Changing to smaller cranks

As I mentioned in another thread, I am thinking of getting a Nimbus 29" unicycle.

I have been reading a few posts since then, and I was wondering if I was better getting a pair of shorter cranks for my 26" Pashley Muni, and waiting until my skills, and bank balance could cope with a Coker?

I think the Pashley 26" comes with 150mm cranks, would going to 127mm be worth the change?

I am after a bit more speed, that was the original reason for wanting the 29" Nimbus.


In my experience wheel size is a bigger factor than crank length when it comes to speed- putting 125mm cranks on my 24x3 (effective wheel diameter close to 26") resulted in a uni that was fairly sluggish in comparison to my 29-er with 150mm cranks.

You may not get the full effect of a faster wheel that you want, but it is about the cheapest option and well worth the cost and trouble. If you do get the shorter cranks, be sure to try a slick tire as well. You may want to check for the Nimbus X cranks. They are light weight and cheap.


I agree with Daniel about those Nimbus X Cranks–they are light and tough and I noticed a big difference.
About going for shorter cranks–just about every unicyclist I know says that they can go faster and smoother with those shorter cranks.
Its a no-lose situation when it comes to getting smaller cranks anyway–you can try them on your Pashly, and if you notice a considerable change, that’s great, you saved yourself a chunk of change by not getting a whole new unicycle.
If on the other hand, the improvement is only slight, and you decide to get the 29 incher anyway, you still have those extra cranks that you can then put onto the Nimbus29. It’s a step in the right direction that you can still use.

Another thing–maybe just getting a bigger tire for your pashly would be helpful–there are tire-size limitations to the pashley frame, but perhaps you can still get a bigger tire that would bring the circumference of the wheel up to a faster zone of rolling…

Good luck, Dogbowl

Re: Changing to smaller cranks

I say, just get the coker. You’ll be able to ride it. Besides, the only way you ever tame the coker is by riding it. I went from a 24 to a coker after I’d only been riding six months, and I have no regrets.

You might consider 29ering your Pashley. If you or a friend have wheelbuilding skills/interest, it’s a cheep mod. A decent rim, 29x2.1 tire and some spokes cost about as much as one Coker tire. The stock Pashley rim is junk anyway.

But on your original question, I changed from 150’s to 110’s on my 26" Pashley, and that was a big difference (I thought about 125’s but figured I’d overshoot). You would definitely feel the change from 150 to 125, but it might only whet your appetite for speed. I could do 12mph max on my 26x2.1-110, and average 7-8 over an hour long ride. 125s would also make serious muni more difficult, although for cross country stuff they’re plenty.

Thanks guys.

I think I will try changing the cranks to 127mm to try them.

As Dogbowl said: it’s a no lose situation.


Re: Changing to smaller cranks

Here’s my personal experience. I’m not a great rider - level 3 or so,
and slow - so I’m sure others have different opinions.

I tried a similar change: from 150mm cranks down to 125s on my
Hookworm equipped 26"er. I was really happy with a much smoother ride
and surprised I could still climb hills. I don’t know that my top
speed increased much, but it was easier to get there. Later I
realized that instead of 125s, I somehow ended up with 140s!

When I switched to the 125s I originally wanter, I was disappointed.
Any benefit in speed from additional smoothness was offset by
difficulty controlling the uni, particularly at low speeds or on rough
terrain. I wouldn’t put 125s on a MUni. I’d go for the 29"er with



My opinion, for what it’s worth:

  1. Try some shorter cranks from - they are only a few quid and it is always nice to have some different sizes available to you depending on the terrain you are intending to ride.

  2. As mscalisi says - get the Coker anyway, you won’t regret it if speed and/or distance is your thing. Once you have got the basics of riding the Coker you could then try out some of the different sized cranks you got in step 1) on your Coker.


I think I will get some 127mm cranks for my 26", soon, and then think about getting a Coker for the summer.

I am unicycling more now, so hopefully my skills will improve before I try the move to a Coker.


The difference between 150 mm and 127 mm is only really fine tuning. It’d make a notional difference of around 15%.

I think Aspenmike rides his Coker further and faster than I’d ever dream of doing, and he uses massive 170 mm cranks! Cranks aren’t everything, but they do make a difference to smoothness, speed and comfort.

Generally, big wheels are faster over a distance. I did a lot of experimenting a a couple of years ago. I tried everything from 89mm cranks to 170s, and 20 inch wheels to 36. (Although not every possible combination! :astonished: ) All other things being equal (tyre section, seat, skill level etc.) a big wheel will be faster than a smaller wheel with proportionate cranks.

On a smooth surface with few hills, nothing is as smooth and precise as a 28 (not 29) on 110mm cranks. I commend this to the House as the most elegant machine you can possibly ride.

For big distance, a Coker on 150s seems good. I commend this to the house as the best distance muncher of all.

On the road, a 24 with 110s, or even 102s will shift surprisingly briskly. I’ve done a few 20 mile plus rides on a 24 with this sort of set up. I commend this to the House as a really silly idea that’s great fun.

A 24 can be ridden of road on 89mm cranks - be it ever so briefly. I commend this to the House as something to try once in your life.

I think it will be good to try different cranks on my Muni.

Mike you seem to have done your research into this.


On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 18:27:58 -0600, “innes” wrote:

>would going to 127mm be
>worth the change?

Despite all the Go Coker responses, I agree with Daino149. The crank change is cheap and therefore worth it. But you still have the knobbled tyre on the Pashley unless you change that too (which is more of a hassle, and probably more expensive). Going to a 29’er or indeed a Coker is more expensive AND more effective for higher speed. But I maintain that you can’t get a better effect/cost ratio than by installing shorter cranks.

Be sure to swap cranks with the right technical procedure though.

Klaas Bil

PS I posted this 15 hours ago via the newsgroup but the post doesn’t seem to have made it through to the forum. - KB

Re: Re: Changing to smaller cranks

Neither would I, if your intent is still to ride on trails unless they’re relatively flat and easy.

However if your intent is to ride on pavement, 125 is not short enough. When I had my 29er made last spring, I ordered it with 102s. Those were great for road. If, however, you still plan to ride it on dirt, stick with something longer.

Maybe I would be better to leave my Muni alone, and go for the 29" Nimbus with short cranks for the road.

But I know that sometime in the future that I will want a Coker.

Not that that would be a problem, there is nothing wrong with ending up with four unicycles, is there?

Oh decisions decisions…


Like you I started on a Pashley then, due to cost, bought a 28". Within a year I had a Coker as well so you don’t save money! Since then the 28" has been upgraded into an improved 29er.

Overall I prefer the Coker for road riding, although I still take out the 29er for variety. The main disadvantage of a Coker is getting it in the car (with luggage and family). In this situation the 29er is far superior hence I would never get rid of either wheel size.

In the last couple of years Coker availability in the UK has been intermittent. From Roger’s latest newsletter I believe a batch is due in around now, you might want to consider this or be prepared to wait!

I currently have 6 assembled wheels, 8 frames, a spare hub, lots of cranks & even more old saddles. Therefore 4 Uni’s would be fine!