Mountain Bike Crankset vs Road Bike Crankset

When you are replacing a bicycle crankset, you should look into a few important things to make the best choice. Here are some important things to look for when selecting yours. This article will go through a bike crankset, mountain bike vs road bike crankset, and other terms that will help you choose the sort of crankset you will require.

So, let’s get right into it. A bike crankset, also known as a bike chainset or crank, is an essential component of a bicycle. It is the component that you pedal to move the bike ahead. It is made up of two crank arms, chargings, and a bottom bracket.

The bike crankset is primarily connected to the bike’s driving wheel. Bike cranksets are classified into three types. There are three types: single, double, and triple. When you want to replace your bike’s crankset, there are a variety of solutions available. Finding the best option for you might be difficult, especially if you are just starting out. So, now that we know more about mountain bike cranksets and road bike cranksets, it’s time to compare the two.

Bicycle Crankset

Mountain Bike Crankset.

Cranksets designed specifically for mountain bikes are better suited for climbing than on flat terrain. Because of this, gearing has been increased in order to make it suitable for off-road use.

If you’re looking for a lighter, simpler crankset, look elsewhere. The most common materials used in its construction are stainless steel and aluminum. Cranksets for mountain bikes vary greatly in terms of chainrings, gear ratios, material, crank length, drivetrains, and the bottom bracket, among other aspects. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

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Road bike crankset.

Road bike cranksets are classified into two types: traditional and compact. Most standard road bikes have a two/double-ring crankset that is mostly used by skilled riders. Because of the easier gearing, leisure riders prefer small cranksets.

Traditional cranksets have 39 and 52 tooth chainrings, whilst compact cranksets have 34 and 50 tooth rings. There are three types of new road bike cranksets available today, in addition to traditional cranksets. These are the following:

  • Standard double crankset.

This is made up of 53 and 39 teeth. Smaller chainrings and lower gearing are the results.

  • Semi-compact double crankset.

This is made up of 52 and 36 teeth. This results in significantly lower top-end gearing.

  • Compact double crankset.

This is mainly noticeable on endurance road bikes and entry-level bikes. These are made up of 50 and 34 teeth, respectively.


Mountain bike crankset vs. road bike crankset.

Road bikes are specifically designed for paved trails. Mountain bicycles are for off-road use. The tooth is one of the primary differences between mountain bike cranksets and road bike cranksets. Mountain bike crankset teeth typically range from 42 to 22. Road bikes, on the other hand, have teeth ranging from 59 to 39.

Gearing is another difference between the two cranksets. Mountain bike cranksets have more gearing possibilities and are more durable. Road cranksets, on the other hand, are lighter while offering larger gearing ratios. Mountain bike cranksets are better suited for uphill climbs, whilst road bike cranksets are better suited for racing.

The length of the rear derailleur arm is another distinction between the two cranksets. MTB derailleurs have longer arms because they must deal with more chain links. Road bikes, on the other hand, have shorter arms.

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Do all cranksets fit all bikes?

Every crank doesn’t fit every bike. Except in a few cases, MTB and road bike cranksets are incompatible due to differences in crank arm length, bottom bracket length, and pedal threading.

Depending on the brand, crankset specifications might vary widely. Specifications for crankshafts vary from model to model, even within the same brand. This means that there isn’t a crankset type for every bike.

Two and three-piece cranksets can be used if the bottom brackets are interchangeable. However, in order to do this, the axles must all be the same diameter and length.


Are all bike cranks the same size?

Bicycle branks come in different sizes. From 165 mm to 190 mm, crank sizes for bicycles are available. At the center of a bottom bracket, a crankset’s length is measured. It is not uncommon for bicycle cranks to be one of three different sizes: 170 mm, 172.5 mm, or 175 mm. Cranks with 150 mm, 165 mm, and 180 mm diameters are available from a few manufacturers.


Can I Put a Road Crankset On A Mountain Bike?

A mountain bike’s frame isn’t made to handle road-specific cranks. However, you can put a road crankset on a mountain bike, if the road bicycle crankset compatible with the MTB bottom bracket is compatible. If you are replacing a larger crankset, make sure that there is enough clearance between the frame and chainring. Also, you may have to purchase a longer chain if you replace a larger road bicycle chainring.

Generally, almost all the road cycle cranks are made for 68 mm BB shells (but sometimes they can go 73mm), but most mountain bicycle cranks are made for 73 or 68 mm wide. Therefore when replacing the road crankset on a mountain bike you have to purchase a new bottom bracket. For paved surfaces like roads and trails, a road bike crankset is the best option.

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Road bike bottom bracket Shell
Road bike bottom bracket Shell.


What is the best crank length for cycling?.

The optimal crank size is determined by the rider’s height, habits, and other factors. The table below shows the appropriate crank length dependent on the person/rider’s height.

170 mm, 172.5 mm, and 175 mm are the most common crank lengths. The crank size of the bicycle will be selected based on the size of the frame. Small, medium and big bikes have respective crank lengths of 170 mm, 172.5 mm, and 175 mm.

According to a study conducted by J. C. Martin and W. W. Spirduso, the optimal crank length required to generate maximum cycling power is “20% of leg length or 41% of tibia length.” (source).

Some have evaluated the 120 mm, 145 mm, 170 mm, 195 mm, and 220 mm crankshaft lengths. The results indicate that 145 and 170 mm generate more power than 120 and 220 mm. Some contend that shorter cranks are optimal for bicycle racers.

HeightCrank Length(cm)
6'0" (1828mm)177.5mm
5'11" (1803mm)175mm
5'10" (1778mm)172.5mm
5'7" (1702mm)165mm
5'5" (1651mm)160mm

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