What short cranks for 26er?

Because my trials cycle is out of commission for a little while, I’ve been riding my 26er around the local bike paths. The paths here seem to be a lot flatter then roads I used to ride the 26er on back in Hawaii. Because I don’t have any money for a 29er or Coker now, I’m thinking about getting shorter cranks to allow me to ride faster. Right now, my 26er is setup with 127mm cranks and a Hookworm tire. What do you think are the best short cranks for me to use? The most abuse this uni will take is hopping curbs and from UPDs. These are the cranks I’m currently looking at:
Bike Euro 110mm $25
Qu-Ax Lightweight Alloy Crank Arms 114mm $17
Miyata 102mm $20
United 102mm $12

Are there any others I should look for? Do any of you have short cranks you would like to sell or give me?

Re: What short cranks for 26er?

You could try any of those cranks. May as well go as short as you can if you don’t like 127> because 127 is considered relatively short already on a 26. I guess that a lot of people ride 170s on their 26" unicycles because on 24x3" some people thought my 145mm cranks were short. I have 127mm cranks on my 29er and I think they are about right for most of my riding> but on the unicycle weekend going up and down some steep stuff I kinda wished I had slightly longer cranks. I’d get the cheapest cranks if I were you because hopping up curbs shouldn’t bend them unless you are extremely heavy.

Re: What short cranks for 26er?

Daino, if you are riding on really really flat bike paths, it might be worth trying out some sub 100’s, like say 65mm or 89mm. They are Soooo fast on the flat. They’re hopeless on any hills, bumps or suchlike, but if it’s smooth…it’s a new level of speed and fun.

Since you have reasonably short cranks (125mm) already- you’ll only notice a moderate increase in speed and smoothness by going to 110’s or even 102’s. I think you will find that they are faster, but you’d be disapointed in the amount of difference between that and your current set up. So that’s why I’d say try something even shorter!

I had a go on Yuta’s 28’er racer (65mm cranks)- it goes as fast (well faster actually) as my Coker on the flat with the faintest ankle movements.
Yuta Ando’s uniracer

Good luck,


Re: Re: What short cranks for 26er?

Thanks for the advice, but I think I’ll try some +100mm cranks first. This cycle is mostly a cruiser and I’d like to enjoy the ride more if I’m not fighting to stay on the uni.

But, you say that there’s not much difference between the sizes, I guess my first try will be 102s. I might be able to get a cheap pair of Torkers.

NOTE: I don’t have a whole lot of cash right now, so the 102 trial might not be for a while.

EDIT: I can’t imagine riding 65mm cranks on a 29er!

(*note I have not tried the 102’s vs 125’s on my 26", so these are based on what they felt like on a Coker; and vs what it was like having a quick ride on Yuta’s 65mm equipped 28")

I reckon that once you get the hang of it, it feels really smooth and you are not really fighting with it too much (except on tight corners). I only had a quick ride on the 65mm/28" and it handled fine- although it’s easy to find yourself belting along at deceptively high speeds without realising it.

It probably also depends a little on the tyre you’ve got on your 26". If it’s like a heavy 3" DH tyre, then it might be a bit more of a struggle to push those ultra short cranks. On the other hand, that could make it easier initially by soaking up the road bumps.

If you’re using your 26" just for cruising, why not stick with 125mm? At least with these cranks you can still do stuff like hop on/off kerbs weave around pedestrians etc.

One of the reasons is that I don’t like to ride on the roads here in Cali and the bike trails are wide and not very well used. I don’t have to pass many people. When I first put the 127s on the 26er, it took me a little while to adjust and after that I really liked them. When I was in Hawaii, I used to do a fair bit of climbing on them. Nothing too steep, but some fun little hills. Now that I’m in Cali, I found that most of the riding I’m doing with this uni is on bike paths. These paths are very nice and well cared for, but they don’t have any of the hills I’m used to. Because of this, my 26er feels slower. I’m at a point where I, because I can’t play on hills, I just want more speed. Right now, I cruise at roughly 9mph with my 127s. What do you recon I will be able to maintain with 102s?

Something else to consider is that I like to ride on the hardpack area next to the bike paths. Will I still be able to ride on hardpack dirt with 102s? Another big item is weather I will still be able to drop curbs with the 102s. I don’t expect to be able to hop up them (I have enough trouble right now with that), but I would like to be able ride down them.

Only you can answer that :), or maybe Mikefule might be able to give you a more elaborate calculation.

I think that you’ll probably notice the speed increase less than what you’d notice in terms of increase in smoothness. It will feel less choppy and more like gliding along with the decreased leg movement.

I ride hardpack on my 110’s and 102’s/Coker without any difficulty- so I imagine hardpack on a 26" should be fine. I find shorter cranks are actually smoother when doing small drops like curbs.


p/s I like your avatar