Are there wear and tear differences depending on rider height/weight?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are there wear and tear differences depending on rider height/weight?

    Just wondering if height and especially weight has any bearing on the wear and tear of bike components? For instance, I ride about 3x as much as my husband and my KMC chain lasted for many more miles than the same chain on his bike. He’s 6’7” and 225 lbs, I’m 5’4” and 130 lbs.

  2. #2
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    Yes, a heavier rider has to produce more power than a lighter rider to go the same speed, especially when climbing hills. More power to the pedals equals faster drivetrain wear.

    Other components are stressed more as well by heavier/more powerful riders but mostly drivetrain components ime.
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  3. #3
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    I'd say weight is more of an issue than height, but a rider's power output, gear ratio choice, and rider terrain preference may also contribute. At 5'10" and 165lbs, I go through chains and cassettes somewhat faster than a friend who is 5'6" and 225lbs because I climb more elevation than he does and I stand and grind in high gears while he sits and spins in lower gears.

    In addition to the drivetrain wear mentioned above, heavier riders will also wear brake pads faster.

  4. #4
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    Do fat people break stuff? Yes.

    Close thread.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Do fat people break stuff? Yes.

    Close thread.


    So do skinny people. Weight can be a factor for sure but for some things it's mostly about power. A skinny xc guy putting out 300 watts will probably wear out their drivetrain just as fast as a big person producing the same power. Generally though big people produce more power than smaller ones.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    A skinny xc guy putting out 300 watts will probably wear out their drivetrain just as fast as a big person producing the same power.
    Does that make sense on your planet? :0.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Does that make sense on your planet? :0.


    Yep, your's?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Yep, your's?
    Not even remotely.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Not even remotely.

    Probably different physics laws apply there, I'm on Earth.
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  10. #10
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    Other issues like cross-chain angle and the size of the rings (and the years you use) play a big role.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Does that make sense on your planet? :0.
    For drivetrain yes. For suspension no. Drivetrains care about the power they see, why would weight matter aside from that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Other issues like cross-chain angle and the size of the rings (and the years you use) play a big role.
    Yup, and how much grit you allow to accumulate before washing... Lots of variables.

  12. #12
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    Simple answer, yes.
    F=MA. Force = mass x acceleration, its a law of physics. Just sitting on bike husband is causing more force on it.
    More force, more wear. Given same surfaces, more weight, more friction.
    Of course maintenance, conditions, and riding style make a diff too, but fact if the matter is that heavier riders wear out and/or break stuff faster, go over and ask in the clyde forum.
    Oh, and same powr output debate is leaving out some other factors. A light rider with same power output as heavier rider, to cover same distance the heavier rider would have to ride longer time, more wear.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taroroot View Post
    Simple answer, yes.
    F=MA. Force = mass x acceleration, its a law of physics. Just sitting on bike husband is causing more force on it.
    More force, more wear. Given same surfaces, more weight, more friction.
    Of course maintenance, conditions, and riding style make a diff too, but fact if the matter is that heavier riders wear out and/or break stuff faster, go over and ask in the clyde forum.
    Yes, but that is only dealing with the parts where weight is an issue. The frame and fork, maybe the wheels.

    As others have alluded, a 150lb dude throwing 400w into the drivetrain is putting far more stress onto drive train wear items than a 250lb guy pedaling at 220w.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Yes, but that is only dealing with the parts where weight is an issue. The frame and fork, maybe the wheels.

    As others have alluded, a 150lb dude throwing 400w into the drivetrain is putting far more stress onto drive train wear items than a 250lb guy pedaling at 220w.
    Wait, now your confusing things by changing the power! Of course what you stated would be true! A 150lb dude throwing 400w into drivetrain and a 260lb guy throwing 400w into drivetrain is putting same stress into drivetrains. But to cover the same distance the clyde has to work harder (longer), just ask any clyde!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taroroot View Post
    A 150lb dude throwing 400w into drivetrain and a 260lb guy throwing 400w into drivetrain is putting same stress into drivetrains. But to cover the same distance the clyde has to work harder (longer), just ask any clyde!

    Not if you're going downhill, or if you live on pig's planet
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  16. #16
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    I haven’t read much of this thread so excuse me if this has been said.

    There’s those that are mashers and those that are spinners when climbing. Some stand or even sit and mash the pedals in a higher gear than a spinner. A spinner is sitting and chooses a gear that propels the bike forward with more revolutions [a lower gear] but less downward force on the power stroke which is less wearing on the chain and entire drivetrain than a masher. Obviously weight has a lot to do either as far as wear on the drivetrain, especially if you are a masher.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Not if you're going downhill, or if you live on pig's planet
    I don't understand why this is even being debated. It's not remotely complicated and the notion that the two different weight riders with the same power output will cause the same wear is one of the dumbest things I've read. I feel stupider for even arguing about it!

    Take two identical cars. Fill one with bricks! Except for the bit the driver sits in, yeah I'm guessing I do have to state the bleeding obvious here. Every working part of the heavier car will wear out quicker because it is having to work harder and will have more strain on it. The transmission is under greater load, the brakes have to work harder, the whole car is going to fall to bits much quicker. If you can't understand that I can't help you.

  18. #18
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    When/why did this thread turn into disrespecting an overweight person, when there wasn't even an overweight person referred to in this thread.

    Why is this being debated?? -fairly obvious that OP wasn't sure why there was a wear patter, likely from inexperience.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I don't understand why this is even being debated. It's not remotely complicated and the notion that the two different weight riders with the same power output will cause the same wear is one of the dumbest things I've read. I feel stupider for even arguing about it!

    The op specifically asked about chain/drivetrain wear and that's what I was responding to. I acknowledged that a bigger rider has to put out more power to to go the same speed as a lighter one, therefore more wear per mile.

    I added that a heavier rider doesn't necessarily wear chains faster though, and that it's really about how much power is applied to the pedals. Some light riders put down more power than heavy ones and they will wear out chains quicker. With drivetrain parts it's watts, not weight.

    I didn't mean to confuse the issue, or anger you. Sorry.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Do fat people break stuff? Yes.

    Close thread.
    Like this?

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I added that a heavier rider doesn't necessarily wear chains faster though, and that it's really about how much power is applied to the pedals. Some light riders put down more power than heavy ones and they will wear out chains quicker.
    That isn't what you said:

    A skinny xc guy putting out 300 watts will probably wear out their drivetrain just as fast as a big person producing the same power.
    I'm not the one who's confused.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    That isn't what you said:



    I'm not the one who's confused.


    Mr.Pig I really don't want to argue but those 2 quotes say exactly the same thing.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Mr.Pig I really don't want to argue but those 2 quotes say exactly the same thing.
    What you originally said was that two riders of different weights will wear out the transmission at the same rate if they produce the same power.

    A skinny xc guy putting out 300 watts will probably wear out their drivetrain just as fast as a big person producing the same power.
    What I'm saying is that this idea is bollocks. More strain will be put on the transmission to move a greater weight. Just as more strain will be put on the brakes to stop it again.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    What you originally said was that two riders of different weights will wear out the transmission at the same rate if they produce the same power.
    Which is exactly what this says-

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I added that a heavier rider doesn't necessarily wear chains faster though, and that it's really about how much power is applied to the pedals. Some light riders put down more power than heavy ones and they will wear out chains quicker. With drivetrain parts it's watts, not weight.


    We just disagree, the heavy rider producing the same watts as a light one will just be going slower. Strain on the drivetrain should be the same.

    I guess I could be wrong but I don't think so.
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  25. #25
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    What puts more wear and tear into a drivetrain:

    An F1 car ripping around a track at 170mph average?

    Or an F150 Raptor driving around town at 30mph average?
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Which is exactly what this says-





    We just disagree, the heavy rider producing the same watts as a light one will just be going slower. Strain on the drivetrain should be the same.

    I guess I could be wrong but I don't think so.
    You aren't wrong.

    The only inputs to a pedal, crankarm, chain ring, chain and cassette are torque and cadence.

    Weight is not a variable in power, other than the general*** association of larger riders with more power.

    ***Which, of course, is not always true.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    You aren't wrong.
    Yes, he is. It doesn't matter how big the engine is, a rope halling a 5kg load up a hill will be under a lot less strain than the same chain dragging up 50! How fast it goes and how long it takes are largly moot. Mr Gravity and Mr Mass are going to fight it out regardless.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Yes, he is. It doesn't matter how big the engine is, a rope halling a 5kg load up a hill will be under a lot less strain than the same chain dragging up 50! How fast it goes and how long it takes are largly moot. Mr Gravity and Mr Mass are going to fight it out regardless.
    You are ignoring a crucial component in your analogy.

    I'll let you figure it out.
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  29. #29
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    I weight 138lbs. My bike parts seem to last a long time. there is no wear and tear at all.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard View Post
    My bike parts seem to last a long time. there is no wear and tear at all.
    What make is your bike, Willy Wonka?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    What make is your bike, Willy Wonka?
    I clean up the bike meticulously. I wash the bike after every ride and lube all gears

    Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk

  32. #32
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    Real, true life story: I weigh ~250lbs. My wife weighs ~130. We ride together 95% of the time. We are usually keep pace with one another and are never out-of-sight should one of us get ahead.

    In 1 year, I will go through 1 drive train and 2 additional chains (so 3 chains total). The additional chains are either due to breaking or replacement prior to being stretched too far for use. She will go through 1 chain and her drive trail usually will last 3 yrs. Last year we rode around 3800mi off-road.

    Regarding the wattage discussion, I'd love to get a powertap and measure this. For me, flats give me troubles than climbs. My leg speed naturally gravitates to a slower/lower cadence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I don't understand why this is even being debated. It's not remotely complicated and the notion that the two different weight riders with the same power output will cause the same wear is one of the dumbest things I've read. I feel stupider for even arguing about it!

    Take two identical cars. Fill one with bricks! Except for the bit the driver sits in, yeah I'm guessing I do have to state the bleeding obvious here. Every working part of the heavier car will wear out quicker because it is having to work harder and will have more strain on it. The transmission is under greater load, the brakes have to work harder, the whole car is going to fall to bits much quicker. If you can't understand that I can't help you.
    Hang on:

    Take the brick loaded car and drive it 300 miles at 35MPH. Now take the identical unloaded car and mash the pedal to the floor until you hit 90MPH; then slam on the brakes. Continue doing that for 300 miles.

    There are other factors at play.

  34. #34
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    Too bad Albert Einstein couldn’t chime in here.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    You aren't wrong.

    The only inputs to a pedal, crankarm, chain ring, chain and cassette are torque and cadence.

    Weight is not a variable in power, other than the general*** association of larger riders with more power.

    ***Which, of course, is not always true.
    Agreed, BUT:

    JB's argument hinges on one key unit of measurement, TIME. For time, JB's argument holds, as the heavier rider will not have ridden as far (assuming some uphill). Some measure wear based on distance, not time. To complete a course at the same wattage it will take the heavier rider longer. A longer time at the same power will cause more wear...all other things equal.

    JB's first post in this thread is correct also.
    Yes, a heavier rider has to produce more power than a lighter rider to go the same speed, especially when climbing hills. More power to the pedals equals faster drivetrain wear.
    At the same speed the course will be completed in the same time, thus the heavier rider will be applying more power (and likely more force) which will impart more wear on components.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    ... a 5kg load up a hill will be under a lot less strain than the same chain dragging up 50! How fast it goes and how long it takes are largly moot. Mr Gravity and Mr Mass are going to fight it out regardless.
    Given the engineering definition of "strain" that is correct, but putting tension in a chain does not in and of itself result in wear. To get wear one needs some force, friction, differential movement AND time.

  37. #37
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    Come on people. Physics class, really? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that more weight is going to wear out anything mechanical faster than less weight.



    /thread
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    I'd say weight is more of an issue than height, but a rider's power output, gear ratio choice, and rider terrain preference may also contribute. At 5'10" and 165lbs, I go through chains and cassettes somewhat faster than a friend who is 5'6" and 225lbs because I climb more elevation than he does and I stand and grind in high gears while he sits and spins in lower gears.

    In addition to the drivetrain wear mentioned above, heavier riders will also wear brake pads faster.
    five six and two twenty five?

    what is this person, a pro running back or hopelessly overweight?

  39. #39
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    To add:

    I think the general consensus is that if you weigh > 180#, you need to ride smooth or beef up your rig. 180# seems to be the threshold at which more parts break, independent of power output. YMMV

    Much like tandem stuff and clyde stuff is comparable, the 180-220# crowd probably all have enduro-level parts for riding aggressive XC. I don't know what you do for a clyde tandem. I think you end up with moto parts to keep from breaking stuff.

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  40. #40
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    You have asked a very complicated question. Shaq broke a seat post by sitting on it in a bicycle shop. As a rule of thumb if some thing works for you and you make it twice as strong it will last forever. By the same rule if some thing works for you and some one twice as strong tries to use it they might break it right away. This come from fatigue curves you can find in any engineering book. Most every one can double their strength with a little training. My leg strength doubled in a single year when I learned to ride a unicycle at the age of 10. The second problem is one of leverage. A taller person has more leverage on some parts. This can generally be ignored for questions of strength but not stiffness. A 21 inch frame is twice as stiff as a 25 inch frame. Very few manufactures take this into account when building frames. This is why Clydesdales have their own forum.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerodish View Post
    You have asked a very complicated question. Shaq broke a seat post by sitting on it in a bicycle shop. As a rule of thumb if some thing works for you and you make it twice as strong it will last forever. By the same rule if some thing works for you and some one twice as strong tries to use it they might break it right away. This come from fatigue curves you can find in any engineering book. Most every one can double their strength with a little training. My leg strength doubled in a single year when I learned to ride a unicycle at the age of 10. The second problem is one of leverage. A taller person has more leverage on some parts. This can generally be ignored for questions of strength but not stiffness. A 21 inch frame is twice as stiff as a 25 inch frame. Very few manufactures take this into account when building frames. This is why Clydesdales have their own forum.
    Meh, not so much. Consider:

    Someone breaking something "right away" indicates an immediate failure. A fatigue curve shows how a material may lose strength over time (cycles). Also, a fatigue curve for aluminum can show you that the bold statement above is a poor rule of thumb. Aluminum can be designed twice as strong as needed and ultimately fail over time due to fatigue degrading it's strength.

    Most anyone doubling strength? Good luck with that. If I were to double it I would be generating power to road race in a pro peloton.

  42. #42
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    im 210, I don't wear drive train parts that fast and I ride pretty hard on steep rocky inclines. Perhaps your husband just says they are worn out so he can get new stuff.

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