Crank Length & Cycle Performance

Skill, strength and endurance all come into play when cyclists are trying to win a prestigious road race. What about crank length? Peddle arm measurements range from 150mm to 190mm. How that length affects joint-specific power was the subject of a study recently published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Previous studies suggest that crank length has very little influence over maximum cycling power when pedal speed and rate are factored in. To determine joint-specific influences, researchers had experienced cyclists peddle at a constant rate of 120 RPM (revolutions per minute) while they examined pedal forces and limb kinematics. There was no effect on hip, knee or ankle joints at 120 RPM, but riders did realize a small but significant boost in hip and knee power at 150 RPM using the longest (190mm) crank.

True Strength Moment: When it comes to bicycle racing, even the smallest advantage can be significant as races are often decided by tenths or even hundredths of a second. The question is, how long can you maintain a 150 RPM peddling pace and will you have enough gas left in the tank to seal the deal at the finish line?
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