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Great road bike for a big guy(16 posts)

Great road bike for a big guyBig Boy
Jan 31, 2002 9:39 AM
I am looking for a great road bike to purchase. I am an avid mountain biker who has built up a custom bike to my specs. I am going to start to do some road riding (long cruising, no racing, AIDS ride, etc). Problem is that I know everything about mountain bikes but very little about road bikes.

I am 6'4", 240 lbs. I would like some suggestions on a a super road bike (price range $2000-3000) that will be timeless, great performing and not too flexible. My gut feeling is that a Ti litespeed would flex too much for me, and aluminum would get somewhat harch for 100 mile rides. I figure a great Reynolds 853 frame, carbon fiber fork with ultegra parts would be right up my alley.

Any opinions on the frame material and components ?

Any suggestions on a maker of a high quality frame like this. I have toyed with the Lemond Zurich, but I was wondering what would be better.
Personal experiece from big guys like me with a lot of riding experience would be great.


Big Boy
My Takegrzy
Jan 31, 2002 10:00 AM
Given your size and weight you will have a tough time finding something that works well off the rack and will last. Your budget is pretty generous and you can really accomplish a lot. My advice would be to consider a custom steel frame from Serotta et al. Steel is strong and fatigue resistant as well as providing some compliance and an excellent ride - with your strength and weight you need to pay attention to this. It's important that you get the frame right and you can fiddle with components for years to come. You're also going to want some good durable wheels. Mavic 32 hole Open Pros w/DT double butted spokes are a solid product - especially when built by skilled and experienced hands - avoid the trendy stuff. Everything else is fairly straight forward and you can score a pretty good deal on a set of Ultegra components via the 'net - they are a commodity. The one place NOT to scrimp would be the wheels and frame - they are significant components and going cheap here will just cost your more in the end in terms of pain and/or dollars. You get this part right and you'll be happy camper - get it wrong and you'll be bumming until you do it over again. The hard part is going to be getting fitted for the frame given that you may not have a lot of time on a road bike and won't really know what feels "right" for *you*. It's worth going to a bunch of bike shops and finding an experienced fit guy that can really work with you - skilled guys will want to charge for their time which is fair. Everyone will say they can hook you up no problem, but there are vast differences in experience out there - especially with so much focus on MTB's - some of the shop rats haven't even spent significant time on a road bike, yet they'll try and sell you one anyway. Take your time and shop around - you'll know when you're in the right place. Putting together a semi custom bike will be more expensive than something complete off the 'net, but what you pay for is what you get and in the long run it will be cheaper. Take your time and enjoy the process.
re: Great road bike for a big guyLone Gunman
Jan 31, 2002 10:10 AM
You sound like a prescription for a custom frame and your budget allows for that with a better (105+) component group and bomb proof wheels.
Ditto the fitting....PdxMark
Jan 31, 2002 10:13 AM
Fit is a huge factor, and a highly-skilled fitter can help you get there. Serotta-certified fitters can be great... $100-$150 for a professional fitting can be the best money you spend toward your purchase.

Fitting does not include someone who sits you on the bike and stands back and says... "that looks about right" - with a good fitting you can get specs for frame size (top tube, seat tube), handle bar width, crank length, stem length, etc. Even with all these specs there might still be adjustments, but you'll be MUCH closer to a good fit...
Ditto the fitting....raboboy
Jan 31, 2002 10:29 AM
Aye, make sure they are actually a Serotta-Certified fitter. Be prepared to spend some time on it, but it is definately worth it.
It would behoove you to contact Leonard Zinn...Cima Coppi
Jan 31, 2002 10:26 AM
His website is

Zinn is a renowned custom builder who specializes in frame building for really small or really large riders. His frames are beautiful, and he can design a frame to meet all of your specifications.

Good luck

Zinn is a really tall guy himself.guido
Jan 31, 2002 10:48 AM
He started building bikes because he couldn't get any other builder to make a frame that would fit him. He also likes steel.
agree on Leonard Zinn...Tig
Jan 31, 2002 11:08 AM
The taller guys I ride with that have custom Zinn bikes can't say enough good things about their frames. One guy (masters cat 2) in particular has suffered years on poorly fit bikes in the past and is finaly in heaven on his 2 Zinn's (one for crit's, one for long distance). He attributes the extended head tube (extends above the top tube) to increases stiffness and responsive steering. Too many steel bikes in larger sizes are too flexy out there. Leonard has mastered the balance for tall, large riders. The craftmanship on these bikes is of the highest level.
Zinn is cool but it'll cost ya lots of $$$ (nm)Dave Thomas
Jan 31, 2002 11:15 AM
Jan 31, 2002 11:00 AM
I'm about your size, and it's right on the edge of being too big for off-the-rack bikes. Most shops don't stock anything bigger than 62 (which they may try to sell you even if it doesn't fit).
Serotta's a very nice bike, and you won't go wrong with one. But I bought an Atlantis last year (wanted a Rivendell, but couldn't quite swing it), and it's SO cool. Might look at that, or the more speed-oriented Rambouillet, or even a full-custom Rivendell. It's
re: Great road bike for a big guyAustinTexasRider
Jan 31, 2002 11:28 AM
A good place to look and buy is

I ordered parts from Gary. He has 853 bikes fully built with Ultegra for under $1200. He can substitute any of the parts without really charging a whole lot more. I am big too and specified a stronger seatpost, CXP-33 36H in the rear and 32H in the front and he said no problem.
save yourself BIG $$$ and embrace taiwannaff geezer
Jan 31, 2002 11:28 AM
as much as i think they are with no history or name this bike has it all for a big rider. SCATTANTE. from the few reports i have heard they make good frames with good materials.

853 steel, cosmos wheelset and ultegra for an unbeatable price (less than $1300).
Embrace our tiny island and save $$$!Taiwan Joe
Jan 31, 2002 1:47 PM
This writer is very wise man. This Supergo store knows what they are doing as they are selling Taiwan made bike at great savings. They say in sales book that we are making Scattante to "Italian standards", but we know this isn't true. Our Taiwan welding robots and cheap labor do better job than any old Italian bicycle maker. We all know they have bad temper and get mad easy, leaving you with inferior quality bike. Only fool would risk life in this way!

Remember, nobody gives you bang for buck like us. Better yet, if you re bothered by critique, you can still say "well, I have Italy made bike". Nobody will tell difference anyway! That's why we put Italian word on there anyway.
Somehow I think Taiwan Joe is the same racist bastard as . . .morrison
Jan 31, 2002 2:02 PM
Chou En Lai.
From 6-5, 210Elefantino
Jan 31, 2002 12:17 PM
OK, so I'm not as big, but I will say that I had similar goals in mind when I traded in my 11-year-old steel steed a few years ago.

Your thoughts are correct, but only to a point. Some Litespeeds (the Ultimate, for example), are stiffer than others (the Arenberg, I believe), particularly in the tall sizes. Some aluminum is stiff as a brick, while other aluminum is tuned to a fine ride.

You don't mention carbon, but it's worth a try if you like the ride of 853. My decision came down to the LeMond and or a KHS ... until I rode the Trek OCLV. It is stiff but oh so comfortable over the long haul.

And that's what's important. You have to be comfortable on it. Take the LeMond out for an hour or so and see how it feels to you and how you feel on it. Then try it with a good aluminum bike (Cannondale's CAAD4 or 5 frames are a good comparison), then a carbon (either a 62 cm trek or a 61 cm Kestrel), then a ti.

If nothing feels right, then you might consider a custom frame. Ben Serotta makes good frames for larger sizes, as does Bob Jackson. There are a lot of other custom frame makers out there, but Serotta and particularly
Bob Jackson have good reputation for making good large frames.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

re: Great road bike for a big guyridewt
Jan 31, 2002 12:52 PM
I'm almost 6'4" and have 61 cm Alum LeMond that I like a lot. I don't think it is too stiff at all. For tall guys, many times the important consideration is the top tube - many big production frames don't have long top tubes. If you are fitted and need a long top tube, the LeMond's are good because, for example, the 61 has a 60.5 top tube. If you are going for a production bike, you won't find many with that length top tube.