Most Bikes manufactured today are made to support a lot of weight. However, there are certain types and sizes of parts that will benefit the heavy riders. There are also a few misconceptions that we’ll discuss and take into account when showing you the best bikes for heavy riders. One misconception is that bigger wheels can hold more weight. With research we found that this is a myth and not true.
Our in-depth buyer’s guide to getting the right bike for heavy riders.
In this buyers guide we will look into everything you should know when you’re looking to buy the best bike for heavy riders.
We’ll go through everything from how much you should spend, to the type of bike you should buy depending on what you plan to use your new bike for.
We’ll be sure that by the end of this guide you’ll know exactly what type of bike you want. And what specifications you should look to get at your desired price range.
As a heavy rider myself. I was taught by an expert cyclist what I should be looking for specification wise, to make sure that the bike could support my weight. He also outlined the specifications I should expect at each price range, which I’ll also be sharing with you.
If you don’t then let’s see which type of bike you need.
Why buy a mountain bike?
A mountain bike thrives upon all-terrain types. It’s made to be versatile no matter what terrain you plan on tackling. So if you plan to use the bike on dirt trails, Single track roads, and overall off road then you should look at a mountain bike.
Why buy a road bike?
A road bike as the name suggests is used on the road. It’s made to travel at fast speeds. Aerodynamics and thin tyres allow the bike to travel at fast speeds on tarmac. If you plan to use your new bike to commute to work or use on roads only then go for a road bike.
Why buy a hybrid bike?
If you plan to use your bike for different uses such as commuting to work, leisure use on single track paths, or even going on light trails then a hybrid bike would be for you. They are designed to be able to tackle different terrains.
Want to skip straight to our reviews?
Although I’d suggest reading more, so you can get to know more information about your bike type choice and what to expect specification wise at each price point.
Best Mountain bikes for heavy riders by price
Best road bikes for heavy riders by price
Best hybrid bikes for heavy riders by price
Ultimate Mountain bike for heavy riders buying guide
Choosing the right mountain bike is extremely difficult.
Due to the price of bike components coming down in price and becoming more available. There’s always new brands you’ve never heard of releasing bikes.
Just within mountain bikes there are over four different types to choose from. We’ll discuss each one carefully so you pick the right one.
A lot of people when starting out cycling will always go for the budget option. Which is completely fine, as there are many budget bikes for heavy riders that are good quality and will do the job.
Personally even if you are on a budget. I’d look at buying a known brand that don’t compromise on quality or customer service if anything was to go wrong.
Brands such as Raleigh, Schwinn, Diamond Back and Giant are all huge well established brands I’d consider when looking at buying a bike no matter what the price is. Because I know they’ll use high quality components.
Your budget does however, decide on some of the specification you should expect on your new bike. It’s quite easy to just opt for the cheapest one. And it’s also easy to look at mountain bikes and think that’s the one, only to see the stupendous price tag.
I’d be the first to admit that there’s some mountain bikes out there that look amazing and tick all the boxes but the price tag will also be extremely high.
With that being said it doesn’t mean you need to spend an extortionate amount to get the perfect bike. There’s quite a few budget options that are extremely good value for money.
What kind of mountain bike should I buy
As we mentioned before there are over four common types of mountain bikes. So let’s look at which one would suit you.
Trail Mountain Bike
A trail bike is known as the most popular type of mountain bike. They are designed to take more of a bashing on the trails.
A trail hardtail is a great bike for heavier riders as they will use stronger frames. Most affordable bikes will use an aluminium frame keeping the bike lightweight. However, if you’ve got the money to spend you’ll find manufactures will use carbon frames and forks at the higher price tags.
Full suspension trail bikes will use approximately between 130-150mm of travel to provide the user with a more comfortable ride on the more rugged terrain. But you’ll be paying slightly more in price for a full suspension than a hardtail.
As for wheels both will use either 26, 27.5 or 29 inch wheels. 29 inch wheels are more stable when riding over roots and rocks. Whilst the smaller wheels will seem more twitchy and get stuck easier. For a heavy rider I’d suggest making sure each wheel has at least 32 spokes with 36 spokes being preferred. The higher the spoke count the stronger the wheel will be to support heavier weights.
You may find that some bikes will use wider tyres closer to 2.8 inch. This benefits users as it provides better grip due to the tyres being wider.
If you’re looking for the standard mountain bike and like hitting the trails then you may want to buy one.
- Entry: $300-$600(Hardtail), $400 – $800(Full suspension)
- Mid-Range: $600 – $1200(Hardtail), $800 – $1600(Full suspension)
- High-Range: $1200+ (Hardtail), $1600+ (Full suspension)
Enduro Mountain Bike
An Enduro bike probably isn’t something you’d look for. It’s designed as a racing mountain bike. There overall design is to provide greater performance on extremely difficult trails.
They normally will use full suspension systems that have a higher travel than the trail bikes.
If you like technical terrain and love riding up and down steep inclines in mountainous areas. Looking at Enduro bikes could be for you. But you’ll also be looking at steep price ranges.
- Entry: $1000
- Mid-Range: $2000
- High-Range: $3000
Cross-Country Mountain Bike
Cross country mountain bikes as it suggests is a mountain bike designed to get across country at speed. Sometimes Cross-Country can be shortened to XC.
Like we’ve mentioned before 29 inch wheels are more stable. So covering ground quickly most cross country mountain bikes will use the larger wheels. As a heavy rider make sure the bike has at least 32 spokes.
The tyres will usually not be as knobbly as trail bikes. And will be a small tread to increase maximum speed. Talking of speed, they’ll mostly use 21 plus gears to give the user a higher number of gears to choose from which also helps to increase speed.
Frame geometry’s on cross country bikes make it better to cover ground quicker however, if you live in a hilly area. Sometimes the geometry will affect handling making it harder to control when cycling up hills.
Most cross country bikes at the lower price ranges will use aluminium frames keeping them light. With most manufactures choosing to use carbon at the higher price tags to make the bike even lighter.
- Entry: $300-$600(Hardtail), $400 – $800(Full suspension)
- Mid-Range: $600 – $1200(Hardtail), $800 – $1600(Full suspension)
- High-Range: $1200+ (Hardtail), $1600+ (Full suspension)
Downhill Mountain Bike
As you’ve probably guessed. The downhill mountain bike is designed to tackle steep downward inclines with ease. The suspension travel is the highest of any of the mountain bikes. Giving the user more control when travelling at speed downhill.
As a regular trail user, you probably don’t need a downhill mountain bike as there are far greater alternatives such as the standard trail and cross country bikes.
- Entry: £1000
- Mid-Range: $2500
- High-Range: $4000
Single Speed Mountain Bike
Single speed mountain bikes are often not used as a daily driver. As the name states they have one gear.
Meaning the lack of moving parts requires less maintenance.
Mountain Bikes for Heavy Riders by Price
If you’re looking to spend under 300 dollars, then there will be a lot of compromises in quality.
First off you’re mostly going to be looking at steel frames. The closer you get to 300 there may be the odd aluminium frame which are far better. Even though you might not think the extra weight will be a problem. When you’re having to lift it over obstacles and into storage having an aluminium frame will be a huge difference.
You’ll mainly be looking at the standard cable operated brakes. Although they do their job. When travelling at higher speeds you don’t get the added stopping power that disc brakes provide.
- Disc Brakes vs Standard Cable Operated
As for the drive train I would expect to get a single 1 x 7 drive train. Which comes with the benefits of less maintenance. But on the tougher trails and steeper inclines you’ll find yourself having to work harder than bikes with more gears. Once again closer to the $300 price range you may come across a 21 speed which would definitely be more beneficial if you are not used to putting a lot of work on your legs.
As with all mountain bikes the tyres should have a good amount of tread to provide grip on the more uneven surfaces that there built to endure.
You’ll come across a lot of bikes with just front suspension, but it may feel heavy.
Overall, unless you’re not planning on using the bike often or can’t afford closer to the $500 range then this would be your option. However, for an extra couple hundred dollars the difference in specifications are huge.
At around the $500 price range you can get some very good value for money bikes. If you’re a beginner or planning to not use it too often. The $500 price range is extremely good value.
First off you’ll be looking at aluminium frames only. Aluminium is a durable and long lasting material. It sometimes can crack but unless using it on difficult rock filled terrains regularly then you shouldn’t have that problem.
You can get front and rear disc brakes at this price and it would definitely be recommended to provide you with that extra stopping power over the standard cable operated brakes.
Once again with the drive train you will still come across single 7 or 8 speed drive trains. But you’ll also find a larger range of 21 or even the odd 24 speed. Single drive trains however, can sometimes have better performance over the 21 or 24 speed shifters at this price point due to the quality of the 21 speed shifters. Compared to a 21 speed shifter used in higher price tag mountain bikes.
Most bikes will come with a front fork suspension which can be useful and reduce some of the shocks in your arms from the terrain.
Likewise with front suspension you’ll also find full suspension bikes at this price range however, I’d advise staying away unless you really want one. As similar to the drive train situation the suspension quality won’t be as good and may feel hard which could deter the handling and control on harder terrains.
Tyres will and should be fitted with good tread that should be designed to be used off road.
Now we’re starting to get the price range where you don’t need to compromise on parts such as suspension of drive trains. Especially on the standard Trail mountain bikes.
For under $750 you’ll be able to find hard tail trail bikes that suit your needs quite comfortably. With front and rear disc brakes. 21 Speed quality shimano drive trains. Slightly wider tires with excellent tread to give you the most grip on all terrains.
Your frame will almost certainly be aluminium.
We’ll also start to see named brands on components such as the front forks, disc brakes. And even some custom heavy duty tyres.
Suspension on the front fork will still be air, and will be of good quality to provide comfort and good control on loose surfaces.
As for full suspension bikes. Even though I would consider them at this price range you may find the suspension to still be slightly hard.
On some of the higher quality bikes at under $750 you’ll find additional features such as quick release wheels, and larger axles which help to provide greater control on loose surfaces.
Some manufactures may even use tubeless tyres which help decrease the amount of punctures you will get.
Some other quality components to look out for would be shifters with a clutch. They’ll mainly be from Shimano.
Having a shifter with a clutch helps massively when on rough terrain to stop the chain from falling off. The worst thing to spoil your fun, I Know.
As you start looking at mountain bikes closer to $1000. Full suspension bikes start coming into play. Full suspension bikes that are good value and aren’t hard as you’ll find at the lower price tags.
At $1000 bikes should offer and do offer very good stability on all terrains. Lightweight aluminium frames and adjustable shocks to adjust the bike to your needs.
I would definitely expect a clutch on the rear derailleur preferably made by shimano. As well as a 9 or 10 speed rear drive train.
I’d also be expecting higher quality components that come with higher specifications that are expected to last longer.
As we start to climb the price tag the components tend to get more complicated and thus require more maintenance. Maintenance should be done regularly to avoid damaging any components.
Especially when you’re spending this much you don’t want to be having to spend money on replacement parts due to your own laziness.
At this price you shouldn’t be compromising.
The bike should have everything you want. This includes full suspension bikes including high quality suspension with no compromises.
All parts will be high quality top of the line parts from brands such as Shimano.
Towards the higher price points in this category you’ll start to see carbon frames in the hard tail variants. As well as higher quality drive trains and suspension units. That provide a fun and a more comfortable ride.
Although when traveling at speed over roots and loose terrain there can only be so much comfort.
They’ll be more adjustable features such as suspension with damping adjustment. And some may even include a dropper post.
Bikes will be more lightweight, designed for long distance travel without putting too much strain on your legs.
As you start getting into the $2000 price range you normally have a couple of choices.
First off you can choose to have a very good quality carbon frame but compromise on the components side.
Or you can have a lightweight aluminium frame but top of the range components.
Most bikes will include dropper posts. 11 and 12 speed shimano drive trains, with all drive trains expected to have a clutch.
Obviously the choice is yours whether you go with the carbon or aluminium frame.
As for tyres they’ll more than likely be very high quality rubber mainly a tubeless design. And will be heavy duty but also light to reduce the strain on your arms when steering.
Steering components will be top flight and won’t be compromised for cost saving. You’ll also find extremely good quality suspension kits included. As it should be at this price.
The higher the price you’re paying for less weight and increased performance.
More carbon parts make the bike lighter.
And top of the range parts from brands like Shimano increase the performance of the bike.
Some parts will even be specialist parts.
Tyres will be able to handle anything you throw at them. You’ll have incredible grip and maximum speed.
Suspension will be of the highest quality performing suspension available.
And like computers you’ll find that the average user won’t be able to use the bike to its full potential.
What size of mountain bike do I need?
Getting the right size mountain bike is the key to getting the perfect bike. Buying the wrong size frame will hinder your fun. When purchasing your new bike online you can’t test the bike before. But most places have very good return policies if you do buy the wrong size. It’s always important to check the manufactures fitting. This is usually available on the product page.
As a general guide we’ve put together a guide for choosing the right bike size.
- Ultimate Bike Size Guide
Hopefully we’ve put you in the right direction in terms of the type of mountain bike and price range for your next mountain bike.
Ultimate Road bike buying guideOver recent years road bikes have started to become affordable for the everyday user. We’ll be telling you everything you need to know about road bikes for heavy riders. From specifications at certain price points to what you should consider and not compromise on.
Road bike group sets explained
A group set in cycling is known as the mechanical components that make up the drivetrain and braking.
This includes parts such as brake levers, brake callipers, both front and rear derailleurs, shifters, crank set, chain and cassette.
When you’re looking for a top quality bike. The group set should be one of the three main considerations that should be at the top of your list.
The biggest manufacture of groupsets is Shimano. They offer groupsets at all price points up to a few $1000.
If you’re just looking to get into cycling and this is one of your first road bikes then an entry level group set from shimano is the Tourney range. Most road bikes under 500 will use shimano tourney groupsets.
If you’re more of a cycling enthusiast then you’ll probably want to look at the Tiagra, Sora or Claris variations.
And for the professionals there’s the Ultegra, UltegraDi2, Dura-ace and Dura-ace Di2. But unless you’ve got a few thousand to spend you’ll probably not see these groupsets on the specification sheet.
An ideal group set would focus on providing a great stiffness-to-weight ratio. If you’ve never looked into a road bike before you’ll notice that road bikes try more gears at the back from 8-11 which you’ll normally find on the expensive mountain bikes.
How to get the correct road bike size
Once again like with mountain bikes. Choosing the right size road bike is important to feeling comfortable and pain free.
We’ve put together a guide on the road bike size chart for both men and women you may want to look at.
- Road Bike Size Guide
It is however always good to double check with the manufactures size chart just in case they measure slightly differently.
As a rule of thumb when buying a bike online. Most places offer a good return policy if you was to get the sizing wrong.
What tyres will my road bike come with?
To achieve great speeds, road bikes will come with thinner tyres with very small tread. Although you can use wider tyres on road bikes.
The tyres are made to roll fast. With the wider tyres providing similar speeds but also providing more cushioning.
- Best performing road tyres
On the cheaper road bikes you’ll find the tyres aren’t the best. But you can easily switch out tyres and some of the more expensive best performing road tyres are cheaper than you might think. It’s definitely worth considering changing your tyres to maximise speed and comfort.
With there being two main types of road bikes both endurance and race bikes. You’ll find if you opt for a race bike you’ll get skinnier tyres compared to an endurance bike where they opt for more comfort and aren’t in full favour of aerodynamics.
Should I buy a road bike with rim or disc brakes?
In the past road bikes have opted for the standard cable operated brakes. Primarily because they are lighter. And the lighter the bike the quicker the bike can go. However, over recent years disc brakes have become more and more popular on road bikes.
Although they do increase the weight of the bike, they also provide far greater stopping power than the standard cable operated brakes.
If you’re going to be using your road bike for commuting to work and more endurance based rather than racing. I’d definitely recommend choosing a bike with disc brakes.
- What to know about road bike disc brakes
Road bikes for heavy riders by price
Cheap road bikes under 200
Yes you can get road bikes for under $200. Are they worth it? Maybe. There are some good budget road bikes if you are a beginner and only going to be commuting shorter distances.
If you are going to be using it everyday and for medium to longer commutes, I’d try stay away from this price point and go for a road bike under 500. There’s more of choice and competition which brings the overall road bike quality up.
Best cheap road bikes under 500
Getting into road cycling doesn’t need to cost you as much as it did a few years ago. Three years ago you’d struggle to find any good competition at this price point.
Most bikes in this price range offer lightweight aluminium frames. You’ll find the odd road bike that comes with disc brakes but you’ll mainly be looking at good quality cable operated brakes.
There are some really good brands providing exceptional competition at this price. You will compromise on the groupsets quality. But for a beginner or entry level bike you’ll find some good competition.
Best road bikes under 1000
Best road bikes for heavy riders that are around the 1000 mark still compromise bits of quality. But if you know you’ll be using your road bike often then between 500 – 1000 is a good price range to make sure you’re getting good quality with the only compromises being not including top of the range shimano parts.
Instead you’ll find the mid-range enthusiast level parts which are great for everyday use.
You’ll find groupsets such as the Shimano Sora as well as lightweight aluminium frames with disc brakes.
You may find the odd steel frame, although they can be slightly heavier it’s always important to check the overall weight of the bike as some steel frames can be lightweight.
Best road bikes under 2000
At the $2000 price range we start to see some amazing road bikes. If this is going to be your first road bike maybe you should look at the cheaper alternatives but if you’ve got the cash to splash and know you’ll be using the bike all the time.
Then you’ll find some really high quality road bikes.
Lightweight aluminium frames. Whilst you’ll also start to find carbon forks to save on weight. As you get closer to the $2000 mark you’ll find full carbon frames.
Most bikes will be rated at a user experience level of advanced / expert user. If you aren’t then it doesn’t matter but you may find that you don’t use the bike to its full potential.
Ultimate Hybrid bike buying guide
What is a hybrid bike?If you’re looking for a bike that can be used on multiple terrains. Or plan on using one bike for both commuting to work and leisure rides on single track or dirt trails. Then a hybrid bike will be the solution to your problem. A hybrid bike is a combination of both the mountain and road bike we’ve discussed above. A good hybrid bike will be able to tackle almost any terrain. Without feeling like it’s going to break. If you’re new to cycling. A hybrid bike can be a good starter bike. You’ll be able to use it for multiple purposes rather than having two different bikes. It must be said that if you was to have two bikes a mountain and a road bike. They’d be more specialised for their individual uses. Whereas a hybrid bike does compromise on some of the top features due to having to meet the needs of different uses.
Should I buy a Hybrid bike over a road bike?
Some people argue that you should by a hybrid bike over a road bike. The reason they say this is that if you did want to hit some trails and go into the mountains then at least you don’t have to buy a second bike.
Personally, as a cycling enthusiast I’d opt for two separate bikes. But if money is tight then it’s definitely worth looking at hybrid bikes before you make your purchase.
Best hybrid bikes for heavy riders by price
Best hybrid bikes under 500
If you’re looking for an entry level hybrid bike. Then this is the price range.
You’ll find you can get a lightweight aluminium frame. With front fork suspension and the possibility of disc brakes on the higher price end. You’ll be stuck with an entry level groupsets, but settling for a shimano or SRAM brand you know that they’ll be good quality.
Some manufactures such as Raleigh and Schwinn opt for a comfort hybrid bike. These sometimes have low step through frames making it easier to mount and dismount. They’ll also include a comfort saddle which normally includes spring suspension to reduce shock when riding over roots or rough surfaces.
Hybrid bikes at this price are made more for leisure use. Although can be used for commuting. The higher price tag hybrid bikes are designed better for commuting which you’ll see later.
As it’s a hybrid bike you’ll find the tyres are thinner but have a good amount of tread to gain traction on loose gravel surfaces.
Best hybrid bikes under 1000
As you start to climb the price ladder you’ll start finding more performance based hybrid bikes rather than comfort hybrid bikes.
Performance based hybrid bikes are built better for commuting. Especially if you’re going to be commuting most days.
You’ll find aluminium frames with front fork suspension. Mainly hard tails, that include powerful disc brakes.
You may find more enthusiast level groupsets from brands such as Shimano. However, many will still only include the Shimano tourney range which is Shimano’s entry level groupsets.
Once again you’ll find thinner tyres which are better for road use. But they’ll include a good amount of tread to keep traction when using on other terrains.
Ultimate Cyclocross & Gravel bike buyer’s guideIf you haven’t head of cyclocross and gravel bikes. There a fairly new type of bike designed to be known as workhorses. Cyclocross is a racing cycling sport. So there performance needs to be top quality. Therefore cyclocross bikes are known to be extremely light with maximum performance parts. And because of this they also come at a high price tag. Heavier riders can also use these types of bikes because they are designed to be extremely strong. You can get cheaper cyclocross bikes. And these to provide a lot of performance whilst maintaining strength. Due to the racing aspect they tend to have road bike gearsets. If you’re looking to adventure then a cyclocross and gravel bike would suit you.
Best cyclocross and gravel bikes for heavy riders by price
At this price range you should expect an aluminium frame, with the possibility of a carbon fork to reduce the overall weight of the bike.
Shimano and SRAM offer high quality 10, 11 and 12 x 1 drivetrains that you’d expect to find at this price range.
Most gravel and cyclocross bikes under the 1000 range will be disc brakes. The lower price may include cable operated brakes but mainly you’ll find disc brakes.
The reason that you’re able to find higher quality components is because most gravel and cyclocross bikes are hard tail meaning no rear suspension so they can afford to offer more enthusiast tier components.
Between the 1000 and 2000 range you’ll find both aluminium and carbon frames. Carbon frames being on the higher side of the price tag.
We also start to see the addition of internal cabling as well as hydraulic disc brakes.
Still using Shimano and SRAM’s enthusiast tier drive trains. However, these do include 10, 11 and 12 rear speed derailleurs.
As for wheels you’ll find the 700c size. But you’ll get some of the best performance tyres available from brands such as the Schwalbe X-One All Around Performance tyres. Which provide incredible traction on all terrains and conditions.
At this price range you start to find the highest tier components from brands such as Shimano. Shimano Ultegra is quite common in this price range.
You’ll settle no less than a full carbon frame and forks. And so you should if you’re thinking of spending this much money.
Most bikes will come with an 11 rear cassette with one front chainset. However, the higher price tag within this range sometimes include a double front chainset.
Similar to other types of bikes once you get over the $2000 range. You’re paying for reduced weight and improved performance.