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Thread: Tall DH Rider

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    Tall DH Rider

    Hey All-

    I am poking around looking to hear from other tall DH riders as to how they have created a better fit in the cockpit. I am 6'3". I have an XL Session 88 with lots of nice extras. I put Pro Taper 1" rise bars and Twenty6 riser stem on it and it feels pretty good and the more I ride, the better it feels. Just curious if any other tall people out there have any secrets or if I really don't need anything else but more time on the bike. Just had an awesome two days ripping at Angel Fire and the bike was fantastic. I have been riding MTB for over 20 years but only into DH for a year so far. Looking for first hand knowledge and experience not speculation or the "I knew a guy who knew a guy who..."

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Devin's Dad; 09-03-2012 at 08:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin's Dad View Post
    Hey All-

    I am poking around looking to hear from other tall DH riders as to how they have created a better fit in the cockpit. I have an XL Session 88 with lots of nice extras. I put Pro Taper 1" rise bars and Twenty6 riser stem on it and it feels pretty good and the more I ride, the better it feels. Just curious if any other tall people out there have any secrets or if I really don't need anything else but more time on the bike. Just had an awesome two days ripping at Angel Fire and the bike was fantastic. I have been riding MTB for over 20 years but only into DH for a year so far. Looking for first hand knowledge and experience not speculation or the "I knew a guy who knew a guy who..."

    Thanks!
    How tall are you ?

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    6'3"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin's Dad View Post
    6'3"
    I am 6'4" and always ran XL frames w/ longest head tube I could find. Top tubes that were 24" c-c in actual length. 2.5-3" riser bars w/ riser stems - 30" wide as well. Its really going to boil down to personal preference and you should experiment w/ your cockpit as much as possible. You posted here so you must not be 100% satisfied w/ the setup. Getting use to a bad setup isn't a good thing either. I looked @ the Spec's on the Session and it is on the smaller side of XL's. Over the years so many shorter riders tried to convince me I should ride a large sized frame for DH ??? comfort & control are my concern.

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    I feel your pain, I'm 6'7 and ride a large IH sgs, it's a bit on the small side for me, however I've yet to sit on something substantially larger, my problem is that most bikes are too short

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky_Stu View Post
    I feel your pain, I'm 6'7 and ride a large IH sgs, it's a bit on the small side for me, however I've yet to sit on something substantially larger, my problem is that most bikes are too short
    Large IH SGS isn't a big bike in general - my 6'0" buddy rode one. There are quite a few XL DH bike's that would better suit your size. If I were your size I'd look into a custom frame.

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    I'm 6'1" and ride a medium. Then again, I looked at it next to a large and didn't notice too much difference and the medium was the only one available. My other bike is a large though, and I think my road bike is an XL. For DH I kinda like the smaller bike, considering I fit comfortably on it.

    Does it feel uncomfortable at all?
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    I am 6'4" and always ran XL frames w/ longest head tube I could find. Top tubes that were 24" c-c in actual length. 2.5-3" riser bars w/ riser stems - 30" wide as well. Its really going to boil down to personal preference and you should experiment w/ your cockpit as much as possible. You posted here so you must not be 100% satisfied w/ the setup. Getting use to a bad setup isn't a good thing either. I looked @ the Spec's on the Session and it is on the smaller side of XL's. Over the years so many shorter riders tried to convince me I should ride a large sized frame for DH ??? comfort & control are my concern.

    Thanks for your input, very much appreciated. What bars did you find that rise that much? I am having trouble finding anything over 40mm. Thx!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin's Dad View Post
    Thanks for your input, very much appreciated. What bars did you find that rise that much? I am having trouble finding anything over 40mm. Thx!
    Kore torsion bars. 31.5 wide and 2 inch rise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    I'm 6'1" and ride a medium. Then again, I looked at it next to a large and didn't notice too much difference and the medium was the only one available. My other bike is a large though, and I think my road bike is an XL. For DH I kinda like the smaller bike, considering I fit comfortably on it.

    Does it feel uncomfortable at all?
    I wouldn't say uncomfortable. Actually, the bike is great but I think I would like the fit better if I wasn't having to bend up my legs so much to get a good low flat back position. It would help with leg fatigue as well. The length is fine. Thx!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin's Dad View Post
    I wouldn't say uncomfortable. Actually, the bike is great but I think I would like the fit better if I wasn't having to bend up my legs so much to get a good low flat back position. It would help with leg fatigue as well. The length is fine. Thx!
    I think I understand what you are saying. I've noticed some leg fatigue also on longer DH trails just from standing up for a few minutes. Maybe this is due to riding a smaller frame, but I don't know for sure. Interesting...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin's Dad View Post
    Thanks for your input, very much appreciated. What bars did you find that rise that much? I am having trouble finding anything over 40mm. Thx!
    Azonic World Force. 31.8 bar clamp, 760mm wide & 75mm tall. If you don't need them as wide there are a bunch of tall bars @ Chainreactioncycles.com .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin's Dad View Post
    I wouldn't say uncomfortable. Actually, the bike is great but I think I would like the fit better if I wasn't having to bend up my legs so much to get a good low flat back position. It would help with leg fatigue as well. The length is fine. Thx!
    This is partially why I like long head tubes w/ tall bars. Just imagine a BMX bike w/ flat bars That would really force you into an attack position to get your mass rearward.

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    At 6'5" what DH / Freeride bike would you recommend? Or would going with a 29er be better for my height?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hound View Post
    At 6'5" what DH / Freeride bike would you recommend? Or would going with a 29er be better for my height?
    Depends what type of money you have but Santa Cruz V-10 XL is BIG. They had them on clearance for awhile!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianjenn View Post
    Depends what type of money you have but Santa Cruz V-10 XL is BIG. They had them on clearance for awhile!
    No, they aren't really. I wouldn't recommend them for anyone over 6'3". I've felt larges that were bigger.

    What you really need to look at is the "reach" measurement. It's the horizontal projection of the distance from the center of the BB to the middle of the top of the headtube. Anyone over 6'3" wants something between 17" and 18". Santa Cruz CLAIMS it's 17.5 inches, but I don't buy it. Companies don't seem to measure this well, so it's often best to look at wheelbase - chainstay length. That seems to give a better measurement of cockpit length.

    Example: My bike has an 18" reach, ~50" wheelbase and 17.75 chainstay (This is spec, and I've measured and confirmed it myself). The XL v-10 has a 47.9" wheelbase, "17.5 inch" reach, and 17.3 chainstay. Unless it's headangle is WAYYYY steeper (which it's not), or they are measuring with some weird ass fork length, then their measurements for reach are off. Wheelbase and chainstay are really easy to measure, so I assume those are correct. Their reach, as comparable to other bikes, is probably closer to 16.75 or 17.

    1. Demo 8's seem to have larger cockpits, check those out, even though they only go up to a large.

    2. I've never sat on an XL canfield, but those numbers suggest that the XL is actually big.

    3. The turner XL's numbers look like it's small, and they quote a small reach number as well.

    4. The devinci XL also looks like it might be pretty big as well.

    But once you get the frame figured out I CANNOT stress enough the importance of running tall bars. Do NOT run flat, or 1inch rise bars if you are over 6'2", or unless your bike has a really tall headtube. Running bars too low seem to be the biggest mistake people make when setting up the cockpit of a bike.

    And yes, I've spent A LOT of time and money working on this problem, trust me on this stuff. I have a stack of handlebars with different rises and widths, different integrated stems, I've machined spacers to give more rise to integrated stems even.

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    i (6' 2") run a medium large frame but run a 24" rim in back and a 50mm stem and bars with 40mm spacers under the upper crown. im finally getting back into a 26" rear, so everything im used to is getting thrown out the window.

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    I am 6'4 and I was riding a Large 2010 glory which felt really spacious and now I'm a Large 2011 Foes Hydro and I would say It's about the same size as the glory. Nice and spacious with about 4 inches between my knees and handlebars while pedaling sitting down. I had a Long 2012 Scott Voltage and I was super cramped. Felt good in the air though.

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    Minaar is 6' 3", what size V10 does he ride?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    No, they aren't really. I wouldn't recommend them for anyone over 6'3". I've felt larges that were bigger.

    What you really need to look at is the "reach" measurement. It's the horizontal projection of the distance from the center of the BB to the middle of the top of the headtube. Anyone over 6'3" wants something between 17" and 18". Santa Cruz CLAIMS it's 17.5 inches, but I don't buy it. Companies don't seem to measure this well, so it's often best to look at wheelbase - chainstay length. That seems to give a better measurement of cockpit length.

    Example: My bike has an 18" reach, ~50" wheelbase and 17.75 chainstay (This is spec, and I've measured and confirmed it myself). The XL v-10 has a 47.9" wheelbase, "17.5 inch" reach, and 17.3 chainstay. Unless it's headangle is WAYYYY steeper (which it's not), or they are measuring with some weird ass fork length, then their measurements for reach are off. Wheelbase and chainstay are really easy to measure, so I assume those are correct. Their reach, as comparable to other bikes, is probably closer to 16.75 or 17.

    1. Demo 8's seem to have larger cockpits, check those out, even though they only go up to a large.

    2. I've never sat on an XL canfield, but those numbers suggest that the XL is actually big.

    3. The turner XL's numbers look like it's small, and they quote a small reach number as well.

    4. The devinci XL also looks like it might be pretty big as well.

    But once you get the frame figured out I CANNOT stress enough the importance of running tall bars. Do NOT run flat, or 1inch rise bars if you are over 6'2", or unless your bike has a really tall headtube. Running bars too low seem to be the biggest mistake people make when setting up the cockpit of a bike.

    And yes, I've spent A LOT of time and money working on this problem, trust me on this stuff. I have a stack of handlebars with different rises and widths, different integrated stems, I've machined spacers to give more rise to integrated stems even.
    Well he has 1" on me 6' 3" isn't tall I can ride a MD and owned a SM Supermoto DH for a year or so. But I can ride anything My friend is 6' 5" and the V-10 fits him fine. Steve Peat is 6' 3"....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianjenn View Post
    . Steve Peat is 6' 3"....
    They aren't running stock setups. Last time I checked the had some tricks to increase the reach, like offset cups and such.

    I think a lot of people, especially tall people, don't realize the benefits of riding a bike that is "too big for you" according to conventional wisdom. Most people I know who are 6'3-6'5"ish have hopped on my bike and gone "whoa sh*t! This is huge and awesome!" There's a reason that midget Danny Hart is on a bike one size too big. Trust me, I'd REALLY love to try that new v-10 carbon if they made a proper XL.

    Also, when looking at moto you got guys riding bikes that are HUGE on them (yes they usually have some minor modifications to help the bike fit better, narrower radiators, shaved seats, etc.). JS and GOAT look like hobbits on their bikes, they seem to be able to control them pretty well too. (yes yes, I know moto comparisons aren't always useful).

    In summary, if you don't ride like a weak little fairy, bigger bikes are better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    Minaar is 6' 3", what size V10 does he ride?
    Yes and he and Peat look like goons on those little clown bikes


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    I like this pic a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    Yes and he and Peat look like goons on those little clown bikes

    I would liken it to a 62 degree head angle 99% of the people asking for them will not benefit from them if you are 6' 6" and bigger you may need a really big bike. My friend road my Large Legend and liked the fit.

    Tight twisty technical riding hinders long wheelbase bikes. Some like the stability of a long frame. I don't notice it much until the 36 tooth is about spun out which basically never happens around here. But again I grew up riding DH bikes with 67 degree HA and that 1:42 record on that hard trail was set on one of those back in 2000. So all the kids showing up with 61 degree HA bikes running it in 2:10 are almost 30 seconds off so that slack bike isn't helping.

    RC is 5' 6" so essentially he is a hobbit.

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    I am 6'3-6'4 and run a Trek Session 88 and Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc both in XL.

    I think you also need to consider the size of your legs relative to your body. I have an inseam of about 32inches which for my height it small but have a very long body. So for me having a really long reach is very nice. On my Tallboy I can run it stock and it feels great. On the Session it feels slightly shorter but I might consider tweaking the bars and stem to extend it a bit.

    These were the biggest bikes I had semi convenient access to in the UK as many of the smaller US brands are not sold here.

    @Hound Depends how big and fast you want to go and your weight. I would take my Tallboy down some DH trails but as soon as you get to the more technical sections and jumps the shock could struggle whereas the Session would munch it up! So really depends how hard you want to push.

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    Gentleman that you for such great input. I know at 46 I've slowed Dn quiet a bit. So I'm not going to be balling Dn on everything. My old faithful Trek Y-11 is an XL an to be honest it never really felt right. I always felt like I was over the front to much.
    Either way it looks like I'll be going on a lot of test rides this winter.

    @ JohnUK inseam is 36"

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianjenn View Post
    My friend road my Large Legend and liked the fit.
    Banshee has a 16.3" reach. That's really short for a large. Has he ridden bikes with a 17"+ reach? If not then him saying he likes it isn't saying much (I'm not calling him stupid or a bad rider, just making a point). I used to think 16.5" and 17" reaches were almost enough, but then I tried bigger, sooooo much better. My torso is pretty short too. I'm 6'7" and have a 37" inseam and a long neck. You gotta try all options to have a good opinion. Someday I'd like to try a bike with an 18.5" or 19" reach just for kicks. Maybe once I can afford some custom frames to get fabbed up for me!

    But don't mind me, I'm just of the opinion that people chronically ride frames that are too small for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ianjenn View Post
    But again I grew up riding DH bikes with 67 degree HA and that 1:42 record on that hard trail was set on one of those back in 2000. So all the kids showing up with 61 degree HA bikes running it in 2:10 are almost 30 seconds off so that slack bike isn't helping.
    GET OFF MY LAWN!

    Quote Originally Posted by ianjenn View Post
    RC is 5' 6" so essentially he is a hobbit.
    Hobbit is being generous

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    The longest bike in reach I know is the demo. 447mm. It has also a 1,5" headtube which you can use to stretch it out even more. The downside is, that the front is really low, so you will have to use a high riser bar and / or a lot of spacers.
    Another thing to consider is the short rear end. Therefor the wheelbase won't be too long.

    I am 1,90m and considering buying a new Gambler. I just like the adjustability of that bike. But I'll have to go also that way (to get more reach instead of less):


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    6'5", ride an XL Turner Highline with Diety dirty 30 bars. 50mm stem, so didn't need to extend the cockpit. I've ridden XC on this bike too, but with a 70mm stem. No complaints about the size.

    I'd urge you to spend more time on the bike before you make up your mind that its too small, Keep in mind that you can experiment with stem lengths pretty cheaply, this might help you decide if you need to make a change before spending a ton of dough on a different bike, etc.
    Check out my You Tube Channel

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    7'0" and riding a custom steel DH bike made by Hank Matheson from Bicycle Fabrications in San Francisco. It has a beefy single-pivot somewhat like the Santa Cruz Bullitt, but pedals really well considering. Top tube is something like 27.5 inches. Love the bike, although I am pretty new to the DH side of riding.

    Hank is super cool...brought the bike to Mammoth to ride with me and tweak the bike's geometry a little as needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirsam84 View Post
    7'0" and riding a custom steel DH bike made by Hank Matheson from Bicycle Fabrications in San Francisco. It has a beefy single-pivot somewhat like the Santa Cruz Bullitt, but pedals really well considering. Top tube is something like 27.5 inches. Love the bike, although I am pretty new to the DH side of riding.

    Hank is super cool...brought the bike to Mammoth to ride with me and tweak the bike's geometry a little as needed.
    ^^ I have ridden his bike, It is the most amazing burly bike I have ever seen. I remember when I saw it I was like "Oh that aluminum tubing looks a tiny bit narrow, wait, THAT'S F-ING STEEL!".

    Are you still running the same handlebar setup? Did you ever try wider (31.5") ones? If I remember correctly you were rocking 30" ones.

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    Yeah, I switched to some 31.5's and like them a lot more! Good call They are like 3 inch risers, too...that seems to be the big issue for me...builders can only do the head tube so long before you have to start limiting fork travel, and who wants that! I've thought about trying to get ahold of some spacers to get the front a little higher...I've seen pics of Steve Peat's bike and it looks like he rocks them....

    Now I'm just hoping the Gravity Logic facelift to Snow Summit means they will drop the weight requirement, since the bike is currently about 46 lbs, well over the 39 limit

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