Getting used to 102's on a 36er?

I do realize that there is already an abundance of crank threads on the forums, and I’ve read many of them, but I still have a few questions. First of all, I am planning on ordering 102mm Torker LX cranks to put on my 36er – I already checked the specifications and it should fit just fine. But, from 125mm (Down a full size) would it be a huge difference? How much time would it take to get used to the new cranks – I’m not going to do any daring things on this uni, it will be purely for riding around on some bike trails near my house and maybe to school and such. I did a 50 mile ride with my 125’s on my 36er Saturday, but it took too long once I added in breaks (6 hours). I was averaging about 11mph, but would much prefer 12.5 or maybe 13, which hopefully the new cranks would provide. Am I in over my head with these assumptions, or no? I switched to 125s from my 150s earlier, and adjusted within a day or two, but I’m concerned that this, although slightly smaller decrease, would be an even more drastic change than 150-125. Help?

maybe try 114’s first?

102s would be ok though i think. just…good luck stopping quickly. 114s are easier to stop, and probably not much slower than 102s

102 is three sizes down from 125s. 114 and 110 are in between. If you don’t have any steep stuff around, you should be able to get around on 102s just fine. Brakes recommended, if you ride near people or cars, though instant stops aren’t instant, and turning is usually more effective anyway.

The best way to get used to some short cranks is to ride some shorter ones for a while, then size back up. But I’m not sure how fun it would be to ride around on 89s on a Coker, so maybe you should ride with the 102s for a while, then put on a pair of 110s. You might really like those too, and should be able to cruise at nice speeds as well as handle a little more of the ups and downs.

Thanks, that was lots of help. (I dimwittedly thought that a full size in cranks was an inch up or down, instead of just all the commonly manufactured mm sizes) Doing 89’s on a 36er would probably not be a good idea for me yet, but I figure that 110s or 114s would suit the purpose rather well. I think I recall MuniAddict saying that 114s were the optimal size when you factor in speed, torque, control, etc.

There is no optimal size. 114 is his optimal size, for his chosen terrain. That size also works quite well for me, and it’s what I have on my non-geared road Coker. But if I were riding more (or bigger) hills, I might go a size longer. If I were training for Ride The Lobster, I’d probably be a size shorter, etc.

So, best way to prepare yourself for the 114s? Ride with 102s or 110s for at least two weeks first. When you switch to the longer ones you’ll be amazed at the control! :slight_smile:

As John said, crank size is really personal preference, and what works best for you, and your style and type of riding. Btw, I currently use 110mm moment cranks on my kh 36er, as they do not make 114 moments. There are other brands, like quax that makes the isis in 114mm. :slight_smile:

Honnestly, unless you are racing or trying to go very fast, you won’t be able to tell the difference between 110mm and 114mm. Also, I would say going down a size is every 1/2". Personally my favorite cranks are 110mm, but I also use 114mm if I am on a non ISIS uni. Also, note that I really enjoy the feeling of short cranks and often race with 102/100mm cranks. I have used as small as 79mm on my 36er, though only 89mm for any period of time. My top speed with 114mm cranks is almost exactly the same as my top speed on 102mm and 89mm cranks, however, if the terrain is flat, my average speed is a good amount faster with the shorter cranks. I would disagree with John’s strategy of going a size too small so that the next size up feels easier. If you are fairly new to riding on a 36er, definitely go with the 114/110mm cranks. Shorter cranks will help your average, but getting to be a stronger rider and more comfortable with your uni will help much more. For example, over 20 miles, with 125mm cranks I can average 14mph, 110mm - 15mph, 102 - 15.5mph (rough estimates), but it really depends on the terrain, and that is in a best circumstance for each crank choice.

Hey Milos, If Scott of Madison says that 110’s are his favorite then Milos of Madison should do that (since it seems that you’re a pretty serious rider).
I ride 102’s over here in Mpls. and for me, they are optimal. When I went from 125’s to 102’s it seemed a huge transition. Then to 89’s the trans was easy - but too difficult on the hills I habitually visited. When I was riding 89’s, I found that I was avoiding terrain that had formerly enjoyed - in other words, I was ‘gravitating’ to flat terrain while on 89’s. I switched back to 102’s and haven’t changed from them since (5 yearsish).

Hey Scott – thanks for the reply. I’m a bit out of it after getting about 3 hours of sleep last night, so every comment I post might make me sound rather stupid. By the way, I’m not sure if you remember me but I visited the unicycle club a few months ago, with Bryce. Anyway, back on topic – I appreciate you posting your experience with the various cranks. The route I’m planning to take (riding to East from (basically N. Sherman)) is pretty flat, and should make shorter cranks an equal, if not better, choice than the longer ones I have currently. I also prefer the feel of shorter cranks (experimented a bit with crank sizes on my 26"). I’ll be doing longer rides along a trail every few weeks, which are usually pretty flat. I might just get double holed cranks in case I don’t want to go out of my way to avoid hills when I just ride to get to a random place.

I never liked 102s on a 36. It seemed like I couldn’t really go faster than with 110’s, but I had less control.

Are you on the club’s mailing list? If not check out for info. Also, if you live on North Sherman, then that’s less than a mile from my house and you are welcome to come over and try out different crank sizes. Use the “webmaster” on the contact page to get in touch with me. (I don’t check PMs here.)

Maybe I should try 110’s - never have - there are some local steep ascents that I have a difficult time with.

150s B-) . . . ok ok . . . 125s, but man, I’d go down a size if I had some brakes. Too many steep hills here. got it on the 150s right now, I must admit, it feels slow, but I love to go offroad when I need to.

          Ok, I think I'll sign up for the mailing list and start actually GOING to club, hehe. And... living on North Sherman would've explained my 3 hours of sleep yesterday, but I actually live on Delaware. There's nothing really significant from my house to East, so I just mentioned the place where I have to start making stops due to the side streets.

          Thanks for the offer, I appreciate it. I might take you up on that offer.

I guess Madison is flatter than I thought? I’ll find out next summer! :slight_smile: I can tell the difference but it only matters on the uphills.

In your case, your area is probably not flat enough to enjoy 102s without avoiding lots of nice scenery. Though they worked well for me in the (nearly totally flat) Denmark Marathon, I wouldn’t want to use them around here either.

Brakes make a huge difference, not only to your knees but to peace of mind. I highly recommend looking into getting some.

Well, there are a few hills around my area (Northside) but certainly none of them are steep, and there aren’t any rolling hills or anything like that. If you encounter hills, it’s usually a steady and small grade, that doesn’t continue for very long. There are a few steep hills I think on the South side, but again, very short.

Damn That is fast! :astonished:

With 125 mm cranks I typically average 10-12 mph over 10-20 miles, but it depends a lot on the course and the traffic (lights). My maximum speed is usually just over 15 mph. I think my maximum speed is limited by skill and by fear of death rather than conditioning, at least on level ground. At high cadence I have less control.

So, the solution is more practice?


Scott won the 10k at Unicon. That’s a large group of the world’s fastest unicyclists, and Scott was ungeared on a totally flat course. He also won the Criterium at U Games a few weeks ago, and he’s generally damn fast, yes.

Me too. My new Schlumpf 36" brings the cadence back down, so I can do scary speeds while still pedaling fairly slow. Still scary. If I hadn’t had my collarbone crash back in 2007 I would probably be riding faster today. But still not as fast as I would have if I’d had this equipment back in the mid 80s. Back then I was clocked on my 45" heavy wheel at 22-23 mph. I know I could have pedaled a 36" Schlumpf quite a bit faster – then.

Solution to what? I think a more accurate word for increasing overall speed would be Training. Work on endurance, ride hills to make you faster on the flats, and practice smoothing out your spin. And listen to people who ride faster than me!