The Chainlink

We are currently making a Rambler step through for a customer out of state who is getting into cycling as a way to loose weight. This got me thinking about the challenges of "heavier" riders (I know its subjective but the rider is 5'7" and 250lb).

Factory built frames are usually overbuilt and can be used by a wide range of cyclists.  While handbuilt frames are developed to enhance and balance the ride and feel of the bike, adjustments may need to be made for body type.

We have adjusted the size and stiffness of the tubing we use use to give more stability and evaluated the components for the heavier loads - specifically larger seat and wider gearing range. What else should we consider?

Just like the Extra Small size, we are looking for real world input into what "heavier" riders find challenging or appreciate in the setup and construction of a bike. 

The bike should be ready next week, and if there is anyone in the same heigh/weight range as our customer that would be willing to do a comparison, let me know. Otherwise, questions and comments are always appreciated.

Thanks, 

Levi

Legacy Frameoworks

owner/builder

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I'm sharing this with a few friends and with CCC members.

Having been close to that weight level -- my height never changed -- I liked a bit more upright ride.  Now at under 190 I can tolerate a little more forward position.  My typical ride is 20+ miles with a 35 thrown in at times.  BTW -- I'm 74 years old, if that makes a difference.

Levi, awesome that your company isn't ignoring that heavier people can, and do, lose weight with cycling as the main source of exercise.

A year ago I was 272 lbs and 6 even, I worked a desk job, didn't have a gym membership and maybe did fun recreational things like football once every few months. I found an old Schwinn Continental and rode the fool out of that thing eventually losing 55 lbs. I put a few on over this winter but I float around 220 currently.

I found that I spent a lot of time on the tops and secondly on the hoods. The main reason was my gut would get into the way and I had trouble breathing because of the pressure and my legs and gut not having the room to move around each other. I am guessing with a step thru frame that won't be an option BUT allowing, for when the time comes, a more aggressive riding stance might be really nice to incorporate to some extent. Once I lost the weight I loved riding in the hoods and drops, granted this bike may not have a dropbar on it but the ability to change that would be nice. That way your customer can keep the bike past their weight loss phase and not feel stuck with a bike that was only good for one purpose and one size.

Just a thought!

I have to ride hip-bones on the pad, rather than further forward. Any weight of the chamois-area on the nose, and I lose circulation after about 30 minutes. 

6'1"; 240lb rider here (captain of the tandemonium).

The frame is not the real issue. The frame should be stiffer overall and also have more transverse/warping stiffness if the rider expects to do any rocking. Beyond that, the real issue is the wheels, and a good frame for a heavy rider is one which can accommodate strong wheels. By strong wheels I mean a wider wheel, or a deep profile, or both. One might even consider higher spoke count 26" mtb wheels for durability. Throw street slicks on them for path riding. The frame need only have the proper fork clearances.

So, what is the plan for the wheels?

Thanks for all the input!

Jeff - I definitely enjoy a more upright ride, and this model bike is designed for that in mind.

Mike - Thanks! A healthy lifestyle is always something to encourage - glad you were able to see results by bike. The frame I am building is our step through model - which will help with getting on the bike and be stylish to boot. It is not intended to be solely a heavy rider bike - i'm just making adjustments to the construction to re-enforce and component choices to encourage. I am shooting for when my customer looses weight, the changes to the frame will be a negligible difference.

Joe - First thing we considered is to start them off on a wider saddle. They can advance from there with comfort in mind.

Tandemonium - I always use 24mm wide, double wall rims, 36 hole, 14 gauge stainless spokes. The hubs will also be wide (Nexus 8 speed and Sturmey Drum) so no dishing and uneven tension issues. But the tires might be something to consider. I use 32's now but maybe a bit bigger would be in order. 

Thanks Again everyone

Levi

I'm 6'4" and 325ish. The most (probably only) problems I've had through the years came from the wheels, broken spokes specifically. I havent had any problems since I started building my own wheels. 48 hole rear is what I prefer but I've built 36 hole rear hubs and never had a problem. I have never broken a spoke from a hand built wheel regardless of the number of spokes (36 and above for rear and 32 and above for front is what I've used).
I roll with 48 spoke velocity chukkers now, same issue...



A.K.A Paul said:
I'm 6'4" and 325ish. The most (probably only) problems I've had through the years came from the wheels, broken spokes specifically. I havent had any problems since I started building my own wheels. 48 hole rear is what I prefer but I've built 36 hole rear hubs and never had a problem. I have never broken a spoke from a hand built wheel regardless of the number of spokes (36 and above for rear and 32 and above for front is what I've used).

I have seen bigger people have trouble getting on the saddle when it is at the optimal height for pedaling efficiency.  A pedal forward design helps with leg extention while enabling the rider to be nearly flat footed while stopped and on the saddle.

More than the bike it's the wheels, especially the rear, that are an issue for heavy people.

I've heard that from SO many people. Some people I've talked to have mentioned tandem wheels as a solution.

notoriousDUG said:

More than the bike it's the wheels, especially the rear, that are an issue for heavy people.

So, maybe having the rear spaced for a modern tandem hub would be helpful?

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