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What defines a light versus heavy rider?(18 posts)

What defines a light versus heavy rider?sn69
Jul 17, 2002 1:09 PM
In regards to past posts and advice rendered (especially some of the discussion that Magnum sparked below), I'm curious to know what some folks think is heavy versus light, male and female. For example, Seven touts its Alaris to appeal to heavier mashers. What is heavy? Obviously someone over 200 pounds would be, regardless of height. Still, someone who is 180 but 6'2" could still conceivably generate enough torque based on leg length and lever arm to flex a given BB, right?

Material issues notwithstanding, I'm just curious to know what everyone thinks. As a triathlete, I'm used to seeing male tri-wippets who weight a buck twenty wet. But, as a proud member of the age group working class (and a habitual doughnut/beer consumer), I see plenty of guys in the upper 100s/low 200s and lots of women in the mid 100s. Roadie, tri-geek, doesn't matter; I'm simply not convinced that the average male rider weighs 150 and the average female is 100, thus defining heavy and light.
Strictly personal view, but...cory
Jul 17, 2002 1:22 PM
People who ride bikes come in all shapes and sizes (check your local sub-25 mile fun ride), but my impression is that "serious cyclists" come mainly in whippet. At 6'4", I range around 225 pounds--a largish but not freakish guy. By bike standards, though, I'm HUGE.
We have some pretty good racers here (you may have heard of Greg Lemond), and they do tend to be in the 130-150 pound range. The few who are near my height weigh far less than I do. Even when I was young and lean, with a body fat percentage that worried my doctors, I weighed over 200 pounds.
From a personal standpoint, I guess I'd consider anybody over 190-200 pounds to be "big," and anybody below that to be "small." Among cyclists, though, I'd call a 175-pounder big, and you'd probably have to be under 130 to be small.
Look at how they size clothingfiltersweep
Jul 17, 2002 1:26 PM
I'm a skinny 6'1" 165 lbs, and I wear XL to XXL cycling clothing... that sort of says it all.
Look at how they size clothingatpjunkie
Jul 17, 2002 1:42 PM
Also look at how they warranty certain parts, not recommended for riders over 165 or not recommended for riders over 180. Geez I weighed 180 in jr high. I was at 4% bodyfat and weighed 197 when I was a rower. I'm in the 2's now and like the other responder am behemoth by cycling standards
in a lot of the posts you get here asking about new bikesColnagoFE
Jul 17, 2002 1:54 PM
the riders always seem to be 6 foot plus and 200+ pounds.
I don't know what an avg bike rider isgrandemamou
Jul 17, 2002 3:54 PM
For a competitive rider I would agree with the other poster 175-180 is large less than 130 is small. The vast majority of cyclists aren't competitive. Most of the guys I ride with are on the smaller side, myself 5'8 145.

That said if you go to a large organized ride they come in all shapes and sizes. There is no true avg.
I don't know what an avg bike rider isR-I-D-E
Jul 17, 2002 4:04 PM
6'2" 160 pounds here. I would say 170-175 and up is heavy (by cycling standards) and under 170 is leaning towards light. Of course, if you are 5'5" and weigh 170, you are on the heavy side.

Geez...this can pretty broad.

That's my point...sn69
Jul 17, 2002 4:37 PM
It's very broad and not necessarily indicative of the general cycling constituency (in this country at least). Ahimsa?...any comments on cycling abroad other than our ugly jerseys (as if the butt-ugliest thing in the world wasn't Cippo's A & S zebra batman costume)?

Whatever the case, I'm growing increasingly leary of weight weenieism and the corresponding sacrifice in strength/safety.

DeSoto's goofy sizing is another issue entirely....
"Ahimsa?...any comments on cycling abroad..."Ahimsa
Jul 17, 2002 5:39 PM
"...other than our ugly jerseys (as if the butt-ugliest thing in the world wasn't Cippo's A & S zebra batman costume)?"

Hold on a minute there. How did me an Cippo get into this thread?


A. (Never cycled a broad before. I stick soley to bikes. The women usually just watch.)'re a genius, I'll have to convince the wife!sn69
Jul 17, 2002 5:41 PM
Hmmm...I'm a genius? You'll have to convince my wife!Ahimsa
Jul 17, 2002 5:51 PM
I'm sure she's a lovely lady, but mine's a handful. ;-)sn69
Jul 17, 2002 6:03 PM
Biggie Friesgrzy
Jul 17, 2002 5:08 PM
Do you even do fast food? We as Americans have a warped sense of reality and size. Compared to the rest of the world we're huge. Check that, we're fat. These days a medium soft drink is about a quart of caffinated sugar syrup. I'm old enough to remember when the standard size for a Coke bottle was 10 ounces.

Maybe it's all relative - if everyone that showed up for a ride weighed on average 200 lbs., then 180 lbs. would be a light weight. But in an real historical sense maybe one should look at some sports where "light" and "heavy" is defined. In college crew and football "lightweight" is around 150 lbs. - I say around b/c there is a little bit of politics that goes on. If you're going to race a triathlon the clydesdale division is usually around 180 or 200 lbs for men. It's probably safe to say that if you're under 150 you're a light weight and over 200 you're a heavy weight. At the end of the day you're trying to put an exact quantitative measure on something that some marketing type was paid to purposely be vague about. They try to do some market segmentation without making people feel like they might be excluded. If you're a little confused and maybe insecure, but still interested then they've done their job. Ultimately if you have to haul your butt up a hill in a hurry it helps if it isn't too big.
Do I do fast food?!?!sn69
Jul 17, 2002 5:40 PM
Such a silly question. Interestingly, that's the second inferrence that I'm not Amerrrcan. I am. And yes, we are a fat society--hell, I live in New Orleans, the most un-healthy city in the country. NOLA; home of "all things fried." ;-)~

I'm not insecure about it, just perplexed at the, as you say, market segmentation. In my experience on club rides (for 8 years in San Diego), most dudes were well above 150. Can the wippets make it up the hills faster? Sometimes, but I'd argue that's more an issue of relative fitness and strength than anything else.

In pro cycling, light it good. In triathlon, it's a bit more muddied, since one has to have proportionally more muscle/fast twitch to excel given the cardiovascular and muscular requirements of multi-sport (that should start a flame war...).

But for us mortals, I don't think that the same standards are applicable. Ghisallos, Kings and Drangonflies are nice, but I'd sure hate to snap one in half climbing a hill.
Not a chance.grzy
Jul 19, 2002 9:06 AM
Hey, in the rest of the world 150 lbs. isn't considered light weight, except maybe in Germany - the only place I've been where the lifestyle is almost as toxic as in the USA. We Americans are huge and getting bigger every year. "Biggie Fries", everything large, and fast food was in reference to how we're so accustomed to everything being bigger, faster, more. Saw a 48 hours segment last night on a supermodel (something Otis) who is now a size 12 at 150 lbs. and is posing for "larger" women's magazines, yet the average sized American woman is a size 14. So if this is true then maybe the average American male is really 180 lbs.? It is a muddy picture b/c how many of these people actually get on a bicycle and go ride? Is the average American really healthy and does this represent the average cyclist? Maybe you should write to the manufacturer in question and ask them to define average (lotsa luck).

The real key to understanding climbing ability is power to weight ratio - the only things that matter are legs, lungs, and cardio. Fast twitch/slow twitch comes into play on the length of the event. An average rider doing average rides isn't really going to push the limits of a decent frame. In reality if you're average size you'll be fine if you don't select a frame targetted towards one extreme or the other. Sure they like to say a frame is design for this or that, but larger it's a bunch of hype since they haven't done any testing and have zero data to confirm their theories. A lot of dope gets smoked in the bike biz. If you're at one extreme then you probably should take advantage of some specialization. In the area of mass marketed frames you don't often see failures since the mfr. is worried about product liability, but it does happen. Usually you get a new frame out of the deal, but somethimes they just give you a discount on another crappy product. If you really want the ultimate and something tailored to your size and riding style then you should be looking at a custom build from Seven, Serotta, et all. the custom manufacturers really focus on tweaking their designs around the individual and get direct feed back as to what works and what doesn't. they charge enough that they can make this effort worht their while and they can stand behind everyone of their products. The mass marketers either have to overbuild the product or walk away from their mistakes. The marketing folks are several levels removed from the engineers and they're about as knowledgeable as TV news reporters.
re: What defines a light versus heavy rider?PMC
Jul 17, 2002 6:28 PM
My wife and I both ride. She's 5'4" and around 112 pounds, what I consider a flyweight. I on the other hand am 6'1" and hover around 170-180 depending on diet. I consider myself on the edge of heavy but see many heavier people riding.
I'm exactly per your exampleoff roadie
Jul 18, 2002 6:22 AM
6'2", 180 lbs. I do flex some frames / BB's. I defeinatley flex bars and put extra stress on wheels, particularly on my MTB's (riding style plus weight and leverage). I have some trouble with the fit of some cycling clothing, mostly because of my big feet and long limbs and torso.

However, I do NOT have the problems Clydes do. I've never snappped or sheered a metal part or frame due to repeated normal use. I've never had a bearing fail simply due to high loads. I build my bikes a bit heavier than an average rider could get away with, but normal componants serve me well- I don't need to look for tandem axles and whatnot.

So in my mind, no, I'm not a heavyweight. But I do think I'm a little over the average, since I usually stand 2-4 inches taller than most people in a crowd, even here in Minnesotta. I don't have trouble finding frames that fit, but they are usually among the biggest frames in a bike shop. On the other hand, if I wasn't abnormally thin, I might well qualify as a clydesdale, and I'm not often the lightest rider in a group.
re: What defines a light versus heavy rider?magnum
Jul 19, 2002 7:24 AM
Amen to that Brother!!!!

I say let us Fatasses REVOLT!!!! jk

Not saying that it's a bad thing but in a recent study i believe they say that around 45% of American are considered obease for thier height/frame size. I know that includes me!

I have a huge football build - very very broad. Basically I'm about 24inches wide. Sometimes I wonder what Bike manufactures are thinking (particularly DeRosa) Who make and produce such amazing bikes yet the heaviest rider that can grace the saddle is 180 lbs. What gives?

I'm not upset but it seems like this is evolving into a select sport in which only bodies the size of horse jockeys can ride (barely 5 feet tall and 100 - 120# soaking wet).

I'm not trying to rant but it's simply not fair. Bike manufactures should take notice that not everyone is in perfect shape and thus in order to make machines of loving grace that will last with the weight/torque that heavier riders can produce.

Maybe I'm off my rocker - Sorry for the long post