Tall bike jerseys?
February 22, 2009 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Bike jerseys for tall people?

I have an extremely long torso (I'm 6"5' and wear 32 inch inseams) and have gotten into biking. I'd like to get a jersey and a bike jacket. Outside of athletics, this can be done by buying "tall" sizes. All I can find is stuff from Aero Tech that I'm not that excited about. Any cooler stuff out there? I wear an L or an XL tshirt depending on the brand, so the "big" is far less of a concern than the "tall."

posted by rachelpapers to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The two most important things I can tell you regarding minimizing the "gap" between jersey and shorts are to 1) buy bib shorts, never regular shorts (no clue how this works for girls), 2) buy from the same manufacturer. I like Castelli for a blend of value and performance/looks - Assos if you're loaded.
posted by kcm at 4:30 PM on February 22, 2009

(buying from the same manufacturer is not nearly as important if you're wearing bibs, of course)
posted by kcm at 4:31 PM on February 22, 2009

6'9" with a 35" inseam here. Really looking to see if anyone answers this question well. My interest in wearing a bib is almost nil, and the Aero Tech jerseys really leave me lacking.

For the OP, Pearl Izumi's XL in the Quest series of jerseys are the longest I've had the opportunity to try on. On the minus side, L fits, and XL is kinda like wearing a miniature sail on both sides of me. :-)
posted by talldean at 4:51 PM on February 22, 2009

Response by poster: talldean, wow, I thought I had it rough.
posted by rachelpapers at 5:02 PM on February 22, 2009

Lennard Zinn (author of several bicycling books) is 6 foot 5 and sells big and tall bike clothing at his shop. Website.
posted by brianogilvie at 5:03 PM on February 22, 2009

Athleta is generally really good with tall sizes, but it looks like their cycling stock hasn't been replenished for spring quite yet. Same story with Title Nine. I'd bookmark both links and check back a bit ater in the season, though.

I'm 5'7" and wear 30"s, so I can empathize to some extent. I can't recommend the Pearl Izumi Sugar Short enough. It has the shortest inseam available, so it visually lengthens the legs It also feels really comfortable (amazing chamois) and is high-rise enough to help with the jersey-creep battle.

Bibs (as recommended by kcm) are definitely functional, but super annoying for girls to wear on long rides- basically it's impossible to stop to, uh, seek relief without getting entirely nekked, which is generally frowned upon.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:09 PM on February 22, 2009

rachelpapers; the tough part was finding a bike! :-)

If anyone else is in the same sticking point, Trek makes a 64 cm in three models. Rivendell, a small builder in Boston, briefly made a 68 cm frame. Surly makes a 62 cm, but the top tube is still 610 mm, which is hugetastic. Giant, Specialized, and most of the other major brands came up with nothing.
posted by talldean at 5:11 PM on February 22, 2009

I've found cycling clothing sizes to be wildly inconsistent across manufacturers. Relatively speaking, I'm 6'2" (but mostly legs). I've found that the Hincapie brand jerseys are longer than others - probably because Big George is so tall. Oakley jerseys are similar.
posted by neilkod at 5:18 PM on February 22, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! PS I am a dude despite the handle. But let the resources for tall ladies pile in!

And re: bikes. Yes, finding a bike sucks. I am going through it now and will probably buy a 62cm Cross Check because of that top tube. I wish my LBS had one in stock for me to ride first.
posted by rachelpapers at 5:37 PM on February 22, 2009

I have a buddy who's taken his Cross Check several thousand miles across three continents at this point, and he swears by 'it. I went with Trek because they did the 64" frame in the same price ballpark. Custom-framed bikes looked to be $2000+, if you didn't have any components to strip off of another bike.
posted by talldean at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2009

When you shop for jerseys look for "pro cut" styles. These will be slimmer in the torso than normal "club cut" jerseys. A pro cut XL might be what you need.
posted by TDIpod at 5:46 PM on February 22, 2009

Euro stuff tends to be very "tall", especially the Dutch variety. Try the Agu brand -- a high-end bike shop should be able to source it for you.
posted by randomstriker at 5:56 PM on February 22, 2009

Re jackets, I have one from agu which has a 'tail' portion of that hangs down pretty low over the saddle protecting your back when you are crouched down. It has the option of being buttoned up for more formal occasions. I think lots of rain-jackets/jackets for bikes have that shape so I don't think it's a problem get a jacket for a long person (I'm 6'3'')
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 6:20 PM on February 22, 2009

I'm 6'0" and love the fit of Bergamo, but I have one jersey by Zoic that I almost never wear because it's so long. Their stuff seems to run pretty long in the torso (while not being wide in the shoulders).

If you're having a tough time finding a frame, going custom sounds like it would be worth it. Carl Strong does some great custom work in both steel and titanium, and his frames are very reasonably priced for what you get.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:21 PM on February 22, 2009

Re: Carl Strong, you're still looking at $3500 - minimum - for someone just getting into biking to spend on their first serious bike. :-)

(I ran the minimum road bike, which is similar to the Surly Cross Check that the OP mentioned.)

In a world driven by mass-produced big box sales, tall people lose this game. Short folks can at least shop the kids section, but the big-and-tall market is owned by fat people, because we've got a lot more of those.
posted by talldean at 7:27 PM on February 22, 2009

I assumed that when the OP said "I've gotten into biking" that they meant they have a bike. In that case, they can order a Carl Strong custom frame for ~$1,650 and swap over their components, and they'll then have a bike that fits their (non standard) 6'5" stature perfectly. It's a situation where going custom makes sense and justifies the cost in the long run.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:55 PM on February 22, 2009

Seconding the recomendation for Leanord Zinn. I'm not tall, but my tall friends tell me his stuff works. Bibs are great for me, but maybe not so great for women who pretty much have to disrobe to pee, and tall folks often find the shoulder straps are way too short.
posted by fixedgear at 5:03 AM on February 23, 2009

You all are talking about custom bikes, but ignoring custom jerseys. Assuming you don't care about advertising material plastered all over you, you could easily get jerseys custom made. I bet it'd be pretty cost competitive too, given that cycling gear is godawful expensive. My wife has made custom clothing through Etsy's Alchemy for an extra-tall male. It wasn't cycling wear, but it's definitely doable.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2009

The Zinn jerseys are 100$+, so custom stuff is definitely within reason.

I'll give Alchemy a look!
posted by talldean at 8:55 AM on February 23, 2009

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