BMX Tips

6 Benefits Of Short BMX Cranks

short bmx cranks

Many of my dudes came to me asking about the benefits of short BMX cranks.

Thus, I created an article explaining why shorter cranks might be better for you than longer.

But remember, IT DOES depend on the riding style you do.

While long cranks have dominated the BMX scene for years, many more pros and amateurs are discovering the remarkable benefits of their shorter crank arms.

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And because street and technical riding are immensely popular, the need for high speed isn’t necessary.

These convincing advantages may help you make the right decision much easier if you’re looking into getting a shorter crankset for your bike.

Yes, putting on your bike shorter crank arms CAN ENABLE YOU to reach new heights in both performance and comfort.

Let’s dig deeper together and explore why they might just be the key to UNLOCKING your BMX potential.

Benefits Of Shorter BMX Cranks

1. More Hip-Friendly

Many talk about experiencing a lot less fatigue when transitioning to shorter cranks.

This is because you’ll be much less “twisted” when riding your bike – your legs will be more in line and not as spread apart as in the case of longer cranks.

Sure, the 5mm difference might not make too big of a difference, but going from 175mm down to 160mm is a different story.

I cannot speak from my personal experience because I always had my hips relatively mobile, so I never experienced any hip fatigue or pain.

By the way, I also talked about lower back pain and BMX in one of my articles, thought you might be interested in.

2. Make Landing Tailwhips Easier

If you’re in the process of learning tailwhips, one “cheat” move might simply be to get shorter cranks.

Because your legs will be closer together, it makes catching the pedals and landing (your first) tailwhip feel more comfortable.

But this doesn’t go only to those in the process of learning whips.

If you already mastered them, you’ll have much more fun with them. Especially when linking tricks together because landing tailwhips will become even easier for you.

3. Can Help You Pull A Higher Bunnyhop

Have you ever tried jumping on the ground with your legs spread as if you’d be standing on the pedals?

Because you don’t have as much control as you have with your legs close together, you cannot jump as high as you’d want.

And this similar principle applies when comparing longer and shorter cranks.

So, if you are trying to pop higher (who does not?!), then your crank length can impact it.

Example, Broc Raiford – the KING of pop! – rides 170mm cranks, but he is 6′ (1.85m) tall. I ride 160mm cranks and am 5’11” (1.80m)

4. More Back Peg Clearance

But this is one of THE BIGGEST benefits of shorter cranks for me – more back peg-to-leg clearance!

Nothing feels worse than catching your beg peg with your foot – even the slightest touch annoys me.

While I got a frame with a longer chainstay for this reason, I also opted for 160mm cranks, so I don’t have to worry about hitting my back peg anymore.

I really don’t understand how some riders can ride when their back leg not only touches but covers the back peg completely.


5. Short Cranks Last Longer

When you take a long and a short stick, which can you break in half easier? The longer one.

And the same goes for long BMX cranks – they are much easier to break than shorter ones. Thus the latter will last you much longer.

Short cranks are stronger because the crank arms are shorter, which creates less leverage.

Remember, most aftermarket cranks are incredibly high quality, so even if you buy longer ones, they’ll last you a long time.

(But you’ll likely need to replace more of them throughout your BMX career.)

6. Short Cranks Are Lighter

Another benefit of short BMX cranks is that they are lighter.

This one is pretty self-explanatory – less material, less weight.

I don’t know if I really need to add anything else to this.

Conclusion: Shorter BMX Cranks Can Help You Progress Faster

Yes, they really do feel better.

While I first didn’t notice that big of a difference, my bike was feeling better and better with each session.

But I recommend going with shorter crank arms if you are into street riding. Technical street magicians are the biggest fans of short cranks.

For more details, you may also be interested in the topic of the perfect BMX crank size.

Speaking of the benefits, let’s quickly recap what we covered:

  1. Your legs will be closer together, putting less strain on your hips. (Avoid injuries and enjoy longer sessions.)
  2. Catching the pedals and landing tailwhips becomes easier.
  3. Because of the new position of your legs, you can find yourself hopping higher.
  4. Prevent hitting your back peg.
  5. Shorter cranks will last you longer and
  6. They will make your bike slightly lighter

If you need help picking cranks, check out my list of the best and strongest BMX cranks.

Further reading: What are the different BMX crank types?

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About Author

Rok has been riding BMX for 20+ years, and when he's not having a session, he binges on videos, new product drops and works on creating the best content (sharing tips, tricks & more to make riding bikes easier for you) for The BMX Dude.