Hardtail for big dude?

Hi Lee
I need some advice on buying a mountain bike xc hardtail. I would like to get a 29er in a single speed or 9 speed. I would like to do trail riding (single track). I am a aggressive rider however I don’t take unneccessary risks. I am very powerful, and I put a lot of stress on my cranks.

I would like to buy a stock bike if there is one out there that will do the job, but if I can’t find one then I guess I can piece it together. It would be nice to stay under $2000.00. I am 6’5″ and 280lbs. Any advice would be nice.

Thanks Lee

Hey Eric,

A 29er hardtail sure would be sweet. You’d get the tightness of a hardtail with about six percent easier rolling than 26-inch wheels. The thing is, I’m not sure how most 29-inch rims will hold up to your Awesome Power(tm).


A. Buy a stock 29er bike. Put on a chain guide or single-speed conversion. Ride the heck out of that bike and replace whatever breaks. That’ll be most cost-effective, at least in the short term. The issue: Most 29ers are made for XC riding, and they come with light parts.

B. Build a custom bike. For a dude of your dimensions, this might be the way to go. Pick a frame, any frame (they’re all overbuilt these days). Put on wide, oversize bars. Rock some quality cranks (XTs are hard to beat). Run stiff wheels. SunRingle makes its all-mountain Charger wheelset in 29″. I have the 26″ versions on my Stumpy; they are pretty light and very braaapable.

Whichever option you choose:

– Run freeride or DH tires converted to tubeless. You’ll want the durable casing and lack of pinch flats.

– If you can find adequately huge bikes, take them for test rides.

– You should be under $2,000.

Have fun,

— Lee

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