This seemed like the best place to post this, but it’s not just knee pain - it’s really a general “why do people like short cranks so much?” post…
I’ve always ridden my coker on 150s, or more recently 145s. I’ve never been very good on top speed, usually averaging 12 or 13 mph and topping out at 15.
With unicon coming up I’m intending to ride in the marathon, so in the last couple of months I’ve been experimenting with 125s, just because it’s the thing to do. The first couple of rides were horrible, but I decided it was because it was on my normal commute route, which is quite rough and hilly. So I’ve done a few rides on the flat round a local reservoir. Yesterday I felt like I was a bit more used to the shorter cranks and timed myself. I did 12.5 miles in just under an hour, top speed 15.5mph. So, EXACTLY THE SAME AS WITH THE 145s! And my knees hurt afterwards.
So all the change of cranks appears to have done for me is made the unicycle harder to ride at the same speed.
I’m going to ride that same circuit on the 145s if I get time, just to prove the point, but I suspect I may even be a bit quicker due to not having to slow down for every grain of gravel on the road.
I think my speed is limited by some sort of psychological governer, not by spinning speed. I can spin faster on my muni with 150s, so that doesn’t seem to be it. I tend to average slightly higher speeds on the coker, and it’s certainly a more relaxing ride*, but my top speed in a sprint is probably almost as high on the 26" muni.
I really can’t seem to get on with short cranks. Perhaps my legs are just too used to bike cranks - using the 125s with such a small leg movement just feels really inefficient or something.
(Yes, my saddle is at the right height, 20mm higher than with the 145s)
So, will I be the only one riding the marathon on 145s?
*That’s on 145s. On 125s it’s anything but relaxing and destroys knees.