Bikes for big burners!

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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Enderfish
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Bikes for big burners!

Post by Enderfish » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:31 am

Hi everyone! This will be my 2nd burn with my sister and this time we are bringing my dad! Last year we didn't bring any bikes and this time we definitely want some. The only problem is my father weights about 320 lbs and I weight a bit more at around 340 >< My sister of course is in perfect shape so we won't discuss her :P While we both weight quite a bit I know, we are pretty athletic and go to the gym regularly (my dad has lost 100 lbs and I've lost 50 so far) so I know we will be able to handle riding a bike, we just don't know if the bike can handle us >> We were just going to get some cruiser bikes but then I started reading about weight limits and I got worried that if we don't get a specialized bike it might collapse under us on the playa!

My question is, when they speak of bikes having weight limits and breaking is that something that would happen on the first ride, or even after a week of riding? The bikes I've found that have weight limits up to 350 lbs cost so much (haven't found anything under $650) and while we really should ride all the time, realistically we will only be using these on the playa. I guess I was just wondering if in terms of the bike's stability could we use a normal bike for the week of burning man even if we are over the weight limit?

Thank you so much for reading and for any replies/advice!
Why do people with closed minds always have open mouths?

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:27 pm

There are no good new bikes under $650 regardless of weight.

Look at used bikes, mountain bikes, trikes and so on.
A bike expert can help with choices.
There are a number of bike forums too.

The best bike I know of is the Surly Pugsley.
Expensive and worth it.
Rare on the second hand market, but you could try.

Cruisers can have wider rims and tires added to a point.

Weight ratings are like vehicles.
There are different areas to be concerned about.
Some are easy to upgrade.

Image

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pugsley_complete/

The front fork and wheel on the Pugsley can be added to many other bikes, and later moved to the Surly frame.
This is what I plan to do.

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:42 pm

Enderfish wrote:
My question is, when they speak of bikes having weight limits and breaking is that something that would happen on the first ride, or even after a week of riding? The bikes I've found that have weight limits up to 350 lbs cost so much (haven't found anything under $650) and while we really should ride all the time, realistically we will only be using these on the playa. I guess I was just wondering if in terms of the bike's stability could we use a normal bike for the week of burning man even if we are over the weight limit?
A major concern will be the drivetrain.
Some hubgears will be the toughest choices.
Straight drive is very tough.

It will depend on your biking use though.
You might get away with a fragile drive, just as the T5 trans is often used with engines rated double capacity.
You need to understand use of gears.
Certain conditions are when damage occurs.

Frame is a separate area of concern.
Some are strong.

Then you have the wheels.
Easy to upgrade to a point, and wide wheels make the playa far easier, so a good idea anyway.


Electric assist is allowed on the playa.
You might consider that many report that with an electric, they enjoy riding more, so get far more exercise than without it.
It might save your knees too.

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CapSmashy
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by CapSmashy » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:18 pm

Enderfish wrote:Hi everyone! This will be my 2nd burn with my sister and this time we are bringing my dad! Last year we didn't bring any bikes and this time we definitely want some. The only problem is my father weights about 320 lbs and I weight a bit more at around 340 >< My sister of course is in perfect shape so we won't discuss her :P While we both weight quite a bit I know, we are pretty athletic and go to the gym regularly (my dad has lost 100 lbs and I've lost 50 so far) so I know we will be able to handle riding a bike, we just don't know if the bike can handle us >> We were just going to get some cruiser bikes but then I started reading about weight limits and I got worried that if we don't get a specialized bike it might collapse under us on the playa!

My question is, when they speak of bikes having weight limits and breaking is that something that would happen on the first ride, or even after a week of riding? The bikes I've found that have weight limits up to 350 lbs cost so much (haven't found anything under $650) and while we really should ride all the time, realistically we will only be using these on the playa. I guess I was just wondering if in terms of the bike's stability could we use a normal bike for the week of burning man even if we are over the weight limit?

Thank you so much for reading and for any replies/advice!
Any mainstream brand, like Schwinn for example, mountain bike set up will be fine. They are engineered for a 200/220 pound person jumping and going off drops etc which puts a lot more stress and pressure on the frame, wheels, etc than you or your dad would by biking around on them without doing crazy mountain bike stuff.

The most important thing for carrying heavier people on bikes are tires and the spoke count on the wheels. You'll want big wide tires and a high spoke count on the rims. For comfort, a wide cruiser seat would probably be a good idea as well.

Also, due to liability concerns and such, most weight limits on products like bikes are not anywhere near the actual load capacity of the bike.

Best thing to do would be to go to someplace like Wal Mart and try a few to see how sturdy they feel. Bounce up and down on them etc, and see how it feels.
Playawaste Raiders cordially invites you to suck it.

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delle
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by delle » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:31 pm

Now THAT, Cpn, was some real common sense and all around good advice!

Just want to be the first to chime in and say thanks!
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She had blue skin, And so did he.
He kept it hid And so did she.
They searched for blue Their whole life through,
Then passed right by- And never knew.”

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:38 pm

Lots of used, strong bikes out there.

I read what they said.

Had a friend shatter his gearset recently too.

No fun having a failed bike on the playa.
Been through that.

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:29 pm

Due to the rough conditions on the playa, made worse with a heavier rig, I've been researching seats.
There is a traditional maker for seats recommended.
Brooks, I think.

I found a decent shock absorber too.
Most are crap.
This is a type using torsional twisting.
http://thudbuster.com/

I was looking into a custom hydraulic, also possible.
An issue is lack of alignment with most hydraulics.
Most shocks are fake and do nothing, or are crap and annoying.

I didn't have especially wide tires and may have had too much pressure, but the choppy surface with a heavier bike just beat me to pieces last time out.
You may not be bothered.
I had a wide seat with a "shock".
It wasn't enough.


Possibly useful links
http://www.bikemania.biz/NitroPro_Plush ... tropro.htm
http://chagalo.org/Bike/BicycleSeat.shtml

Enderfish
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by Enderfish » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:02 am

Thanks so much everyone for the awesome advice and tips!
Why do people with closed minds always have open mouths?

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:39 am

There are some real bike experts on eplaya, and we're not them.

They're probably all out in the shop now.
People like Elliot either know it or can figure it out, if bikes are involved.

The bike my friend had fail was a schwinn, by the way.
The derailleur shattered.
The better bikesets just cost too much to go on the cheaper bikes.
Always have.

Cost isn't the only factor relating to strength though.
Some like SRAM have a long reputation for it.
Old english 3 speeds are tough too.
The Nuvinci appears very strong.

I hope you get something that works well for you.

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:53 am

It's worth mentioning that there are some mountain bikes with 29" rims, providing for a smoother ride and more capacity.

Many are very cheap, but all things equal, I would go with the 29".

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trilobyte
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by trilobyte » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:09 am

Al great advice. Cpn's absolutely right about the strength of the frame. But Gyre's info is spot on with regards to the gearsets. Carrying a heavy load would put more strain on the chain/gears/etc, and that's where a failure could/would occur. Go to a bike shop and talk to the bike guy/girl, they may have recommendations on how to fortify whatever bike you're considering (and they may have deals or tips on deals for used bikes that'll work for you). Good luck!

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Bob
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by Bob » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:08 am

OP doesn't say whether they currently own or ride any kind of bikes. Desert might not be the best place to break in brand new ones.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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CapSmashy
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by CapSmashy » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:44 am

trilobyte wrote:Al great advice. Cpn's absolutely right about the strength of the frame. But Gyre's info is spot on with regards to the gearsets. Carrying a heavy load would put more strain on the chain/gears/etc, and that's where a failure could/would occur. Go to a bike shop and talk to the bike guy/girl, they may have recommendations on how to fortify whatever bike you're considering (and they may have deals or tips on deals for used bikes that'll work for you). Good luck!
I checked a couple of bike forums that had advice threads about bikes for larger people.

One guy started biking at 450 pounds on a stock Huffy mountain bike and rode it until he was down to 300 pounds and switched to a Cannondale. One of their forum admins that owns a bike shop was saying that a very generalized rule of thumb for bikes is that the cheaper they are, the higher the typical weight capacity will be on them due to materials used for construction. A cheap bike will likely have a steel frame as opposed to a high dollar bike that has say a carbon fiber frame and magnesium or titanium sprockets. He was the one talking about the spoke count and wider tires being the primary necessities for durability at bigger loads. Another bike shop owner chimed in about the gearset issue and saying he the only real issues he had seen was a guy that weighed in at over 500 pounds.

But yeah, talking to a bike shop is good advice and is a good place to get the rims respoked with larger spokes and big tires.
Playawaste Raiders cordially invites you to suck it.

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gyre
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by gyre » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:08 pm

Walmart has a lot of very cheap, very light aluminum framed bikes.
Can't speak to strength, but older frames are stronger in general.

Rode a three speed english that was fully welded and heavy and would clearly support 300 pounds, but had thin tires.

I doubt there is an issue of frame failure with most, but more torqueing, which I could do with my motobecane pedaling.

I would be more concerned with failure of some crucial weld, due to crappiness, like a rear point or the steering.
Or annoying flexing.

The older schwinns have notably solid frames, and sometimes all the rest too.
The japanese panasonic made schwinns are considered the best schwinn sold by some.

There is a common kiddie bike out there so heavy, I think it would support a car.


As for wide tires, if you ever ride a pugsley on the playa, even for a minute, you'll want one.
Sails over dust drifts.

skibear
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by skibear » Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:42 pm

Buy a WIDER "comfort" seat and bring it/mount it on the bike. Really, even if the narrow seat that comes with most bikes
will support 300 lbs? it would really cause a sore butt.
hth
crash & burn ski lessons given

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Asherbeez
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by Asherbeez » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:42 pm

Typically, I would suggest sticking with a single speed drive out on the playa, as the dusty tends to wreak havoc on drive trains, but that may not be an option as getting moving on a single speed can be a bit of burden if the load is greater. As for tires, I'll repeat what others have already said, the wider the better and running them a bit flatter helps with all the bumps and loose dirt out there. Just be sure not to run them too flat as you could bottom out and pinch the tube. And I will add yet another +1 to Cpn's comment about the frames, manufacturers tend to add in heavy safety factors into mass produced products to eliminate liability.

I'd also like to say good on you two for starting in on getting healthier and being active! Keep it up! :D
Dancing is a state of mind and may not even involve movement at all.
~Simon of the Playa

bill_best
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by bill_best » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:55 pm

I'm a big guy too @ 350lb+ and I plan on having a cheap steel frame bike along with a propane powered Pro-Ped scooter.

http://www.goped.com/Products/GSR-pro-p ... efault.asp

Weight limit for those is 400lb and they are much quieter than the gas models that everyone hates.

I plan on being respectful by only riding close to structures then walking in the rest of the way.

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Kinetik V
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Re: Bikes for big burners!

Post by Kinetik V » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:14 am

Have you thought about a trike? I've got two Worksman trikes that can haul 350 lbs with ease that I've brought to the playa and they held up well. I happened to come across them at a garage sale and snapped them up for cheap. Also walmart.com has a Schwinn trike for $260 that might also be an option. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Merid ... r/16541352
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