Author Topic: Bike recommendations for heavy people  (Read 9139 times)

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Offline chrisbosco

Bike recommendations for heavy people
« on: February 06, 2010, 07:44:50 pm »
Hi All,

My brother and I weigh 300 and 365 lbs and would like to get into touring.  I have some experience doing 100 mile trips (about 100 pounds ago!) and I lose weight easily, so I will be able to do them again in about 4 months or so.  I think my brother will be longer to get weight off, so we need to really look into this.  I currently have a Gary Fisher trail bike with 27mm? wide wheels and I know they are no good at the weight I'm currently at.  My brother is currently riding a Trek mountain bike with the wider tires and road treads.  Any advice ?

Offline Turk

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 08:32:27 pm »
If you don't mind spending a little more I'd recommend buying custom-made bikes. If you live near a big city you might be able to find somebody local to accomodate you. I'd do some searching on the internet and exchange a few emails. Some of the more popular manufacturers such as Trek might be able to help you out, as well as websites such as Nashbar and Performance.

I don't think custom-made bikes would cost a fortune. You have an advantage in this regard because you need two bikes. I suspect there are bicycle engineering types who would like to do something for you. Also, perhaps it's been done before. If nothing else they might be able to steer you to commercially available bikes.

Maybe a tandem would work as well, so maybe you don't need two bikes. That would be some tandem.

Good luck.

Offline whittierider

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 10:50:09 pm »
There's Supersize Cycle at http://www.supersizedcycles.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1 , but the main problem for most bikes is the strength of the wheels, not the frame.  You'll definitely need wheels that are a lot stronger than what comes stock on most bikes.  I've read from several 350-pounders on the forums on carbon frames though, with no problem there.  Aluminum frames seem to be the most likely ones to have a weight limit; although we had a neighbor who weighed something like 260 or 280 pounds and got a high-end steel bike and he broke it his 3rd time out.

You might check with Co-Motion too.  They have, or at least used to have, the Bison, which was a good bike for very heavy riders.  Co-Motion is one of the major tandem makers, so they definitely know how to do it.

Offline scott.laughlin

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 11:01:25 pm »
Find someone locally who knows about tandems.  Check on 48-spoke wheels. 

Offline chrisbosco

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2010, 11:28:07 pm »
Thank you all so much!  I'll start checking these options out.

Offline briwasson

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 11:45:03 am »
I agree that it's more about the wheels than the frame, assuming you have a reasonably good frame to start with.

I'd go with 26" wheels, hands-down, as they are generally much stronger than 700c for a similar spoke count. A well-built 26" wheel with 36 spokes should be fine. 40 spokes will be indestructible nearly. Our touring tandem has 26" wheels, and we have both 40- and 48-spoke wheelsets. We rarely use the 48 spoke set, even when touring. Total bike weight when touring is probably a bit under 500 pounds, and tandems are harder on wheels than singles.

I think a well-made hardtail MTB frame with well-built wheels would be fine for your use. You can get good deals on used hardtail/no front suspension MTB frames from the 80s/90s, many of which are very well suited for touring use. I use a late 90s Co-Motion MTB frame (w/S&S couplers) for a touring bike. I built it up with touring components and it works great.

Of course, you'll want to use a wider tire, too, to protect the rim more due to carrying more weight.

Offline velo

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 12:41:12 pm »
I'll second tandem wheels. 48 spoke tandem wheels might be the ticket. Phil Wood makes some nice tandem hubs.  Bigger tires would also help cushion the ride and protect your wheels.

Depending on your height a Surly Long Haul Trucker with 26 inch wheels might be a good choice, those frames are stout. If you have the crash you could always get a really beefy custom frame built up.

You could also consider a 2 wheeled trailer for gear as this will take some weight off of your frame. Just an added option.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 12:47:46 pm »
Hi All,

My brother and I weigh 300 and 365 lbs and would like to get into touring.  I have some experience doing 100 mile trips (about 100 pounds ago!) and I lose weight easily, so I will be able to do them again in about 4 months or so.  I think my brother will be longer to get weight off, so we need to really look into this.  I currently have a Gary Fisher trail bike with 27mm? wide wheels and I know they are no good at the weight I'm currently at.  My brother is currently riding a Trek mountain bike with the wider tires and road treads.  Any advice ?

You are going to have some challenges here.  MAVIC made a wheelset once that was designed for rider that way up to 160 pounds.  Some framesets may support your weight but have too much flex to really be rideable.

I too would steer you to a custom bike.  I can vouch for Co-Motion and Waterford.  If you get one that takes tandem wheels, you should have enough strength for you purposes.   These wheelsets should easily accommodate your weight.
Danno

Offline Tourista829

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 01:30:34 pm »
I agree with Paddleboy17, on his recommendations. He owns a Waterford and I a Comotion Norwester Tour.  He loves his bike, and for good reason, it is top of the line. I would also suggest a Comotion Americano. It is designed for weight it can handle up to 350-400 pounds of people and gear. As stated in other posts, the rear end is set up like their tandems and their rear wheel is almost bomb proof. Although either options are expensive, look at it as an investment. If you buy one of these, you will enjoy them for many years. Comotion also makes a Pangea, which is their touring bike on a 26" wheel. I also believe, as stated above, there are other, more reasonably priced bicycles, that with a little upgrade of rims, spokes and other components, would be more than adequate :)

Offline whittierider

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2010, 02:43:16 pm »
Quote
Find someone locally who knows about tandems.  Check on 48-spoke wheels.
Unfortunately single bikes can't take a tandem rear wheel.  A primary source of the tandem's rear-wheel strength comes not from being beefier, but from having a greater spoke bracing angle, which requires that it be wider, which requires wider dropout spacing.  While single road bikes' rear dropout spacing is 130mm (126mm in the 1980's when freewheels had a maximum of 6 to 7 cogs, and 120mm in the 1950's to 1970's when 5-speed was almost universal), tandems' is usually 145 or 160mm.  They don't just put a longer axle and more spacers on it and use a standard hub shell, but instead, the tandem hub shell has the flanges farther apart.  Santana takes advantage of a really wide spoke bracing angle and sells a pair of 16-spoke tandem wheels which have proven to be very durable and reliable.



The one or two bikes I'm aware of that Co-Motion made for very heavy people did in fact have the tandem dropout spacing.

Short of going that route, mountain bikes' rear dropout spacing is 135mm, which gives a bit of an advantage over road bikes' 130mm, and their spoke bracing angle is further improved by having the smaller diameter rim, 559mm BSD versus 622 for road bikes with 700c tires.  And of course MTB's wheels are made a little beefier too.

All other variables being equal, adding spokes does of course help, but the last factor and by no means the least is the quality of the wheel build.  Peter White at http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/wheels.asp knows wheel building better than anyone else I know.  I first heard of him through the tandem forum and the many, many members who had 36-spoke tandem wheels he had built for them that they had been extremely happy with.  After having a lot of problems with a popular brand, I and my family have had Peter White build us several wheels, all of which have been totally trouble-free.  Tell him you weigh 365 pounds by yourself, and you want to tour, and he will figure out a way to give you a good pair of wheels.

BTW, there are a lot of tandem teams on 23mm tires.  We used 25's for awhile and didn't get any pinch flats (inflating to 10% above what's printed on the tire, as is customary for tandems and the dealer told us to do) but went to 28's for the less-harsh ride on our bad roads.  We've tried 32's but I as the captain don't like the lack of side-to-side firmness.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 03:18:42 pm by whittierider »

Offline gregg

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2010, 05:37:24 pm »
Another bike you might consider is the Bombadil from Rivendell bikes http://www.rivbike.com. The frame goes for about 2 grand and (according to their website) was built to carry a heavy load. You could give them a call if you had some questions about it.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2010, 06:16:10 pm »
Gregg, I like this Rivendell frame, it looks very strong. Thanks

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 10:56:02 am »
"Unfortunately single bikes can't take a tandem rear wheel."

Why would they change that.  In '99 my crappy rear wheel (I didn't do enough research when buiyng my touring bike) on my C'98 annodale T-700 was near death in Bowling Green, OH.  I hard it replaced with a 48 spoke tandem wheel that was pulled off a Santana.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2010, 11:43:48 am »
"Unfortunately single bikes can't take a tandem rear wheel."

Why would they change that.  In '99 my crappy rear wheel (I didn't do enough research when buiyng my touring bike) on my C'98 annodale T-700 was near death in Bowling Green, OH.  I hard it replaced with a 48 spoke tandem wheel that was pulled off a Santana.

It all has to do with the spacing on the rear drop puts.  I have an old Paramount frame that has 126mm dropouts, but I can fit a 130mm width wheel in.  The notion of a tandem wheel implies that it is dishless, and not neccessarily 145mm wide.  I think I have heard about a 135mm wide tandem wheel but I don't remember where.  I suppose it is possible that Santana could have come with dished wheels.  You might be able to squeeze a 135mm dishless wheel into a frame designed for a 130mm dropouts.

I don't track Santana so thre are limits on how much I can comment.
Danno

Offline whittierider

Re: Bike recommendations for heavy people
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 04:07:46 pm »
I think Santana is exclusively 160mm now.  That's about an inch and a quarter wider than modern single road bikes' rear dropout spacing.  That's huge.  It's almost 1-5/8" wider than the 120mm that was used in the 1970's.  I started getting interested in tandems in the 1970's, and back then there were a lot of breakdowns, especially in the rear wheel.  Back then, a tandem wheel was basically the same as a single-bike wheel but with more spokes.  Tandems have come a long way since then, and are quite reliable now, but this matter of the width of the rear wheel is a big part of it, so much so that Santana can sell 16-spoke tandem wheels that are far more reliable than the 48-spokers of the 1970's.  Our tandem is a Burley, not a Santana, and it has 145mm spacing; but it's not just a regular hub shell with a different axle to reduce the dish.  It is very much a tandem hub.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 04:11:05 pm by whittierider »