What’s the Best Mountain Bike for Big Guys?

Mountain biking is for everyone and it is even a fun activity for the whole family. Everyone can learn the activity but some may need to satisfy some aspects of mountain biking to be able to ride comfortably. 

And here is where the big guys can relate. Being big does not mean you cannot ride a bike. Mountain bikes are very capable machines and can easily carry weight. 

But the main concern of the big guys is that will they be able to fit and pedal comfortably while on the bike. Bike sizes are mostly based on height and reach. 

Although there are big guys who are comfortable with smaller frames, there are also those who feel too cramped and will prefer larger frames with longer reach. 

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Mongoose Dolomite

Are you looking for that extra cushion that will make your rides more comfortable, then this fat tire mountain bike from Mongoose is for you. Fat bikes are normally for snow-covered terrains but hey, whoever said they will not handle well in normal trails. 

Pros

  • Solid steel frame – One upside for this mountain bike is its steel frame. This ensures that your bike is solid and can carry your weight. Steel frames tend to have better handling of shock absorption as well and can dissipate vibrations better making your ride more comfortable. This bike is great for daily exercise and leisure cross country rides.
  • Fat and knobby tires – Fat tires act like additional suspensions for mountain bikes. Aside from offering loads of grips, they also offer a smoother ride when on trails. This is good if you are a beginner. Once you decide that mountain biking is for you, then you could always upgrade to better gear. 
  • Can accommodate taller guys – This frame size can accommodate guys that are 5’6” to 6’ tall. This also means that this rig is built to carry bigger guys. 

Cons

  • No front suspension – This rig has a rigid fork installed instead of an active suspension system. But this could be a good thing as well since stock coil forks may not be able to carry larger guys. This can easily be replaced though with a better fork when needed. 

Rocky Mountain Element A50

Ever heard of down country bikes? If not, then let me explain why they are called as such. These are practically cross-country race bikes that are built to be capable of both climbs and technical descents. 

They are light, fast, and somehow stronger than your average cross-country bike. 

Pros

  • Full suspension setup – What’s great about mountain bikes like this is that it has 120 mm of travel up front, and 100 mm of travel in the rear. Geometry is still almost the same as your typical cross country bike but it is tweaked enough to build the rider’s confidence on steep descents. 
  • Solid frame, great geometry – Traditional cross country bikes are built to be fast and light especially for ascents, but with XCO races becoming more and more technical especially on the downhill sections, manufacturers also need to tweak how their bikes are made. This mountain bike frame is a mix of alloy and carbon. But you do have the option to go full carbon or not. The seat angle and head tube angle have also been changed to lean more on the modern side, with slacker head tubes and longer reach. These changes in geometry will make it more comfortable for the rider during descents. 

Cons

  • High price point – The downside of capable bikes is that they are very pricey. But that is okay since your safety is the top priority. It also means that you are guaranteed that the bike will perform as advertised. 

Schwinn S29

If you are looking for a trustworthy entry-level full-suspension bike then the S29 is for you. This model comes with 100 mm of travel both in the front and rear suspension and is made of 100% aluminum. 

Pros

  • Perfect fit for larger guys – This mountain bike comes with an 18-inch seat tube with 29er wheels. What makes this fit with larger guys is that it can accommodate riders that are 5’9” and above. If all that extra weight is making it difficult to step over the top tube, then it won’t be for this bike. It has a lower standover height without sacrificing the reach. 
  • Great beginner drivetrain – The S29 mountain bike comes with a 21-speed drivetrain giving you a wide variety of gear settings. This is particularly good for people who are just getting into mountain biking. 1x setups are great, but if you carry around too much weight, it might be more stressful for you and your drivetrain to move the bike forward. 

Cons

  • Mechanical disc brakes – Although mechanical disc brakes are effective in their own right, hydraulic brakes are still the best choice for a mountain bike, especially when dealing with disc brakes. They have greater overall stopping power and are less likely to break down. 

Specialized Enduro

What could be more capable of all the demands of mountain biking than a Specialized Enduro? Enduro bikes are made to withstand rough and technical descents, but can still be pedaled with ease on ascents. 

And since they are built to be robust and with top-of-line components, they can certainly carry the additional weight of big riders. This makes the Specialized Enduro one of the best mountain bikes in the market.

Pros

  • Modern geometry – The modern mountain bike geometry leans to be slacker, and longer. These frames are meant to use suspensions with longer travel, 160 mm in both front and rear suspensions, and have a longer wheelbase. The longer wheelbase makes the ride more stable when out on the trails. This is a good thing for larger riders. Being large with longer legs and reach means it is easier for you to upset the balance of a bike with a shorter wheelbase. 
  • Top-of-the-line components – You can ride this bike out of the box. Just a bit of tuning and you are good to go. What’s even better is that this bike is composed of top-of-the-line parts. Which means this bike is built to take a beating. The drivetrain is composed of SRAM X01 and GX parts while the suspension system is composed of FOX 38’s at the front and FOX Float 2 at the rear. With a CODE RSC brake set installed coupled with 203 mm rotors, the stopping power of this bike is next to none. Which again is a plus for big guys. If you own one of these, there would be no need to upgrade any of its components. 

Cons

  • Higher price point – Like all bikes that are built to perform at competitive levels, this bike is priced at a higher price point. Well for its performance and components, who else can complain?

Schwinn Bonafide

You can never go wrong with a good hardtail mountain bike. Although this one is among those located on the budget spectrum, it is still a good choice for new riders. 

While mountain biking has many benefits, at the end of the day, not all will stay with the sport. So why not start with something capable but doesn’t break the bank?

The Schwinn Bonafide is a trail-capable cross-country bike. You could say that this could be your down-country hardtail. This bike has a 100 mm suspension up front, runs on a 24-speed drivetrain, and rolls on 29er wheels with knobby tires. 

This mountain bike is another one of those that you can immediately ride out of the box. The Bonafide is built with an all-aluminum frame which makes it strong and sturdy, now this is perfect for large riders. 

This product is guaranteed to provide you with a fun and worry-free riding experience. As long as you do not do big jumps on this hardtail, then you are safe. 

Pros

  • Low maintenance hardtail – One good characteristic of a hardtail is that it is very low maintenance. There are only a few components that you should monitor to keep it running in tip-top shape. Hardtails are also great beginner bikes. That is because having a hardtail would require you to hone your skills especially when you are out on the trails. With a full-suspension mountain bike, you can rollover just anything that the trail throws at you. Now, this is a different story for hardtail mountain bikes. 
  • Durable wheelset – This mountain bike rolls on knobby 2.25-inch trail tires that are installed on 29er wheels with double alloy wall rims. 29er bikes are great out on the trails especially if you are a big guy. A 29er mountain bike tends to have a higher standover height when compared to mountain bikes with smaller wheels. These bigger wheels also ride smoother when out on the trails. That is because larger wheels are less affected by rolling resistance making it easier for riders to retain speed on the trails. 

Cons

  • Budget fork – Suspension forks from mountain bikes that came stock out of the box normally perform less good than those that came from reputable brands. Considering your weight as a rider, it is always best to upgrade the stock fork to something that performs better. Don’t get me wrong, these mountain bikes are indeed rideable out of the box. But considering that we are larger guys, we might as well take the necessary precautions. 

Canyon Strive

Canyon has been around for quite a while is one of the renowned names in mountain biking. The Strive Spectral is Canyon’s top-of-the-line enduro bike and like all enduro bikes, these are constructed to take a beating.

Over the recent years, cross country and enduro riding has evolved in a way that makes the race tracks technical, steeper, and even more challenging for mountain bikes. That is why bikes for these mountain biking disciplines have evolved as well over time making them more capable.

 

Pros

  • Modern geometry – Canyon improved their bikes along with the demands of modern-day race tracks thus the birth of the Canyon Strive Spectral. This is their flagship model and is built with the latest innovations in modern geometry. It is slacker, longer, and more stable. Although this is a full-suspension bike, you can see that its geometry, in general, is well-balanced which is why it is the go-to bike for many professional enduro riders and is considered one of the best mountain bikes. This bike also comes in different sizes from small to extra large. 
  • Highend components – The strive is built to outperform any other enduro bike in the market today. Well as we all know, it is still based on preference. But the stock components of this bike are something noteworthy. The strive is built with Fox 36’s upfront with a travel of 170 mm and a FOX FLOAT DPX2 at the rear with 150 mm of travel. The brakes that are installed are from Shimano XTR’s coupled with Shimano Ice-Tech Rotors that measure 203 mm at the front and 180 mm at the rear. The wheelset is composed of DT Swiss rims coupled with a MAXXIS Assegai upfront and DHR II at the rear, both with downhill casings. This makes it one of the best bikes for big guys.

Cons

  • Playful stability – The Strive, although constructed to ride on 29er wheels, they have shorter chainstays making it less stable but more playful when out on the trails. This may be a drawback for some but many riders prefer their bikes to be more playful and easier to whip around especially on tight corners. 

Mongoose Switchback

Cross country riding is fun. And if you prefer mellow trails as compared to where enduro riders ride, then cross country riding might be the discipline for you. 

For beginner riders who opt to have a smaller wheelset, this 27.5 mountain bike might be the one you are looking for. 27.5 bikes tend to climb easier and handle better when out on the trails. That is because the smaller wheels are much easier to move around. 

Pros

  • Modern cross-country geometry – This bike can easily be upgraded if you would want to tackle more technical trails. But for its build-out-of-the-box, this is already a very capable bike for cross country riding. It is equipped with a suspension fork from SR Suntour with 100 mm of travel and has a lightweight and durable frame that is constructed from T1 aluminum. 
  • Internal cable routing – This bike has internal cable routing, which is good if you do not like to have all your lines around the frame. Your brake lines are also protected from scrapes and cuts. This is very useful if you have hydraulic brakes installed, hence, many people who are short in budget call it their best mountain bike.
  • Size availability – Being larger riders, frame size is important for us. You can avail yourself of this bike from small to extra large. If you have concerns regarding the bike fit, you can refer to the geometry chart that you can find on their website. 
  • Great drivetrain – This bike has a 3 x 7 drivetrain that offers 21-speed settings. For beginners, I would prefer this type of setup before upgrading to 1x specific drive trains. Setups like these are easier to pedal, and you can easily push yourself uphill, making this one of the best bikes for big guys who are on a budget.

Cons

  • Hardtail limitations – Although this mountain bike is branded as a trail bike, or for aggressive cross country, hardtails will always have their limitations. Once you become faster and better on the trails, you will also start to feel that you are limited by the rig that you are riding. 

What makes mountain biking the perfect exercise for big guys?

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Mountain biking is a very good sport, especially for full-sized people. The overall community is friendly and it offers a lot of fun. 

What makes it a good choice as an exercise is that it is a low-impact exercise. This means that, unlike jogging, mountain biking is not heavy on your knees. Plus, you get all of the benefits of road cycling without worrying about sharing the road with cars. 

That is why mountain biking is a very popular sport.  You can just go to your friendly trails to get started. And you don’t have to worry because you will easily find a community that is of the same skill level. 

What mountain bikes are best for big guys?

Now, what is left to do is to find a bike that would fit. As discussed earlier, you do not need to worry about your mountain bike breaking under you. With modern technology, the latest bike components are made from high-quality alloy and can carry riders who weigh up to 300 pounds or more.

There will always be that fear that entry-level bikes are not enough, as they may feel flimsy and the components might not be up to the task considering the extra weight. So if you are decided to get into mountain biking and are a heavy rider, then this list is for you. 

Conclusion

Many plus-size guys are great mountain bikers.

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What you need to do is to get the right equipment that would suit your needs. And besides, once you get hooked, you will start losing weight as well.  Isn’t that great? You are losing weight while having fun. 

Now that’s what you call a  very pleasant way to lose weight and do exercise.

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.