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Is there a weight limit for gravel bikes? How do I choose if I'm heavy?

In some cases, sport bicycles such as gravel bikes are made lightweight, which limits the weight they can accommodate. In this article, we summarize how to choose a gravel bike for heavier riders.

Modified at: 2023.7.6Posted at: 2022.9.6

The standard weight that gravel bikes can accommodate is around 100 kg

Most gravel bikes and other sport bicycles have no basic weight limit (they can accommodate any conceivable weight of a person who can ride a bicycle), but some manufacturers may have a specific weight limit for wheels.

For example, Mavic’s Ksyrium Pro Disc ALLROAD has a weight limit of 120 kg. Generally speaking, even a very obese person would weigh around 100 kg, so the weight limit is wide.

Wheel manufacturers often list weight limits on their websites, but not for complete bikes, so if you are concerned about this, contact the manufacturer before purchasing.

Gravel bikes are best for those who weigh more

They are compatible with larger tubeless tires.

The reason wheels have a weight limit is because there is a limit to the load that the rim and spokes can withstand. Conversely, the less load on the rim and spokes, the less damage to the wheel as a whole.

Clinchers, the predominant tire type on road bikes today, structurally require high pressure inside the tire so that the tire, wheel, frame, and rider’s body all take the impact from the road surface.

Tubeless tires, on the other hand, can hold their shape without a tube, allowing them to be inflated to lower pressures than clinchers.

Moreover, the larger tires that gravel bikes can handle have more air inside the tire than thinner tires, so the tire can be well cushioned even at lower pressures.

Rugged construction for rough roads

Compared to road bikes, which are designed to be lightweight and aero efficient, gravel bikes are built to be somewhat sturdier, as they are designed for rough roads.

In this sense, heavier riders can ride on paved roads with a certain degree of confidence. However, when a heavier rider rides on gravel or other rough roads, the bike may be subjected to more load than the manufacturer expects, so it may be necessary to introduce tubeless tires and suspension.

How to choose a gravel bike if you are overweight

So what kind of gravel bike should you choose if you are overweight?

The first thing to look at is the frame and wheel material.

The top gravel bike models use carbon, but carbon is not suitable for heavy weight riders, as it is vulnerable to loading to a single point. Models that use supple metals such as aluminum or chromoly are better.

Next is size.

Heavy riders have more muscle mass in their legs, so they can generate more power, but they also have to lift their legs more. Therefore, if the frame size is too large, the rider will not be able to straddle the frame when riding, so it is better to choose a frame size that is one size smaller.

Finally, there is the loading aspect.

Many gravel bikes have a high load capacity so that camping tours can be enjoyed, but in some cases, a complete set of camping gear can weigh more than 10 kg. A person weighing 70 kg may have no problem loading 10 kg of gear, but a person weighing 110 kg may be caught in the weight limit if he or she loads 10 kg of gear.

In this sense, it is best to avoid installing “heavy parts” such as rear carriers and front baskets to increase loading capacity, and to use lighter items such as saddlebags for loading.

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