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I’ve always been a big guy. In fact, I remember breaking my first bike when I was only 11 years old. Admittedly, I had just jumped it on a giant wooden ramp my buddy Drew and I had built (and I broke my collar bone at the same time) but it was still an omen of things to come.
Despite the height and average weight of men creeping up year after year, bikes for big and tall guys tend to be in short supply. Most companies seem to fear making big man bikes because they don’t want to be responsible for a fat out-of-shape fellow wrecking and rolling down a hill. Or maybe they think we just shouldn’t be in spandex. Either way, it remains true that bikes for 300 lb men are difficult to find. But here’s a secret, some of the best bikes for big guys aren’t directly marketed to them. They’re just great bikes with overbuilt components that will take a beating!
The only way to find bikes like this is to put in the hours to look at the specs, contact manufactuerers, and track down the maximum weight capacity of each one. Well, we did it. It tooks lots of hours and even more saddle time but we tracked down 5 of the best bikes for big and tall guys with a 300lb capacity (or more)! Let’s see the line-up!
What To Look For in a Bike for Big Guys:
There are two ways of conquering life: working on your strengths, or working on your weaknesses. However, there is only one way to get a bike that is suitable for big guys. And that is to find a bike that has the weak points patched up.
Since most bikes have the same failure points when they are ridden hard by heavy riders, let’s talk about what they are, what to look for, and what you can do if you find a bike that you love with an obvious weak point.
Weak Point #1: Wheels
If you’re a big guy and hop on a kids bike, it will most likely fail where the rubber meets the road. Literally. Because of the small contact surface between your wheels and the road, you are counting on a couple of inches of wheel (and tire) to support your entire weight. Luckily, bending wheels is a fairly common occurrence and so there are companies out there that make heavy duty options!
If you weigh in the neighborhood of 300lbs, you’ll want to look for a wheel with the maximum number of spokes. The spokes are what give a wheel its rigidity and strength so more spokes = high weight capacity.
While it differs slightly by bike type, the average bike typically has 28, 32, or 36 spokes. Bikes meant for aggressive riding or high weight capacities (such as BMX bikes or tandex bikes) can have as many as 48 spokes per wheel. Bikes for big and tall guys should have a minimum of 36 spokes. If you love a bike that doesn’t quite meet that standard, you can replace the wheels easily and cheaply with a set off of Amazon such as these.
Weak Point #2: Seat & Seat Post
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of bombing down a hill (or dropping off a city curb) and have your seat post bend in half. Or so I’ve heard.
While seat posts are far less likely to fail than wheels, it does happen. Most bikes come with adequate posts but, since you’re going to want to upgrade the seat anyway, get yourself a heavy duty post at the same time!
The strength of a seat post is typically dictated the by the thickness of the material used, so avoid ultra-light versions as they are shaved super thin.
Weak Point #3: Handlebars
Unless you have tried to cut away all unnecesary weight on your bike, your handlebars are probably fine, at least, if you don’t lean on them. If you tend to ride with your weight forward (on the handlebars), ride BMX, or want to try mountain biking, it may be time for an upgrade.
If you’re not into the idea of reinstalling and adjusting your cables after swapping handlebars, this is the kind of thing that a bike shop does all day long for cheap. Just take you bike in, tell them you are the hulk and need a real man handlebars for a big man bike, and they’ll set you up!
The Best of the Mountain Bikes for Big and Tall Guys
Ever since I was a kid, mountain biking and BMX were the two types of cycling that attracted me more than any other. If you’re a big guy looking for a mountain bike I’m sure you’ll agree…cycling dozens of miles around cars on city roads isn’t my idea of fun.
However, there are a significant number of issues that arise when shopping for big man mountain bikes. The first of these, of course, is the weight capacity.
Most bike manufactureres are reluctant to give a finite number for capacity because, “capacity will vary depending on the style of riding, terrain, etc.” Because of this, it can be hard to figure out what mountain bike is actually the best for big guys. Luckily, given our above guidelines, we have a few things we can look for!
A mountain bike for big guys should have a strong frame, high quality wheels and components, and (preferably) be a hard-tail bike (suspension only in the front).
The reason we don’t want a full suspension bike is that it adds a layer of unecessary complexity for big guys. Rear shocks aren’t meant to take your weight, they add a signifcant amount of cost to a bike, and typically need additional maintinance.
So, when we put all of those things together, what bike do we get? The Diamondback Overdrive! I also associated Diamond with BMX bikes but it turns out that they make extremely high quality (and affordably priced) bikes of all sorts.
The Overdrive is the perfect bike for someone who doesn’t have a ton of experience but needs a bike that will last for several years without holding them back. It rides great, it’s strong, it doesn’t need any upgrades right away, and it looks awesome bombing down hills!
Diamondback Overdrive Highlights:
- The aluminum frame is lightweight while mantaining a high level of strength and durability
- The Rockshox front fork is adjustable and provides almost 4″ of travel to soak up the bumps
- The 29″ tires help distribute big guys’ weight and roll over rocks, roots, branches, etc. with ease
- 8 gears provide sufficient power for tackling all but the gnarliest obstacles
- There are frame sizes available to fit riders from 5’4″ to 6’4″
- …and speaking of the frame, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty!
In addition to being our pick for the best mountain bike for big guys, this is an excellent all around bike. If you’re an aggressive rider (or like the comfort of suspension) this bike will also make an excellent short distance commuter, campus transportation, etc.
So if you’re a beefy guy in need of a beefy off-road bike, then this is it!
Best Hybrid (Around Town) Bike for 300lb Guy
If you came here and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, I’m about to put those feelings to rest. If your brain is saying, “What the heck man, I just want a freakin’ bike!” Well here it is! Just a freakin bike for big guys that will do just about everything you could want!
The Raleigh Detour is a great all-around bike with lots of gears, lots of comfort, and lots of fun. And, if you’re past “big-guy” territory and are obese, there is a step through version available that will make your mounting/dismounting much, much easier.
Raleigh Detour Highlights:
- The aluminum frame provides strength and weight savings while allowing a comfortable (upright) riding position. If you have a belly, a bad back, or simply don’t like scrunching over while riding this will be the best riding position for you.
- Excellent components allow smooth shifting through up to 24 speeds (depending on your model choice).
- Lots of size and color options make this a perfect choice for couples. If face, this was one of our top choices in our bikes for heavy women article so if your wife wants to come along, pick up two!
- The hybrid tires allow for easier riding on the street which still providing safe levels of traction on dirt, grass, etc.
- Strong v-brakes front and back provide excellent stopping power and won’t fade, even if you are over 300lbs!
So if you are in the market for a great bike to get around on or help you get in shape, you can’t go wrong here! The Detour will do just about everything (except maybe big hill climbs or jumps) and you’ll be comfortable doing it and, trust me, when you first start riding again you’ll want all the comfort you can get!
Best Beginner-level Road Bike for Big Guys
If there was ever an industry that seemed to be scared of big guys using their products, it would be the road bike guys. I don’t know if they’re just trying to keep us from wearing spandex or what but some of us want to get fit and get to work at the same time, dang it!
One of the main problems with road bikes for big guys is that the frame strength necessary to support us goes contrary to the main mantra of road bike creation: cutting weight. Road bike makers are constantly pushing the envelope to make lighter and lighter bikes for guys who are built like sticks. Guys who aren’t like us.
However, if you’re a big guy in search of a road bike there are a couple options that will get you on the road. Let’s take a look at the best one, the Schwinn Phocus.
Schinn’s Phocus has been around for several years and several model changes. Throughout all of that time though it has built a reputation as an excellent starter bike that is within the price range of most people.
Schwinn Phocus Highlights
- Aluminum frame (strong and light) with a carbon fiber front fork (even lighter)
- The alloy crank provides a wide gear range to allow quicker starts and a higher top speeds. As a big guy, give me all the gear you have!
- Double-wall rims are lightweight which still providing the strength needed to support your weight. Just don’t go riding off any curbs with them.
When it comes to road-biking (or any other type) as a big guy, you really just need to decide what your goals are. If you are looking to lose weight, most bike features (such as weight) don’t really matter. You want a bike that is comfortable, fun to ride, and affordable. This bike is all of those and more and will get you anywhere you care to ride!
The Best Fat Tire Bike for Fat Guys
I don’t know if it’s just because it has the word “fat” in the name but every time I have looked for bike for big guys everyone recommends getting a fat tire bike. Well I finally decided it was time to get over my fat-feeling and see what all the hype is about! As it turns out, the hype is well deserved.
Why a fat-tire bike might just be the best bike for fat guys…
- They can be ridden anywhere. Try riding a hybrid or mountain bike through a mud bog and you’ll sink right to the bottom. In addition to its mud conquering prowess, fat tire bikes also excel at sand and snow riding. The extra width of the tires provide flotation over all sorts of unstable surfaces which is even more important for big and heavy riders.
- They are more stable. Just as the tires provide a stable platform in squishy terrain, they provide additional stability in all situations. Fat bikes are easy to balance on and keep upright so, if you haven’t ridden a bike in years, a fat tire bike will help you feel at ease.
- Those big fat tires provide squishy comfort. All fat tire bikes (and most other bikes for 300 lb men) don’t have suspension. That’s not to say that you’re out of luck though! The larger tires can be aired down (all the way to 7psi depending on the tire) to provide extra cushioning on rough terrain.
All-in-all, a fat tire bike is an excellent choose for a fat guy. However, they’re not all created equal. In fact, it may surprise you to know that most fat tire bikes won’t even support a 300lb guy! So let’s talk about one that will…
If you’ve ever been to or heard of a Fat-Tire Race (yes, they exist) then you’ll know all about Framed. Their name has become synonmous iwht fat tire bikes and there are well known for producing the highest quality bikes at an accessible price point.
Unless you’re planning to get into racing, the best bike in their line-up is the Minnesota.
Framed Minnesota Highlights
- The oversize aluminum frame will support well over 300lbs. It was shocking to me to learn that, despite the beefy frame and big tires, this bike is only a couple pounds heavy than your average big man bicycle!
- 10 gears provide both speed and climbing power whether you want to ride on the street, on the snow, or in the mountains.
- Framed has a unique frame design which improves rider comfort even when you’re wearing bulky clothing to stay warm.
- Last but not least, this bike looks incredible. If you’re a fat guy, growing a beard or buying some nice shoes can instantly transform your persona. Well, this bike did both and it looks awesome!
The only person who wouldn’t want this bike is somehow who is out of shape and needs to commute a longer distance on their bike. However, even then, it would just be a better workout! I recognize that fit-tire bikes won’t be for everyone but, if they’re for you, you’ll know!
If you’re less concered with speed and fancy suspension and more concerned with getting down the board walk or to the next shop, then you need a cruiser. Wether you call them beach cruisers, single speed hybrids, or just casual bikes these bike will get you from place to place in style and sure beat the socks of off walking!
Not only does the EVRYjourney from sixthreezero boast a 300lb capacity, but it has a strong frame, sturdy wheels, and 7 speeds designed to get your bulk down the road (or boardwalk).
This type of bike is mostly suited to city commutes and casual weekend rides (with your signficant other?) but they are a total blast and will help you melt off the pounds in no time!
So if you aren’t a speed demon and just want to cruise down to the farmer’s market, don’t pass up on this one!
Do 300lb guys need special bikes?
So, yes, there are bikes for 300lb men that are tailed specifically to hold their weight. But do you really need one? Well, just like shoes, fat guys don’t necessarily need a special bike, they just need one that fits them and is right for the situation.
If you’re just cruising around town or want to coast down the boardwalk near the beach, you probably don’t need a purpose built bike. When it comes down to it, the best bike for big guys are the ones that get ridden the most. So find yourself a bike that you like, get a helmet, and just realize that it might break on you eventually.
Now, if men don’t need special bikes, what about women? Or, the better question, is there really a difference between men’s and women’s bikes? The short answer is, now. There are typically two types of bikes: step through and step over. The slanted top bar of step through bikes has typically been associated with being a “women’s bike” but, if you’re looking for a big guy’s bike, be less concerned about what gender a bike is marketed to and more concerned about finding a bike that is comfortable and fits you!
How To Get Back into Cycling
When I remember my days of flying off wooden ramps and breaking bikes, I have lots of warm fuzzy feelings. I’m even fond of the burning feeling in my legs that I used to have as I pumped the pedals in an attempt to reach 88mph on the way to grandma and grandpa’s house. However, I non longer feel that way about burning thighs.
If you’re getting back into cycling after several years (and a few thousand burgers) it may be shocking to you that it’s not as easy as it once was. Luckily, I’ve been through that exact thing and have a few tips that will help you put your big man bike to more enjoyable use!
- Make sure your bike fits you. If you’re a big and heavy guy you’re probably in for a bit of discomfort when you start riding. Knowing what size of bike is best for you will minimize the problems you have and help protect your joints. (Learn how to measure here)
- Enjoy the journey. When you first get a bike, don’t hop on it and try to commute to work. I tried it and was 30 minutes late and soaked with sweat when I finally got there. Take it easy and find fun in just getting around under your own leg power!
- Try a stationary bike. If a bike for 300lb guys just isn’t enough bike for your weight, there are other options. Short of having a custom bike made, I would recommend getting a high capacity stationary bike (after talking to a doctor of course) and working to increase your overall fitness and BMI before hopping onto a pedal bike.
So, in summary of a long article, get out there and get riding! You are now armed with the knowledge to pick out the very best bike for big guys so get that ball rolling. Even better, pick up a bike for your wife and some kick scooters for the kids so you can all enjoy a day together. Happy riding!
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