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2020-09-25 7:53 AM


Subject: 270lbs on a Carbon bike
Greetings everyone.. I’m looking for a 2020 update on which bikes are good for us big guys. I’m 5’11, 270lbs. Currently ride an Allez Elite. I’m looking to finally get a tri bike, however I’m not sure if any are compatible with a guy my size. I was really interested in the Shiv, however I’m told it’s not really conducive to my body type (30’ inseam).. I head the p series has the most comfortable geometry for a beginner into tri bikes.. any help would be necessary, If I decide against getting the tri bike then I’ll upgrade to a Tarmac SL7. Any thoughts? Thanks guys.

2020-09-28 9:38 AM
in reply to: Pm410

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McAlester, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: 270lbs on a Carbon bike

I got my First Tri bike in 2015.  It was a 2000 Cannondale MultiSport TT Bike on a size 60 frame.  I didn't have a clue how to choose a bike that fit to me, but the Cannondale bike size chart put me on a 60 so that is what I got.  I took it into a Cannondale Rep Bike Show two weeks after I got it to do a basic bike fit and they told me that the reach was two inches too long and that I was going to injure myself.  So I road two inches further forward on the nose of the seat and trained on that bike for 4 months up to my first 70.3 Race.  That bike was so much fun to ride that after what was intended to be a one and done race I stuck with the sport.  I decided that if I was going to stick with the sport I needed to get a bike that was fit to me rather than a bike that I had to fit myself to. the fall of 2015 I got a bike fit and the fitter said that it was going to be really hard to find a TRi bike that would adjust the armrest and aero bars high enough to fit my position.  He gave me a maximum reach and a minimum stack height and I started to search all the bike geometry databases and all the classified ads for.  Of the 200 some bikes I search only about a dozen of them met my stack and reach criterion.  The size 60 Canodale Multisport was not a perfect fit, but was actually really close.  I found 2-3 bikes in the used bike market that fit my stack reach criterion and got back with the fitter to ask which one would be best and he gave me a top center dimension telling me if I got a bike that met that criterion it would be less twitchy and more stable.  Well, that eliminated all of the three bikes I was considering and every bike on the 200 some geometries that I had put into Excel to help me search models except for the Blue Triad.  I looked to see what the Blue Triad was and it was a $10,000.00 superbike that was not going to be a possibility for me.  The bike geometries put me in size 56 and size 25 for most brands/models of bikes, but there were several size 60's and I think even a size 54 in on bike model.  Since I was between a 56 and 58 I decided to get the 2007 size 57 frame Kestrel Talon.  I got it in 2016 and until Saturday two days ago did all my races on it and have put several thousands of training miles on it. 

The bike I rode on Saturday is a Blue Triad SL.  So...There was a guy in the local Triathlon Club selling his 2011 Blue Triad SL.  He had logged less than 300 miles on it in the two years he owned it and the original owner he got it from had put just over 1000 miles on it.  So my dream superbike will less than 1500 miles on it was being sold be $1600 with 60/90 Flo carbon aero wheels.  Since I already had race wheels I could sell the Flow 60/90 and get a superbike for under $1000 dollars.  When I looked at the bike I saw that its geometry was NOT the one that was in the bike database that I was looking at in 2015.  The newer 2017-2019 models were not the geometry I had in my bike database either.  I couldn't find out which year/model of the Blue Triads those measurements were for.  I still couldn't pass up getting the Blue Triad SL so I got it anyways. has been a long rode all summer trying to get a bike that didn't meet my Stack and Reach criterion on a sustainable position.  Every time I ride it I am making tweaks and adjustments.  I finally got the seat position to where it needs to be after having to rob the saddle from the Talon because the shape of the saddle that was on the Triad just wasn't working after 6 weeks of trying to adjust to it.  The first day back on the saddle from the Talon was an instant 100% more comfortable and powerful ride.  The cockpit is still not working out.  The Triad has aero bars that are horizontal and the Cannondale Multisport and Kestral Talon SL both had the Ski pole style that has the ends bent up.  So my hand position changed and it caused pain in both my wrists and my shoulders.  I have been work on the hand position for two months and am slowly by surly adapting.  The bigger problem now is the stack height.  I need the arm pads and the aero bars to come up at least 40 mm (possibly 60 mm).  I thought that learning to stay lower in a more aggressive position might pay off in the long run but I am too low.  My quads hit my abdomen with every pedal stroke which is terribly inefficient and so I can't produce the level of power that I can with a higher cockpit and to get my head up far enough to see the road in front of me, my neck has to bend too far back causing a sore neck.  I can hold the position for short periods of time and I am getting able to extend that longer and longer with practice.  By the 56-mile bike leg, I did on Saturday made it clear that the position is NOT sustainable for longer course triathlons.  I finally know how people feel that say that Aero is uncomfortable and that they hate it.  If I felt the way I do on My Triad but with my first two bikes I can ride aero without any breaks for 56 miles as comfortably as I can riding upright out of the aero position.  I don't think I would have stuck with Triathlon after my first race If the bike was like it is on my Triad.  It doesn't matter how nice the bike is, you are going to hate riding it and it will ruin all your cycling enjoyment if it doesn't fit you.  So...I am looking for a way to raise the front end of my Blue Triad.  The aero bars are not adjustable, but if I can get some spacers that will be stiff enough to give me a steady arm pad and with a slight downward slope to get my hand to the lower aero bars I think I will be able to make the Triad work.  It has really been a pain trying to modify a build that is not fit to me though. 

So...I can't tell you what bike is going to be the most comfortable.  I can tell you that as you go from brand to brand that the frame size that is the most comfortable for you will not be consistent (i.e. 54-60 what the range I found).   There are lots of people that ride a FELT and love it.  That was one of the worst fits for me.  There are a lot of people that are riding Cervelo bikes and loving them.  Those were a lot closer to my fit but not perfect.  The only bike that was an exact fit to me was some unknown older style Blue Triad and the 2011 version that I got even though it was the same series and the same manufacture had changed enough that It now requires some creative modifications to get it to a sustainable position for me.  So...get the bike fit. It will be well worth it in ensuring that you get a bike that is comfortable and sustainable for you.  Don't focus on one brand on one model.  There are lots of manufacturers out there making really good bikes.  Get the best deal that you can find in a model that fits your geometry.

2020-09-28 12:48 PM
in reply to: 0

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: 270lbs on a Carbon bike

I don't know how anyone could realistically make the claim that a certain series was better for beginners.  Frame geometry, especially reach, is SO personal.    Beginner triathletes will range in height, weight, reach, inseam, and flexibility.

I'm a big believer in just sitting on a bunch of bikes until you find the right one.   The last time I was going bike shopping, I got the specs from my favorite bike and tried to match it.  What worked on paper didn't matter in real life and the fifth bike is the one I bought, even though it wasn't on my list.   

If possible, I might start with a fitter who is affiliated with a bike shop.  They could do an initial sizing, and make some recommendations, but with the idea that they will also do the fitting on the final bike purchased.

I thought your question might have had more to do with weight.  If you hadn't considered this yet, I recommend looking into a wheelset for heavier folks.  If you have spokes, you'll probably need custom wheels. Well, that used to be true for all the bigger triathlete friends I have known over time.  

Happy shopping!

Edited by BikerGrrrl 2020-09-28 12:51 PM
2020-09-28 3:04 PM
in reply to: BikerGrrrl

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: 270lbs on a Carbon bike

I don't think the 270# is going to matter, just the wheelset as noted above should be Clydesdale-rated.  Typically you'll be looking at 32-spoke rear and 28-spoke front wheels.  Many bikes come with that setup anyway.  I would avoid carbon seatposts, too.  Thompson makes really good heavy duty seatposts.

I've swapped out a bunch of parts to make my fit perfect...shorter stem, longer seat post.  I have really long legs and a short torso and arms, so even at 6'3" I ride a medium Ridley road bike.

2020-12-03 11:28 AM
in reply to: Pm410

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Lethbridge, Alberta
Bronze member
Subject: RE: 270lbs on a Carbon bike
Consider getting tubes and tires a bit bigger too. The really skinny race tires may be more efficient for smaller people but not spending time changing flats seems to be a lot faster for me.
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