Cycling is one of the most common ways for people aiming to lose excess weight to achieve their goal, with most countries encouraging the usage by people of all shapes and sizes. This being said, there are important things to not when thinking of riding a bike and one of them is whether or not bikes have weight limits.
Today we will be giving you an answer to this question alongside a look into the average weight limits on bikes, why they have them, which models are best for heavier people, and how to make you and your bike lighter.
Bikes do have weight limits, with the average weight that a bike can take being around 275 lbs (125kg). Certain models of bikes have higher or lower weight limits, with them being better suited to different kinds of terrain. There are ways to make your bike lighter such as wearing light clothing, losing weight, and packing light.
Average Weight Limits on Bikes
There are different weight limits on different kinds of bikes, each one is meant to be used for different disciplines.
Here are the average weight limits for the different bike types.
|Bike Type||Average Weight Limit|
|Road Bike||275-300 lbs (125kg-136kg)|
|Mountain Bike||300 lbs (136kg)|
|Hybrid/Commuter Bike||300-350 lbs (136kg-159kg)|
|Gravel Bike||275-300 lbs (125kg-136kg)|
|Folding Bike||225-260 lbs (102kg-118kg)|
|Electric Bike||275-300 lbs (125kg-136kg)|
|Fat Bike||300 lbs (136kg)|
As a general rule, each bike can carry an additional weight of around 33 lbs (15kg) of baggage permitted alongside this.
Mountain bikes are designed to be a bit more durable than road bikes, and as such they can carry slightly more weight on them than the former can. Most mountain bikes can carry around 300 lbs (136kg).
In the past few years there has been a rapid uptake in the number of electric and folding bikes around the world, especially in urban areas.
Folding bikes cannot carry as much weight as regular bikes due to the fact that their frames are not as sturdy, folding bikes can usually carry around 225-260 lbs (102-118kg).
For reference, the average US citizen weighs in at 176 lbs (80kg). This means that most people should have no issue with finding a bike that suits their build, though some will have trouble if they find themselves at the upper echelons of this statistic.
Why Do Weight Limits Matter?
There are many reasons why having weight limits are important, firstly they are there for the rider’s safety. If a bike did not have a specified weight limit, then anyone could in theory be permitted to get on.
This could then cause problems such as the bike buckling under the weight of a person or heavy loaded bags etc. and lead to severe injuries, bike companies would rather avoid their models being linked to breaking, even if it was not their fault entirely.
Weight limits also help people to know how much they can carry on their bike without making it too heavy to ride. One of the main things that people use bikes for is travel, so having a weight limit on what you can bring with you on an adventure is very helpful.
The final reason weight limits matter relates to the weight of the bike itself. In a competitive sense, the bikes used by professionals have to weigh less than 6.8kg in UCI sanctioned events such as the Tour de France.
This helps to regulate the bikes that are used and ensures a level playing field when it comes to bike manufacturers supplying models to the professionals.
Which Models Are Best For Heavier People?
Whilst most bikes aren’t made for overweight or simply larger individuals, there are some excellent choices out there if you want to give cycling a go.
To begin with, you may want to try out a tandem bicycle as they are the perfect way to distribute weight evenly on the bike, especially if two heavier riders are using it.
The best tandem on the market for larger people is the ‘Schwinn Classic Tandem Bike’, the US based brand have long been one of the best companies for producing bikes for larger folks.
Alternatively, you could try out a mountain bike that has been fitted with larger wheels and an electric power unit.
This kind of mountain bike is more stable than others, as the increased size of the wheels and tires give it more of a grounding (so you won’t be able to perform many tricks, but you will be able to pick up some speed).
Having an electric bike is also a good option if you consider yourself to be unfit, the motor can give you an extra push on particularly tricky parts of your ride.
Many great manufacturers now stock electric mountain bikes however, Trek, Specialized, and Schwinn are the best to look at for US based consumers.
How To Make Your Bike Lighter
There are plenty of different ways that you can reduce the weight of your bike in order for the weight limit to not be exceeded.
Firstly, the most obvious point is that you may have to lose weight as an individual, this isn’t always a simple thing to do and may take a long time to actually manage.
Some may actually be taking up cycling as a way to shed weight, but if you are too heavy you may have to try out some other sports instead until you can ride a bike safely.
Personal weight loss is important, but there are some other ways to reduce your weight. To begin with, you should try and wear lightweight clothing such as a jersey and shorts. This kind of clothing also doesn’t hold as much water, making them more lightweight in the wet too.
Secondly, you should try and pack as light as possible when going out for a ride. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take a bag with you on a long ride (in fact you always should), but perhaps consider what you really need to take with you when out on the bike. It may not save you much weight, but every little helps.
So, now that you know that bikes do indeed have weight limits you will be able to make a more informed decision about what you take with you on future rides, or perhaps you will want to shift some of the extra weight you’ve been carrying lately.
Either way, always make sure to prioritize enjoyment over any concern about weight loss, cycling is for everyone and your weight doesn’t determine what you can or can’t do.