Longer cranks for a beginner

I went to the recycling place and found an old ten speed to make handle bars for my 26” uni once I finally get it and can go for long rides. It was a fun project, chopping and grinding up the frame and the handle bars turned out great. They are just the standard top tube and seat post clamp and then sliding the stem into the top tube and attaching bar ends onto the chopped handle bars. I have seen the exact same handle bars on the “make your own handle bars" thread.

So with the ten speed came a set of standard 7.75” (196.85mm) cranks that fit my uni. I now have 6” (152mm) cranks that came with the 26” uni and my thought was longer cranks will help me learn better then I can go down in size back to the 6” cranks once I get it. I tried the 196mm cranks and I felt a better control and more predictability at to what would happen while peddling last night. I have about 4 hours over 2 weeks on my uni. Am I fooling myself or could they help with learning to ride and free mounting in the future?

Any advice or comments would be helpful.


Are you sure those are over 190mm!? i am pretty sure that the standard length for road bikes is between 170mm and 175mm You measure from the middle of the axle to the middle of the pedal spindle.

Anyway my 26" Muni came with 170mm cranks. I really liked them for a while but when I got smoother my legs did feel like they were flailing around a lot especially when going fast down hill. After about a year I switched to 150s and they were much smoother but I lost a lot of power for climbing. I switched back and forth a few times and was really undecided which ones I liked better, the 150s felt too short and the 170s felt too long. When i built up a new wheel last year I got a pair of 160s and was instantly comfortable riding them.

Some people like long cranks, other people like short cranks. If long cranks work for you then stick with them. You aren’t going to wreck anything by experimenting with different lengths to find what you like.

In my opinion those big flappers are going to very quickly limit how fast you can spin. I would agree that they will give you remarkable control at very slow spin but all you have for speed on a unicycle is spin. Learning with cranks that severely limit your top end speed is probably not a good idea. 175mm cranks are considered long for rugged MUni where rapid torque change is crucial and speed is not so important. 150mm cranks are considered long for road riding where fast spinning buys you higher speed. If you have freakishly long legs this becomes moot.

That sounds extreme to me. Have you measured between the centres of the holes?

Best to learn on something standard, then modify when you know what you’re doing. No need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.:slight_smile:

center spindle to center is 7.75" x 25.4 = 196.85mm
I have a 35" inseam

they come off of a 10 speed bike so they definatly are no standard and I am lucky to get 30ft right now so the more control I can get the better. I am just learning and speed won’t be a factor until I can ride at least 100 ft without stepping down… right?

Thanks guys great points

196mm cranks are gargantuan (bike or uni), but if you’re tall they probably won’t impede your learning process. Once you can ride at all, it’s usually just a question of a few minutes’ practice to get used to riding with a different crank length.