Update, 12:00pm: Of course we're not really killing off this classic article, how would we cope! We're also reliably informed that 'unsinn' is German for 'nonsense', before you go trawling eBay for some J-shaped cranks...
All good things must come to an end… and after hundreds of article revisions, thousands of page clicks and countless abusive comments on social media, road.cc is announcing that its famous article on L-shaped cranks is ceasing to be. And while you’ll no longer be able to read the article every few months, you can still get your regular dose of déjà vu by purchasing a beautiful commemorative plate to remember the good times.
This was not an easy decision for us to make. Every time we post the article on social media and see replies such as “not this again”, “the article that just won’t die” or that GIF of a bloke loading a shotgun, it touches us in new and meaningful ways.
Even though the concept of L-shaped cranks is indeed described as “b*llocks” in the article itself, new research that has come to light means we can no longer in good faith run the risk of our readers looking longingly at the beautiful L-shape and wanting a pair for themselves.
On hearing that road.cc’s management had decided to retire one of his favourite articles, writer John Stevenson said: “Arthur Quiller-Couch was right when he advised writers ‘Murder your darlings’, but I’m still going to miss the annual ritual of people complaining they’ve read ‘L-Shaped Cranks’ a dozen times before and pointing out the only reason the idea won’t die is that I keep bringing it back to life. That affords me far more influence than I’ve ever actually had, which is very flattering.
“Nevertheless, I was always very pleased that people seemed to love or get annoyed by ‘L-shaped cranks’ in roughly equal measure, and my commemorative plate will take pride of place on my office wall.”
With the retirement of L-shaped cranks comes the dawning of a new era… well an old one, but one that due to groundbreaking new research has been revived, and looks set to become the latest trend to dominate road cycling.
That’s right, it turns out that it is actually the lesser-known J-shaped crank, not the infamous L-shape, that will give cyclists worldwide gains that could otherwise only be achieved in a wind tunnel, or by just taking the car instead.
Professor Ursula Unsinn, one of the world’s leading crankologists, told road.cc: “The evidence is crystal clear. L-shaped cranks really were b*llocks after all, and J is the way forward. Literally.
“The subtle curvature of the J shape catches just enough clean aerodynamic air and placebo behind the rider to thrust them forward at speeds that would be impossible when using traditional cranks. Not to mention the greater pedalling efficiency, which was proven with our groundbreaking Lüge method just recently.
“Obviously I am unable to reveal details, and we’re still going through all the other letters of the alphabet that we’ve quickly knocked up into sets of cranks to make absolutely sure that it’s J for victory.”
Before you order yourself some J-shaped cranks, make sure you remember their retired L-shaped cousins the right way by purchasing your L-Shaped Crank Commemorative plate now. Order one or several here.