What Are The Top 5 Mountain Bikes For A Heavy Rider?

top 5 bikes

Are you looking for a bike that is built to handle a heavier rider? Mountain biking is a great exercise to help you get in shape and lose weight. Many people are interested in mountain biking but might be concerned about the mountain bike weight limit. In the post we’ll explore the bike options you have that offer more stability and handling for bigger riders. We’ll also provide you with a detailed list of our top 5 mountain bikes that are built for heavy riders.

So, what are the top 5 mountain bikes built for a heavy rider?

Mountain BikeWeight Limit
Zize Bikes – A New Leaf 2.0Up to 550 Pounds
Zize Bikes – 29er Max 2.0Up to 400 Pounds
Diamondback – Overdrive 29erUp to 300 Pounds
Cannondale – Trail 5Up To 300 Pounds
REI Co-op Cycles – DRT 1.2Up To 300 Pounds

Most mountain bikes can generally hold weights in the 300 pound range. Zize Bikes offers a few options that can handle riders in the 400- 500 pound range. Keep in mind there many other factors that are important to evaluate when picking out a bike for a plus sized person. The tire pressure, spokes, seat & frame all play a big role in creating a safe and comfortable ride. We’ll explore this in more detail below.

The 4 Major Components When Considering A Mountain Bike For A Heavy Ride

The Bike Frame

Recent technological advances have brought exotic materials like titanium and carbon into bike frame manufacturing. But in the end steel is still the king. So first check to make sure that the bike was created with a steel frame. It doesn’t have to be steel to support a heavier rider. If you are looking for a bike that will be durable and last steel is your best option.

“According to companies who specialize in bikes for heavier riders, steel will not crack under the weight of a very heavy rider.”

Isolate Cyclist

The Wheel

Tire pressure plays a big role when you are mountain biking. Lower tire pressure will allow you to have more control and stability on the trail. In turn, higher tire pressure will help you increase your speed and ride faster. Unlike standard road biking where 80-130 psi is recommended. Mountain biking requires a much lower psi in the 25 to 35 range. According to many other mountain bike enthusiasts that are heavier you have to try a few different ranges of psi to find the perfect psi for you. The terrain and elevation your are riding will also play a big role in choosing your psi

The Spokes

Be cautioned that rims and spokes can break under the pressure of a heavy rider. One way to counteract this is to get thicker and wider rims by opting for a 36 spoke wheel. Be sure to check and see if the spokes are stainless steel as they are stronger than the standard steel spokes. Upgrading your wheel is a quick and easy way to increase the stability of your bike. The rear wheel bears the brunt of our weight when riding so if you you’re on a budget maybe consider upgrading the rear wheel first.

The Seat

The width of your saddle plays a big role in your comfort on the bike. You can measure your sit bones and get an exact measurement. Here is a video that explains how to measure your sit bone to fit your saddle for mountain biking. The INBIKE bicycle seat is a very popular seat among heavy riders. It’s reasonably priced in the $20 range.

Full Suspension Mountain Bike Shocks & There Effects On A Heavy Rider

If you are heavy rider choosing to go with a full suspension mountain bike is a great option. It is more comfortable than a hardtail bike. Especially if you are going to be riding on rocky terrain. Keep in mind that the full suspension mountain bikes are normally priced in the $2,000 plus range. Hardtails can be found in the $200-$1,500 range. Although the price point is higher the full suspension bikes offer comfort, stability and performance features that are far superior to a hardtail bike.

The full suspension system offers more comfort than there hardtail counterpart. The rear suspension lends itself to a more comfortable ride. If you are a heavier rider you do want to consider setting the shocks to the appropriate pressure before riding.

Here is a quick guide to show you how to set up your full suspension mountain bike to be optimized for your exact weight

The 4 Step ProcesWhat it isHow To Set It Up
Set The Pre-LoadYou want to set the suspension to match your riders weight. Too much and you could bottom out on rocky terrain. If you don’t have enough you won’t notice any travel. You want to make sure you set this just right.Coil-sprung shocks aren’t recommended for riders over 190 pounds. So if you are a heavy rider you most likely using an air fork or shock suspension. You’ll set the preload using a special pump. Check your owners manual for a guide to your specific bike.
Set The SagThe sag is that initial bounce you get when you sit into the saddle of your bike. I’ll refer to this method as its the easiest way to explain how to set the sage. You’ll need a friend to help balance your bike as you set this feature. “If your shocks are set properly for your weight, you should see 25-30 percent of the shock stanchion—the part of the shock that disappears into the shock body when the shock is loaded—between the o-ring and the shock body. Eyeball it or use a ruler to measure. If less than 30 percent of the stanchion is showing below the o-ring, unscrew the valve cap on your shock and, using a shock pump, add air—about 10 PSI at a time. If more is showing release air by tapping on the shock pump release valve one tap at a time.” -Outside Online
Set the CompressionThe compression effects how you feel on downhills and climbing. It’s important to set this to match the terrain you’ll be riding. You can adjust the compression with a knob that is located on the front fork for your front suspension and on a knob in the back for your rear suspension. You can adjust this while you are riding to get it to a comfortable level. It’s usually a blue knob.
Set the ReboundThe rebound is how fast your shock uncompresses. The rebound is usually a red knob. Similar to setting the compression you’ll want to set this while you are riding. You don’t want it to spring back to fast or to slow. You’ll have to play around with this for awhile to find your most comfortable setting. Most riders won’t adjust this once they find their sweet spot.

Here is a link to video that explains how to set your mountain bike suspension in full detail. Setting mountain bike suspension tutorial

Related Questions

Is there a weight limit on mountain bikes?

Weight limits vary on different mountain bikes. There are few companies that specialize in bikes for heavier riders. For most mountain bikes the recommended weight limit is in the 275 – 300 pound range.

How tall should you be for a 29 inch mountain bike?

If you are over 6′ tall the frame of a 29er will fit you great! The general consensus is that if you are over 5′ 6″ you should he able to 29 inch mountain bike that feels comfortable for you. If you are under 5′ 6″ a 26 inch mountain bike probably a better fit.

Mike Rausa

I'm a 42 year old married father of 3 that fell in love with mountain biking late in life. Mountain biking quickly became my go to fitness activity. I created this blog to help beginners to advanced riders with tips and strategies to improve your riding experience. More About Me... https://mountainbikinghq.com/mike-rausa

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