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  1. #1
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    Giganto stem and handlebars inquiry for 6'8" guy

    Hello again, all--

    I recently got my hands on a nice 63cm Cannondale CAAD8. I went this route because I'm down over 100 pounds to about 330-ish, and thought it would be fun to use my newfound bike fitness on something slightly faster than what I had; it's time to leave the trusty ol' Rans Stratus in the garage for a while. The CAAD8 is all fine and dandy, except I suspect the stem and the handlebars could be changed to better fit my body.

    You see, I'm 6'8", but only have a 93cm (36.6") inseam, i.e., I'm mostly torso. My arms are about 38" long; not monkey long, but still pretty long. So, I suspect I'll probably want to use a 150mm stem (stock on this is 110mm, I think). Do they even make those anywhere anymore? Also, I have very wide shoulders (31" straight along my back from humeral head to humeral head), so the 42cm handlebars that come with it could stand to be much, much wider, right? What are the widest handlebars out there?

    Any help is welcome. Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    6'8" here too. I've been using a Nitto Noodle 48cm bar. Ramps are flat, good for even weight on the hands, bend radius is wide giving more hood placement options, and the hook is wide enough to be comfortable for large hands.
    You'd measure the distance between both Acromions' for bar width, but that's only a starting point. Mine measures ~48cm, and a 48cm bar feels a little too wide.
    You've got a bike, so you gotta move.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by boss_hogg01 View Post
    Hello again, all--

    I recently got my hands on a nice 63cm Cannondale CAAD8. I went this route because I'm down over 100 pounds to about 330-ish, and thought it would be fun to use my newfound bike fitness on something slightly faster than what I had; it's time to leave the trusty ol' Rans Stratus in the garage for a while. The CAAD8 is all fine and dandy, except I suspect the stem and the handlebars could be changed to better fit my body.

    You see, I'm 6'8", but only have a 93cm (36.6") inseam, i.e., I'm mostly torso. My arms are about 38" long; not monkey long, but still pretty long. So, I suspect I'll probably want to use a 150mm stem (stock on this is 110mm, I think). Do they even make those anywhere anymore? Also, I have very wide shoulders (31" straight along my back from humeral head to humeral head), so the 42cm handlebars that come with it could stand to be much, much wider, right? What are the widest handlebars out there?

    Any help is welcome. Thanks so much!

    Short version:

    The CAAD8 63cm Cannondale is too small for you. I'm 6'7" and have a 63cm Cannondale and its way too small...

    I have a 27" or 68.5cm Cannondale touring bike that Cannondale no longer makes that I had shipped from CA off Craigslist, and the difference between the frame that fits and the little 63cm is night and day.

    You can get a special order CAAD5 66cm frame for around $500. Any Cannondale shop or REI that carries Cannondales can order it for you with a wait time of around 4-6 weeks. They stopped making the 66cm special order frame after the CAAD5 because the later renditions weren't stiff enough or strong enough to support the larger frame. Something to think about being around 330lb on a CAAD8. Aluminum has a finite fatigue cycle after which it pretty much fails catastrophically. Its almost unheard of for a cyclist to have that happen on an aluminum frame, but a big powerful 6'8" 330lb cyclists on a CAAD8 is exactly the scenario where it might occur. You definitely don't want your bottom bracket to drop out three feet away from passing cars...

    As for a wider bar check out the WTB mountain drop bar. It won't have any of the problems that a lighter road race bar would have with your power and size (breaking in a sprint) as its a very beefy bar. Its very wide at 60cm in the drops, which flare out randonneur style. Very comfortable for Clydesdales.

    I think you're going to struggle to build that 63cm C'dale "up". You're just not going to be able to get the handlebars up to the propre proportional height relative to your saddle without some goofy stem. I'd definitely look at acquiring a vintage C'dale touring 27" frame/bike or the 66cm special order frame.

    If you're married to the 63cm bike Kelly can make you a custom stem.

    http://www.kellybike.com/2nd_xtra_stems.html

    Also look into getting proportional sized cranks. With the little 175mm or 180mm clown cranks that the little people use you are subjecting your knees to incredible sheer forces on the climbs.

    Zinn makes some custom cranks in square taper and integrated styles up to 220mm. I'm shorter than you but have a longer cycling inseam and I use the Zinn triple square taper crank with 205mm crank arms.

    http://www.zinncycles.com/side-cranks.php

    Custom Cranks also will make a nice square taper crank and cheaper yet:

    http://www.customcranks.de/en/

    Congrats on the weight loss!

  4. #4
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    I love it when you ask a question and get the answer to an entirely different, un-asked question. All forums are the same, I guess. Alors, I guess I should further explain myself.

    Short version: I own the 63cm and I dispute your frame size assertion.

    I've been measured and fitted with hand calculations, computer Fit programs, and those variations on body scanning. I'm telling you, I have a gigantic torso and short legs. This is why I looked at getting a Co-Motion Americano or Mazama made; because the top tube (or stem, if extended) needs to be so long for me. The problem with the 66cm is the humongous standover. I rode the 63cm today for a short 20 mile jaunt around Iowa City, and I could barely stand over it. 2 Months ago I tried my friend's 64cm Trek Madone, and found the top tube jammed way up in my crack when standing over it. I can't imagine what a 66cm or 68.5cm bike would be like. I wouldn't be surprised if my inseam was actually more like 36" flat after riding today. It's either custom bike construction or fitting a 63cm, and for now, as I'm not a multi-millionaire (I should have specified that in my first post.... woops), I plan on fitting the 63cm to me. Plus, this bike is all dura ace, and was incredibly cheap.

    Good call on the cranks. Zimms would double the total cost of my bike, though. Nuts...


    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Short version:

    The CAAD8 63cm Cannondale is too small for you. I'm 6'7" and have a 63cm Cannondale and its way too small...

    I have a 27" or 68.5cm Cannondale touring bike that Cannondale no longer makes that I had shipped from CA off Craigslist, and the difference between the frame that fits and the little 63cm is night and day.

    You can get a special order CAAD5 66cm frame for around $500. Any Cannondale shop or REI that carries Cannondales can order it for you with a wait time of around 4-6 weeks. They stopped making the 66cm special order frame after the CAAD5 because the later renditions weren't stiff enough or strong enough to support the larger frame. Something to think about being around 330lb on a CAAD8. Aluminum has a finite fatigue cycle after which it pretty much fails catastrophically. Its almost unheard of for a cyclist to have that happen on an aluminum frame, but a big powerful 6'8" 330lb cyclists on a CAAD8 is exactly the scenario where it might occur. You definitely don't want your bottom bracket to drop out three feet away from passing cars...

    As for a wider bar check out the WTB mountain drop bar. It won't have any of the problems that a lighter road race bar would have with your power and size (breaking in a sprint) as its a very beefy bar. Its very wide at 60cm in the drops, which flare out randonneur style. Very comfortable for Clydesdales.

    I think you're going to struggle to build that 63cm C'dale "up". You're just not going to be able to get the handlebars up to the propre proportional height relative to your saddle without some goofy stem. I'd definitely look at acquiring a vintage C'dale touring 27" frame/bike or the 66cm special order frame.

    If you're married to the 63cm bike Kelly can make you a custom stem.

    http://www.kellybike.com/2nd_xtra_stems.html

    Also look into getting proportional sized cranks. With the little 175mm or 180mm clown cranks that the little people use you are subjecting your knees to incredible sheer forces on the climbs.

    Zinn makes some custom cranks in square taper and integrated styles up to 220mm. I'm shorter than you but have a longer cycling inseam and I use the Zinn triple square taper crank with 205mm crank arms.

    http://www.zinncycles.com/side-cranks.php

    Custom Cranks also will make a nice square taper crank and cheaper yet:

    http://www.customcranks.de/en/

    Congrats on the weight loss!
    Last edited by boss_hogg01; 11-28-09 at 11:04 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
    6'8" here too. I've been using a Nitto Noodle 48cm bar. Ramps are flat, good for even weight on the hands, bend radius is wide giving more hood placement options, and the hook is wide enough to be comfortable for large hands.
    You'd measure the distance between both Acromions' for bar width, but that's only a starting point. Mine measures ~48cm, and a 48cm bar feels a little too wide.
    6'4" here, but with a 37-inch sleeve. If I were shopping right now, I'd buy the Noodle bars as wide as i could get them--I have a set in 44 on my Rambouillet, and i'd like a little more width. With two kids in college, I just can't afford to replace right now.
    There are wider ones out there, though. A couple of years ago I noticed some 50cm bars dirt cheap at Nashbar ($18.95, I think), and I ordered a pair just to try them on my singlespeed. i liked them so much I put them on my Atlantis and tried to order another set for the SS, but they were gone. i settled for 48s, and i love them. Don't know the brand (they have a Nasbar label), but both the 48 and 50 feel just about right.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by boss_hogg01 View Post
    I love it when you ask a question and get the answer to an entirely different, un-asked question. All forums are the same, I guess. Alors, I guess I should further explain myself.

    Short version: I own the 63cm and I dispute your frame size assertion.

    I've been measured and fitted with hand calculations, computer Fit programs, and those variations on body scanning. I'm telling you, I have a gigantic torso and short legs. This is why I looked at getting a Co-Motion Americano or Mazama made; because the top tube (or stem, if extended) needs to be so long for me. The problem with the 66cm is the humongous standover. I rode the 63cm today for a short 20 mile jaunt around Iowa City, and I could barely stand over it. 2 Months ago I tried my friend's 64cm Trek Madone, and found the top tube jammed way up in my crack when standing over it.
    Okay from your answers here its pretty clear that you've been ill informed in terms of bicycle fit. First of all things like the Fit Kit are nothing more than a very small sample of data taken from some cyclists and racers, with an attempt to identify the mean as an approximation of fit. The less aggressive numbers are just adjustments outward with no real methodology. Secondly, any approximations of fit, either from some silly little bit of code on the internet, to full blown fit software is essentially useless outside the normal range of data (and an argument could be made that they are equally "useful" within the 25th to 75th percentiles). There are very few true bicycle fit professionals in cycling, and sadly even the ones that have had the most training like Serotta Fit Specialists have a horrid understanding of "fit" for cyclists outside the norm. You'd be shocked to learn about many people that have ordered super hi-zoot Serotta bikes only to discover that the dimensions and geometry of their custom bike was completely normalized to better fit some arbitrary notion of "fit" even after the Fit Specialist spent hours looking and measuring every aspect of the cyclist's physical person. By no means should you read this as a criticism of Serotta and the bikes they make, but rather just how poorly understood bicycle fit is even by people whose very profession and expertise (supposedly) is bicycle fitting.

    I suggest you spend some time reading about bicycle fit from people who definitely know a thing or two about it, and who are not trying to conform to some preconceived notion of what a road bike should "look" like:

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...izing_position

    Definitely check out this discussion of Pubic Bone Height and the corresponding chart to frame size:

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...g_a_frame_size

    By all means determine your PBH and post it here if you want.

    Stand over clearance is about the last thing that matters in terms of sizing a frame. If you can stand over the top tube without it striking your Pubic Bone, the bike is NOT too big. You are NOT looking for 'comfortable' stand over clearance by any means, you are looking for a comfortable bike to ride. You'll spend hundreds of hours in the saddle and on the bike compared to mere minutes 'standing over' the bike. Think about that...

    Sometimes people in life will try to give you information, if that doesn't validate something you need to believe about yourself, instead of replying in some snarky manner, perhaps you should reevaluate what it is that you so desperately need to believe about yourself...and then think about why they made the decision to give you the information in the first place. More times than not it will be because you demonstrated that you clearly did not understand something relevant to what you were discussing, and that you made that abundantly clear. So instead of getting your feathers all ruffled, develop some healthy sense of self, don't take every anonymous interaction to some inappropriate nth degree, and for goodness sake don't ask for help, and then criticize the manner in which people attempt to help you. The nature of the help you think you need, and that which is evident to others that you do need, may not always reconcile per your expectations.

    As for a Trek Madone, unless its an older one (2005 or 2006), I think Madone's are compact geometry with a sloping top tube. To asset that you were 'uncomfortable' in terms of standover on a virtual 64cm would be a little absurd as that would be a 57cm to 59cm c-c bike depending on the geometry.

    Again, I think if you continue with your current assumptions regarding bike fit I'm afraid you're going to find that you'll spend 99% of your time on the hoods (instead of in the drops) because you won't have a choice on a too small frame, unless you put some ridiculous high-rise Technomics stem on the bike.

    As for the high price of Zinn cranks, check out the Custom Cranks link for the guy in Germany. His cranks are actually cheaper than almost anything new today (SRAM, Campy, Shimano, etc.) and without knowing your PBH, I'd be shocked if you weren't better off on something at LEAST 192.5mm (and that's using Zinn's conservative .206 figure, not the .210 directly proportional one).

    At any rate good luck with your new bike, bars, and in your life.
    Last edited by mtnbke; 11-29-09 at 01:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    If you spend a lot of time in the drops, check out the Salsa Moto-Ace Bell Lap bars. They're a CX bar, so they have a reasonably wide flare to the hooks. I'm 6'6" with wide shoulders, and I ride a pair of 46cm M-A Bell Laps on both my road bikes. The c-c measurement is 46cm at the hoods, 50cm at the ergo section of the hooks, and 52cm at the ends.
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  8. #8
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    I'll add a +100 to the 48cm Noodles. I've had 45cm generic drops that came with my LHT, 44cm Nitto Randos and the Noodles. I'll never use another bar except the Noodle, they're amazingly comfortable. I'm 6 2 with WIDE shoulders, I'll never ride anything else, the Noodles have cleared up more minor aches than I even knew I had.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Boss, if you've been fitted and you are comfortable with the fit you should stick with it. There is no way anyone is going to fit you properly over the internet. Especially since your measurements are so far outside the norm. The stem you are looking for is awfully long. Remember that the type of bars you buy will affect what length stem you get. You may be able to get a deeper reach drop bar and get a slightly shorter stem.
    Last edited by Homeyba; 11-29-09 at 01:09 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Okay from your answers here its pretty clear that you've been ill informed in terms of bicycle fit. First of all things like the Fit Kit are nothing more than a very small sample of data taken from some cyclists and racers, with an attempt to identify the mean as an approximation of fit. The less aggressive numbers are just adjustments outward with no real methodology. Secondly, any approximations of fit, either from some silly little bit of code on the internet, to full blown fit software is essentially useless outside the normal range of data (and an argument could be made that they are equally "useful" within the 25th to 75th percentiles). There are very few true bicycle fit professionals in cycling, and sadly even the ones that have had the most training like Serotta Fit Specialists have a horrid understanding of "fit" for cyclists outside the norm. You'd be shocked to learn about many people that have ordered super hi-zoot Serotta bikes only to discover that the dimensions and geometry of their custom bike was completely normalized to better fit some arbitrary notion of "fit" even after the Fit Specialist spent hours looking and measuring every aspect of the cyclist's physical person. By no means should you read this as a criticism of Serotta and the bikes they make, but rather just how poorly understood bicycle fit is even by people whose very profession and expertise (supposedly) is bicycle fitting.

    I suggest you spend some time reading about bicycle fit from people who definitely know a thing or two about it, and who are not trying to conform to some preconceived notion of what a road bike should "look" like:

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...izing_position

    Definitely check out this discussion of Pubic Bone Height and the corresponding chart to frame size:

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...g_a_frame_size

    By all means determine your PBH and post it here if you want.

    Stand over clearance is about the last thing that matters in terms of sizing a frame. If you can stand over the top tube without it striking your Pubic Bone, the bike is NOT too big. You are NOT looking for 'comfortable' stand over clearance by any means, you are looking for a comfortable bike to ride. You'll spend hundreds of hours in the saddle and on the bike compared to mere minutes 'standing over' the bike. Think about that...

    Sometimes people in life will try to give you information, if that doesn't validate something you need to believe about yourself, instead of replying in some snarky manner, perhaps you should reevaluate what it is that you so desperately need to believe about yourself...and then think about why they made the decision to give you the information in the first place. More times than not it will be because you demonstrated that you clearly did not understand something relevant to what you were discussing, and that you made that abundantly clear. So instead of getting your feathers all ruffled, develop some healthy sense of self, don't take every anonymous interaction to some inappropriate nth degree, and for goodness sake don't ask for help, and then criticize the manner in which people attempt to help you. The nature of the help you think you need, and that which is evident to others that you do need, may not always reconcile per your expectations.

    As for a Trek Madone, unless its an older one (2005 or 2006), I think Madone's are compact geometry with a sloping top tube. To asset that you were 'uncomfortable' in terms of standover on a virtual 64cm would be a little absurd as that would be a 57cm to 59cm c-c bike depending on the geometry.

    Again, I think if you continue with your current assumptions regarding bike fit I'm afraid you're going to find that you'll spend 99% of your time on the hoods (instead of in the drops) because you won't have a choice on a too small frame, unless you put some ridiculous high-rise Technomics stem on the bike.

    As for the high price of Zinn cranks, check out the Custom Cranks link for the guy in Germany. His cranks are actually cheaper than almost anything new today (SRAM, Campy, Shimano, etc.) and without knowing your PBH, I'd be shocked if you weren't better off on something at LEAST 192.5mm (and that's using Zinn's conservative .206 figure, not the .210 directly proportional one).

    At any rate good luck with your new bike, bars, and in your life.
    1+

    Bike fit ain't all numbers IMO.

    But, I guess what someone is doing on a bike is a factor in the "fit" they can live with.

    FYI: I'm an inch taller then the OP, have a one inch longer inseam and I'm currently riding a 72cm Spectrum. I would be terrified riding a 63cm frame with the amount of seat post you'd have to show and I weigh 80# less then the OP.

    FWIW: I know of a couple 72cm bikes for sale if the OP is interested. [not mine]
    Last edited by Go dog Go; 11-29-09 at 07:32 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Go dog Go View Post
    FYI: I'm an inch taller then the OP, have a one inch longer inseam and I'm currently riding a 72cm Spectrum. I would be terrified riding a 63cm frame with the amount of seat post you'd have to show and I weigh 80# less then the OP.

    FWIW: I know of a couple 72cm bikes for sale if the OP is interested. [not mine]
    Yeah, I'm an inch shorter than the OP and I ride a 27" or 68.5cm Cannondale that is 73cm to the top of the seat collar. I actually own a 63cm Cannondale 3.0 series road frame that is 66cm to the top of the seat collar and it isn't an appropriate frame for anyone over 6'2" really. There is a reason that so many bikes used to be made in 68cm, 69cm, 70cm, and 72cm frame sizes which you can find on Craigslist commonly.

    My 63cm Cannondale is at least 8cm too small for me. That's more than the difference between a 63cm and a 55cm, just for comparison's sake. I've never heard of someone in the height range of needing a 63cm (about 6'1" to 6'2") trying to fit themselves on a 55cm and building it up...well not before compact geometry anyway...

    As an aside I bought a Giant OCR1 in the XL frame size when compact geometry first came out and they claimed the bike would bit someone up to 6'7" and fit like a virtual 67cm bike. It didn't fit any better than my 63cm Cannondale, although the compact geometry did help it to look not so ridiculous even though it was was effectively smaller (57cm c-c). Giant since revised the fit guidelines and now only claim fit for someone up to 6'4 and as a 63cm virtual bike.

    Specialized makes some bigger bikes in compact geometry for the 2010 year.

  12. #12
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    Maybe I'm miscalculating something:
    A couple people have suggested frame size of 68.5 (c-c)
    and crank length of 190mm
    Add the height of a seatrail clamp with the post slammed all the way in, and the height of a saddle, and you're looking at another ~50mm

    So that's a minimum 36.4" extension (saddle to pedal) for a guy with a 36.6" inseam? Yowch.

    I'm willing to agree with a size closer to what his fitters fixed him up with, based solely on the fact that they worked with him in person rather than trying to diagnose his fit situation based on a half dozen stats in a web post. I'm 6'6" with goofy long gorilla arms, and my 2 road bikes are 62cm and 64cm (c-c). There's about 4.5" (115mm) of post showing on the 62cm, and less on the 64cm. I do use a positive rise stem to get my bars up to a comforable height; a Profile Aris +25, 100mm. Combined with the extension to the hoods, this is a comfortable riding position for the type of saddle time I'm putting in on long rides (sometimes 20+ hours), without being uncomfortable in the drops for long periods. Some of us big guys can actually ride a shorter frame with just some minor accessory tweaks.
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  13. #13
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    I think the bike will be comfortable with 185 cranks and 130 mm riser stem

  14. #14
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    So that's a minimum 36.4" extension (saddle to pedal) for a guy with a 36.6" inseam? Yowch.
    Doesn't work out that way. You don't pedal with a rigid ankle.

    What's 36.6? "inseam" or PB?

    I'm 98mm [38.5"] hard to my PB but it measures 110mm [43.5"] from my seat to the top of pedal while in the 6:00 position.

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