What crank length for 36er?

I have just had my first ‘orientation’ session with my new 36er. Pleased that I actually rode 40yds once I had succeeded in mounting it. Wow! a whole new ballgame compared to the 24" I learnt on.

Got a question about crank length. I have 150 ISIS QU-AX cranks on it and once I had ridden it even for that short distance I got some impression of speed of pedalling against distance moved. I am planning to ride a very hilly circuit in March and wondered it would be better if I also bought a pair of longer cranks for hilly road work.

Just wondered if I could get some feedback specific to the crank length issue. Is it normal to have cranks longer than 150 on a 36er? If I got a longer spare set for hill work how long, what brand is best and why?

It is very rare to see a road 36er with any crank size longer than 152mm. I would not recommend going longer than your current 145mm Qu-Ax ISIS cranks, but just note that it will take you a while to get used to the wheel size difference. The cranks may feel too short at first, but you will get used to them.

Then again, switching out cranks is very easy if you have an ISIS crank puller, so you can always order yourself the next crank size up and have a go and experiment.

For a hilly road ride most riders of 36ers would use 110-127mm cranks, but newcomers to road unicycling will use around the 150mm size. If anything, after more experience you may find that you want to get shorter cranks for your hilly ride.

Keep practicing, and have fun with your new uni!

I use 125mm generally on my coker, switching to 114 if I’m very fit or it’s very flat. I haven’t used anything longer than 125 on the road in 4 years.

Once you get the feel of the Coker and get into the rythym of it you’ll be amazed what you can ride up.

My recommendation would be to stick with the 150s. I don’t think you need to go longer. Go try a few hills :slight_smile:


Best brand

KH, unless you want 170’s, which only Qu ax has. Qu ax should be fine on the 36.

I have never tried longer then 150, but I never tried riding in a really hilly place either.

I would suggest riding a least one trip to hill country with your 150’s, just to see how it goes. 150’s are on the long side for a 36, 125ish or smaller is more popular then longer sizes. Starting out, you will get a lot better at hill climbing in a few months, and decide then that 150 is plenty long enough perhaps. So I would wait a while on longer cranks.

There is nothing wrong with using long cranks on a 36er. I used 170s for some mountain bike trails and commuting in deep snow but they are kind of unwieldy and I actually climb better with 150mm cranks.

In my opinion 150s are a great size to get used to a 36er on. They climb quite well and are short enough to be OK on the flats.

125s are definitely faster in most conditions, you just need to put more muscle into your climb. I mostly used 150s in winter and 125s in the summer months.


KH moments may be some of the toughest cranks out there but they are heavy. They also have an appreciable amount of Q which widens your stance even more when using a extra wide hub.

I would only use them on a 36er if It had a standard width hub, not many people are breaking cranks on their 36ers anyway. So I would go Qu-Ax, they are cheep light and have zero Q

I always used 125s on my coker and found them to be a good length for hills. Since I have switched to 114s I am not much faster but I think it is because I have not as much experience with 114s, and they feel like I’m a bit less stable for front and back correction at high speed so I tend to ride a bit more cautiously. With the 125s I have enough leverage to get the big wheel accellerating quicker it seems. I like the 114s though and I will keep using them to hopefully get more into the comfort zone on hills. I reckon don’t go any longer than 150mm!

I recently put 150mm cranks on my coker for the first time since I started on the 36" about 3/4 of a year ago. The reason was that I was in a very hilly area in which I thought they would be more appropriate than my 102s. Which they were… I was amazed by how much of a difference that made to the general riding experience. All of a sudden it felt so smooth and controlled, and I was sitting so much lower. Offroad riding and climbing was astonishingly easy. I must say I really liked that setup, and I think going geared with 150s on the coker must be the ultimate in riding pleasure…
But then trying to go real fast with long cranks and a normal hub on relatively flat terrain wouldn’t be fun at all. So now that I’m back in the Netherlands I put my 102s on the coker again. They’re awesome too. But soooo different.

Yeah just really depends what your used to, what type of terrain you’re going to be regularly riding etc… I did a 100km ride on my 36er with 125’s, it was flat enough that I could have gone with the 115’s but I just didn’t feel as stable going fast with the 115’s so I went back to 125’s. Since then I do mostly 36er Muni (the traffic on the roadsystem around here is aweful and I don’t feel like playing chicken with the cars on my unicycle) and for that I prefer 150’s. When I first starting riding 36er Muni I did throw on there some 170’s but that was waaay too big, felt like I was pedalling in a square! I just got used to 150’s offroad and now I love them. I like having a bit more length than the 125’s as it’s easier to climb on rough terrain with the 150’s and it’s easier to mount (especially uphill) and to hop in place, turn around etc with the longer cranks (more leverage). Don’t be affraid to try different combinations. I’m lucky as I got the new Coker BigOne with square taper crankset, no not as good as ISIS but I did have a large collection of square taper cranks to choose from :slight_smile: in my experimenting…

As an aside, I used to have two seats I used to swap out when either road riding or muni i.e. one was with the T7 for road riding and the other just a simple KH Freeride. Well I got tired of having to swap out so I tried getting used to using the T7 offroad. I was shocked I actually perfer it! I thought it would get in the way but it doesn’t and I like it and I rarely use the KH seat handle but have gotten used to just grabbing the T7 in all cases… I guess this set up is fairly simular to riding offroad with a reeder or GB4 handle…

Monocyclism, apparently I am not a “normal” rider of a 36" uni. I’m cranking with 165 mm Schlumpfs. I ride up and down a lot of steep hills and rarely ride any significant distance on the flats. I’m not scaling 14,000’ peaks like Osmundo does, but my lunch time fun ride includes a climb of 1,000’ over about a mile. I’m really not sure what the % grade is. It’s just a steep dirt road. For me 165’s are great. I’ve never tried 150’s. I’m sure they would be just fine around town, but I might have some trouble heading up the steeps.
My advice would be to try out the 150’s and see how you do. If you are climbing a lot of hills don’t be afraid to put on some giant cranks. For me it’s all about having fun.
My Schlumpf cranks have a lot of Q, which for me is good because that decreases my likelihood of inadvertently shifting. If you have a standard hub I’d recommend cranks without Q.


152mm has pretty much been the standard beginner size for the 36ers. however many seasoned riders still use and prefer them. The 152’s are also good for offroad and if you’re doing some steep climbing, as they will provide a bit more leverage than the shorter cranks. Having said that, I started with those and then 127’s, and finally 114’s, which are my favorite size for long distance riding and I can climb pretty well with them too.

I’m thinking very seriously about doing the “Cycle of the Sun” in Maui this August, where every year road bikers compete in the 36 mile ride up to the top of Haleakala. It’s 10,000 feet of elevation gain, and I’m considering usiung 175mm cranks. My goal will be to complete the ride in 6 hours or less, becoming the oldest Unicycler to successfully summit it! :smiley:

Alas I don’t have a MUni - just a 24" beginner with a road tyre fitted with 150 cranks. So, crank length is the same but wheel size has just expanded!

So terry, why are you a nutter again?:p;)
anyway about cranks, I learned on and still have 127s on my 36er, so 150s are fine probably

Yeah, my crank preference changes drastically when riding a geared set up.

For my geared 36 I could see how I could benefit from 165mm cranks, and I may try some out eventually, but I am going to stick with the 150s for now. 165s would probably make high gear easier to ride in (especially in the wind), but they would just be too long to have a useful low gear.

As you can see, crank preference varies greatly. You currently have the 145mm Qu-Ax ISIS cranks which have no Q factor. If you wanted a slightly longer crank with a different feel, you can try out the Nimbus ISIS 150mm cranks (with probably about 10mm of Q - how much it flares out). I can’t comment on how much of a difference 5mm would make, but I know that 11mm makes a pretty big difference going from 125 to 114. Cyclists get crazy about their gear and it is all preference, if you have a little extra cash, get some Nimbus ISIS 150mm cranks and a pair of Qu-Ax 125mm ISIS and 165mm ISIS qu-ax cranks. Every single pair of cranks will have a different feel to it, and you won’t be able to figure out your favorite until you try them out. As others have said too, 145-152mm is usually the longest crank size most road riders use. Buying those 3 cranks I mentioned above is probably unnecessary though because you haven’t had much practice with your current set up. Spend a few weeks with the current cranks and then try out one of the other available crank sizes/configurations.

Hmm, I can only respond with, :thinking: . I didn’t get that lol.

So much info!!! :))

Dudes, thanks to everyone for so much high quality info :slight_smile: Its brilliant being able to put a query out and get experienced advice from so many people around the World within a few hours :smiley: Certainly helping me to advance faster than learning it all for myself!! I shall hit those cranks with renewed vigour tomorrow :slight_smile:

You take the high road and I’ll take the low road :slight_smile:

Sent out a general thanks to everyone for crank info but wanted to specifically respond to your ‘Cycle to the Sun’ epic Terry. Images on their website look awesome! Amazing panoramas from such a high latitude. Is that doable on one wheel :astonished: I would love to see it done - it would be so, ‘esprit de la vie’

Yeah, one of our forum members, “Aspenmike” completed the ride in 6 hours last year! I’m pretty sure he’s the first and only one-wheeler so far to have even done that ride! He lives in Colorado high country and routinely rides at very high altitudes, and often when it’s snowing! So he has a bit of an advantage over me at my “sea level” location, lol, plus he’s a few years younger. But yeah, it’s apparently doable, and I give big props to Mike for completing it! :smiley:

shorter cranks–114

I learned to ride a 36" with 150 cranks and then switched to 125 cranks and rode for a year with them. About two weeks ago I switched to 114 cranks. Initially I felt a loss of control, but now it is coming around and I can do most things on the 114’s that I was doing with 125’s.

I have a few morning rides around the area with some hills and flats. In the first week the hills hurt a lot more with the 114’s, but that effect is going away. Now I find I can get up the same hills and just have to pace myself. The main advantage of 114’s is a very nice flow to the ride and a bit higher speed. Over a moderately hilly ten mile ride I find that my speed increased from around 10-10.5 mph to 11-11.8 mph. On a few rides my maximum speed was over 16 mph, which is much faster than I found comfortable with 125 cranks. Admittedly I do not feel comfortable at that speed on the 114 cranks, but it does not feel crazy either. Most of the change is from bringing up my cruising speed on the flats. I have not yet had a UPD at speed, but I did have had a few more UPD’s shortly after the switch.

If you are comfortable with 125’s and want to try something different give 114’s a try.


not-so-short-cranks: 125

Yesterday I switched my cranks from 114 back to 125. After more than a month I was very comfortable with 114’s. Riding this morning with 125’s was fun. It felt like I had luxurious amount of control! Turns, stopping and starting were all easier. The other difference was on the hills. After riding up the hills with 114 cranks my legs were stronger, and I could now ride up most of them using 125’s without having to stand up on the pedals. Thus the uphill part of the ride was faster and probably more efficient. The ride is not as smooth, and I do miss the gliding feeling I get from cruising along on the shorter cranks. Both crank sizes are fun.

I will probably leave the 125’s on for a few weeks as I will be trying some new routes with hills and they give me better climbing ability.


Anyone try 137mm

Has anyone tried 137’s if so how did they work? I went from 125 to 100’s on my 36er and although it’s fast (up to 22mph) I was looking for something with a bit more control. I was debating between 150’s or 137’s I don’t want to lose a ton of speed but I definitely need more control? Any advice?