Small Splined Cranks

So as many people know I tend to ride tiny cranks compared to the wheel and style of riding I do.

On my trials I have 110 mm cranks, on my 26" muni I have 137 mm cranks.

Many people wonder why I do this besides just being crazy. I give an explanation of my feelings on the subject and then a more technical breakdown of my experiences starting with the trials uni and then the more recent 26".

I will now start talking my experiences with the trials uni with 110 mm cranks.

I started riding the 110’s in March of last year. I had been riding for about 7 or 8 months and I wanted some splined cranks. I went from riding 125’s to the 110’s. At first I didn’t really notice much of a difference because I had just taken a break from riding. When I went back and tried 125’s they felt very sluggish, like I was stepping into mud during the vertical portions of the cycle. This is becuase I had gotten used to the momentum force that the smaller cranks have.

This experience is similar to the way a coker feels, but far less dramatic. You can’t really feel it when you are riding the trials uni but you can feel it more when you step off it and onto another uni with larger cranks, or even a bike on a low ratio.

This improvement (I would say) is really only helpful in street stuff. It helps keep you from stopping dead aswell. When you are riding you tend to not slow down as much before doing something, and you have to concentrate alot less when riding on medium sized skinnies because you can let the momentum effect take over a bit and only put power into your strokes when you feel like it.

The smaller cranks also make the uni much better as a cross uni for muni. People think that for muni you always need a larger wheel with longer cranks because you need to force yourself over tough terrain, well with the shorter cranks and a smaller wheel, you can actualy launch yourself off of roots and the like and handle most difficult terrain quite well.

Unless you are a very weak legged person you should also be able to control the wheel pretty well with only the small cranks. Because the wheel is so small and light it will be very easy to just put lots of power into resisting the spinning of the cranks. I’m not saying you will come to a flying stop instantly on a steep downhill section, and yes I am contradicting an earlier statement a bit, but really it isn’t that hard to control.

On flats you will easily outrun the 24" monsters with their large cranks, and on very tough nearly trials terrain you will definatly have to advantage because you will be lighter, and much more used to doing trials on that wheel.

Where the small cranks are going to hurt you though in muni is in climbs and deep mud. I remember the last time I did muni on this and we hit a small patch of mud, I hit the patch and pretty much stopped dead, sinking in well past the rim and nearly to the pedal. I then waited for the 24’s to catch up (I was well ahead of them at the time) and when they hit it, although they had difficulty they were able to still get through it without too much trouble.

Trials is probably the least desirable feature of the 110’s. The problem being that when your feel is perched ontop of something poity, you will have way less leverage on it turning. So landing on those perpendicular rails and stuff, is going to be hard if not impossible on those cranks. It will however help with skinnies because you legs aren’t moving as far, so you won’t wobble as much if you take it slow.

I should also mention that you can go faster, and I have found jumping with the pedals misaligned is way easier with shorter cranks (mostly because you don’t have as much of a choice when you commit on the short cranks). This makes stair jumping a bit easier in my opinion.

The end point is that short cranks on a trials uni really change your style. When you have mastered something, making it nice looking will be very easy, keeping your flow will be perfect, but if you mess up you will be a hopping fool trying to get your uni under control. I think if more people used smaller cranks for street we would see alot more manual pad type stuff, and some really nice quick flow.

So now onto the technical part.

Cranks: Koxx-one 110 mm heavy duty ISIS cranks.
basic good points: strong, short, unique, cool.
basic bad points: insert and loose washer design requires maintenance regularly, perpendicular landings on skinny objects are difficult
leverage: leverage is compromised greatly but alows for quick response with enough force.
speed: legs are able to move faster and in smaller rotations.

Purpose? quick darting street/muni cross. Think of a 19" uni with 110’s as a good starter for those who want to try something of everything but lean towards street and muni.

I will post write up the 26" experiences in a bit but I have to go to the washroom and I want it in a seperate reply.

hOk so, here is earth, chilling, damn, taht is a sweet earth you may say?!

hok so on with the article!

My views on 137 mm cranks on a 26" beast are:

To be completely honest I havn’t had a hell of alot of time to try this uni out but I have gotten a pretty good understanding of its performance now and in the future.

Most of the features that apply to the 110 mm 19" beast apply to this aswell. It is a fairly similar ratio I think, but because of weight it is a bit harder to control.

With 137 mm cranks you really need to push hard to get up hills, and when going down really steep and technical stuff you are going to want brakes. It is probably the best all around size though in combination with brakes because it allows you to fly through any XC terrain, and once you get used to the short cranks most downhill and usual muni terrain is pretty easy, although very fast.

That being said they certainly leave very little room for error, once you pick up speed your choices are usualy to keep that speed, or ditch the uni, coming to a complete stop quickly will be difficult so you will be doing lots of rolling hops and dodging. I found that in places where rolling hops become difficult though you can do a rolling prehop and it will work out thousands of times better without disrupting your flow too too much.

When you land on slopes though you have to be ready to keep on rolling. You pretty much never stop completely if you are riding a technical section.

I’m picking up some V brakes for the monster soon and I expect it to be pretty much awesome once I do this.

Another thing to keep in mind is weight. When you have shorter cranks you are going to have to be more consciouse of weight. I wouldn’t recomend starting out with a duro or gaz right off the bat anyways. Get something in a 2.1-2.6 range. If you get the right tire those will actualy be pretty big and should do the job perfectly.

I’m not gonna write up a more technical thing because I didn’t like the last one, and I don’t really think shorter versions of explanations do justice to the experience.

Short cranks are something that will change your riding style alot. If you commit to short cranks they become something you don’t wanna go away from. I have thought many times of getting longer cranks for trials, or longer cranks for descents, but once you are riding shorter cranks you begin to want to change your riding style or make other changes to accomodate the shorter cranks. Sure I could buy a new set of 150mm cranks for my muni but instead I’m buying brake mounts, having them welded to my frame, buying brakes, a brake post and other stuff, all just for the shorter crank experience.

I hope you liked my little article on my experiences with shorter cranks, please try and keep comments civilized and read everything that came before your words before posting as its a bit of a shot at someone to make declarations without fully listening to them.

The 110mm Koxx one cranks are part of a custom trials uni built by myself and Phat Moose cycles. I purchased the parts for the uni as part of a Norco muni and parts from Renegade Juggling and Bedford Unicycles.

The 137mm KH moment cranks are part of another custom muni built once again by myself and the good folks at Phat Moose. I purchased it from Bedford Unicycles and Phat Moose.

These are all pretty awesome places to get parts or services for your unicycles and have some of the best customer service I have seen so far.

In my experience, 110s on a trials uni are death. It is hard to hop on an uneven surface without it slipping out. You can’t gap to anything skinny. When people try to do trials on my uni they usually slip out. I don’t like them for flips really either. They do flip fast but it is hard to get a feel of the flips. That part is hard to describe but I just don’t like crankflipping 110s.
They would be good for solid street stuff where your feet don’t leave the pedals and you want to go fast but I think 125s are much better for almost everything except going fast.

Hah yeah slipping out is a big problem, whenever you gap to a skinny you pretty much always have to land on it sideways. Now that I have been riding them for so long though I have gotten used to landing on uneven surfaces on them. I did the whole Toronto natural trials comp on them, so they can’t be that bad for trials.

Good review, very well written.

I ride 125’s on my trials/street uni. I focus on trials, but when I’m doing street stuff I really like them. (Keep in mind that I don’t do techy street like flips, etc.)They’re really great for sets and grinds because they give me plenty of speed. I don’t think I would ever want to switch down to 110’s though, mainly because most of my riding is focused on trials. They are great for rolling hops because I get lots of speed. I once tried hell-on-wheel’s KH with 140’s, and for static ups I didn’t really notice that much of a difference. I didn’t really get very long on his uni though. For skinnies they (125’s) are great because as you said in your article, your feet are closer together. When I used the KH with 140’s I didn’t get a chance to do any skinnies or gapping perpendicular on skinnies, but with my 125’s I find it’s not hard at all to keep from slipping out. A lot of times what I do for gapping between multiple skinnies is to just hit them at a 45degree angle though. I’ll stop rambling now, but I think 125’s are a happy medium between street and trials. Actually 130’s would be really great for my situation.

Anyway, I don’t think I would ever go down to 110’s.

I love the reference to “End of Ze World” possibly the greatest flash animation ever.

I’m glad you liked the writeup, and like I said, small cranks are more of a lifestyle choice than something practical. You don’t choose small cranks, small cranks choose you :p.

And I’m glad to hear someone picked up on that “Hok so” reference.

ha, thats the best animation I’ve seen.

I like the missle clip

I agree with spence about putting 110s on trials. They are not recommended at all. Especially for trials, let alone MUni. I think the only time i would use 110s is when i’m riding street (as described above ;))

But like i said spence knows what his talking about, so yeah. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Actually, I would be pretty convinced if most of my riding wasn’t focused around trials.

Haha, not all the time. That is just my opinion, 110s are really fun for some stuff. For a lot of the stuff that I do 110s just aren’t practical.
Crank length is like seat height, its personal preference.

Wow. I don’t really like 114mm cranks on a 20" freestyle. I’m changing to 125.

It’s a personal preference thing though, I just don’t do the kind of smooth freestyle were you need shorter cranks.