Cyclists are usually fairly petite characters with the lightest pros always being the ones who dominate races but the great thing about cycling is that it is a sport for all shapes and sizes and one former NBA star is testament to that.
Darnell Hillman, known to many basketball fans as Dr Dunk for his Slam Dunk Contest title in 1977, spoke to American wheel manufacturer Zipp about getting into cycling while showing off his huge Surly Disc Trucker.
Hillman, who registers in at a massive 6ft 9inches or just over 205cm, is what you’d expect of a basketball player but how does that translate into a bicycle? Well for many brands, the biggest bike you can get your hands on is a 61cm but Hillman needs something a little bigger with a purpose built 64cm bike being created just for him.
The bike is part of a programme in the states to get retired professionals across sports into cycling to maintain their fitness.
For Hillman it’s just another way to push himself to the limit. When asked about sprinting on his huge bike, the former Indiana Pacer told Zipp, “I really wanted to just see how fast I could get it up to speed and how it was going to hurt so I could then figure out, OK, here’s what you need to do to build before you do this again.”
Using a steel frame, the bike is actually kitted out with some serious tech utilising SRAMs Force 1 HRD hydraulic 1x groupset. This combined with Zipp’s own Firecrest 303 carbon disc brake clinchers make it a mean machine for even the most ardent of riders.
For such a tall rider the bike will need matching components with a whopping 400mm seatpost and a staggering 140mm stem out front, ensuring Hillman fits the bike just right.
The gigantic rider has said that his new bike has seen him fall in love with speed on wheels. “Anything that has to do with speed or wheels, I’m watching it. I watch motorcycle races. I watch stock cars. I watch IndyCars. The Tour de France. I have a Ninja motorcycle…. Riding my motorcycle and then riding this bike, the sensations are very similar. I really enjoy that.”
We’d sure love to draft behind him on a group ride!