As I continue my search for potential new bicycle candidates, I find my self coming back to a common question. Am I too heavy for a carbon fiber rig?

I’ve ridden aluminum (including fork) for the last 15 years and have had no problems with the frame. While riding the last year or so I’ve really put my old bike to the limit because I’m sure it wasn’t designed to carry a 260 pound rider. It’s performed great though. As I’ve been looking for a new bike I’ve fondled a couple of carbon fiber bikes but am really hesitant to even test ride one because I know I’ll probably love it but am afraid I’m too heavy for the frame. I don’t want it to die a slow death due to the stress of carrying me, or worse, fail catastrophically while riding.

This question was thrust back into the spotlight this weekend when I looked at a bike mentioned to me by one of my local readers here in Dallas. It’s a 2009 Fuji CCR2 on closeout at Performance Bike. I honestly don’t know too much about Fuji’s, and always thought of them as ‘department store’ bikes, but I think their reputation has been growing the last few years. The bike I looked at was all carbon fiber outfitted with a full Ultegra setup for $1500. If I remember correctly, that’s almost $1000 off the list. It’s a beautiful bike. The price is about the max I wanted to spend but the fact that it’s a full carbon bike has given me reservations because of my weight.

I’m also hesitant to buy a carbon fiber bike because of the message it sends. A grotesquely overweight guy riding a light carbon fiber bike isn’t something I want to be remembered for. Especially when I know that I’d get more benefit, in both riding and in my health, by shedding 90 pounds.

So, I’m looking for opinions/facts on heavy riders and carbon fiber bikes. Am I best off just going with an aluminum frame/carbon fiber fork setup or am I OK going all carbon? I’m sure the manufacturer specs for the bike will help me determine this but I’m interested in your opinions and thoughts.