Electric bikes, just like people, come in all shapes and sizes. If you are a larger rider, you’ll want to pay close attention to the weight limits and carrying capacity as you research which e-bike is right for you. Some e-bikes will have a low maximum weight capacity and may bend or break under too much pressure. Other e-bikes, like the new Himiway Big Dog, are designed specifically as an e-bike for larger riders with double the payload of some of our previous models. This is great news for anyone looking to begin a new exercise routine, or get more outdoor time as part of a New Year’s goal.
We understand that your height, weight, body frame, diet, and the genes you were born with all play a role in your size. Larger or heavier riders may exercise just as much as smaller, more lightweight riders. We strive to be as accommodative as possible to all body types. With this in mind, heavier riders will need a heavy-duty electric bike. Therefore, it is important to know which factors to consider when choosing a heavy-duty e-bike. The following six considerations will help you find the best bike for heavy-set riders with some suggestions and examples from our premium lineup of Himiway products.
Strong E-bike Frame
One of the most important factors to consider when looking for a heavy-duty electric bike is the frame itself. We recently did a deep dive into the different frame types and which frame is best for different scenarios. You will likely come away from that article knowing you need an aluminum or carbon fiber frame to have the most robust type. Aluminum frames are far more affordable than carbon fiber and will qualify as heavy-duty if you consider a few additional points.
Additional points to look for in a bike include a large cross-section joint, high-quality welds, and a strong rear suspension. These subtle but important features combine to give an e-bike its carrying strength. Himiway’s latest bikes feature 6061 aluminum frames and are durable and sturdy options in the e-bike market. Refer to the brand’s specifications to determine the full weight that a specific bike can carry.
Motors will also greatly determine the quality of your ride if you are a heavier rider or wish to carry any heavy items. In general, the more power the motor puts out, the more load it can carry, the quicker it can get to full speed, and the easier it will be to climb steep roads or traverse rugged terrain.
Mid-drive motors will usually outperform in-wheel motors when it comes to heavier loads. You can read about the differences between mid-drive and hub gear motors here. If your budget allows for a 500 to 1,000-watt mid-drive motor, we recommend it to ensure your bike can withstand a maximum load of at least 300 pounds. A geared hub motor will be a more cost-effective option, but you may sacrifice some carrying capacity and acceleration capability if you go with a gear hub motor.
A simple rule of thumb for battery range is that the more weight you have on the bike, and the less you pedal, the shorter the range on a single charge will be. And because the main reason to buy an electric bike is to get the benefit of the battery and motor, it makes sense to pay close attention to the type of battery and expected range you will get from a given bike. For heavier riders especially, you will want at least a 500Wh (watt-hour) battery, but if you are looking to ride long distances or will be riding frequently, you may want to consider a battery closer to 1,000Wh.
For example, Himiway’s newest bikes, like the Zebra, all come equipped with a 960Wh battery. This 960Wh battery efficiently improves the range, stability, and safety of Himiway bikes. A single charge can last up to 60 miles on purely electric power and over 80+ miles with pedal-assist. Heavier riders may experience less range than this, as the expected range is determined with average weight, not the maximum capacity. Therefore, it may be a good idea to have a spare battery for those long adventures.
Fat tires can be instrumental to getting a more comfortable and stable ride for heavyweight riders. The wider rim helps to spread the force applied on the entire rim. Aim for rim with 36 spokes, preferably with wider and thicker spokes. This is because wider tires will have more natural advantages for stability, grip, and high load-bearing. Our fattest tire yet can be seen on our new Cobra e-bike and the puncture-resistant tire is important if you intend to push the bike to its weight limit.
Heavier riders will naturally apply more force to different parts of the bicycle. The force starts at the pedal and moves through the crank, chain, and gear. Therefore, if you find yourself riding on steep hills, long climbs, or rapidly changing inclines and declines, a powerful engine and low transmission will be essential. Remember, hub gears are stronger and cheaper to maintain than derailleur gear systems.
No bike analysis is complete without looking at the different safety features built into the bike. Good safety features include high-quality hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes which are efficient and will provide good stopping power for heavier weights. You’ll also want to look for bright LED headlights and taillights as well as plenty of cargo rack options to carry your bike tools and first-aid supplies on long adventures.
To summarize, heavy or large riders will want to pay attention to all of the features inherent to heavy-duty electric bikes. These include the frame style, motor type, and battery range. Additionally, look for e-bikes with fat tires, hub gears, and plenty of safety features. With these topics covered, you can be more confident that you make the right choice for an e-bike as a large rider.