Crank length and road grade measurement

Re: Re: Crank length and road grade measurement

The 1 degree precision is adequate. Any hill of appreciable grade will have variations greater than that.

Re: Crank length and road grade measurement

The street in front of my house is about 8 degrees (14% grade) and my
driveway is about 10 degrees (17% grade) – neither of which I can get
up while mounted, as yet.

On Thu, 04 Jul 2002 14:30:56 GMT, wrote:

>I purchased an inclinometer at Orchard Supply Hardware (owned by
>Sears) for about $10. It may be accurate to about 1 degree, which
>may be the best you can do unless you want to spend a lot more
>money or do a lot more work.

Re: Crank length and road grade measurement

On Wed, 03 Jul 2002 22:22:43 GMT, Sarah Miller <>

> wrote:
>> Does anyone know of a good way to measure road grades?
>> What kind of an instrument would I have to borrow or purchase?

I made one myself many years ago out of an old cigar box and a
circular piece of wood. I’ll try my hand at ascii art:


The piece of wood could rotate inside the box. It was made heavy on
one side and had a graduation on the other side that could be looked
at through an opening in the top of the cigar box. Simple really and
nowhere near accurate. I don’t know where it’s gone. Maybe I’ll remake
it to check (my progress re) the grades I can get up and down.

Klaas Bil

RE: Crank length and road grade measurement

For some reason, my postings through my ISP seem
to be getting lost. I’ll try the email route.

I purchased a ‘protractor’ (actually an inclinometer)
from Orchard Supply Hardware (now owned by Sears). It
is made by ‘Empire’, and consists of a little bubble
gauge rotating in a 360 degree cage marked with angles.
The whole thing is about 2" in diameter and costs $10.

I measured the grade of the street in front of my house
at 8 degrees (14% grade), and my driveway at 10 degrees
(17% grade). I can’t negotiate either of these while
mounted on my unicycle – yet.

4.3" cranks added between 1-2 MPH to my average speed. This is on rides that are about 80% flat terrain and 20% hills.


Some compasses have a built-in inclinometer. Placing it on a two-by-four layed parallel (I love spelling that word) with the hill would help average the small local variations.


What, “laid”?


Phil, just me

Re: Crank length and road grade measurement

How about using the unicycle?

Carry a sight level and a calculator with you. At the bottom of the incline
in question lay the level on top of the crown (or some other pre-measured
point high on the uni). Sight through the level to a point up on the
incline. Ride to the identified point counting the revolutions of your
wheel. Do the math.

$15 Sight Level: item number:19225A63


Re: Re: Crank length and road grade measurement

That does involve a unicycle so it gets some bonus points. But it’s too complicated.

Here are two angle locators. These links go to There are other similar angle locators. They’re less than $10.


I’m gonna have to find the percent grade for some of the hills I ride. I’ve always been wondering how steep they are.