Yes - I know that Coker has made its Monster Cruiser for some time now, built around 36-in. wheels (which are also available for large unicycles), but I don't know that too many people take the Coker very seriously as more than a novelty beach cruiser.
DirtySixer, which is currently on Kickstarter, is billing itself as the only big bike for really tall people. More than a novelty, the DirtySixer is meant as a serious bike for extra-large riders who can't get bikes to fit them.
|Yes, that's Shaquille O'Neal with a custom DirtySixer. On the left is |
creator David Folch. The 36er looks downright "normal" next to Shaq.
On the other end of the scale, really large riders can also have difficulty finding a bike that truly fits them when the largest wheels available are 700c/29-in. (those are both ISO 622). Granted, building an extra-large frame around 622mm wheels should present fewer problems than trying to build an extra-small one on the same wheel size -- but it does present issues. Loss of triangulation (and therefore strength) in the frame can be one problem. Visually speaking, a humongous frame on small wheels can look a bit weird and out of proportion. But also consider that a big guy at 6' 6" probably carries a lot of extra weight, too, and think about how that weight is distributed or centered over such an unusually proportioned bike.
DirtySixer has gotten some good testimonials and endorsements - including one from the NBRPA (National Basketball Retired Players Association), and retired NBA stars like Bill Walton and Shaquille O'Neal.
After looking over the information and the testimonials on the site, I have to say that for riders over about 6' 6" or so, this could be a welcome development -- assuming that rim and tire makers can keep them supplied. Looking for replacement tires could prove difficult as there aren't many choices out there (the aforementioned Coker tire offers a couple styles, but there isn't much else available), and it's doubtful that many local bike shops would have such tires in stock.
Now, if they really want to see the industry step up with more tire choices and availability, they'll have to push 36er as a hot new trend. Everybody should have one! Of course, if that happens, you'll be able to hear my dismayed groan from space.
I sometimes take to ridiculing bike startups on Kickstarter, pushing old ideas or pointless gadgets as something new and innovative. But I'm inclined to think that DirtySixer might be a worthwhile enterprise. I mean, bikes in these gargantuan proportions are never likely to represent more than just a fringe of the marketplace, so it's unlikely that many of the big bike companies are going to invest a lot into it. But for that small segment of the population who would benefit from such a thing, it would be cool to see the idea succeed.