A tall person's conundrum

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by GREEKSTER, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. GREEKSTER

    GREEKSTER New Member

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    Greekings,


    I am new to cycling and am looking for an all-around bike that I could use for multiple purposes (pleasure, commuting, possibly bike-packing?). About 6 years ago while I was in college, a friend invited me to bike from the Oregon-California border back to SoCal where we live. It was a "just for fun", spur-of-the-moment adventure. I bought the biggest touring bike I could find that fit my budget and we set off. The trip ended short for me due to excruciating knee pain which I believe resulted from too small a bike.


    It has been a desire of mine to try cycling again, this time with a little more research. My problem is that I can't seem to find any bike manufacturers that offer bicycles that would fit my tall frame. I have looked into a custom cycle, but cost is a big factor there. I would be willing to go this route if there are no other options.


    Here's some of the more important details you probably want to know:


    6 ft 7 in

    245 lbs

    Pubic Bone Height: 101.5

    Trunk: 71.5 cm

    Forearm: 39.37 cm

    Arm: 78.105 cm

    Thigh: 70.802 cm

    Lower Leg: 62.484 cm

    Sternal Notch: 165.1 cm

    Total Body Height: 200.66 cm

    Saddle height: 91 cm


    I guess I'm turning here to see if anyone has recommendations or insight for me. I do not have a lot of experience/knowledge regarding cycling, so anything that puts me in the right direction helps.


    Thank you
     


  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW ...

    An obvious problem for taller riders is becoming cramped when riding a typical off-the-peg bike ...

    If I were taller than 6'4" (which is your situation), then I would begin with an XL (frame size) 29er Hardtail framset (Salsa used to offer one with a Rigid fork, so I presume that they still do) because it will have the longest top tube (64cm, AFAIK) which will be available on a non-custom frameset.

    Consider choosing-and-using:

    120mm or longer stem ... depending on your flexibility & comfort

    44cm wide DROP handlebars ... AFAIK, 44cm is the widest Drop bar which is readily available ... Drop handlebars are NOT "created equal" ... some are narrower at-and-through-the-bend than the spec'd wdith which is made at the bar end. The TruVativ Rouleur bars were as wide at the Top as the Drop.

    Installing wider bars has the SAME effect as installing a longer stem

    While some people have successfully toured with FLAT handlebars, DROP handlebars are better for longer rides.
    180mm Shimano XT crankset ... 46/32-or-34/22-or-24 gearing will work ...

    Change the gearing from the "stock" crankset AFTER you determine whether you need higher-or-lower gearing than what is on the off-the-shelf crankset​

    BROOKS B17 "Standard" saddle ... these are wider than the typical "plastic" saddles ...

    The Fizik Vitesse (for example) was available in a wider Women's version; so, OTHER variants of Women's saddles should probably be considered if you don't want to deal with a leather saddle.

    BROOKS makes wider saddles than the B17 "Standard" ...

    Most of the "vintage" style (actual or reproduction) saddles which are SPRUNG are even wider than a B17 "standard" saddle (the B17 "narrow" is wider than a typical "plastic" saddle, BTW).
    One of Easton's seatpost's had slightly more setback than the typical seatpost ... I'm not even sure if it is still available.

    Of course, I recommend Campagnolo shifters ... mated to TRP SPYRE mechanical disc brake calipers.

    Campagnolo shifters CAN be used with Shimano rear derailleurs with SOME provisos if you need to use a Cassette whose largest Cog is larger than 34t.



     
    #2 alfeng, Oct 3, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  3. GREEKSTER

    GREEKSTER New Member

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    Hey Alfeng,

    Thanks for your insight. After some digging around, I actually came across a 69cm 1980 Bridgestone Kabuki (see attached photo)! To my surprise, it actually fits really nice and decided to purchase it. The guy selling it kept it in great shape.

    I will look into some of the suggestions you mentioned. Already planned on getting different handlebars and a Brooks saddle. Will look into the crankset.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    There are few things to keep in mind when dealing with a bike of that vintage.
    • The wheels are likely to be 27", rather than 700c, so make sure you check that.
    • The rear end is probably 125mm or 126mm wide. The current standard for road bikes is 130mm, so modern wheels will not fit unless you have the frame cold-set to 130mm. If you decide to do that, I suggest that you have it done professionally.
    • You can get dropped bars in 46cm, but they won't fit the stem on the bike, which is probably 26mm clamp size. Modern bars are 31.mm. I don't know of anyone making a quill stem with a 31.8mm clamp, but you can get adapters that allow you to use a stem for a threadless steerer on a fork designed for a quill stem.
     
  5. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    To add to the above:
    • I made a typo in the third bullet. It should read "Modern bars are 31.8mm diameter".
    • There are touring and gravel bike oriented bars that are wider than 46 cm.
    • Nitto makes a fair amount of retro-style parts that should work on the Bridgestone
    • Replacing the crank should be easy, as the bottom bracket will be 68mm BSA, which is still commonly available
    • I'm not convinced that Brooks are the be-all-and-end-all of saddles and they weigh a ton, but to each, his own. I suggest that you at least try the saddle that's on the bike, after adjusting the ridiculous angle to make it essentially level.
    • Re-spacing the rear end as described above will be necessary if you want to convert to integrated brake/shift levers and an 8, 9, 10 or 11-speed cassette.
    • Bikes of that vintage typically came with 14-28 or possibly 14-34 freewheels. If you decide to keep the bike stock, you'll still have a decent gearing range. I can't tell what the rear derailleur will handle without seeing the right side of the bike.
    • Judging by the position of the brake pads, if the wheels are 27", 700c wheels will not work on that frame without adding long-reach brakes, which I would not recommend for someone your size.
    • Please reinstall the front wheel with the Q/R lever on the left, where it belongs. ;)
     
    #5 BrianNystrom, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  6. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    They don't make bikes for large people in high quality bikes as a rule. So for someone like you that would probably ride a 64 or 65 cm bike I suggest you get a custom bike made. They are surprisingly cheap compared to top end bikes. There are custom bike builders in most large cities but one I met and talked to while visiting Phoenix really impressed me:

    Oasis Custom Cycles LLC
    www.oasiscustomcycles.com
    Proprietor: Omar Khiel

    This guy seemed to me to really have it nailed and prices in Arizona are generally much cheaper than elsewhere. Omar can made touring or sport bikes and he keeps a stock of high quality steel tubes. DO NOT use Aluminum or Carbon Fiber bikes in your size and weight. The difference in weight between all three materials is only about 2%. If you were racing that could make a difference but a sport rider cannot even distinguish that weight difference.
     
  7. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    Greekster,

    I would suggest contacting Leonard Zinn at Zinn Cycles. http://zinncycles.com/Zinn/custom-bicycles/
    He specializes in custom frames and complete custom bikes for tall people like yourself and offers a broad range of bike styles and material options. He also has components specifically designed for tall riders (like extra-long cranks). He's been doing this since the early '80's and is widely considered to be the foremost expert in this market. He's also a tech guru who has written several books on bike maintenance and other topics.
     
    CAMPYBOB likes this.
  8. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Staying with inexpensive and still decent quality...Schwinn manufactured several models in the extra large 27" frame size range. Both fillet brazed and lugged versions were built for the exceptionally tall rider.

    World Travelers, World Voyagers and several other models were available in the 25"+ sizes. They can be found on Craigslist and such and usually bought for great prices. Updating and upgrading is possible, depending upon how far you want to take that.

    [​IMG]

    As seen it the picture, most were purchased by riders that were too small for the frame and the bikes generally were not high miles usage because of that. You often find them with the saddles slammed and/or the bars flipped to shorten the reach.
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Rivendell also built some very nice 27" framesets. Used...and with a very limited audience of tall enough buyers...they can be had for cheap.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    There were others as well when I was in the bike biz back in the '70's and '80's. IIRC Univega made 27" frames and I think we sold a couple, but the demand was not huge, as you can imagine.

    He already has access to a Bridgestone/Kabuki in that size and there's probably not much difference in quality or ride between the similar-vintage bikes in that size.
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    What you did there...I see it!

    Cannondale built a 'sort of' custom frame for a local guy that raced crits with me. It was one of the first models...600?...been a lot of years. It had to be at least a 65-67 Cm.

    Schwinn usually stopped most models at 25", but you could get the Paramount upsized to the 'NBA' model for no extra charge if you didn't want any other custom geometry.
     
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