What's Cool In Road Cycling

New Product: VariCranks

Call it spontaneous genious, but about the same time we started talking about crank lengths here at the worldwide PEZ-HQ, the folks at RacerMate were launching their newest training weapon – the VariCranks (TM) – the adjustable length crank set. We’ll be planning a full test later in the season, but here’s a first look…

As we discussed in our recent Toolbox insertion on Crank Lengths: Secrets Revealed, trying to figure our which length of cranks is best for you is a tricky business. One reason for this is because people are all made differently, with different lengths of inseams, and different leg lengths. Enter the fact that traditional cranks come in standardized lengths including 170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm on most bikes, and chances are few of us are able to find the “exact” fit.

varicranks-full

This is where VariCranks offer an advantage. As an adjustable length crank, you can set the lengths for your specific size, riding style, or preference in 2.5 m increments between 165mm and 185 mm. And Chuck Wurster, president of RacerMate (the guys that make VariCranks (TM), CompuTrainer (TM), and the Velotron) tells me they’re easily adjustable so you can change things quickly in the middle of a ride if you like.

As a training tool, the VariCranks (TM) work perfectly with their CompuTrainer (TM), allowing you to easily dial in your most “efficient” crank length. How many times have you wondered the answer to that question?

 

I asked Chuck a few questions on the new device:

1. Why the VariCrank – what made you decide to create a variable length crank? Was there specific rider demand for it?

CW – They start with Wilfried Baatz, the president of RacerMate, who is the inventor and designer of every product in our stable of products (and the inventor of the original wind trainer which was RacerMate’s first product). When he thought about it he questioned whether the usual limitation of crank sizes to 170, 172.5, 175mm wasn’t mainly for the economic convenience of the bicycle manufacturers rather than the biomechanics of the individual rider. Other elements of the bicycle have considerably greater variation in size so why would crank length selection logically be so limited? Prior to the advent of CompuTrainer (TM) (and now Velotron) it would not have been easy to question this limited size range because there was no relatively quick and accurate way to measure the difference in performance caused by crank length. With CompuTrainer and Velotron there is, and he decided that the combination was a natural.

2. How long was this in development?

CW – The development period was the shortest on record for RacerMate, less than a year.

3. Are any pros riding them now?

CW – They have only been on the market for a month – too short a time for the pros to even be aware that they exist. And of course they are primarily designed for use with CompuTrainer and Velotron so those pros with CT/V would probably be the first ones to try them.

4. Are they suitable for road and mtb riding?

CW – VariCrank is certainly quite suitable for road and mtb use. Using them to change crank length at will on the road (or trail) is quick and easy – what better way to evaluate the effectiveness of different crank
lengths on varying terrain and riding conditions?

You can get more info on Varicranks at their website www.computrainer.com/varicrank.asp

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