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anyone using different length crank arms on R/L?

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anyone using different length crank arms on R/L?

Old 06-20-17, 07:42 AM
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anyone using different length crank arms on R/L?

I have a slight leg length discrepancy, I have put thin washers and a shim under the insole in one shoe, it's ok but feels weird.


I was thinking of compensating by going to a 167.5mm arm on one side and 170mm on other.


Anyone try this?
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Old 06-20-17, 07:48 AM
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Different length crank arms does not address the problem. A longer arm makes the reach shorter at the top of the circle and longer at the bottom of the circle. You need a shoe shim so that the reach will always be shorter. Then you have to adjust the crank arm length on both sides to the same length as adjusted on both legs.
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Old 06-20-17, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
Different length crank arms does not address the problem. A longer arm makes the reach shorter at the top of the circle and longer at the bottom of the circle. You need a shoe shim so that the reach will always be shorter. Then you have to adjust the crank arm length on both sides to the same length as adjusted on both legs.
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Old 06-20-17, 07:56 AM
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What's the discrepancy? You might be able to just manage it with seat height.

I paid for a fitting 10 years ago and was told that my left leg is about an inch longer than my right. They didn't mention shims for my shoes -- I didn't ask either. Instead they recommended favoring the shorter leg but by splitting the difference via the seat height.

I don't notice anything off with the longer leg. I think my achilles on the shorter leg might be a little grumpy at times, but this set-up has gotten me through tens of thousands of miles including 6 centuries and a handful of races without any real problems.
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Old 06-20-17, 08:19 AM
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I have a 1/2" leg discrepancy. I use a 1/4" shim under my right cleat. I feel "right' on a bike for the first time ever. Are you using a shim of 1/2 your leg discrepancy?

Now I haven't done the work to see whether my differences are in my thighs, calves or both. I think it is both. If it were primarily thigh, I could see how spinning a slightly smaller circle for the shorter thigh would make sense. Say a 1/2" difference in thigh length. With the thigh close to horizontal (top of stroke, no vertical difference. Bottom of stroke the thigh is roughly down. There nearly the full 1/2" will be seen. So a crank 1/2 that difference shorter and raised 1/2 that difference would put the thigh at the same horizontal at the top and place the pedal the full difference higher at the bottom. 1/2 of 1/2" = 6mm or roughly a 5mm shorter crank. (1/2" thigh difference is pretty big. Say the leg difference was 1/2 thigh, 1/2 calf. This would suggest the same shim but 1/2 the previous crank length difference, ie 3mm. 3mm, 2.5mm, pretty close. This would aslo make the knee angles ore similar as you would be reaching forward and back mid-stroke a little less with your shorter calf.

Of course, you have to live with the fact that unequal crank lengths is so wrong. You will absolutely have to use identical cranksets and never let anyone ever see that little stamp on the crank backside. Failure to do this and you will be the scourge of poster like those above until eternity.

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Old 06-20-17, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by eithr
What's the discrepancy? You might be able to just manage it with seat height.

I paid for a fitting 10 years ago and was told that my left leg is about an inch longer than my right. They didn't mention shims for my shoes -- I didn't ask either. Instead they recommended favoring the shorter leg but by splitting the difference via the seat height.

I don't notice anything off with the longer leg. I think my achilles on the shorter leg might be a little grumpy at times, but this set-up has gotten me through tens of thousands of miles including 6 centuries and a handful of races without any real problems.
I did that without knowing for 50 years and 180,000 miles and countless centuries. The shim was a revelation. For the first time ever, when I look down, the top tube blocks out the down tube, stem the front tire. All my seats feel better. My knees like it better. The bike rides better no hands. (I still have two pairs of shoes that are not shimmed yet. Every time I wear them I get reminded what it used to be like. No desire at all to go back.)

If your leg length difference is 1", try a 1/2" shim. Raise your seat and handlebars 1/4". You might be amazed.

Ben
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Old 06-20-17, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I did that without knowing for 50 years and 180,000 miles and countless centuries. The shim was a revelation. For the first time ever, when I look down, the top tube blocks out the down tube, stem the front tire. All my seats feel better. My knees like it better. The bike rides better no hands. (I still have two pairs of shoes that are not shimmed yet. Every time I wear them I get reminded what it used to be like. No desire at all to go back.)

If your leg length difference is 1", try a 1/2" shim. Raise your seat and handlebars 1/4". You might be amazed.

Ben
Think it's worth getting fitted again before investing in shims? I'm not sure what the shelf-life is on a bike fit... or if it's possible that my legs might have equalized at all.

Where'd you get your shims? Brand? Thanks!
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Old 06-20-17, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
Different length crank arms does not address the problem. A longer arm makes the reach shorter at the top of the circle and longer at the bottom of the circle. You need a shoe shim so that the reach will always be shorter. Then you have to adjust the crank arm length on both sides to the same length as adjusted on both legs.



Wut?

Shimming effectively has one leg making a circle with a different center than the other leg.
Why does the shorter leg turning a smaller circle (shorter crank) not address the problem?
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Old 06-20-17, 09:39 AM
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My shims are really simple. I needed 1/4". I had a sheet of 1/4" 6061 T6 aluminum. So I cut the shims out of it, bent them to fit the shoe, drilled them for the cleats and reassembled the shoes and cleats using longer screws. Cost? Stock on hand and a few screws. Time and effort? Real! (Especially bending the aluminum! Took a bench vise, a heavy hammer and a big plumbers wrench with a pipe extension.)

For 1/2" my approach would not work unless you got still thicker plate and ground out the top to get the curve of the shoe. I'd try going to both bike shops with fitters and cobblers for ideas. (A hard, durable wood, plastic or rubber could work well.)

I highly doubt your legs have equalized. The fitter could have measured you wrong. In my 6 1/2 decades of existence, my leg length has not changed judging from my ability to put on pants from long ago and get the same fit. (Not true of shirts. My arms haven't changed but my trunk keeps getting shorter. And my lower back keeps reminding me why.)

Sorry I don't have the answer for our cleat shims. But find one. You may find it life changing. (Just as much for me are the 1/2" shims I wear in every right shoe save two I have either added an insole or had a lift installed by a cobbler.)

Ben
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Old 06-20-17, 09:56 AM
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IMO, I think you ought to see a sports medicine doctor about this. I just did a Google search for "leg length difference bicycling" and read a couple of articles. One says that instead of shims, you should move your cleats forward/backward depending on the leg it's on...instead of using shims. BUT, both of them also point out that you need to know if the shortened leg's shortness is in the upper leg femur or in the lower leg fibula/tibia.

Technical FAQ: More on leg-length discrepancies | VeloNews.com
How to deal with different length legs - BikeRadar USA

It's one of those situations wherein doing the wrong thing could lead to problems in other areas (i.e. back or hip).

And then there's this option. Speedplay's floating pedal designed for leg-length discrepancies.
https://www.bikerumor.com/2016/10/04...discrepancies/


Dan

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Old 06-20-17, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft
Wut?

Shimming effectively has one leg making a circle with a different center than the other leg.
Why does the shorter leg turning a smaller circle (shorter crank) not address the problem?
I am not sure what principle you are relying on. The idea is to make the two legs the same length from the hip socket to the point of pedal contact so they can reach the same distance and return to the same minimum extension without the rider "rocking" on the seat, having the longer leg not optimally extended, or having to reach further than the shorter leg will allow. A longer or shorter crank arm does not accomplish that. Also the torque on one side is different than on the other with different length cranks. And of course, even just a 1/2 in is more variability than many lines of cranks even offer. It would be very hard to find a standard crank with say 175 mm on one side and 150 on the other for a 1 in difference.

I don't know what you mean by circles with different centers. The center is always the axle which doesn't change position.
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Old 06-20-17, 10:47 AM
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lower the seatpost
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Old 06-20-17, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
I am not sure what principle you are relying on. The idea is to make the two legs the same length from the hip socket to the point of pedal contact so they can reach the same distance and return to the same minimum extension without the rider "rocking" on the seat, having the longer leg not optimally extended, or having to reach further than the shorter leg will allow. A longer or shorter crank arm does not accomplish that. Also the torque on one side is different than on the other with different length cranks. And of course, even just a 1/2 in is more variability than many lines of cranks even offer. It would be very hard to find a standard crank with say 175 mm on one side and 150 on the other for a 1 in difference.

I don't know what you mean by circles with different centers. The center is always the axle which doesn't change position.


Assuming the saddle height adjusted for longer leg, both a shim and a shorter crank fill the gap between the shorter leg and the pedal at 6 oclock. At 12 oclock, the shim brings the short leg higher than the longer leg.
The shimmed foot is higher at both top & bottom of stroke than the un-shimmed foot, so they are describing circles with different centers.

Agree about the torque difference.
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Old 06-20-17, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft
Assuming the saddle height adjusted for longer leg, both a shim and a shorter crank fill the gap between the shorter leg and the pedal at 6 oclock. At 12 oclock, the shim brings the short leg higher than the longer leg.
The shimmed foot is higher at both top & bottom of stroke than the un-shimmed foot, so they are describing circles with different centers.

Agree about the torque difference.
I see what you mean, but the classic correction for a shorter leg is a thicker shoe sole. Why would this be any different. It will never be perfect, but I think considering the bottom of the foot to be the bottom of the shoe is the best approach. Then the circles aren't different in that sense.
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Old 06-20-17, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton
lower the seatpost
Better yet, lower 1/2 the saddle.
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Old 06-20-17, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
... The center is always the axle which doesn't change position.
Not when you shim the shoe. The axle is raised.
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Old 06-20-17, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
I am not sure what principle you are relying on. The idea is to make the two legs the same length from the hip socket to the point of pedal contact so they can reach the same distance and return to the same minimum extension without the rider "rocking" on the seat, having the longer leg not optimally extended, or having to reach further than the shorter leg will allow. A longer or shorter crank arm does not accomplish that. Also the torque on one side is different than on the other with different length cranks. And of course, even just a 1/2 in is more variability than many lines of cranks even offer. It would be very hard to find a standard crank with say 175 mm on one side and 150 on the other for a 1 in difference.

I don't know what you mean by circles with different centers. The center is always the axle which doesn't change position.
What's the issue? Good cranksets come in 2.5 mm steps. 2.5 mm is 1/10" or very close to 1/8". Yes the 175 is probably on the shelf and the 172.5 would be special order, taking 7 days or so. And we are suggesting crank length differences that are a fraction of the leg length differences. The guy needing a 1" difference in crank lengths would have an enormous leg length difference.

Yeah the torques will be different. But there are many who have come back to riding after losing huge percentages of one leg's power (sometimes the entire leg) and adapt.

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Old 06-21-17, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge
Not when you shim the shoe. The axle is raised.
How do you figure? The axle is the axle.
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Old 06-21-17, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
What's the issue? Good cranksets come in 2.5 mm steps. 2.5 mm is 1/10" or very close to 1/8". Yes the 175 is probably on the shelf and the 172.5 would be special order, taking 7 days or so. And we are suggesting crank length differences that are a fraction of the leg length differences. The guy needing a 1" difference in crank lengths would have an enormous leg length difference.

Yeah the torques will be different. But there are many who have come back to riding after losing huge percentages of one leg's power (sometimes the entire leg) and adapt.

Ben
Well you know more about this first hand than I do. What I don't understand is why folks with a 1" shorter leg don't need a 1" shim for cycling like they do for walking. Or at least 1" of total correction by various means that add up. I do understand that several kinds of small adjustments in different places can be more effective and comfortable than a single major adjustment like a sole thickness or crank arm length. So the saddle can be manipulated too or even twisted to the side a little to help. And cleat position can help as well.
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Old 06-21-17, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
How do you figure? The axle is the axle.
The center of the circle the ball of the foot is turning around is offset - up the distance of the shim width (neglecting ankling).

The physical axle is of course the same, but is less the center of the foot circle than before.
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Old 06-21-17, 08:08 AM
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A friend and pretty well known rider lost his left leg in Vietnam. So it is much shorter. He has a prosthesis. Both crank arms are the same. The prostheses is the "shim" and by making both cleats the same distance from his hip sockets things work very well and he spins quite well.

Changing crank length is not what you want to do, shim is.
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Old 06-21-17, 10:05 AM
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I knew a guy who had one stiff leg - couldn't straighten it all the way. He used a crank shortener on one side, but it was more like 10mm than 2.5

I understand a shim feels weird, but different length crank arms would feel weird too.
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Old 06-21-17, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge
A friend and pretty well known rider lost his left leg in Vietnam. So it is much shorter. He has a prosthesis. Both crank arms are the same. The prostheses is the "shim" and by making both cleats the same distance from his hip sockets things work very well and he spins quite well.

Changing crank length is not what you want to do, shim is.


It would be hard to make one crank 350mm shorter than the other.
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Old 06-21-17, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft
It would be hard to make one crank 350mm shorter than the other.
Well, yea. And I often like to think in the extreme case to determine what to do in the "normal" case.

I guess you could do both.
Shim for length, then shorter crank to decrease circumference.
If the upper leg/femur is shorter then reducing the circle size is a good move. Just depends which parts are mechanically shorter and cannot be shimmed.
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Old 06-21-17, 11:46 AM
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I also have about a 2cm leg length discrepancy. As such, this is something I have also thought about a lot.

One for the advantages that I can see it that the different length crank arms (longer arm to longer leg) would force the longer leg to work slightly harder. This could help to balance the situation where the shorter leg is significantly stronger. The short leg is stronger because normal walking causes me to "fall" onto it as I walk.

I do like the "shim" idea. My key concern is that the cycling shoes would be very hard to walk in when not on the bike.
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