Let’s first take care of a myth that some bikes cant handle heavy riders. That simply isn’t true. Failures and other issues occur more from maintenance or misuse. With that taken care of, let’s go over the reality for what makes the best bike for overweight male.
For the last 50 years, the number one reason that a bike collects dust in the shed or garage is that it doesn’t fit right. That can’t be more true for an overweight rider. Trying to contort your body to ride on a triathlon bike is probably not going to happen. The good thing is that you are looking to bicycling to help you with your health goals.
So let’s look at what realistically will work best for your needs. Primarily there are three bike types that I would consider for a bigger rider. Those would be leisure, mountain, and hybrids. Each of these three types has the potential to have you sitting more upright and that is one of the key issues in comfort.
There are so many bikes out there, how do you figure out what is better, what is stronger, what will last? Our top pick for best bike for overweight male is the Soul Beach Cruisers XTR model.
Take a look at the various pictures of this bike. It has a very sturdy aluminum frame with gussets everywhere. The tubing is special, not just oversized, but huge oversize with special shapes. This goes a long way in making a strong frame. Compare it against any other bike out there, and you will see the tubing in 1/3rd the size, and looks puny in comparison. If you are big, this is the bike for you.
This bike is also nice and simple. The three-speed needs adjusting maybe once a year if that. It has hydraulic disc brakes so you can stop one handed with your coffee or adult beverage in your other hand. The oversized tires and wider frame dimensions make for the most stable and easy to balance on a bike you can find.
Here is the big plus here. This bike is the way you want it ergonomically. No bending over, you sit upright, with your hands up nice and high. You won’t feel cramped on this bike unless you are over 7′ tall!
Best High-End Bike
There will be two keys to getting a mountain bike to work for you. First is, don’t just accept that stem on the bike as the best that can be done. There are easily 100 different stems that will fit. They vary in length, rise and construction. Additionally, the same goes for seats. Very easy to change these out.
With that in mind, check out the Mongoose Tyax Pro. With this choice, we have the 27.5″ wheels with 2.8 tires. The slightly larger wheels, both in diameter and width are going to help a bigger rider off road. The wider tire will float a bit, allowing to roll over uneven terrain well. Additionally, the larger carcass of the tire will be more pinch flat resistant. This bike also has the clearance for slightly bigger tires.
It also features a 31.8mm seat post. If you are up over 250 pounds, using an oversized post from a 27.2 size will help keep it from bending too easily. Even lighter riders can hit things, and bend the post. But, whatever you do, try out different saddles. That is the key, and no two people are exactly the same. I have seen some guys use a ladies saddle when they are bigger because it is wider and works better.
Adjust the height and angle of the seat as a minimum. The rails are long on purpose, to allow the seat to move forward and back. This is for more precise adjustment and not all that necessary on a mountain bike for just base fitness. I usually start with the seat parallel to the ground. This will help keep you from sliding forward, or backward excessively as you pedal. The height should be set so that your knee is bent about 10 degrees with your foot at the bottom.
Here is where you have to be careful. One of the first things that manufacturers do when building a lower cost bike is to cheapen the wheels. The wheels are the most important thing.
We will go with a hybrid bike type for this category. It is quite easy to get a quality bike for exercise with a hybrid. A hybrid is part road and part mountain bike. So, in general, your ergonomics are more upright, and it is easier pedaling.
Take a look at the Vilano Diverse 3.0 hybrid. First off are the aluminum frame and fork. The frame features hydroformed tubing that makes the frame stronger. Although, breaking a frame is rare anymore for adults.
The Vilano is equipped with disc brakes. So the wheels can be set up better and stay strong. The rim is a better quality in this configuration. The other key to many hybrids is the head tube length is considerably longer than most mountain bikes. This gets the bars up based on design, not massive changes to stems.
The drivetrain here is ample. While this price range is not exactly overflowing with high-quality gear sets, this setup works well, has a reasonable range of gears and is easy to shift.
It may be possible to upgrade the tires to something bigger. The 700 x 35c tires are fairly standard for this type, but there are bigger tires that will work well for big riders, providing a smoother ride and better pinch flat protection.
Alternatives to a Bicycle
More and more lately, we have been getting calls for trikes. The customers have specific needs, such as debilitating diseases, or balance issues. Whatever the case may be, a trike could be a good choice if you don’t trust yourself on a 2 wheeled version.
A trike with a reasonable design is the PFIFF Adult Trike. One of the first features that people notice is the big seat with a seat back. This is rare on bicycles.
The PFIFF features a 7-speed drive train and reasonable brakes. The gearing is low enough to get up many short hills. One of the drawbacks to trikes is their slow speeds make it hard to build momentum for hills.
The high rise handlebars and the rear basket are the other big plusses here. Enough room to carry some groceries, and ways to expand if you add a platform. Overall this is a good choice for many contemplating a trike for safety as they age.
Bikes not to Choose
There are a few bike types that will not help you much when you are bigger and looking to build some good exercise habits. While a folding bike has some good things going for it, they are not that great of a choice for a heavier rider. The frame type is not as sturdy as it could be. The ergonomics are not all that great for some taller riders. Finally, the hinge relies on a fairly small diameter quick release, which isn’t that ideal for someone heavier.
I would much rather ride my road bike. I feel comfortable, and like that I can go faster, and go further. For bigger riders, a road bike will be frustrating. Getting comfortable is the first thing. A road bike generally has a more aggressive position, so lessening the lower back strain is harder to do. While the frame can be just as strong as any other bike, the smaller tires and wheels are more prone to pinch flats.
Older style 3 speeds. These can be cool, and have the right equipment for a low price. The biggest problem is the low-quality tires and wheels. Some of these designs still use a 26 x 1 3/8 tire. This is one of the worst tire sizes out there, and impossible to find a quality tire anymore.
Features that are a Must
One of the key features I would seek is a very wide tire. The bigger you are, the wider the tire you will want for ride comfort and pinch flat protection. Narrow tires will have higher pressures, and lack compliance, so you will feel bumps quite easily.
A comfortable saddle is a key as well. Don’t just assume that the seat on any bike is the only choice. You can find several hundred designs online now. Once you find a good saddle that works for your ergonomics, don’t let it go. I rode the same saddle for nearly 10 years because I was immediately comfortable when I sat on it.
High handlebar positions help out considerably. Young kids in bike shops don’t get this. Getting the bars up higher, not necessarily shoulder level, but elbow or higher is a good start. Having an upright posture helps out quite a bit. While standing and other maneuvers might be harder, your overall riding is a straight line and cruising. Which makes hunching over not necessary.
I have never seen so many happy customers as I have with Soul Beach Cruisers. The design is cool, yet strong. People love the ergonomics and the easy to ride setup. That is key for comfort.
There are quite a few mountain bikes out there. Look for bigger wheels and tires. 27.5″ is a happy all around medium if you will ride off road. The Mongoose Tyax Pro and bikes similar to it have the toughness and parts mix to take some punishment from bigger guys.
If you are looking to hit the neighborhood for 30 min, and get the blood pumping a bit, the Vilano Diverse is a great choice. This easy riding bike will have you sitting upright and being safe with the excellent disc brakes.
As you can see, there are several great choices. We normally recommend trying a few out, but some of these bikes are designed so well, that it is hard to go wrong.