Crank length and hill climbs

You sick mother! I just got off the phone with Mark Premo and now I’m more worried about you than about him, and I was fairly worried about him! I’m really worried about Eric from RI, too, cuz I know he’s a crazy hardcore type, too. Then there’s Max from Maine who’s only 20 freaking years old and maybe riding a coker!

We may all be clustered together coming through the final hairpin. How crazy would that be?

Mainly, I want to beat my 1:25:53 from last year. Anyone who beats me is going to have to work pretty darn hard. It’s gonna be a blast!

I agree, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It would be great if it ended with a sprint, racing at its finest!

Any other riders in the Northeast want to join in this Saturday?


I am bumping this thread. I am doing some experiments of my own on Lookout Mountain, the main part of the climb is 4.5 miles and you gain 1500 ft in elevation and there is always wind.

On a 29er with 125mm cranks last week(first time on a 29er on the road in over a year) my time was 33:17.
On the 29er with 150mm cranks today I got 32:35.

Those times are pretty close, and I feel like the 125s still have the capability to be faster than my first time posted, but that since it was my first ride I probably didn’t push it as much as I could have. I will need to do some more testing, and I want to see what my time is with a 36er with 150s. I do know that climbing with a 29er is soooo much easier on your muscles than the 36er, and the geared 29er feels like it will be the perfect choice for the Mt. Evans race this year.

Funny enough, a bicyclist was timing himself as well, and he also got 32:35, which is kind of bizarre that we had the same time on the course. KH/Schlumpf 29er vs carbon road bike. I counted 10 bikes that I passed today on my climb, and 0 bikes passed me =]

My most recent Diablo climbs have been on 29/110, and I took almost 10 minutes off my best 29/125 time.

But that speed increase is almost entirely due to my own physical improvement, not the crank length. The 110s are noticeably faster on the two flat/downhill sections on Diablo, and other than that it’s just about managing your cardio and leg power, regardless of the setup.

Nice, I don’t think I will be using 110s as I have just got my dual hole 125/150 cranks set on the KH/Schlumpf 29, the ultimate goal for me is to be fast on Mt. Evans, which is 27 miles of climbing from 7,586 ft to 14,127ft (highest paved road in America). I would think that for a longer climb and when you are at that high altitude, the slightly longer cranks (125-150s) might come in handy. I remember that at about the 12,000ft mark on my bike last year, the gradient felt a lot steeper even though it was actually not as steep as the previous sections. I also am not sure if the 125s will be more comfy in a long climb such as mt evans, or if the 150s will be more comfy, obviously the 150s will be easier on my legs, but the 125s will spin smoother. It is kind of a toss up, and I won’t really know till I do a longer climb as 4.5 miles is pretty short. My guess is that the 125s will be faster and more comfortable for a longer ride.

Are you still using the big apple 2.0? I have the BA 2.0 now, but am curious how that compares to the marathon supreme 2.0.

36er with 114mm cranks FTW!! I really like my coker with the 114mm cranks, I can go up some pretty steep hill with no problem… But my friend told me I was nutts… Because I have no brake too:p Anyway, I’ve never tried cranks longer than 125mm on my Coker.

i wanna try some 89mms. these in particular.

My ungeared 29er (Zippy) which I’ve used for the Diablo climbs has the BA 2.0; my 29er Schlumpf (TD Jr.) has the Marathon Supreme when it’s set up for road.

I really don’t notice a lot of difference in handling between the two; they’re both nice tires. The rim on Zippy is narrower and lighter, so I don’t think I notice the extra weight of the BA.

For me, the BA 2.0 doesn’t seem too great on camber, which is funny because I never noticed any issue with the 2.35. I wonder if the marathon supreme will handle camber better, or if I am just used to a fat tire.

Yeah, I used to run 125s for my 36er and you can definitely climb a lot of hills with that set up (even the 114s), but doing long hill climbs on a 36er is so much harder than a 29er. In a hill climbing event where gradients are 6% or more, it makes much more sense to climb on a 29er. Although, I haven’t timed myself on my old hill set up which was a 36er with 150s, so I am curious how much slower or faster that will be. I know that it works my muscles a lot more though, and I wouldn’t be able to keep a good pace for a long event (27 mile climb).

Odd. I think the BA 2.0 is outstanding on camber, totally able to carve turns with no concern for the tilt of the road. What pressure are you using?

definitive 36" speed standards by crank size?

Does anyone know the average AND top speed(s) of a 36" for every crank size? Like 150, 127, 114, 102, and 89, as well as the level of control for each?

I’m about to get some new cranks for my 36er for the upcoming LBI Unithon. I normally use 125 (127mm) but have had two bad UPDs while trying to top my speed on it. I wiped out at 17.6 mph, even though I previously got to 18mph w/o UPD. My right crank got bent so now I’m buying new 125s and I’m getting some 114 for fun. I might go lower, if it’s worth the risk.

The top speed is whatever setup Chuck Edwall is riding. It’s much more about the rider than the crank length.

Klaas’ idea of Total Gear Ratio will give you an idea of how much speedup you can expect with a given setup, based on how fast you are with a different setup:

The level of control is a personal thing as well. It’s safe to say that there’s not much control on a 36 with cranks shorter than 125mm; descending and turning can be smoother, but any sort of situation where you have to fight your momentum is a losing battle.

I agree w/Tom here. The BA2.0, pumped up really hard, is fantastic on off-camber or tilted surfaces, whereas the 2.35 was simply awful on the steeply tilted hairpins on Whiteface.

I am running 55psi on the B.A. 2.0.

From what I recall (although it has been over a year) the 2.35 felt a lot better on the camber and I actually liked turning with it more.

I will have to put the 2.35 back on and see if this rings true, or if I am just not used to the 29er since I have been riding a geared 36 for quite some time.

I wouldn’t go lower than 114s for the 36er. I was using 114s for quite a while and it is probably the lowest (110 or 114) that I would want. 125mm was my comfort size on the 36er though, it seemed to be a good size for most everything (especially around VA/DC).

hmm…i thought a lot of people used 100’s

ima still try 89s

i think if i practiced for a few days on 89s i could really fly…i’d just be worried about stopping.

I rode 36/114s in Ride The Lobster training and most of the race, and I found mounting difficult, though maybe being short (5’6") contributed to that. I also did a lot of riding with 36/125s, and with both of those “shorter” lengths, I had some serious knee-aches on long descents (this was my pre-brake days). In fact, accelerating on the smaller cranks hurts my knees*, too.

I now keep 150s on my Coker for the easy control, since it’s my around-town/5-or-10 mile uni, and I use my KH29 guni for real distance riding.

My KH29g has the 125/150 and I like 150s on that, too, both geared-down, for big, long climbs, and for the leverage when geared-up.

*My knees are quite old in knee-years; too much ultimate frisbee - 27 years and counting.

I am the same way, using the 125s on a geared 29 on a descent with no brake definitely hurts my knees, I prefer the 150s for that if I do not have a brake.

I also, have never really been good at slight braking on a downhill, I wish I was good so that I could just run 125s.

And your still so young!

True, Joe, most of me is 47 years young :roll_eyes: , but my knees, ankles and shoulders are at least 50% older from all the ulty.