• July 1, 2022

Are Longer Cranks More Efficient?

Are longer cranks more efficient? Lengths most often range from 160mm up to 185mm, in 2.5mm increments, and typically bigger bikes will come with longer cranks. 'Shorter cranks help open up the hip at top dead centre of the pedal stroke so help alleviate these things, thereby making an aero position more efficient and sustainable.

How do I know if I need shorter cranks?

Meanwhile, a longer crank allows a rider to push/pull harder ratios but makes it more difficult to maintain a high cadence. So the shorter cranks are recommended for those who engage in competitions with numerous changes of pace and for those who naturally pedal with a higher cadence.

How does crank length affect power?

Namely, the general view is that shorter cranks allow you to spin and accelerate quicker but at the cost of high torque or power. In contrast, longer cranks take more time to turn over and force a lower pedaling rate, but are able to produce higher torques.

How does crank length affect speed?

The McDaniel study says pedal speed is the real important determinant regarding efficiency (not crank length) but, in our experience, when people go to shorter crank lengths they tend to stay at or near the same cadence (their natural cadence) as they use with longer cranks which automatically lowers pedal speed.

Should I use shorter cranks?

Crank length can be used as a tool to improve fit related issues impacting comfort, power, and aerodynamics. Moving to a shorter crank can improve: Comfort: A shorter crank length reduces range of motion at the knee (extension and flexion), hips, and low back.


Related faq for Are Longer Cranks More Efficient?


Are longer or shorter cranks better?

While longer cranks do produce more torque, they also decrease cadence for a given effort because the turning circle is larger. Likewise shorter cranks produce less torque, but cadence increases for the same effort because the turning circle is shorter.


Do taller cyclists have an advantage?

Your height when cycling has no direct correlation to having an advantage in the sport of cycling. Depending on the type of riding you do, cycling flat roads or hill climbing, your height might be a small factor in how you perform.


What's the difference between 170mm and 175mm cranks?

Whereas now 170 is 'short' 172.5mm is 'normal' and 175 mm cranks are very common. Still though, the difference between 170 mm and 175mm is less than 3% and leg lengths of bike riders vary by far more than that.


What crank length does Chris Froome use?

Froome opted for 175mm cranks, used a chain catcher to guard against necessary trauma. The saddle height was 79.6cm - 1mm lower than that 79.7cm on his road bike.


Does crank length affect saddle height?

This means that if you try shorter cranks you add the difference to the seat height measured from the center of the bb, with longer cranks you subtract the difference. This maintains the same seat to pedal length. Everything else being the same, shorter cranks = higher saddle, longer cranks = lower saddle.


Why are my crank arms so short?

Short cranks and Triathlon position

A shorter crank length for the shorter triathlete will give all the above benefits and more, as less leverage will encourage a higher cadence saving their legs for the run. A lower aero bar position is achievable as knee tracking at the top of the stroke is improved.


What crank length is recommended for your inside leg measurement?

Normally fit adult riders should use cranks which measure about 20% of their effective leg length, rounded to the nearest 5mm, whereas growing children can safely increase this figure to 22%. This length goes all the way to your hip joint and cannot be measured directly.


What length crank should I use?

So in simple terms and assuming we all have similar proportions we could use our 172.5mm cranks and 1.778m height to suggest crank lengths should be 9.7% of our height.

Crank Arm Lengths.

Height Crank Length(cm)
6'0" (1828mm) 177.5mm
5'11" (1803mm) 175mm
5'10" (1778mm) 172.5mm
5'9"(1753mm) 170mm

What is the difference in crank arm length?

So if you do end up changing crankarm lengths, it will change your gearing as well. The relative jumps between gears stay the same, but the overall range will feel slightly easier to pedal, or smaller, with shorter cranks and harder with longer ones.


How does crank length affect gear ratio?

Many folks are unaware that your bike's crank length has a significant effect on its overall gearing. Another way to think about it is this: The gearing is lower with the longer arm, so it is easier to push. For a given set of chainrings and rear cogset, the bike's top gear is higher.


How do I choose a crankset?

A key consideration when upgrading or replacing crank arms or cranksets is crank length. Most cranks for road and MTB use are 175mm long, but riders with legs shorter or longer than the average may feel more comfortable on cranks that better match their measurements.


Does crank weight matter?

The answer to this one is simple: No, it's probably not worth it to ''upgrade'' to carbon cranks unless, of course, you're all out of things to change on your bike and you'd like to drop some weight. Carbon cranks look the business and are usually lighter than aluminum arms, but the performance advantage is negligible.


What is the difference between 172.5 and 175 cranks?

From 172.5mm to 175mm, you have only 2.5mm difference. We set our saddle height when the pedal is at 6 o'clock position. So you should lower the saddle for 2.5mm, since your pedal is 2.5mm lower than it was.


What is the advantage of longer crank arms?

As you'll know from using a crowbar or a wheelbarrow, the longer the lever, the greater the load that can be lifted; so a longer lever arm allows a rider to create more torque than a rider with similar leg strength, but a shorter lever arm. But there's more to going faster than driving a big gear.


What size cranks should I use BMX?

Crank arm length is more of a preference. Most riders these days run a 170mm or 175mm size, but you could go shorter or longer (Shorter is more ideal for street and flatland riding and longer is more ideal for jumping and racing). That 170mm – 175mm size is pretty ideal for street, park and dirt riding.


Does MTB crank length matter?

It doesn't really affect your overall maximal power.

Back in the day it was thought that longer crank was better, because they increase the pedalling leverage, thus enabling you to create more power.


Are 175 cranks too long?

With few exceptions, most XC and Trail oriented mountain bikes shipped today come with 175mm cranks. While some brands spec 170mm cranks, it is often only on their smallest sizes. However, the evidence leans towards mountain bike crank lengths being too long in general.


How long do bike cranks last?

As long as crank arms are checked regularly for tightness they should last for years and years. I have vintage Sugino Aero Tour (AT) crank arms that I have used for over twenty-five years without any wear to the square tapers.


Does height impact cycling?

Height affects performance in most sports. This is particularly true for competitive cycling. And given the force of gravity scales more quickly with body height than do muscular force and drag (square-cube law), the taller person will be at a disadvantage when ascending and advantage when descending.


Are Tour de France riders tall?

Height of Tour de France Cyclists

The average height of all cyclists from each tour since 1990 is mostly between 1.80m and 1.82m. The tallest rider on record is Marcel Sieberg at 1.98 meters (6' 6"), who rode in the Tour de France nine times between 2007 and 2018.


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