Light Muni on 26er with 125mm cranks

I just got a nice 26er a week ago and am getting back into shape after not having ridden for 1.5 years. I thought I’d be doing a lot of road riding, but actually I’ve been riding on light trails a lot more. By light trails I mean they are sometimes with roots, a few rather steep ups and downs but lots of gradual and long ones, footpaths in the forest for the most part. I’ve got 125mm cranks and am wondering if people often use this size for what I’m doing or even for more difficult terrain. I would like to improve my skills in the forest, though if it’s not advised against I’d prefer to stay with this length purely for the sake of empty pockets.

Despite any concerns, I’m having a blast with it right now. There are some difficulties that I’m chalking up to rustiness. One particularly steep hill comes to mind, where I’ve fallen off every time so far feeling like I just get going too fast and it’s too steep. The uni kinda just gets away from me. I see the videos of some of you guys going down much steeper hills and presumably just letting yourself go. Is it that I just need to let the pedals spin and not try to slow down? Would longer cranks help me in this?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Almost everything is easier with longer cranks and cotterless ones are pretty inexpensive. About $20 for aluminum and $12 for steel. It would be a good idea to get a bunch of different size steel cranks so you can experiment and find which size you like best for which situation and terrain.

Longer cranks will especially make it easier to ride technical terrain, up steep hills, control your speed down hills, and trials like sections, also they I’m less fearfull of having a bad UPD and try things I wouldn’t otherwise. The down side is they are slower, and I think w/ my 170’s, harder to ride SIF, standing up, and pedal smoothly. Overal I like my 170’s better than my 150’s for Muni, mainly because I’m still learning, and terrain around here is pretty knarly.

To help control your speed downhills you might want to consider getting a brake. Magura’s are expensive and probably overkill for you, but V-brakes are pretty reasonable, $170 vs. $30. Some riders including KH think that the ideal setup for a 29" is 150 cranks w/ a brake, and a 26" w/ 125’s has similar qualities.

he has isis splined cranks, but anyways yea longer cranks will help you more for muni. mdc has quax isis cranks for either 19.90 euros for 145s or 25.90 euros for 170s.

edit: when it comes to hills longer cranks help by giving you more leverage, either for going up the hill faster/easier, or slowing yourself when going down hills.

I didn’t know. Still pretty cheap, about the same price as aloy cotterless.

I suppose it isn’t very expensive to get new cranks. I’d have to get a crank puller too, but that’s also not too much. I’ll wait a little while though. The 125’s haven’t become a noticeable encumbrance yet. I was only wondering if it was largely preferable to have longer ones. But are there people who regularly ride muni on 125’s and live to tell the tale?

Yeah, there are a few. Particularly the kind of light muni that you describe.

It’s primarily a matter of practice, I remember when I first got my 29er with 125mm cranks on it, I could ride next to nothing on the trails. Two years later, having ridden it quite a lot on the road, and ridden a lot of 26" muni, I went on the fast muni ride at the BUC on a borrowed 29er with 125mm, cos all I had with me was my coker, and darn if I couldn’t ride over tons of stuff that a couple of years back I’d have had trouble with on the 26.

The 125mm give you a little more speed and a little more control.

Going downhill fast is often easier with short cranks, but going downhill slow and in control is easier with longer cranks.

Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about your cranks, if you’re having fun, and still finding that each week you can ride a little bit more than the last one, then don’t mess with them. You might decide at some point that you’re not really getting further with the 125s, that’s when 150s are worth trying. The advantage of doing it this way is that if you do switch up crank length, you’ve developed stronger legs and much more control than if you start with 150s or 170s straight away. Same goes for the brake, first learn what is possible for you without the brake by riding lots, then fit a brake, otherwise you’re at risk of becoming over-reliant on the brake, which is great for non-technical sections, but can limit the technical downhill riding you can do, cos the brake just won’t work on some sections.



Hah sorry that was probably a bit rude and silly of a remark.

I will now provide some personal experience to back it up.

I ride a 26er with 150’s and 137’s, I love it. There are times when I wish I had longer ones, but really for the kind of stuff around me (sounds similar to your area) they are perfect (infact I’m a little jealous of your 125’s sometimes :p). If you like the 125’s then stick with them, but don’t rule out the possibility that at some point you may want larger ones. Another thing to look into is getting some v brakes or something. Brakes will help immensly on those downhills.

Another tip for downhills is to stay in control from the start, lean back on those cranks alot and just let them roll when you are in control of them.

Really? lean back on the cranks? I’ve been leaning slightly forward downhill. When I try leaning back I have a really hard time just letting it roll.

joemarshall: Thanks for the advice. I think I will stick with the setup I’ve got, especially if it will strengthen my legs more than otherwise. Maybe in the future I’ll try longer ones and possibly a brake too, but I’m going to wait a good while. It’s great to hear about your experience with the 29er the second time around. I suppose part of all of this is that I’m nearly an absolute beginner in the woods. When I used to unicycle a while back I mainly stuck to the road. Now I’m spending all my time in the woods and already feel improvement just in the course of the week I’ve been back on.

I think ntappin means apply back pressure on the cranks

On hills steep enough to be challenging I lean forward w/ my upper boddy and the uni back, kind of V shaped.

If the hill is not very challenging I can keep good control keeping my upper boddy leaning back a bit and exerting a lot less effort and energy.