Effectiveness of Hinge Crank Arms in Cycling Concerning Knee Flexion Limitations
Finney, Delana E.
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Manufacturers market the Hinged Crank Arm or Bike Power Saver (BPS) as providing a more effective pedal stroke by changing the angle of the pedal during the crank cycle. Research studies report different conclusions than the manufacturer of the BPS stating that the equipment requires more effort than a standard bike crank arm. Individuals with range of motion limitations also use the BPS because they cannot use a standard crank arm. The purpose of this study was to compare available options for those with range of motion limitations to determine which allowed the most effective use of force. Subjects pedaled a stationary bicycle at a casual speed and cadence and at an accelerated speed and cadence using a fixed shortened crank arm, a hinged crank arm, and a standard crank arm on their dominant side with no contribution from their affected limb. A previous study of the BPS reports less effectiveness, but the study involved only able-bodied subjects with no physical limitations. The use of subjects that do not require the device may be a factor in this conclusion. Knowledge of functional characteristics of components when bike modifications are required would be invaluable in maximizing performance. This study provides invaluable data for consumers to choose which device maximizes force generation when pedaling a bicycle.