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  1. #1
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    Bike suggestions for a tall rider?

    Im new to this forum and find it to be a great source of information.
    My dilemma is finding a good road bike that will support my 68, 240lbs 45 year old frame. The production bike close to my size is Trek Madone (5 or 6 series). The LBS thinks I should fit but Im a little leery on their motivation to get a sale vs. a proper fit.
    This has led me to custom builders. The Trek is a lot cheaper than custom but fit is a concern and no dealer has a 64cm frame in stock for sizing.
    Custom builders I have been researching are Independent Fabrication (Corvid, Ti Crown Jewel, or XS), Seven (Elium SL or Dimas S), Serotta (Ottrott SE, Ottrott GS), Parlee or Zinn (Fassa or Dolomite). Zinn builds for tall riders which is great but there are not many reviews. Both Zinn and Independent Fabrication dont have dealers in my city so I would be purchasing direct vs through a LBS.
    Seven, Serotta, Parlee all have local dealers which should be a good thing.
    Custom builders are all very expensive!
    Any opinions, preferably from other tall guys who know what Im going through would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Any custom maker will be able to treat you right. Almost more important is finding a fitter that can properly understand building a large-guy bike.

    FWIW, my brother in law is your same height and weight more or less, and loves his Mei Vici.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  3. #3
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    Gunnar makes some VERY large frames (68cm!). Their stock 853 steel road frames are quite nice, reasonably light and are very reasonably priced. If you need larger, Waterford (parent company) has a similar custom frame for a few hundred more.

    At 6'8", you are a little off the fit chart - most people are just going to be guessing what its going to be like to be that tall and still be sitting on a bike with a 100cm wheelbase. The manin thing the Trek has going for it is a tall headtube. It really depends if you are quite leggy or not.

    Another custom possibility is TET Cycles. The prices are VERY reasonable (under $1000) for all models.

  4. #4
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    I'd go with Lennard Zinn because he has a vested interest in bikes for tall riders, since he's tall himself. Measuring yourself correctly for a custom frame is not difficult at all and Zinn's measuring requirements aren't all that complicated. Framebuilders can tell when the numbers provided don't quite look right.

    Here's an article he wrote in VeloNews regarding frame design for tall riders; I think it gives a good idea of how much thought he's put into large frame design.

    While buying a custom frame may be expensive, perpetually buying stock frames in an attempt to get one to fit can be even more expensive. You're outside the sizing curve; be smart, recognize that, and get a properly fitting bike right off the bat. Until you do, you won't enjoy cycling as much.

  5. #5
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    In more medium sized frames you will find lots of riders with top tubes and seat tubes the same length - 55x55, 56x56 and so forth.

    With taller riders you have little consistency and see more riders with shorter top tubes than seat tubes. I am 6' 2 1/2 " and ride a custom Serotta Nove 61cm after 4 degrees of slope with a 57.5cm top tube and a 72 degree seat angle; a custom Serotta CSI that I got from Kelly Bedford that is 62.5cm with a 58.5 top tube and 73 degree seat angle (had to use shorter reach bars) and a custom Spectrum Ti that is close to 63cm after 5 degrees of slope with a 56.8cm top tube.

    When I got my custom Serotta it changed my cycling life. I am 63 years old. I used to ride for 6 months and then quit for 3 years or more. Now I just love to get out and ride.

    All 64 cm bikes are not created equal. The seat tube length is going to be less important than the top tube length, head tube length and seat tube angle. Focus on these dimensions first. Obviously the bike needs to be able to get the saddle at a height that works for you and works with an appropriate amount of bar drop.

    You need to get fit by a great fitter. Lately I have seen quite a few high-end used frames for sale. The Serotta Classifieds is a good source. You can go ages without seeing any really large frames though.

    Good luck.

    Jeff

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlwdm
    In more medium sized frames you will find lots of riders with top tubes and seat tubes the same length - 55x55, 56x56 and so forth.

    With taller riders you have little consistency and see more riders with shorter top tubes than seat tubes.
    Actually, that's traditional geometry. Frames below 56 have longer TT than ST and above have longer ST than TT. For frame sizes in 2cm increments, TT lengths change at about 1.5cm per size, with the cross over at 56.

  7. #7
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    Go Custom

    any good builder can hook you up
    Zinn is a great choice
    if you want Ti I'd say Bill Holland in San Diego he builds bikes for Bill Walton who is just under 7'
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rx-79g
    Actually, that's traditional geometry. Frames below 56 have longer TT than ST and above have longer ST than TT. For frame sizes in 2cm increments, TT lengths change at about 1.5cm per size, with the cross over at 56.

    Duh. They are shorter, but not consistently shorter. And everyone does not need shorter. Some need longer.

    Jeff

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlwdm
    Duh. They are shorter, but not consistently shorter. And everyone does not need shorter. Some need longer.

    Jeff
    There is no consistant top tube length for any frame size.

    Duh.

  10. #10
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    Thanks to everyone for your comments and support.
    What are the biggest production frames out there? Any 68 guys riding the Trek Madone 5 or 6 series? Is it worth investigating?
    Ill probably have to go custom. The IF Corvid or Ti Crown Jewel look great also Zinn Ti as he specializes in bikes for tall riders, but Im uncomfortable having to buy direct. No door to knock on in case I need support / service.
    Custom bikes in my city are Seven, Serotta, Guru, Parlee and Moots. I want to go either Ti or Carbon Fiber. Any recommendations on best bang for the buck?

  11. #11
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    Ive rode the 64" Madone and it felt great. Im only 6' 4" with ape arms. I would think it would be to small for you.

  12. #12
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    While you may be uncomfortable buying direct, you really should give Zinn a chance and call him. Give him a chance to persuade you that he can build a properly fitting bike without direct contact. It's what custom framebuilders do for a living.

    If you ultimately choose to go to a local dealer, then I would recommend you be fitted by TWO SEPARATE fitters i.e., a Seven shop and a Serotta shop. If they numbers vary between the two and I bet they will, then you'll recognize that sizing a bike, especially for tall riders, is more opinion than science. It would be money well spent and should give you pause to think.

  13. #13
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    6'5". Used to ride a 62cm trek madone h2. Now I have a 61cm tarmac sl3. Both bikes fit perfect. 35in inseam, average to shorter than average arms

  14. #14
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    I know Calfee does some interesting things with tall bikes, and I was told that they would have no trouble fitting me.
    Last edited by My Own Private Idaho; 06-11-2013 at 04:03 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kempenfeltkelly
    Thanks to everyone for your comments and support.
    What are the biggest production frames out there? Any 68 guys riding the Trek Madone 5 or 6 series? Is it worth investigating?
    Ill probably have to go custom. The IF Corvid or Ti Crown Jewel look great also Zinn Ti as he specializes in bikes for tall riders, but Im uncomfortable having to buy direct. No door to knock on in case I need support / service.
    Custom bikes in my city are Seven, Serotta, Guru, Parlee and Moots. I want to go either Ti or Carbon Fiber. Any recommendations on best bang for the buck?
    Again, Gunnar are the largest production frames I've run across, and a good deal.

  16. #16
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    Zinn if you can afford it.

    If you are a cheapskate like me, get a custom Ti from Habanero.....that's what I did and I could not be happier....I think their website is www.habcycles.com, tell Mark I said hi.

  17. #17
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    the biggest Treks

    Quote Originally Posted by kempenfeltkelly
    Thanks to everyone for your comments and support.
    What are the biggest production frames out there? Any 68 guys riding the Trek Madone 5 or 6 series? Is it worth investigating?
    Ill probably have to go custom. The IF Corvid or Ti Crown Jewel look great also Zinn Ti as he specializes in bikes for tall riders, but Im uncomfortable having to buy direct. No door to knock on in case I need support / service.
    Custom bikes in my city are Seven, Serotta, Guru, Parlee and Moots. I want to go either Ti or Carbon Fiber. Any recommendations on best bang for the buck?
    are 63s and fit more like 61s, or 62s and fit more like 60s
    I'm sure your local Trek salesman will sell you one with a long seatpost and lots of stack spacers and a flipped stem

    Get the IF or the Seven, but Moots is in CO while those are back east. Which boutique guy is close to you? (driving distance)
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  18. #18
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    I'm 6'4" and can fit the biggest production frames - I'll bet you won't . . .

    Canyon has 66cm production bikes

    Good luck!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kempenfeltkelly
    ...Any recommendations on best bang for the buck?
    With your height a custom bike is probably going to give you great bang for the buck in the sense that you should get a bike that fits you and you will ride more.

    On the other hand bang for the buck from a dollar standpoint is a little tougher as none of these bikes are cheap. In buying a custom bike I think you need to buy the one that talks to you. You are looking at great choices. I am passionate about my custom Serotta.

    Jeff

  20. #20
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    Get the IF or the Seven, but Moots is in CO while those are back east. Which boutique guy is close to you? (driving distance)[/QUOTE]

    Closest custom shops are Guru in Montreal and a relatively new custom shop called Vitess (just heard of them today). But I do have various LBS that can supply Serotta, Seven, and Parlee.

  21. #21
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    curious what you went with ? i'm 6'7" and ride a 64cm madone.......i live in Newmarket.

  22. #22
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    My suggestion...


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gormleyflyer2002 View Post
    curious what you went with ? i'm 6'7" and ride a 64cm madone.......i live in Newmarket.
    I ended up going custom. After searching a number of custom builders I selected a full Ti bike from Spectrum Cycles. As part of the fitting I met with Tom Kellogg (master frame builder) at his shop and the rest is history.

    It's a great ride and am glad I spent the extra dollars for going custom.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kempenfeltkelly View Post
    I ended up going custom. After searching a number of custom builders I selected a full Ti bike from Spectrum Cycles. As part of the fitting I met with Tom Kellogg (master frame builder) at his shop and the rest is history.

    It's a great ride and am glad I spent the extra dollars for going custom.
    An excellent choice. Tom knows an awful lot about designing for tall people, and produces as nice a frame as anyone in the US.

    Pic?
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  25. #25
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    Tom is a great builder and a great person. I have a ti spectrum -62.5cm after 5 degrees of slope. Not as tall as you.

    Jeff







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