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Fixed gear/freewheel and crank arm length


Speeding Up
Nov 30, 2010
After riding only fixed gear bike for almost a month, I took my geared road bike out on my usual route last Sunday night. As I started pedaling I immediately noticed this strange feeling that I had never felt before riding the same road bike for years. It seemed like I had to move my legs beyond my smooth range, making my spinning very uncomfortable. This strange feeling didn't go away after this 80km ride.
I'm not sure if it's the different drivetrain (fixed vs freewheel) or the different crank arm length (165mm on fixed gear vs 175mm on road bike). Maybe 175mm cranks are too long for me, and I just wasn't aware all these years?
Does anybody have similar experience?

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
I always feel a little strange going from my fixed to geared...but usually feel better after 2-3 days on the geared bike and my spin feels super.
But, I do ride 175mm on both fixed and geared, with a 48x18 on the fixed.


Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
Like Trek DJ I use the same length cranks on all my bikes, the shorter crank arms are probably why you feel weird(bike wise). Give it another couple of rides.


Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
Whenever I put a new, not bent crank on my BMX, the new one always felt bent for a day until my body got used to what a crank should feel like. Then I bent that one, and the whole sorry process started again.


Maximum Pace
Jan 9, 2011
Changing bikes especially from fixed to geared road bike always feels a bit strange to me mainly due to the position which is flatter (in my case) but not such a dip to the drops on my road bike. When I first got the road bike I thought the stem was too long (hate to admit that here) but then I got used to it and now ride a longer stem on the fixie as well. However, I also felt the 172.5 cranks were a bit odd and before I really got used to them I got compact cranks with 170 cranks, the same as the fixie. It still doesn't feel the same because of the momentum from the fixed gear. Also, I sometimes wonder if this was a wise choice as supposedly slightly longer cranks allows more leverage on climbs, though spinning out would be easier on shorter cranks. Considering that 165 to 175 is a whole massive cm you might notice a difference there but my guess is your legs may just be missing spinning a fixed gear.

Meanwhile, still massively impressed with your performance in the hills on the fixie. To ride fixed on that terrain I would definitely have gone for a much smaller gear.


Speeding Up
Nov 30, 2010
Thanks for the feedbacks. Will see if I can get used to the 175mm road cranks again before buying shorter cranks:cool:

Gearing on my FG bike is 49x18.
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