How To Find Bikes for Tall People

Chris Schroeder is tall. Very tall. And he’s looking for a bike that fits to help him navigate the hills of San Francisco.

Written by:

Finding the right bike is exciting. The world is your oyster but first you have to decide what kind of bike is right for you. Do you need a sturdy touring frame, light road bike, svelte single speed, or a casual cruiser? Not since your “experimental” phase in college have you felt so free to define who you are. This bike is going to change your life and you know it. Well, that is unless you are tall. Very, very tall. In that case, with a snap, the oyster closes and you hear yourself asking your bike mechanic: “Which of these bikes are available in a 62 cm frame and how long will it take to special order it? Oh. Only in brown? Ok fine.” Your choices are limited, you’re tall and you need a bike.

I live in San Francisco, CA and my bike of choice for the past two years has been a Fuji Feather. It’s amazing, light and fast. But it’s not that great for long rides. I’m 6’6” with a 37-inch inseam and a regularif-not-short torso. Help! I need a versatile road bike that will take me on the occasional long ride. To see what options exist, I stopped by American Cyclery where they built up a beautiful 62 cm Raleigh Clubman for me to test. The question remains: Is this the right bike for me?

Over the next several months I’ll be reviewing several bikes trying to find suitable options for people with a 37-inch inseam like mine.

Find my first reviews and tips here:

Review of The Raleigh Clubman
How to Choose the Right Handlebars
Soma ES Bike Review
How to Get Custom Fit for a Bike
Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen Review
Raleigh Clubman Review


Chris Schroeder is the director of sales and marketing for Rickshaw Bagworks. He has lived in the Bay Area for 13 years and developed a passion for bikes, plants, coffee, print design, and bags – and spends time working with organizations that foster community development like PaperGirl SF, the SFGMC, and SFMade. @ReallyTallChris rickshawbags.com

10 Comments

  • Nina the bicycling Midwife

    I am 4′ 10″, so at the other end of the spectrum. Finding serious bikes that fit is a challenge. I have had dealers try to push me to buy a too big bike rather than do the work of ordering the right size (if it even exists). My road bike is a flat bar with 26 inch wheels. Cannondale stopped making this size. If I decide to move up to a higher end bike I will probably need to go custom. Fisher does make a carbon frame road bike with a 26 inch wheel and adult components. My daughter has one.

  • Big Dave

    I am 6’8″ and have two great fitting bikes. A steel touring custom made frame ( about 28″ Frame size) manufactured by Argos ( frame builder in Bristol , UK) and a speedier Trek Madone 64cm Carbon bike. It did prove a little tricky to track down a 64cm Trek in stock anywhere in Europe but well worth the hunt.

  • Tall Sam

    I’m 6’7″ and have written about the 747 and long cranks, and used both, at http://talladaptations.com
    It is fantastic companies are starting to realize there is a real market for the 1 percentile, the tall people

  • jheri

    I’m 1.90m and live in København. A variety of tall bikes are available here with frames up to 70cm, but most are the Dutch city bike style. I have a men’s Batavus that fits well enough, but it is a real tank of a bike. For my fun bike I had a custom frame made to my measurements. It was expensive, but is perfect.

    A friend of mine is 2.00m and lives in the US. She is mostly leg with an inseam of 1.02m and the only way to go was a custom frame. She couldn’t afford it, but a kind company built one for her recognizing her work with kids.

  • Joel

    “After all, we all use the same staircases, whether we have long or short legs…” Yeah, but I usually take them two at a time.

    I’m only 6’4″ but all legs. I test drove the 747 today (only a short bike store ride thru a flat neighborhood), and apart from the reach being too long it did feel “normal!”

  • JB

    I have a 68cm Rivendell Bombadil. It is great but vey expensive. I put Zinn cranks on 195 mm. I love the feel of long cranks. It feels like riding a bicycle instead of spinning a hamster wheel. I would have gone with 200 mm but the bb height does not allow. Even with 195 mm I’m pushing it. Because of the abuse my bike takes everyday carrying loads and riding up steep grades I blow through wear parts and am constantly doing repairs. I get busy with work and get behind on maintainence so I’ve been looking for a less expensive second bike. I tested a 747 Zinn. The leg fit and feel was amazing but the Top tube length wasn’t there even with a ridiculous stem. Sure I could make it fit but it would never feel right. I’m now considering a soma es frame but Want to try before I buy and build. I’ve considered a Gunnar for a MTb as well but am married to long cranks now so I need a higher bb especially on a MTb where obstacles come into play. Its not easy for us tall guys to find bikes and when you do it’s usually hard on the wallet.

  • That_tall_bike_guys

    The size of 65cm for the 747 already corrects for the 200mm cranks, so ignore my 67.5cm size and it probably being too big comment.
    There are reviews by some 6’5″ & 6’6″ guys with 36.5″ & 37″ inseams, and they seem to really like the long cranks. Do a lot of research, but do even more test rides before you pull the trigger. Most think long cranks increase the risk of knee issues. Sheldon Brown has section on it, http://sheldonbrown.com/cranks.html, with a lot of good info and makes a comment I liked on it: “I think people really obsess too much about crank length. After all, we all use the same staircases, whether we have long or short legs…”

  • That_tall_bike_guy

    Hello fellow tall sf rider. So your long legs will put you up higher than average, and effectively making the bars lower, so you may want touring or endurance road geometries; they have less aggressive riding positions; bars much closer and higher mostly undoing the problem..
    BTW are you running fixie or freewheel on the feather & why no pic of it?

    Road:
    64cm specialized Roubaix or secteur; All carbon & aluminum/carbon respectively, various gearing & brake (disc) options. http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road#enduranceroad

    62 & 64cm surly long haul trucker: steel frame & fork. 11-34 9spd 26/36/48. Tons of fittings. Wheel & brake options. It is a very popular long distance touring bike, the shifters are super simple to operate and reliable. You can relocate them pretty easy to the upper bars & elsewhere if you don’t like bar ends. swap out the tires to some light 28’s and cassette if you want tight ratios plus all the range with that triple crank would cool. 62cm surly pacer or cross check, for a slight lighter and more nimble setup..
    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/

    64cm fuji touring: steel frame & fork, fittings for fenders & front/rear racks, medium duty touring. Gears: 11-34 9spd 30/39/50. The 30 can be replaced by a 28, 26, maybe a 24 for cheap if you want super low gearing. Same Tire & gears stuff I mentioned above.
    http://www.fujibikes.com/ bike/details/touring#bk_desc_tab

    Fuji Roubaix 64cm: light large bike12-27 34/50. They discontinued the 64cm last year I think, so you would need to find old stock; I still see new ones around.

    62cm jamis aurora: light duty touring. I have a ’09; bad year. Lots of issues. I have final worked out most of the bugs. I am not recommending, but it exists.

    Soma Smoothie es 66cm: bike frame only.

    Cannodale has xxl they call “jumbo” but I think they may only be for flat bar bikes

    One thing special about the KHS 747 (65cm) is that it comes with 200mm cranks instead of 175s on all the bikes above. These cranks make the 747 size more like 67.5cm (adding the 25mm for the longer cranks). This bike might be bigger than you need. 

    There are other bikes I didn’t mention; just need to look around a bit. I look forward to your bike reviews.

  • Jon Spangler

    Chris Schroeder should investigate Gunnar and Waterford bikes. Waterford has made Gunnars and Waterfords for NBA players who were over 7 feet tall so fitting someone only 6 feet 6 inches tall should be easy….

  • Nick Wigston

    You should also check out the KHS Flite 747, which comes in XXL, and the Zinn Big Apple, along with custom options from Zinn cycles who specializes in tall bikes.

Subscribe to our Magazine

Available in both print and digital editions!

Subscribe
lead gen