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A big "HI!" and THE big question.(23 posts)

A big "HI!" and THE big question.Charlie Amerique
Mar 23, 2003 12:23 PM
Hello all, I'm a long time member of the MTBR site (wayyy back when) and occasional lurker over here. Yeah, what's known as a "closet roadie".
I guess I'll be a lurker no more now that I have an absolute need for a more versitile riding machine. To this end I now introduce myself and give you some background and ask for your assistance.

I am a 43 (soon to be 44) year old "sofa stood up on end" (6'4" tall, 210lbs) with "uncommon" body proportions (get yer minds outta the gutter). I raced road (and one single scary time a crit) for 4 years eventually reaching Cat 2 status with a pretty good team and raced mountain bikes for 5 years but never really got into it. Now I race no more and love riding more than ever.

Today: I recently moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Montréal area and no longer have "trails out my backyard". I have the opportunity to enjoy some great road riding up here and would love to get back into the "groove". yeah, I'm that old.

Problem: I have not had a road bike in over 20 years, I've done al lthe research I could on the subject, been fitted in several bike shops and been given a different answer to sizing in every one.
I've talked to the guys at Seven (who have my sizing from the Sola I got from them a couple of years ago) and they tell me that I should look at a custom job again (naturally they want to sell it to me).
Where I live the roads aren't so great so my first thought was a 'cross bike but the sizing becomes an even bigger issue there and I'm not sure how well it would handle under my "load" on the first, long hauls.
Second part of this issue is my fianceé: She's only 5'3" and is also not proportioned "WSD" and it was suggested she get a compact frame. This seemed like great advice but finding a good compact frame that fits her is almost as bad as finding one that would fit me.

Preference would be titanium followed by steel. I have never enjoyed the feeling of aluminum nor carbon and the issue of lateral frame flex is one I'd like to minimize.

Money is not an issue, but I prefer to get the best value for my dollar.

I'm not looking for answers from anyone, but rather your experiences and any helpful suggestions you might have. I've come to rely on the good advice of people that frequent MTBR and I'm read enough here to know that any advice I recieve will be of equal value.

Thanks in advance,


Yeah, I'm the tall one and no, I can't remember what I was saying.
Charles, no offense, but those people look scared $h@@less!!-nmcydswipe
Mar 23, 2003 12:35 PM
a 6' 4" man in a "skirt" would scare me $h@@less!! tooAkirasho
Mar 23, 2003 12:55 PM
You've got a bit of homework to do... test ride, test ride, test ride...

Be the bike.
No can do.Charlie Amerique
Mar 23, 2003 1:21 PM
Not a lot of 61+ (or even 60) frames out here to test ride. I've been on a 59 and a 60 and both are a wee bit too small for me TT wise.

61.5 was recommended and that's the smallest I've heard, 63 was the largest. The issue is that once you get into bigger frames, lateral flex becomes an issue becuse of tube length over diameter.

I'll keep serching, but the ridign season is a few, very few, weeks away up here and I'd like to be on the road as soon as I can... damn Spring Fever is on me now.

And what's to be scared of?? I'm a pussycat...
odd proportionsFrith
Mar 23, 2003 12:54 PM
You don't mention what your odd proportions are. Did seven give you any feedback about how they might customize the frame to accomodate you?
btw. welcome to the light side.
oh and how are you liking la belle province? I visited Montreal for the first time last summer and thought it was a pretty damn cool city.
Tres différentCharlie Amerique
Mar 23, 2003 1:07 PM
Yeah, they went through the same thing with me as the last time: longer toptube, stiffer BB, shorter headtube. Overall the issue seems to be that I have "equal proportions" of leg and torso unlike the "normal" guy with short legs. Find me a "normal" guy and I'll believe what they say.

The bottom line for me is that I can't go out and test ride anythign because nobody stocks a 61+ frame. They dont' sell many so why keep any in stock. Hell, if I had a dollar for every 56 or 54 I've seen in the last 6 months I'd be in the Forbes 500.

So I need to know: custom my only option? It did well for me with my Seven, but that's a lot of bux to throw down if I can avoid it (no, I don't feel I got my money's worth before, but I do still love the ride).

As for Montréal, it's a great city. It's San Francisco on the budget and a lot more history.
Tres différentweiwentg
Mar 23, 2003 1:23 PM
imo, custom would be best. alternatively, the Litespeed Vortex and Colnago Ovalmaster are made of 6/4 ti, which is stiffer than 3/2.5. the Ovalmaster is specifically designed for larger, heavier riders. I think the geometry is less geared towards long torso/short legs. the Litespeeds look about average to me.
if you do not wish to plunk down a massive sum of money, try custom steel. I think Marinoni is based in Canada, and their prices are very reasonable.
if you want ti then heres what I think!the bull
Mar 23, 2003 1:03 PM
Your'e a big guy!I am suggesting the litespeed ultimate.
I ride a team issue which is pretty much the classic geometry with a tear shaped down tube and 1 1/8 steerer tube.The classic has a softer ti (3al-2.5v).The ultimate use this stuff in the chain stays -I think it rides better than the stiffer ti (6al-4v).But the frame is mostly a little heavier but more aero.Oh yeah the main tubes are the stiffer ti.It allso keeps the 73 seat angle in the larger sizes.While having shorter chian stays.this will make it more here it is:

stiff bike:ultimate
classic:speaks for itself

the classic in my opinion is probally stronger
The 3-2.5 is a better tubeset for less!
But this is just my opinion!Litespeeds are good bikes but their prices have gone up in the last 4 years.If money is no object and you want ti check out the seven like- you were -there awesome.
Also check out serrota they are a hella bike and do custom stuff too.
Dont forget indepent fabrication.choices choices- good luck!!
re: A big "HI!" and THE big question.dave_w
Mar 23, 2003 1:36 PM
Just a couple of comments. If you have not already read his stuff find something written by Leonard Zinn. He is a big guy (6'4" I think) and has years of equipment testing/knowledge with the special needs of a big guy in mind. As the previous poster mentioned, I think Litespeed has gotten too proud of their bikes and the recent pricing is out of line with the product.
Give Tom Kellog a call ...koala
Mar 23, 2003 3:25 PM The guy has solved an awful lot of fit problems and likes ti and steel in the same order you do.
Give Tom Kellog a call ...GaryR
Mar 23, 2003 3:49 PM
Absolutely give Tom a call! I visited him after dropping a bundle on a Pinarello Opera that fit so poorly, it was practically unusable. The worst part is I made a couple of trips from Michigan to suburban Philadelphia, as this shop I dealt with prominently advertises the owner's fitting expertise on their website. Anyway, Tom was very generous with his time, and tweaked the Opera so it is now usable. Better yet, though, is the Custom Ti frame he built for me this winter. I can't believe how comfortable this frame is. I visited him a few weeks ago. It sounds like you may have an interest in his new Carbon Ti model, given your size and strength. Good luck.
Montreal = MarinoniPicshooter
Mar 23, 2003 4:25 PM
The Marinoni factory is in Lachinae. It is worth a visit even if you are just browsing.They can build you just about anything. I stopped in during a quiet time and was treated to a fantastic tour. If you go ask for Hugo, he is a photographer friend of mine.
Marinoni it is!Charlie Amerique
Mar 23, 2003 6:47 PM
Well, at least they're very local (on the other side of the island) and my fianceé says tomorrow would be a good day to go over and see them... plus our local bike shop is a Marinoni dealer.

I see the Piuma as the one to look at... at least for me.
Marinoni: Excellent product. Exceptional value.mealex
Mar 23, 2003 7:56 PM
Marinoni changes?geeker
Mar 24, 2003 7:27 AM
Marinoni used to have a great reputation for craftsmanship in lugged steel. But I looked at their website and was disappointed: they seem to have gone completely over to TIG-welding and compact geometry, mostly in aluminum rather than steel. I hope they offer more options for custom builds.

Dropping a couple of names, I think that Guru and Claude Bertrand are Montreal-area framebuilders. Don't have any concrete information, though.
Mar 24, 2003 7:59 AM
Meant Gilles Bertrand (not Claude). But these frames may be built by Marinoni anyway.
re: A big "HI!" and THE big question.geeker
Mar 23, 2003 5:00 PM
Habanero makes inexpensive straight-gauge Ti frames that are supposed to be very laterally stiff. I think they're USD 695 for frame (no fork), extra USD 300 for custom. Straght-gauge may be a few oz heavier than butted, but it shouldn't matter for you. I think the website is
re: A big "HI!" and THE big question.kevinmd
Mar 23, 2003 6:43 PM

I'm 6'4" and 210. Shorter inseam (34") but I found the Lemonds fit me very well. You can get a Zurich for $1600 or so. Very nice bike.

-- Kevin
Another suggestionMel Erickson
Mar 23, 2003 9:29 PM
I would agree that you should visit the Marinoni factory and consider one of their frames. Just a no brainer thing to do, even if you decide against one of their bikes. Also consider Gary Hobbs ( He carries LandShark which are some very nice steel bikes. He currently has a Dorado in a 62cm size C-T with a 60cm C-C top tube. This sounds like something along your lines. He also offers custom geometry and custom paint for no extra charge with a 4-6 week wait, now thats a good deal. He has the Dorado for $1295US and will build it up with whatever grouppo you want.

You could check out and take a look at their custom packages. Their Dedacciai Zero Uno "Extra" tubing is made for someone like you and can be had for $1550US. They offer other tubing and many variations. Check out the reviews on this site for their Road Shark frame, consistently very good. I think they'd be worth a look (and don't forget the galleries).
Give the dudes at Dean a call...Gregory Taylor
Mar 24, 2003 6:36 AM
I purchased a Dean El Diente CTI in December -- reasonable price, they do custom work, and a nice product for the money. If you go with a stock geometry, they will fiddle with the tubing selection (gauge) for free.

I run 6 foot and 195 lbs., and this thing suits me to a tee. Nice and stiff in the bottom bracket to handle torque, with a sweet ti ride.

Of course, you can't go wrong with the Marinonni either. A friend at work has one, and it is really a very nice bike. Being local is a big plus.
as long as you don't mind waiting &..._rt_
Mar 24, 2003 9:50 AM
dealing with the world's biggest stoners!

i love my Dean, but it was a frustrating experience dealing with the crew & the very very long wait for my bike to finally get to me. actually, the wait wasn't so frustrating as being constantly told that it would be "shipped next week".

that said, Dean did excellent custom work on both my mtb & a friend's road bike. sorry, i dont' have a pic of the road bike....

btw, are you sure Annie wouldn't be able to find a good stock frame (maybe a compact) to suit her? her proportions are no weirder than mine!!

Amen on the wait....but the guys in the shop were pretty niceGregory Taylor
Mar 24, 2003 10:18 AM
It took a couple of months to get mine delivered -- the claimed hold up was getting the bike back from the outfit that did the powdercoating (Spectrum). The main honcho - John - was a pleasure to work with, and the guys in the shop were always friendly when I called (and that was often). My El Diente was a crash-replacement, and Dean cut me a great deal. They also gave me some ammunition to use with the insurance company (I was hit by a car) on the necessity of actually replacing the bike.

And...bottom line...I like the bike. I'll try and post a picture.
i heard that claim too..._rt_
Mar 24, 2003 11:31 AM
the powdercoat thing.....but my bike had no powdercoat!! ;-)

my favorite hold up was they were "waiting for the box [for shipping] to be delivered".

agree completely with you about the guys being really nice. John is a good guy & spent about 2 hrs with me on the phone getting my measurements & working out the geometry. getting him on the phone is something of a trick, but once you've got him he's a pleasure to work with.