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Bicycle crank length has not been easy to study scientifically for a number of reasons, chief among them being that cyclists are able to physiologically adapt to different crank lengths.
Cyclists are typically more efficient pedalling cranks with which they have had an adaptation period.
For indoor unicycling such as freestyle or hockey, shorter cranks give a smoother pedaling motion and enable tighter turns without the pedal hitting the floor.
Crank lengths of 100mm are common, although some riders use cranks as short as 79mm.
Tubular steel cranks (such as Tioga's Revolver) can be light and very strong, are usually found on BMX bikes, and are slowly finding their way to mountain bikes (dirt jumping and urban assault).
Aluminum cranks may be cast, hot forged or cold forged ("cold" in this context means the billet from which the crank is to be made is heated to a specified temperature well below the melting point, not room temperature).
While logic would suggest that, all other things being equal, riders with shorter legs should use proportionally shorter cranks and those with longer legs should use proportionally longer cranks, this is not universally accepted.
However, very few scientific studies have definitively examined the effect of crank length on sustained cycling performance and the studies' results have been mixed.
Cranks can be shortened for medical reasons using shorteners such as Ortho Pedal.As there is no chainwheel on a unicycle, right and left cranks are identical, except for the pedal attachment thread in the left-hand crank, which is reverse threaded.Cranks are constructed of either an aluminum alloy, titanium, carbon fiber, chromoly steel, or some less expensive steel.Unicycle cranks vary in length to accommodate different unicycle wheel sizes, and different unicycling disciplines.As almost all unicycles are ungeared, crank length is a major factor in determining how much force is transmitted to the wheel.