Framebuilders - Chosing A High End Frame For A Tall Guy - Need Help!
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I am 6'4", 265 lbs - football player size - I am having trouble getting a frame. Hope someone can provide some professional viewpoints!
I loved riding the Colnago Master X-Light (steel frame) over all others I test rode including titanium. (Ti has too much flex) I was told 64cm is my size with a 59.7 top tube & 180mm crank arm. Yet, Leonard Zinn who specializes in tall guy custom bikes says I need a 62.5 top tube and 190cm crank arm. Another dealer says I need 6.0 top tube and 65cm frame (for Master X-light)
I have experienced heavy bike vibration going down hills at 40 MPH on earlier steel framed bike which Zinn says his frames handle.
Height: 6'4" (76")
Inseam: 35 1/8"
Floor to Sternum: 62"
Arm Length: 24 3/4"
Torso: 26 3/8"
Shoe: 13 USA size or 47/48 Euro size.
Very good flexibility.
There are many salesman out there with conflicting advice! It is difficult to know what is right until you test ride it and that is almost impossible due to the limited availability of frames in my size.
Can anyone please take a couple of minutes and shed some light on this matter?
05-16-08, 12:55 AM
I'm probably not as knowledgeable about frames as you are but I bought a Zinn Magnesium road bike and have ridden it down hills at 70+ kilometers an hour with no vibration, Zinn's bikes are good. As with most things custom though, be prepared to have to iron out a bug or two. BTW I am 6'8" so if I'm happy with the bike, you'll be happy with yours.
I’m 6’6” 250 lbs and I did play D-1 football so I can relate to your issues. I had a Pinarello F4:13 and could not get comfortable on it, it was a 59cm. I have a Colnago Master B (almost the same as the x-light) in a 60 cm. It feels fine and I like the feel of the steel and carbon combination better than the all carbon. The Pinarello had a lot of flex and when I powered out of a corner it would go dead.
I now have three frames on order, a Pegoretti, Big Leg Emma. Dario measured me himself and said it would be a 61.5 cm. A Tommasini Techno, they measured me out at a 61.5 or 62. and a Brain Baylis, that is still two years away so we have not done the measurements yet. All are custom frame and geometry so I can get it just right. If you are looking for an off the shelf ride you may have trouble getting what you want in the size and color of your choice. Going custom may be the best option and I have found that it is about the same amount of money and you will get exactly what you are looking for.
Google North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2008 and click on the exhibitor link. There are 180 or so builders listed with all types of styles and choices for you to consider. Some have short wait times and others have years. One builder that had some nice work with not a lot of wait time was Cicli Polito. At the show, he had some nice frames and his wait times were not crazy long. Another builder here in Texas is Moyer. Beautiful work but I do not know if he is taking orders right now. Townsend had some nice stuff and so did Sam from Naked cycles. Seriously look at all of them you I guarantee you can find more choices that you ever imagined.
Good luck and let us know what you choose.
Hi Annamosity, Thanks for your input. That is awesome you can do 70 kilometers with no front end wobble! I see it is possible now. All the best, John
Hi Ripa, Good advice on the custom route! I see there are a ton of these guys. I will be looking into this now. Thanks v. much. All the best, John
05-28-08, 10:02 AM
I am 6' 5", down from 275lbs to 260lbs, and facing a similar situation, so I thought I would add to the post in hopes it will help the OP and others. I have been researching a new bike for about 2 years, have finally decided I need to go custom to get something to fit, and am hoping the group can also help me with a couple of questions. My measurements are:
Lower Leg 24.25”
Sternal Notch 64.375”
My riding style is more toward longer fitness rides (30-60 miles) with hopes of doing some centuries this year. I am 53 and focused on losing weight, fitness, and enjoying the rides. So, I have been focusing on sport touring style bikes. After not finding anything off the rack that would fit, I looked at the Indy Club Racer, Seven Axiom Steel, and Co-motion Norwester. I am leaning toward the Norwester, as it seems popular as a light touring bike and Randoneur (sp?) bike, and they have a reputation for building reliable bikes. I spoke with Co-motion and they recommended the Norwester tour for my weight range, as it has heavier components. The one thing we were not able to resolve on the phone was a sturdy back wheel. I apparently pound bikes pretty hard, and have broken a number of spokes, even with custom built wheels (36 sp). My current ride is a 1984 Cannondale sport touring bike in a 27" (68cm) frame. With the older 27" wheels, I am limited as to what rims I can use. Bike has been totally rebuilt with 105 components, and I love the bike, but it is time for something new. Questions:
1. What suggestions would the group have on a sturdy road wheel for a 28 - 32mm tire that could handle up to 275-300lbs (me, gear, etc.). I would hate to invest in a custom bike only to end up breaking spokes or constantly having to retrue the wheel. Co-Motion builds a 40 spoke symmetric tandem wheel on their Americano touring bike. Should I be looking at something like this or will this wheel feel slow and sluggish? Other options?
2. Are cantilever brakes needed or will dual caliper brakes handle my weight range? I really prefer Brifters and don't ever see myself doing fully loaded touring, just CC touring where I would carry about 15-20lbs of stuff with me.
Thanks, and sorry for the longish post.
06-01-08, 07:43 AM
I'm 6ft 4ins, 220lbs myself. I'll say in advance I run a custom bike design company so take my words as tainted or otherwise as you like, but to be frank in hindsight I spent most of my life on bikes that didn't fit well and/or handled like rubbish.
I can't say I've looked really at what's available off-the-shelf recently for us big-ish guys, so there's probably adequate bikes out there nowadays, but after getting a custom bike, and then starting a custom company, I really don't care! I'll never go back.
Anyway, enough of the sales pitch.
jreed : You're the same size as me, but with shorter legs and you're obviously carrying more muscle than I am! If you ahve good flexibility, I'd put you on a 605mm top tube, 73/71.5 angles, nice proper 420mm chainstays. Frame tubes I'd gauge up to take care of your extra weight/leverage, so no issues there.
Bobjtz1 : Again, no real issues here. I'd go probably with MTB rear spacing (or maybe 150mm, but that might be overkill), straight guage spokes, and one of the beefier trekking rims. I wouldn't dismiss something like the Avid cable mechanical disc brakes, either.
Hope that helps!
For the kind of riding you describe lots of spoke breakage would normally lead one to consider:
- Violent riding style out of character with intended use of equipment. If you are regularly riding over parked cars or, jumping off curbs to the sound of pinging spokes, then you may be abusing your bike. I am in no way suggesting this is the case. Often big guys are easier on their bikes (I'm big myself) for the same sort of reasons one doesn't always see big guys doing one arm pull-ups or head spins on the dance floor. But once we know the bike is being used as intended we can reduce the spoke breakage to:
- bad component mix, this speaks to quality as well as fit issues that can cause decent components to work badly together. Find a good quality shop that regularly builds serious touring type wheels and has a recipe, and stick to that. My local shop pushes a cheap recipe of Alex DH22 rims, straight gage spokes and LX 36 hole hubs. It's bomber as they build it and reasonably light. I'm not saying that is THE recipe, but I know the number of long distance tourists that go through that shop, and they aren't getitng complaints on those wheels. The other thing I do is tell them the use I have in mind and tell them the wheel better be good for it, I want their personal guarantee they didn't think it was a shoping bike they were building when they torqued it down. When I bought the DH22 wheels I was willing to pay for Phil Wood hubs (that they had in stock) and whatever the new super rim was. But they really pushed the cheap downhill rim.
Wheel should be bomproof forever doesn't have to be high end or goofy format. Some of the these goofy bomber wheels, are useful for extreme use, but unless you are on a world tour, or just want that vibe, there isn't much reason to go to tandem specs at your weight, unloaded. However you are at the threshold and can choose to go that way. Be aware what the components are really for. Like the wider hubs aren't really stronger they mostly provide the extra width required to mount a drum drag brake. So getting some wild set-up using a wide rear axel and then sticking to regular brakes might not really get you anything much.
- Bad assembly quality. This can be bad mechanic; mechanic who doesn't often build your type of wheel; machine built wheel (not always bad, but sometimes there are component compromises, and it would benefit from hand checks). I have built the odd wheel, and never had any problems. I don't really believe there is that much to it as long as you read up on components that can take maximum spoke tension, and learn the signs that you have reached it. Unfortunately it isn't a completely static field and compenents that were available go out of production and one has to track down the new normal.
06-08-08, 10:06 PM
Peterpan1, Thylacine, thanks for the input. I don't think I ride violently (well paved roads, paved bike trails, etc.) so maybe it is a build issue. I took the wheel back and they retensioned it. I am trying it out now (<100mi) - so far it seems ok. My previous wheels could not be kept true, which is what led to the new wheels. Also, I appreciate the thoughts on the 145mm tandem wheel item. It seems to make sense that a dishless wheel would be stronger, but I am no wheel builder. The thing I keep wondering is that at 260lbs, is my weight equivalent to a typical rider with a full touring load? I am basically looking for a century / long distance bike, but if I want to carry anything with me, it looks like a strong touring bike may be the best option for me - yes?
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