Is Q-factor a factor in climbing?

Sorry if this specific topic has been covered previously, but I just wanted to get some collective insight as to whether cranks with Q-factor help or hinder steep hill climbing, and if there’s any real-world advantage to having cranks with an outward angle (feet further apart) or zero Q. (Feet closest to the wheel) Thanks in advance for your replies.

Not sure about this but I think so.
I use to put 27 mm pedal extenders on my zero-q cranks to be more comfortable with my duck feet and I feel like I have much more lateral controle and leverage compared to the same cranks without the extenders.

Since I use spirit cranks on my 26 muni and g26, 27mm is a bit too much to add(spirits have already q-factor) so I ordered 21mm extenders, when I receive them I’ll tell you if I find my g26 easier with extenders than without, it is still not about climbing, but the accelerating in 2nd gear is a little bit like climbing, right?

What you could do is to compare climbing with you g26 in 1st gear with you spirits and with another 26er with zero q cranks (I’m sure you can find another 26er among your 17 wheels :smiley: ).
Or you can afford pedal extenders to experiment, it’s cheap on e bay.

I’ve found that once you know what Q-factor you are comfortable riding with it’s pretty much good for everything.

Fortunately for me that’s a moderate Q crank (KH or similar) on a standard hub, or strait cranks on a superwide hub.

Good point about hub width! Yes, I find that a foot stance close to natural walking width seems like it would be optimum for most riding. As Kris mentioned to me, straight cranks are usually best for fast spinning, like track racing.

I haven’t really tried enough cranks to have a really accurrate test (Quax 100s and 114s w/ low Q and KH 127/137/150/165 with higher Q and Quax 170s with lower Q), but for me the higher Q (and wider hub) seems to help with slow-speed crank-and-wait climbing, i.e. where it’s very steep and you crank one foot (and turn the uni to the side), then pause and crank the other foot. Not sure if it also applies one more continuous climbing although my guess would be that it should although to a lesser extent.

From a physics perspective this also makes sense as you then have a longer lever: not just the crank length, but as I sort of use my other foot as the pivot point (not just pedal to hub/crank interface but crank to other crank), the Q increases the total lever length, if that makes sense.

As has been mentioned above, maybe this only helps if it does not exceed your normal walking stance? because beyond that it may not be possible to supply the muscle power for the wider stance? But at 6’1" it doesn’t for me on the 125mm Oracle hub.

I think MUC makes a lot of sense. Wide for leverage, maybe narrow for speed. But both in relation to the rider’s personal dimensions. My toes tend to point in a little bit, and I always liked a narrow hub & straight cranks for Track racing (very high RPMs). But for Muni and climbing I think a wider stance allows for a bit more power.

I think that can make a big difference. I can identify with UniDreamerFR - my toes naturally point out a bit, which means I don’t get on very well with straight cranks. The best upgrade I made to my 36er was to replace the Venture 2 cranks with Spirits. This despite the fact that it has an extra wide hub (125mm) and I ride it almost exclusively on the road.

With the extra flare of the Spirits my feet could suddenly sit at a more natural position. This was far more comfortable than forcing my feet to be parallel. It also greatly diminished the risk of catching my heels on the cranks, which had caused a couple of bad falls with the Ventures. The result is that on the wider platform I can spin faster with less wobble because I’m more comfortable and confident.

An interesting point is that although my pedals are further apart than with the Ventures, the spacing of my heels and legs hasn’t really changed much because of the outward angle of my feet.

Now, I’ve never tried a 36er with a 100mm hub and flared cranks. If somebody wants to lend me their KH36 (for science!) I’d be interested to see what it feels like.