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Old 2008-08-14, 07:09 AM   #31
JohnnyReggae
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I have recently gone from 170's down to 150's on my MUni and am very happy that I made the change. I find that I have more control going uphill and can hold my balance better, and I can roll out of drops a lot easier. I tend to roll everything when going DH and do very little hopping so the shorter cranks have helped so much.

I have dual hole 125/150's but haven't had the courage to try them on the 125 posistion. I'm currently feeling comfortable with the 150's and will be staying at that length until I feel the need to change to the shorter length. I don't have a brake or even a fitting for a brake so even if I wanted to I would not be able to put one on unless I start welding pieces on which I am not keen on doing.
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Old 2008-08-14, 12:08 PM   #32
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A word of caution!

As Kris mentioned spining out is a big issue when going uphill. It is very important to be able to read the ground and pedal accordingly. I don't feel that crank length is a factor here though. Reading the ground and going the correct speed it what is important.

There is much less torque with the shorter cranks.
With 150mm cranks I can't roll over rocks and roots that are borderline for me with 165mm cranks. By borderline I mean that I make it over on most trys but not all and I have to really concentrate and put effort into it. Also - steep inclines that I can't ride up with 150mm cranks I succese in riding up farther with 165s. There is this one hill that I tried going up 10 times with 150s and made a mark in the dirt with a stick at every place where I failed. I then tried going up 10 times with 165s and surpassed the highest mark made with the 150s each and every time. And this is when I am more tired! There is more wobble with the 165s but if you know how to control it, it is not bad. Learning SIF riding helps here.

One last thing - Be very careful with shorter cranks! You have less control going over obsacles. I broke my leg in 3 places becasue of that!

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Old 2008-08-14, 12:31 PM   #33
Nurse Ben
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I'm a fairly new rider, but I have still experimented with crank length. I started on a 24 Muni with 145's, then got a 26 and ran some dual position 165/135, found the 135's way to hard to manage tough climbs, the 165 felt good, now I have 170's and can crank up and over stuff like never before. I do find a lot of side to side movement, but I get used to it, holding on while riding slow gives me a nice stable rhythm.

For newer riders the longer cranks make up for having less control, esp on climbing where side to side motion control is more difficuly. I can see running 150's in the future when I get more control over the uni in tougher situations, climbs, etc.. Meanwhile my 12 yo son continues to ride his 24 with 150's and does pretty well, though he has a hard time muscling up climbs, so I'll likely put him on 165's to hep with power.

Leg strength and balance play a big part in what cranks feel the best. We have a KH Trials arriving Friday with 135's, that'll be fun
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Old 2008-08-14, 01:42 PM   #34
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Like Kris says it's all about adapting to what you have; give yourself time to get used to whatever set up you're trying. When I first began to muni I only had a 28" (26x3 Gazz) with 150mm cranks. I didn't have anything to compare to so that's the setup I rode everywhere and I got used it. A year later I got a KH24 with 150mm cranks and to be honest, the first several rides over the same routes were terrible! I couldn't climb the same stuff I was used to climbing with my 28" setup, I didn't roll over stuff as easily... But I stuck with it and I prefer my KH24 with 150s now for most of my off-road riding from long distance XC to technical DH. The key is giving it time and adapting before you judge; I can promise you probably won't like whatever your new setup is the first time out! Also my muni climbing ability vastly improved once I bought a trials unicycle and got good at still-stands and side hoping. I learned to conserve energy on ascents, going half a pedal stroke to half a pedal stroke and working my way up the hill. Before I learned to climb "slow" I just tried to grrrr my way up the hill and I'd always redline my heart rate and often fail! So what I'm trying to say is fitness and technique are probably the most important aspect to one's ability to adapt to a given unicycle setup.
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Old 2008-08-14, 08:38 PM   #35
Mikefule
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So KH himself restarts the age-old crank length debate!

My current fleet (excluding the 20) is:
  • 28" with 114s (big wheel, short cranks)
  • 26" with 125s (medium wheel, medium cranks)
  • KH24 with 165s (small wheel, long cranks)

Yesterday I was out on the 28; today I was out on the 26. A few days ago I was out on the 24.

Although there was no really serious climbing, each ride included short bursts that were at or just beyond the limit of what I personally can achieve.

Strangely, I felt that all three unis climbed shortish steepish hills about the same. I would rather do a long gradual hill on the big wheel with small cranks. I know from one specific experience that I can climb one particular long steep hill on the 24"/165mm that I cannot even start to climb on any other combination I've tried. That's not very scientific, but it's my subjective analysis.

On the uphills that I tend to ride, it is usually the momentum that fails before the torque runs out. Long cranks can be bad for momentum.

I sometimes feel like it's climbing stairs: if the cranks are 6 inches long, each step is 12 inches high; if the cranks are 5 inches long then each step is 10 inches high. Would you rather carry a heavy load up a flight of 10 inch steps or a slightly lighter load up a flight of 12 inch steps?

I think the effect is because you need to lift your bodyweight and get it above the pedal, and the bigger the "step" (the longer the crank) the more ungainly and tiring that manoeuvre becomes. Most of the work in climbing a hill is shifting your own bodyweight. The uni weighs very little in the whole scheme of things.

On down hills, there is a tactical choice: do you gradually release the potential energy, using long cranks as control levers, or do you spin out - in which case short cranks are safer and easier?

I tend to be a rather plodding rider, and very cautious on descents, so I find the longer levers help. I did a spectacular catapult dismount from the 28"/114mm on my way down Scoreboard Hill yesterday!

I was saying to Gadge on our ride today that where a rider like Joe Marshall appears to see a single patch of rough ground, I tend to see five or six specific obstacles close together. Joe's uni flows over a single hazard, whereas mine plods over each obstacle one by one. Shorter cranks encourage the flowing style; longer cranks encourage the plodding style.

I've never ridden with a brake so I can't comment on that part of Kris's post.
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Old 2008-08-14, 10:40 PM   #36
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I used to muni with the default 150mm cranks on my KH24. After a while I got the dual whole 150/125s and tried the 125 setting. It took a little getting used to, but after a while I was very happy about the new feeling of that setting. I found that I could do just about everything I had been capable of with the longer cranks until then. The feeling of climbing and downhilling was quite different, but for short climbs and descents it worked very well. I now have the same setup as Kris with 137s and maguras + spooner (which is really awesome) and I am getting used to it now. I guess the crank length matters most when going on long tours rather than going for a shorter muni session. For going up a steep hill/mountain for a real long time I would definitely not want to have to do it on 125s but I'd prefer to use 150s. For descents with a brake I guess the 125s are the way to go. So for long mountainish trips the dual cranks are the best and maybe for the 2h muni session 137s.
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Old 2008-08-14, 11:18 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule
On down hills, there is a tactical choice: do you gradually release the potential energy, using long cranks as control levers, or do you spin out - in which case short cranks are safer and easier?
Spin out. Duh.
It's more fun.
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Old 2008-08-15, 02:08 AM   #38
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I just got my KH MUni with 125/150 dual-hole and Maguras/spooner. I am mostly a 36er rider and I use 102/114 almost all of the time, so I like the short crank feel. For the downhill race at UNICON, I used 125's with my brake and I loved it. For XC I had 125's but I wanted 110's because everyone walked on the hills because it was just as fast to walk as ride and on the downhills/flats 110's would have been faster and not to difficult to spin up. I think that for uphills with shorter cranks (137's, not really 125's) keeping your speed and momentum up and 'spinning' up the hill is much easier than 'cranking' up the hill with longer cranks.

P.S. Kris, do you have any clue when those 110's are coming out, and have you decided whether they will be 110/137(with reinforcements) or 110/125(without reinforcements)? (My opinion is that 110/125 would be more popular)
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Old 2008-08-15, 02:32 AM   #39
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I'm with Mikefule on this one--it's about the riding style. I'm a plodder. Not by choice, but because I weigh more than I'd like and don't have as much leg strength as I wish. So I've been going with 165/137s on my KH29. I'd like to go down to 150s or 137 on my 24 (I have 165s now), although I think I'd probably be less effective on hills. Right now on my 24, I can climb pretty well, but it's a herky-jerky affair of 1/2 circles rather than smoothly spun circles. The 29er is helping me get better at spinning, as I ride it 90% of the time now, about half the time on the short crank hole. The 125s were a little too slow, but I'm really liking the 137 hole a lot.
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Old 2008-08-15, 02:50 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkittle
I'm with Mikefule on this one--it's about the riding style. I'm a plodder. Not by choice, but because I weigh more than I'd like and don't have as much leg strength as I wish. So I've been going with 165/137s on my KH29. I'd like to go down to 150s or 137 on my 24 (I have 165s now), although I think I'd probably be less effective on hills. Right now on my 24, I can climb pretty well, but it's a herky-jerky affair of 1/2 circles rather than smoothly spun circles. The 29er is helping me get better at spinning, as I ride it 90% of the time now, about half the time on the short crank hole. The 125s were a little too slow, but I'm really liking the 137 hole a lot.
SOme of the top, elite MUni rides I know use 165's. The length of the cranks one uses, is in no way a determinant of their various skills, strength or stamina. At a certain grade, everybody MUST stand up and half rev to climb, or walk, regardless of crank size.
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Old 2008-08-15, 04:11 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danger_uni
Just thought I'd pass that along. Anyone else tried this setup?

Kris
I've only read the first page so far, but I was planning on trying this setup when I get or build my MUni. Did I hear word of 40mm ISIS bearings coming out soon or did I just dream that?

I was powering up some of those hills at RTL with 102s, so I don't think I'll have too much of a problem with 137 on a 24.

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Old 2008-08-15, 10:25 AM   #42
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Finally someone sees the advantages to short cranks for downhill muni! I have been telling people that Short cranks are great for quite a long time but most people think I'm just nuts. I used 110's on my 24" for a race once and I found that it made some things way easier.

I really want to get a brake so that I can really experience the full potential of a short crank build.
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Old 2008-08-15, 11:16 AM   #43
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I have the option of sticking with 170s on my 24" or getting 140s. I think I'll stick to 170's because I don't have the money to get a brake ATM and I think my riding suits long cranks anyway. But I agree that for downhills something shorter would be nice, even without the brake. It depends how fast you wanna go also. On real steep technical downhills 170s seem great because there's just so much control.
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Old 2008-08-15, 01:28 PM   #44
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I don't think either shorter or longer cranks is **correct** answer. We are all experiments of one; that is we all have to figure out what set up works best for us. There are a lot of factors involved some of which include fitness, skill level and just the type of terrain one typically rides. Being a long distance runner it seemed natural to me to spin a lot and so I've had no trouble doing some long Muni rides i.e. well over 20 miles on my KH24 with 150mm cranks. The whole spinning pace is really like my running pace so it all works out. On the other hand I've been riding my 36er more and more this summer because it is too hot and oppressively humid here in Alabama. With the 36er I agree that the shorter cranks are the way to go. I know it is difficult to try lots of crank/wheel combinations because it can get expensive real quick! If you afford a better uni or munu with square taper crankset, like I started out with, then trying different crank setups is not nearly so expensive as trying all the different ISIS combinations!
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Old 2008-08-16, 12:21 AM   #45
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The last time I read one of these crank length threads was 3 or 4 years ago when I was trying to figure out what to build my MUni with. I decided to go with 170's. I actually think it was back when Andrew Carter started riding and he had to start with shorter cranks than he had originally wanted.

After 12 months of seldom riding MUni, I have started riding again and in the last week have gone back to some technical MUNi.

My style has changed a lot from those early days. I now ride using less strength, but more efficiency.

After going down a mild descent today with the 170's I was out of my seat and the crank length revolutions seemed huge. I do this because of knee issues, so out of saddle down hill helps out the knees. This ride today, really made me want to consider downsizing to a shorter crank, especially after reading this thread.

It makes me want to play around with the crank length with my parts bin and my old thrasher MUni with an old 4 taper Suzue hub. Hmmmmm.

Better yet, Kris could donate one of his 24" Munis with the 137 mm cranks with brake to a raffle for the upcoming California MUni weekend just to keep the discussion going.

At CMW Santa Barbara a few years ago, Tom Holub won the KH MUni with 150cranks. Last year in Santa Cruz at CMW, I had trouble climbing with 170's and was blown away by Tom as he very efficiently climbed up past me on his 150's as I walked along up the hill.

Cheers.
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