Fluctuating as I do between 230 and 250 lbs, I can sympathize. Wheels that bow like potato chips, saddle rails that break, tires that wear, seat posts that slip---.
My longest lasting frame is my Marinonni, lugged Columbus SP steel. Been with me over 20 years and many thousands of miles. That's not to say that I've broken scads of frames ( none, in fact), but this one has held together. It's on it's second coat of paint.
I don't know if one frame construction method is "sturdier" than another. If done with sufficiently strong steel and competent assembly technique, any method should produce a reliable frame. But if it's all the same, get lugs so it's purty, too.
What size frame do you ride? If it's 62cm+, you have a better chance of finding a frame in a heavier gauge of tubing. A Columbus or Reynolds bike taking a 27 mm seat post, not 27.2mm, is likely to be a heavier gauge tubing like Columbus SP or Reynolds ST. A light gauge frame won't disintegrate under you, but a heavier tube set will avoid a whippy bottom bracket and will help the bike handle with more stability. That's a problem I have with my Italvega on fast descents. I'm guessing it's an SL frame, and I wish it was SP. A 25 inch Trek I had in 531 competition tubing was barely ridable.
But the most important thing for the heavier rider is good, sturdy wheels. Modern rims are a god send. Modern rims that have proven sufficiently sturdy and available in vintage silver include Mavic MA3's and my personal favorite, the Sun CR18. In older rims, the Mavic MA40, Ambrosio Durex 19 and Super Champion 58 have been durable in my and others' experience. Avoid Rigida 1320s or any super light tubie rim. Arc en Ciels won't hold together for me as a rear rim, although they seem fine in the front. Fiamme Red labels are as light as I can go in back. Use 36 spokes until you shed some pounds. There's disagreement over whether straight 14 gauge spokes build a more duable wheel than 14-15-14 butted spokes. I have good luck with my straight gauge rear wheels, but I don't notice any significant difference between butted and non butted spokes. And since weight savings on the bike aren't really important right now, weighing what we do, save a few bucks and get the straight guage. And be sure to use a good wheel builder. That's more important than spokes or rims. Oh, and fatter tires, too. Don't ride anything thinner than 28mm.
Clydesdales unite! We're tired of all the puny, slender riders drafting us until we come to the hills. Then they climb away like they're better or something. We'll sit on em at the next food stop.
Tom (Barn Door) Adams, Shrewsbury NJ
>From: Ted Baer
>Subject: [CR]Can anyone recommend a strudy lightweight for a big guy?
>Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 11:30:06 -0800 (PST)
>I am a big fat guy that needs to get in shape. I am
>on a serious diet and have completely quit eating fast
>food. I would like to get back on a bike and cruise
>around on the back streets until my weight drops. Can
>anyone on the list recommend a good sturdy vintage
>road bike that is strong enough to carry 265 lbs?
>Everytime I go into the shops around here, all I see
>is a bunch of strange bikes made out of plastic that
>have 12 spokes in each wheel. Not only that, some of
>the mountain bikes have tags on them saying "maximum
>I did ride a small (60's?-70's) lugged Motobecane that
>I own and I must say it was fast! Is has the old
>Stronglight 93's, Huret derailleurs, and a decent set
>of wheels. The only problem I had with it was that
>the seat came loose on the post thus dropping me onto
>the rear wheel and causing me to crash into a parked
>Are lugged frames stronger than welded frames? And
>what kind of tubing would be best to go with? I do
>own a 1966 Peugeot PX-10, but do not want to risk
>damaging that frameset with my weight.
>Starving as I write,
>Palo Alto, CA