I seem to remember reading an article about racing in the late 1950s - early 1960s that mentioned some of the average size guys in the Tour de France were using 180mm cranks and the idea was that they were out of the saddle climbing and not seated so the extreme bend in the knee at the top of the stroke was not an issue. These were climbing bikes so not something they would be riding seated all that much.
Chuck Schmidt South Pasadena, Southern California
brian blum wrote:
> When I was 15 I read an article in "Yankee Magazine"(maybe Sept 1974) about
> the record holder for the Mt. Washington Hillclimb. The fellow was James
> Farnsworth. He was an avocate of very long cranks, Bicycling also had a
> series of articles called "The Long Crank Controversy" in the early 70's.
> While in a Sarasota bike shop in January I saw a bike in the repair area
> with very long cranks and decals saying Farnsworth Formula on it. I told the
> mechanic I heard of the guy and it turns out he was in the shop. I had 2 hrs
> left before leaving for the airport but he allowed me to visit and try his
> 230mm cranks. It was interesting but a 3 minute ride did not allow me to
> adapt. I think we tend to like what we are use to. If adults inseams
> probably range from 28"-35", frames 20"-25" for mens frames inches for 95%
> of the users(wild ass guess). Why don't cranks on adult bike vary by 25%,
> 160mm to 200mm? To accomodate long cranks you need much higher BB and longer
> wheelbases causing more difficult manufacturing which might be part of the
> compromise. Anyway James Farnsworth was once a director of LAW and lives on
> Lake Winnepasaki in the summer and Sarasota in the winter. Sheldon don't you
> know this character? I have copies of the original article.