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I have a long leg...

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I have a long leg...

Old 07-14-14, 09:08 PM
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I have a long leg...

...or I have a short leg. Either way, I have one leg that is longer than the other. I'm looking to buy my first road bike and wanted to know if there is a way to compensate for this. Initially, I was thinking that one long crank and one shorter one. But then, I started thinking that it might be too much and I just need to find the middle ground between the left leg and the right.

I think I am going to go to the ortho doc that my wife works for and get an xray so they can get an accurate measurement of my good leg and the deformed one (short or long).

Any thoughts on how to compensate for it?


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Old 07-14-14, 09:47 PM
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It all depends on how much difference there is, but in many cases nothing need be done.

Folks get all worked up about precision saddle height, but forget the fact that we have ankles and can adapt to changes in saddle height simply by changing the ankle angle. For small differences this may do what you need, and you'll do it automatically without thinking.

Or, if you feel the difference, you can ship one shoe or under a cleat to reduce the difference at the bottom of the pedal stroke (the top takes care of itself).

In your shoes, I'd do nothing except set saddle height based on the shorter leg or a compromise and see how it goes.
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Old 07-14-14, 09:53 PM
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Not many of us are real experienced with significant leg length discrepancies. A few fractions of an inch are common and thin shims (under the cleat) or insole build up are typical methods for these small amounts. When the amount of difference gets 1/2" + or - then simple methods loose their applicability.

Shorter crank arm length can be used for thigh differences, blocked soles or pedal cages can work for lower leg ones. But I speak more from book smarts and less from hands on.

One point I've read and actually used is to aim to "correct" for only about half the problem. Often the non cycling corrections are not complete (lengthwise) and the hips, back, other have become set in their ways of moving during daily life. Over correction can lead to it's own issues. Andy.
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Old 07-14-14, 10:25 PM
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A friend of mine had a car accident many years ago that left him with one leg shorter and weaker. He uses custom made shoes with a thicker sole on that side, and rides for hours without any problems.
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Old 07-14-14, 10:57 PM
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If your femurs are different lengths, you can use different sized cranks. If your tibias are different lengths, you can use different thickness soles or cleat shims. The poor solution is to fit the bike to the shorter leg but since in most cases the shorter leg is the weaker one, maximum efficiency cannot be achieved. (But if you aren't concerned with maximum efficiency you can try it.)
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Old 07-15-14, 01:03 AM
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If the difference is not to extreme then I agree, add on the shorter leg a cleat spacer (placed between a cleat and the shoe, they exist with different thickness) and if necessary add an insole to your cycling shoe (on the short leg side only).

Its very normal to have different lenght on the legs, most people don't even know their legs haven't the same lenght.
I knew someone who used to do XC youth championship races and after a hard crash injury ended up with one shorter leg. He went to a bikefitter who fitted him with cleat spacers and insoles and he could imediately feel some improvement.

Here some spacers: Amazon.com : Shimano SM-SH20 SPD-SL Cleat Spacer Set : Replacement Cycling Cleats : Sports & Outdoors
if you scroll down a bit, insoles with inlays with different thickness that you can change to your liking IB13: Shimano Dynalast Now For Off Road ? Best Mountain Bike Shoes Yet?
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Old 07-15-14, 07:09 AM
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2 different crank arm lengths is another adaptation.. higher end cranks offer more length options.

like 172.5 between 170 & 175..
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