For weeks I have thought shorter cranks on my 24" Torker would be an easier ride for me. A week ago I finally took the 5" cranks off of the 20" uni and put them on the 24" (replacing the original 6" cranks).
I have read a lot about the difference, but it hasn’t made much difference in the distance I can travel. I’m still trying to beat about 800 ft. The 6" cranks seemed to bother my knees a bit.
Some of the posts I have read here suggested the shorter cranks would be faster. I didn’t see how this could be the case, since the wheel goes around the same number of times the cranks do no matter how long the crank is.
Pardon my asking a redundant question, because I know it’s in here, but what differences should I be experiencing with the shorter cranks on the 24" (5" instead of 6")
Most of my practice in the last few weeks has been freemounting and turning in fairly confined spaces. Today I thought I would try for the distance again, but I don’t seem to be able to get much further down the road.
If anything, I seem to be going slower rather than faster.
Put your hands out in front of you and try cranking 9" circles in the air vs. 18" ones. See which you can do faster. With the longer cranks you reach maximum linear pedal velocity sooner and experience less centrifugal force trying to take your feet off the pedals at the top of the stroke.
If you’re top distance is only 800 feet… You need longer cranks. Shorter is better for some when they are going fast but if you’re just learning the craft, the 6" will be better for you. You’ll have more control with them and the lack of control with the 5" cranks is probably why you are slower with them. In general, until you can ride a mile or more, things like smaller cranks, lighter wheels, etc. won’t do you much good. Focus on riding and riding well
The reason you may be experiencing knee pain with the 6" cranks is that you are flexing and extending your knees more with every revolution. You can decrease the knee pain by raising your seat so your legs are almost straight on the side of the down pedal.
^Also your seat may be too low (should be so there is only a slight bend in the knee @ 6 o-clock), not enough weight on the seat, and/or you aren’t keeping your knees in line w/ the pedals.
Most beginners have trouble w/ these (I did w/ all). My knees would dive to the inside especially when I got to something difficult (ie stay straigt). In order to fix that I exagerated it by sticking my knees slightly out untill neutral was automatic (a couple of weeks).
I would focus on riding the 20 and mastering your basic skills. You could even put the 6 inchers on it. That will make a lot of the stuff easier and increas your courage because of the increased control, lower speed and height. Some tricks longer cranks (up to a point) make them harder, but for rolling over bumps (like a 2x4), tight circles, skinnies (12", then 6", 4", etc), backwards, 1 ft, idling it’s easier.
There aren’t many crank options between 125/7 and 150 in cotterless (I’ve only seen ever them by one company). But it’d be what you’d expect, a little faster than 150’s but more controll than 125’s.
For me 150 is a little too long for SIF on the 24 (too much wobble), but 125 is a little short (too little torque). Something in between would be perfect (135-140) for that for me on the 24. But I preffer to practice all my tricks on smaller wheels anyways.