Matt Appleman challenges you to reconsider your crank arm length

Appleman Bicycles debuts 2XR crankset with arm lengths as short as 135mm

Appleman Bicycles 2XR cranks
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

Serviceable, Made in the USA (MUSA) bling to improve your pedal stroke. That’s what bespoke carbon frame builder Matt Appleman is offering the masses with his latest offering, the 2XR crankset.

The 2XR crank is the result of the Minnesotan’s vision of how componentry affects overall bike fit and rider comfort. While many riders might never experience the tailored fit comfort of a custom bicycle, Appleman believes that an appropriately sized crank can go a long way. 

Appleman Bicycles 2XR cranks

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

There is an ‘industry-wide pitfall’ when it comes to crank lengths supplied and recommended by the major manufacturers, Appleman says, and argues that 170, 172.5 and 175mm standards are antiquated. 

After experiencing years of knee pain himself, Appleman found that shorter cranks are vital to bike fit and subscribes to Lennard Zinn’s rule of thumb, which recommends using 20% of your inseam length to find the appropriate crank length for you. 

Also read: Could altering your Q Factor make you more comfortable - or faster - on the bike?

Pointing to the hip and knee flexion throughout the pedal stroke, Appleman states that even an increase or decrease of just 10mm can have a significant effect on a rider’s position on the bike and riding comfort.

To that end, the 2XR cranksets are offered in 10mm increments from 135mm all the way up to 175mm, and are meant to provide a solution for those struggling with fit issues on the bike or those simply looking to get more power out of each pedal stroke.

Appleman further claims that there are added aerodynamic benefits and a smaller chance of pedal strike when using a crank tailored to your specific body.

The 2XR crankset is designed around a 30mm spindle and is offered in 5 bottom bracket widths for road, adventure, mountain, mid-fat and fat bikes. There are also three different spider options to make them compatible with common chainring offerings.

Beautifully crafted, the aluminium cranks look sleek in the matte black we received here at Cycling Weekly, but for those wanting to add a little bling to their bike, there are eight additional colors available for the crank arms, spiders and spindle bolts individually. Meaning, one could request a different color for each individual part for a truly unique look.

Now we haven’t had a chance to put any miles on these cranks yet, but straight-out-the-box, these beauties feel absolutely bombproof. Weighing in at 607 grams for the set (arms, spindle, spider and hardware), these aren’t the heaviest MUSA cranks on the market but all the same, weight weenies should look elsewhere.

Looks, customization and size options aside, a big point in favor of these cranks is the user-friendliness. A simple 5mm wrench will allow you to install and service the cranks. One could even easily swap cranks between bikes without ever needing any special tools. They’re also backed by a five-year warranty.

The 2XR cranks go on sale starting today at for $485 in the standard black or silver.

Come back to for a ride review soon.

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.