If you read my previous page about good bikes for heavy cyclists and casual riding, and still look at those bikes and think “Nope- I really need more beef, because I have too much beef for them”
then keep reading!
Really the next step up from those types of bikes is a mountain bike. Mountain bikes are made for “normal” people to ride on rough terrain and “catch a little air” etc. As a result the frame, wheels, and parts are stronger and more durable to take a little more abuse. Heavier riders can then use that extra strength to handle the abuse they will dish out in less extreme conditions. Depending on just how heavy you are bumpy trials may still result in reduced durability. If you go to a bike shop like my earlier recommendations – they can give you the right advice for the riding you want to do.
Just in case you think I have an affiliation with Giant bikes – I don’t. They are just excellent value for money which is what most Clydesdale cyclists are looking for. I’ll high light a couple of their well-priced models for heavier riders looking for a mountain bike.
For causal riding, and even more open off road riding, I really like the larger 29” wheel size often referred to as a “29er”. Larger diameter wheels roll faster on smooth surfaces (look at road bikes – large wheels), but they even have the great advantage of rolling over bumps better as well. The extra weight isn’t going to be an issue for large cyclists, but shorter riders may have issue with the bars being too high once you add in the extra height of the suspension forks as well.
If you are going to be riding mostly sealed roads then ask your bike shop to fit “slick” or semi slick” tires. Mountain bikes typically come fitted with wide knobbly tires. These tires might add great grip and comfort on dirt trails, but for sealed or good dirt roads they slow you down big time! They may even have worse braking grip and corning control on sealed surfaces.
Here are my picks from the Giant Mountain bike range:
Revel 29er – RRP $570USD (2015 model)
Big fast rolling 29” wheels, mountain bike strong frame, short travel forks, and cable pull disc brakes. Great entry level bike for a large cyclist! The forks should work a bit better than the bikes I talked about previously, and the brakes should be powerful and consistent. Cable actuation doesn’t perform as well as full hydraulic brakes, but if you are shopping at this price point you will be happy.
Do you want low gears? This model has 32 gears and what I refer to as “stump pulling” low range gearing thanks to the inclusion of a third small “granny ring” on the cranks.
I always like to analyze the wheels for a heavy rider. Giant pay attention to wheel builds. They quote double wall rims (for strength) and 14guage stainless steel spokes which will be good quality and strong but not paying extra for light weight “butted” variable thickness spokes. These tires shown as stock are probably smooth enough to use and wear out before replacing.
Talon 29er – RRP $850 USD (2015 model)
The talon is the more expensive brother of the Revel. The frame is upgraded with slightly bigger strong tubes and more fancy shaping, the forks are slightly longer travel but a have better performing spring system, and the brakes are upgraded to full hydraulic.
The gears are given some more value and an extra gear on the rear for a total of 27 gears to choose from.
This bike is going to be better for a rider who really needs a bit more strength. Even if you do manage to damage something, replacing it with say better wheels will still be worth the $850 initial investment.
Unfortunately Giant has not continued with the XTC Aluminum range which I would have reviewed next. Many other brands have good quality Aluminum bikes above this price point which continue to bring upgraded suspension, brakes, and gears. However weight often becomes more important and the frames might start being a bit less durable, but they are not likely to be the weak point durability wise if you are riding on smoother surfaces.
GT is a brand I would recommend for a “hard tail” that is very strong. They have a great reputation and their frame design makes for a very strong and cool looking layout.
Trek is also a very popular brand for all types of riding, but their prices tend to be a little higher. Same with Specialized – excellent bikes but higher prices.
Canyon from Germany is a direct to customer brand that offers an amazing range at different high value price points. I am considering one of their higher performance mountain bikes for actual rough road/off road riding. Issue is you don’t get bike shop support or get to try it for size first. Also they don’t ship to every country – USA shipping is usually not available.
If you go to a good bike shop (instead of Walmart or Target) they can speak to you about what is good for you in their range of bikes. It is the best way to go when buying a new bike if you don’t want it to fall to pieces right away.