads lower spoke counts for wheels is a big part of the manufacturers setting weight limits on bicycles.

Bill
While the wheels might be the limiting factor on how much the bikes can carry, that's not the point of my post. The weight limit for all of Trek's road bikes is the same from top of the range to the bottom. That covers a very wide range of wheels and frame materials. Each bike should have a separate weight carrying ability based on its construction and materials but they just use a blanket number which says to me that it's just a CYA policy and has little to no basis in fact.

On the other hand, GoProTrek's budget doesn't say carbon or even aluminum road bike. His budget says hybrid and there is no weight limit listed for those. I'm not saying that there isn't a weight limit for hybrids, only that Trek doesn't list one.

GoProTrek's weight is probably going to push the machine built wheels to the limit and he will likely experience some spoke failures but that bridge can be crossed when he comes to it.
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Old 11-28-17, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by GoProTrek View Post
Hi, I am 53 and 6'-1 at 320 lbs, I wanna start riding again and want a Trek bike. i have a budget of 750 bucks but bike descriptions on Treks site say nothing about Maximum weights....just curious, the guy at the bike shop said he been there 3 years and never heard anything about weight limits. just worried about crushing an aluminum frame. Thanks
You may want to read some of the posts in this forum, specifically for larger riders.

https://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdal...-200-lb-91-kg/
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Old 11-28-17, 01:21 PM
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Trek and other hybrids usually come with sturdy wheels that have a high spoke count. I don't think the OP will have a problem with buying the bike he wants.
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Old 11-28-17, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
An interesting point.

Do they design the bike and then test it afterward to determine the maximum weight capacity. Or do they decide on a weight capacity and then design the bike to meet it.
I bet they take all their stress test data and plug into a formula to come up with a conservative weight limit value. If marketing tells engineering that value is too low then the engineers would know how to tweak the design to get numbers marketing wants.
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Old 11-28-17, 02:31 PM
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It's just my opinion, but I do think the OP would be ill advised to get a road bike at this stage. A really heavy rider puts massive stresses on a bike, and not just the wheels, though that's the part that usually breaks first. I think he'd be well advised to go with something like a hardtail 29er mountain bike with some 35mm slick road/commuter tires on it. At the very least a decent hybrid would probably be a reasonable choice.

I don't think that the margin of safety he ought to be concerned about is whether or not he'll probably break the bike today or not. These bikes are engineered with a certain margin of safety that assumes a much, much lighter rider, which means at 320lbs he's probably already well into the designer's margin of safety, if not already beyond it. Will it break today? Probably not. Is "probably not" really good enough? It's always made me nervous as hell.

Btw, I rode a mountain bike all the way from 350lbs down to 275 or so and only then bought a road bike (the one I'd had when I was young was long gone by then), and I always still felt kind of nervous on it, and actually did break the original rear wheel that it came with. I didn't just break a spoke - I literally tore the spoke through the aluminum flange of the hub. And that was just riding over a railroad track without unweighting as I hit it. Fortunately I never had anything else fail on me like that, but bombing down descents at 40-50mph as a superclyde and realizing your bike was probably designed to be ridden by someone over 100lbs lighter can make for some serious reflection. "What if?"

Anyhow, everyone has an opinion, and that's mine, as someone who has ridden thousands of miles on several different bikes at weights both over and under the OP's.
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Old 11-28-17, 02:47 PM
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I had an aluminum road frame crack on me just prior to hitting 1,800 miles and I weigh 240. It was a 2004 Specialized Sequoia Elite. You'd think with a name like Sequoia it could stand up to years of abuse. However, I never abused it.
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Old 11-28-17, 04:22 PM
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At the time this was fun, but afterwards I was terrified by the "what if" possibilities: I did a 40something mile round trip ride up Mt. Lemmon near Tucson. So that's like 20 miles up, with something like 5500 feet of elevation. That was a pretty hard slog for me at my 275 lbs or so. Then, of course, I got to speed like 45 minutes just bombing down that mountain. Nothing serious happened, but afterwards I was thinking about it: were those brakes really up to it? What abuse does a 275-lb guy put on 2003-era Ultegra 6500 hardware that already has thousands of miles on it by 2013? All it would have taken was for the front brakes to fail somehow while I was bombing down that winding road at 40+mph and I might not be here typing this right now.

Now, nothing happened. And I have no idea how close that equipment came to actually failing, and there's no way I'll ever know. But I can say, with confidence, that at 275 lbs I was much closer to that line than a 175 lb rider would have been. At 320 lbs it would just be that much worse. Anyhow, I posted my $.02 earlier, and just gave you another $.02. Now you've got $.04.
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Old 11-28-17, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Something doesn't add up here.
Seems straightforward to me.

Design all your road frames according to similar sets of durability requirements, the higher-end bikes end up lighter, and pick a single boilerplate max weight figure that's simple for sales and leaves you with decent liability clearance.
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Old 11-28-17, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GoProTrek View Post
Hi, I am 53 and 6'-1 at 320 lbs, I wanna start riding again and want a Trek bike. i have a budget of 750 bucks but bike descriptions on Treks site say nothing about Maximum weights....just curious, the guy at the bike shop said he been there 3 years and never heard anything about weight limits. just worried about crushing an aluminum frame. Thanks


I'd talk to your Trek dealer , if I were in your situation.
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Old 11-28-17, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
While the wheels might be the limiting factor on how much the bikes can carry, that's not the point of my post. The weight limit for all of Trek's road bikes is the same from top of the range to the bottom. That covers a very wide range of wheels and frame materials. Each bike should have a separate weight carrying ability based on its construction and materials but they just use a blanket number which says to me that it's just a CYA policy and has little to no basis in fact.

On the other hand, GoProTrek's budget doesn't say carbon or even aluminum road bike. His budget says hybrid and there is no weight limit listed for those. I'm not saying that there isn't a weight limit for hybrids, only that Trek doesn't list one.

GoProTrek's weight is probably going to push the machine built wheels to the limit and he will likely experience some spoke failures but that bridge can be crossed when he comes to it.
I wasnít referring to your post at all, just a general comment to the OP is all that was intended. No question about possibly being just a blanket weight limit disclaimer by Trek. Companies get sued almost daily for trivial omissions that are clerical but the civil law system has made lawsuits a growth industrry at a cost to all of us.

My CAAD 10 had a weight limit established by the Fulcrum wheel set as all CAAD 10 frames for 2012 were identical in their construction. No idea about Treks since I donít own one.

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Old 11-28-17, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Yes. You need to bring your weight to 250lbs to ride aluminum. Do this and award yourself with a nice, light bicycle.
Now that's just ridiculous. Obviously as one continues to lose weight, they need to trade up to heavier and heavier bikes to offset the weight loss.

This is what you buy when you reach your goal weight:

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Old 11-28-17, 06:32 PM
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I would ride any material of bike at your weight providing your bike is in good condition, which of course it would be if it was new from a shop.
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