So you want to get into cycling, and you just realized, you are way too tall for a typical mountain bike. Now you’re on the hunt for one that fits you, but what is the best mountain bike for tall riders? Good question and my recommendation are two-fold.
Diamondback Release 3 is my favorite full suspension bike, its versatility is unparalleled and the suspension holds up for eternity.
Diamondback Sync’r is my favorite hardtail, and maybe my favorite overall. I love the lightweight nature of the hardtail design and the way it looks… well, I love it.
Best Mountain Bikes for Tall Riders
Best Mountain Bike for Tall Riders
|Diamondback Release 3
Full suspension bike with lightweight aluminum frame
|Diamondback Bicycle Catch 1
Smooth paddle shifters
hand-built aluminum alloy hardtail frame
|Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail
Budget hardtail mountain bike
|Raleigh Bikes Kodiak 2
The Woes of the Tall Cyclist
I don’t claim to be a very tall person, but I have been on my daughter’s bike more than a few times. So I can say with certainty, being too tall for a bike is a miserable feeling. Tall people, I feel your pain – sort of.
In most sports, being tall is a huge advantage. A tall boxer can keep his opponents at bay with a quick jab. A basketball player can tower over his opponents with a skyhook to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. And tall volleyball players can quickly rise above the net and spike the ball down his opponent’s throats.
But cyclists don’t have that same advantage. The tall guys and gals out there have to find equipment that fits their size. And let me tell ya’ it ain’t easy.
Thankfully, most of the bike companies are starting to make a concerted effort to get the taller riders some equipment that they can comfortably use (speaking of equipment, check out these riding shoes from 510). That is why today, we are going to go over some of the best mountain bikes for tall riders.
Best XL Mountain Bike Period: Diamondback Release 3
I absolutely love this bike, as I do with almost everything else released by this company. The Diamondback Release 3 is a full suspension bike that is fantastic for trail riding. And the lightweight aluminum frame (the bike weighs 30-pounds in its entirety) makes climbing hills so much easier while making going down them at blistering speeds infinitely more fun. Not to mention, the frame is built perfectly for attaching camera mounts, something anybody who loves grabbing footage of their rides can appreciate.
The delivery of the bike is a nice touch as well because it comes almost entirely assembled – and I hate assembling with a passion. Not just bikes either, I mean everything.
A lot of people might be put off by the steep cost of the bike, and that is understandable. But coming in under 3-thousand dollars, it is still much cheaper than top-end performance bikes, while still offering almost everything the most expensive mountain bikes have to offer. The Diamondback Release 3 is the overall winner for the best mountain bike for tall riders.
Best Cross-country Bike: Diamondback Bicycle Catch 1 Full Suspension Mountain Bike
You might start to notice a trend soon; Diamondback makes some of my favorite mountain bikes. The Diamondback Catch 1 Full Suspension Bike is significantly heavier than the previous release, but it is also much less expensive than it. This bike still utilizes an aluminum frame for weight cutting, but the parts used on the bike are significantly heavier.
Most notably, the rear shock. In fact, the rear shock is routinely the part most owners of this bike replace first. Not because it breaks or anything, but because it is heavy, untenable, and does not let you adjust the rebound rate. This isn’t a problem for those of you riding cross country, but if you’re hitting hard trails, then the shocks won’t suit your riding style.
I love the paddle shifters on the bike though, they shift smoothly and are more durable than the twist-action shifters that usually come on bikes in this price range. The 29-inch wheels cover obstacles and terrain with ease and make trail riding faster and more exciting.
All in all, this is yet another excellent product from the Diamondback manufacturer and is an extraordinary value. If you are a leisure rider and don’t hit the hard terrain, then you’ll adore this bike.
Best Hardtail XL Mountain Bike or Tall Riders: Diamondback Sync’r
I just can’t help myself; I love pretty much anything that has the Diamondback name on it (unless we’re talking baseball I hate those Diamondbacks. GO DODGERS!). First of all, the Sync’r is a beautiful looking bike. What they yellow on black is aggressive and overall aesthetically pleasing in every way. The hand-built aluminum alloy hardtail frame is sturdy and lightweight. The wheels are nimble enough to traverse any terrain, and the suspension forks make hitting rocks, root, or whatever else is in your path almost unnoticeable.
If you are looking to get a mountain bike that is light and durable, then this should be your bike of choice. It’s great for anybody just entering the world of mountain biking. Hell, it’s even great for mountain biking vets. The Diamondback Sync’r is the best hardtail mountain bike for tall riders.
Best Budget Mountain Bike for Tall Riders: Diamondback Overdrive Hardtail
This bike is an excellent choice for tall riders who want a dependable bike without the exorbitant price tag. The Diamondback Overdrive is a hardtail bike, so there is less tuning you need to do on it (which is always a welcome sight for me), but still allows you to make adjustments to the front suspension. It even has lockout capabilities.
The brakes are decent (important for obvious reasons), and that isn’t something you can’t say for a lot of other “budget bikes” bikes out there. But there are some places where shortcuts were made. For instance, the quick releases for the wheel are a bit flimsy, and the saddle is in dire need of an upgrade.
With all of that said, you are probably getting more bike than you pay for, and no one would argue that as a bad thing. But if you are hitting trails that demand better equipment, I would recommend making some upgrades to this bike first. Nevertheless, this beast is the best budget mountain bike for tall riders.
Most Versatile Full Suspension Bike: Raleigh Bikes Kodiak 2
This is a beastly bike, and I’m confident that anyone who gets on it is going to fall in love. And sure, it doesn’t specialize in anything in particular, but it does everything well. From handling rough terrain to downhill biking, the Raleigh Kodiak 2 is up to any task you can throw at it – within reason.
This is a full-suspension bike, and it is adjustable as well. However, the suspension isn’t as durable as some of the more expensive bikes on the market. If you ride a lot, especially on unforgiving terrain, then you should expect to be changing out the parts relatively often.
The frame bike itself a bit heavy and combining that with the full suspension you might find this to be a problematic bike to work with at first. But after some time getting used to it and making those fine-tuned adjustments, you’ll likely fall in love with this bike.
It can be somewhat tricky trying to find the right size bike for you, and this is especially true when you are a taller individual. What might feel like a comfortable bike to you at first, can quickly become an irritant after a few hours of riding. Bikes are a lot like mattresses in that way.
Lucky for us, bike manufacturers have a guideline already set up for us, and the consensus is that a person 6’2” and above should be looking at getting 23” inch bikes a larger.
But that is just a guide; it doesn’t necessarily mean that a 23-inch frame is going to fit you. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that while resting on the saddle with your feet on the ground, the top tube of the bike is at least two to three finger spaces below the groin.
Also, while resting on the saddle, ensure your feet can rest comfortably on the pedals, and the handlebars are a comfortable distance away from your body. Too far and you’ll suffer from back pains, and if they’re too close, you’ll develop cramps with a quickness. Nobody likes riding a bike hunched over the whole time.
The size of your bike isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. In fact, I would argue that the seat and handlebar placement is even more important than the size of the frame you have. Of course, that is only if you have a frame that at least roughly fits your height.
Before going out and purchasing a new XL bike (21-inches and above) try making adjustments to the saddle height. This isn’t just important for comfort either, having the saddle in the right position helps you be more efficient while riding as well.
Hardtail vs. Full Suspension
Since you are getting an XL frame, your bike is going to be a bit heavier than most bikes. Add on top of that, the bike’s suspension and now we’re talking about adding several extra pounds that you may not want.
If the weight of a bike is essential to you, I suggest going for a hardtail bike over the full suspension. Rear shocks can be quite expensive, especially if you aren’t willing to spend in the $3,000 plus range for complete suspension bikes.
Furthermore, if you are a beginning rider, then you won’t gain much of a benefit at all from a full suspension bike. You just won’t have the experience necessary to traverse terrain that requires it.
That said, full-suspension bikes are a necessary investment to make once you decide to take mountain biking to the extreme levels. But we’re talking way down the line if you are just getting into the sport.
Final Thoughts -Best Mountain Bike for Tall Riders
Mountain biking has always been a joy for me, and I just figured it was the same for everybody else. That is until I got my 6’4” friend into the sport and realized, bikes just aren’t made for tall guys. Luckily there are good MTB for tall riders out there. I strongly recommend the Diamondback Release 3 as first option for the best mountain bike for tall riders.
Just like anything else, tall guys are going to have to spend more money on their bikes than us average dudes out there. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Take a little time to figure out what suits you best, and you’ll find a bike that you love in no time. Maybe even at a discount.