Crank Length (Sprinters)

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  • What do tall riders usually use for the track?

    I'm 6'5, looking at new cranks, currently using 170mm and noticed they sell 175, which is the same as my road bike.

  • Depends how arsey their local track is about bike spec.

  • I use 165's on the track, don't find it makes too much difference. I'm not a sprinter but am 6ft6

  • I find crank length makes quite a lot of difference. Longer would normally mean more leverage for standing starts etc. All depends on what you can get away with - it's a no-no for indoor track definitely.

  • Interesting, cheers for the responces.

  • i find i notice crank length a lot, i have a 36" inside leg and run 170 on my road fixed, 175 on my road bike, 180 on my mountain bike. I rode at manchester on 170's and a chap i was with rode 175 but i'm not sure they allow that anymore

    (i am definitely not a sprinter)


  • I'm about to move to 170mm cranks, but I only ever race at HH

  • You have to have 165's to ride in Glasgow and I imagine Manc and LDN will be the same.

  • 165/170 are fine for Newport, I did my accrediation on them. I've been told London is the same.

  • What is the reason for crank length rules? Safety as it may hit the banking??

  • It's a bit of a red herring no? Shouldn't they be more concerned about pedals with long axles or wider q-factors?

    Or… For the perfect banking hitting storm, long cranks, wide q and long pedal axles all on the same crank!!!

  • 5 mm extra crank height is fine if you've got a higher BB to compensate.

    I think they should have a V-shaped gauge to test the lean angle and stop mandating specific BB heights and crank lengths. It's offensively normative.

  • I agree. Very much so.

  • ... It's offensively normative.


  • use 165 cranks on the track or when you are on the banking your peadal could hit it.

  • Thanks for that Mark. That is brand new information.

  • mind.blown

  • If you're riding slow enough in doors to be that upright on the banking where your pedals hit, you're more likely to be sliding on your arse from the wheels slipping.

  • I have a set of Campagnolo C-Record Pista cranks, however they are 172.5 in length.

    Would i be in trouble?

    Do they make exceptions for tall 6'4' blokes?

  • there isn't a crank length inspection booth at the entrance of velodromes that i'm aware of but people get really dickish about it for some reason
    assuming you have long cranks you probably have a long bike too which will probably have compensated in it's bb height, all my bikes in the past have been higher than your more average sizes

  • there isn't a crank length inspection booth at the entrance of velodromes that i'm aware of...

    There certainly isn't in Glasgow.

    It's pretty unlikely anyone is going to spot 170s (or even 175s) over 165s purely by eye* but if you're polite you'll ask me if your bike is ok to use on the track the first time you bring it, in which case I'll probably look at crank length and if I see 170s or 175s (I've allowed both on the track) I'll remind you of how steep our banking is and ask that you keep your speed a little higher in the the turns.

    HOWEVER, I'm pretty open minded and easy going, a lot of the 'old brigade' of track cyclists (ie coaches, commissaires etc) are not.

    *I have spotted long cranks by eye when my attention has been drawn to them due to other factors: rider has clipped a pedal in the banking, rider using combo of long cranks and low bb so even on straights the ground clearance has looked 'wrong' etc.

    TLDR - Don't shout about your long cranks. Don't use long cranks unless your frame has the bb height to do so. Don't draw attention to yourself. Don't be surprised if some busybody somewhere eventually pulls you up for them.

  • I've been reading up on crank length for use in bike polo and discovered that crank length makes fuck all difference unless your cranks are shorter than 120mm or longer than 220mm.­k/2010/08/dude-your-crank-lengths-fine-y­ou-just.html

    So maybe just buy cranks based on other factors, e.g. weight, strength, ground clearance

  • The research in that link seems to prove that cranks that are too long (220mm) are just (in)efficient as cranks that are too short (120mm) but it does not relate that to cranks in the 'normal' range ie 165-175mm.

    I have ridden 150mm cranks for polo recently and in the past I've ridden 180mm cranks on a ss road bike and I can assure you that crank length does make a difference. Possibly in the same way that sugar pills can cure illnesses but that's still an effect.

  • none of that talks about biomechanics though, i don't ride long cranks for efficiency but for comfort - long legs like to pedal big circles to achieve proper extension from the knee and ankle, it feels uncomfortable to ride 165's for me. with some practice i could probably ride 165 with no issues and get decent speeds too, however i've been riding 175/177.5/180 for 20 years and i can feel the difference on a shorter crank arm (probably not with flat pedals though)

  • I think this shows that you can overcome any deficit in leverage afforded by short cranks (down to 120mm) by using a bit more power from those big muscles in your legs. The error bar for 120mm exceeds the mean for 170mm. Even if you compare the maximum error bars for 120mm and 170mm that is only a difference of 30 watts or 2.4%. I doubt you would notice a difference in a game of polo, maybe you would on the track...

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Crank Length (Sprinters)

Posted by Avatar for paul1984 @paul1984