The new Appleman 2XR cranks are interesting for their focus on sizing.

Appleman Bicycles announces new 2XR crankset in 135-175 mm arm lengths

The modular design focuses on fit with an unusually broad range of available sizes.

by James Huang

photography by James Huang


Matt Appleman is best known for his gorgeous custom carbon fiber road frames, but he’s clearly had other things on his mind recently judging by his expansion into cranksets. Interestingly, his new 2XR crankset isn’t carbon fiber, but rather aluminum. And instead of a focus on low weight, Appleman is concentrating on fit here.

The 2XR is offered in an unusually broad range of arm lengths, particularly at the shorter end of the spectrum. Sizes start at 135 mm and run all the way up to 175 mm, in 10 mm increments. Interestingly, that omits two of the most popular sizes – 170 mm and 172.5 mm – although the argument could be made that there are already plenty of options available there from other brands. 

“As a framebuilder, fit has always been paramount and one of the most important aspects to fit is crank length,” Appleman said. “No other component on the bike controls so much motion of the rider. To build a better bike, I try to improve rider fit. Oftentimes, shorter-than-usual cranks offer up less stress on the knees and hips, better frame geometry, and sometimes more power. I couldn’t buy the cranks I needed to better equip my customers, so I’m making better fitting options for all riders and all the different types of bikes they ride.

“The human body is amazing and can perceive very small changes in fit. A 2.5 mm change may be a step in the right direction, but it isn’t a change worth making. I found that 10 mm increments offer real, measurable impact to a rider’s position and fit.”

Going along with those five arm lengths are five different 30 mm-diameter aluminum spindle lengths to suit everything from road bikes to fat bikes, as well as three different chainring spiders: a five-arm 110 mm for compact road chainrings, a 104 mm setup for mountain bikes, and a 144 mm spider for track use. At least for now, just one chainline is offered for each version.

Q-factor on the narrowest road setup is 150 mm, or about 5 mm wider than typical for Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo. Actual weight for a road setup with the five-arm compact chainring spider and 165 mm arms is 611 g (without chainrings or bottom bracket). 

All of the bits are made of machined aluminum in Appleman’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the 2XR has been designed such that just a single 5 mm Allen wrench is needed for assembly or disassembly. Eight different painted colors are offered for the crankarms, chainring spiders, and spindle bolts, and buyers can mix and match as they please.

Retail price is US$485 for a complete set in anodized black or silver (bottom brackets and chainrings aren’t included), with painted bits costing an additional US$25 each, all with a five-year limited warranty. Appleman will also ship cranks internationally, with retail prices varying with exchange rate.

More information can be found at www.applemanbicycles.com

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