Cycling is a universal pursuit, which means that it should be enjoyable for people of all shapes and sizes. Still, it is understandable that larger cyclists may struggle to find the right bike for them, as many regular bikes are built with average body types in mind.
Larger cyclists (200 pounds and over) will need to consider a number of factors before they select the right road bike for them. Here we will take a look at some of the things that you will need to look out for if you fall into this category.
Bike saddles can be uncomfortable at the best of times, so it is important to find one that offers the most amount of support possible, particularly if you are intending to cycle on a regular basis.
The first thing you should look at is the saddle width, which should be capable of providing support for both of your sit bones so that you don’t end up sliding from one side of the saddle to the other. A general rule of thumb is that those with slightly larger posteriors should look for a wider saddle, as they may find that regular saddles simply don’t offer the support that they need.
The material used in the saddle is also a big factor. While many will want to opt for foam saddles in the belief that they provide more cushioning, they are also more prone to wear and tear, which means you may find yourself replacing them sooner rather than later. Larger individuals may find that they are better served by a leather saddle, as they are more able to withstand the rigours of everyday use.
With the right saddle in place, the larger cyclist will then need to consider the wheels of their bike. All wheels have a set weight limit, which means they are liable to bend and distort if the person riding the bike exceeds that limit.
If you are concerned about this being an issue for you, the best first step is to speak to a professional bike fitter or your local bike shop and get their opinion. They will be able to provide you with more information about the recommended weight limits for different types of wheel, allowing you to pick the right ones for your body type right off the bat. This not only saves you money in wheel replacements, but also ensures you experience a much more safe and comfortable ride.
The majority of modern bike frames are tested with an average weight of 185 pounds in mind, but in reality they will be able to handle quite a bit more than that.
Still, if you feel that the frame may be a problem, it is recommended that you consider the material the frame is made from before making your purchase.
Steel offers the most amount of strength and is still pretty compliant. The only negative about steel is that it is somewhat heavy. Heavy just means a better workout!
Titanium is nearly bulletproof, it is stiff but has a decent amount of shock absorption. The downside is it is relatively expensive and very difficult to repair.
Aluminum is very stiff, maybe a little too stiff making the ride a little too harsh. You would have to decide for yourself.
Carbon Fiber can be made to whatever strength, stiffness or design the creator sees fit. Cabon Fiber is usually the best bet, but it is also the most expensive. There are bikes specifically designed for bigger cyclists, make sure you ask before you buy.
For more detail about the pros and cons of carbon fiber vs aluminum vs steel vs titanium read this article.
Most modern cycling gear is created with keeping the rider cool during their journey in mind. While this is a little more difficult for larger riders, in most cases you will find the right choices in gear makes a big difference.
Try to keep to light-coloured clothing made using a breathable material, such as Lycra, wherever possible. You should also never, ever forgo your helmet, even if it makes you feel hot when riding. Again, lighter colours and plenty of vents in the helmet will help to mitigate this issue, as will ensuring you are properly hydrated throughout your journey.