The Road to Mountain: Best Bikes For Tall People

mountain bike for tall people

Bicyclists who are tall can be quite lucky. There are many tall frames available. There are many factors to consider, beyond the size of the bike. This guide to the best bikes for tall people should help you find that perfect ride. The KHS mountain and road bikes are the quick answer. These stock bikes are some of the most affordable on the market. 

For tall people, crank length on bikes

A tall person may find a frame that is proportionally sized, but this does not hold true for the crank length. All bikes have the same crank length, which is around 175mm. This might not be a problem for a casual cyclist who is tall. If you want to perform, you will need proportional cranks. According to one study, the optimal crank length is approximately twenty percent of your leg.1 Jumping is a good example. A taller basketball player wouldn’t be told to not bend his knees as often, would you? A crank should also allow a cyclist to move his hips and knees in a similar manner, regardless of his stature.

I purchased my 200mm cranks first time from High Sierra Cycles. There are many types of cranks available, including singles, doubles, and triples. Longer cranks have the disadvantage of requiring a slightly different geometry for their frames. 

Bike Sizes for Tall People

Bike manufacturers don’t usually scale the wheel for tall riders. The tall people bikes are roughly the same as the 700c and 29”. These wheels do a better job than 26-inch mountain bikes. There is still room for improvement. There are many reasons why the wheel should be scaled proportionally to the frame. The most obvious reason is that it gives a smoother ride to a larger person with a greater weight. Next are 36” and 32” wheels. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Frame Materials for Tall People

A tall cyclist will likely be heavier than the average cyclist, so it is important to pay attention to frame strength as well as stiffness. Steel and titanium are better than aluminum when it comes to the frame material. They won’t fatigue so long as the stresses are below a certain level. An aluminum frame that is properly designed for the rider could be an excellent solution. Aluminum is used to make airplanes. Some might argue that airplanes can be retired after a set number of years. This may not hold true for all bikes.

The Best Road Bikes For Tall People

Sizes of road bikes, including cross and touring bikes, are typically determined by the length of their seat tubes in cm. A good rule of thumb is to place the tires about one inch above the floor when you cross the top tube and lift the tire up to your crotch. This is a rough estimate of the size. Other important dimensions include the length of your top tube. A professional fitting can be helpful. If possible, take the bike out for a spin. The typical tall bike size is 64cm. This size is available from Specialized, Motobecane, and Trek as well as Surly. KHS, Gunnar, and Soma are some of the brands that offer larger sizes. A 64cm Surly Cross Check worked well for me at 6’7″.

You can choose from two sizes: the 2XL (65cm), or the 3XL (60.8cm). Its tall stature is not the only thing that makes it stand out. The frame is stronger to take the increased torque and has a higher bottom bracket. It includes some good Shimano components and a cromoly-steel frame. It’s a great value for money considering that a custom bike can easily run to twice the price. I was a rider of one, you can read more about it here: Flite 747. Zynn also designed the Big Apple, the only stock road bike that has extra-long cranks. The 747 is more affordable.

You might also consider custom if none of the brands/bikes listed fit your needs. Lennard Zynn is the most well-known custom frame maker. Zynn is 6’6” tall and has decades of experience in building bikes for tall people. Gunnar is a good option if you are looking for a steel custom frame at a lower price. Habanero Cycles and TitanProducts from China are options if you’re looking for something more expensive in steel. A Tall Life reader created a great article about tall people bikes. It covered many of these frame builders: Casey’s Take on Bike for Tall People.

The Best Mountain Bikes For Tall People

Mountain bikes can also be sized according to the length of their seat tubes (inches, not cm). This can cause confusion, as the top tube slope of mountain bikes can vary greatly between models. It is important to have your affordable mountain bike fitted before you take it out for a spin.

Surly is a great place to find non-suspension mountain bikes for tall people. Kona is a good choice for those who want full suspension or hard tale bikes. Motobecane is a good option if you are on a tight budget. These bikes have one limitation: they are only available with standard crank lengths.

KHS sells a stock mountain bike designed for tall riders: BNT 29, designed by Lennard Zann. This hardtail design is extremely versatile and has been well-tested. To get the most bang for your buck, the Flite 747 also features mid-range Shimano components. You can choose from XXL or XXXL sizes.

The DirtySixer is another amazing option. It has 36″ wheels and is made for tall people. 32-inch versions are also available. It doesn’t have the suspension system of other mountain bikes. The extra-large wheels will smoothen the ride. The bikes have a 200mm crank and are built for heavy riders who need to put out a lot of torque.

  • Frame tubing for oversize frames
  • Extra strong fork designs
  • Properly long cranks
  • Large handlebars with large diameters (31.8mm for hand grips, and soon 34.9mm for the handlebars)
  • Large disc brakes
  • For greater stability, a longer wheelbase is better
  • Available in 15 and 20-mm thicker axles

Tall People can use e-bikes

E-bikes are becoming a more popular mode of transportation. E-bikes offer all the advantages of riding, but they make it easier and faster to get from A to B. Unfortunately, most e-bikes are not available in tall sizes, especially the ones with built-in batteries. There are many e-bikes that can be attached to your existing tall-friendly bicycle, which is a good thing for tall riders.

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