MUni crank length?

I was wondering, what is the best overall crank length is for 24" MUnis?
I noticed that the Koxx track monster came with 140’s and the KH freeride comes with 160’s(I think)

What’s better?

165’s on the freeride, but now they’re 150’s. The latter is too short for me, not enough torque. 165’s are better for climbing, but anything longer can cause a lot of crank strikes. The only benefit that I can see to the shorter cranks is more speed, but I’m not into muni for the speed.

i ride with 170’s on my 24" with a 2.7 tyre.

it gives me heaps of torque, but i keep smacking my cranks on stuff, if i ride next to a curb i smack the cranks which isnt good. i love them for muni i think they’re the best, they’re really slow so when i go distance i whack on my 125’s.

I can’t help thinking that Kris Holm knows more about this than any of us, and that the standard size on the KH MUni is likely to be the best all round compromise.

There are lots of variables, though.

  • What do you call Muni? Riding along bridlepaths and forest tracks? Leaping off big rocks? Hopping from rock to rock? Slogging through deep mud? Or undergrowth and bracken? 10 mile rides? Spending all afternoon in one small area going for technical stuff?
  • What shape are you? Short legs don't go well with long cranks.
  • How fit are you?
  • How long have you been riding? How good are you?

There are other questions, I’m sure.

  • Long cranks give you great control on long steep descents.
  • Short cranks help you to keep the speed up.
  • Sometimes it's better to rush at a hill and flow over it.
  • Other times, you need to grind up the hill in "low gear" and nothing but long cranks will do.

When I started MUni, I thought I was doing well to make it up or down certain hills or along certain rough tracks in my area. Now I can ride those same tracks on shorter cranks, bigger or smaller wheels, skinnier tyres…

The advice I would have given you 4 years ago would therefore have been different, and more dogmatic. However, as I said above:

I can’t help thinking that Kris Holm knows more about this than any of us, and that the standard size on the KH MUni is likely to be the best all round compromise.

Kris also has a riding style that is very different than us mere mortals. What works well for Kris may not necessarily work well for me.

Kris has a riding style that is very smooth, even on very rough terrain full of roots and ruts. Kris literally floats over the roots and ruts. I plow in to ruts and plow over roots. Big difference. Kris’ technique is to do pseudo rolling hops over roots and ruts. The rolling hop only has to be enough to lighten the wheel, it does not need to leave the ground. It just needs to be enough to float over the obstacle. His technique is to also always keep the wheel moving and always keep momentum. My technique (due to lack of technique) defaults to plowing over roots and ruts and often that means letting the wheel stop moving.

With technique like Kris you can get away with using shorter cranks because you aren’t using the leverage of the longer cranks to plow over things.

Maybe a simple test would be to ride up a curb (or kerb for you UK folks). If your technique for riding up the curb is to plow over it then you’re likely to prefer longer cranks. If you technique is magical enough that you can get over the curb lightly with barely a blip, then you are likely to prefer shorter cranks.

If someone is buying a muni for the first time I would suggest that they get longer cranks (170’s or 165’s). They’re a good default. You’ll have an easier time plowing over things which is the technique that most people use for muni. Later on they can switch to shorter cranks if they develop the technique and riding style appropriate for shorter cranks.

I would say that it totally depends on what you are wanting to do with your Muni and where you are riding it. If you are riding up and down very steep hills then consider 165 cranks. For the majority of Muni which is done on relatively flat ground or mixed then you should be looking at 150mm.

I ride most things on my 150 cranks on my 24". 165 would get me up very little more than I can not get up now on the 150s. If I want more leverage I pull harder on the seat, yes it is a technique thing. For me you can get the advantage of flowing riding through single track and the ability to ride hills. It is the best compromise for me, I would hate to loose this flowing ability I have with the shorter cranks on single track just to make plodding up a hill easier when all you have to do is learn to push/pull harder.


Ditto john_childs post.

Note that KH himself is split on the matter; the XC has 150mm cranks, the Freeride has 165mm. I have an XC that I rode quite a bit with 150mm, including Sunday at California MUni Weekend 2005, and swapped to 165mm before Moab this year.

For me, the difference is really not that dramatic. I mostly notice a bit of extra controls on really steep up and down hills with the longer cranks, and a slight tendency for more pedal hits on the 165s. It’s worth noting that the 165s are slightly easier to ride out of pedal hits with, because of the extra leverage.

Overall, there is very little difference in the trail sections I can or can’t ride due to the crank length difference.

If I were spec’ing out a MUni, I would go with the longer cranks if I expected most of my use of the unicycle to be on steep trails, and shorter cranks otherwise. I have a 29er I can use for cross-country riding, so for me, I’d like the MUni to be spec’ed for seriously steep and technical trails, so I’ve left the long cranks on it; if I were looking for one uni to do both types of riding, I would go for the shorter cranks.

I assumed Kris has the experience and nous to design his product for the level of experience and skill of the people likely to use it. I wasn’t suggesting that we should all have the same set up as Kris has on his own personal machines.

Let’s not make too big a deal out of crank length; The low-priced torker DX also comes with 150’s, but the most expensive munis on UDC (DM& Hunter) come with 170-175’s. Go figure. It’s all about personal preference, and a great rider is not determined by crank length!:smiley:

True that. I had that in mind when I started the post and then once I started writing the direction and implications took a turn. I should have edited out the quote.

Anyways, there have been rumours of Kris riding the Vancouver North Shore with 150’s on his muni.

i can ride the same terrain on 140’s as i can on 165’s. I think the 140’s are even better because they go faster overall. Now that ive tried some different lengths, iam not going over 150’s anymore.

I’ll probably get 150’s when I eventually get a MUni. The stuff I ride is mostly mixed, but a few trails are the hike up mountain, ride down the entire mountain. I’m not very good at judging cranklength because I’ve been using my KH trials with 145’s for MUni and I can’t really roll over anything with the small wheel, as well as pedal striking every 10 feet. I like doing trialsy MUni, but I also like hopping off of big drops 4’ plus. I’ve been riding for almost a year now, but I practise about 2 hours a day. I’m a bit less than 5’ tall and I(think) am in pretty good shape.

thanks for the info,


Brake makes a big difference too. A brake + 150 cranks will get you down pretty much anything, which maybe this is why the KH freeride comes with 150 cranks now, because Kris has decided that if you want to ride super hard downhill you’ll probably fit a brake anyway.

Personally I don’t think 170/165 vs 150 makes much difference. I found it takes about 10 minutes to get used to the longer cranks and to get most of my speed back up again. The only thing I did find was that the longer cranks felt slightly less good for flowing riding, and did throw me once riding switchbacks really darn fast just because I couldn’t spin as fast as I was expecting, but I was riding completely at the limit of my spinning ability. I don’t think 170s give you that much more uphill or downhill ability though.

As for riding style I think you just have to ride with momentum, if you’re just plowing through everything and stopping all the time you might as well be walking, and you’re wasting loads of energy that you could be using to go fast. But I’m not convinced that longer cranks stop that, I’ve seen Phil Himsworth ride with 165s and he doesn’t appear to be much slower than us lot on 150s.


I’d pretty much agree with that. I had 165s on my muni (26x3) originally, then changed to 150s (actually 152 I think, 6"). I did it as an experiment and it hasn’t made that much difference. I’m very slightly faster overall cross-country with the 150s, but the main reason I left them on is because they’re more angled (I hesitate to say anything about Q for fear of starting the definition arguments up again :roll_eyes: ) and I was prone to heel strikes on the straight 165 cranks. Another noticeable advantage is the extra half-inch or so of ground clearance helps reduce pedal strikes.