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Longer legs = faster?

richardjallenrichardjallen Posts: 691
edited September 2007 in Training, fitness and health
I think someone asked this recently but I have not been able to find the thread. Is it easier for someone with longer legs to reach higher speeds? When it comes to crank length this depends on leg length with longer crank arms being better suited to longer legs. Longer cranks making high gears easier to push. Would a persons muscle fibres be longer and more able to push higher gears. I know that people suggest spinning faster in lower gears to lower cadence in higher gears but if a person has more strength in the legs wouldn't they be able to spin fast in a higher gear and therefore go faster?

Posts

  • Chris Boardman is not very big yet he still holds the '25' record with 45-57 and a previous holder of the '10' record (with an 18 min time) is Stuart Dangerfield who is another small rider.
    Leg length is no restriction to leg speed
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    I think someone asked this recently but I have not been able to find the thread. Is it easier for someone with longer legs to reach higher speeds? When it comes to crank length this depends on leg length with longer crank arms being better suited to longer legs. Longer cranks making high gears easier to push.
    Whilst it's true that the same force at the end of a longer crank does exert a greater torque, there's no advantage to the gear you can turn with longer cranks. The reason is because one complete revolution of the crank involves moving your foot a greater distance (it's describing a larger circle) - so the same amount of work is involved to complete one revolution, whatever the crank length.

    So, crank length has no bearing on the speed you can reach - that is dictated only by the cadence you can maintain and the chainring/sprocket ratio.
    .............. but if a person has more strength in the legs wouldn't they be able to spin fast in a higher gear and therefore go faster?
    Well yes. 'Strong' legs is what makes a cyclist fast. A tall rider may be stronger in absolute terms, but bear in mind that their weight will be greater and their frontal area to the wind will be greater too - so they need more power to achieve the same speed as a small person.

    Ruth
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Leg size etc / body size = no restriction to speed.

    Many moons ago, one of our club riders was the Manchester and District Road Time Trial's Best All Rounder for a number of years - he was a tiny chap... useless for drafting behind on a club run though - so no advantage to be gained by following his wheel......but he was blooming fast !
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