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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2012 February;52(1):47-52


lingua: Inglese

Influence of a new bicycle crank design on aerobic parameters of non-cyclists

Buscemi S. 1, Canino B. 1, Dagnese F. 2, Carpes F. P. 3, Calandrino V. 1, Buscemi C. 1, Mattina A. 1, Verga S. 1

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular and Kidney Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 2 University of Rio Grande do Sul, Exercise Research Laboratory, Porto Alegre, Brazil; 3 Federal University do Pampa, Applied Neuromechanics Group, Uruguaiana, RS, Brazil


AIM: A well known problem in conventional cycling crank systems is the pedalling dead spot when the crank arms are in vertical position. The pedalling dead spot mitigates the power output during the propulsion phase of pedalling. The aim of this study was to verify the effects of a new design of crank system on aerobic parameters of performance in healthy non-cyclists. The mechanical concept of the new system is based on the theory that crank arms should never be perpendicularly aligned to the ground at dead spot.
METHODS:The maximal aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and different parameters of cycling efficiency were measured in 14 (mean ± SD of age: 26±5) non-obese (body mass index: 26.0±3.0 kg/m2) healthy men in two different occasions at intervals of 2 days using alternately and in randomized order both the traditional crank system and the system without dead spot respectively.
RESULTS: The workload performed was significantly higher with the new crank system as suggested by the higher exercise duration (12.89 ±2.36 vs. 13.33±2.30 min; P=0.032).
CONCLUSION:The favourable results obtained in this study using the new chainring may be in consequence of a more efficient biomechanics of pedalling that does not reflect changes in O2 consumption and CO2 produced. However, it is not possible to exclude that involuntary motivational factors may have induced the difference in the time test since it was not possible to blind subjects about the two crank systems. Further investigations are necessary to confirm the results of this exploratory study and give a more exhaustive explanation about the mechanisms that allow the possible better performance with this new chainring system.

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