Several thoughts here… I experimented with 5 inch cranks on my Coker. Got an estd. 20 mph. Did a 53 mile ride, half of it uphill. Knees creaking. Decided I prefer the stately as a galleon movement of a Coker on 6 inch cranks (150s) to the slightly frantic on the flat, but laborious on the hills 5s, and changed back.
Hey presto! Can now idle the Coker for short periods. Low speed control is better. Mounting is now as near as dash it all 100% with my usual foot, and I’m confident to freemount with the ‘wrong’ foot too.
A while back I put 7 inch (170 mm) cranks on my 26. This gave me the extra control I needed to improve my freemounting and idling. Didn’t like them (I only have little legs, you see) and I put the 150s back on. Hey presto! Control, idling and mounting remained improved.
Similar experiments with my 20 and 24.
The general point seems to be that if you put longer cranks on, it’s easier to learn and develop skills (which is obvious, up to a point) but, more importantly, if you run the uni with shorter than usual cranks for a while, when you go back to the ‘normal’ ones, they seem so much easier you feel twice as good as you used to be.
As cranks cost about 10 GBQ a set (Whassat? … About 15 Yankee Dollars?) they seem to be an excellent and cheap training aid. get a set of 110s (for example) and practice in the hall, in the car park (or, as I believe the Colonials would have it, a ‘vacant lot’) then put the normal size back on for ‘real’ riding.
I suppose you all knew this anyway.
Finally, everyone should have a Coker with 150s AND a 20 with 110s, just so you can practise idling the Coker, then feel really really silly when you get on the 20. The nearest thing to it is swimming with diving fins (flippers) then taking them off and trying to swim barefoot. Silly!