Trail bike for a tall guy

Hi Lee,

I am helping my friend find a trail bike – the catch is he’s 6’6″ and about 220lbs. While one of the fantastic customs from Lennard Zinn would be great, he can’t really spend almost 4 grand. …

Right now he is is riding an XL (21″) Bianchi hardtail and it feels way cramped for him. Basically he would like a bike that is comparable to my 06 Stumpy fsr 120 comp – around 2 grand, but an XXL or 23″ , and not opposed to a 29er which seems like it would make sense given his size. We ride the demonstration forest in SC, 007 at Bass Lake, etc., and we always ride up, never shuttle. Any suggestions? Thanks –


Hi Michael,

As a 5-9 perfectly proportioned cyclist, I’m not in touch with huge bikes. But I’ll say this:

Seat tube height isn’t super important. Top tube length is the key. I can see your buddy riding an XL all-mountain bike with a really long top tube. For example, an XL Enduro has a 25.8″ top tube (and a 21.3″ seat tube). The bike comes with a short stem; a longer stem might create a nice XC position for your buddy. The Enduro weighs a few pounds more than a Stumpy, but at 220lbs he’ll pull it just fine.

The base Enduro is $2200. BTW, the Enduro is longer than the Giant Reign, Santa Cruz Nomad, Trek Remedy and GT i-Drive 5.

I hope that helps,

— Lee, the incorrigible Enduro fan

10 replies
  1. James says:

    If he can stretch to it I believe that Turner makes a “Sasquatch” size on most of his beauties. That might be the place to check.

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks Lee – I am stoked that one of our local shops trail-demos Specialized, so maybe they will have an XL enduro to ride. I wonder though why all-mountain bikes do not typically have suspension that locks out to make for more efficient climbing? Thanks for fielding questions from someone who is technically clueless…

  3. jb says:

    I’m 6-4″, and I’ve gotta tell you- I will never go back to 26″ wheeled trail bikes again (I ride a 26″ wheeled freeride bike too, so I’m not some sort of zealot). On a XL trail bike, my seat was so high above the wheels that I could never feel “in” the bike. The 29er was a revelation, and I highly suggest it.

    On a modest budget, you could look at the Astrix Monk- 4.5″ travel, single pivot, $1100 msrp. The Lenz Behemoth is a 5″ travel 29er frame, and Ventana’s El Capitan 29er is a burly frame with 4 or 5″ of travel, but both are closer to $2000 for the frame. Niner bikes has a forthcoming 4.5″ travel FS frame with a linkage that looks like the Balfa 2 Step, Intense has a 4″ travel Spider 29er out next month… there are a lot of options now for sweet FS 29ers. Rumor has it that Specialized is working on a 29er Carbon Fiber Epic race bike, so Lee, you should get on your boys at Specialized to build a 29er Enduro. I’d buy one in a heartbeat!

    At that height, once he gets on a 29er, he’ll wonder why he waited so long.

  4. Ray Bareiss says:

    I’m 6′ 5″ and 225 lbs. My XL 2005 Enduro Pro fits me perfectly with the stock stem (and spacers to position the stem at the top of the fork’s steerer tube).


  5. leelikesbikes says:

    You guys rule.

    – I recently rode a Lenz Behemoth (normal-person size), and it was nice — especially on silly rocks. When I get more time on 29ers I’ll do a full writeup. We have a medium test bike at The Fix …

    – Lockout is gone with the dinosaurs. FOX no longer makes lockout shocks. It’s all about pedal platforms. If you combine a neutral suspension like the Specialized FSR with a properly tuned shock and decent riding technique, you’ll climb just fine.

    BTW: Mark Weir and crew just won 24hrs of Laguna Seca on Santa Cruz Nomads with single rings. Mark says his Nomad is just as fast as his Blur.

  6. Michael says:

    Jeez you guys rock…I mean I more or less expected lee would reccomend an enduro (just kidding ; ) but now we have a lot of different choices to think about – thanks.

  7. Wayne says:

    At least one of the riders with Mark Weir is 6 foot 4 plus a little.

    Look at what the tall winners are riding and mimic them.

    Next time you are riding at Demo, drive over the hill and drop in at Trailhead Cylclery and talk to Lars.

  8. Ray Bareiss says:

    I agree with Wayne. I bought my Enduro at Trailhead, and they did a great job of building it and setting it up for me.

  9. gus says:

    dude im only a little guy, but the giant reign is seriously a good option, ull have to get the size checked out, but it terms of still being able to climb and go down its the bomb. my only sugestion, the crank sits really high, so make sure u put the seat up a bit higher than a normal bike. But u probably will work that out, only problem can be a bit pricey

  10. Big Perm says:

    I weigh 200 pounds and 5 foot 9 and i have a giant reign and highly reccomend it.My second bike is a haromary ss 29er and really like it to change up the ride.What was the question anyway?

Comments are closed.