When it comes to BMX biking, enthusiasts often debate the importance of crank length. The length of your bike’s cranks can significantly impact your performance, comfort, and maneuverability. Are longer cranks truly better for BMX, or is it just a matter of personal preference? In this article, we’ll delve deep into the world of BMX cranks, exploring their impact, benefits, drawbacks, and more.

The Basics: Understanding Crank Length

Before we jump into the debate, let’s start with the basics. Cranks are the arms that connect your pedals to the bike’s chainring. Their length is typically measured from the center of the bottom bracket spindle to the center of the pedal spindle. Common crank lengths for BMX bikes range from 160mm to 180mm, with some riders even opting for lengths outside this range.

The Longer Crank Advantage

Enhanced Power Output

One of the primary arguments in favor of longer cranks is the potential for increased power output. Longer cranks provide a more extended range of motion, allowing riders to generate more force with each pedal stroke. This can be especially advantageous for BMX riders who need that extra burst of power when navigating challenging terrains or performing tricks.

Improved Stability

Longer cranks can also contribute to improved stability. The added length can help distribute the rider’s weight more evenly, enhancing balance and control. This can be particularly beneficial for riders who engage in technical maneuvers that require precise handling.

Greater Comfort for Taller Riders

Taller BMX riders often find longer cranks more comfortable. The extended reach allows for a more natural leg extension, reducing the risk of discomfort or strain during longer rides.

The Case for Shorter Cranks

Enhanced Maneuverability

On the flip side, shorter cranks offer enhanced maneuverability. They allow riders to make quicker pedal strokes and execute tight turns with ease. This can be a game-changer for riders who prioritize agility and quick reactions on the BMX track.

Reduced Risk of Pedal Strikes

Shorter cranks also come with a reduced risk of pedal strikes. When navigating tricky terrain or performing stunts, longer cranks can occasionally hit the ground, causing loss of control. Shorter cranks minimize this risk, making them a popular choice for technical riders.

Ideal for Vert Riding

For BMX riders who specialize in vert riding, where aerial tricks reign supreme, shorter cranks are often the preferred choice. Their agility and reduced chance of pedal strikes make them the go-to option for riders who spend a lot of time in the air.

Finding the Right Length for You

So, are longer cranks better for BMX? The answer isn’t a one-size-fits-all. It largely depends on your riding style, body type, and personal preferences. Before making a decision, consider your goals and the type of riding you enjoy most. Test out different crank lengths to determine which one feels the most comfortable and suits your riding style.


In the world of BMX biking, crank length is not a matter of one being definitively better than the other. It’s about finding the right fit for your individual needs and preferences.

Longer cranks offer increased power and stability, while shorter cranks provide enhanced maneuverability and reduced risk of pedal strikes. Choose wisely, and remember that the best crank length is the one that helps you achieve your BMX goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I switch between crank lengths easily?

Yes, it’s possible to switch between crank lengths, but it may require adjustments to your riding style and technique to adapt to the new length.

Can I use longer cranks for BMX racing?

Yes, some BMX racers prefer longer cranks for the added power. However, it’s essential to consider your racing style and track conditions when making this decision.

Do professional BMX riders have a preference for crank length?

Professional BMX riders often have specific preferences based on their riding style and the types of competitions they participate in.

Where can I find high-quality BMX cranks?

You can find a variety of BMX cranks at local bike shops, online retailers, or BMX specialty stores. Be sure to research and choose cranks that suit your needs and budget.

Are shorter cranks better for tricks and stunts?

Shorter cranks are generally favored by riders who perform tricks and stunts due to their enhanced maneuverability and reduced risk of pedal strikes.

Jason Ballie
I'm Jason Ballie and I love BMX biking. I got into BMX biking when I was about 10 years old and haven't looked back since. I love the thrill of flying through the air on my bike and performing tricks that amaze people. I've been riding competitively for about 5 years now, and have won a few competitions here and there. I'm always trying to learn new tricks and improve my skills so that I can one day become a world-champion BMX rider.