For those riding shorter than standard (170mm) cranks..- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    For those riding shorter than standard (170mm) cranks..

    Ok, so now that I'm on 160mm cranks, I got rid of that dead spot at the top of my pedal stroke. I feel much stronger on my cranks.

    So I know this bucks convention, but do you think I'd be hating life on a 30t chainring vs a 28t?

    I have a 30t lying around, so it won't be a problem switching it--just wondering how much I'll hate life or not.

    I foudn with 165mm, that a 28t felt "about" right, but the 165mm never really felt right. With 170mm, I could do either 28t or 30t, but it seems to be not ideal either way.

    So I'm thinking that I might be able to pull off a 30t with 160mm.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I would say that's totally up to U. I never changed my gearing when going shorter. U do have more power now....however, do U ever go looking for another gear on the steep climbs?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladljon View Post
    I would say that's totally up to U. I never changed my gearing when going shorter. U do have more power now....however, do U ever go looking for another gear on the steep climbs?
    I look for another body when going up steep climbs to pedal my bike for me

    At the same time, I went from plus wheels to non plus which might be why the 28t felt too spinny.

    Yes I suck at climbs, but I kinda wonder if part of it was losing my energy on too easy a gear.

    So Iím gonna try it this week, and Iíll post back. But itís interesting: 165mm was easier for jumping than 170mm but 170mm was easier to pedal than 165s. Except the hip pain.

    The 160s are perfect for both so itíll be interesting to see how it impacts gearing.

  4. #4
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    You may be trying to climb too fast....I like to sit back and rest during long climbs. Slowly climbing and controlling my breathing. Usually people who sprint to the top, are spent, and their easy to catch while recovering....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladljon View Post
    You may be trying to climb too fast....I like to sit back and rest during long climbs. Slowly climbing and controlling my breathing. Usually people who sprint to the top, are spent, and their easy to catch while recovering....
    Pretty sure thatís not the case I putter up the hill, not sprint.

    Iíve seen what youíre talking about though: that would be my husband.

  6. #6
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    For those riding shorter than standard (170mm) cranks..

    Ok so two rides in, today and yesterday.

    Yesterday I thought I was going to die. Legs werenít used to it, and saddle was way too low and too far forward.

    After making adjustments, OMG I wish I did this sooner.

    Todayís ride had steeper climbs, and while harder, I did make it further up.

    I think part of it is because I was fighting the suspension too with the 28t, even with all the low speed compression in the world. Most full suspensions are optimized to a 30t and higher AFAIK.

    I didnít feel like I was pedaling in place, or losing so much momentum. I even came close to making a climb I couldnít usually get halfway up.

    I am glad I did this earlier in the season when my legs arenít shot. Looking forward to trying it on longer and steeper climbs.

    Iím also looking forward to getting a drivetrain with at least 50 tooth cassette in the future . The 11-46 is nice, but the extra 4 teeth in the back will be money.

    That said, my plus hardtail will be a 28t. Thatís a lot of rubber to move around compared to the non plus full suspension.

  7. #7
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    50t in the rear, 28t oval in the front here, no regrets. Someone recently asked Ibis about putting a smaller chainring on, and whether it would affect the suspension tune. Their reply was that the difference would be pretty much unnoticeable to most people. Other brands may be different though...

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig View Post
    50t in the rear, 28t oval in the front here, no regrets. Someone recently asked Ibis about putting a smaller chainring on, and whether it would affect the suspension tune. Their reply was that the difference would be pretty much unnoticeable to most people. Other brands may be different though...

    Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk
    I rode an HD3 for two years with various crank lengths and chainrings. It definitely performed better for me with a 30t chainring rather than a 28t. But like you said, YMMV

  9. #9
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    I'm curious why you change crank length. I'm 5'7" and have been using 175s on my mountain bikes since the mid eighties. I'm old. My thought was longer lenght more power mashing up stuff My buddy 6'2" switched to 170s says he climbs way better on shorter cranks. I'm going to give 165s a shot . I'm on a 30-50 now can't go any smaller on my Calling. I need all the help I can get go up steep stuff.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by movingmountain View Post
    I'm curious why you change crank length. I'm 5'7" and have been using 175s on my mountain bikes since the mid eighties. I'm old. My thought was longer lenght more power mashing up stuff My buddy 6'2" switched to 170s says he climbs way better on shorter cranks. I'm going to give 165s a shot . I'm on a 30-50 now can't go any smaller on my Calling. I need all the help I can get go up steep stuff.
    For me it was a knee issue. The longer the crank arms, the more acute an angle your knee is at the top of the stroke, the more pressure it puts on the joint. I was getting knee pain in my chronically unhappy left knee after buying a new bike that had 175mm cranks (my old bike had 170mm and was less of a problem). After switching the cranks on the new bike to 165mm, the knee pain after riding all but stopped. Other people switch due to hip problems or other alignment issues, but for me it was the knee.

    If you are having issues with not having low enough gearing, an oval chainring might also help. It puts the long side of the oval on the part of the pedal stroke where your legs naturally have the most power and the short side of the oval where you have the least power. It's not a magical solution, but it helps a bit.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by movingmountain View Post
    I'm curious why you change crank length. I'm 5'7" and have been using 175s on my mountain bikes since the mid eighties. I'm old. My thought was longer lenght more power mashing up stuff My buddy 6'2" switched to 170s says he climbs way better on shorter cranks. I'm going to give 165s a shot . I'm on a 30-50 now can't go any smaller on my Calling. I need all the help I can get go up steep stuff.
    Because I was still getting arch pain from my foot being too far forward. I have a flat arch in my left foot, and I wear orthodics to keep them from not stabilizing. Riding on cranks that are too long for me (I'm 5'4"), really didn't feel good, especially since I'm jumping and the like.

    For me, I've found I can climb better and even faster with shorter cranks. It's been a series of experimenting, and if it keeps me riding, I don't care

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by movingmountain View Post
    I'm curious why you change crank length. I'm 5'7" and have been using 175s on my mountain bikes since the mid eighties. I'm old. My thought was longer lenght more power mashing up stuff My buddy 6'2" switched to 170s says he climbs way better on shorter cranks. I'm going to give 165s a shot . I'm on a 30-50 now can't go any smaller on my Calling. I need all the help I can get go up steep stuff.
    Power *for most people* doesn't vary much from about 140mm to 180mm cranks. It drops off above and below. If you're very bored you can read up on it at Mountain Flyer (issue from maybe 6 months ago, article by Mike McCalla).

    There are a number of HUGE advantages to short cranks, foremost among them being a much lower COG when descending (this is why lots of DH bikes use 165s, though they should probably be shorter).

    I don't know that you'll climb better (or worse) on steep stuff, though. And if the frame isn't designed around the shorter cranks, there's obviously no COG advantage.

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes View Post
    Ok so two rides in, today and yesterday.

    Yesterday I thought I was going to die. Legs werenít used to it, and saddle was way too low and too far forward.

    After making adjustments, OMG I wish I did this sooner.

    Todayís ride had steeper climbs, and while harder, I did make it further up.

    I think part of it is because I was fighting the suspension too with the 28t, even with all the low speed compression in the world. Most full suspensions are optimized to a 30t and higher AFAIK.

    I didnít feel like I was pedaling in place, or losing so much momentum. I even came close to making a climb I couldnít usually get halfway up.

    I am glad I did this earlier in the season when my legs arenít shot. Looking forward to trying it on longer and steeper climbs.

    Iím also looking forward to getting a drivetrain with at least 50 tooth cassette in the future . The 11-46 is nice, but the extra 4 teeth in the back will be money.

    That said, my plus hardtail will be a 28t. Thatís a lot of rubber to move around compared to the non plus full suspension.
    Fantastic info! Thanks for sharing.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig View Post
    For me it was a knee issue. The longer the crank arms, the more acute an angle your knee is at the top of the stroke, the more pressure it puts on the joint. I was getting knee pain in my chronically unhappy left knee after buying a new bike that had 175mm cranks (my old bike had 170mm and was less of a problem). After switching the cranks on the new bike to 165mm, the knee pain after riding all but stopped. Other people switch due to hip problems or other alignment issues, but for me it was the knee.

    If you are having issues with not having low enough gearing, an oval chainring might also help. It puts the long side of the oval on the part of the pedal stroke where your legs naturally have the most power and the short side of the oval where you have the least power. It's not a magical solution, but it helps a bit.

    Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk
    Were you the one who posted the advantages of an oval on shorter cranks some time ago....like a year?

  15. #15
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    I've been riding 135mm for over two yrs. Been mtbiking since 83'

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladljon View Post
    I've been riding 135mm for over two yrs. Been mtbiking since 83'
    It's interesting riding the shorter cranks. I'm getting all my bikes converted to 160mm for easier pedaling.

    My DH bike is getting them, my plus hardtail has them (with easier gearing), and my full suspension has it.

    I'm finding it's much easier to pedal on the shorter cranks, no matter which bike. I have to order a new set of cranks for my DH bike because the set of Canfield Bros doesn't fit the new DH frame I have, but Profile will.

    Profile makes cranks as short as 145mm I think if people are looking for another option.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Were you the one who posted the advantages of an oval on shorter cranks some time ago....like a year?
    Yes, and it's still working out for me

    I live in a pretty mountainous area and prefer to sit and spin my way uphill, so I'm running a 28t oval with an Eagle cassette and 165mm cranks. I'd probably have gone with 160mm if they were available from SRAM... it's a shame that they are only available from a few manufacturers.

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