Powercranks

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by jtrimble001, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. jtrimble001

    jtrimble001 Guest

    Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with Powercranks?
    Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in advance!

    JohnT.
     
    Tags:


  2. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Sun, 01 Feb 2004 18:23:01 GMT, [email protected] may have
    said:

    >Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    >Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    >Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    >Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in advance!

    Debated here more than once. Proponents claim they're wonderful, skeptics find the assertions
    questionable, and those who have tried them often have found them wanting in some regard. I have
    pointed out more than once that the gadget is irrelevant to learning the technique *if* the rider
    wants to employ it. My personal opinion is that adding an enforced penalty for minor deviance from
    an otherwise enjoyable activity creates so much negative feedback that the most likely result is the
    barely-suborbital ballistic removal of the device from the vicinity after a short period.

    If you leave them installed, I would personally consider it appropriate if you would keep us posted
    as to whether you manage to get up to or beyond your former level of performance on the trainer. The
    makers' claims that have been made for their benefits to date seem (at best) overinflated, to me.

    If you remove them, be sure to do it before the end of the trial period so that you can get your
    money back.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
    Yes, I have a killfile. If I don't respond to something,
    it's also possible that I'm busy.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  3. Bill

    Bill Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    > Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    > Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    > Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in advance!
    >
    > JohnT.

    Here is some interesting feedback: http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=1882 The author,
    Josh Horowitz, should be comming upon his one month update shortly. Bill
     
  4. > Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    > Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    > Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    > Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in advance!

    One of our employees uses Powercranks; it's taken him months and months and months to get proficient
    at them. This is apparently normal; they require a degree of dedication that goes beyond simple
    logic... you've really got to believe in them in an almost religious manner.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  5. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 04:53:17 GMT, "Mike Jacoubowsky"
    <[email protected]> may have said:

    >> Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    >> Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    >> Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    >> Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in advance!
    >
    >One of our employees uses Powercranks; it's taken him months and months and months to get
    >proficient at them. This is apparently normal; they require a degree of dedication that goes beyond
    >simple logic... you've really got to believe in them in an almost religious manner.

    And after all of that, has it paid off in terms of useful performance capability, and is there a way
    to verify it?

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
    Yes, I have a killfile. If I don't respond to something,
    it's also possible that I'm busy.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  6. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Bill who? writes:

    >> Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    >> Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    >> Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    >> Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often?

    > Here is some interesting feedback:

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=1882

    > The author, Josh Horowitz, should be comming upon his one month update shortly.

    That makes painful reading for me, having ridden Power Cranks on a demo just long enough to
    understand what the concept is. No doubt it is exhausting and it builds new muscles to do a task
    that ordinary cranks make unnecessary. The easiest way to return the foot/pedal/leg from the bottom
    of the stroke to the next power stroke is to let it ride. That is, unless you don;t have two
    reasonably equal legs that are balanced when you sit on the bicycle without a chain.

    If you see two riders, one with weight lifter muscles and a slim, no fat rider with big lungs, I
    believe that most riders will recognize the bikie as the slender guy. That's because only for
    sprints are big extra muscles useful. The limit of most fit bicyclists is not muscles but
    cardiovascular. More muscles and using otherwise unused muscles in propulsion is someone's dream of
    a speed secret.

    This goes in the same bucket as round pedaling and ankling.

    This sounds so much like patent medicine with no supporting evidence:

    http://www.powercranks.com/

    Jobst Brandt [email protected]
     
  7. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Mike Jacoubowsky writes:

    >> Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    >> Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    >> Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    >> Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often?

    > One of our employees uses Powercranks; it's taken him months and months and months to get
    > proficient at them. This is apparently normal; they require a degree of dedication that goes
    > beyond simple logic... you've really got to believe in them in an almost religious manner.

    I hadn't though of it that way but now that you mention it, it is a great act of faith, a type of
    religion. As long as there is that faint thread of credibility there will be faithful followers, the
    fainter the thread the greater the faith. People love to believe in unbelievable things.

    Jobst Brandt [email protected]
     
  8. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    "Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    > > Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy my
    > > Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    > > Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in
    > > advance!
    > >
    > > JohnT.
    >
    > Here is some interesting feedback: http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=1882 The author,
    > Josh Horowitz, should be comming upon his one month update shortly. Bill

    Dear John and Bill,

    In the article that Bill mentions, the rider makes the same complaint as John--using the Powercranks
    leaves him sore as hell and feels quite awkward, at least at first. He couldn't ride very long with
    them for more than a week.

    If he's sore because he's using different muscles, then he may get used to it. But if cardiovascular
    capacity is what really matters in bicycling for hours, then using more or different muscles is
    unlikely to help him rider faster.

    If there were any mechanical advantage, then it would show up immediately.

    If it trains him to change the way that he pedals in some more efficient way, then he should be able
    to return to a normal crank, pedal in his new style, and achieve the same results. (Or better, since
    a normal crank of the same strength is lighter.)

    If it's a Hawthorne-style placebo effect (initial improvement caused by being observed), then it
    will join many other contraptions that motivated people to work harder and then credit the
    contraptions with the results of their extra effort.

    Carl Fogel
     
  9. Q.

    Q. Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote

    <snip>
    > > One of our employees uses Powercranks; it's taken him months and months and months to get
    > > proficient at them. This is apparently normal; they require a degree of dedication that goes
    > > beyond simple logic... you've really got to believe in them in an almost religious manner.
    >
    > I hadn't though of it that way but now that you mention it, it is a great act of faith, a type of
    > religion. As long as there is that faint thread of credibility there will be faithful followers,
    > the fainter the thread the greater the faith. People love to believe in unbelievable things.

    It is interesting isn't it? Especially considering that reality is often just as amazing ... if not
    more so ... than all the quack stuff out there.

    This is starting to sound like it might interest the James Randi Educational Foundation:

    http://www.randi.org/

    Tie it in with perpetual motion, and you might be awarded the $1 million prize!

    C.Q.C.
     
  10. <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Bill who? writes:
    >
    > >> Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    > >> Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy
    > >> my Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    > >> Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often?
    >
    > > Here is some interesting feedback:
    >
    > http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=1882
    >
    > > The author, Josh Horowitz, should be comming upon his one month update shortly.
    >
    > That makes painful reading for me, having ridden Power Cranks on a demo just long enough to
    > understand what the concept is. No doubt it is exhausting and it builds new muscles to do a task
    > that ordinary cranks make unnecessary. The easiest way to return the foot/pedal/leg from the
    > bottom of the stroke to the next power stroke is to let it ride. That is, unless you don;t have
    > two reasonably equal legs that are balanced when you sit on the bicycle without a chain.
    >
    > If you see two riders, one with weight lifter muscles and a slim, no fat rider with big lungs, I
    > believe that most riders will recognize the bikie as the slender guy. That's because only for
    > sprints are big extra muscles useful. The limit of most fit bicyclists is not muscles but
    > cardiovascular. More muscles and using otherwise unused muscles in propulsion is someone's dream
    > of a speed secret.
    >
    > This goes in the same bucket as round pedaling and ankling.
    >
    > This sounds so much like patent medicine with no supporting evidence:
    >
    > http://www.powercranks.com/
    >
    > Jobst Brandt [email protected]
    Well, this is probably true for maximum effort but I would believe that using extra muscle groups to
    do the work would be benefitial when it comes to endurance and submaximal efforts. It would take
    longer before the mucles were exhausted. During a 5 hours road race I guess this is what counts, not
    your cardiovascular maximum limit.Or am I completely wrong here? Hjalmar
     
  11. peterwright

    peterwright New Member

    Joined:
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    I have been using them for about 8 weeks now and training 3 sessions / week for about an hour on them. I can now ride up to 3 hours without a real problem but at lower cadences than I would normally be at. I can detect an improvement in my riding in terms of strength (no I cannot back this up except that my best race results have fallen in this time). No doubt Ric Stern will tell you that it has not been shown that a rounder stroke is necessarily better, but I believe that it could be more efficient to spread the work load among different muscles.

    It certainly gets easier fairly quickly so worth persevering.

    Peter
     
  12. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    "Hjalmar Duklæt" <[email protected]> writes:

    > <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...

    >> If you see two riders, one with weight lifter muscles and a slim, no fat rider with big lungs, I
    >> believe that most riders will recognize the bikie as the slender guy. That's because only for
    >> sprints are big extra muscles useful. The limit of most fit bicyclists is not muscles but
    >> cardiovascular. More muscles and using otherwise unused muscles in propulsion is someone's dream
    >> of a speed secret.
    >
    > Well, this is probably true for maximum effort but I would believe that using extra muscle groups
    > to do the work would be benefitial when it comes to endurance and submaximal efforts. It would
    > take longer before the mucles were exhausted. During a 5 hours road race I guess this is what
    > counts, not your cardiovascular maximum limit.Or am I completely wrong here?

    For long events, the limits are very much cardiovascular. Weight is weight, whether it's fat, muscle
    or bike, and it takes more work to haul weight uphill. In any sort of race with any significant
    climbing, the lighter rider is at an advantage and it doesn't matter if it's fat or muscle.

    When I was doing randonees this summer, I noticed that the scrawny un-muscular guys tended to be the
    fastest over 200, 300, 400, 600 and 1200 kilometers. At 6'3" (sheesh, I shrank an inch over the last
    10 years) and 210 lbs, I found that I was at a bit of a disadvantage over the long haul. Look at the
    1996 Tour winner, Bjarne Riis. He had skeletal legs, practically no muscle at all and practically no
    body fat (IIRC he was at about 4% body fat).

    My thighs are bigger than Armstrong's and I suspect I can lift more weight in a squat, but he's able
    to climb l'Alpe-d'Huez literally twice as fast as I can. He weighs 60 lbs less and has
    cardiovascular capacity and a VO2 max I can only dream about.

    On the flat, where wind resistance is the primary issue, the larger more muscular rider tends to
    have an advantage. Compare the TT prowess of Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani for an example.
     
  13. Hjalmar Duklæt <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Well, this is probably true for maximum effort but I would believe that using extra muscle groups
    >to do the work would be benefitial when it comes to endurance and submaximal efforts. It would take
    >longer before the mucles were exhausted.

    If you cycle regularly muscles do not become exhausted provided you keep them fuelled. You may be
    stiff the next day but that is another matter.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  14. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Tim McNamara wrote:

    > On the flat, where wind resistance is the primary issue, the larger more muscular rider tends to
    > have an advantage. Compare the TT prowess of Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani for an example.

    Even in a flat TT comparison, it's not Indurain's muscle mass that makes him faster than Pantani.
    Indurain simply has a bigger cardiovascular engine. Pantani's power-to-weight ratio is higher, even
    though his max. power output is lower.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  15. Andre

    Andre Guest

    finally a scientific response.

    --
    --------------------------
    Andre Charlebois BPE, MCSE4.0, CNA, A+ webmaster for Triathlon New Brunswick www.TriNB.com "Carl
    Fogel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > > Hi. I'm new the the group but thought this would be the right place to ask. Just got a set of
    > > > Powercranks and put them on the bike I've been using on my Computrainer. Gee, I used to enjoy
    > > > my Computrainer! Now I can only ride it for about 3 miles! Anyone else had experience with
    > > > Powercranks? Does this get better or is this why I see them on e-bay so often? Thanks in
    > > > advance!
    > > >
    > > > JohnT.
    > >
    > > Here is some interesting feedback: http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=1882 The
    > > author, Josh Horowitz, should be comming upon his one month update shortly. Bill
    >
    > Dear John and Bill,
    >
    > In the article that Bill mentions, the rider makes the same complaint as John--using the
    > Powercranks leaves him sore as hell and feels quite awkward, at least at first. He couldn't ride
    > very long with them for more than a week.
    >
    > If he's sore because he's using different muscles, then he may get used to it. But if
    > cardiovascular capacity is what really matters in bicycling for hours, then using more or
    > different muscles is unlikely to help him rider faster.
    >
    > If there were any mechanical advantage, then it would show up immediately.
    >
    > If it trains him to change the way that he pedals in some more efficient way, then he should be
    > able to return to a normal crank, pedal in his new style, and achieve the same results. (Or
    > better, since a normal crank of the same strength is lighter.)
    >
    > If it's a Hawthorne-style placebo effect (initial improvement caused by being observed), then it
    > will join many other contraptions that motivated people to work harder and then credit the
    > contraptions with the results of their extra effort.
    >
    > Carl Fogel
     
  16. Robert Chung

    Robert Chung Guest

    Carl Fogel wrote:
    >
    > If it trains him to change the way that he pedals in some more efficient way, then he should be
    > able to return to a normal crank, pedal in his new style, and achieve the same results. (Or
    > better, since a normal crank of the same strength is lighter.)

    Powercranks are intended to as a training device, not as a permanent replacement for conventional
    cranks. The idea is exactly as you say: to change the way that someone pedals so that when he
    returns to normal cranks he will achieve better results. It's sort of like those ankle weights that
    basketball players use in practice -- they don't wear them in the actual game.

    I do not know if the results match the theory.
     
  17. Robert Chung

    Robert Chung Guest

    Terry Morse wrote:
    > Tim McNamara wrote:
    >
    >> On the flat, where wind resistance is the primary issue, the larger more muscular rider tends to
    >> have an advantage. Compare the TT prowess of Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani for an example.
    >
    > Even in a flat TT comparison, it's not Indurain's muscle mass that makes him faster than Pantani.
    > Indurain simply has a bigger cardiovascular engine. Pantani's power-to-weight ratio is higher,
    > even though his max. power output is lower.

    Even though Indurain had lower power-to-weight than Pantani, across individuals CdA scales less
    than linearly with mass -- in the ballpark of perhaps the cube root or so. Besides, Pantani's ears
    stuck out.
     
  18. Jim Riley

    Jim Riley Guest

    The verdict of the experts is in: sub-sprint-intensity cycling
    performance is completely determined by cardiovascular capacity and
    wind resistance, with weight also playing a role only on steep climbs.
    Having thought this through to its logical conclusion, I hereby offer
    three suggestions that I believe will revolutionize cycling as we know
    it:

    1. Lower your seat and handlebars by six inches; you'll probably have to purchase a smaller frame,
    but it will be worth it. Sitting high enough to straighten the legs to within 30 degrees or so of
    full extension is a waste. People do it in the name of "efficiency" or "muscular endurance" or
    some such pseudo-science, but obviously if you sit six inches lower you'll still have the same
    cardiovascular capacity, hence the same power. Your wind resistance will be considerably less due
    to your lower profile, so you'll go faster.

    2. The appropriate innovation in cranks is not PowerCranks but ShortCranks -- the shorter the
    better, but something in the neighborhood of 60 mm should suffice. Any machine shop should be
    able to make this modification to your existing cranks, as long as they're not carbon. This will
    further stabilize and reduce your aerodynamic profile, and again your cardiovascular system will
    produce as many watts as ever. The result, of course, is that you'll go faster still. As an
    additional benefit, bicycles fitted with ShortCranks can have lower bottom brackets, allowing you
    to sit closer to the ground and achieve even less wind resistance; frame builders, however, will
    need some time to catch up to this innovation.

    3. Get rid of all those unnecessary gears. You've got just as much cardiovascular capacity pedaling
    at 30 rpm or 150 rpm as you do in the so-called "recommended range" of 90 to 110 rpm, so one
    gear is all anyone needs. Because of all the wind resistance saved by the preceding
    recommendations, you'll be going much faster than usual, so you should choose the largest
    possible combination (53x11, or higher if you can find the components) for your one gear. The
    combination of reduced weight and improved aerodynamics (the latter cannot be ignored even at
    climbing speeds) will have you ascending faster than ever! Abandon those old wives' tales about
    "strength" and go climb your local benchmark - be it Page Mill, Mt. Washington, or Mont Ventoux
    - in a 53x11, with 60 mm cranks, sitting six inches lower than you're sitting today. It'll be
    like nothing you've known before.
     
  19. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    Terry Morse <[email protected]> writes:

    > Tim McNamara wrote:
    >
    >> On the flat, where wind resistance is the primary issue, the larger more muscular rider tends to
    >> have an advantage. Compare the TT prowess of Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani for an example.
    >
    > Even in a flat TT comparison, it's not Indurain's muscle mass that makes him faster than Pantani.
    > Indurain simply has a bigger cardiovascular engine. Pantani's power-to-weight ratio is higher,
    > even though his max. power output is lower.

    You also have to factor in aerodynamics; the two are not going to be that much different but
    Indurain has more power available by having much more muscle mass. So while Pantani's power-to-
    weight ratio is better, Indurain's "power-to-drag" ratio is superior. The math has been published on
    this, jeez, years ago.
     
  20. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    "Andre" <[email protected]> writes:

    > finally a scientific response.
    >
    >> Carl Fogel:
    >
    >> If it's a Hawthorne-style placebo effect (initial improvement caused by being observed), then it
    >> will join many other contraptions that motivated people to work harder and then credit the
    >> contraptions with the results of their extra effort.

    The Hawthorne effect is an interesting notion in this regard, although it's not a placebo effect per
    se. There are similarities in the two concepts that make them easy to confuse.

    Here's some information on the Hawthorne effect for the bored:
    http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/hawth.html
     
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