How to find a mountain bike that can handle a heavier (250-260lbs) rider?
I am a 44 year old man that is very heavy (250–260lbs(113-118kg)) and I am looking to buy my first mountain bike to do some riding on the weekend to burn off some of this fat I have.
Question: Do you know you want a "mountain bike" -- a bike designed to go offroad -- or do you simply want a "mountain style" bike -- upright posture, flat handlebars, etc? If the latter, then you should probably look for a "hybrid", and there are good options available starting around $400 new.
BTW, a decent quality hybrid bike should easily be able to handle your weight. You might find the standard saddle a hair uncomfortable and swap if for a wider one, but otherwise it should work for you. Just keep the tires well inflated. (I weight 230+ and commonly ride with another 10-20 pounds of junk in my panniers -- this on a "touring" bike that is a bit more lightly built than a good hybrid.)
I weigh 275, and I have used a Trek 3900 for a few years with no problems
250-260 pounds isn't that heavy.
You may not need to worry about weight at all.
See if you can find the information from the manufacturer about weight limits for their bikes. For a mountain bike that you intend to use for what it was made for, you're probably within the weight limit the bike is designed for.
You may want to avoid the lightest weight stuff (carbon) unless you check the weight specs. But that's mostly stuff on the more expensive bikes.
Some of the parts that normally wear out will likely wear out faster for you than for somebody lighter, but that's no big deal.
If you plan to do tougher things with the bike than it was made for (jump a trail bike, for instance) you could run into problems. Stick with getting a bike that's intended for what you plan to do with the bike.
Rider weight limit of 275lb: Road bikes with drop type handlebar Triathlon, time trial or Speed Concept bicycle Cruisers with large 26" tires and swept-back handlebar, Bicycles that fold.
Rider weight limit of 300lbs: Hybrid bicycles with 700c wheels, tires larger than 28c, and flat handlebars City bicycles: hybrids with special equipment, cyclocross bicycles: with drop type handlebars, knobby 700c tires, and cantilever or disc brakes Mountain bikes of all types including: standard, race, cross-country, heavy-duty, trail, all-mountain, freeride, and jumping bikes of both the hardtail and full suspension variety.
2. Specialized Bike Warranty Policy (PDF) (weight info near the bottom):
Also, some bicycles and components are built to be lightweight, which means they may not be appropriate for riders who are approaching 250 pounds in weight (over 240 pounds, for example). Riders approaching 250 pounds in weight should not ride any bicycle equipped with Specialized-branded composite seat posts, handlebar stems, or handlebars.
In other words: avoid the carbon/composite seat posts, handlebar stems and handlebars and you'll be fine with this brand.
3. Cannondale 2010 User's manual (PDF) (Starting at page 52)
- High-performance road: 275 pound rider
- General Purpose Riding, Cross-country MTB, Marathon MTB, Hardtail MTB, All mountain, Gravity, Freeride, Downhill, Dirt Jump, Cyclocross, basically everything they make except high-performance road bikes: 300 pound rider, as long as you stick to the intended use. Limit on cargo goes from 5 pounds to 55 pounds
FYI, I do speak from some experience. I rode a cheap hardtrail Trek mountain bike for years when my weight was 250-260. Now I'm 240-245 and ride a Trek CX bike and a Surly touring bike. Really no weight-related problems with any of those, except the rear wheel on the old MTB starting to break spokes after probably 5000+ miles...
Just chipping in as a 350+ lb rider, you may run into minor problems with a Specialized bike. I have a Crosstrail and everything is fine except for one issue. I can't seem to get the derailers adjusted to shift the front gear from lowest gear.
That shouldn't be a weight issue - more likely a cable tension or misadjustment issue. If you're not reckless (don't ride off curbs on your hybrid for example), pretty much anyone under 300 pounds should be fine on a non road racer bike. Most things have a lawyer margin so they dont get sued if things go wrong.