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For people who are eager to get outside and get more active, bicycling is one of the most popular choices. Newbies flock to the sport while experienced cyclists upgrade older bikes to the latest models. Manufacturers and bike stores have been struggling to keep up, making it harder for customers who are outside the average height and weight to find bikes suitable for their size.
Most of a typical store’s stock is aimed toward people at the middle of the bell curve. Between that and supply shortages, bigger guys can really struggle to find bikes that work for them. But if you’re a big guy, you shouldn’t give up the search and buy a bike that isn’t built for you.
Smaller people may be able to get away with a cheaply made, flimsy standard bike or basic bike. Larger men need bikes that can carry the rider’s weight, accommodate long legs, and are smartly engineered to help move a heavier load efficiently.
So what are the best bikes for big men? The Cannondale Trail 7 is a solid, well-reviewed, and affordable option:
Up the budget and taller, heavier riders can find the Zize Bikes 29er Max 2.0:
Finally, people with large stomachs may find that the Firmstrong Bruiser, a beach cruiser-style bike, offers more room and comfort:
High-quality types of bikes for heavy and tall riders aren’t cheaply made, but some of them can be quite affordable. In this list, we’ll cover models at a variety of price points, from entry-level to pricey investments that could last you for years.
Why Get a Bike for Big Men?
Standard bikes are designed for people of average height and weight. If you’re beyond the average by either metric, you’re going to run into problems. Many of these bikes have poor-quality frames and handlebars, or flimsy single-wall aluminum wheels. Average riders can get away with this. Bigger guys may find that the bike flexes, creaks, or outright pops a joint during vigorous pedaling. Flat tires and broken chains are also much more likely to occur with bikes that aren’t designed for your weight.
Cycling comfort is another major reason to get a bike designed for taller or heavier people. The suspension system, saddle style, encouraged sitting position, and pedal stance width can all make a big difference in how you feel after a multi-hour ride. Specialized bikes include numerous design tweaks that can keep larger bodies comfortable as they pedal on roads, uneven terrain, and more.
What To Look For in Bikes for Bigger Guys
Height and Weight Limits
On this list, we’ve provided a bike’s weight limit when possible. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer gives out that information. If you’re researching these models and you come across vague language—”built for heavier riders,” for example—you may need to reach out to the manufacturer or seller for a precise number.
Meanwhile, big guys who are tall will bump into height limits on this list. There are no standard sizing guides across manufacturers, but you can follow these height and bike frame size pairings as a general rule of thumb:
|Bike Frame Size
|5’3” to 5’7”
|15” to 16”
|5’7” to 5’11”
|16” to 17”
|6’0” to 6’2”
|17” to 19”
|6’2” to 6’4
|19” to 21”
|6’4” and up
|21” or larger
It is worthwhile to keep looking for a bike that actually suits your height. Sure, you can try hunching and folding yourself into the saddle of a too-small bike, but you’ll be in for an uncomfortable ride as you struggle to get full power and stay in control of the machine.
Sturdy frames support the weight of the rider and every component of the bicycle itself. Bigger men need to prioritize steel or heavy-duty aluminum frames. Steel is heavier, which can mean more work for you to move the bike forward. However, the extra mass may also add stability as you ride. Aluminum can also be stable, but it has a greater chance of flexing when you ride near the load limit.
Carbon frames are trendy in the cycling world, but these lighter frame materials aren’t the strongest. They also drive up the bike’s total cost.
Your bike’s suspension is one of the biggest factors that feeds into your overall riding comfort. Some bikes have suspension on the front wheel only, while others have dual-wheel suspension systems. In general, dual suspension will offer a smoother riding experience.
Does that mean that dual suspension systems are always better? Not necessarily. They can add to the weight and overall price of the bike, which can be an important factor. Also, remember that not every suspension system is created equal. A high-quality front wheel suspension will probably beat out a dual system from a company that cuts corners.
Wheels with higher spoke counts tend to be stronger. You should look for bikes with at least 24 spokes, although 32-36 is better. Double-wall aluminum wheels tend to be more robust and are less likely to suffer from bent rims.
What about tires? Mountain bikes, hybrids, and fat tire bikes tend to have bigger and broader tires, usually between 2.25” and 4.25”. Wide tires have more surface area to distribute weight across, and they offer more grip on rough terrain. However, wider tires are harder to get moving and can slow you down.
Road bikes tend to have thinner tires. This bike type offers superior performance on paved surfaces, but heavier riders tend to find that these tires are more vulnerable to flats. If you’re going for those slimmer tires, choose a good brand that stands firmly behind the engineering of their tires.
Powerful brakes are a critical part of staying safe and staying in control of your bike. They let you adjust your speed, dodge wild animals crossing the trail, maneuver through traffic, and come to a stop in an emergency. Linear-pull brakes are the more budget-friendly option and work quite well under good conditions. They’re not so effective in wet weather and in mud, so if you enjoy all-weather cycling in the great outdoors, consider disc brakes instead. Learn about the different types of bike brakes here.
We’ve covered the most important features of your future bike, but don’t forget about the little details. Overall bike ergonomics can be the difference between conquering a new trail and spending days nursing your sore and bruised body to recovery. If it’s a close race between two bicycle candidates, consider the following factors:
- The saddle. Does it have spring suspension to absorb bumps? Is there enough padding? Is the shape the right fit for your body and the kind of rides you go on? You can always swap out the saddle for something wider or more cushioned, but that’s an additional hassle and expense.
- The handlebars. Do the handlebars come up to the right height? Once adjusted, do they stay securely in place? Do those handlebars tolerate your weight if you tend to lean on them while riding?
- The handlebar reach. Is there a comfortable distance between the padded seat and the handlebars? A lot of this comes down to your arm length in proportion to your height, which varies from person to person. You can bridge small gaps by leaning forward, but that takes us into…
- The riding position. What riding position does the bike’s design encourage you to take? Do you find it comfortable to maintain? Riding position is often influenced by the type of bike. For example, road bikes encourage riders to hunch forward. Heavy riders who carry weight at the stomach may find that a hunched position is uncomfortable and restricts their breathing. Hybrid, cruiser, and mountain bikes encourage an upright riding position. This riding style isn’t the best for speed and power, but it may be easier on a larger rider’s body. Finally, beach cruiser bikes are also ridden upright and offer even more wiggle room.
The Top 14 Best Bikes for Bigger Guys
This is one of the best-regarded bikes for bigger guys, and it’s affordable. This incredible bike has a weight capacity of 330 pounds and can work with riders up to 6’3” tall.
What really makes the Cannondale Trail 7 stand out are the quality components that go into it. The lightweight SmartForm C3 aluminum alloy frame has been integrated with an SR Suntour XCT suspension and Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. This lets you stay in control of the bike at speed and during emergency braking. Meanwhile, the 2×8 speed drivetrain offers a nice variety of gears for experienced riders without overwhelming a beginner rider with too many options.
If most of the other bikes on this list just aren’t built for you, take a close look at the 29er Max 2.0. This hybrid bike can accommodate riders up to 7’ tall. The weight capacity is 450 pounds, one of the best in the non-custom market. It’s designed with an aircraft-grade frame, 36 spokes, and powerful mechanical disc brakes that bring real stopping power you can count on.
You’ll have to make a decent investment for this impressive feat of engineering, but bikes with this capability and durability don’t appear in the budget market unless you find one for resale.
This affordable bike maximizes its drivetrain power with the combination of a strong steel frame and strong alloy rims. The frame also holds up under heavier riders without undesirable flexing.
The Dolomite’s knobby, fat bike tires create a lot of grip, giving much-needed traction on slippery roads and loose dirt tracks. Riders have also complimented this bike’s comfortable, integrated beach cruiser pedals. The Dolomite has a weight limit of around 300 pounds.
If the Mongoose Dolomite is pushing your budget a little, take a look at that bike’s cousin, the Impasse. Bigger riders have found that this bicycle offers a similar build quality and comfortable ride. Mongoose has trimmed the weight and price tag but kept the functionality.
The Impasse has a 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur, SRAM twist shifters, and alloy front and rear disc brakes. The double suspension system and supportive saddle increase shock absorption and rider comfort.
This is the ideal bike for bigger riders who want to achieve real speed on the road. It has an aluminum step-over frame, unlike many on this list, but with a clever frame design and double-wall spoke wheels, the Phocus 1600 holds up under heavy loads and through long, challenging rides. This bicycle has a 16-speed Shimano drivetrain, dual caliper brakes, an alloy crank, and rigid suspension.
This bike’s generous balloon tires and ergonomic design make for a comfortable riding experience over snow, sand, and rocky types of terrain. The 4” fat tires offer superior grip and shock absorption. The In the Barrel isn’t the fastest bicycle out there, but it will keep you in the comfortable saddle as you take on more challenging trails. It especially excels during beach rides.
The Builders Special often sells at a higher price point than many on this list, but it’s actually a good deal for what you get. DeSalvo factors in their customers’ weight, height, and riding preferences as they customize elements of the bike. For bigger guys, this often means a steel frame, disc brakes, and plenty of legroom. Because it’s a semi-custom bike design, the exact bike weight and load limit will vary. Just tell the company what you need and they’ll try to accommodate you.
If you’re looking for one perfect bike that can take you from city streets to forest trails, you may want a hybrid-style bicycle. Schwinn’s Discover is a versatile, durable, all-around bike with front suspension, a 21-speed rear derailleur, and Promax alloy linear pull brakes. The brakes are quite powerful for this class of bike, allowing you to quickly and reliably bring a greater weight to a stop.
This bike also comes with fenders, which help to keep you from getting slung with dirt and mud splashes, as well as an installed rear carrier. It has all of the features you need for a longer or more challenging ride while still performing well on the streets.
Interested in a gravel bike with enough versatility to function on the road, too? The Aspero GRX 600 is fairly pricey, but it’s an aerodynamic bike that handles beautifully on gravel, conquers roads at a decent clip, and feels stable for even heavier riders. We recommended that you get this bike with Reserve carbon wheels. These hold up better under weight, resisting flats and improving traction.
Mountain bikes are built to take beatings, so many of them are a natural fit for heavier riders. Merax has created a bike with a generous 330-pound capacity while trimming the bike weight down with an aluminum frame. The FT323 comes with 24-speed-fitted Shimano derailleurs and shifters, giving you precise control over speed and power.
Although this solid bike performs well for heavier people, it’s not really designed for the tallest men. Riders over 6’1” have had issues riding it.
If you’re a heavier rider, comfort can become an issue. There may be a fair amount of weight pressing down on the saddle, and people with long legs can struggle to stretch out during a ride. Firmstrong’s Bruiser not only fits riders up to 6’4” and 350 pounds, but it also keeps you highly comfortable with a number of smart design features. These include wide, grippy tires that absorb bumps in the road, a cruiser dual-spring saddle, and a frame design that encourages an upright, comfortably relaxed position.
The Classic Plus is technically a hybrid bike, but the Gotham Edition has a classy style that’s right at home next to a sleek city commuter bike. It builds off a lightweight aluminum frame, so you won’t have to worry about getting rust on your office clothes when you need to lift the bike.
This bicycle features a 3-speed Shimano Nexus rear hub and a grease-free carbon drive belt. It has a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds and accommodates riders up to 6’2”.
The Tern Verge D9 has a weight capacity of up to 265 pounds. Admittedly, this is lower than many bikes on this list, but designing a folding bike for heavier riders is a pretty tall order. This may be the upper limit for a relatively affordable, mass-produced folding cycle.
The D9 keeps its operation simple with an efficient and durable 1×9 Shimano drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. It has an intuitive folding mechanism, collapsing in under 10 seconds with minimal fiddling. One thing to note is that the max height is 6’2”. Taller riders may have to settle for a non-folding bike design.
Not every rider wants a rugged, heavy duty bike that prioritizes durability over style. If you prefer relaxed trips on the beach and casual riding, this highly comfortable bike can protect your daypack from splashes. The Kulana Lakona Wave Cruiser Bike is retro-inspired and includes fenders, racks in front and back, and a low-maintenance one-speed drivetrain. It won’t win any races or scale any mountains, but this simple gem lets bigger guys poke around a vacation getaway without fuss or time-consuming bike maintenance.
How heavy is too heavy to ride a bike?
It’s challenging to find bikes that can support more than 350 pounds or so. A heavy person may have luck with custom bikes, although these can get expensive. However, pedaling a large weight puts a lot of strain on the heart and on the joints in the legs. That’s why your first move should always be to talk to your doctor. They may advise you to build a base of fitness with a walking routine and to drop a few pounds before you start cycling.
You can also look into custom-made electric bike options. The powered modes that these bikes offer use battery power to help you pedal, get up challenging hills, etc.
Is cycling good for obese men?
Before starting any new exercise routine, you should talk to your doctor and see what they advise. That being said, bike riding is as challenging as you want to make it. If you’re quite out of shape, you can always begin with an easy 20-minute ride in your local park and work up from there. Regular cycling is a great way to lift your mood with natural endorphins, improve your cardiovascular health, and burn some calories in the process.
Can cycling give you a flat stomach, bigger glutes, broader shoulders, etc.?
Cycling offers a mostly lower-body-focused workout. It particularly targets the muscles in your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. The back and abs get a workout too, as they fire to keep you stabilized. Post-ride, cyclists may also feel soreness in the deltoids, biceps, and triceps.
One of the benefits of cycling is that long-distance cycling can make you stronger and can help grow these muscles to some degree. The results likely won’t be as dramatic as what you’d see from a dedicated strength training routine. However, to change their body shape and clearly see these muscles, bike riders will need to lose the extra weight that is covering them up.
Is cycling or walking better for losing weight?
That depends on what you mean by better. Cycling is more of a physical challenge, which means you’ll burn more calories per hour than you would by walking. However, it’s faster and cheaper to get into walking for fitness. The only equipment you really need to buy is a good pair of shoes.
Remember that weight loss has a lot to do with the amount of calories you’re taking in. One sandwich can cancel out all the hard work you put in on a bike ride. Cycling is a great form of exercise, but to lose weight and keep it off, you need to dial in your eating habits.