I said it previously, but there is no such thing as *the* best bike for a heavy cyclist.
It really depends on the rider and what sort of riding, where, and how far they want to go.
In my previous article about what to look out for in a bike for a big cyclist, I highly recommended not buying from department stores and going to a dedicated bike shop so you will get the best advice, support, and range of bikes to choose from.
In this article I’m going to look at the Giant range and what bikes look to be good for a heavy cyclist who wants to just do some casual riding. By casual I mean on smooth roads or paths, for 5-20km.
Why Giant? They are the biggest bike producers in the world, making Aluminum and Carbon Fibre bikes for themselves and many other brands. The Giant brand itself is probably the biggest selling in the world as they use their volume of production to give their customers fantastic value for money. For casual riding or cycling on a budget – they are hard to beat.
These bikes come from Giant’s “cross road” range of bikes. They are made to be a bit tougher than a normal bike, but not as heavy duty as a mountain bike. The frames are made to be a bit more durable and they have upgraded brakes and strong wheels. However depending on just how big you are – you may still get pointed towards a mountain bike!
The more you spend the better quality and performance you’ll get with a bike. So I’ll look at a few price points – $500, $900, and $1300. Beyond $1500 the bikes start getting far more “racy” for people who consider themselves “cyclists”, and much below $500 the equipment is well, cheaper…….
Giant Roam – starts from $460 RRP (USD)
This range of bike is the cheapest I’d touch from the Giant x-road range for a heavy cyclist. It looks like a mountain bike with the sloping top tube and suspension forks, but has big road bike wheels and large smoother tires.
The cheapest model has strong mountain bike style rim brakes, but the higher models have entry level disc brakes which will give a little more power and consistency. They all have a great range of gears.
As I mentioned in my previous article – Giant specifically tells you they use double wall Aluminium rims and stainless steel spokes. This shows they value the build quality of their wheels even at this price point.
However I’m not a fan of entry level short travel suspension forks. With these big wheels and tires you can ride and down the odd step without them. Clydesdales will likely need to set the spring to the highest level to stop the forks from fully compressing all the time anyway, so they really aren’t going to do much.
ToughRoad SLR2 – $870 RRP (USD)
I think this is a cool bike. It has that mountain bike look to the frame and handle bars, and is made for loaded touring or commuting, which means it will be made strong enough for casual Clydesdale riding. The position is intended to be comfortable, but with the bars slightly below the saddle for more even weight distribution. Some people may not like this, but once you start riding more you will like the sporty feel.
Wheels are large size with comfortable tires. Lots of good quality spokes so these wheels should be ok for many Clydesdales in most conditions. One bonus of this bike is the hydraulic disc brakes.
The triple ring cranks and 9 speed rear cassette gives some really low gears for chugging up the hills. While not high end, all the parts are starting to have a better look of quality.
I haven’t mentioned the Carbon fiber ridged (ie no suspension) forks. These look great, and save some weight over full Aluminium forks. Also Carbon fiber helps to smooth out the vibration and smaller bumps.
AnyRoad 1 – $1300RRP (USD)
This bike is a step up in “raciness” with the road bike shaped handle bars and dramatically curved and shaped frame. However it is still designed with more thought towards comfort and strength than a full road bike, and the frame allows the larger size tires for more comfort and grip on different surfaces. I still think this bike would be good for a heavy cyclist looking for a bit more speed.
It still has disc brakes, but cable pull versions to work with the road bike shift/brake levers. The gearing a is a bit more racy and not as low on the other models above, it is still low compared to full road orientated bikes. The Taigra spec drivetrain has a nice look to it, but only two gears up front leading to the reduced gearing choice.
If you have never ridden a “nice” bike before, riding the Anyroad 1 will likely surprise you with how easy it is to pedal and manoeuvre.
So this is just a taste of the kind of bikes out there that may suit a heavy cyclist and what you get a different price points. A lot of brands will make similar bikes- it is just a matter of talking with the shop sales staff to find what best suits you, what sort of riding you want to do, and of course your budget.
I’m writing this probably not long before the 2016 range comes out – so prices and specs will change in the future. But then again the bike shop you visit may be able to get you great deals on old model bikes that are still held either at the shop or with the distributors!
Because I was only looking at bikes suited to casual riding on smooth to moderately smooth surfaces, these bikes might not be off road enough or strong enough for you, or on the other hand speedy road bike enough. I’ll cover those areas, and higher price points in later articles.