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Old 01-06-19, 01:40 PM
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calamarichris's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 6,157

Bikes: '09 Felt F55, '84 Masi Cran Criterium, (2)'86 Schwinn Pelotons, '86 Look Equippe Hinault, '09 Globe Live 3 (dogtaxi), '94 Greg Lemond, '99 GT Pulse Kinesis

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A Wider Q-Factor Possibly Beneficial?

I've always gone with the narrowest Q-factor possible, but I recently built up a bike that had a non-performance crank and bottom bracket that were much wider (over 2cm wider at least than my usual Dura Ace 7800 crank & BB.) And I noticed that my legs were less prone to tightening up when digging deep/pedaling hard.

I'm a larger rider, 185 pounds, 6'2" with proportional hips, and I wonder if perhaps riders my size do not benefit from the narrowest Q-factor possible? There isn't much information on it (the best I was able to find so far is the below pasting on the Wikipedia entry, but my local bike fitter said that the narrowest-Q-factor is basically a wives tale that doesn't apply to everyone.
******Pasted from Wikipedia:
A larger Q Factor (wider tread) will mean less cornering clearance (while pedaling) for the same bottom bracket height and crank arm length. A smaller Q Factor (narrower tread) is desirable on faired recumbent bicycles because then the fairing can also be narrower, hence smaller and lighter.[4] Sheldon Brown said that a narrower tread is ergonomically superior because it more closely matches the nearly-inline track of human footsteps.[5]Research from The University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom suggests narrower Q Factors are more efficient, likely due to improved application of force during the pedal stroke, as well the potential for reduced knee variability and risk of injury.******
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