I’ve never been much of a cyclist, but I’ve noticed that road bikes are becoming more and more popular in my neighborhood. It seems like half the people on my block have at least one bicycle designed for riding on the road.
A friend of mine came over to the house the other day and we saw at least three of them go past the house. He paused and very delicately asked me if a person of my size would be able to ride a road bike.
We’ve been friends for years and he knows that I’m both unashamed of my size and willing to answer questions about it, so I laughed and asked if he just was trying to see me in a spandex onesie…
However, I didn’t really know the answer. Pretty much every guy that I saw ride past my house was a middle-aged fitness junkie or a lean old man who was trying to keep pace.
So, can fat guys ride road bikes?
Long story short, yes, of course, they can. Usually…
Can Fat Guys Ride Road Bikes?
It’s a rather complex answer but the short version is that, yes, in general, fat guys can ride road bikes. The longer answer is that it depends on the weight of the rider and the weight limit of the bicycle.
For most road bikes, the maximum capacity is going to be about 275 to 300 pounds. The weight limits are not merely a suggestion as going over the limit can be dangerous or even deadly. An excessive amount of weight can cause the bike to break or become unstable as the center of gravity is shifted.
There are also many other issues with exceeding the weight limit of a bike, including potential damage to the brakes. That’s why it’s so important to respect weight limits and not completely ignore them.
This certainly doesn’t mean that riders over 300 pounds are out of luck, however. There are some road bikes that can accommodate heavier riders. Let’s take a look at some of the best options for riders who weigh 301 pounds or more.
Best Types Road Bikes for Fat Guys
For larger riders, Zize Bikes’ Time of Your Life XG is the Rolls Royce of road bikes. The Time of Your Life XG is built with aircraft-grade chromoly steel and can support riders of up to 550 pounds!
It also has a lower pedal height and a frame designed for those of us who might not be as flexible now as we used to be. It can be a bit expensive, however, especially if you purchase it directly from the manufacturer. It’s currently listed on their website for $2,799.00.
If you’d like a sell expensive options, fat tire bikes are typically made with heavy-duty frames as weight is less of a concern. The larger tires are designed to work on all terrains, including the road. They are larger, slower, and less maneuverable than road bikes but some models can support riders who weigh up to 400 pounds.
In general, you’ll be best off with a bike that has an aluminum or steel body. This is because you want a strong material that is still light enough to have good handling and can be picked up comfortably if you need to pick it up or carry it anywhere.
Oh, and you can never go wrong with picking up a plus-size bike seat. Having your fat butt totally engulf a hard skinny seat probably means that your ride will be a short one.
Road Bike Safety Tips
The most important thing to remember while out on the road is the importance of staying safe. Unfortunately, we can’t control the actions of the drivers and fellow cyclists around us. However, we can control our own actions and by always remembering “safety first”, we can reduce the risk of bodily harm or even death.
First, you’ll want to be familiar with and obey all traffic laws, as they apply to everyone operating a vehicle of any kind. I once had a friend who thought that riding a bike allowed him to weave through traffic like a motorcycle. It turns out that it’s a bad idea to do that no matter whether your bike has an engine in it or not.
Second, always wear a helmet, even if it doesn’t look cool. The reason my friend survived the accident he got himself into was by wearing an adult-sized Garfield bicycling helmet that his five-year-old son picked out for him. I’m pretty sure that kid got ice cream for dinner for about two months after that one as a reward.
Finally, always make sure to be alert and watch out for cars. No matter what vehicle you’re driving, some of the best advice I was given when I learned to drive was to never trust another driver. If you see a turn signal, I’d wait until the wheels start changing directions before crossing the street.
These tips may seem obvious but they bear repeating because it is very important to make sure that you’re being as safe as possible while on the road. It’s especially important if you’re a heavier bike rider because we can’t turn as fast or stop quite as quickly as smaller drivers.
A lot of people don’t realize that their weight factors into their bike’s braking system. Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion tell us that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion”. The more weight a vehicle has, the more work and time it will take to slow it down.
We’ve shared several tips for fat-proofing a bike if you want to make one more reliable and comfortable so be sure to go through that list if you’re in the market for a road bike (which are notoriously spindly).
Although not every bigger guy will be able to ride every road bike, there are definitely options for riders up to 550 pounds to enjoy the wind at their backs as they peddle a bicycle through the streets of their favorite town.
If you can’t find a road bike that will support your weight, consider going with a fat tire or another type of bike that will work on the pavement while also giving you the stability that you need to avoid damage to either the pavement or your body.
No matter which bike you choose, I wish you the best of luck while you’re on your next road biking adventure. As long as you have the right bike and keep our safety tips in mind, you’ll be sure to have an amazing time. Have fun and stay safe out there!