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You've heard of big and tall clothing stores, but there's more than just clothes and wardrobe that a taller than average person has to navigate in life. So what do you do when you're in the market for a new bike or want to get into bike riding and you're well beyond the average 5 feet 4 inch height (women) and 5 feet 9 inch height (men)?
You shouldn't need to order anything custom made. Ideally, you should be able to take your pick of the best options available for you and your height. When it comes to selecting a new bike, the good news is that there are plenty of options for taller riders - you just need to know what to look for and what will be comfortable. In more good news, some options don't come with much of an added cost. We'll get to the bottom of things in this post. Here's a look at everything you need to know when it comes to finding a quality bike for a tall rider and some of the best options on the market today.
What Should a Tall Person Look for in a Bike?
Though bikes are great for exercise, fitness and overall enjoyment, they do get kind of a bad rap when it comes to manufacturers not doing a great job of designing and manufacturing bikes for anyone other than average-sized people. But the good news is that if you know what to look for and know some of the manufacturers that invest in designing bikes for tall people, then there are options. Like we said, bikes for tall people are out there - you just need to know what to look for.
So what features or characteristics should a tall person look for in a bike? Hint: It's a lot more than just selecting any model and then jacking the bike seat up to the highest level. Here's a look at some of the considerations tall men and women should weigh when shopping for a new bike:
Pay attention to the wheels
Generally speaking, the taller you are, the more you'll also weigh. So it's not even a good idea to squeeze yourself onto a bike designed for average-sized people if you want to. Why? Because it likely won't be durable enough to sustain the excess weight over the long term. Additionally, it's not going to be very comfortable or ergonomic. So where should you look to ensure there's enough durability? The wheels! Yes, the wheels!
The best wheels for taller riders are those that are designed for touring, as they'll be able to adequately endure heavier loads. Also, be sure to look for bike wheels with higher spoke counts than normal. A good spoke count for taller riders is between 28 and 32.
Then there's the tires. Wider tires tend to be more durable, so select a model that meets such a requirement. Tires between 40 and 55 mm in width are typically your best option.
Bottom line: Don't overlook the wheels. They're arguably the most important factor to take note of if you're tall and purchasing a new bike.
Cranks are the levers that your bike pedals attach to. So why could it be beneficial for someone tall to look at purchasing a bike with crank arms that are a bit longer than normal? Simple: The longer the crank arms, the more aligned the crank length is with your body and/or posture. But don't purchase a bike that you like and just think that you can replace average-sized crank arms with longer ones later on - because you can't. Well, technically, we suppose that you could, but if you did there's a good chance that the pedals would scrape the ground as you're riding. The bike frame has to be constructed accordingly to support longer crank arms, which makes this a feature that you want to pay special attention to early on in the purchasing process.
Get a Fit Test
There's also the aspect of proper fit that you want to consider. Proper fit is important because you want to purchase a bike where you can ride comfortably and ergonomically. And while anyone - regardless of weight or size - should get properly fit-tested before purchasing a bike, it's even more crucial for someone who is taller in stature. Certainly, you don't want to purchase a bike that's too small to ride comfortably. The good news is that fit tests are fast and easy - and they can be performed either in person at a bike shop or even online if you're able to provide some key metrics about yourself. A fit test will include measurements, assessments of how your body comes into the three main contact points of a bike (seat, handlebars, pedals) and also weigh your personal riding preferences to boot.
A touring bike is designed for avid riders who want to take long bike trips or even multi-day rides, not to mention all of the stuff that they'll need for their trips as well. Noting this, touring bikes tend to be made with quality materials and craftsmanship to sustain this type of cycling behavior. Touring bikes are often built durable and robust, consisting of heavy-duty wheels for increased load capacity, high-end frame materials and a longer wheelbase. Because they're built to stand up to the rigors of long rides, they're often considered to be among the better bike style options for taller individuals. That's not to say that hybrid, commuter, beach cruiser or fat tire bikes might not also be a quality option for someone taller in stature, but generally speaking, you likely can't go wrong with a touring bike.
Many bike models will even go as far as listing a weight capacity, which can help taller or heavier riders determine if certain models will stand up to their body type. Most bikes typically have a weight capacity of anywhere from 275 to 300 pounds, which is normally fine for an average-sized person. But you also need to consider the likes of any cargo that you'll be bringing with you on any bike trip, as this can all add up in the long run. Noting this, the average weight limit may be easily eclipsed by a taller rider. That said, it can be good practice to look for a bike that can support an enhanced weight limit, as some manufacturers advertise weight limits from 375 to 400 pound capacity.
The Best Bikes for Tall Cyclists
Now that we've covered some of the features that you want to look for in a bike for a taller man or woman, let's take a closer look at some of the best applicable bikes that are currently on the market today. Here's a look at some ideal options if you're above average in height and are looking for a quality ride to support your body and cycling hobby.
Aspero 5 (Cervelo)
This is a very high-end bike, with a price point that's north of $7,000. But if you're looking for a gravel bike that is fast, lightweight and durable, this premium bike is an ideal choice. Available in five different models, this bike features carbon wheels to offer high-end quality and durability. It should give taller riders the chance to ride with confidence - regardless of the environment that they're riding in.
Like we've said throughout this piece, the wider the tire, the better a bike is likely to fare for taller people. That's where the InTheBarrelFatTire from SixThreeZero enters the picture. With 4-inch wide tires and the versatility to travel anywhere from the boardwalk to the trail, the bike is as versatile as it is durable. What's more is that it comes with more of an entry-level price compared to some of the other bikes on this list. Its official specs state that it can support individuals as tall as 6 feet, 4 inches in height, and with a design based around comfort and weight capacity of up to 300 pounds, it's a great option for someone on a budget.
Mark II (DirtySixer)
When you claim that you make "the only bikes for tall people," you know that you're likely onto something right. The brand was created by 6-foot, 6-inch David Folch years ago and is a favorite of NBA players these days. The Mark II is a top choice, able to support individuals up to seven-and-a-half feet tall. It's dubbed the biggest 36-inch wheel bike in the world and classified as a touring bike. Remember, touring bikes are thought to be the best type of bike for taller people - and the Mark II is no exception to this general rule.
Sport Disc (Gunnar Bikes)
Gunnar Bikes' Sports Disc bike is dubbed as a custom option bike - and not just as it pertains to paint and style, but frame too. This makes it an ideal brand for taller people. To figure out what size of bike you need, first take a fit test. Then, after you receive your results, select the Gunnar that works best for your body size and weight. It's a simple way for taller individuals to get a bike that they love.
There are various different types of Emonda bikes from Trek, many of which are designed to stand up to the rigors of an oversized rider. Some of the features that enable this include carbon wheels, an aerodynamic build, a carbon frame, XXL frame sizes and more. Some of the Emonda models can even be customized to provide more choice and customization for the rider. It's worth noting, however, that the Emonda model is a high end one, with some models costing as much as $12,500 - so it's certainly not an entry-level bike that's going to suit every tall rider.
Like we've said throughout this piece, there are a variety of factors that you need to consider when it comes to purchasing a bike for yourself or anyone who happens to be taller than the average height. But one intangible that we haven't talked much about yet is price. Your budget should also be a deciding factor in the type of bicycle that you purchase - and some of the higher-end bikes designed for tall people just so happen to be very expensive. That's where SixThreeZero's line of bikes for taller riders can come in handy. Not only are they quality made, but they're offered at more entry-level price points than some of the other bikes that are specially made for tall or heavier individuals. And you can still rest assured that they'll adequately support any individual throughout all of their riding adventures.
Contact SixThreeZero Today
While it may seem convenient to just find a bike model you like and adjust the seat to its highest setting, this isn't always the best route to take when purchasing a new bike if you're a tall man or woman. There are more factors to take into consideration, such as weight capacity, ergonomics and personal riding preference. For more information on how to select a quality bike and to browse SixThreeZero's multitude of options for taller individuals, contact us today. SixThreeZero also offers a variety of bikes for average-sized people, which you can also learn more about by browsing sixthreezero.com or contacting us today.
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