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As part of the design process, every e-bike is engineered to carry a specific maximum weight limit, but this number is not always clearly stated by the manufacturer. It can get even more confusing for prospective buyers when different terms are used, either separately or in conjunction – such as maximum rider weight and total payload capacity. Each of these figures is useful, but only when they are understood in context.
Maximum rider weight is relatively straightforward – this is the amount of weight that the saddle and seatpost can safely carry, and it includes not only body weight, but any additional load such as a backpack. Total payload capacity refers to the maximum amount of weight an e-bike can accommodate – this includes maximum rider weight, but also accounts for the capacity of any included or optional cargo racks. These, too, have their own weight limits which may be stamped on their structural members or listed on the brand’s webpage.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the average weight for US males is approximately 200 lbs, while the average for females is about 170 lbs. Most e-bikes can accommodate these averages, but as rider weight increases and any additional cargo is added, the pool of capable models decreases significantly. For this list of the best electric bikes for heavier riders, the reviewers at Electric Bike Report selected options with maximum rider weights and/or total payload capacities over 250 lbs – and often much higher.