First look: Powercranks xLite Adjustable crankarms

Designed to "smooth out" your pedalling

We first checked out Powercranks xLite Adjustable crankarms way back in 2003 and significant updates since then warrant a revisit to this concept.

Unlike traditional cranks that are securely fixed 180 degrees out of phase, each massive Powercrank crankarm houses a one-way clutch where it attaches to the bottom bracket meaning each arm can rotate independently of the other.

As a result, there’s no cheating with your pedal stroke and you have to generate power throughout the full range of rotation.  According to Powercranks, training on these things will eventually make you smoother, more efficient and more powerful.  

That may be so, but one other thing is crystal clear: these things are heavy and expensive.  Total weight for both arms and associated hardware (but no chainrings) is a whopping 1374g even for our milled-out xLite version and retail price is a painful US$1199.  Our fully loaded Octalink-compatible sample is also adjustable for effective crank length from 165-180mm.

Powercranks offers no illusions to the difficulties of the adaptation period so we’ll first run these indoors on a trainer.  Once we become a little more accustomed to them, we’ll dare venture out into traffic. 

If Powercranks do what they say, however, they may be one of few items we’ve used that offer truly tangible benefits to our fitness and speed.  Check back with us after the winter; our hip flexors are already starting to ache…

Price: US$1199

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