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best way to adapt to shorter cranks / street / slight hills

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  • #16
    What you're saying about your center of mass and the position of the pedal seems reasonable enough to me.

    I think it's more common for new-ish unicyclists to make half-inch jumps when changing crank lengths, so you've effectively skipped a step. Not impossible to pull off but yeah, definitely a bigger adjustment to make. I'd say give it a few more days, let your body have a little time to adapt to the different dynamics, and stick to an easier path without as many bumps or as much tilt if you can while getting used to them. Before long you'll be wondering why it seemed like such a big deal.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by wfcentral View Post
      I think I'm doing pretty good on the weight in seat part... so much so that I need to stop after 1.5 mile and give my bottom a break.
      Ken Looi can explain this much better than I (Look for his write-up after doing serious miles on a standard 26er with long cranks) but I've found this to be true as well shorter cranks reduce saddle pain. It's true! Also, flat (no hills) asphalt paths wreak havoc on my rear! I need those hills to get me out of the saddle. Riding mUni never, ever results in saddle pain for much the same reason. As for crank length advice, I'd say ride what you are comfortable with until you feel you need something shorter. I personally love me some 165s for mUni. Then again, when I'm riding off road, I'm in no hurry. There is a downside tradeoff that Kris could explain better but longer cranks increase your dead spot when you roll over a root or go off a drop and don't land with your pedals perfectly level in the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock position. The solution is always time in the saddle. The more you ride, the more you know. Good luck!
      Last edited by DavidHood; 2015-09-28, 01:39 AM.
      My greatest fear is that, when I die, my wife will sell all my unicycles for what I told her they cost.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by LargeEddie View Post
        What you're saying about your center of mass and the position of the pedal seems reasonable enough to me.

        I think it's more common for new-ish unicyclists to make half-inch jumps when changing crank lengths, so you've effectively skipped a step. Not impossible to pull off but yeah, definitely a bigger adjustment to make. I'd say give it a few more days, let your body have a little time to adapt to the different dynamics, and stick to an easier path without as many bumps or as much tilt if you can while getting used to them. Before long you'll be wondering why it seemed like such a big deal.
        I'm trying to decide it I need to drop $65 to get some 138s. Like I said, I bought the 125s because they were crazy cheap ($27).
        Nimbus II 26"

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        • #19
          $27 really is crazy cheap! ISIS cranks in good condition usually go quickly on the Trading Post here, so you wouldn't stand to lose a huge amount if you bought some 138s and wound up not wanting to keep them forever.

          But most of us took up unicycling because we wanted to take on a challenge. That's why I think you ought to give it a few more days and see how the adjustment goes. It sounds like you've gotten out of your comfort zone but I think you can do it. There's a good chance you'd be doing a lot better with the 125s by the time the 138s got to you anyhow.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by LargeEddie View Post
            $27 really is crazy cheap! ISIS cranks in good condition usually go quickly on the Trading Post here, so you wouldn't stand to lose a huge amount if you bought some 138s and wound up not wanting to keep them forever.

            But most of us took up unicycling because we wanted to take on a challenge. That's why I think you ought to give it a few more days and see how the adjustment goes. It sounds like you've gotten out of your comfort zone but I think you can do it. There's a good chance you'd be doing a lot better with the 125s by the time the 138s got to you anyhow.

            I just checked the price to make sure I was not lying. Yep... $27 AFTER SHIPPING. They sell them for $22.95 @ firetoys.com and also have 114s and 145s. The 125s are out of stock right now.
            Nimbus II 26"

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            • #21
              Oh, those cranks. I've got exactly them (Qu-Ax Lightweight) on my 20" Impact Reagent in the same length as yours, and they've been great so far. I paid a few dollars more though not a huge amount.

              The Firetoys site looks like a good one to check out now and then too. It hasn't been in my rotation.

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              • #22
                Yes those are pretty cool cranks for road riding. Don't muni them too hard because they're made from a mix of aluminium and butter and the threads won't let you hop for long...

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                • #23
                  no worries. I only do street riding with them. I think the biggest bump I go over is 1" (not dropping off curbs yet).
                  Nimbus II 26"

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                  • #24
                    You could get cranks in between the 125 & 150, but if you can ride the hills you want w/ some consistency (even if it's difficult) I'd encourage you to stay w/ the shorter cranks. Your progress will be faster in the long run.

                    As for the bumps and short increase in inclines, the following works for me.
                    1. I spot the bump/incline try to relax as much as I can even if that means slowing down a bit, then a rev or two before, pick the speed way up and really give it my all. After the bump/rise I relax to my regular cadence.
                    2. If it's a large bump it's impossible or significantly harder to clear unless your cranks are near horizontal. I you see it coming, say 15 or 20 ft. ahead, and tell that your cranks won't line up, you can weave a few times, slightly lengthening your path so that your cranks do like up.

                    In time both techniques will get easier and sometimes won't even have to consciously think about it.
                    Ride everywhere and never just ride anywhere. If you can ride where you are going within a hour, do it, and if you can do a trick 50-75% of the time do it along the way.- Bob Burnquist

                    What's next?
                    Learn2Ride&doTricks
                    TrialsClasses&Building

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by wfcentral View Post
                      I can do this route with 150s and will only dismount 1-2 times. When I'm done I am sweating good, but not winded.

                      Tonight I tried it with the 125s. I dismounted about 10 times and 2/3 of the way through was pretty winded which made free mounting quite a challenge.
                      Changes in equipment, especially for new/relatively new riders, are a big change at first, and you need to give them time for your body to learn the new dimensions. In 1984 I switched from a 24" to a 20" wheel for Freestyle competition. That's a VERY big change, and it was frustrating for a long time in some of the movements the wheel makes. I had to re-learn how much movement to expect with a quarter-turn push on the pedals, and this took a few months to get predictable. So I'd recommend not forming an opinion about the 125s until you've done that ride about nine more times. That tenth ride will be a lot different from the first, and it will also be faster.
                      The other thing that kept freaking me out was the falling forward sensation every time I got any speed going.
                      Your illustration is part of what you're experiencing, but the bigger picture is the difference in leverage you have with shorter cranks. The wheel is a little more sluggish than you're used to, and I think that's the larger part of the difference. But sluggish is relative. It's the price you pay for making smaller circles with your feet (which will enable you to go faster or use less effort most of the time), but you'll also get used to the difference and learn that you still have plenty of control.
                      Originally posted by wfcentral View Post
                      I'm trying to decide it I need to drop $65 to get some 138s.
                      You don't. You'll be wasting your money. For the type of riding you're doing, 125 is still on the long side. I've used 125 for Muni and it's not too bad (esp. with a light wheel), though I prefer 140 for the technical stuff. 125 is a "medium" size that works for a wide range of riding, and is also the size we use for 24" Track racing. Not because it's the fastest size, but because it's the most accessible to people entering the sport.

                      If I wanted to ride distance on my 24", my cranks would be no longer than 100mm. That still works for hills, unless they're really steep. But don't buy those yet, give yourself a chance to get comfortable with the 125s and go from there. Along the way, your basic riding will also continue to improve, and you'll find yourself using less energy to just cruise along and stay in control.
                      Last edited by johnfoss; 2015-10-04, 06:12 PM.
                      John Foss
                      www.unicycling.com

                      "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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                      • #26
                        UPDATE: I have now ridden just over a week with the 125s. My avg speed on 26" with 150s was 4.4mph I was averaging 4.9mph with the 125s on my ride yesterday. I started with 2.5 mile ride and have increased it to 3.5 miles. The route I take is mostly sidewalk (a city trail) and has uphill / downhill and wooden bridges to cross.

                        I would like to be doing the 6-9mph that everyone else seems to talk about with this wheel size / crank setup, but guess that just comes with time in the saddle.

                        I am working hard now to sit up straight... I catch myself hunching over as I get tired which puts muscle strain in middle of my back. I can tell when it's happening because I find myself staring at a spot in the path about 15 feet ahead of me instead of looking far down the path.

                        I adjusted my seat so the front is as high as it will go - I thought that would cause me to sit better / straighter OR at least make it easier to pedal. Seems to have helped.
                        Nimbus II 26"

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by wfcentral View Post
                          UPDATE: I am working hard now to sit up straight... I catch myself hunching over as I get tired which puts muscle strain in middle of my back. I can tell when it's happening because I find myself staring at a spot in the path about 15 feet ahead of me instead of looking far down the path.

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                          • #28
                            what is SIF and SI ?
                            Nimbus II 26"

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by wfcentral View Post
                              what is SIF and SI ?
                              "Seat In Front" and "Seat In." (There's also a "Seat In Back.")
                              "I'm a unicyclist. I make my own reality."

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                              • #30
                                Hello Everyone,
                                I'm finding this discussion interesting.

                                Hi wfcentral,
                                I like your diagram.
                                We seem to have opposite situations.

                                I have the follwing unis that all have 125 cranks: 20, 24, 26, and 29.
                                The standard longer cranks that came on the 24, 26, and 29 were all way too long...especially the 29! (170s I think!... Crazy!)

                                I seem to have gotten accustomed to 125s, and that's just what feels right.
                                I also have a 24" with 150" cranks, and I find them not only slow, but much less comfortable and lots more work. It's like my legs have to make great big circles with longer cranks.

                                I've been wondering if pro bicycle riders have crank length issues... or do they all have the same length cranks...

                                Thanks Everyone....

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