Below is a guest post about bikes for tall people by a long time reader, 6’7 Casey. Please note that opinions on frame material do vary and a frame builder can help in deciding on what’s right for your intended use and budget.
In my humble opinion, there are only two bike material choices for those of us on the right side of the bell shaped curve. Those materials are steel and titanium. I am sure there are those out there over 6’4” that are under 220 lbs or 100 Kg, but for the most part we were all at that weight in high school. Steel is a great metal for the bigger guy, but titanium is the king. All the benefits of Steel are found in titanium, with substantially less weight, and no rust. If you crash (like we all do at some point) on a steel or titanium bike you can get back on the bike with confidence, with carbon and aluminum I do not believe that to be the case. Personally, I would never get on a carbon bike, but maybe I am a bit old school. Titanium has the final benefit of always looking brand new. No matter how many scratches, drops, and general poor care given to a titanium bike, five minutes with some scotchbrite, and the bike looks brand new again.
As with everything else it seems, the over 6’4 person simply cannot go down to the local bike shop and get a bike off the rack. Bike sales persons will be more than happy to sell us a bike made for a person a foot shorter, and tell us what a good fit it is, but that is another story. The bad news is we really have to get a custom bike, the good news is we get to get a custom or specialized bike.
How can this be good news? Well, there are a few options for getting a good steel or titanium bike frame. On the steel side, companies like Gunnar Cycles, USA go up to a 68cm frame in most of the frame styles they sell and Surley makes some really good bikes in a 64cm. KHS makes the Flite 747, designed by Mr. Zinn, which is the best off-the-shelf steel bike out there for anyone over 6’3. (Disclosure, I own one.)
Then there is titanium. In my experience just about every manufacture of titanium bikes will, for a bit more money, build a frame for the tall person. Zinn also sells the 747 in titanium under the name Dolomite, which will set you back about $4,200 for the frame alone. I had the 747 frame done in titanium by Titanproduct.com for a bit over $1,000 but you want to make sure you have a pretty good understanding of what you are ordering before you send $1,000 to a paypal account in China.
In my experience Habenero Cycles is the best value when it comes to titanium bikes (I currently have six of them in the house.) What drew me to Habenero in the first place was they had “stock” frames in a 64cm, and the 64cm frames were no more money than all the other sizes. What I have found is Habenero actually sells a few custom frame bigger than the 64cm, and at a price point that is competitive with an off the shelf bikes with similar components. A “stock” frame (in any standard size up to 64cm) sells for $995 plus shipping. Mark at Habanero Cycles advertises “custom” frames for $1,595.