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Rentable Appleman 2XR FIT Cranks Dial In Crank Length from 100-175mm

appleman fit 2xr crankset bikefit cranklength testing
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Appleman Bicycles has released the 2XR FIT Crankset, available to buy or to rent, with the aim of helping riders find the perfect crank length from the comfort of their own bike. Chances are, most of us are riding about with cranks that aren’t the optimal length for us, but the cost associated with trying out different cranksets is prohibitive for most riders. The rent-able 2XR FIT Crankset changes that by offering six crank lengths off the same arms.

Appleman 2XR FIT Crankset

Ever wondered whether your cranks are the right length? Based on this study by James Martin at the University of Utah, you can find out what the optimal crank length for maximum power delivery is by calculating 20% of your leg length or 41% of your tibia length. The latter calculation is considered the more accurate of the two. Go ahead and try it – you’ll be astounded.

appleman 2xr fit crankset six pedal positions 100mm 135mm 145mm 155mm 165mm 175mm

Curious myself, I went ahead and measured my tibia at 35 cm; 41% of that is 143.5mm. To put that into context, I am 163cm (5ft 4″ tall).

An astonishingly small number of manufacturers actually offer cranks anywhere near that length. Some of the smaller, more boutique manufacturers are wise to it – Appleman Bicycles being a prime example, of course, but the big drivetrain manufacturers have a painfully limited offering in terms of crank length.

For mountain bikes at least, the industry has settled on 170mm or 175mm. Few manufacturers go to the effort of spec’ing shorter cranks on smaller bikes, and it’s extremely unlikely you’ll see cranks shorter than 165mm on stock builds. You might get 160mm cranks on an eMTB, if you’re lucky.

I am opening up a proverbial can of worms, here. There’s all manner of things to be investigated around crank length; what may be optimal for road riding, may not be optimal for mountain biking, especially as you have descending ergonomics to consider in addition to pedaling ergonomics.

appleman 2xr crankset midnight blue gold custom colors
Midnight Blue and Gold have been added to the list of custom color options

Regardless, based on the results of James Martin’s study on crank length, I’m going to throw it out there that most of us are probably riding cranks that are at least a bit too long. That said, it’s going to take quite the leap of faith to trust the calculation, and throw your hard earned cash down on a new crankset with crank arms that are likely way, way shorter than anything you’ve ridden before.

Now, thanks to Appleman Bicycles’ 2XR FIT Crankset, you can try it before you buy it. The crank arms have no fewer than six possible pedal positions, allowing the rider to test the following crank lengths: 100mm, 135mm, 145mm, 155mm, 165mm and 175mm.

appleman 2xr fit crankset whats the best crank length how to test

The staggering of the pedal positions necessitates the odd shape; a shape that pushes me to advise use of caution if testing on a full suspension mountain bike where the BB height could get worryingly low, and the subsequent risk of pedal strikes worryingly high. But, you can see the appeal. Many a rider stands to benefit from a quick ride on the 2XR FIT crankset, especially those rehabbing a knee injury, for example. It could help a rider quickly identify a crank length that allows for more anatomically-friendly knee angles throughout the pedal stroke.

While changing pedal positions can be done in a jiffy, swapping the chainring is of course a slightly more time consuming task. I mention that here as, chances are, you’re going to want to alter your chainring size as you alter crank length. As you reduce the leverage at the pedals, chances are you’ll need to account for that by dropping a chainring size.

whats best crank length test with appleman 2xr fit crankset six positions

The 2XR FIT Crank is built on the same design and modular system as the 2XR Crankset we covered previously and can be configured with spider and spindle options for road, gravel, mountain and fat bike use.

Pricing for the 2XR FIT Crank rental is $100 (or $50 if a 2XR Crank is purchased) for 3 weeks of use. Bottom brackets and chainrings are also available to rent. A full-price deposit is taken up front and refunded minus the costs after safe return of the parts to Appleman HQ.

Also worth noting here is the addition of the modular 2XR Crankset in a 100mm option. This one is aimed at para-cyclists, riders with prosthetics, or any one with limited range of leg motion. These start at start at $525 USD.

applemanbicycles.com

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Fake Namerton
Fake Namerton
11 months ago

Cool to see products aimed at folks with disabilities or different physiology. My initial impression was thinking this was a bunch of nonsense since I can’t even really notice much of a difference between 175mm and 165mm cranks but obviously if you’ve got unique physiology or a specific bike/fit this is a nice way to try out cranks without dumping a bunch of money into buying specialty ones.

Ed Barr
Ed Barr
11 months ago

41% of tibia length may apply as per this sited study “Determinants of maximal cycling power: crank length, pedaling rate and pedal speed”. Power=torque times RPM. However, for MTN biking there are many areas of a typical ride where one is not trying to maximize power so there are confounds/tradeoffs in crank length preferences unrelated to maximum power. Longer cranks can and do hit the ground more often during cornering and short cranks make for slower acceleration and/or less torque going up a hill in the lowest gear. I’m sure there are more complications to this studies findings. Further the outlier differences in power, short v. long, were very small… less that 5% I believe. Thot anyone?

Willi
Willi
11 months ago

If you have a Tandem and want to use it with Kids growing, this would probably be a good option as well!

Hamjam
Hamjam
11 months ago

Everybody is a bit short crank curious these days.

Tim Tucker
Tim Tucker
11 months ago

$100 for rental is crazy. You can get 130-160mm cranks that use SRAM GXP chainrings off Aliexpress for ~$40 each.

If you’re interested in going lower, get a set of 150mm cranks, see how they feel, then order a second pair of cranks a little bigger or a little smaller if you think you want to go longer / shorter.

Tomi
Tomi
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Tucker

It is only $50 if you buy an Appleman crank afterwards.

Booyah
Booyah
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Tucker

I think this is something an LBS would buy, renting it and shipping it to and fro seems a bit excessive.

MiCk
MiCk
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Tucker

Yeah…good luck with that…I can imagine (& have seen) some of the crap $40 buys on Ali…On that note GXP refers to SRAM’s BB standard 24/22mm… nothing related to chainrings.
I’ll spend the cash for a quality sizing tool like this….

Tom
Tom
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Tucker

If you are struggling with bike fit and trying to sort out some knee issues or something like that, the convenience of getting to try out all of these different crank length sizes for $100 seems pretty reasonable.

Dockboy
Dockboy
11 months ago

That 100mm crank is adorable

dkrenik
dkrenik
11 months ago

From the abstract:
“Even though maximum cycling power was significantly affected by crank length, use of the standard 170-mm length cranks should not substantially compromise maximum power in most adults.”

satanas
satanas
11 months ago

Bottom bracket height is not going to change: what counts is not where the pedals are when the tops of the crankarms are horizontal, but rather when the two pedals are horizontal…

rodegeek
rodegeek
11 months ago

This is a great idea. But why is 175mm the longest pedal position (asked the very tall cyclist)?

Dano
Dano
11 months ago
Reply to  rodegeek

I’m guessing because based on the old way of thinking, someone who’s tall and “thinks” they should be on 180 or 185mm cranks should – using the sited study – actually be on 170 or 175mm…which Appleman covers in his demo crank.

GrandesRoues
GrandesRoues
11 months ago
Reply to  rodegeek

180mm are to be found on Shimano and Sram. That’s what i’m using.

blahblahblah
blahblahblah
11 months ago

no 170, i dont need to try 165 or 175 i need 170, and not offering that length seems like a FU i know what you need more than you do, or i dont cater to “ahem” common person. Rather stupid really

Appleman Bicycles
11 months ago
Reply to  blahblahblah

Certainly no FU intended. I’m glad you’ve found a crank length that works for you and it sounds like you definitely wouldn’t need the FIT crank. Some other people may like to try different crank lengths, so I offer it as an option.

The way I see it is that crank length is pretty fluid and if you can ride 170’s, you can definitely ride 165’s… but you certainly don’t have to. Increments of 10mm in crank length makes meaningful impact on fit and I want to offer a wide range of fits to a wide range of people.

Brian
Brian
11 months ago

Matt, Is it possible to make these with crank lengths of 170, 160, 150, 140? That way you cover just about every scenario.

Mollydog1976
Mollydog1976
11 months ago

Love the aero design. Any idea of watts saved at 40km/h?

Smokestack
Smokestack
11 months ago

5’10”, 32″ inseam. Went to a set of 155s on my new MTB due to the BB being considerably lower than my old bike resulting in a lot of pedal strikes and one toe strike that had me wondering if I broke it. Got along so well I switched my road bike over to 165 and ordered another set of 155 for my hardtail. First bit of a 20mi ride felt awkward-ish, but I adapted and am now converted.

Greg
Greg
2 months ago
Reply to  Smokestack

What brand crank and bb did you find in 155? Also, what chainring size?

Ted P
Ted P
11 months ago

I’ve been experimenting with crank length (longer and shorter) for a few years.
First thing to know is it takes about 20-30 hours to get used to the new size. Don’t even ride around the block and form a stupid opinion.
2nd, 5mm is barely going to change anything, if your cranks are close to right. Or make things wildly better if they are wrong (assuming too long, as I now do for most people).
3rd, any system that measures bones is wrong. It’s length + flexibility. Not worth trying to measure, that’s all bs. Just ride a bunch of sizes.
4th, the gearing change thing is wrong. If your cranks are too long, when you put on shorter ones you will get stronger, wildly outpacing the difference in leverage. For me, when I found the length range that worked for me, for parts availability reasons I had to start with a low gear that was 30% harder, yet climbing steep hills was just as easy. Yeah, I said 30%. Got your attention, yet? But it’s only for me, you’ll get no benefit.
5th point: Decades ago a coach tried to teach me how to pedal in a circle (or front-to-back, a better description), but I mostly could not do it on my stock 175s. After about a week on 153’s, I remembered what he said, lo and behold. You have no idea how important this is unless you can do it already. SOOO much faster.
6th: When you watch a 5’4″ pro, chatting in the drops in a breakaway at 30 mph, on 170’s, you know there is more to the subject than anyone can know. You have to put in the effort with your own body.
7th: Your body will have a different powerband on every length of crank. You don’t need a power meter, a speedometer, cadence, and a heart rate monitor will work nicely. And Strava, of course. For me, 165-175mm (STD) all my power is 70-90 rpm. I could not put out max power without either pain or exhaustion. 153mm: For the entire power curve I am stronger than on STD cranks, and powerband is 40-110+. 140s are faster than 153 for me, PB 50-110+. 130s are slower than 153, PB 60 to the moon. 137s were slower than 140/153. Get this: 130s are faster for me than STD lengths. All short cranks are faster than STD lengths, for me and me alone.

My 5’2″ wife is on 120s. I can’t get any information out of her. But her knees don’t hurt.

I don’t know what you need. Maybe nothing. I went in one year from the bottom 3rd of Strava to the top 3rd. I’m 215lbs, 60 yrs old, 6’2” tall. I have some 5Dev 145s. I freaking love them.

odellio
odellio
11 months ago

I’m happy to see Appleman offer a well thought out short crank option. His website’s summary of why short cranks are a good option is one of the best I’ve seen. I’ve switched to shorter cranks about 5 yrs ago. I’ve used 145, 150 and 155mm. I’m now on150s on the road bike and 155 on the mtb. I’m 5’9″ I don’t feel any slower, just more comfortable and have less hip issues.

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