I've been doing some reading about all-road / adventure-ready bikes and I'm leaning toward the Trek SL5. I weigh 265lbs and the official specs say the total weight limit for bike, rider, and cargo is 275lbs. What would realistically happen if I end up getting the bike and ride on it for long distances over time?

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    I wont leave this as an official answer, but a lot of those weight limits are what are referred to as lawyer numbers and maximum weight without breaking anything is likely a good bit higher. As long as you don't really beat on it and ride it rough i would think you would be fine.
    – Nate W
    Jun 18, 2020 at 15:02
  • Thanks for responding. This is sort of what I was expecting, but wanted to get some additional perspective as it's a big investment and don't want to break it in the first week.
    – Seamus M
    Jun 18, 2020 at 16:21
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    So long as the bike is not a suspension bike, the main hazard would be "premature" failure of various components. Mainly spokes, as mentioned below, but rims, hubs, and even the frame (given it's carbon) could fail after some thousands or tens of thousands of miles. But you're not greatly overloading it, so this risk is minimal. Jun 18, 2020 at 18:59
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    Do you ride gently? Or do you drop off kerbs and bulldoze through potholes? What's your riding style ?
    – Criggie
    Jun 18, 2020 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


You may start breaking spokes in the rear wheel after putting some miles on the bike. That seems to be where the effects of load shows up first.

You can plan to mitigate this by budgeting for a new rear wheel. If this is the bike you are talking about it has 28 spoke wheels. You'll want a 32 or even a 36 spoke replacement wheel, hand built.

You don't have to get the beefier wheel straight away, but when you break a spoke don't bother getting it replaced, more will inevitably follow. Upgrade the whole wheel at that point.

  • This is a really helpful recommendation. I appreciate your help. Are there particular brands or manufacturers of wheels that you would recommend, or is this something I would explore through my local bike shop?
    – Seamus M
    Jun 18, 2020 at 16:22
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    I don't really have any recommendations. Talk to your LBS(s) as you'll want the wheel hand built (pre-build wheels are typically machine built). They should be able to recommend hub, spoke and rim options. Jun 18, 2020 at 16:31
  • Thanks again. Very helpful.
    – Seamus M
    Jun 18, 2020 at 16:53

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