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Thread: Crank Length

  1. #1
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    Crank Length

    I'm 5'11", have a 34.5" inseam standing barefoot, 36" inseam with my clipless shoes and standing on the balls of the feet, and I'm running 172.5 cranks. I think they might be a little short for me. I'm considering changing them to a longer length, but I don't know the advantages/disadvantages of running longer cranks. What do you guys think, should I change them, if so to what length?

    Also, if you could list your height, bike inseam, and what crank length you're running, that would be a little more helpful. Thanks.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Short answer, it's pointless.

    The medium-sized answer is in this link.
    Crank Length Does Size Really Matter?

    And the longer answers are available if you look up the references.

  3. #3
    Anphaque II
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFTifoso View Post
    I'm 5'11", have a 34.5" inseam standing barefoot, 36" inseam with my clipless shoes and standing on the balls of the feet, and I'm running 172.5 cranks. I think they might be a little short for me. I'm considering changing them to a longer length, but I don't know the advantages/disadvantages of running longer cranks. What do you guys think, should I change them, if so to what length?

    Also, if you could list your height, bike inseam, and what crank length you're running, that would be a little more helpful. Thanks.

    6'1"/33" inseam/175mm and 180mm cranksets.


    IMHO, you should be riding on 175mm
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  4. #4
    wim
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    Agree with AndwSwitch, it's pretty much pointless. Simply put: the small amount of leverage you gain is nulled out by the corresponding increase leg speed you need to achieve the same speed in the same gear. Exception: grinding up a steep hill at a very low cadence. There, that bit of extra leverage can help. 5'10, 84 cm/33" cycling inseam, 170 mm cranks.

  5. #5
    Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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    From the standpoint of performance, I agree that that there's little difference in crank lengths.

    From the standpoint of comfort, I think the differences matter.

    I too am long legged. In real life, I have a long stride, and feel uncomfortable when forced to take baby steps, as you do in slow moving traffic. Climbing stairs, I always take them two at a time. One at a time feels all wrong.

    It's that same thing with me and cranks. My first bike had 170mm cranks. It always felt like the cycling equivalent of pulling my punches when riding it. I was also frequently lifting my feet off the pedals at the top of the stroke.

    My second bike was a fixer-upper. It needed a new crankset, so on a lark, I tried 175s. It was like coming home. My feet no longer try to lift off the pedals at the top of the stroke. I no longer feel like I'm half-stepping on the bike.

    Am I any faster on the bike? No. Do I climb any better? No. Is my cadence any different? No.

    But I feel better in my spin, so it makes me happy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucew View Post
    From the standpoint of performance, I agree that that there's little difference in crank lengths.

    From the standpoint of comfort, I think the differences matter.

    I too am long legged. In real life, I have a long stride, and feel uncomfortable when forced to take baby steps, as you do in slow moving traffic. Climbing stairs, I always take them two at a time. One at a time feels all wrong.

    It's that same thing with me and cranks. My first bike had 170mm cranks. It always felt like the cycling equivalent of pulling my punches when riding it. I was also frequently lifting my feet off the pedals at the top of the stroke.

    My second bike was a fixer-upper. It needed a new crankset, so on a lark, I tried 175s. It was like coming home. My feet no longer try to lift off the pedals at the top of the stroke. I no longer feel like I'm half-stepping on the bike.

    Am I any faster on the bike? No. Do I climb any better? No. Is my cadence any different? No.

    But I feel better in my spin, so it makes me happy.

    Agree on all points.
    America's greatest threat: Congressional liberal Democrats

    Crimes Against Humanity: The History of The Democrat Party

  7. #7
    awake
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    I am 5-11, with 33" inseam.

    I ran 175 on my last bicycle. New one will be 172.5 on suggestion of builder and physical therapist (torn meniscus). I have my worries it will be wrong, somehow. I will report back this weekend.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpatkinson View Post
    I am 5-11, with 33" inseam.

    I ran 175 on my last bicycle. New one will be 172.5 on suggestion of builder and physical therapist (torn meniscus). I have my worries it will be wrong, somehow. I will report back this weekend.
    I tore my medial meniscus decades ago and I haven't changed my crank length until now (Going to 180mm on my commuter).



    What's ironic is that I rode on 175's while growing up; from grade school all the way through high school. From my BMX to my 'Tanker' (1970's modified beach cruiser/pre-MTB days).

    One can say that I grew into 175's.
    America's greatest threat: Congressional liberal Democrats

    Crimes Against Humanity: The History of The Democrat Party

  9. #9
    RoadBikeRider
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    5' 10" with a 33.5" inseam. I use 172.5 cranks and they work fine.

  10. #10
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    5'10" with 33" in seam.. Use 170mm on my road bike and 175mm on my mountain bikes.. 170mm definitely better for spinning but 175mm better for more torque.. Neither affects my knees in any negative way

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