Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
Reload this Page >

On switching back and forth between your fixed gear and geared bikes - crank sizes

Notices
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)

On switching back and forth between your fixed gear and geared bikes - crank sizes

Old 03-12-13, 12:39 PM
  #1  
idoru2005
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 933
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
On switching back and forth between your fixed gear and geared bikes - crank sizes

Hello, this is my first post in this forum. Been riding geared bikes primarily and recently started riding a fixed gear bike - 42x16 with a 165mm crank. Lately I've been doing my bike commute fixed, and riding the geared bike on the weekends.

The geared bike has a 170mm triple crank. Do many of you switch between fg and geared bike riding? If so, do you have a different length crank on your geared bike?

I can feel the difference in the size of the circle I'm pedaling whenever I change bikes. Furthermore, when I go from Fixed to Geared riding, it is very disconcerting when I feet cease to turn when I let up on my pedal pressure. It always takes me a few blocks to adjust to freewheeling. And it takes me at least an hour for my legs to adjust to turning bigger circles.

I'm just wondering how everyone else adjusts to this. I've been considering swapping my 170mm cranks on the geared bike to a 165mm triple. But since this is also my climbing bike, I'm considering tweaking my drive-train to account for less leverage at the crank. Possibly putting a long cage RD and mountain cassette, so I can spin high cadence with smaller circles on the 165mm crank. Any thoughts on this?

Last edited by idoru2005; 03-12-13 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Fixed some typos.
idoru2005 is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 12:57 PM
  #2  
seau grateau
Senior Member
 
seau grateau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: PHL
Posts: 9,936

Bikes: Litespeed Catalyst, IRO Rob Roy, All City Big Block

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1326 Post(s)
Liked 356 Times in 169 Posts
I just run 170mm cranks on all my bikes.
seau grateau is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 02:00 PM
  #3  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,198

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 350 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 10 Posts
Give it time. I have bikes with 180mm, 175mm, and 170mm. While I can feel the difference when I really pay attention to it, it all blends together because I ride differently on each bike and I dont think about it.
hairnet is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 02:42 PM
  #4  
Mumonkan
Brown Jersey Winner
 
Mumonkan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The Bad Woods.
Posts: 8,806
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I have the same scenario, 165 on my fg and 170 on my freewheel bike, but i cant notice the difference even when i try
Mumonkan is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 02:45 PM
  #5  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,198

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 350 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Mumonkan View Post
i cant notice the difference even when i try
FWIW, I can only feel a difference when with my bikes. On other bikes I can't tell the difference.
hairnet is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 02:49 PM
  #6  
Jaytron
Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter
 
Jaytron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 4,228

Bikes: CAAD 10 4, Dolan DF4, Fuji Track Classic

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
167.5 on my commuter (lower gi). 170mm on my tark biek. 172.5 on my road bike.
Jaytron is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 03:36 PM
  #7  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 22,857

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2690 Post(s)
Liked 1,399 Times in 870 Posts
I use 165mm arms on my fixed gear bikes and 170mm arms on my geared bikes. No problem going from one to the other.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 04:09 PM
  #8  
Nagrom_
Fixie Infamous
 
Nagrom_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: SF
Posts: 10,474

Bikes: 2007 CAAD Optimo Track, 2012 Cannondale CAAD10, 1996 GT Force restomod, 2015 Cannondale CAADX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 54 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I use 170 on the track and 175 on the road. Can't tell the difference really.
Nagrom_ is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 06:16 PM
  #9  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I have different bike with cranks anywhere from 165 to 180. The bikes are all different, fit different and ride differen. In fact, I like that they're all different, the idiosyncrasies are char,img in a weird way.
__________________

Shimano : Click :: Campy : Snap :: SRAM : Bang
IthaDan is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 06:30 PM
  #10  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,198

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 350 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
The bikes are all different, fit different and ride differen. In fact, I like that they're all different, the idiosyncrasies are char,img in a weird way.
yep. N+1
hairnet is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 06:47 PM
  #11  
Jandro 
Senior Member
 
Jandro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
You'll get used to it. I wouldn't go longer than a 165mm on a fg unless it's a dedicated track bike (constant turn angles), personally. Need to be able to corner, yo.
__________________
Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.
Jandro is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 08:07 PM
  #12  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
yep. N+1
Wow, that's barely legible, I need to start proofreading what the autocorrect on my ipad comes with.
__________________

Shimano : Click :: Campy : Snap :: SRAM : Bang
IthaDan is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 09:47 PM
  #13  
Jandro 
Senior Member
 
Jandro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I like how no one corrected you. We just sort of interpreted and ran with it. Rare, given this is the internet, after all.
__________________
Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.
Jandro is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 09:57 PM
  #14  
Jaytron
Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter
 
Jaytron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 4,228

Bikes: CAAD 10 4, Dolan DF4, Fuji Track Classic

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Jandro View Post
I like how no one corrected you. We just sort of interpreted and ran with it. Rare, given this is the internet, after all.
I just assumed Dan had finally lost it.
Jaytron is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 10:07 PM
  #15  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
any day now.
__________________

Shimano : Click :: Campy : Snap :: SRAM : Bang
IthaDan is offline  
Old 03-12-13, 10:45 PM
  #16  
max5480
Rhythm is rhythm
 
max5480's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Salt Lake City
Posts: 1,187
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
i ride mostly the same length cranks on my bikes.
But I figured this forum was about Q-factor, which I think might be more important to consider regarding joint health. MTN bikes have wider q-factors but that's OK because you need the width to help balance over technical sections. But on a road bike, if your feet are further apart (width wise), it's not like your hips (and somewhat knees) are any wider apart, so you're putting strange stresses on your knees. I'm just thinking here... but I guess what it comes down to is proper bike fit.
I'd probably do some measurements and figure out which length you like better and then make both your bikes the same... but that's just my preference.
max5480 is offline  
Old 03-13-13, 02:04 AM
  #17  
europa
Grumpy Old Bugga
 
europa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 4,229

Bikes: Hillbrick, Malvern Star Oppy S2, Europa (R.I.P.)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 370 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
You get used to it. When the Europa was fixed, she had 165 cranks because she's a road frame (ground clearance). My geared bike at the time had 172.5 cranks. I could feel the difference in a vague way, the longer cranks felt as though they cramped me a little but it was really vague, just one of those interesting things you ponder while waiting for traffic lights to change. The geared cranks were Octalink and when they went they way of many Octalinks (started working loose), I replaced them with 170s ... and that 'cramped' feeling went away. Then I commissioned the Hillbrick and specified 170s so the BB was raised to suit, and eventually, I converted the Europa back to gears. This gives me a fixed gear bike and a geared bike, both with 170s so you probably won't be surprised to hear that I don't notice any difference in crank length

On your second question though, if I ride fixed only for some period, the geared bike sometimes feels like it's broken when I leap back onto it, I certainly miss the control you have with fixed gear - stopping with brakes is fine but they are a really blunt tool for controlling speed.
Nowadays, I ride both in fairly equal measure so don't notice anything going between fixed and geared ... except when I cop a head wind.
europa is offline  
Old 03-13-13, 02:06 AM
  #18  
europa
Grumpy Old Bugga
 
europa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 4,229

Bikes: Hillbrick, Malvern Star Oppy S2, Europa (R.I.P.)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 370 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
Wow, that's barely legible, I need to start proofreading what the autocorrect on my ipad comes with.
My autocorrect seems to be set to 'malicious gibberish'
europa is offline  
Old 03-13-13, 05:52 AM
  #19  
BoSoxYacht
Banned
 
BoSoxYacht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: take your time, enjoy the scenery, it will be there when you get to it
Posts: 7,281

Bikes: 07 IRO BFGB fixed-gear, 07 Pedal Force RS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use 175mm cranks on all my bikes. According to most crank length calculators, I should be using 184mm cranks.
BoSoxYacht is offline  
Old 03-13-13, 07:12 AM
  #20  
dookie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,299
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
yep. N+1
Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
Wow, that's barely legible, I need to start proofreading what the autocorrect on my ipad comes with.
I think it came out as intended...

Optimal number of bikes in the stable = N + 1, where N is the current count...ie: another addition is always welcome. I'm all too familiar with the math...

(Oh, and I have two each 170/172.5/175, w/170 on the fixed, 175 mtb, and a mix of 170/172 on the road. No issues w/strike on the Sputnik. I swear I can feel the 2.5mm difference on the road, in that the shorter ones spin better.)

Last edited by dookie; 03-13-13 at 07:18 AM.
dookie is offline  
Old 03-13-13, 11:15 PM
  #21  
icyclist 
Spin Meister
 
icyclist's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2,644

Bikes: Trek Émonda, 1961 Follis (French) road bike (I'm the original owner), a fixie, a mountain bike, etc.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 8 Posts
Difference in inches is what, less than 1/8th?
__________________
This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.
icyclist is offline  
Old 03-14-13, 01:04 AM
  #22  
BoSoxYacht
Banned
 
BoSoxYacht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: take your time, enjoy the scenery, it will be there when you get to it
Posts: 7,281

Bikes: 07 IRO BFGB fixed-gear, 07 Pedal Force RS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dookie View Post
I think it came out as intended...

Optimal number of bikes in the stable = N + 1, where N is the current count...ie: another addition is always welcome. I'm all too familiar with the math...

(Oh, and I have two each 170/172.5/175, w/170 on the fixed, 175 mtb, and a mix of 170/172 on the road. No issues w/strike on the Sputnik. I swear I can feel the 2.5mm difference on the road, in that the shorter ones spin better.)
Wtf is N+1?

N=H+ 1
BoSoxYacht is offline  
Old 03-14-13, 01:45 AM
  #23  
seau grateau
Senior Member
 
seau grateau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: PHL
Posts: 9,936

Bikes: Litespeed Catalyst, IRO Rob Roy, All City Big Block

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1326 Post(s)
Liked 356 Times in 169 Posts
Numerical representation of the ideal number of bikes, where N is equal to the number of bikes you own. Alternately represented as S-1, where S is equal to the number of bikes that would result in separation from your significant other.
seau grateau is offline  
Old 03-14-13, 07:01 AM
  #24  
Bat56
Senior Member
 
Bat56's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: St.Paul, MN
Posts: 1,819
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dookie View Post
I think it came out as intended...

You completely missed the point.
Bat56 is offline  
Old 03-14-13, 07:17 AM
  #25  
Spoonrobot 
Senior Member
 
Spoonrobot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,098
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1170 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 81 Posts
Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
Difference in inches is what, less than 1/8th?
You're either missing the point or trying to make a point by being glib.

The measured length difference doesn't matter, it's the % change that is important. 170->165 is a 3% change which can be significant for racing and fit purposes. The difference in frame sizes is generally less than that, usually around 1.4-1.8%, which most people find significant. A top tube that is 3% longer than what is the proper length for an individual will be detrimental to both performance and comfort.

Now, for the OP it appears neither one of those points is an issue and this is more a mental thing. I suggest you just keep doing both and get used to it. Going back and forth was a little disconcerting for me as well but now I just relax and let it happen. I've found the same thing to be true with switching between fixed and freewheeled bikes, regardless of crank length.
Spoonrobot is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.