Bike-Buying Tips for Clydesdale Cyclists

Wheels

Even riders just over the 225-pound standard weight limit may have experienced issues with components. Wheels can be a weak point—especially when used for mountain biking or cyclocross—and we've heard accounts of cracked carbon handlebars as well. Denizot considers durability first when choosing parts for Zize Bikes. She opts for "high thread-count tires, strong inner tubes, and special double-butted stainless steel spokes." Even if you're not ordering from Zize, you can take Denizot's advice and look for beefier tires, and most bike shops can build wheels with tougher spokes that are less likely to snap.

Stan's No Tubes recently released a wheel meant for larger riders, although the weight limit is only 250 pounds. Still, when you consider the mountain biking (on a tubeless setup) that these wheels are intended for, a guarantee for up to 250 pounds is pretty solid. "All of our wheels are built for a specific type of riding and have a weight limit," explains NoTubes' Bob Nunnink. "For example, Crest 29 is for cross-country use for riders up to 190 pounds, the Arch EX is for trail use for [those up to] 230 pounds, and Flow EX is for all-mountain use for riders up to 250 pounds. We make a Flow EX 29 36-hole rim for the heaviest riders, but do not build with them ourselves."

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If you're over 250 pounds, don't despair: "People also ask what the weight limit is on our rims, and we say that rims do not have a weight limit," Nunnink adds. "Weight limits are a function of rim, spokes, and hub used." That means you can potentially purchase the rim on its own and bring it to a shop to be built with the burliest spokes and hub available (just check with the shop before buying).

Enve doesn't have a set weight limit for most of its products. Pantone cautions that a few of them aren't recommended for riders over 200 pounds, though he adds that it's more a performance issue and not about safety. "Some of our really light wheels and forks are just not going to be stiff enough for an a 200+ pound aggressive cyclist to enjoy." But Enve does focus on making products that will serve heavier cyclists well, and Pantone adds, "At Enve, we know who our customers are, and a good portion of them are considered to be heavy riders. We take this into consideration when we design, test, and manufacture our products so that when these guys invest in Enve they get the best riding experience around." He recommends the SES 3.4 and 6.7 road wheels and the M60 and M70 mountain bike wheels as the best options for bigger riders.

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