Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, I've been riding mountain bikes since the mid 90s and I've finally decided I want to try a road bike. Let me start out by saying, I'm very over weight. I have a medical issue that requires medication that causes weight gain. After years of being sedentary(about 6), I decided I want to at least try to lose weight and get healthier. I started my journey at 6' and 368 pounds. After 2 months of walking, crossfit, and riding my mountain bike, I'm down to 351. I'm getting to the point where I want to do some longer rides, but my mountains bike really doesn't fit the bill for road riding. I started out riding 7 miles, I've increased it to 9.5 miles, and have ridden 18 miles with a goal of riding 20 miles next week.

So my question is, how much weight is too much? I've set a short term goal of 330 pounds by the end of July. Should I wait longer? When I do start looking, what should I look at? Will I be able to ride a carbon bike, or should I stick with aluminum or cro-mo? My budget is going to be about $1000-$1500 and I want to buy the best bike possible so I'm not looking for a new bike in 1 or 2 years. Sorry about all the questions at once. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Used is a distinct possibility. I've been scouring Craigslist and have seen a few carbon bikes in my price range. It becomes a moot point though if the weight limit of a carbon bike is, say 275 pounds.
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
Used is a distinct possibility. I've been scouring Craigslist and have seen a few carbon bikes in my price range. It becomes a moot point though if the weight limit of a carbon bike is, say 275 pounds.
No offense meant, because I give you credit for making some positive lifestyle choices, but there are weight limits of around 250 lbs. for many CF bikes.

For that reason (but there are others, including your price range) for a first bike (and the time being), I'd suggest staying with alu or steel. There are several good offerings in the $1-1.5k range.

Visit some LBS's, discuss your intended uses/ goals, get set up on some makes/ models of interest and head out on the roads for test rides.

Since you're coming from a MTB, you may prefer a slghtly more upright rider position, so consider some endurance/ relaxed geo bikes like the Specialized Secteur, Giant Defy and C'dale Synapse, among others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
940 Posts
Why is the MTB not good for riding that far? For the aim of the exercise (calorie use, fitness, building endurance) I would have thought it was fine? It is comfortable, and has good gearing? I rode my very old MTB (20 yr old plus) for plenty of road miles as part of my entrance into riding. You can have a comfy saddle on it, and not worry about getting flats, and the weight of the bike is an advantage when you look at the whole point of the exercise? Once you are lighter you will have more choice and more money if you start saving now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,381 Posts
Hey there Askibum!

I would think that you have several options available. However, it all depends upon the amount of patience you're able to muster. My first bit of advice would be for you to do exactly what you're doing right now, relentlessly.

Keep up the good work!

Once you've lost about 25lbs. or more, then get a chromoly steel road bike, possibly even a touring road bike. I would suggest that you take a look at Surly, Salsa, Raleigh, and SOMA.

I would advise against buying aluminum, until the weight substantially gets reduced. Aluminum is use-dependent, and as such, it remembers all of the stress cycles under which it has been subjected. The more weight the cyclist subjects the aluminum frame to, the faster the frame will reach its fail date.

IMO, carbon fiber is simply out of the question for anybody over 300lbs. lbs
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
I would advise against buying aluminum, until he weight substantially gets reduced. Aluminum is use-dependent, and as such, it remembers all of the stress cycles under which it has been subjected. The more weight the cyclist subjects the aluminum frame to, the faster the frame will reach its fail date.
Just as a FYI, you're referring to two different characteristics. The first relates to alu's fatigue strength...
One important structural limitation of aluminium alloys is their fatigue strength. Unlike steels, aluminium alloys have no well-defined fatigue limit, meaning that fatigue failure eventually occurs, under even very small cyclic loadings. This implies that engineers must assess these loads and design for a fixed life rather than an infinite life.

... the second (frame failure) relates to stressing a material just beyond its ultimate tensile strength...
Ultimate tensile strength (UTS), often shortened to tensile strength (TS) or ultimate strength,[1][2] is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before failing or breaking.

Sources:
Fatigue limit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ultimate tensile strength - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That given, I think either alu or steel are viable options for the OP. I agree that 1) CF should be avoided and 2)weight still being a consideration, newer, mid-range alu most steel is preferable to older, but IIRC his budget allows for that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
No matter what bike you choose, pay very close attention to the wheels. You will likely need 36 spoke wheels with strong rims. If you go to your local bike shop there is a good chance they'll set you up with a decent bike and help you upgrade after you lose weight.

Congrats on your resolve to make a change.
 

·
Cranky Old Bastard
Joined
·
2,337 Posts
So my question is, how much weight is too much? Will I be able to ride a carbon bike, or should I stick with aluminum or cro-mo? My budget is going to be about $1000-$1500 and I want to buy the best bike possible so I'm not looking for a new bike in 1 or 2 years.
Since your weight is the important factor here, it only makes sense to me to focus on bikes that are made to carry weight: touring bikes. Touring bikes are the only ones designed for your weight; some are rated to carry close to 100lbs along with the rider.

This Nashbar touring bike has a steel frame and fork and 36-spoke wheels, Shimano 105 STI shifters and derailleurs and a triple crankset that will make it easier to ride up hills.
Nashbar Steel Touring Bike - Drop Bar Road

The regular price is $699 but Nashbar often has sales of up to 20% off; that's an amazing deal for a bike with 105 drivetrain.
As I write this there is an 11% off sale lasting a few more hours but I'd sign up for their sale emails and wait for a bigger discount.
If you buy one of these you should take it to your LBS and pay them to check the bike over and fit it to you.

20 years ago my first real road bike was a Nashbar touring bike and it was a very nice bike at a very low price. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of these; the quality, warranty and service are very good. Read the reviews on the website.

Obviously there are many more brands you can consider but I hope you see the sense in limiting your search to touring bikes.


 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
No matter what bike you choose, pay very close attention to the wheels. You will likely need 36 spoke wheels with strong rims. If you go to your local bike shop there is a good chance they'll set you up with a decent bike and help you upgrade after you lose weight.

Congrats on your resolve to make a change.
Both excellent points re: wheelsets and LBS services. :thumbsup:

As to the touring bike, while I agree that because they're generally constructed with mid-range steel with consideration made to weight loads, they're a viable option, I don't believe they're somehow the only or obvious choice for the OP.

Many low to mid-range alu/ steel race/ relaxed geo offerings can accommodate the OP's weight, and (as the poster above mentions), wheelsets are another important consideration, which brings us to...

... the LBS versus online argument. Considering this is the OP's first road bike and has some special weight considerations, IMO he would benefit from an LBS's value added services like sizing/ fit assistance, along with bike/ wheelset selection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the advice and information. I think I'll wait until I get under 300 pounds, then look for an aluminum bike. If I don't buy used, I will definitely buy from a LBS. I've found one that has taken very good care of me in the past couple months as I made my re-entry into riding.:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,345 Posts
I hate to be the party pooper but very few road bikes are designed to handle 330 pounds. If I were you I would simply upgrade the MTB and wait for another 75 to 100 pounds to drop.

The only road bikes that can handle that with any degree of certainty are touring designated bikes that look like road bikes but are more stouter to handle the additional weight of touring gear.

To make the MTB roll better on the street simply find a pair of smooth road tires and a narrower size. For example Continental makes a almost smooth threaded tire for MTB's called the Sport Contact, look at those or those types of threads. Also if your MTB has the stock tire size on it you can safety go down to next size narrower, for example if your bike uses 26 x 2.0 tire you can use 26 x 1.9 and maybe even 1.6 with no problems. Also incorporate lighter tubes for that application.

I would save your money and not get a new bike, then when you do drop more weight use the money as a reward to get an actual road bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,469 Posts
He... After 2 months of walking, crossfit, and riding my mountain bike, I'm down to 351. I'm getting to the point where I want to do some longer rides, but my mountains bike really doesn't fit the bill for road riding. I started out riding 7 miles, I've increased it to 9.5 miles, and have ridden 18 miles with a goal of riding 20 miles next week.
..
Hmm you may want to stay on your mtn bike for a while longer. 350 is still quite large and you may have issues getting a good comfortable fit on a road bike. I have to ask that why does the mtn bike not work on the roads? I have mtn bike too and I know is not as efficient as the road bike, but if you are looking to lose weight does that make a difference? You can put road slicks on a mtn bike to get it roll smoother and at your weight you will probably need the wider tires too.

Really to be perfectly honest don't spend $$$ on bike right now. If you want to lose weight make the reward to get to your final target weight to get that dream bike. This does two things. 1) gives you a target to shoot for and 2) accounts for changes in fit with weight loss. What is comfortable a 350lbs will not be comfortable at 250 or 200lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
Why not just get urban tires for the MTB? I rode my MTB up to 20 miles a time before I had enough money to get my road bike. Was it tougher? Yea, because I just aired up the tires and rode it.

Just spend $50-60 on some good urban tires and ride the heck out of the MTB.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,666 Posts
No matter what bike you choose, pay very close attention to the wheels. You will likely need 36 spoke wheels with strong rims. If you go to your local bike shop there is a good chance they'll set you up with a decent bike and help you upgrade after you lose weight.

Congrats on your resolve to make a change.
Along with that.....pay attention to tire size that the frame can take. At your weight you'll definitely benefit from using tires bigger than the typical 23-25mm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,776 Posts
I'm a bigger dude myself @ 220. The only thing I have to add to this conversation is my personal experience of wheel selection:

At 220 I had a pair of these sexy road wheels with 20 spokes and the bicycle felt like I was climbing a hill of jello. I hit maybe one or two potholes and it was lights out. the wheels needed truing. I got a custom set of wheels that's more appropriate to my weight and the difference was huge! Unfortunately they also came with a price tag.

If your selection of a non-carbon material can be thought of as a modifier or compromise for your weight, then you'll have to make another one in the form of special wheel which will better support your weight.

However, before I bought a road bike I rode around on my hybrid, with 28 width city tires (a step up above road slicks) for quite some time. I got the benefits of a beefier frame, beefier rims and the bike flew!!!

$80 later and you could be in business, ride that for a week and then see...
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
I hate to be the party pooper but very few road bikes are designed to handle 330 pounds.

The only road bikes that can handle that with any degree of certainty are touring designated bikes that look like road bikes but are more stouter to handle the additional weight of touring gear.
While I won't deny that 1) some manufacturers have frame weight limits and 2) 300+ lbs. is going to stress most frames, I don't understand what makes a touring bike in some way 'stouter'.

Like any other frame, tourers are welded. Ironically, unlike many tourers, a number of steel race/ relaxed geo bike manufacturers use air hardened steel, which actually strengthens the welded (heated) areas. Also, no matter what their (steel) tubing, odds are their life starts out as 4130 chromoly, so no difference there.

A tourers wheelbase is stretched and trail higher when compared to some other road bikes, but that's to stabilize handling, compensating for cargo loads. Doesn't add any strength.

And considering a riders weight distribution is ~40/ 60 (f/r) on a correctly sized/ fitted bike, there's going be be ~130 lbs. at the front. That shouldn't be an issue, but if it were of concern, there are chromoly's that can be swapped - an advantage of dealing with a reputable LBS.

All that said, I think as long as the OP stays clear of thin walled alu/ steel tubing, he'll be fine. More importantly (and as others have noted), the bike should be equipped with a robust wheelset and the widest tire a frame/ fork can accommodate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,345 Posts
While I won't deny that 1) some manufacturers have frame weight limits and 2) 300+ lbs. is going to stress most frames, I don't understand what makes a touring bike in some way 'stouter'.

All that said, I think as long as the OP stays clear of thin walled alu/ steel tubing, he'll be fine. More importantly (and as others have noted), the bike should be equipped with a robust wheelset and the widest tire a frame/ fork can accommodate.
Touring bikes weigh more due to thicker walled aluminum and steel, the same opposite thing you told the op to stay away from...thin walled. This is why touring frames weigh more, typically right about the 26 pound range. This is why too that CF frame manufactures recommend strongly against using their CF frames for loaded touring.

And Gunnar at: Bikes states: "we use heavier tubes for high-stress applications like anything off-road or unsupported touring."
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
Touring bikes weigh more due to thicker walled aluminum and steel, the same opposite thing you told the op to stay away from...thin walled. This is why touring frames weigh more, typically right about the 26 pound range. This is why too that CF frame manufactures recommend strongly against using their CF frames for loaded touring.

And Gunnar at: Bikes states: "we use heavier tubes for high-stress applications like anything off-road or unsupported touring."
I've addressed everything you mentioned above in my earlier post(s).

This isn't an either/ or decision. Mid-priced bikes aren't going to have thin walled OX tubing like ~$900 Gunnar Roadie or Sport frame or TT S3 like a Waterford. They're going to have mid-range steel tubing just like a touring bike. So, save for the geo and possibly fork (which I also addressed), nothing's different between a tourer or road bike.

A frames total weight capacity doesn't differentiate between rider, bike or cargo. Weight, is weight, but where the weight is placed on the bike does matter. So (also as mentioned previously) designers accommodate anticipated loads by making geo changes to tourers.

OP: You've been offered a number of options that will likely suite your situation, but I wouldn't completely ignore a 'standard' (for lack of a better word) drop bar road bike in your shopping. Just make sure the wheelset is up to the task and run the widest tires the frameset will accommodate.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top