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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Fix what I've got or upgrade?

Old 09-13-23, 11:05 AM
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Fix what I've got or upgrade?

I've have had mountain bikes and hybrids for years and did a lot of greenway riding, but I'm new to road biking as of July of this year. About 5' 11" and 185ish+ pounds and over 50 years old. Bought a used 56 cm 2010 Scott CR1 Pro with a Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, except for a 53/39 Sram Force crank (with an 11/28 cassette), and the crank arms are not really my size. They're 175 mm and I believe they should be 172.5 mm according to sites I've researched. I wear 32" length pants but if I put a golf club on the wall and raise it to my crotch, the top measures 34", so not sure if that's relevant or not. I'm not really having any back or leg pain with the current setup, and I think the 56 cm bike fits me correctly. Hadn't done much cardio for years, and while I'm doing okay, hills are somewhat challenging. On group rides, I can keep up with 15 - 16ish mph riders, but long hills have me gasping for air at the top and sometimes I can lag behind. I've read that crank arms that are too long, especially with the tall 53/39 gearing on the front, make hills more of a challenge.

So, it's been bugging me that the crank arms are out of spec for me, along with the fact that it no longer has the original Ultegra crank. I can pick up a used 50/34 Ultegra 6700 crank for around $150, plus I think I'd need a new BB86 bottom bracket, plus labor to install a pressed fit unit. Should I spend $200 on an old bike?

I've done a lot of reading and am salivating at used bikes like a base 2020 Specialized Roubaix (yeah, even the base model has Future Shock 1.5 and a FACT 10R frame) or other Roubaix models, a Giant TCR Advanced, or even a Cannondale Supersix Evo. I'd have to sell my current bike for sure, and do something, somehow, to keep my wife from killing me, but I'm wondering how much better these newer bikes are and how much more comfortable they are for longer rides (with bigger tires and flex). I've been riding around 18 - 35 mile rides thus far, and while I need a better seat on my current bike, it's manageable for short rides. I'm still wanting a fast/competitive bike, and not a cruiser, and would love to ride (eventually) with the 18 mph crowd.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:19 AM
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I’d keep what you have and not stress over 2.5 mm of crank length.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:45 AM
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We are about the same size, age, height and weight. My bikes are a 56 and use a 172mm crank. But here's the thing; you are going to have some discomfort getting used to riding, especially longer distances, no matter what bike you ride. It's always going to hurt staying in the group going up the climbs. A new bike won't change that. Sure, wider tires with lower pressure will smooth out a lot of the bumps but the rest will be marginal gains. If you want a new bike, by all means, we all love a new bike day! But don't be swept into the trap thinking that buying this new bike will immediately put you in the fast group and the climbs won't hurt anymore.

As a side note, you may want to look at some bike fit videos online, and maybe even consider having a bike fit done. Some of your problems could be related to an improper fit (seat too high or low, saddle fore/aft, etc)

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-13-23, 12:06 PM
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I'd recommend spending $200 on a bike fitting, then you can base future decisions on crank arm length based on that. It's possible there are other things on your bike that could be switched up to make things work with the 175mm crank arm length.
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Old 09-13-23, 12:37 PM
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compact or semi/compact crank with 50/34 chainrings or similar might be a good option if you decide to keep current bike
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Old 09-13-23, 12:47 PM
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If you are going to look for another bike, you need to decide what position you want on a bike first. The Specialized Roubaix is made for a very relaxed position with a higher stack than your current Scott. The Giant TCR and Cannondale SuperSix are made for a much lower stack height and give a very aggressive race fit. Fit on a bike isn't just raising or lowering the bars and changing the stem length. Different bike models give a different type of fit. Some very relaxed more upright, some very low aggressive race positions and others somewhere in between.

So know what you want when you go looking for bikes and don't get wowed by the visual sexy aesthetics a race bike has unless that is the position you want to be in.

Your Scott is a very good bike. If everything works, then ride it till you find out for certain what you do and don't like about it. I have a 34.5" inseam and run a 165mm cranks. But don't get caught going by what I do or others. Nor what some formula or old adage from years ago. Find out if those cranks are causing you grief or not. And you'll only find that out by riding it several hundred miles. If you want you can put newer groupsets on it, but that'll get to costing as much as a new bike with that stuff already on it. If you can do your own installation and maintenance, then you might come out a little better for less. Depends on how much you want to change.

Welcome to BF.
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Old 09-13-23, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback so far. I have read a bit about fitting, but if you all are saying it's important, it must be. I have about 250 miles so far on road bikes in about two months. Don't get me wrong, I like my Scott, but I'm just so inexperienced in road biking, that's why I reached out. I don't know what I don't know. There's questions on this forum questioning the 2011 Scott bikes in comparison to the updates in 2014! The Scott isn't uncomfortable, but I just want to make sure sticking with it is the right thing to do. Money is definitely a factor as we're remodeling our house right now and spending $1000s there, not on bikes. I've said a few times that I'd like a lower gear on some hills, but just end up standing up and huffing it out, or slowing down. I road an older and heavier Rocky Mountain Solo 50 AC before this and it was worse on hills, so I have some data points that tell me the bike does matter. I had major issues even keeping up with the group in general, on hills. When I started riding the Scott, I was instantly able to keep up with the 15-16 mph riders, the next week, and even advanced to the 16+ faster group in about two or three weeks after that. So the bike does make a difference.

I am aware of the difference between endurance bikes and sportier/racier bikes, to some extent. I've only ridden the two bikes I mentioned and a 2013 Specialized Allez so far. Nothing newer, so I can't say if I really like the more comfortable bikes or not. But I've watched Matthew Loveridge's review of the 2020 Specialized Roubaix and he's saying that's his favorite bike now. Yeah, it's a bit heavier, but the comfort sounds like a real deal maker, and it has hydraulic disk brakes too. The brakes on the Scott aren't great, and even had the LBS put on some pads and it helped only a little. The Rocky Mountain Sram Rival brakes are significantly better than the Scott's Ultegra, believe it or not.

Sounds like you all are saying get fit then go from there, and I'll have to trust you all that's the thing to do next.

P.S. I'm very mechanical, and have rebuilt engines previously. I only have some basic tools at the moment though, but have done some basic bike mechanical work so far. I'm wary of the press fit BBs, but not afraid to learn how to remove/install new ones. That's another advantage I've learned about a newer bike like the Roubaix - threaded BBs!

Last edited by sfortner; 09-13-23 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 09-14-23, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sfortner
I've have had mountain bikes and hybrids for years and did a lot of greenway riding, but I'm new to road biking as of July of this year. About 5' 11" and 185ish+ pounds and over 50 years old. Bought a used 56 cm 2010 Scott CR1 Pro with a Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, except for a 53/39 Sram Force crank (with an 11/28 cassette), and the crank arms are not really my size. They're 175 mm and I believe they should be 172.5 mm according to sites I've researched. I wear 32" length pants but if I put a golf club on the wall and raise it to my crotch, the top measures 34", so not sure if that's relevant or not. I'm not really having any back or leg pain with the current setup, and I think the 56 cm bike fits me correctly. Hadn't done much cardio for years, and while I'm doing okay, hills are somewhat challenging. On group rides, I can keep up with 15 - 16ish mph riders, but long hills have me gasping for air at the top and sometimes I can lag behind. I've read that crank arms that are too long, especially with the tall 53/39 gearing on the front, make hills more of a challenge.

So, it's been bugging me that the crank arms are out of spec for me, along with the fact that it no longer has the original Ultegra crank. I can pick up a used 50/34 Ultegra 6700 crank for around $150, plus I think I'd need a new BB86 bottom bracket, plus labor to install a pressed fit unit. Should I spend $200 on an old bike?
Yes, but not primarily to get 2.5 mm shorter crankarms, which would not be noticeable. You seem to have got it backwards. Your issue does not appear to be fit, but a lack of low gearing. The first priority is to ditch the 53/39 chain rings for 50/34 chain rings to get lower gearing, which may necessitate a different crankset, so you might as well get one with 172.5 mm crank arms. If the resulting gearing is still not low enough for the hills you ride, you can also consider an Ultegra 12-30 cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-67000SP Cassette | Jenson USA.
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Old 09-14-23, 03:05 AM
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I think the crank arm length is a bit of a red herring in the bigger picture. The difference between 175 and 172.5 is pretty subtle. So I wouldn’t stress over that right now.

I do think however that you would benefit from lower gearing. A compact 50/34 chainset and ideally an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette would make those long or steep climbs considerably more efficient. I think that would be worth the money in your case.

I would take your time before considering a newer bike.
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Old 09-14-23, 05:17 AM
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Search out Todd Hunter at Hunter Fits and get a fitting done.

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Old 09-14-23, 06:00 AM
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Not disagreeing with the folks that recommend getting a fit. For the money, I'd get the 50/34 crank set. It will make a difference on the hills. It sounds as if the bike fits you pretty well and it's not terribly difficult to adjust the fit yourself in my opinion. Lots of videos available.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sfortner
I've said a few times that I'd like a lower gear on some hills, but just end up standing up and huffing it out, or slowing down. I road an older and heavier Rocky Mountain Solo 50 AC before this and it was worse on hills, so I have some data points that tell me the bike does matter. I had major issues even keeping up with the group in general, on hills. When I started riding the Scott, I was instantly able to keep up with the 15-16 mph riders, the next week, and even advanced to the 16+ faster group in about two or three weeks after that. So the bike does make a difference.
Are you in that lowest possible gear selection on that bike when you wear yourself out on the hill? I ask because I see way to many people struggle to get up a hill and still have plenty of lower gears left to make that climb easy. They complain about how hard the climb was when they get to the top.

Riding that hill frequently will get you better at climbing it. And then you might find the gearing on the bike more than adequate. If you only ride once a week with the group then you'll have a long time to ever get better if at all. Do two or three other 90 minute rides during the week either solo or with a couple others.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Are you in that lowest possible gear selection on that bike when you wear yourself out on the hill? I ask because I see way to many people struggle to get up a hill and still have plenty of lower gears left to make that climb easy. They complain about how hard the climb was when they get to the top.

Riding that hill frequently will get you better at climbing it. And then you might find the gearing on the bike more than adequate. If you only ride once a week with the group then you'll have a long time to ever get better if at all. Do two or three other 90 minute rides during the week either solo or with a couple others.
Yes, in the smaller chainring and first gear on the rear cassette. Early on, when first getting started road biking, I wasn't downshifting and using the lower chainring enough, but now try to keep effort/cadence more in check. I'm now dropping into the lower chainring at the bottom of bigger hills per suggestion from one of the riders in one of my groups. My riding buddy also says I need to practice hills more, and know that's something that will help, so will work on that too.

I'm going to get a used 50/34 crank and put a bit of money into the bike first and see how that goes. I've done a bit of reading about fitting and will watch some more videos on that and consider getting a fitting with the smaller crank set.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Shadco
Search out Todd Hunter at Hunter Fits and get a fitting done.

.
Well that's cool - never heard of him, but he's right in my neck of the woods. Thanks!
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Old 09-14-23, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by sfortner
Well that's cool - never heard of him, but he's right in my neck of the woods. Thanks!
I would definitely get the 50-34 crank first. The gearing might feel strange at first but you'll get used to it. You could easily change the cassette later if you need lower.

I know professional fitting is a big deal to some but not all of us do it. The only advice I ever got from fitters was bad. Most of the hundreds of people in the clubs I ride with don't get professional fits. It may be very necessary for some, but not for others.

If you do decide to pay someone to adjust your bike, it's probably good to wait a while. If you've only ridden it a couple hundred miles, and are still figuring out your gearing and getting used to it, your ideal position may change. Give it some time.

Last edited by big john; 09-14-23 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
I would definitely get the 50-34 crank first. The gearing might feel strange at first but you'll get used to it. You could easily change the cassette later if you need lower.

I know professional fitting is a big deal to some but not all of us do it. The only advice I ever got from fitters was bad. Most of the hundreds of people in the clubs I ride with don't get professional fits. It may be very necessary for some, but not for others.

If you do decide to pay someone to adjust your bike, it's probably good to wait a while. If you've only ridden it a couple hundred miles, and are still figuring out your gearing and getting used to it, your ideal position may change. Give it some time.
Awesome - that's what I'm thinking as well. Fitting may be a bit like golf club fitting, which I've never had done, but played at a reasonably high level (pre-injury anyway). Did have some lessons though, and that helped sometimes, and sometimes made things worse. I've had some injuries, but I currently have no pain when riding, so that's a good sign. My saddle might be too hard and/or doesn't fit right, but I hear that's probably trial and error.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by sfortner
Awesome - that's what I'm thinking as well. Fitting may be a bit like golf club fitting, which I've never had done, but played at a reasonably high level (pre-injury anyway). Did have some lessons though, and that helped sometimes, and sometimes made things worse. I've had some injuries, but I currently have no pain when riding, so that's a good sign. My saddle might be too hard and/or doesn't fit right, but I hear that's probably trial and error.
Saddles are more personal than anything else. Trial and error is the way. You can measure your sit bones and consider your other preferences, though. Like a cut-out. Or how firm you want it. Then, once you find your perfect saddle, they stop making it.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by sfortner
Yes, in the smaller chainring and first gear on the rear cassette. Early on, when first getting started road biking, I wasn't downshifting and using the lower chainring enough, but now try to keep effort/cadence more in check. I'm now dropping into the lower chainring at the bottom of bigger hills per suggestion from one of the riders in one of my groups. My riding buddy also says I need to practice hills more, and know that's something that will help, so will work on that too.

I'm going to get a used 50/34 crank and put a bit of money into the bike first and see how that goes. I've done a bit of reading about fitting and will watch some more videos on that and consider getting a fitting with the smaller crank set.
If your entry speed on those hills is high, then I'd question going to the smaller ring right away unless it also has a gear combo that lets you maintain the same speed and cadence at that moment. When you shift to the smaller ring, you do realize that the rear has to be shifted two sometimes 3 smaller (by tooth count) too don't you? Maybe they realize you aren't too swift at making those shifts. You aren't on a bike with downtube shifters are you? (forgot you are on a 2010 Scott) On a bike with STI's those shifts are simple when in the heat of battle.

I wouldn't expect great things from the 50/34. But if you do need slightly lower gearing, that will be a good way to get it. More riding and miles behind you really do the most for you.

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Old 09-16-23, 11:07 AM
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I did a search to see your bike and it's specs. It looks like a nice bike with really nice specs. I have 6 bikes with Shimano (105 to Dura Ace) and SRAM Red. Ultegra is as good as anything. unless the dimensions of your bike don't fit your cycling style I think it's frame is not something you will improve on greatly with a new bike. I'd make the necessay upgrades and just enjoy the ride.
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Old 09-16-23, 11:32 AM
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A 2010 Scott CR1 Pro is as good a bike as anyone needs, including up to the elite pro level. Buying a comparable 2023 bike will cost you north of $10k and will be noticeably heavier and slower on the climbs due to the unnecessary ballast from disk brakes. Plus the impossible to work on internal cable routing. Plus the high-rolling resistance, heavy fat tires.

BTW: I've just been riding a current-gen 'cross bike with hookless tubeless setup with 32mm tires pumped up to 50psi. The tires are absurdly slow and the imprecise handling is due to the fat squishy tires constantly squirming around. Worst experience of anything I've tried in years.

Keep what you have and change the crank out to a compact, if it bothers you.
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Old 09-16-23, 01:27 PM
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Another option beyond a Shimano Ultegra crank - I went with a Praxis gravel crank for one of my builds, with a 48/32 chainring combination. The 32T small ring will do wonders for your climbing relative to the 39T you have right now, and unless you’re riding 53x12 or 53x11 on a regular basis, 48x11 would be more than enough gearing on the top end.

Also, with regard to tires: what are you running today (tire brand/model, size, PSI)? There may be room to optimize that without changing bikes. For example, if you’re running the Scott with 23mm tires at 110psi, it’s likely you could do 25mm at 85-90psi straightaway, and if you provide pictures of the clearance under the brakes and around the chainstays, the forum could offer its opinion on whether 28mm would fit (though that’s much less likely).

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Old 09-16-23, 07:07 PM
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>> When you shift to the smaller ring, you do realize that the rear has to be shifted two sometimes 3 smaller (by tooth count) too don't you? Maybe they realize you aren't too swift at making those shifts.
Yes, I have gotten that worked out. I'll sometimes even upshift on the rear so I'm bogging a bit near the bottom of the hill, then switch to the smaller chainring. If I'm not bogging, I've gotten to where I'm able to drop to the smaller chainring and simultaneously upshift on the rear cassette. I miss it every now and then, but have done pretty well in mentally preparing for the size of hill and knowing I'll need to drop to the smaller chainring when needed.

>> Another option beyond a Shimano Ultegra crank - I went with a Praxis gravel crank for one of my builds, with a 48/32 chainring combination.

You know, I've been wondering about that too - something that's compatible with the BB that's currently installed so I don't have to switch that too. Might be an option - and probably cheaper. Looks like a used 6800/8000 crankset will run me around $150 - 180.
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Old 09-16-23, 07:07 PM
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Here's the bike.

Last edited by sfortner; 09-16-23 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 09-16-23, 07:38 PM
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I wouldn’t be too concerned about BB cost; the last one I purchased cost $17.

Praxis actually uses their own BB standard for their cranks, and while the BB is only marginally more expensive, they required their own tool to go with it. Might still be more cost effective than switching to a Shimano GRX crank to get gravel gearing, as I think that requires a new front derailleur to accommodate the chainline.
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Old 09-18-23, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sfortner
I've have had mountain bikes and hybrids for years and did a lot of greenway riding, but I'm new to road biking as of July of this year. About 5' 11" and 185ish+ pounds and over 50 years old. Bought a used 56 cm 2010 Scott CR1 Pro with a Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, except for a 53/39 Sram Force crank (with an 11/28 cassette), and the crank arms are not really my size. They're 175 mm and I believe they should be 172.5 mm according to sites I've researched. I wear 32" length pants but if I put a golf club on the wall and raise it to my crotch, the top measures 34", so not sure if that's relevant or not. I'm not really having any back or leg pain with the current setup, and I think the 56 cm bike fits me correctly. Hadn't done much cardio for years, and while I'm doing okay, hills are somewhat challenging. On group rides, I can keep up with 15 - 16ish mph riders, but long hills have me gasping for air at the top and sometimes I can lag behind. I've read that crank arms that are too long, especially with the tall 53/39 gearing on the front, make hills more of a challenge.

So, it's been bugging me that the crank arms are out of spec for me, along with the fact that it no longer has the original Ultegra crank. I can pick up a used 50/34 Ultegra 6700 crank for around $150, plus I think I'd need a new BB86 bottom bracket, plus labor to install a pressed fit unit. Should I spend $200 on an old bike?

I've done a lot of reading and am salivating at used bikes like a base 2020 Specialized Roubaix (yeah, even the base model has Future Shock 1.5 and a FACT 10R frame) or other Roubaix models, a Giant TCR Advanced, or even a Cannondale Supersix Evo. I'd have to sell my current bike for sure, and do something, somehow, to keep my wife from killing me, but I'm wondering how much better these newer bikes are and how much more comfortable they are for longer rides (with bigger tires and flex). I've been riding around 18 - 35 mile rides thus far, and while I need a better seat on my current bike, it's manageable for short rides. I'm still wanting a fast/competitive bike, and not a cruiser, and would love to ride (eventually) with the 18 mph crowd.
I'm 5'10" and wear 32" pants as well. I ride both size cranks (I have 175 mm cranks on one bike, and 172.5 mm cranks on the other). There is a slight difference in saddle height, but other than that the only significant difference I've noticed is that my measured cadence is slightly lower with the longer cranks. I've emphasized "measured" because I don't feel the difference, it is only when I look at my computer that I see that my cadence is lower with the longer cranks. If I hadn't seen the number, I would have said that the cadence was the same.

Other than that, I've not been able to detect any difference between the cranks. I don't feel that the longer cranks give me more leverage, or anything like that. I don't think either crank length is "out of spec" for my height/inseam. I'm happily riding both, depending on which bike I'm on.
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