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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-08-06, 12:54 PM   #1
tspinning
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Crank arms too long?

Hey everyone, just getting into the whole ss/fixed thing and am currently using the freewheel to get a better feel for the gear/pedal all the time thing and after taking a corner at some speed yesterday my pedal hit the ground at about the apex of the corner... am I laying into it to hard, or perhaps are my cranks too long? I was able to hold off a fall on the freegear, but I think if I were going fixed I'd be all over the pavement right now...

do you guys often have problems clipping the ground in your corners, or is this just newb riding style?
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Old 05-08-06, 01:04 PM   #2
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I've never clipped the ground like that but when I corner the inside knee is always up.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:08 PM   #3
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pathdoc is right but you say you are pedaling as if you are imitating fixed. If fixed is how you plan to go, smaller crank arms is one option. Another is slowing down so you lean into the turn less. That last option probably isn't feasible if you're a speed junkie like me.
Personally I prefer smaller crank arms because my knees like it.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:16 PM   #4
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ill sometimes do a little skip/skid before a fast corner to get my inside leg up as I turn. ive never had pedal strike when turning, i have 165 cranks because of toe overlap.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pathdoc
I've never clipped the ground like that but when I corner the inside knee is always up.
it's nice when it works out that way. and you'll probably find that you subconsciously start to plan out your turns so that you avoid this. it's still a concern though, especially in traffic where planning isn't always an option. obviously shorter cranks will help, and i find that small-size clipless pedals, a la eggbeaters, give me a little extra clearance. also, when you get a fix, practice skidding. if this does happen on a fix you will likely be surprised and thrown off balance, but if you're used to skidding, you can sometimes turn a pedal strike into a really sloppy hockey stop. not elegant, but better than crashing.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:26 PM   #6
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i have 170 cranks and i've pedal struck once, in a race when i was all adrenaline'd up and not paying attention. usually i'm not turning so steeply.

the bottom bracket on my IRO, though, is higher than the BB on many conversions. that's another factor.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:27 PM   #7
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unless pathdoc has flipflopped, he's still riding SS dirtyphotons. Of course it's easy for pathdoc to avoid pedal strike.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:28 PM   #8
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not elegant, but better than crashing.
whatever dude, crashing once a month is swell.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:31 PM   #9
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lower profile pedals can help too... clipless pedals tend to have less trouble with pedal strike than clips & straps.
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Old 05-08-06, 02:59 PM   #10
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Aright, I’m going to flip her to fixed tonight for some fun I think, I’ll test and see, I don't have clipless on this bike (yet) and am using some rather large metal pedals, but the contact spot is huge!

If I go clipless, I really like my speedplay's on the roadie, I think they would be a good fit here too... course a street/work capable shoe might not agree
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Old 05-08-06, 03:14 PM   #11
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See, he wasn't fixed.
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Old 05-08-06, 04:08 PM   #12
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In fact, he said in his original post he wasn't riding fixed.
I was able to hold off a fall on the freegear, but I think if I were going fixed I'd be all over the pavement right now...

To the O.P., do you know what crank length you have now? I think the consensus here is that 165mm is usually best for fixed gear on the street with 170mm being the longest you want to run. This is assuming 700c tires and a horizontal chainstay. Smaller wheels or a lower bb would require shorter cranks.
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Old 05-08-06, 04:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tspinning
currently using the freewheel
Quote:
Originally Posted by pathdoc
See, he wasn't fixed.
...
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Old 05-08-06, 05:31 PM   #14
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Do any of you ppl's who ride hilly areas find a lot of difference
between 165 and 170's ?
Hmmmm.....maybe not phrased right....Was the extra spinnicity factor of
the smaller arms offset by more work getting up the hills ? Or something
like that
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Old 05-08-06, 05:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
Do any of you ppl's who ride hilly areas find a lot of difference
between 165 and 170's ?
Hmmmm.....maybe not phrased right....Was the extra spinnicity factor of
the smaller arms offset by more work getting up the hills ? Or something
like that
depends how tall you are and how long your legs are. i'm 5'8" and i feel like 165s fit me better. and i try to use the spinnicity factor to get me up the hills.
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Old 05-08-06, 06:01 PM   #16
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eh, i strike a pedal on my freewheel bike every couple of weeks... never very hard, though, and it's never thrown me off balance or caused a problem. just ride w/ power and control and pay attention to your position and the limits of your equipment and you'll be fine.


another good idea would be to do tight turns on a fairway or preferably a putting green until you catch a pedal and fall so you can find out exactly what those limits are.
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Old 05-08-06, 06:08 PM   #17
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So common idea the 180mm arms I have on the Sputnik (measured from center of pedal spindle to center of bb right?) are a bit too long for safety....


On a side note my first try on the fix was... interesting, I have a whole new respect for you all, esp. after I almost flew off the bike as I went from road to sidewalk over a small lump of grass and attempted to stand w/ feet horizontal to ground as I would normally... I inadvertently did a sorta skid which was neat, but I couldn't replicate that magic again. Tomorrow is another day!
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Old 05-08-06, 06:16 PM   #18
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"esp. after I almost flew off the bike as I went from road to sidewalk over a small lump of grass ....."


You might want to go against standard Fix-Couture and get a
mirror...at least for a while. The look-a-round car check can
provide some thrilling moments too
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Old 05-08-06, 06:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tspinning
So common idea the 180mm arms I have on the Sputnik (measured from center of pedal spindle to center of bb right?) are a bit too long for safety....


On a side note my first try on the fix was... interesting, I have a whole new respect for you all, esp. after I almost flew off the bike as I went from road to sidewalk over a small lump of grass and attempted to stand w/ feet horizontal to ground as I would normally... I inadvertently did a sorta skid which was neat, but I couldn't replicate that magic again. Tomorrow is another day!
sounds like my first time. take it easy at first, and enjoy the feeling.
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Old 05-08-06, 06:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
"esp. after I almost flew off the bike as I went from road to sidewalk over a small lump of grass ....."


You might want to go against standard Fix-Couture and get a
mirror...at least for a while. The look-a-round car check can
provide some thrilling moments too
aaah. the look around is why I have road rash all over my right leg and arm right now.
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Old 05-08-06, 06:36 PM   #21
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Actually, this was the, oncoming car lane, shoot into the sidewalk in front of some (yes cute) chick jogging but just after some other kids walking incident... but yea, a mirror wouldn't hurt (nor a light for this matter!)

But anyway I’m thinking shorter cranks are in order, I had another near scrape (just felt the edge of the pedal hit) on a down hill corner today... anyone know any good cheap cranks that come in black? I think that color would be smooth on this bike.
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Old 05-08-06, 06:42 PM   #22
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I believe the IRO cranks come in black and are avaliable in several lengths as are the sugino 75s. Usually the length of the cranks will be stamped somewhere on the back of one of the arms, but you did measure the right distance. Hang in there, and pay attention and you'll get the hang of riding fixed pretty quickly.
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Old 05-08-06, 07:48 PM   #23
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On Lem in Pa question of longer cranks, I rode the stock 175's that came on my Lemond for a year with little trouble of pedal strike and rode the hills with a 46x16 with some effort. I am now down to a 170 DA crank so the hills seem a little harder but it is due to me working too much and not riding enough. My next step will be a set of 165's that I picked up to see how much difference there really is. I am sure there is but the spin is so much better.
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Old 05-08-06, 09:13 PM   #24
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Well, I counted today, and I'm on 48x18 free, or 48x15 fixed

And after checking the backside of the crank (thanks sivat) i have 175's, I think I'd still like to get 165's on her sooner rather than later, perhaps I'm just into those low turns?? Either way, this bike is too fun!
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Old 05-08-06, 09:47 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plow Boy
On Lem in Pa question of longer cranks, I rode the stock 175's that came on my Lemond for a year with little trouble of pedal strike and rode the hills with a 46x16 with some effort. I am now down to a 170 DA crank so the hills seem a little harder but it is due to me working too much and not riding enough. My next step will be a set of 165's that I picked up to see how much difference there really is. I am sure there is but the spin is so much better.
You'll notice the decrease in power, but you can always change your gearing to get similar gear inches to what you have now.
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