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Old 04-30-12, 03:47 PM   #1
toezter
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Crank arm lengths?

Apart from my n00bness...

Why do MTBers prefer longer crank arms? What are the benefits?

I'm coming from road biking, and 165mm crank arms are just a few to choose from from the market. Standing at 5'7" with an inseam of 29", my 175's are killing my uphill. Out of shape I am maybe?
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Old 04-30-12, 04:49 PM   #2
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Cool, you're in Madison. Where do you ride?

In any case, I'm also 5'7"(not sure of inseam) and have 175s on my bike. 175s on my road bike make my knees pay, but it seems to be OK for MTBing. It took a little getting used to, and I found at first that my knees would get a little unhappy if I didn't have my seat at the highest height possible when sitting and riding. I did get used to it, though, and now everything is fine. The reason MTBers prefer longer crank arms is for leverage purposes. You can achieve that same thing with larger cogs in the rear. If you prefer 170s or 165s, go for it. They'll give you slightly better pedal clearance anyway. I would think that you'll get used to the 175s if you decide to stick with them for a little bit.

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Old 04-30-12, 04:54 PM   #3
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I just picked up a MTB last month, haven't had the chance to hit any single track trails yet

If it's just leverage, I'm going for the 165's. I have a 9spd so it's a decent range. I did get used to the 175 after awhile, but going back and forth to the commuter, I'd rather keep my knees happy.
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Old 04-30-12, 05:13 PM   #4
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What part of Madison do you live in? I'd highly recommend Quarry Ridge. It's in Fitchburg right near the Target on PD. Totally free trails, a nice mix of everything from an XC loop, a free-ride style loop with big doubles, a nice big berm section, and a couple nice little beginner wooden features. Do you know about CORP? I'm just starting to get involved and went to one meeting so far. Cool people. There's a section in their forum that has some info on the local trails. I'm out at Quarry Ridge at least twice a week when this rain gives us a break. I'm a newbie too and not that great yet, so if you're looking for another newbie to ride a few laps with then feel free to say hello if you see a white Fetish Cycles bike, white fork, basically everything else black.
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Old 05-01-12, 01:07 PM   #5
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I ride 175mm on my road bike, commuter bike, and tandem ... but I have 180mm on my mountain bike. Course, I'm 6'4" so it's not really an issue for me. The good part of longer cranks is better leverage. The bad part is less clearance when going over obstacles.
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Old 05-01-12, 01:44 PM   #6
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Hm. I don't know what causes this, but I've noticed it too. I have 165s on my road bike, which are fine. I have 175s on my mountain bike, which are also fine. And then I have 170s that came with my BMX bike and they are freaking tiny, and if I rode the bike more often I'd change them. I'm 5'3, forget inseam.
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Old 05-01-12, 04:25 PM   #7
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I moved our Rockhopper to 170's from 175. On a fast course with no roots and only a few obsticles to deal with, its great and I hardly noticed the difference except the bike seemed more responsive. On a slower, more technical course with lots of roots, it was a pain. The comment about clearance is a good one cause I did notice that difference.
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