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What Bike for Long Legs(8 posts)

What Bike for Long LegsBruce
Apr 21, 2001 8:32 AM
My 36" inseam legs are ruling me out of the biggest frames I can find at LBSs. I've ridden the 62cm Raleigh and Trek frames and even the bike shop folks said, "Too small." Being a mountain biker (23.5" frame) just moving into the road bike arena I don't have much experience on fit yet, so am reluctant to purchase mail order or internet--but haven't seen many big frames at those sites either.

Have been told to stay away from steel ("big frames too flexy"), I THINK a carbon frame would be great (never found one in a 62 to try).

I'm 180 lbs, 6'4" and would like to get something for casual riding, commuting, and long rides (century). Thinking about some tri training--but that is secondary. My budget is up to $2000.

Thanks for your thoughts/suggestions.

Bruce in Oregon (been to the major LBSs in Portland, Salem, Corvallis)
re: What Bike for Long LegsLargo
Apr 21, 2001 12:10 PM
Hi Bruce
I know what you are dealing with.
As far as big bikes go, i have a lot of experience with them, as i am 6'6", and have been riding a long time.
Stock bikes, colnago and Tomasini make a frame that will work for you, but might be out of your price range.
Custom is the only way to go at our heights, and don't listen to anyone saying that steel will be too flexy at that size. i ride steel and its fine.
Columbus offers tubesets with oversize steel tubes in different shapes that can be used in long/tall frames to keep the flex at bay.
Custom can be expensive, but several Canadian builders could give you a great frame at a good price considering the exchange rate.
try or Marinoni bikes.
Cannondale has some big frames, but might still be too small.
Don't try to get shoehorned into a too small frame.
If the shop tries to sell you a bike with tons of seat post showing, and a huge drop between the seat and bars, look elswhere.
Good luck
Largo, what size cranks do you use?Bruno S
Apr 21, 2001 1:14 PM
I'm 6'3" and feel the 175mm feel kind of small but it seems the largest option out there before going to Dura Ace.
180mm Dura Ace.Largo
Apr 21, 2001 8:38 PM
At your height, go 180. I would use a longer crank if it was available.
some suggestions...dave
Apr 21, 2001 12:57 PM
Not sure if you budget is $2000 for the bike or the frame. I'll assume it's for the bike. A great steel bike would be the Tommasini Sintesi at Colorado Cyclist. Very high quality paint and chrome. A classic Italian frame. They list sizes up to 63cm. The frame alone is $900. A complete bike is $1700 with Ultegra, $1850 with Campy Daytona or $2100 with Campy Chorus (the best deal).

Normally I don't recommend Cannondale, but for someone your size, the CAAD4 or CAAD5 frames should work fine. They list a 63cm with a 60cm top tube length and a standover height of 34.5 inches. Plenty stiff, reasonably priced. Look at, to see if the 63 is a standard size.

Excel sports has Gios steel frames in 62 and 64cm sizes. The top tube is shorter on these frames, but the seat tube angle is also steeper (74 vs 73). The effective difference in top tube length is acutally very little. The Gios will require the saddle to be pushed back a lot further to get the same knee-over-pedal position.
re: What Bike for Long Legsk2bldr
Apr 22, 2001 10:41 AM
I have a 36" inseam as well and I understand the difficulty in finding a frame locally to test ride, but you can easily fit into many mfg's stock frames: C-dale makes a 63cm c-c(so it's nearly a 65 c-t), Litespeed makes a 63 c-t in the Classic (I ride a 61cm Classic and fit fine). A suggestion, find a shop somewhere with a good reputation for fitting road bikes, preferably a Serrota dealer with a size cycle that you can be fitted at. Expect to pay 50 bucks or so for the fitting (cheap compared to buying the wrong size frame). Good luck.
72.5 degree seat tube angle is needed for long legged riders.Highgear
Apr 22, 2001 4:28 PM
De Rosa, Merckx and Lemond offer it in the larger frames. If you ride with your knee over the pedal axle or behind it, you'll have a bad fit on anything steeper than 72.5 deg. This situation will also lend to a too long top tube and not the best handling. With a 73 angle you'll end up with a saddle pushed far back and a short stem(depending on top tube length),the 45%front and 55% back weight distribution will be way off.
Try T.E.T. CyclesStew
Apr 24, 2001 7:08 AM
I was recently in a situation similar to yours. I am 6'5", 185 lbs. with a 37.75" inseam. Here's my recommendation.

1. Find a certified Serotta bike fit technician (you can find a listing on Serotta's website) and get a fitting. You spend about two hours riding a special fitting bicycle, tinkering with top tube lengths, etc. and then get a recommended geometry from the fitter.

2. Contact Tom Teesdale at T.E.T. cycles,, and order a bike from him. I just got my 65cm (center to center) bike from him and am very pleased with the ride and quality of workmanship.
You can definitely get a good setup from him for under 2 grand.

My bike is Columbus Nivachrome steel and it is very stiff, but Tom also works in aluminum. He will also work with you to satisfy your individual requirements. For example, I wanted a frame that was extra stiff for climbing, so he shortened and thickened the chainstays.

There are plenty of custom frame builders available on the net and you can find them by doing a simple search, but I couldn't find any that offer the same value as T.E.T. Cannondale also sells custom frames (check out their website) but I think they're kind of pricey.

Good luck.