Crank Length: Consider Going Short? - Page 2
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  1. #26
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    I grew up on 170's but a few years ago I tried 172.5's. I can ride either with no problems, but I like the 172.5's better. I have no reason for preferring them, I just do. I think it's because of the monsters in my head, but I have no proof that they have anything to do with it. The monsters are there for the other reasons, but it seems that they have the time for other mischief.
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  2. #27
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    I have a significantly shorter crank arm on my MTB than my road bikes. 10mm. I freaking HATE the MTB shorty cranks and I’ve been considering changing them for years. I want my 175s.
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  3. #28
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    How could it be more aero with a shorter crank? You have to raise your seat to keep the same pedal to seat length, so you end up higher. Heck, shorter cranks might make you less aero.
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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle View Post
    How could it be more aero with a shorter crank? You have to raise your seat to keep the same pedal to seat length, so you end up higher. Heck, shorter cranks might make you less aero.
    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/p...-better-188288
    The aerodynamic advantage of shorter cranks is widely agreed on among bike-fit professionals. Phil Cavell, whose CycleFit company performs pre-season bike fits for Trek Factory Racing, says: “With shorter cranks, the rider’s torso can be positioned lower because the shorter crank keeps the hip open. This has the knock-on effect of preventing unhelpful and inefficient pedalling adaptations due to hip impingement.”

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle View Post
    How could it be more aero with a shorter crank? You have to raise your seat to keep the same pedal to seat length, so you end up higher. Heck, shorter cranks might make you less aero.
    Can bet your back flatter. Maybe the seat is higher but with the flatter back the cyclist is presenting less frontal area.

    Shorter cranks=lower knees=lower, flatter back=more aero
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    A number of years ago a friend of mine discovered he had two different length crankarms mounted on his bike. This was after riding the bike for a season while tuning it up for the coming season.
    And the only way he ever found out was by seeing the length number on the inside of the crank, right? Not like he ever noticed. I went from 172.5 to 175 once because I wanted to buy carbon cranks and the only size left was 175. I could tell no difference. Think how much of a distance 2.5mm is. It's 1/10 of an inch. Orthotic insoles differ by a lot more than that. Shoe soles differ by a hell of a lot more than that. Even from 172.5 to 165 is 3/10 of an inch. Move your seat post up 3/10 of an inch and see if you notice a difference.

    Next, let's discuss how comfortable of a ride you get from latex tubes. Or how much better carbon fiber seat posts are.

    Dude, save your money.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    And the only way he ever found out was by seeing the length number on the inside of the crank, right? Not like he ever noticed. I went from 172.5 to 175 once because I wanted to buy carbon cranks and the only size left was 175. I could tell no difference. Think how much of a distance 2.5mm is. It's 1/10 of an inch. Orthotic insoles differ by a lot more than that. Shoe soles differ by a hell of a lot more than that. Even from 172.5 to 165 is 3/10 of an inch. Move your seat post up 3/10 of an inch and see if you notice a difference.

    Next, let's discuss how comfortable of a ride you get from latex tubes. Or how much better carbon fiber seat posts are.

    Dude, save your money.
    Latex tube and seat posts are a waste of money. What he needs are some watt-crushing ceramic bearings. The more expensive the better

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Shorter cranks=lower knees=lower, flatter back=more aero
    You know what else is equal, crank length discussion = chain lube discussion.

  9. #34
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    I'm 5'8" or a bit below.
    Last year I switched from 172.5 cranks (which I had been on all my life), to 165mm after getting a bike fit, and it's one of the best things I ever did for my biking.
    I can pedal in much smoother circles with less effort, my hips don't rock as much (even at the right saddle height there will still be small unnecessary hip movement if your cranks aren't the right length) , and overall it feels much less effort.

    My bike fitter said having the wrong crank length is like trying to go running in shoes that are a few sizes too big for you. I didn't see what he meant until he put the shorter cranks on my bike and let my see for myself.
    Last edited by Damitletsride!; 04-07-2020 at 08:24 AM.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    Latex tube and seat posts are a waste of money. What he needs are some watt-crushing ceramic bearings. The more expensive the better
    No, he needs one of these.
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    And the only way he ever found out was by seeing the length number on the inside of the crank, right? Not like he ever noticed.


    Next, let's discuss how comfortable of a ride you get from latex tubes. Dude, save your money.
    Yep.

    Lambskin tubes for the best ride.
    Too old to ride plastic

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Next, let's discuss how comfortable of a ride you get from latex tubes. Or how much better carbon fiber seat posts are.

    Dude, save your money.
    I agree that if one is quibbling about the difference between 172.5 and 175mm cranks, the point is moot and one should be concerned with other things... at least that's what all the research is showing.

    However, if one is considering making a considerable change in crank length, then some of the gains I listed in the OP might come into play. If I was to build another bike in the future (which my wallet is prohibiting at this time, but who knows), I personally would go with 165mm instead of 172.5 or 175 after having researched this topic much deeper than I have in the past.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    You know what else is equal, crank length discussion = chain lube discussion.
    Absolutely not. A chain lube discussion is clearly greater than a crank length discussion. (And, don't try to change my mind -- my opinion is so valuable than it is universally accepted as fact by the National Academy of Sciences.)

  14. #39
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    Do I really have to remind y'all where the real hidden gains are?

    https://forums.roadbikereview.com/ge...ml#post5373289

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
    Absolutely not. A chain lube discussion is clearly greater than a crank length discussion. (And, don't try to change my mind -- my opinion is so valuable than it is universally accepted as fact by the National Academy of Sciences.)
    My response to that is, roses are red, diamonds are hard and Chain-L is forever.

  16. #41
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    If you have the money & inclination, give other crank lengths a try. You might like 'em. As the miles add up, you might find yourself really liking 'em.

    It might also be asked why component makers offer cranks in different lengths. Just to confuse us none-too-bright but cash rich bicycle enthusiasts? Putting another way, should Bradley Wiggins be forced to use an arm crank length designed for Marco Pantani?
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    It might also be asked why component makers offer cranks in different lengths. Just to confuse us none-too-bright but cash rich bicycle enthusiasts?
    Agreed. "Crank length makes no difference, that's why we make 5 different lengths which drives-up manufacturing costs for no reason and we transfer to the costs to you. You're welcome." The reality is that when given a chance to think about it, everyone will tell you their "preferred crank length"... just with no good reasons as to why they picked what they picked.

  18. #43
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    Too old to ride plastic

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    I agree that if one is quibbling about the difference between 172.5 and 175mm cranks, the point is moot and one should be concerned with other things... at least that's what all the research is showing.

    However, if one is considering making a considerable change in crank length, then some of the gains I listed in the OP might come into play. If I was to build another bike in the future (which my wallet is prohibiting at this time, but who knows), I personally would go with 165mm instead of 172.5 or 175 after having researched this topic much deeper than I have in the past.
    I would agree that the time to consider something other than the standard 172.5 length cranks is when you buy the bike, because replacing 172.5 cranks with 165 mm cranks -- a difference of less than half an inch -- isn't a meaningful upgrade.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    Yeah, pedaling through a corner isn't something I do often, but sometimes yah gotta keep the power flowin' to keep-up!
    Consider learning how to pedal through corners. You lean your upper body into the corner which keeps your bike more upright and you eliminate pedal strike. A (very) old criterium rider skill.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    You know what else is equal, crank length discussion = chain lube discussion.
    When I was a college student, a Cat 2 friend of mine had this bumper sticker: Bicycle Racers Have Longer Cranks
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradkay View Post
    a Cat 2 friend of mine had this bumper sticker: Bicycle Racers Have Longer Cranks
    Back in the 80's I've seen a bumper sticker: Painters Have Smooth Strokes


  23. #48
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    Being 5'8" with relatively short legs, I perfected my spin on 170mm cranks, standard on 54 cm frames. My saddle height is such that the legs are neither over extended on the bottom of the stroke nor hit my chest while in a full tuck.

    Rode a friend's bike for a week with 172.5 mm cranks and initially felt no difference, but eventually discovered the slightly larger circle required the muscles to move more at each end, 2.5 mm at the top and 2.5 mm at the bottom, that's a 5 mm wider circle. The legs were frustrated to complete the circle. Larger leverage felt nice in the big gears at slower cadences. In the easy gears this leverage screwed up my spin and rhythm, and it tired out the legs and hips.

    Hear tell trackies use 165s. They'd scrape the outside pedal on the banked tracks with anything longer. These guys are on fixies, no freewheeling with one pedal up, but they can vary cadences all over the charts, especially in sprints. They could work up incredible watts at really high cadences.

    So try it! Your legs could find 165s squirrelly if your height fits a 58 cm frame. 170s might be the ticket for that perfect spin. Lots of them around to experiment with.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 04-10-2020 at 02:26 AM.

  24. #49
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    Ran 170 on both of my bikes. Then I got a fat bike for winter riding, km which my knee hurt like hell. Common wisdom says it was because of the wider q factor, but I was pretty sure the 175mm crank made things way worse since I felt the pain only at the top of the stroke. So I went ahead and installed a 170mm crank and raised my seat accordingly by 5mm to keep the same leg extension. This means my knee is a whole cm lower at the top of the stroke.

    And guess what? No more pain overnight!

    And it's not because my saddle was too low before, since I've tried raising it until the patella pain became hamstring pain...

    172.5mm is tolerable for me. At 175, my kneecap hurts.

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  25. #50
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    Thanks for the great feedback, Fredrico and ToiletSiphon! I'm waiting for a deal on some Ultegra or Dura-Ace 165mm cranks to try-out. I figure I want to go with a somewhat 'extreme' jump in length to make sure I notice the change. My knees are getting pretty excited about the experiment Unfortunately, 'cause 165mm isn't very popular, many online shops don't even carry that size.

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