Q Factor

all this Q factor rubbish is really annoying me.

from my understanding, Q factor comes from bicycling, and is the distance between pedals. ( i think )

but the majority of unicyclists use the Q factor to indicate how far out the pedal is from the bit of the crank that goes onto the hub.

therefore i think we should adapt the Q factor for unicyclists, and change it’s meaning from the bicycling world. thus:

Q factor is the distance from the pedal to the bit where the crank goes onto the hub, measured from the start point of the the crank at the hub, to the end point of the crank on the pedal side. measurement must be made in the same linear direction as the rotational axis of the hub and pedal.

that sounded rather shonky, can somebody maybe fix it up?

(something like this may have already been posted but i havent seen one, so dont shoot me if there already is one :slight_smile: )

there is one, but its all good, the Q factor should stay the way it is because it determines how the unicycle rides i.e. big Q factor = wobbly wheel small Q= smooth rider

how about we call that M(for miss) factor??

If you want to describe something different, use a different term. Q-factor, as it is used in the bicycling world, is absolutely relevant to unicyclists. For example, on my basketball/freestyle unicycle, I aim for very low Q-factor; that means a narrow hub, narrow frame, and straight cranks. (Frame width isn’t an issue on bikes, but it does contribute to Q-factor on unicycles).

What’s wrong with simply calling cranks straight or angled, if that’s what you’re trying to describe?

well, speaking for Iridemymuni, I have a unicycle w/ straight cranks, but has about 1" of frame clearance (M factor… or should we call it C factor??)

The Q factor is how far apart the pedals are. We use it to refer to the extra spread caused by the shape of the cranks because we vaguely assume (incorrectly) that all hubs are the same width.

Given that cranks are an easily replaceable item, whereas a hub isn’t, it seems reasonable to have a word to describe the specific effect of the cranks on overall Q factor.

We could call that “additional crank-derived Q factor”, or “extra Q factor arising from the shape of the cranks”, or we could just say “Q factor” and know what we mean.

When did you last look at something a long way away using telescopic forks?

Disc brakes usually have rings rather than discs.

Is it only Mountain Unicycling if you’re on a mountain?

What is a mountain? There are whole countries whose lowest valleys are higher than England’s highest mountains.

How many speeds does a 21 speed bicycle really have?

Unicycle as a verb is not in the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

Nor is unicyclist, as a noun.

Words are used imprecisely, and meanings change. On the rare occasions when we need to be more specific about Q factor, surely that can be embodied in the accompanying explanation.

good explanation, but what about the clearance btw the frame and crank

what do we call that ??

I don’t think it’s incorrect to refer to the Q-factor of your cranks. However, I do think it’s incorrect to say that some cranks have Q-factor and some don’t, or that a set of cranks are zero-Q, which is quite common here. And it’s not only a question of language being descriptive or prescriptive; the idea of a crank having no Q-factor is the result of sloppy thinking which is likely to lead to incorrect conclusions.

lol umm
0 Q factor is techinically possible

… you could have an axle that hooks to the cranks inside the frame and has the cranks on the opposite side of where they go, assuming they are perfectly straight
… it would require some crazy spokes

so its a stupid thing to do, but it is possible

Whenever I’ve dealt with cranks in the BMX world, we don’t talk about “Q-Factor”… we talk about OFFSET. Zero Offset means a straight crank, 10mm offset means the ends are shifted 10mm. Makes easy sense to me when refering to crank arms.

Maybe on an ultimate wheel, but not on anything with a frame.

If someone tells me they’re cranks have 0 Q factor, I know what they mean - although it IS incorrect. However, if someone tells me that, say, Profiles have a bigger Q factor than KH cranks, I also know what they mean, and it is ALSO correct. On any given hub the profiles will have a bigger Q factor than KH. So, as long as you are using qualitative measurements instead of quantitative (bigger/smaller vs 0,1,2,3) you are using the term correctly.

If it really gets people in a huff, however, it I think you should measure cranks based on the angle off straight they are (5 degree, 10 degree) instead of distance from pedal to hub or pedal to pedal. You could even call it the Q angle. (my cranks of a 0 Q angle, and my profiles have a bigger Q angle/factor than my KH’s)

You could then have a low Q factor with a high Q angle, or vice versa, and everyone would know what everyone is talking about. And, since one is measure in degrees and another in distance, even if you don’t have the factor/angle label correctly, people would still be able to figure out what you mean.

//edit: although offset would work fine too, especially since it’s already adopted by the industry.

//second edit: maybe angle is dumb, since different length cranks would then have different “offset.” I refer you the above post which was posted at the same time as mine. I think he’s got a better idea than me.