Everyone has the right to ride a bike whether you big, tall, short etc. However there are considerations that need to factored in as a big rider. Finding the best bicycles for heavy people isn’t as easy as picking the bike with the best colors or features. There’s a bit more to it which I hope to explain now so that you don’t end up with a squashed lemon.
We all rode bicycles as kids, but as we got older cars became more practical. Along with being more practical, many of us put on a few too many unwanted pounds. Some of us don’t care about being fat or overweight, but some of us miss the feeling of freedom a bike gave to us as youngsters.
But with a big belly and a tiring body, the thought of picking up a bicycle again for the first time in 20 years can be somewhat off putting. Not too mention our old bikes would no longer support our body weight.
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The problem with buying just any bike is that the majority of bicycles are not designed for heavy people. Most bikes barely have a 220 pound or 240 pound weight capacity. My kids are getting to the ages now where they want to go bike riding as a family. Which I am very excited about. Not only does it get the kids away from the iPads, it also will help me and my partner loose some of those extra pounds.
But as quickly as I was excited I was just as quick to feel embarrassed and somewhat put off by the idea. Why?. Well for starters I’m well over the average bike weight capacity, so the bikes hiding away in storage are no longer applicable.
But due to my own insecurities of being quite heavy and large, I feel somewhat intimidated and or embarrassed. Mind you this was before I did some actual research into bikes for heavy people.
But knowing now there are actual bikes built for heavier people, I’m more at ease with the idea of family bike trips. I can ignore those pesky onlookers who shake their heads in disgust as that’s not uncommon these days anyways. Plus I’m actually doing something about increasing my health, so screw those guys anyways.
The first thing I look for with any product that has to bare the grunt of my weight is weight capacity. This is especially important when it comes to buying a heavy duty bicycle.
The fear of falling from a bike going at any speed is quite overwhelming as a larger guy. So ensuring the bike can actually handle my body weight is extremely important to me. I wouldn’t even risk a bike that is rated to 220 pounds, no chance at all.
But the weight capacity is also important for more than just your safety. It’s also put in place for many warranty claims. If you’re heavier than the bikes weight rating and the bike fails on you, the warranty can be come void. Don’t think that they won’t try and use this against you, because they will.
After looking at the weight capacity of the bike (Many bikes won’t state this clearly either) the second most important function is the wheels on the bike. As a heavier rider, the most amount of pressure is being forced onto the wheels making them the weakest contact point for a heavy person.
But don’t stress out if you find the near perfect big mans bike only to discover the wheels are too weak. Because you can quite easily get a new set of rims from your local bike store. Just ensure they are a heavy duty design preferably stainless steel. Don’t settle for the cheap and nasty options as breaking the rim of a bike while in motion can end up very badly for you and the bike.
When it comes to tire, the bulkier and beefier the better. A good strong touring tire can work off a higher pressure compared to thinner tires. So they can resist the weight better and also deter punctures easier.
Before I reveal the best bicycles for heavy people, you need to first decide on what type of bike you want. Bikes come in all shapes and sizes, but some are better designed for bigger people.
For instance a road bike is great for flat surfaces like bitumen and are very lightweight, they are not the best option for a heavy person. The frame is and rims are too thin and could buckle under the pressure. This will of course depend on how heavy you are exactly.
But what I’m leaning more towards are cruiser bikes or mountain bikes. These bikes are bikes are designed for more heavy duty use, especially off road mountain bikes. Whereas a cruiser bike is a much better option for us really overweight guys with prominent beer bellies.
The good thing about cruiser bikes are that you sit more straight up compared to hunched over like on a racing bike. When you have a large stomach, hunching over is not really an option, so the racer is out. But not only does a cruiser over greater stomach room, it’s also better for people with bad backs. So it’s a win win for me.
While I’m going to try not overthink it as riding a bicycle is meant to be more fun, compared to staying at a wall on an exercise bike, I will be showing heavy duty bicycles below that do state their weight capacities so you can go from there.
Before you take a look at these heavy duty bikes below, have you considered an electric bike for heavy people?. These are regular bikes with a foot pedal, but also feature a battery powered motor. Having the addition of the motor makes it easier for us bigger people to get up hills and go on long rides without tiring out too much.
When it comes to bike brands that specialize in high weight capacities, the one brand that comes to mind is Zize. ‘A New Leaf 2.0’ is the name of the bicycle by Zize and this bike has a whopping 550 pound weight capacity. There’s not many other brands that come remotely close to this capacity.
These bikes are specifically made to handle heavy weights. But because of this luxury and the fact they clearly dominate this heavy duty bicycle industry, the bikes are far from cheap.
In fact they are simply too expensive for most riders. However, if you are close to 500 pounds and need the peace of mind a heavy duty bike like this offers, it is well worth the investment. But if you’re closer to 400 pounds, perhaps have a look at the more affordable options below.
As I briefly mentioned above, a cruiser bicycle is my preferred big mans bike. The style and design of the bike simply work for a big person. The fact you can sit up straight while cruising around not only gives you extra room in the front end, but it also helps with sore backs.
The best cruiser bike for a large person that I’ve come across is the Firmstrong Bruiser Man. This beast of a bike has a high weight capacity of 350 pounds, which is 110 to 130 pounds higher than your average bike. So there is certainly the heavy duty rating to go with this bike. It’s also a much more affordable option compared to the 550 lb capacity Zize bike. You can check price on amazon here.
What’s also great about this bike for the larger rider is that the frame has been extended by 4 inches. What this means is the distance between the handlebars and the seat pole has an increased length of 4 inches. Which gives you extra room to move. Being a bigger person, it’s easy to feel confined. But with the Bruiser Man bike, the extra cockpit room is a godsend.
Having the increased frame size also makes this bike quite good for big and tall riders. Longer legs now have the freedom to fully extend without your knees hitting the handlebars or your chin.
The other features that make the Firmstrong a good choice for heavy people include:
So you can see its got a number of boxes ticked when it comes to handling the heavier rider, but what options do you get in terms of cycling speed. Many people like the cruiser style of bike for its simplicity due to the one speed design.
But with the Firmstrong you get to choose how many speeds you want, along with the bikes colors. So whether you want to have an easy simplistic style of riding you can go with the one speed option.
But if you want more of a challenge, you can get up to 7 speeds. Just be sure to check the box that says ‘7-Speed’. Having the 7-speed bike will enable you to take on hills and go faster on longer rides. Overall I find the Firmstrong Bruiser Man to be the best cruiser bike for heavy riders. The heavy duty frame to the oversized wheels and seat make this a great choice.
While we are on the cruiser bandwagon, it’s time for the Women’s option. Also by Firmstrong, the ‘Urban Lady’ cruiser bike is a great choice for plus size women. With a 300 pound weight capacity and the ease of use, plus size women can once again get back into riding.
Because its also a Firmstrong bike, you get pretty similar features to that of the Mens bike. An oversized padded seat with spring suspension and beefy 2.125″ tires. When you compare the tires of the Urban Lady bike to a standard racing bike, the width is more than double. Most road bike have a width of just under 1 inch and the Urban Lady is over 2 inches wide. So more area to counter balance the wight impact.
Like the Mens bike, this too has adjustable handlebars and seat height so you can sit up perfectly straight for a easier ride. Which is also why I like cruisers as my preferred bicycle for large people. Because our weight is more centered on these bikes, we’re not applying too much downward pressure on the front of the bike. Which can cause the bike to flip with excessive weight.
The plus size ladies bike ‘Urban Lady’ also comes with varying speed options. From one speed up to 7 speed. Another option you have is to add on a bell and matching fenders if you choose. But I think the hardest decision will be choosing a color. There are many beautiful colors for a women to chose from. But overall, I really like this bike for plus size ladies. It’s the type of bicycle my Wife has and she just loves the simplicity and space to move.
As a heavy person, a mountain bike is the next best choice behind a cruiser bicycle. Mountain bikes are designed for high impact use and therefor are more heavy duty. But weight capacity still applies, especially if you don’t want to void the warranty.
But many bikes don’t state their weight capacities, which makes it harder for us big riders to ensure we are not going to void warranty and or injure ourselves. However below you can find 2 mountain bikes for heavy people, both by Merax and both have a weight capacity of 330 pounds.
The Merax Finess is a 21 speed mountain bike on a 19 inch frame which is typically designed for people under 6 foot. It comes with larger double wall 26 inch rims but if you’re anywhere near the 330 pound capacity, don’t treat this like a jumping mountain bike.
Sure it can handle some off road duty, but the forks will likely not handle the excessive weight under the load of jumping. I feel Merax went a bit cheap on the forks so the front suspension is not the best. But you can always change this out for a more heavy duty fork at some point.
But if you simply want a mountain bike that can handle your heavy weight and can go off road, the Finess is not a bad option. However I would look into getting wider tires eventually, especially for loose and slick trails.
Overall the Merax Finess is not a bad bike at all. For the price it could easily be compared to one double the price. Had they invested more in a stronger front suspension fork, this bike would make others twice the price look like rip offs.
Also a 21 speed bike, this Merax will cater to most if not all your biking adventures. When you see the price on amazon, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is just another box store crappy bike. But the truth is that it’s quite a good bike for the price. Materials used are high quality and the tires and brakes are rather heavy duty.
The only thing I would consider changing is the seat, especially as a bigger rider. It’s quite small and not overly comfortable. So pick up a oversized seat which is well padded and this mountain bike becomes one of the best for heavy people without spending a fortune.