Shorter cranks for a 26er

What, with the season warming up, I’m finally looking into speeding up my 26er (Nimbus muni). Don’t really have the cash to get into a new uni (coker) just yet, so was looking at other options. Per the last thread, I’m probably just going to do shorter cranks, so:

  1. I’d like to get as much speed as possibly, but at what ‘shortness’ am I just getting ludicrous (United has $12 cranks at 89,102,127,and 152 mm; Qu-Ax has $18 cranks at 114,and 125 mm)?

  2. If I opt for a different tire, I’d likely also want a wheelset for purposes of quick-change b/t uni and muni. Would I be just asking for trouble to buy Sun’s 26" wheelset (and then swap out the cranks with something listed above) at $74? Better yet…any thoughts on whether the Sun 28" wheelset ($79) would fit the Nimbus 26" muni frame?

Thanks for the help!

There are so many variables - but the biggest variable is the rider.

I have tried almost every combination of cranks from 80 mm on a 24 to 170mm on a 26. I found that it is far better to learn to spin long cranks fast than to rely on short cranks for speed. It gives you more versatility.

Of course, very long cranks can be a bit unweildy.

My current 26" set up is a Pashley 26 Muni with a Holy Roller 2.4" tye and 125 mm cranks.

The tyre is great for general use on and off road, with enough grip for patches of mud, and a nice profile for easy steering.

125 mm is a nice general purpose crank length: you can spin them comfortably, but they give enough leverage for quite steep hills.

My KH24 (3" tyre) has 185mm cranks. My 700c (28") has a 23 mm tyre and 114 mm cranks.

You said your unicycle was a MUni, but didn’t mention what type of terrain you wanted to ride with the short cranks. If it’s pavement, you can go way short, though if you get below 89, control starts going out the window. I use 102s for road riding or racing on my 29".

If you still want to ride trails I’d stop at 125mm.

It think the ones it shipped with are 170 mm and those are okay on the trails, so I’d probably use the new ones for nice, flat roadways (gravel or paved).

go 28"

I was in a very similar situation and now i have two wheels for my Yuni 26" MUni.

Assuming the Nimbus and Yuni frames have similar clearances i would say go and get that Sun 28" wheelset. I have a 27X1 1/4 wheelset on my uni for road riding and there is plenty of room (27 is actually 8mm taller than 28 with similar tire, go figure). I went and bought 127mm and 102mm united cranks. i had the 127s on for about two weeks then swapped them out for the 102s. The 102s are plenty short for me.

If you decide to have two wheels then i would suggest getting an extra set of bolts for your bearing holders as the threads on mine have become quite poor after swapping the wheel at least twice a week (road during the week, MUni during the weekend).

Really? That must be about the longest cranks on a KH24 worldwide. At that for the man who was advocating short cranks a few years ago!

Klaas Bil

If you are using it for muni and you are doing some drops and stuff then I would go no smaller than 135, I have good amount of experience on that size and on 150’s and until I have my brake fully set up I will be sticking with the 150’s.

Have you never added a couple of centimetres when describing anything?:wink:

For the record, it was a typing error - they are of course 165mm.

Ah, that is what you meant by “on the plus side” when you wrote

“185 mm of solid steel, baby” :astonished:

Anyone else who can weigh in on the topic of whether or not that 28" sun wheelset ( will fit the 26" Nimbus muni frame I’ve got? Along with the shorter cranks, it seems like a pretty good option as far as being able to switch between road and muni travel quickly without all-too-big of an expenditure. Would just kind of suck if the wheelset was too big, but then I may just take that risk…

I’d say almost certainly yes. A 26x3" tyre is about 28" diameter, and there’s loads of clearance on my Nimbus II 26er - in fact I suspect the frame is specced for 29ers.


Diameter-wise it’s probably OK but what about frame width (distance between bearings) and bearing diameter? I know you can tweak both of these to make it fit, but I guess Nepsis would like it if it would fit as is.

Klaas Bil

Note that that Sun 28" wheel is a piece of junk. Steel rim and cheap components. It’ll almost certainly fit in your muni frame, for what that’s worth.


…and as Klaas Bil mentioned, I was hoping to be able swap back and forth relatively easily…road wheel/cranks for commuting…back to muni wheel/cranks for the trails.


A new Dutch saying goes like “Elk nadeel heb se voordeel”. Rejoice… now you will have to buy two unicycles and swap back and forth even easier. Plus, you will have a ‘spare’ for a friend.

Klaas Bil

I am quite surprised that it is not the same width at the bearings. I thought that this was the same on all non-superwide non pashley cotterles hubs, learn something new every day. Good thing you didn’t just go out and buy it eh?

You could still buy a UDC (or similar) hub, 127mm cranks and cannibalize the front wheel off an old roadbike…


I love it. If I recite that phrase daily, how soon will the extra money appear in my account?:stuck_out_tongue:

I hadn’t thought of that. I’ve even got an ol’ rusty mountain bike sitting in my driveway just dying to be cannibalized. So I was poking around on and think I’ll go with the following set-up:
Hub Item # HUUN36-738 $25
Cranks Item # CRUN-179 $12
…and locally find a 26x3 tube and road tire ($40-50)
…and a classmate has some spare b*ke pedals…
…so for $77-87 I just may have a decent wheelset. (If I can manage to build it, that is. :astonished: ) I’m kind of assuming the spokes from this mountain bike will work, and probably putting too much faith in my ability to become a wheelbuilder, but am looking forward to it.

Any pointers or better advice on the aforementioned parts and strategy?

using a bike wheel

If you do end up building up the wheel from your bike make sure the wheel has 36 spokes otherwise it gets complicated. If the hub has the tall flanges (most mountain bikes do) there is a good chance you can use your old spokes. My re-used spokes are maybe a mm longer than they should be but it works.

Good luck!