You could get cranks in between the 125 & 150, but if you can ride the hills you want w/ some consistency (even if it’s difficult) I’d encourage you to stay w/ the shorter cranks. Your progress will be faster in the long run.
As for the bumps and short increase in inclines, the following works for me.
I spot the bump/incline try to relax as much as I can even if that means slowing down a bit, then a rev or two before, pick the speed way up and really give it my all. After the bump/rise I relax to my regular cadence.
If it’s a large bump it’s impossible or significantly harder to clear unless your cranks are near horizontal. I you see it coming, say 15 or 20 ft. ahead, and tell that your cranks won’t line up, you can weave a few times, slightly lengthening your path so that your cranks do like up.
In time both techniques will get easier and sometimes won’t even have to consciously think about it.
Changes in equipment, especially for new/relatively new riders, are a big change at first, and you need to give them time for your body to learn the new dimensions. In 1984 I switched from a 24" to a 20" wheel for Freestyle competition. That’s a VERY big change, and it was frustrating for a long time in some of the movements the wheel makes. I had to re-learn how much movement to expect with a quarter-turn push on the pedals, and this took a few months to get predictable. So I’d recommend not forming an opinion about the 125s until you’ve done that ride about nine more times. That tenth ride will be a lot different from the first, and it will also be faster.
Your illustration is part of what you’re experiencing, but the bigger picture is the difference in leverage you have with shorter cranks. The wheel is a little more sluggish than you’re used to, and I think that’s the larger part of the difference. But sluggish is relative. It’s the price you pay for making smaller circles with your feet (which will enable you to go faster or use less effort most of the time), but you’ll also get used to the difference and learn that you still have plenty of control.
You don’t. You’ll be wasting your money. For the type of riding you’re doing, 125 is still on the long side. I’ve used 125 for Muni and it’s not too bad (esp. with a light wheel), though I prefer 140 for the technical stuff. 125 is a “medium” size that works for a wide range of riding, and is also the size we use for 24" Track racing. Not because it’s the fastest size, but because it’s the most accessible to people entering the sport.
If I wanted to ride distance on my 24", my cranks would be no longer than 100mm. That still works for hills, unless they’re really steep. But don’t buy those yet, give yourself a chance to get comfortable with the 125s and go from there. Along the way, your basic riding will also continue to improve, and you’ll find yourself using less energy to just cruise along and stay in control.
UPDATE: I have now ridden just over a week with the 125s. My avg speed on 26" with 150s was 4.4mph I was averaging 4.9mph with the 125s on my ride yesterday. I started with 2.5 mile ride and have increased it to 3.5 miles. The route I take is mostly sidewalk (a city trail) and has uphill / downhill and wooden bridges to cross.
I would like to be doing the 6-9mph that everyone else seems to talk about with this wheel size / crank setup, but guess that just comes with time in the saddle.
I am working hard now to sit up straight… I catch myself hunching over as I get tired which puts muscle strain in middle of my back. I can tell when it’s happening because I find myself staring at a spot in the path about 15 feet ahead of me instead of looking far down the path.
I adjusted my seat so the front is as high as it will go - I thought that would cause me to sit better / straighter OR at least make it easier to pedal. Seems to have helped.
I purchased the same 26” UNI at the NAUCC this year. I had them install 125’s when I bought it. Here in Missouri it is very seldom that I have flat ground to ride on. You are always going up or down some sort of grade or hill.
I rode it for maybe 10-15 hours for a few months with the original seat. The main issue I had was free mounting. I find myself over stepping the pedal and landing with my heel instead of the front of my foot. I purchased a Fusion Zero and some touring bars about a month ago. My butt hurt so bad at first I had to wait 3-4 days between rides. I was having trouble using the bars and balancing with my core and my elbows.
So I would hop on the 20” between rides and work on riding SIF and SI with both hands on the saddle handle. I always go back to the 20 to work on issues I am having on my larger wheels. It really helps me to do that.
I needed $15 more dollars to get my free shipping when I bought the seat and bars so I finally bought the Kris Holm book. Best purchase I have ever made. I am at work and don’t have his book in front of me so I apologize to Kris if I miss quote him. There are two thing he says repeatedly that have helped me a bunch in all my riding reguardless of the wheel size or style of riding. The 1st one is something like “sit up straight and engage your core”. Makes a big difference, I am constantly reminding myself of this as I ride now.
The second was “ pick a line that is challenging but not intimidating” This changed the way I practice. Every shadow or asphalt crack repair is now a skinny or a trials line. Leaves and sticks on the path are a technical muni line. My Brick patio is now my practice area for controlled hopping. If you haven’t bought his book I would highly recommend it. It will help your riding and it is the best coffee table book I ever had. Every guest or visitor picks it up and looks at and enjoys it. Great way to promote the sport
I’m finding this discussion interesting.
I like your diagram.
We seem to have opposite situations.
I have the follwing unis that all have 125 cranks: 20, 24, 26, and 29.
The standard longer cranks that came on the 24, 26, and 29 were all way too long…especially the 29! (170s I think!.. Crazy!)
I seem to have gotten accustomed to 125s, and that’s just what feels right.
I also have a 24" with 150" cranks, and I find them not only slow, but much less comfortable and lots more work. It’s like my legs have to make great big circles with longer cranks.
I’ve been wondering if pro bicycle riders have crank length issues… or do they all have the same length cranks…