A short bike leaves you kneeing yourself in the chest, but if it’s too tall dismounting is a problem. Speed is of the essence in a survival situation. Cars won’t run if gas stations don’t get refills, but you can get everything you need to fix a bicycle into your saddlebag. Plus they have far superior maneuverability in a pinch. I went digging for the best info on getting the right bike for your height. When push comes to shove, and the world is falling apart, you need the proper equipment to survive.
You may be surprised to learn that not all six-foot people have the same measurements beyond height. Moreover, not everyone rides the same way or lives in the same environment. However, the good news is that if you’re six foot than finding a great bike shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Most bike frames have adjustable seats and handlebars, so they adapt for your comfort.
Size It Right
There are several great ways to figure out precisely what you need from a frame and wheels. First off, you need to understand that generic terms like ‘large,’ and ‘tall’ don’t mean the same thing to every manufacturer. Most provide a height chart to help you choose. Secondly, use their chart, but compare it to another method for the best fit.
An average six-foot-tall person needs a seventeen to nineteen-inch frame, but that’s not always the case. You can use a calculator to figure out what’s best for you.
- Road Bike– Leg inseam (cm) x 0.70 = Frame Size
- City Bike – Leg inseam (cm) x 0.685 = Frame Size
- Mountain Bike– Leg inseam (cm) x 0.66 = Frame Size
Hybrid bikes are a bit different, and you’ll want to go by the manufacturers’ suggestions for frame size. Additionally, most survival experts wouldn’t suggest a City Bike for an emergency, but if you plan to bug in and you live inside a city, they may be a good choice.
There are several frame styles not listed here. Most manufacturers will help you get the correct size if you want one of the more specialized rides. Cruisers, Triathlon, and Folding bikes also make excellent emergency gear. A cruiser will keep you comfortable and mobile in town while a triathlon bike may be perfect if you’re very fit and have a need for speed. Alternately, folding bikes are hybrids that are light and portable. The advantage of being able to take it with you anywhere shouldn’t be overlooked.
What you need to know about your inseam size is that it’s the distance from the ground to the crotch of your pants in centimeters (barefoot please, shoes throw off the measurement). If you sag your pants, this won’t work for you. Also, saggy pants are going to slow you down in an emergency. Loose is good, but too loose is a problem.
If you need to measure in your underwear, that’s fine too, but subtract a couple of centimeters to compensate for clothing. Having the right inseam size means you don’t need to worry about ordering a bike online. There’s no good reason a manufacturer should have a problem measuring their product if they’re reputable and competent.
Frame Styles and Sizes
Deciding what type of bicycle you want is a personal choice. Consider where you’ll be riding carefully. Also, look at who you plan to ride with and how you want to sit. A triathlon bike is fast and much more aggressive with a seat above the handlebars, while a cruiser has a lower seat and higher bars with a full seat for more upright comfort. The measurements vary between frames. Some people opt for two or three bikes to cover the spread as it were.
- Road Bikes- Predictably, a road bike is made for city streets. It’s faster on pavement than a mountain bike, but not typically as versatile.
- Mountain Bikes- These lightweight, thin wheeled bikes are designed to handle the ups and downs of terrain you find in hills and mountains.
- Hybrid Bikes- If you’re looking for a good compromise between the other two styles, a hybrid bike is a great choice. They’re a combination of lightweight, versatile and capable of handling pavement with ease.
- Cruisers- Built for long term comfort, a cruiser is a great bike for inexperienced riders or those who need to go long distances without the need for extreme speeds.
Working With Your Equipment
Simply put, if you can’t properly store and care for your equipment, just throw the cash in the trash. It will be less frustrating. Plus it won’t fail you at a critical moment.
Having a bicycle is an outstanding solution to emergency transportation. However, if you let it rust and collect dust, it won’t do you much good. When the SHTF, you need all your equipment operational. Learning how to maintain your bicycle is a great start. It won’t take you long to get familiar with all the parts of your bike if you try.
The essential parts to inspect before every ride are as easy as A, B, C. First, Air pressure in your tires is the difference between fast and slow, or perhaps broken down on the road. Second, Breaks are your lifeline once you get moving. Third and finally, your Chain is what makes the bike move. Keeping it rust-free and well lubricated is vital to riding.
Leaving a bike out in a leaky shed to fall apart is wasteful. Make sure you can adequately store your new ride. It’s best to keep a bicycle off the ground. A wall or ceiling hook or set of hooks is perfect. Keeping it from resting on the tires avoids unnecessary pressure on the wheels over time. You can build a DIY bike rack easily if you don’t have one already.
Some people hang bikes by their wheels, but this can bend the metal out of shape over time, causing expensive replacements.
Travel Light but Not Too Light
A bare-bones bicycle is fine for getting around town or riding on weekends, but you need more than wheels, a seat, and a frame in an emergency. Traveling light is always a good plan. Still, if you don’t have the equipment you need, you won’t get far.
You’ll need at least the following list of tools to make sure you can perform routine maintenance and repairs. Everything here is easy to fit in a small saddle bag or pack you carry with you.
- A pump to air up your tires is essential. You can get compact models that fold down and even attach to your frame.
- Tire levers help you change your tires.
- Tubes and a patch kit are compact enough to fit in a small bag or pocket of a backpack. You won’t need to worry about flats when you have everything you need to fix them within reach.
- Chain lube and cleaner with a chain brush are pretty self-explanatory.
- Allen® wrench sets (ranging from 2-12mm in size) are for adjusting and tightening various parts of you bike
- Open-end wrenches (6-17mm) are for repairs and replacing parts.
Best Bikes for Six-Foot Tall People
I checked around to find some of the best bikes you can ride. It’s never a matter of ‘if,’ but when you’ll need your emergency supplies. Any of the following options will keep you on the move when something terrible happens.
1. Shimano EuroMini Zizzo Via
Despite the name, you can pick up a Euro Mini that’s made in the USA. They are imported as well, but having the option to support local is always good. However, the first slot on this list didn’t go to the EuroMini for its production locations. The ability to fold your bike up for secure storage and transport is beyond useful.
Shimano knows their bikes, and they build well-tuned, easy to put together bikes. The weight, a mere twenty-seven pounds, means you can carry you bike easily if the terrain is too rough. As survival tools go, that’s a significant bonus.
- Kenda Ultralight Tires- Multi-terrain tires give you the best hybrid experience. The ability to take your bike anywhere and ride on any surface makes the EuroMini perfect for daily use or serious survival.
- Magnetic Catch- With a powerful magnet, your EuroMini will stay folded up as it should.
- Max Weight- This light bike can carry up to 260lbs. That’s plenty for most riders and their equipment.
- Some Assembly Required- You may have to put a few parts together, but it’s reasonably intuitive.
- Professional Assembly Warranty- Sensibly, Shimano does expect you to have a professional put the bike together if you want the warranty. After all, they need to know the job was done right to make sure user assembly isn’t the problem if you ever make a claim.
Find your perfect folding bike here.
2. Kestrel Talon X Ultegra Triathlon Bike
The Kestrel Talon X is our pick for the top of the line serious bike lovers. You can select your size for the perfect triathlon style ride. Every Kestrel comes with an owner’s manual and tool kit included, which makes it easy to fix on the fly.
A Talon X is made for speed. These bikes are a top choice for triathletes and anyone who wants the ease of road bike riding combined with low weight and pure, streamlined motion. The ability to change the positions from triathlon to road bike riding is hard to find, but a Talon X gives you that choice.
- Shimano Ultegra 11-Speed Components- As we mentioned, Shimano knows bikes and their components are so good Kestrel uses them as well.
- Adjustable Seat- Seat position can make a huge difference when it comes to your comfort on long rides, so they added the Kestrel EMS Pro Aero Seatpost.
- Super Easy Size Options- Because this isn’t a one-size-fits-all bike, the high-end Kestrels have unique proportions you choose based on your exact needs.
- Not Cheap- If you’re looking for value, Kestrel has it with ultralight, durable bikes. However, you pay for the quality you’re getting.
- Hard to Complain About- The most significant real problem with a Kestrel is finding negative reviews. There aren’t many because they’re fantastic bicycles.
Get in gear with a Kestrel here.
3. Schwinn Suburban Comfort Hybrid
The Suburban Comfort Hybrid is our pick for a hybrid bike. The modern and sleek appeal of this model is instantly apparent when you see it. Schwinn is well known for its great bikes, like this one. You’ll be able to enjoy the ride, even if the world is ending because of the craftsmanship, experience and thoughtful details make riders as comfortable as the name implies.
If you prefer a solid steel frame, Schwinn has it. After all, no one wants to worry about breaking their bicycle if they have a minor accident. Alloy rims give your front and rear breaks a stable and durable base. The breaks themselves are alloy linear-pull style, so they’re both powerful and smooth.
- Ergonomic Grips- Hold and ride in comfort with ergonomic grips. Over time a cramped hand position can be a real pain. Schwinn fixed it by adding these grips.
- Comfortable Seat- While there’s nothing wrong with a slim racing bike seat, no one is going to tell you they’re made for comfort. The fully padded seat on the Suburban Comfort Hybrid is meant to give you a much nicer experience.
- 7-Speed Micro Shift Twist Shifter- Micro shifters are excellent time and energy savers. They allow you to quickly change gears without too much distraction or wasted movement by putting the gear shift in easy reach.
- Upright Riding- An upright ride allows better situational awareness and gives you a comfortable ride. So why is this a ‘con’ if it’s not bad? Well, some people do prefer a more aggressive riding position. Plus this is another great bicycle, so I had a hard time finding negatives to mention.
- Assembly Required- While most bike riders won’t have much trouble following the directions, new bike owners may need extra help. Those who don’t know the names of the parts should learn the terminology before assembling or find a video walkthrough to help them learn.
Scoop Up a Schwinn here.
4. Around the Block Men’s Cruiser
A customizable ride designed for comfort is an excellent choice for city dwellers who have no plan to run for the hills. The Around the Block Cruiser has a rear rack for optional pannier bags or a basket. If you need to carry more equipment wherever you go, this is a solid choice. You can take your EDC or BOB with you easily.
As getaway vehicles go, a cruiser can be a great choice, and this one is made to look great, but also blend in. The darkened parts make it harder to see at night. Ultimately that means it’s easier to hide as well.
- Wide Tires- A wider tire gives you more stability, which is an advantage if you need to move, and you don’t want to have extra stability issues.
- Dual Spring Saddle- Two springs give you superb shock absorption. No one wants to deal with extra jarring. Avoiding unnecessary body pains can help you to stay mobile longer.
- 3-Speed Shimano Internal Hub With Easy-to-Use Nexus Shifter- Handle terrain more efficiently and get more distance out of your ride.
- Not Built for Speed- You’ll be able to coax plenty of get-up-and-go out of the Around the Block Cruiser, but it won’t get triathlon speeds. Sometimes you have to compromise to get what you need.
- Instructions Aren’t Great- This bike is self-assembly, so you need some basic knowledge of how to assemble a bike if you plan to order a DIY. To be fair, most online bikes require assembly, and they suggest you have a professional handle it.
Check out this cruiser here.
Every bug-out plan (and bug-in plans too for that matter) should include a secondary form of transportation. If you don’t ride regularly, make sure that once you order and assemble your bike, you use it. Preparing your body for what it needs to handle in a crisis is part of proper emergency planning.
Just like training with your weapons, you need to train with your new bike so you can use it to your best advantage when the time comes. Emergency preparedness doesn’t have to be dull, bicycle riding is a lot of fun. You’ll be surprised how often you find ways to enjoy your prepping once you get into it. A great bike will help you get around and enjoy yourself, even as the world ends.