BIKE: You are dealing among others with people who have experienced a crash due to technical failures. Are all these people tall and heavy?
Zedler: Fortunately, there has been a change: Today, there are hardly any more "worst cases", i.e. sudden breakages of handlebars or forks. The designs have improved. Nevertheless, heavy riders have a lot more trouble, especially in long-term use.
Which of the components break down?
All components that also break down when used by normal weight riders. But in most of the cases they break faster. Heavy weight riders should consider their handlebars, stems, saddles and seat posts as wearing parts and make it a rule to replace them at regular intervals. Wheels cause a lot of troubles, are however seldom the cause of falls.
Does heavy material prevent trouble?
There is a decisive difference between failure due to long-term use and due to overload. For example, well designed, lightweight handlebars may withstand more load changes than heavier models. But if a heavy rider cycles bluntly into a hole, thicker material of identical quality has more reserves. The same applies in principle to frames, rims and other parts.
So, no lightweight construction for XXL-bikes?
There are certainly light series parts of good brands which are more resistant than heavy no-name parts. But in principle, there is nothing wrong with strengthening the material proportionately. If an endurable hardtail for an 80-kg-rider weighs 10 kg, it may well weigh 15 kg for a 120-kg-rider.
It is stipulated by the EN 14766 standard what a mountain bike is supposed to perform. Isn’t it enough for a bike to fulfil the standard?
The standard is neither mandatory, nor does it explicitly assumes a certain weight of the rider. However, individual test requirements of the standard increase with heavier weights of the riders. After all, it’s not the standard what it is all about. The orientation for the rider is the rider or the system weight indicated by the manufacturer. In a warranty or product liability claim heavier riders would be at a disadvantage in legal terms.