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meh....
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know of a few of you Oregon riders that are using long cranks. I'm thinking about it. I'm riding 180's now. They were cheap enough to get, old RF Turbines and a $20 square taper BB.

I've read in a few places that I might find a 190 mm crankset more fitting. I have a 34 1/2" inseam. Using the Palm Factor I'd be on 190's. danscomp.com says 190's, for what that's worth. I'd like to try it first, but can't find anything other than new Profiles, and they sound really long. Or even 185's. It's a $200+ experiment. I could tape them up in case I need to resell them I guess.

TIA,
Monte
 

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Premium Member
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Monte said:
I know of a few of you Oregon riders that are using long cranks. I'm thinking about it. I'm riding 180's now. They were cheap enough to get, old RF Turbines and a $20 square taper BB.

I've read in a few places that I might find a 190 mm crankset more fitting. I have a 34 1/2" inseam. Using the Palm Factor I'd be on 190's. danscomp.com says 190's, for what that's worth. I'd like to try it first, but can't find anything other than new Profiles, and they sound really long. Or even 185's. It's a $200+ experiment. I could tape them up in case I need to resell them I guess.

TIA,
Monte
Monte, contact me privately. I have some "extra" cranks around I could loan you.
 

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Out spokin'
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Monte, there are threads on the SS and 29 board about crank length. I've spouted off a couple times on those boards. Maybe that's part of the reason you visited the Oregon board? Anyway, hope shig can hook you up.

If you get some 190s to try, give them a good, solid season before you decide whether they're right for you. At first, way back when I got my 202s on my '94 CoMotion, I feared I'd made a terrible mistake. The bike felt sluggish and dead. But by the end of the season I was rippin' and climbing things that nobody else could get up. It takes time for your legs to acclimate to the bigger circle.

Be patient and see what happens. Long legs, long levers -- it only makes sense. And if you don't like 'em, you can always go back to the shorties.

--Sparty
 

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mudnthebloodnthebeer
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+1 on giving yourself some time-the last 60 degrees or so before your pedals go over the top of the stroke might take some getting used to.
 

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meh....
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
quaffimodo said:
+1 on giving yourself some time-the last 60 degrees or so before your pedals go over the top of the stroke might take some getting used to.
60 degrees? So from 10:00 to 12:00 in the clockwise rotation? That's a big chunk of the revolution.

Have to remember to drop the saddle too or I won't reach the pedal on the bottom.
 

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Monte said:
60 degrees? So from 10:00 to 12:00 in the clockwise rotation? That's a big chunk of the revolution.

Have to remember to drop the saddle too or I won't reach the pedal on the bottom.
Whatever you lose on one side you make up for on the other.

You'll have to drop your saddle by the difference in crank length (old to new). You may have to lower your handlebar by the same amount. Depends on how sensitive you are.

--Sparty
 

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I'm not familiar with whatever calculation you're using to come up with such a long crank arm length for your inseam. I'd hate to see what my 36.25" inseam said to use. To take the other side of the fence in this surprising (to me) number of positives for long crank arms... I'd go the other way. I used to ride "long" crank arms, rode 181 Cook Bros for a long long time on my mtb's. I only went back to 175's a couple years ago in fact. And I run 170's on my DH bike.

I have to say though, I think the long crank arm thing is bogus. Sure you get more leverage, but do you really need that? I'd rather have higher spin, better ground clearance, easier impact on my knees, and so on. Also, at super long lengths like 190 and such, you're going to start messing with your gear ratios significantly.

I recently did some rides with Jeff Jones. He's the polar opposite, preferring to ride 165's (and maybe even shorter?). I spent a few hours on one of his bikes with 165's. I liked it quite a bit. You can just feel how much less stress it puts on your knees, and with the higher spin/cadence, I didn't feel it robbed me of any climbing abilities (with more time I could see the potential to argue it in fact makes climbing easier). I don't know if I'd go "all the way" to 165's, but I've been thinking I may drop down to 170's.

Anyway, just another opinion for your research...
 

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meh....
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
headangle said:
I'm not familiar with whatever calculation you're using to come up with such a long crank arm length for your inseam. I'd hate to see what my 36.25" inseam said to use.
Probably 200's like Sparticus.

To take the other side of the fence in this surprising (to me) number of positives for long crank arms... I'd go the other way. I used to ride "long" crank arms, rode 181 Cook Bros for a long long time on my mtb's. I only went back to 175's a couple years ago in fact. And I run 170's on my DH bike.
Spinning the DH bike down the hill would warrant 170's. I just started using 180's, and I like them. I don't spin. Can't pedal that fast.

I have to say though, I think the long crank arm thing is bogus. Sure you get more leverage, but do you really need that? I'd rather have higher spin, better ground clearance, easier impact on my knees, and so on. Also, at super long lengths like 190 and such, you're going to start messing with your gear ratios significantly.
I can deal with pedal strikes, just get the timing right. The leverage works in favor of the knee, the longer the crank arm the less force it can put into the leg.

Mess with the gears? How so? I'm looking for lower gearing anyway. I ride a 29er, and I'm going to build up a 13-39 cassette for next season. Did too much hike-a-bike on perfectly rideable steep trails.

I recently did some rides with Jeff Jones. He's the polar opposite, preferring to ride 165's (and maybe even shorter?). I spent a few hours on one of his bikes with 165's. I liked it quite a bit. You can just feel how much less stress it puts on your knees, and with the higher spin/cadence, I didn't feel it robbed me of any climbing abilities (with more time I could see the potential to argue it in fact makes climbing easier). I don't know if I'd go "all the way" to 165's, but I've been thinking I may drop down to 170's.

Anyway, just another opinion for your research...
Maybe so. I just don't see it. Spinning for miles and thousands of feet of climbing doesn't sound efficient, or like it would save energy, or like any fun.

Monte
 

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headangle said:
I'm not familiar with whatever calculation you're using to come up with such a long crank arm length for your inseam. I'd hate to see what my 36.25" inseam said to use. To take the other side of the fence in this surprising (to me) number of positives for long crank arms... I'd go the other way. I used to ride "long" crank arms, rode 181 Cook Bros for a long long time on my mtb's. I only went back to 175's a couple years ago in fact. And I run 170's on my DH bike.

I have to say though, I think the long crank arm thing is bogus. Sure you get more leverage, but do you really need that? I'd rather have higher spin, better ground clearance, easier impact on my knees, and so on. Also, at super long lengths like 190 and such, you're going to start messing with your gear ratios significantly.

I recently did some rides with Jeff Jones. He's the polar opposite, preferring to ride 165's (and maybe even shorter?). I spent a few hours on one of his bikes with 165's. I liked it quite a bit. You can just feel how much less stress it puts on your knees, and with the higher spin/cadence, I didn't feel it robbed me of any climbing abilities (with more time I could see the potential to argue it in fact makes climbing easier). I don't know if I'd go "all the way" to 165's, but I've been thinking I may drop down to 170's.

Anyway, just another opinion for your research...
To each their own. I find the benefits of long cranks to far out weigh any issues (of which I have few). Not to try to convert you but with an inseam of 36"+ I would say 181mm is still too short to see much difference.

I already have a high spin rate. The long cranks give me a broader effective cadence range. I lose little on the high end but gain a lot on the low end as leverage (more foot distance gained per power stroke) lets me move the pedals at lower RPM and/or use a higher gear ratio.

When I changed from 180 to 185 on a stock frame I actually reduced the number of pedal strikes after a couple of rides. I now ride mostly custom frames with higher BBs.

Knee pains are a non-issue. I had major knee reconstruction before I rode mtbs. The longer cranks work my muscles through a greater range of motion, make my knees feel better.

Gearing? Most my mt bikes use 185mm cranks. My road bikes 175/180. My (trail)trials bike 165. Climbing I end up using lower gears on my road bike on pavement than I do on my mtb on dirt on similar grades. The 25x32 low on my trials bike is flat-out HARD and tiring on climbs. Sure easy to spin fast on the slight downhills though, at least until my legs tie up from "shuffling my feet."
 

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Monte said:
That would okay. I'm using a 30 deg rise stem now, wouldn't mind flattening it out a bit.

Monte
My tips:
  • Drop the saddle and move it forward, but not as much as the difference in crank lengths. For a 10mm change in cranks I would start by dropping ~7mm and moving the saddle forward on the rails 4-5mm (the saddle naturally moves forward as it is lowered). Lowering it too much makes it harder to get your foot over the top of the pedal stroke. Just make sure you are not over-reaching at the bottom.
    .
  • Lower the stem the same amount as the saddle. You may need to increase the reach slightly, too.
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  • For the first few weeks (months?) think about lifting your knee over the top of the pedal stroke. You do not want to resist the downstroke with the rising foot. The up and over motion at the knee will ingrain the action fairly quickly..
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  • Do not worry about the saddle feeling high (more road like) when seated. When you stand with the pedals level your butt is further above the saddle.
    .
  • It is much tougher to adjust to long cranks coming from short. Easy to go the other way. It will just feel like you are shuffling your feet.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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headangle said:
I'm not familiar with whatever calculation you're using to come up with such a long crank arm length for your inseam. I'd hate to see what my 36.25" inseam said to use. To take the other side of the fence in this surprising (to me) number of positives for long crank arms... I'd go the other way. I used to ride "long" crank arms, rode 181 Cook Bros for a long long time on my mtb's. I only went back to 175's a couple years ago in fact. And I run 170's on my DH bike.

I have to say though, I think the long crank arm thing is bogus. Sure you get more leverage, but do you really need that? I'd rather have higher spin, better ground clearance, easier impact on my knees, and so on. Also, at super long lengths like 190 and such, you're going to start messing with your gear ratios significantly.

I recently did some rides with Jeff Jones. He's the polar opposite, preferring to ride 165's (and maybe even shorter?). I spent a few hours on one of his bikes with 165's. I liked it quite a bit. You can just feel how much less stress it puts on your knees, and with the higher spin/cadence, I didn't feel it robbed me of any climbing abilities (with more time I could see the potential to argue it in fact makes climbing easier). I don't know if I'd go "all the way" to 165's, but I've been thinking I may drop down to 170's.

Anyway, just another opinion for your research...
By all means if you don't like long cranks, don't use them. Everything boils down to what you like. Just because, by virtue of your long inseam measurement, you are in the position to utililze long cranks doesn't mean you're obgliated to do so.

My inseam is 36". I am comfortable turning larger circles and I find the increased leverage means it's easier for me to keep turning those large circles when the terrain gets steep. But if you perfer turning smaller circles &/or lower gears, by all means go for it.

One of the very best things about the bicycle as a vehicle is that it is so amazingly tunable to the individual who rides it. No one should do anything simply because "everybody else does it." If you like short cranks and low gears, employ them. Likewise long cranks, or 29"wheels, or singlespeed, or the color orange, or whatever.

--Sparty
 
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