While average-sized riders may never consider it, heavier rider’s may wonder if mountain bikes have weight limits. It makes sense that the manufacturer’s design and test their bikes for a given weight range, but just how high does that range go?
So, do mountain bikes have weight limits? Generally, most mountain bikes have a weight limit of ~300 pounds when moving at an average speed of 10 mph on level terrain. To give you a more exact idea, listed below are the general weight limits published by some common mountain bike manufacturers.
|Manufacturer||Weight Limit [lbs]|
|Santa Cruz||*not listed|
Despite these generally published weight limits, there are special bikes heavy-duty bikes that you can also find which have higher weight limits. For our NFL-Esque friends out there, these may be your best bet for finding a suitable mountain bike.
Mountain Bikes Have Weight Limits
Like any other type of bicycle, mountain bikes have weight limits. Bicycle weight limits come from the type of bike and intended use. The average bike can hold 300 pounds at speeds up to 10 miles per hour, provided you have level terrain (which can vary from bike to bike).
Most manufacturers publish their bikes’ weight limits in the “Intended Use” section of their Bike Owner’s manual or the FAQ support section of their website. However, they rarely post just one weight limit.
Despite this, you may not see a weight limit mentioned. Most bike brands split the weight limit into subcategories or carrying capacities.
Here are the most common of these categories:
- Structural Weight – the maximum physical weight capacity of the bike.
- Rider Weight– Maximum supported weight of the rider including rider gear such as helmet, jacket, hydration pack, helmet cam, et cetera.
- Cargo or Luggage Weight Limit – Maximum supported of any additional accessories not accounted for by the rider weight such as rear racks, saddlebags, panniers, baskets, and handlebar bags
- Total Weight – Maximum support combined rider and cargo weight
- Recommended Max Weight Per Cen Braking Standards – Maximum combined rider and cargo weight the bike can support and still stop within a prescribed distance
How to Find Mountain Bikes That Can Handle a Heavier Riders?
The easiest way to find a mountain bike for a heavy rider is finding bikes with a supported rider limit that works for you.
You can find this information on the bike’s user manual or website. You want to look in the Intended Use section for the information.
Even if you can’t find this information, you still have options. For instance, you should avoid bikes with lightweight carbon construction.
The lightest bikes will rarely be able to handle heavier riders. except for the more expensive, top-of-the-line models.
Even with those high-end models, you will still get a better ride with a heavier aluminum and steel bike. Remember – parts wear faster with heavier loads. So, you want a bike that can handle the additional weight while still allowing for fun times!
To get you started, here is a shortlist of some bikes meant to handle heavier riders.
|Zize 29ER MAX 2.0|
|Gravity Bullseye Monster|
|Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail|
|Framed Minnesota 2.0|
You can also know a lot just by looking at the tires!
Much of a bike’s weight capacity revolves around its tires. While the structural frame is important, it is the tires that must carry the weight.
Generally, most bikes can have tires with up to 165 pounds of pressure per wheel. Because there are two wheels, bikes can have a maximum weight limit of 330 pounds with properly inflated tires.
Does Mountain Bike Weight Matter?
While cyclists used the “light is good, heavy is bad” motto for decades, this is no longer true in reality. The current industry trend is moving towards heaver mountain bikes (and bicycle models in general). If this sounds crazy to you, take a look at my full article on this topic here.
Plus, modern bikes feature much better handling characteristics from their more sophisticated, stiff and durable frame construction. In other words, you can get higher speed on even rougher trailers now than what you could do even a few years ago.
Heavier bikes also improve downhill riding. You can go as fast as you want without requiring breaks. You can even take corners in confidence. You get it all and still have decent climbing performances with a heavier bike.
Most of all, heavier bikes can easily handle heavier riders. Heavy bikes are durable by default. They can handle you can throw at them, and then some.
What’s a Good Weight for a Mountain Bike?
Mountain bikes tend to the heavy side of the bicycle industry already. They must handle rough and rugged terrain, and that requires durable construction and mechanics.
Mountain bikes will always be heavier than road bikes.
Because of this, the average mountain bike now weighs 29 pounds! This weight includes the frame, wheels, transmission, etc… Though, even keeping this average in mind, you want to stay on the heavier side if you’re a larger rider.
What are the Weight Limits for Electric Mountain Bikes?
The electric mountain bike (eMTB) is one of the hottest trends in cycling today. EMTBs are fast, efficient, and fun on the trail for everyone, from nature enthusiasts to survivalists and adventurers.
You only need a slight push to get these bikes flying up a hill, making them the ideal companion for even the roughest, off-roading, mountain trails. They make your journeys easy while letting you reach destinations faster.
However, electric mountain bikes have lower weight limits than their traditional counterparts.
While a traditional mountain bike can easily handle 300 pounds without modification. Most eMTBs are limited to 250 pounds.
This is because eMTBs tend to be much lighter than traditional bikes despite having much larger 29-inch tires. They have the power to go over any terrain, but only if they are not carrying that much.
Fortunately, eMTB manufacturers are trying to reduce this discrepancy, but it may take a few years before these more durable e-bikes hit the market. Many even already let you buy custom e-bikes designed specifically for heavier riders.
However, you will be paying for this privilege. Many heavy-duty, custom-made electric mountain bicycles will set you back at least $1000. If you’re interested in learning how to build your own eMTB, make sure to check out our article here to save a TON of money.
Because of this, if you are a heavier rider, you must stick with traditional mountain bicycles for now. You may not have a power assist feature, but you know you will make your destination in one piece.