Short crank makes my riding style change, should I change back?

IME, both Shimano and Sram derailleurs can go 2-4 teeth more than advertised, so 11-30 or even 11-32 may be possible, meaning you may only need to change the cassette.


In flat, yes, I do feel I am faster and more stable as there were no issues with my knees hitting my torso and I can go lower in the front. But it sacrifice some instantaneous burst acceleration and some lower back soreness (I think it can be resolved by adding by 10mm spacer to my handlebar).

For climb, maybe, maybe not, I am not sure. For short climb, I can just standup and power through it but it was not original style. And I feel more comfortable standing up than before with longer crank. For long climb while seated, it feels harder (does not mean slower), and less comfortable, hard to engage all of my leg muscle to do the work.

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I agree. I have added 10mm spacer in front and will do some hill test later today. Thanks.

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Initial results from the 10mm increase and trainer ride sound promising. Let us know how it goes on outside rides.

  • OK, I get the thought, but it’s the opposite of what I would try in a fit. It can work that way, but there are numerous factors at play. Considering that you had a double drop (taller saddle + lowered bars), I would have attempted to minimize reach differences by keeping the saddle in the same spot on the seatpost clamp, if not move it forward a tad.

  • That’s because both changes you made already lengthened reach without actually “changing” reach directly (via saddle fore-aft position or something like a stem change).

  • Either way, I think you are doing good here with the observations and plan to evaluate, but I’d expect you to benefit from pulling the saddle forward that 5mm again, even with the 10mm spacer under the stem.

  • Yes, at the very least. A change like this is going to require some time for adaptation. There is enough delta that your comments make sense and track with what I would expect by decreasing leverage at the pedal.

  • You already own them and chose them for a reason. I think you owe it to yourself (and wallet) to stick with this for a month or so at least. The only exceptions would be if you start to experience pain or other notable negative impact.

  • The comfort stuff above is fixable and I think you are headed in the right direction. So I’d keep riding for now and making mental notes as you are already doing very well.


One thing with short cranks is that I think people try to ride in a traditional triple extension style and get “more stretched out” which puts joints into geometries that have less leverage for the muscles to use.

Instead, I think they should think more about turning into a small explosive ball. This means moving your seat more back than up and running your cleats back. You’ll probably have to wake your glutes up and teach your body to engage more of your posterior chain. You want be to be doing deadlifts, not ballet leaps.

I kept trying short cranks and would try to keep my same position by raising the seat and it always felt weaker and I’d go back. It wasn’t until I re-engineered my position to work with the cranks that I found any success.

My saddle height relative the bottom bracket is 10-20mm lower, my cranks are 20mm shorter on top of that. My bars are about in the same place but I can sit in the drops all day long because I’m still well balanced. When I cobbled together the test mule to do this all my chain was too short so I had to change my 1x cassette from a 46 to a 42, and even though the total gain ratio is ~20% taller I can climb steep hills seated easier than my old setup.

Of course all claims need baselines and maybe my old position was truly dreadful. But I do think the “solution space” has multiple maxima and you may need to wander a decent distance to get to a different peak.

Here’s some more info on what I did: Bike Check: SC-1 |

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What brand/model rear derailleur?

I moved my seat forward 5mm and went out to do climbing test.
My leg feels right now… I felt my quads and hamstring were engaging like before. I am able to pull heeds up in steep climb without standing up.
Regarding to the weight in the front, I still feel some weight on my hand, but I dont feel my triceps soreness or pressure build up on my right palm.
Thank you very much for the all the advise.
This is truly helpful.
Much appreciated!


lowering seat height can help leg engage more I guess.

Sram red etap

Such awesome news! Thanks for the update and so happy to have helped. :smiley:

Sounds like you are pointed in the right direction to make the most of the new cranks now. Happy training :+1:


You don’t want to go so far back that you are pushing forwards rather than down on the pedal. I quite like the idea of having cleats back but seat forward enough that your weight falls downwards onto the pedal when it is at 3 o’clock (I do agree with deadlift/squat feel with glute engagement). It’s a balance between how much weight is on your hands and the pedal. Light and powerful cyclists can go further forwards (which is what we’re seeing in pro cyclists).

There’s value in pushing forwards over the top because you can work more directly against your arms which can generate more than your bodyweight in force. When you’re further forwards generating force over the top become more of a kicking motion and uses less efficient hip muscles. You can then confuse “quad burn” as being powerful when you’re really just underutilizing other muscle groups.

Hi @mcneese.chad @Redleg94 , so I went to a profession bike fitter on Saturday, and the result is kinda surprising. The fitter replaced my stem from 100mm to 130 mm, stack plus 10 mm, seat height +5mm and saddle moved 5mm forward (after a test, I move another 2.5mm forward, so total 7.5mm forward).
I did a 130km+ ride today, and I feel so right on the bike now… I am able to straighten my spine and paddle more like in squat posture. No more lower back or tricep soreness. I can feel some weight on my palm but it does not cause numbness or any untolerable discomfort.

Further testing will be conducted, but I will stick with current setup for a month and see.


Fantastic news on the changes and initial results! :smiley:

Seems you are super dialed now and back to full ability to rip. Congrats. :+1:

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In a bit of a roundabout way, I unknowingly ended up with 165mm cranks instead of my usual 170s after having my bottom bracket changed at my LBS. I have ridden on them with no other fit changes for about a month with no issues and plenty of comfort.

Now that I know they are different than what I was fit for originally, of course I can’t get it out of my head and want to make other changes to correspond to the reduced crank length. My question is - do I raise the saddle 5mm, lower the handlebars 5mm, both, neither, or something else entirely?

Assuming fit was good & liked before with the longer crank:

  1. RAISE the saddle 5mm HIGHER (because the pedal is now 5mm higher at the bottom of your stroke.)

  2. RAISE the handlebar 5mm HIGHER (to keep the same saddle to bar drop as before the saddle height increase.)

As an aside, i am curious how a shop accidentally swaps your cranks to shorter ones in the process of a BB replacement?

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Thank you for the suggestions, much appreciated.

As for how it happened, my best guess: it was a change I was contemplating, and he checked to confirm he had the 165s available to just swap out, but with an event and some bigger rides planned (I thought) I communicated that I wanted to hold off.

The change in riding style when I went from 165mm cranks on my mostly road-going 90s mountain bike was, shall we say, interesting. My reason for the change was that I wanted higher gears but I was stuck on 48:14 max. I went to 115mm cranks so I could spin them faster. At $15 it was the cheapest solution. I got an unadvertised bonus: I never had to worry about pedal-strike.
The things we do as poor teenagers. :laughing:

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Just to add my 2c, I changed from 170 to 160mm back in November on the advice of my bike fitter.

Saddle went up 10mm, stem went up 5mm (we wanted a net -5mm).

I was really happy with the improvements, but adapting fully took a long time! Probably a good 4 months before I felt properly comfortable at higher intensities.

I think the shorter cranks balanced my legs somewhat, possibly because I was no longer splaying my knee at the top of the stroke nearly as much. As a result, my VMOs are way more loaded and have grown considerably as a result. Never felt better now everything has balanced out and it’s all but eliminated fairly persistent knee “niggles” for me.


Thanks for the input. I would like to get more information if you dont mind.
Whats your height and what is your inseam length?
And during the 4 months, have you notice some performance difference? is it the same as before?