Bike for a really tall guy?
April 9, 2006 10:29 PM   Subscribe

Anyone know of a bicycle that would fit a very tall (6' 10") man? Recumbents and velocipedes need not apply.
posted by thinman to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total)
What is your budget? You can get some pretty sexy custom bikes fit to your frame...
posted by hindmost at 10:30 PM on April 9, 2006

Try; Leonard Zinn, the builder, is super-tall himself and specializes in bikes for people who look like they should be shooting hoop....
posted by soulbarn at 10:32 PM on April 9, 2006

Money will solve the problem at a custom builder, but if you want a cheaper solution look for a Garry Fisher bike with "Genesis Geometry". Fisher talks about his geometry "adjusting your weight to better reflect blah blah blah". The truth is that it has a really long top tube. Put in a high riser handlebar stem and a long seat post and you are well on the way. You can find them 2nd hand.
posted by priorpark17 at 10:57 PM on April 9, 2006

You aren't likely to find too many velocipedes for sale, in your size on any size. Most of them are in museums. The biggest production road bikes that I know of generally end at around 64cm (square, seat tube x top tube) and that would be borderline small for someone your height. Custom might be the was to go, depending on how much you want to spend.
posted by fixedgear at 2:07 AM on April 10, 2006

A Canadian Builder, has built bikes for the very tall as well. Custom measured to your exact specifications.

Jester Bicycles

Jody has shipped them all over North America and is real easy to talk to. He could send you photos of his 'tall bikes'.
posted by vidarling at 4:32 AM on April 10, 2006

It's hard to answer without knowing a little more about what you want: what you want to spend, what kind of riding you want to do. But until you pop by this thread again, I do have one suggestion. :)

If, like most people, you're just looking for a normal bike, and nothing special, then the custom options above will not work for you - I didn't look at the prices, but I've never seen a custom-framed bike that cost under $2000. (That's including parts and assembly)

You should at least try, although it might be too small for you, a Raleigh SC-30. It's sort of a comfy mountain bike kind of concept, but it doesn't have rear suspension, so it's suitable for riding on the road. It also happens to be, AFAIK, the largest production bike that's available for any reasonable amount of money. They make a 22", which for a mountain bike is enormous. There may be other manufacturers who make production 22" bikes, but I wasn't aware of them the last time I checked. You may have trouble finding one in stock, of course.

It's not ideal, and it might not fit you, but it has the best chance of anything under $1000 or so. It's really not that great a bike - but if I had to guess from the way you worded your question, you're not looking for that great a bike. It costs about $300, but you might spend a little extra if you needed to substitute a longer stem or seatpost. If you want something better, Raleigh makes similar but better bikes in the same size. Also, if the fat mountain tires are too slow for you, you can easily put skinnier ones on, although at 6'10", you probably won't be able to go too skinny.

I have been aware of guys who were at least 6'6" or 6'7" fitting on SC30s easily, so you definitely have a shot. If the 22" SC-30 is too small for you, go back and read about those custom bikes again. :)
posted by pinespree at 4:57 AM on April 10, 2006

Most tall guys seem to need a proportionally longer top tube (and no, a longer stem is no substitute). Le Mond cycles have this geometry and there are others. Try a lot of different bike shops. The problem will be that most shops will try to put you on what they sell rather than what is best for you. After enough looking you will know what is right.
posted by caddis at 7:32 AM on April 10, 2006

I was looking at road bikes last week, so I was trying to the upper limits of what the shops had to offer. For my 6'4" body, a 63cm frame was fine with most brands, but as caddis says, the Lemonds run bigger and you should probably try out a 63+cm lemond bike if you want a road bike.
posted by mathowie at 8:56 AM on April 10, 2006

I am 6'10" tall as well. I've got a Cannondale touring bicycle. The Jumbo frame is the biggest frame made in mass production, and it just barely works. You'll still need to get a new seat post and a new front post to make it work, but it will work.

You won't find a mountain bike in that size unless you go custom. Apparently tall guys don't go off-roading. I've got longer legs (39" inseam) so the standover height was the issue for me. If your torso is longer than normal, then the horizontal distance from the seat to the handlebars may be the issue.

Granted, the bike will not be cheap (mine was in the $2k range), but it's still cheaper than custom.

I highly recommend finding a local bike shop that sells Cannondale that also does their own service work. They will be able to measure you up and fit the bike to you, not the other way around. If they don't, then leave and find another store. No way would I have bought a bike that expensive if I didn't feel absolutely comfortable on it.
posted by Sasquatch at 8:57 AM on April 10, 2006

You're outside the range catered for by off-the-shelf, brand-name bikes and frames. It might be possible to make a smaller frame fit your proportions (longer and higher stem, long seat post, if you can find ones big enough), but there's a lot more to position and handling than just swapping out a couple of components if you want to be comfortable with and get the most from your bike, especially if you want to ride longer distances.

Without knowing any more (like what kind of riding you want to do and hence what sort of bike you might want), it's hard to make general recommendations. If you can afford it, getting a custom frame built is the way to go. Any decent framebuilder should be able to put something together to fit you. Another advantage is that a framebuilder can choose tubing and a design specific to your size and weight and the kind of cycling you like to do. A conventional diamond frame loses strength and stiffness once it gets very big and a good framebuilder can add further tubes or gussets to account for that if necessary. Unfortunately, you'll need to budget $1000-$2500 for a custom frame from a competent builder.
posted by normy at 8:57 AM on April 10, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers.

For those who asked, I'd prefer not to spend more than around $1000. I'm not a serious cyclist. I'm not a cyclist at all. I just want a bike for urban commuting. I was hoping to find one of those hybrid sort of things: tougher than a touring bike, but not a mountain bike.
posted by thinman at 10:21 AM on April 11, 2006

I think you would do well to ask this question over at (or via Google Groups). It is a very active news group with many experienced voices. Good luck.
posted by caddis at 11:08 AM on April 11, 2006

Here, on eBay, is a 67 cm 80's Fuji, with wonderful Ishiwata tubing. I'd be emailing you this if your address were in your profile.
posted by jamjam at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2006

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