Tallest Pro Cyclist

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Sep 25, 2009
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Jonathan said:
Would a taller rider need a different frame geometry (like non-sloping or something), is just a bigger frame good enough, or will they have problems with the frame's stiffness no matter what?
almost certainly he will need a custom frame if he is a professional.

geometry, materials, tube diameter all has to be considered. and we are talking about several different bike set ups for the same guy - for rolling stages one set up, for the mountains a different one with stiffer everything etc. wheels stiffness is one of the bigger issues.
 
python said:
almost certainly he will need a custom frame if he is a professional.

geometry, materials, tube diameter all has to be considered. and we are talking about several different bike set ups for the same guy - for rolling stages one set up, for the mountains a different one with stiffer everything etc. wheels stiffness is one of the bigger issues.
Most of the really tall guys who get to Pro Tour level don't seem to be that long legged. I'm 6' 1" but ride a 61cm Tarmac whereas Boonen at 6' 3" rode a custom 58cm with longer top tube. Not that I am in anyway comparing myself to Tom, but I think my body type (long legs vs short torso) gets mostly weeded out before Pro Tour level. Not enough lungs to supply all those leg muscles.
 
Mar 31, 2010
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Hugh Januss said:
Most of the really tall guys who get to Pro Tour level don't seem to be that long legged. I'm 6' 1" but ride a 61cm Tarmac whereas Boonen at 6' 3" rode a custom 58cm with longer top tube. Not that I am in anyway comparing myself to Tom, but I think my body type (long legs vs short torso) gets mostly weeded out before Pro Tour level. Not enough lungs to supply all those leg muscles.
Then you've never seen Soler he has incredibly long legs.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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From one tall rider to another bro; you don't have a chance. Dudes roll up and take one look at the size of my head tube and know they have my *** in the climbs

I am 6'5". and my only goals now are to be fit enough to spend long pulls at the front for the dudes built like 12 year olds. A good way to make friends btw

This topic comes up quite a bit at the local group rides. Of course the small guys say it doesnt matter it is all about fitness bla bla. I am 225 and above average fit for an old *******. Even in my 20's I had trouble competing at a sick fitness weight of 185.

It wasn't until I found Mtn Biking and the Clyde division that I had any so called amateur podium time.


my how times change. I used to eat up to Clyde at one time. Now it seams I am always a bagel and a beer above my goal


I root for the guys with the tall head tubes in the peloton. Hincape is quite tall. not sure how tall...
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Hugh Januss said:
Most of the really tall guys who get to Pro Tour level don't seem to be that long legged. I'm 6' 1" but ride a 61cm Tarmac whereas Boonen at 6' 3" rode a custom 58cm with longer top tube. Not that I am in anyway comparing myself to Tom, but I think my body type (long legs vs short torso) gets mostly weeded out before Pro Tour level. Not enough lungs to supply all those leg muscles.
I also think that a lot of the European riders ride on small frames. I seem to notice that when I do get a chance to see them race.
 
Oct 6, 2009
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Here's Mirko back in his Amica Chips days. Looks pretty long-legged to me. And yes, still skinny. (Wonder if that's a real Fondriest he's riding or something else painted up with the logo?)

 
Mar 31, 2010
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Hugh Januss said:
Yes, but still look at the length of his torso, it's much longer than his upper leg.
Lots of lungs in there. Frame doesn't look that big either.

Soler is 1.90. Don't know about the frame but Soler is very long.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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For the OP.

At 6'10" you will almost certainly need a custom frame as well as some custom components (cranks).

If you are anywhere close to being of normal proportions is terms of leg length vs. torso length, you will need cranks that are at least 180mm. There is a good chance your pedalling mechanics would benefit from crnaks as long as 200mm.

Since most bicycle manufacturers do not take cranks of that length into account when designing their frames, pedalling in the corners and foot overlap with the front wheel will be concerns that needs to be addresses.

Lennard Zinn is a renowned builder of over-sized bicycles.

http://zinncycles.com/Zinn/?p=5

I am 6'7" and currently weight about 205. My racing weight was 188 - 192 when a collegiate and USCF rider. I have a degree in biomechanics and have spent a lot of time studting the specific needs of tall cyclists.

I raced back in the 80's on a 63cm Cannondale with a 140 mm stem and 175mm cranks. I retired from crits and traded that bike for a custom-built steel frame of 65cm, still had the 140mm stem and switched to 180mm cranks. I felt much better on the longer cranks and produced more power, though they were a little tricky in the corners, but since I was focusing on road races it was a good switch.

As for the advantage of increased crank arm length:

The equation of force x force arm length = resistance x resitance arm length is important.

In cycling the force is the application of muscular contractile strength to the pedal. The force arm is the length of the crank. Resistance is determined by speed, wind, frinction in the bicycle, and rolling resistance of the tires. The resistance arm is complicated to fully calculate, but can be considered as a constant. For all practical purposes, the right side of the equation can be considered as a constant when calculating the benefits of longer cranks.

A longer force arm (crank) gives a mechanical advantage. This principle is the same for the rationalle of using crowbars are used to lift manhole covers. A crank of 180mm is 2.8% longer than a crank of 175mm. Thus, there is a 2.8% increase in the amount of force applied to the chain with the same amount of exertion from the rider. A crank of 190mm yields an increase of 7.8% when compared to a crank of 175mm.

If your legs are of a length where you can pedal a 190 with appropriate angle measurements for your knees, you will attain a huge advantage (almost 8%) in power from using the longer cranks when compared to the 175's.

Us big guys have a lot of disadvantages in cycling. We have more wind resistance to push through, have to lug a lot more weight up climbs, have to get more mass moving when accelerating out of corners, and have to pay more for custom equipment designed to fit our bodies. We owe it to ourselves to seek an advantage that can help to reduce some of those disadvantages.

I used to line up for a crits next to guys who were about 5'6" quite frequently. I noticed they were on 170mm cranks and I was on 175 mm cranks. That is a difference of only 2.9%. However, there is a 16.5% difference in our heights. It just didn't make sense to me. I realize there is more to determing crank length than the height of the rider, but for rough estimates sake...

I had the chance to test ride a Zinn bicycle that was built with 200mm custom cranks. I went for only about a fifteen minute ride, but it felt wonderful!

To summarize. If you want to get the most enjoyment out of your riding, invest in some equipment that is custom built for your massive frame. The stuff isn't inexpensive, so take some time to consult with as many expert frame disigners as you can. Consider longer cranks. Zinn's company can fabricate custom cranks for you and create a bike with your specific needs in mind.
 
Apr 17, 2009
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I know he's not a pro cyclist, but Bill Walton (6'11") is an avid bike rider. I believe he has a custom built frame. Look at the head tube on his track bike!


Compare him (neon jacket in the center) to Bettini (black jacket on right)
 
Oct 6, 2009
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According to Robbie McEwen's twitter, Stijn Vandenbergh of Team Katusha is the tallest man in the peloton - Weight 83 Kg, Height 199 cm
 
42x16ss said:
Eros Poli?

When asked what he wanted his headstone to say he said "Here lies Eros Poli, known for being tall and finishing last in the Giro d' Italia"
Was just reading about him the other day in one of my old Cycle Sport mags.. Apparently a great guy, as well as an absolute workhorse.
- He once went past the peloton on the grass along the side of the road.
- He had a 24 minute lead when he hit the Ventoux at the TDF, lost 20 mins on the climb & made it down to the finish line to win the stage
- Was 6'5" (196 or so).
- Married an Australian girl.
 
Beech Mtn said:
According to Robbie McEwen's twitter, Stijn Vandenbergh of Team Katusha is the tallest man in the peloton - Weight 83 Kg, Height 199 cm
Thought it was pretty funny that Robbie calls Stijn "short one" and he calls Robbie "tall one".
 
Jun 16, 2009
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laura.weislo said:
Michael Schär of BMC is 197cm. It's funny to see someone make Hincapie look small :p
:eek:What a unit! BMC have a few tall riders
Ballan 190cm
hincapie 190
burghardt 189
Morabito 187
Schar 196
Barton 188
 
Jun 10, 2009
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Michele said:
A little OT; talking of height, some years ago during an interview, Fiorenzo Magni (il leone delle Fiandre) said that he couldn't understand why nowdays you see many shorter guys compared to his era.
Bike weight could have something to do with this one. It's much easier in the modern age to build a stiff, light, safe bike than when Magni was racing, and this makes proportionally more difference for smaller riders (the percentage change in total weight of bike+rider is greater for a smaller rider). Using extreme examples of riders of 55kg and 90kg, and bikes of 6.8kg and 9kg, the 55kg rider saves 3.4% of total weight by changing to the lighter bike, where the 90kg rider only saves 2.3%.

The other factor is probably a change in race tactics - I would wager the average winning rider spends much more time riding in the bunch now than ever before. The predictability of breaks being chased down not only favours sprinters over breakaways, but also favours smaller riders who can sit in until the end of the day and still have a chance to win (e.g climbing specialists who can sit in until the final climb and pass Jens after he has spent 200km off the front).
 

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