That is what I am actually thinking about doing- finding an old frame that can be modified- hence my interest in the work and pictures that I saw in this post- someone who can take apart and re-weld an old frame. I am probably explaining this all wrong, but it isn't that he needs such large bike as the largest of them are a tiny bit too "tall" but we have found he needs a longer top tube than most production bikes are made with today- and stem changing doesn't do the trick- like I said before the 27" frame sized Schwinn has a standover of about 36", which is really for someone about 6'4" or taller, and is a tiny bit too tall(he rides with the seat in the lowest position), but the top tube on it measures 25-26", and it feels and fits him perfectly that way. So lowering the height and keeping the top tube measurement the same would be ideal.
I will have to keep a lookout for those frames for about $500- thanks for the tips!
if your friend really does require a bike larger than 64cm (and has proportional weight) then he'll be best suited on a custom frame. If your budget is in the $1500 range, my suggestion would be to purchase a lightly used frameset and build it up accordingly.
You can find very nice ~4-8 year old custom steel frames by the likes of Bruce Gordon, Waterford, etc. for about $500.
trek portland comes in a 63 frame saiz with a top tube of 61.8 (24 in) and standover of 87 cm (34 in)
Most bike manufactures list this information on all their models, so with a little research you should be able to come up with a short list of bikes and sizes that would be "about right" from that have him try a couple out.
You could then take that list of bikes in your price range and comparing to custom work or used bikes that show up. Finding bikes for tall or short people can be a long process, sometimes it takes a while to find the right bike.
Whoa! Sweet custom hauler there Todd Allen!
Are there any recent pictures of it completed and/or painted? Blast from the past thread is a blast.
Before going all nuts with custom bikes go get a bike fit somewhere; unless we are talking about some seriously weird body proportions you should really be able to get a bike that is fairly close to what he needs and dial it in with other changes.
You are going to be better off buying a new or used frame that is built to the dimensions he needs, cutting apart and reassembling a bike is tons of work, not as much as building one but after you ad in the cost of the frame you cut up it is going to be cheaper to build one.
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone- I agree he probably needs to get fitted first. He's about 6'3" or so, and a good fitting might give us more insight. Maybe that would be a good first step. Of course, I would love to find a perfect fitting dumpster bike, but if all else fails, a good fitting might give us a fresh start on what he really needs.
Thank you everyone!
I think in a city this size there are going to be a few sasquatch-sized frames showing up from time to time on craigslist. Frames so big that most of the riding public couldn't even hardly ride them without someone calling the cops on them. While they are rare they do exist and since there are so few people who they fit sometimes they are hard to move -especially on bikes that are cosmetically challenged or need some TLC.
I'd start with a fitting and find out exactly what he is looking for in a size. Keep looking until something shows up. With the money saved over having a frame custom built/custom modified one could afford to put some really nice components on a used bike and even have a nice professionally-done paint job. Often it is better not having to re-invent the wheel and going straight to custom built frames unless what you want is so far out that it is completely unobtanium. Like I said before, this is Chicago not stump Junction Kentucky there are millions of bikes out there.
I'd do custom only for something like that Cargo Bike pictured above. And only if most of the work could be done by friends/myself on the cheap.
Plus, unless this guy is fairly experienced in riding he might not even know exactly what he wants/likes. After spending a lot of money on a bike he might decide later that what he really wanted was something else. Now he is stuck with something that isn't quite what he needs. Selling a high-dollar custom in a weird size might not be easy as there is so little demand and a lot of money/effort might be wasted after someone decides to get something different. Best not to spend a LOT of money on something as a first bike when there is poor resale or trade-in value.