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.