Best Bikes for Tall People: Road to Mountain 22

Tall people are fairly lucky when it comes to bikes. There are plenty of tall frame sizes out there. But there’s a lot more to consider than simply the size of the bike. I hope this guide for the best bikes for tall people will help you get that perfect ride. If you want the fast answer though, check out the KHS road and mountain bikes below. They are the best bang for the buck tall specific stock bikes on the market, available from the designer himself, Lennard Zinn.

KHS BNT 29er Mountain Bike for Tall People
KHS BNT 29er
KHS Flite 747 Road Bike for Tall People
KHS Flite 747


Crank Length on Bikes for Tall People
Wheel Sizes on Bikes for Tall People
Frame Materials for Bikes for Tall People
Best Road Bikes for Tall People
Best Mountain Bikes for Tall People
Useful Bike Components for Tall People
Tall Cycling Clothes
E-Bikes for Tall People

Crank Length on Bikes for Tall People

While a tall person can often find a proportionally sized frame, the same is not true for crank length. Bikes of all sizes come with nearly identical crank lengths–around 175mm. The casual tall cyclist might not mind this. But if you’re going for performance, then you’ll want proportional cranks too. One study found optimum crank length to be approximately twenty percent of leg length.1 A good analogy to help in grasping this is jumping. You wouldn’t tell a taller basketball player not to bend his knees as much, right? Likewise, cranks should allow a cyclist’s hips and knees to move through a similar range of motion independent of stature.

Best Bikes for Tall People: Different Crank Lengths

I bought my first set of 200mm cranks from High Sierra Cycles. They sell a variety of crank lengths and types including integrated, carbon, singles, doubles, compacts, and triples. Zinn Cycles also does large cranks. KHS is producing larger quantities of a 200mm integrated crank that can be purchased through Zinn Cycles. Other sources for longer cranks include Universal Cycles, Davinci Tandems, Zen Cranks, and Custom Cranks.

Extra Long Mountain Bike Cranks for Tall People
Extra Long Mountain Bike Cranks for Tall People
Extra Long Road Bike Cranks for Tall People
Extra Long Road Bike Cranks for Tall People

The problem with longer cranks though is that they may require slightly different frame geometry, including a higher bottom bracket to avoid clipping a pedal on the ground. Some of the bikes I mention in later sections are designed specifically around 200mm cranks.

Wheel Sizes on Bikes for Tall People

Another aspect that bike manufacturers typically don’t scale for tall riders is the wheel. 29″ and 700c are about the same size and what are typically used on bikes for tall people. These do a decent job–much better than 26″ mountain bike wheels. Though there’s definitely room for improvement. There are many reasons why a wheel should scale proportionally with the frame. Perhaps the most obvious is that it allows for a smoother ride for the larger person’s greater mass. The next step up are 32″ and 36″ wheels. More on that later.

Best Bikes for Tall People Wheel Sizes

26″, 29″, and 36″ Wheel Sizes

Frame Materials for Bikes for Tall People

The tall cyclist is also likely heavier than average and thus should pay special attention to frame strength and stiffness. As far as frame material goes, steel and titanium have an advantage over aluminum in that they won’t fatigue as long as stresses remain below a certain limit. I don’t mean to say that an aluminum frame properly designed for the rider can’t make for an excellent solution. We do make airplanes out of aluminum after all. As some might argue though, airplanes are retired after a certain number of years, which may not be the case for all bikes.

Best Road Bikes for Tall People

Road bikes, including touring and cross bikes, are usually sized by their seat tube length in cm. The general rule of thumb is that when you straddle the top tube and lift it up to your crotch, the tires should be about an inch off the floor. But this only ball parks the size. There are other critical dimensions like top tube length. Getting a professional fit can help. Even better is taking the bike for a spin, if possible. A fairly common tall bike size is 64cm. Specialized, Motobecane, Trek, and Surly all have bikes in this size. The brands that do larger sizes include Soma, Gunnar, and KHS. At 6′7″, I found a 64cm Surly Cross-Check to work fairly well for me.

KHS Flite 747 Road Bike for Tall People
KHS Flite 747

The one road bike that stands out among the rest is KHS’s Flite 747 (designed by Lennard Zinn). It comes in 2XL (65cm) and 3XL (68cm). But more significant than its tall stature is that it’s built from the ground up around extra long, 200mm cranks; the bottom bracket is higher, the seat tube is steeper, and the frame is stiffer to handle the greater torque. It comes with some decent Shimano componentry and has a cromoly steel frame. In general, it’s a great bang for the buck given a custom bike could easily cost you double. I used to ride one myself, read more here: Flite 747. The only other stock road bike with extra long cranks that I know of is the Big Apple, which happens to also be designed by Zynn. However, the 747 is a better deal. Update: I just found out about another company making bikes for tall people, it’s called BikeClydesdale. Their proportional crank titanium bikes fit riders as tall as 7′.

If, for whatever reason, none of the bikes/brands mentioned so far fit the bill, you might consider custom. The most widely known custom frame builder is Lennard Zynn. At 6′6″, and with decades of experience, Zynn knows what it takes to build the best bikes for tall people. His company can do just about any style bike in whatever material choice you want. The only downside is they can be a bit pricey. If you’re looking for a cheaper custom frame in steel, there are a variety of other builders out there, such as Gunnar. If, however, you want something in a fancier material like titanium, you could try Habanero Cycles or TitanProducts out of China (just make sure you know your stuff and are certain about the frame specs). A Tall Life reader put together a fantastic article on bikes for tall people that covered some of these frame builders: Casey’s Take on Bikes for Tall People

6'9 Titanium Bike for Tall People

Best Mountain Bikes for Tall People

Like road bikes, mountain bikes are also sized by seat tube length (inches rather than cm). But this can lead to confusion as mountain bike top tube slope varies a lot more between designs. Hence it’s even more important to get fitted and take it for a spin.

As far as non-suspension mountain bikes for tall people, definitely check out Surly. For hard tale or full suspension bikes for tall people, I’d suggest looking at Kona. If you’re on a budget, check out Motobecane. One limitation of all these bikes though is that they come with and are designed for standard crank lengths.

KHS BNT 29er Mountain Bike for Tall People
KHS BNT 29er

Luckily for us tall riders, KHS also sells a stock mountain bike designed entirely around 200mm cranks: BNT 29 designed by Lennard Zynn. It’s an extremely versatile and well proven hard tail design. As with the Flite 747, mid range Shimano componentry is used along with a cromoly steel frame to get the best bang for the buck. It comes in both XXL and XXXL.

Another spectacular options is the DirtySixer. It’s built about 36″ wheels and is specifically for tall people (32″ available now too). Granted it doesn’t have a suspension system like many other mountain bikes. But the extra large wheels should do a fine job at smoothing out the ride. These bikes are also designed around 200mm cranks and the frame and components are beefed up for heavy riders putting out a lot of torque.

  • Oversized frame tubing
  • Extra strong fork designs
  • Proportional crank lengths
  • Wide handlebars with oversized diameters (31.8mm at hand grips and soon 34.9mm)
  • Large disc brakes
  • Longer wheelbase (for greater stability)
  • Thicker axles (15 and 20mm available)

36erWheely Best Bikes for Tall People

Not surprisingly, DirtySixer is endorsed by the National Basketball Retired Player Association. They have built bikes for the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Walton, Dr J, and Michael Bradley. I wrote more about the DirtySixer here: Proportional Bikes for Tall People

Shaquille O'Neal Gets a DirtyDirty 36er bike for tall people

If for some reason none of the above options work for you, then you could always go the custom route. DirtySixer does make custom. If you want a suspension mountain bike, then check out Zinn Cycles.

Useful Bike Components for Tall People

Below are some useful components to make any old bike more tall friendly. Longer seat posts let you stretch out your legs, bar risers and bar ends let you sit up more, and longer stems can be a substitute for a longer top tube.

Handle Bar Raiser
48cm Nitto Drop Handlebars
Bike Bar-Ends
Bike Stem Available in 140mm Length
Extra Long 450mm Seat Post
Flat Handlebars 800mm Wide

Tall Cycling Clothes


The only thing worse than poorly fitting clothes is poorly fitting spandex clothes. You can avoid this with Aerotech’s tall cycling clothes. They make some good quality stuff in a variety of colors and for a reasonable price. I really like their jackets in particular. Check out my review of them here: Tall Cycling Jersey and other Tall Cycling Clothes

Zinn Cycles

That’s right, Zinn does more than just bikes! I haven’t tried any of their stuff out personally yet. But if it is half as good as their bikes, it’s worth checking out!

KHS BNT 29er Mountain Bike for Tall People
Tall Men’s Cycling Jersey
KHS BNT 29er Mountain Bike for Tall People
Tall Men’s Cycling Bib Shorts
KHS BNT 29er Mountain Bike for Tall People
Tall Men’s Cycling Jacket

E-Bikes for Tall People

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular modes of transportation. They maintain most of the benefits of cycling while getting you from A to B faster and easier. The problem though is that most e-bikes don’t come in tall sizes, particularly the sleek ones with built in batteries. But lucky for tall riders, there are plenty of e-bike kits out there that can be assembled on your existing tall friendly bike. As an example, I built up my own 64cm Surly Cross-Check with a kit from Check out the details here: Tall Surly Cross-Check E-Bike.

BionX E-Bike Kit
Inexpensive E-Bike Kit

Surly Cross-Check Ebike for Tall People Built from Kit


  1. Martin JC, Spirduso WW. Determinants of maximal cycling power: Crank length, pedaling rate and pedal speed. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001;84(5).

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22 thoughts on “Best Bikes for Tall People: Road to Mountain

  • Stefan

    There are several options for tall riders out there. The dirty sixer is a nice idea but even the basic bike is very expensive. Plus finding 36″ tubes and tires will be a challenge. As for touring and city bikes there are two German companies who make bikes for tall riders.
    – Fahrradmanufaktur in Berlin. They have the XXL with 67 cm (26.4″) frame size with 700c wheels. Either with 8 speed Nexus internal hub or 27 speed Deore. Even with import shipping and duty cost this bike is a fraction of the price for the dirty sixer.
    – Utopia: The London comes in frame size all the way to 73 cm (28.7″). Totally customizable with various shifter and brake systems.
    Another option is the Pedersen:
    Both the London and the Pedersen can be purchased as ebikes as well.

    I personally have switched to a recumbent and there are several options for tall riders. Especially in regards to long wheel base recumbents. I ride a 1999 BikeE XL. This company went out of business in 2003 but used bikes can still be found.

    • Tall Life Post author

      The London looks awesome and huge! I would love to try that. The Pedersen now is just bizarre, would also love to try that 🙂 I’m guessing though that these bikes are all still based around standard crank lengths? Thanks for writing in Stefan, really interesting bikes for tall people.

  • Jim J

    Mindful that no one has commented on this post for eight months, I was hoping someone could educate me on a nagging bicycle question.

    I am 6’8″, ride regular 700c/29er bicycles with big frames, and have never been able to wheelie. Is it an issue with my high center of gravity, lack of skill, or something else? I see the dirtysixer guy is able to wheelie and am intrigued…

    • Tall Life Post author

      You’re on the right track. It’s the taller person’s higher center of gravity in relation to the bike’s axle that is the issue. But on a big wheeled bike for tall people, the perpendicular distance from the axle to their center of gravity is less, thereby a smaller moment arm that can be rotated more easily. With a Dirty Sixer you will likely pop a wheel no problem.

  • Dan

    Quick comment on crank length and overall bike fit.

    For anyone tall, I would highly recommend getting a bike fit and flexibility assessment done by a physiotherapist experienced in bike fitting to get your basic fit numbers that you can use to narrow down your bike options. Most talls are easily in custom frame territory, or at the extreme limit of mainstream manufacturer offerings although some brands like Surly, Soma and German or Dutch brands for example tend to have something off the shelf that can be made to work for up to about 6’8″ with tweaking. After that you’re in the realm of Zinn, DirtySixer or another custom solution.

    Don’t forget weight limitations either, I’m not a huge guy at 197cm and 102kg (6’5″ and 225lbs) but I exceed the total system weight limit of my XXL carbon road bike and the factory supplied wheelset was good for about 87kg which I found out the hard way when they taco’d under load…ouch. For general ‘not fast’ riding I have a Surly Disc Trucker, with a 150kg (330lb) rider and luggage weight limit which is an incredibly robust bike.

    Cranks – Many of us suffer from a lack of flexibility due to our size, the effect of which is amplified when we try to fold ourselves up on a bike! In my own case, I was placed in an upright ‘road endurance’ style position to help my back and told to get shorter cranks not longer, due to poor hip flexibility! Shorter cranks did the trick for me, I don’t get hip pain anymore. Went counter to what I had believed over the years and I would never had thought of it myself without the professional opinion.

    • Tall Life Post author

      I really wonder just how much of a correlation there is between height and hip range of motion. Definitely something to look into at some point… If it is true that tall people tend to have significantly less, then it could be that non-proportional cranks are a blessing in disguise.

  • Bird

    I am a woman , 75 years old and need a bike that will allow me to get a stretch or extend my legs without putting me so high that I can stop by being my tip toes. I know there is a bike for me. I presently have a great YOLO. I can not stop without being on my toes. I appreciate your suggestions.

  • Jim

    For those of you using this page as a reference, what greatly improved my bike fit was purchasing Soma Condor 2 Handlebars, in XXL, for my 66cm Soma Wolverine. They are a “riser” drop bar if that makes any sense. These handlebars, along with an appropriate stem, increased the “stack” measurement of my bike enough to make me comfortable. They also may help if you have a too small frame that you want to try to salvage. Please be aware that they are WAY overpriced, $119.99, but they were worth it for me.

    While Soma does make some of the largest non-custom frames, pay close attention to the seat post clamp if you get one. The Soma ES, for example, has an integrated seat post clamp, and heavy riders will get seat post slippage. The Wolverine has an external seat post collar which is much better.

    The main issue with the Wolverine frame is that it is very flexy during heavy pedaling, and the sliding dropouts are a little delicate. I’m sure the frame will be broken within 5 years, but I’m enjoying it now!

  • Superstars

    Looking for a mountain type bike for my client. He is 7’6” tall and weighs about 450 lbs, could you offer some examples to choose from, he is on a budget, and of course wants a good bike that will last him, but not cost 2arms and half a leg !

    • Tall Life Post author

      I think the largest versions of the bikes I linked at the top of this page are your best bet. They’re pretty much the only bikes for tall and big men that are manufactured in volume. Otherwise, at his height and weight, you’ll have to go custom which would be extremely expensive. Make sure to talk with a manufacturer before buying a bike as his dimensions are definitely challenging to accomodate.

    • Tall Life Post author

      The bikes I linked to at the top of the post should do a fine job. You could get a kit to electrify them or I’m pretty sure the same company does electric bikes too.

  • Mike A

    I’m 6’9″ tall and weigh about 300. I’ve had several custom built 29ers and also a custom road bike but the best thing I’ve ever done is to have a local shop bike builder make me a custom 36er. He made everything over the top strong and big including using a tandem hub in the back and a snow bike hub in the front. He also custom built the handlebars extra wide. I commute to work on it and take it mountain biking.
    Check it out:

    • Tall Life Post author

      Hi Mike, thanks for writing in and the link, that bike looks really nice. I’m only 6’7″ tall and 215 lbs but I would also benefit from a custom tall bike as my current extended stem is doing a lot of creaking these days! That’s a clever idea about using a tandem hub. Nice to see more builders doing 36ers bikes for tall people too.

  • Morgan

    Hi all,
    6 ft 7 with a 40 inch inseam, carrying 107 kg’s and some advice?.

    I went custom, then Zinn for MTB and got into Lennard’s long crank theory, starting off at 210mm, then down to 200 and eventually 195mm (hint, High Sierra Cycles sell the same cranks for less). I now own a Ventana El Rey with a 25 inch frame. Nice. But now looking to return to a hardtail hence why I’m on here.

    Having looked for a road bike for years I ended up with a KHS Flite 747 in 3xl. Nice enough for a starter bike but after a bit more research I’ve ended up with a Canyon Endurace in 2xl. I did lots of research on measurements and the Canyon only ends up about a cm different compared to the KHS. Except with a whole lot less metal (I went aluminium which weighs under 10kgs instead of the 12+ for the KHS), top end Ultegra components, tubeless wheelset and disc brakes,and stock components, including 175mm cranks. Now I get to ride a stock bike that isn’t made heavy for heavy people (apologies if you are, but note the Canyon is rated to 120kg’s all up).

    I’ve found that the 175mm crank length works really well and is now my goto crank, mainly as it’s stock and I no longer have to suffer with supply issues (I’m in Australia and freight is expensive), a square taper bottom bracket or spend a lot more $ for cranks for an external bottom bracket (which are stiffer and better for my long leg levers) , increased weight, cramped chest when on the drops and more knee niggles than on the shorter cranks. The reduction in power is made up for by the ability to spin faster and the lighter, stiffer bike-I feel stronger with the Canyon and crank set up.

    Hope that helps. Cheers

  • 2Tall

    “ Tall people are fairly lucky when it comes to bikes.”

    You gotta be joking, right?!? Every single bike I see in a retail store is made for people up to maximum 6’2”, i don’t want to pour out thousands for a custom made bike for tall people which will look so ugly in the end with large frame and disproportionately small wheels. Being tall sucks unless we lived in caveman times, which we don’t anymore.

    • Tall Life Post author

      Relatively speaking. For instance, relative to cars. And our greater tendency towards injury would have been much more problematic as cave people. But totally agree we have big challenges, that’s why I built this site, to come up with solutions and share them!