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  1. #1
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    Need help finding mountain bike! I am 6 feet 6 inches. help!

    Hope everyone is doing well! I am new rider and have never owned a mountain bike. I am looking to purchase a mountain bike and have been to a few bike shops and have done a good amount of research but I know a lot of the guys on this forum are experts since everyone has been riding for a very long time. I am hoping I can get some insight on your thoughts. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Here is my problem, I have 6 feet 6 inches tall and I weight about 250-260lbs. I wanted to know if a full suspension bike or a hard tail might be better fit for me? I noticed that after sitting on a full suspension bike that I was more comfortable than on a hard tail. I am looking to street ride and hopefully get into single trail rides once I get in better bike shape. I live in California and have heard it is better to have a full suspension bike. This was suggested to me by a BMC rep and he stated if I lived in Texas then a hard tail bike would be the way to go. The other problem I have is that most shops do not carry XL and XXL bikes in stock which makes it tough for me to pick the bike I want because I can test ride them. In addition, since I am a bigger guy and can apply more force to the bike I am hearing I should buy a bike with better components. I am looking to spend anywhere from $1600-2600. I have test rode the Santa Cruz Highball only. I really like the Stump Jumper 29er Comp which I can get for $2600.00 but have never tested. Is it better to spend the money on better components? Would I be fine going with the Rockhopper or Santra Cruz Highball?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamyjam34 View Post
    I am hoping I can get some insight on your thoughts. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Here is my problem, I have 6 feet 6 inches tall and I weight about 250-260lbs.....The other problem I have is that most shops do not carry XL and XXL bikes in stock which makes it tough for me to pick the bike I want because I can test ride them
    Yup, that's the reality of being tall and bikes. Look where you fit into this chart for U.S. Male heights...

    Tall Chart

    Anyone that is outside of the 4 boxes in the middle of the chart will run into more instances of not finding a bike at a shop to test ride in their particular size without it being ordered for them. Why? Because you are an "outlier" in terms of the average customer that walks through the doors. Floor space and storage space is limited in shops, so they rarely stock size HUGE. You could probably find an XL to test/demo, but I'd say finding a size XXL will be rare (as in slim to none) in most instances. So you'll have to go on opinions and experiences that others have been through.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamyjam34 View Post
    ......I really like the Stump Jumper 29er Comp which I can get for $2600.00 but have never tested.
    If you are talking about the full suspension Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 - nice bike. And it comes in size HUGE!!!! (XXL)

    Specialized

    The size XXL has a headtube length of 170mm compared to 145mm for the size XL which will help get the bars up for you. In addition, a little longer reach to the bars than the XL and a stem that is 15mm longer than the XL. All good stuff for a tall guy. Whether or not the XL or the XXL is the best exact fit for your particular 6'6" build depends on your body proportions, preferences and position on the bike. In an ideal world, you ought to be able to find a Specialized Dealer that will work with you on the 2 sizes without you having to pay any additional $$$ to get the one that fits you the best.

    That being said, the Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 is not a bike for "street riding". It is, however, a nice choice that comes in your size for riding singletrack.

    BB

  3. #3
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    Appreciate all the info BruceBrown!

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    I'm 6'6" 240 and started at 270ish... I ride a 2013 Trek Superfly 100 Pro. Depending what type of trail you ride it might be enough travel or it might not.

  5. #5
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    I'm 6'4 and 3/4", 260 pounds. I have an XL Stumpjumper FSR 29er. Love it. You should probably get an XXL. And build new wheels almost immediately.
    I like turtles

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I'm 6'4 and 3/4", 260 pounds. I have an XL Stumpjumper FSR 29er. Love it. You should probably get an XXL. And build new wheels almost immediately.
    Are you guys seriously blowing up factory wheels? In what type of circumstance?

    I'm riding what is marketed as a cross country race bike on trails/all-mountain on factory wheels and knock on wood have had no issues. I started at 270lbs too and not THAT much lighter now.

    I didn't think rider weight was that big of an issue unless you went aftermarket with the wheels...

  7. #7
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    I was destroying the wheels that came on my stumpjumper.
    Regular trail riding and pretty smooth. I built Salsa Semis (which are no longer available) with DT Swiss double butted spokes and brass nipples. Wheels have been bomb proof.
    Stan's Flow EX would be a good upgrade. If you buy a Stumpjumper and the factory wheels last, I'll be seriously surprised.
    I like turtles

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Are you guys seriously blowing up factory wheels? In what type of circumstance?.
    I destroyed a factory freehub body on my Stumpjumper in the first few months I owned it. I wasn't doing anything usual or extreme, but I weigh about 265 and probably applied some heavy torque to the cranks.

    I swapped out my wheels last winter, to get some extra strength. I went from 32 spokes to 36, and added a Hope hub with a stainless steel freehub body. The extra stiffness was definitely noticeable, and I didn't have any problems with the wheels last summer.

    To the OP, if you're considering a Specialized, you're likely ok with an XL frame. I'm 6'2" and ride an L, and I wouldn't go any bigger.
    Justin
    Salt Lake City
    2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29
    2006 Specialized Allez Expert Double

  9. #9
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    we're not all experts, but most of us have made bike purchasing mistakes. Hopefully, we've learned something from what we did wrong. In regards to the bike rep saying you should buy a full suspension, of course he'll say that. They cost twice as much. No doubt they ride better, but a hardtail will work fine to start with, especially on roads.

    Size can also comes into torso length vs inseam. I'm 6'5" with a 34" inseam and a long torso. I ride a 21" 29er, and it fit's fine. Anything larger, and the standover height is too tall for me.

    Also, bike dimensions vary on comparable bike sizes. My current 21" bike (mountain) has a longer wheelbase and top tube than my 23" bike (hybrid). Actual geometry between bike brands can influence the real size quite a bit. This is why test riding is very important.

    Call around, find a couple stores than have XL and XXL bikes (even if they aren't the specific bike you looking for) so you can get an idea of the bike goeometry you like. For a parking lot ride, a $400 bike will ride the same as a $1800 bike if they're similar geometry size. If they'll allow you to ride it outside, try to take it in/out of ditches or on some hills. Best if you can do a real demo, but that's not always possible.

    For demo's, search around for local bike stores/clubs/facebook pages. Sign up to all of them and keep an eye out for upcoming demos. Their feeds will also let you know of upcoming sales/events where you can meet other local riders.

  10. #10
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    I am not a tall rider myself but the parent of a tall teenage rider. I hope it's okay that I post in this forum. Through my son I am getting a sense of the geometry/proportion problems faced by tall cyclists. My boy is 6'4" with very long legs. He currently rides an XL Stumpy Comp 29er. He felt cramped on the Large so he got the XL. Since then he complains periodically that his bike is "too big". SIGH. I swapped out the stock stem for a shorter AM stem and adjusted the saddle to his comfort. His seat post height is almost max. However he still complains about the long wheelbase and maneuverability issues. Over the next year or so I will have him demo some different bikes with an eye to shorter chainstays. He just joined the high school mtb team and we have lots of great singletrack around here, therefore he needs a nimble ride. He tried a Large Niner Rip 9 and was not that impressed. Next up- Giant Trance X.
    Never give up, never surrender.

  11. #11
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    Want to try an awesome tall guy bike? Surly Krampus.
    I like turtles

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyDi View Post
    I am not a tall rider myself but the parent of a tall teenage rider. I hope it's okay that I post in this forum. Through my son I am getting a sense of the geometry/proportion problems faced by tall cyclists. My boy is 6'4" with very long legs. He currently rides an XL Stumpy Comp 29er. He felt cramped on the Large so he got the XL. Since then he complains periodically that his bike is "too big". SIGH. I swapped out the stock stem for a shorter AM stem and adjusted the saddle to his comfort. His seat post height is almost max. However he still complains about the long wheelbase and maneuverability issues. Over the next year or so I will have him demo some different bikes with an eye to shorter chainstays. He just joined the high school mtb team and we have lots of great singletrack around here, therefore he needs a nimble ride. He tried a Large Niner Rip 9 and was not that impressed. Next up- Giant Trance X.
    LadyDi - you didn't say if the Stumpjumper Comp was the hardtail or the full supsension version. But I will say that you are looking at all the wrong bikes. Forget about the RIP and the Trance if he wants to race mountain bikes on the HS mountain biking team. Way too much travel and sluggish handling for a singletrack race bike. Yes, they are nice bikes for trail riding and comfort (along with the Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29) - but they are not fast, nimble race bikes no matter what size. All that suspension, slack angles, etc... are not supposed to be race and nimble fast like an XC racer needs. Unless he is a genetic freak, he'll be riding at a disadvantage on most courses on those bikes compared to his competitors. Drop down to bikes with 100mm travel at the most and are designed for XC racing and keep the headtube angle at 71 degrees or more. More travel and slacker angles are only going to slow him down in terms of "maneuverability". And a short stem is not going to fix that!!!

    Niner JET 9, Niner JET 9 Carbon, Niner JET RDO, Specialized Epic, Giant Anthem, etc... in terms of full suspension race bikes and there are a plethora of others as well as hardtails designed for XC racing.

    I am the same height as your son and race on size XL 29"ers (JET 9, Salsa Dos Niner), but also have a RIP 9 and a Karate Monkey. The bikes with the shorter wheel bases, steeper headtube angles, less travel all are more nimble out on the trail.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by authalic View Post
    I destroyed a factory freehub body on my Stumpjumper in the first few months I owned it. I wasn't doing anything usual or extreme, but I weigh about 265 and probably applied some heavy torque to the cranks.

    I swapped out my wheels last winter, to get some extra strength. I went from 32 spokes to 36, and added a Hope hub with a stainless steel freehub body. The extra stiffness was definitely noticeable, and I didn't have any problems with the wheels last summer.

    To the OP, if you're considering a Specialized, you're likely ok with an XL frame. I'm 6'2" and ride an L, and I wouldn't go any bigger.
    And it's just as likely he'd be better off with the XXL. I'm 6' 5" and there's no doubt in my mind I'd go with the larger frame. I currently ride a custom Curtlo FS that has similar dimensions as well as an older generation Ventana El Rey in XXL.

    I've helped several guys in the 6' 6" to 6' 8" range get set up with bikes and they all ended up on an XXL.

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    I'm 199 cm and 93 kg (topped at 103kg). That is 6ft 6,3in and topped 227 lbs

    I have hade seven 29ers. Until I got my first one, I never felt truly comfortable on an mtb. So 29er is a good choice. You could go either hardtail or FS, but if street riding is a plan the FS will likely not be fun unless it has fancy lockout/propedal options or similar.

    Dealers never have big sizes in stock. I buy online.

    Some general advice:

    Basically, since you're 98th percentile or something like that, go for the largest available size regardless of bike. You may need a longer seat post depending on frame design. Gusset has one called Lofty which reaches 450mm. A straight one (no setback) may be good to avoid sitting over the back wheel with all that extension.

    Tech such as taper steerers, thru axle, massive bottom brackets are good for big heavy guys. 32mm or 34 mm fork stanchions too.

    Bikes that I run today: Felt Nine HT (2013-2014 geo) in XL. Giant Trance 29 FS in XL.

    Mind, some XC-ish bikes may actually feel to long/stretched. The Trek Paragon is a long bike in XXL, as is the Kona Unit in 22". Great bikes both though!

    Specialized have a few huge XXL bikes in their range. The SJ is a classic. According to BIKE Magazin (German) it's not among the outright stiffest frames though.

  15. #15
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    im 6 6 weigh 300. my new tallboy ltc in XXL will be here in 30 minutes!!!!!

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    I have to agree with the Stumpy FSR. I have the S-Works Evo carbon 29'er in XL and love it. Nothing broken yet, but if so, I'll chime in and let you know. BTW - I'm 6'4" and 235. Pretty abusive on my equipment. Custom bike fitting by a qualified bike-fitting outfit will do wonders for your technique, ability - and it will make things easier on your gear, too.

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