lemond, how much do you weigh? if you need to go the retro route buying a new bike in any size just to get parts and selling the frame off is a great option but the problem is many of those bikes have wheels designed for lighter riders. if your 6'6' 215, it's probably not a problem 6'6' 300 then it's a problem. Some of those bikes direct bikes are excellent values you could get a bike with full 105 for around 700 or ultegra for around 1000 and they come with nicely upgraded wheels, if your a lighter rider. That would leave you $500-1000 for a custom frame build which CAN be done. the big name companies charge premiums for custom frames but here in NYC there are smaller time guys putting out great stuff in the $300-$1000 range depending on the kind of tubing selected and how much customizing needs to be done.
If they won't let you do a test ride AND they won't stick you up on a trainer, spend your money with someone who will.
My husband is 6'2", and our brother-in-law is 6'6". My dad is 6' even. My dad typically ends up on a 52 or 54cm... he's got a 34" inseam and a short torso, so he prefers a somewhat smaller bike than you'd expect. My husband rides a 58cm, because his inseam is 32" and while he likes a long top tube the reality is all his riding is urban stuff and emergency stops are an issue. The b-i-l would likely fit on a 60 because like my dad, he's all leg, so he'd ride somewhat smaller than you might expect (hasn't been tested yet, but it's quite unlikely that he needs a 66). Based on torso heights, it's even possible he'd do better on a 58cm.
I'm 6'6", currently 227# but have weighed as much as 270# and still ridden.
When I seriously took up cycling in 1981 I purchased a 27" frame Fiji Royale. I loved FINALLY having a bike that FIT. As I became a stronger rider, I wanted something stiffer. I went with a Cannondale 63cm frameset and a 300mm seatpost. I've pretty much been on them ever since. I love the mid to late '80's race frames and Criterium series bikes. Just add a carbon fork and go!
I have been able to modify Ritchey Zero System hubs to install 8,9,or 10 speed drive trains WITHOUT forcing the rear dropouts apart so that I can use STI shift/brake levers.
I do also ride Leader USA LD717R frames in "65cm" that are maybe a tad larger than the 'Dales. For a "value" frame, it is a nice,stiff ride.
I have a 63cm Giant Team CFR early carbon fiber bike that is a bit flexy, but fast nonetheless.
And, I have just completed my first of 2 Cannondale 27" ST series bikes from the late '80's. I'll be happy pedaling many miles and hours on that one!
OK. Maybe $1.02
Here's a nice big frame for you: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/2299956428.html
OP, you're starting to sound like a bit of a time waster. I'm 6' 5 1/2" and have a couple friends at 6' 6" and 6' 7". We ride extemely different set ups due to our differences in limb lengths versus our torso lengths. Give the crowd hear what they're asking for with regard to your dimensions, inseam, arm length, torso etc. What bikes you've tried,.....and riden. And chances are, if you invest a little of your time instend of asking to be hand fed answeres, you'll get some extremely useful feedback.
With regards "american" mass produced and large sizes. Cannondale is your best bet and there's nothign wrong with the Caad3. I own a Caad 4 in 63cm and with a long seat post and 140mm stem, flipped up, it works pretty well for me. They continued doing a once a year run of 65cm frames in Caad 5 up until they sent alu production offshore. I don't know that they're still doing that. Additionally, while I've been on the Caad4 since 2002, I've known of a couple of big guys that cracked Caad5's. I suspect that with regard to 63cm and larger frames the 5 might have been just a tinsy winsy bit too light for heavy use. So, a Caad3 or 4 would probably be about as good a frame as you're going to find for large sizes and frequent riding.
With regard to finished bike versus just frame: Are you nuts? If Cannondale offers you a frame without their build kit, take it. I had to fight tooth and nail to get "just a frame" and then had to pay the bike shop to assemble my build kit onto it. Because Cannondale wouldn't allow them to sell incomplete bikes. Standard build kits, almost always contain compromises based on meeting price points and/or increasing profits. Where spec'ing your own means you get exactly what you want and need. In your case, that's going to include the ability to spec 180 cranks, a long stem, thomson seat post, wheels, etc.
Pull your head out. If you're inexperienced and don't already know exactly what you want, get on a fitting cycle and figure it out. Chances are pretty good that a 62 or 63 could work for you. If you're particularly long of limb and they won't work, go for a 65 or the 66 Cannondale, put exactly the components on it you want and ride off happy.
I was on a trainer the other day, and test rode a 62cm the other day @ a local shop here, and it didnt fit. My inseam is 39". I will get a good fitting, then go from there. Thanks for all of your help.
1) Look for an older frame, mid to late 1970's in a large size a 25"(64cm) would do. As long as it isn't French (or Raleigh) you can upgrade a lot of the pieces to modern components without needing to worry about frame/component not matching up.
2) Get a custom frame done up.
Just sold a Giant Defy 2 - XL because it was too big for me. I have a 36" inseam and rode with the seat post at the bottom of it's range. It will fit. A nice bike for retail $1130 http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/....2/7307/44048/.
Check framesets, add $200 if one of their stock sizes don't fit, but I'm fairly sure their largest size is aimed at 6'5-6'6" folks.
I'm 6'8" and they put together an Adventurer for me that I've been beyond happy with.
Coupled with custom cranks from HSCycle (they make Zinn's special sized cranks, but sell them for less) and I'm very happy.
Or, a Ridley Icarus SLT in 62 c-c/66c-t with a c-c tup tube of 59. That might work.
Don't forget the_top_tube.
Of course there is ride-able and properly fitting, depends on what someone is looking for.................
Rode with a tall guy this winter that had a stock Crack-N-fail with a custom 180mm stem. Ride-able, not 'fit'.
To the OP, try going here click on fit system, put in the measurements they ask for, see what size they come up with.... They are a custom builder so they don't need to sell you something that would not be large enough.... Guy at a bike shop told me about that site, and that the sizing was pretty accurate...
C-N-F....it's an old joke.
Don't forget that Zinn don't only build Titanium - they've got cheaper models in Magnesium and Steel as well. $2400 for a custom built Stelvio frame - it's not bad.
I have a Zinn - so I'm a bit biased - but...
Have a look at the design philosophies of the Zinn bike for Tall riders - it's fairly unique...
The frames are designed around proportional length cranks. This is a bigger statement than it seems and It's made me a way way way better cyclist (I race a lot - and it's helped hugely there - but even if you don't race - if you want to climb better, acellerate better then have a serious look at Zinn's proportional length cranks - and frames designed to accomodate them)
The front end geometry is different from most other frame builders. Have a look at the geometry charts of most bike manufacturers - as the bikes get bigger the headtube angles get steeper - seemingly to keep the wheelbase short. This usually means that the handling isn't that great and with a big frame there is always the risk of high speed shimmy. The project bike bikes at Zinn have a relaxed head tube angle - so you get more trail and hence better handling... A big plus.
Plus specially strengthened forks designed for Zinn by Alpha Q.
I can't say enough about these bikes...
And I'd agree that just because you can fit a bike - that means that it's right. Having a custom built bike has opened my eyes to that...
Good luck with your search.
PS I'm 198cm and 123kg
What's up dudes, I have been lurking these forums for awhile and this thread inspired me to register :)
I just got into road biking this year and I am the same height as you OP. I bought a 64cm Trek 1.5. It's only $1149 so it's in your price range. Doesn't hurt that the matte black is a nice color.
The real fun is finding some shoes in size 16, took my LBS forever to track down a pair but they gave me a great deal on some Sidi Genius 5s.
Mother eBay comes thru again! I won a 66cm Cannondale CAD3 frame for $145.00 shipped !
Good shape, but does need to be refinished.
As I already have a fork, I'll be good to go when I decide on refinishing.
NOW- what in the heck do I do with all my 63cm bikes/frames???