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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Think I will try here before the Clydes forum.

For the last year, I have been searching on and off for a drop bar, all-purpose bike for exercise, getting around town, bike path riding, some gravel. I am not interested in group riding, nor am I the type to dwell on top speed, 3-ounce weight savings, etc... I am most interested in stability, durability, and dependability. I plan on keeping this bike for a long time.


Height: 6'6.5".
Weight 255 lbs
Cycling inseam of 37" (I think).
I have broad shoulders and a 7'2'' wingspan (I'm basically an ape).

Other considerations:
I originally set out looking to spend around $1000. I am not willing to go over $2000 all-in. That means custom is probably a no-go.
I intend to trailer a toddler or put a seat on the back at least part of the time.
I would like at least Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival.
Disc brakes are a must... I don't know enough about mechanical vs. hydro to have a preference.
I don't have a problem with a 1x drivetrain

Because of my long reach, I think 61 cm frames are out of the question. As far as I can tell, here are some of my best options (listed with frame size/TT length/stack/reach):

Surly Straggler 62cm 623/628/421 (steel)
Used Niner RLT 9 62cm 605/636/406 (steel w/ carbon fork... have my eye on a used one that way out-specs my needs but is well under $2000)
Canyon Inflite XXL 617/637/428) (aluminum w/ carbon fork)
Canyon Grail XXL 631/644/440 (aluminum w carbon fork)
Used Van Dessel WTF 62cm 620/634/426 (steel)

None of my local shops have anything in store, nor will they order one without a non-refundable deposit, so I have to sort of roll the dice here. I feel like the Surly is my safest bet. It is steel and probably checks all of my boxes but I am very worried about the tiny head tube length. It is only 185 mm (the others are between 205-214). It doesn't seem like there are enough spacers in the world to make up that difference. That seems like it would put me in an awfully aggressive posture for a bike called the Straggler. The Canyons look to be HUGE in the reach department. The thing that scares me about them is the aluminum frame. There seems to be a difference of opinion on this matter and I am only concerned because I am not exactly light. Personal biases aside, is it a bad idea for me to consider aluminum? Finally, I don't know anything about the Van Dessel besides it looks to be big and has a funky twin top tube.

I haven't really found any reviews by Clydes close to my size who have ridden the Canyon XXLs. I find it hard to believe that they would offer such a large frame with aluminum as an option if it wasn't up to the task.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

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I wouldn't think an alu frame at your weight would be an issue. I'd be more concerned with the wheelset spoke count (to carry your weight), the dropbar width (you may need to go wider), and the crankarm length supplied with the bike.

The long and low thing is a Surly frame trademark, so I'd give them a miss.

If secondhand was an option I'd point you in the direction of The Paceline Forum Classifieds (WTB ad), as there's a lot of big guys over there with gravel bikes.
 

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I don't know the market super well, but i know what it's like to be tall. Some brands, like surly, make 1 size bike and then cheat the head and seat angles to make it seem like they're different sizes. AVOID. These are great bikes for shorter people and absolute garbage for the tall. If the 62 has more than 1* difference in head and/or seat angle from the 56... nope nope. You want a wheelbase longer than 1040mm for any offroad inclinations.

You want hydro disks. They're dramatically better than anything cable actuated, and are absolutely worth a considerable price hump.

Steel is very attractive at our size. The somewhat wooden tubesets that production steel frames use are lightweight and lively under us.

A gravel bike is a bike you can use for a long time, and a good one will be a great choice for a wide variety of riding. If your price point is based on finances, such is life. If you think you'll wear the bike out some day... use it to guide you to the best option, and not a rule. I consider a bit extra spent up front for hydro disks, a reputable set of hubs, and gearing you love to be well spent.


Regarding the huge canyons- my gravel bike has a 73.5 STA, a 20mm setback post, a 405mm reach, and a 110 stem. I'm 6'3 with a 6'5 wingspan. It's a custom frame and it fits perfectly. The canyons seem reasonable to me.



That's all i got. I'd say just the avoidsurlyavoidsurlyavoidsurlyavoidsurly is enough to make this a good reply. Surly XL sizing is wack.
 

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Just bought a large Cannondale Topstone "gravel bike."
Aluminum frame, carbon fork, thru axles front & rear.
I'm 6'2", 205#, 36" inseam, 75" wingspan.
The XL was too big for me, large feels just right.
MSRP $1750.
Shimano 105 throughout except crankset (FSA).
105 hydraulic brakes included -- they're good.
I even like the slightly flaired bars and stock Fabric Scoop saddle so won't have to spend aftermarket dollars there.
Since mine will see primarily tarmac, I swapped out the stock aggressive 40mm gravel tires for some 32mm road treads.
So far, seems like a winner for my needs.
=sParty
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to everyone! I'm disappointed to hear about the Surlys, but I really appreciate the heads up. Something seemed a little fishy with that head tube. Over the weekend, I actually got to ride a 61cm carbon Trek Checkpoint. It is out of my price range, but it was nice to actually get on a 61cm frame.

I have to say that I was able to ride the thing and not feel *horrible*. That being said, I did feel like it was kind of cramped even with the seat jacked up. Only got to ride with a 110 mm stem. While it was reassuring to learn that I could prooooobably make a 61cm frame work, I wouldn't feel great about spending all of that money on something that doesn't really fit without swapping in a bunch of aftermarket parts.

Also, in my very limited experience, the handlebars seemed to be way too narrow (44cm). I even question that 46cm would be enough. Is it unheard of to go even wider? Maybe my riding posture was the problem.

Speaking of limited experience, I found the ride to be way bumpier than I expected. I thought the carbon frame would dampen a lot more of the bumpiness that I experienced. Will steel provide a smoother ride?

Sparticus, I will take a look at the Topstone. I don't think flared handlebars would do anything but help me.

Surfdog, when did you order your Grail? I would be very interested to hear your impressions.

Finally, I thought the Trek was one heck of an ugly bike.
 

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I'm a true 6-5, similar inseam, 6-6" wingspan. I had a 64 cm 2016 diverge, and I'm betting that will fit you well, but beware of the goofy hub spacing, it requires a special low spoke count hub from hope for a replacement, or a different derailleur hanger/spacer to get a normal hub to fit. It was difficult to find this spacer from LBS as no one knows what the part# is from specialized... I now have a new 64cm diverge, i love it, but it needs wider bars, and I feel the shortened top tube on it may make it worse for your huge reach. Lastly, I have a 64cm Surly midnight special. You should ride one. While not a off road kind of bike geometry wise, it'll work well on gravel, and you can put massive 700c tires on it too... The reach while low, is plenty long for you. My two cents

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If you really have long arms and legs, the reach shouldn't matter so much. If you are longer in torso and femur, you need more set back, longer top tube, and a slack seat tube. Height is definitely near the upper end of production bikes, but it is still about matching the geometry to your body proportions. Weight at 225 is not so heavy to change anything, assuming you don't get something so light that it really pushes the limits.
 

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Missed this post. We have a guy in our club who is your size. He rides a Diverge. He's got a taller stem and the bars adjusted, but it works and he rides the hell out of that thing on road, gravel, etc. Getting fitted is KEY!
 

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Sent you a message, but some comments

1. Stick with carbon, steel is for hipsters. It won't perform better in any category besides aesthetics maybe? Aluminum is fine, but a rougher ride. No reason to ride aluminum bikes in 2019. All 3 materials are suitabley durable though. Only cheap carbon/aluminum/steel bikes break.


2. 46CM should be fine. What's your cycling background? If you're used to wide moto/mtb bars you just need to get used to something different. You don't want to be rocking 30" wide bars on a gravel bike.

3. Yes hydraulic disc brakes only. Don't go 140mm rotors, stick with 160mm (at least front).

4. Sizing: Lots of tweaking available with stems/spacers. You will probably want to rock something between a 110 and 130mm stem given you arms. No off the shelf bike will work for you with a 70-90mm stem. So don't even try

5. Weight: Again, don't let anyone convince you to worry about your weight with regards to bike selection. It's a non-issue. You will put far far FAR less of a beating on a cross/gravel bike than someone like Ryan Trebon (6'6", but much lighter pro CX racer).
 

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Sent you a message, but some comments

1. Stick with carbon, steel is for hipsters. It won't perform better in any category besides aesthetics maybe? Aluminum is fine, but a rougher ride. No reason to ride aluminum bikes in 2019. All 3 materials are suitabley durable though. Only cheap carbon/aluminum/steel bikes break.

2. 46CM should be fine. What's your cycling background? If you're used to wide moto/mtb bars you just need to get used to something different. You don't want to be rocking 30" wide bars on a gravel bike.

3. Yes hydraulic disc brakes only. Don't go 140mm rotors, stick with 160mm (at least front).

4. Sizing: Lots of tweaking available with stems/spacers. You will probably want to rock something between a 110 and 130mm stem given you arms. No off the shelf bike will work for you with a 70-90mm stem. So don't even try

5. Weight: Again, don't let anyone convince you to worry about your weight with regards to bike selection. It's a non-issue. You will put far far FAR less of a beating on a cross/gravel bike than someone like Ryan Trebon (6'6", but much lighter pro CX racer).
can't tell if troll post...
 

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Sent you a message, but some comments
1. Stick with carbon, steel is for hipsters. It won't perform better in any category besides aesthetics maybe? Aluminum is fine, but a rougher ride. No reason to ride aluminum bikes in 2019. All 3 materials are suitabley durable though. Only cheap carbon/aluminum/steel bikes break.
Aluminum is not fine. Go with anything but, steel, or high quality carbon frame if within your budget.

3. Yes hydraulic disc brakes only. Don't go 140mm rotors, stick with 160mm (at least front).
Unless you don't care much about stopping, go with at least 180 on the front, 160+ rear.
 
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