The Other Crank Length Question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: ionsmuse's Avatar
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    The Other Crank Length Question

    I've always used 175's, cause that's what I've had. I'm 5'11" swith long legs, and never thought such a thing would be a big deal. Singlespeeding's mostly about technique and will over technology, anyhow.

    A while ago, I got sucked in and bought some compact drive Race Face North Shore XS cranks, very pretty in pewter, 165 mm. Good for the mountain fixie on down the road? Whatever, materialism.

    Issue is, they're too pretty and burly not to use, so one they went (to the rigid Monkey) this evening. Raised the seatpost a bit to compensate. Riding around the driveway in the dark they feel fine. Tomorrow, the singletrack trial.

    I can think of all kinds of goofy "improve the spin" and "mo' pedal clearance" reasons for doing it, but like most good things it's just arbitrary. For the moment, I like.

    We shall see.

  2. #2
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    I'm more of a "leverage = mo'power" kinda person so longer 180mm cranks for me. I'm 6'1" so I probably need the longer cranks anyway but I do notice I can spin easier/smoother with 175 or 170mm cranks. But 165mm seems a little extreme in my universe but I'm totally interested in how it works out for you.

  3. #3
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    Shorter cranks can be compensated for with a lower gear ratio. I have a 36" inseam and I rode 170s offroad for years with no problem.
    Wanted: broken Titec 2 bolt seatpost, any size

  4. #4
    further on
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    Not sucked In

    COOL..
    have been of the same leverage mindset being 6' 2" using 175's ya'll got me reconsidering due the SS "line diversion" often because 175 length, trail &cadence sticking pedal/crank where it'd be best be cleared of strike. A recent upgrade Profile/XTR has got me fixed on the Saint I originally considered. Even more now'cause bike shop has the 170 in which the rigidity over 175 steel probably moot, (then couldn't get 175Saint) and paidmore for the current setup, a Saint is much easier on th eye's too...

    Any feedback?

  5. #5
    Out spokin'
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    It's a matter of fit, not style........

    ........of course style never hurts, once the fit is right.

    Bicycle crank length.


    --Sparty
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  6. #6
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    Reputation: ionsmuse's Avatar
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    More an experiment than anything, I mostly expect to switch back in fairly short order. I realize that according to "formula" (Zinn et al) I'd be riding 185's or thereabouts.

    I am skeptical of anything that claims too rigorously to be "objective" w/r/t cycling. Too many variables, too much human.

  7. #7
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    182-185mm are my "normal" crank lengths but I do have a set of 165mm arms I want to experiment with, maybe when I run my fixie wheel.

    Generally I feel like I am just shuffling my feet with 175s and changing gearing does nothing to change that.
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  8. #8
    Retro Grouch
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    Fast twitch/slow twitch..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    ........of course style never hurts, once the fit is right.

    Bicycle crank length.


    --Sparty
    Muscles that is. A factor not worked into the formula. Per the formula I am a 175mm kinda guy; but I also lack fast twitch muscles (not sans, just fewer than most) . After training to spin up the hill always resulted in failure, I found I could "grind" with a higher gear and was always faster then the spin. So for my SS the 180's seemed to work best. An exception is my road fixie which came with a 167.5 crank arm. Grinding up hill is always a samll struggle, but nothing beats it for the forced spin down. The last raod bike I bought came with a 175 and I was faster on that bike than any other road bike I've owned. I always assumed my Peugeot was a 175 until I checked it a couple of months ago and found it was a 170! Aghh. I hace a 175 road crank but it is the very rare 116 BCD (the CR are shot). I've manged to find a 52T, but nothing below 40T yet.

    1G1G, Brad
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  9. #9
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    Reputation: ionsmuse's Avatar
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    Update:

    Rode the RF's (165) for two pretty solid weeks, lots of weekday rides on the usual trails I know very well, a hard two days in Moab last weekend with tons of hard climbing and technical riding, more weekday trails, and a longish ride in Sedona for the AZ Spring Fling yesterday.

    Then this morning I put my old trusty Sugino's (175) before the Prescott ride I led for the Fling.

    Longer cranks are better.

    Bear in mind, bike setup and gearing were identical. I did need to move my cog a bit outboard for the RF's to maintain chainline, and the increased Q was noticable (not a good thing IMO).

    The shorties did give noticeable pedal clearance, and spun very well, but the added snap over tough climbs makes a difference. The shorties'll be useful, for something, but the Suginos stay.

    PS I did not notice a change in crank stiffness.

  10. #10
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    I'd been riding Sugino 170mm cranks for about a year. I just tried my budies 175mm Sugino's and I ordered myself a set. I think I prefer the 175's more, and my position on the bike is better too. They seem like great cranks for the money, and are very decent weight if you run only one SS ring. I wish they made 180mm ones, I buy htem just to try it.

  11. #11
    meh... whatever
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    at 6'2" 34" inseam i prefer 180 on an ss. more leverage, especially to turn 29" wheels uphill. when i went from 175 to 180 it made a very noticeable difference, as though i had geared the bike down.

    on my mtn fixie it didnt work so well.... LOL

    175 didnt work so well for it either, and 170 was better, but i'm gonna try 165. be interesting to see how it climbs with them, although not getting bucked off from striking while hauling arse down gnarly descents and around corners is the priority there. i can always knock off a couple of gear inches to compensate.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

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