It gets better than that, this wasn't half bad. I rode one a lot. It required big gears as the only power position was at the bottom of the leg extension.
The principle was sound and worked well in certain endurance (or Time Trial ) events. Go to the gym and do some leg lifts with deep (cycling angle ) knee bends. Then double the weight (or triple it ) and do very shallow knee bends. The shallow knee bends and lifts will tire you less and your endurance will be extended also.
The crank allowed you to coast through dead spots at top and bottom of the pedal stroke by pushing large loads at the area where the leg is most powerful (thus the big gears). It took some new technique and practice but the amazing thing were the results. Because of the large gears you had zero accelleration but for long distances it was remarkable.
I bought a Powercam set and after a couple of weeks I visited Dale Brown. In 1983 I rode from my home in Raleigh, NC to Greensboro to visit Dales, Cycles du Oro (Toga bike of NC then) bike shop. It was a trip of 88 miles one way. We had lunch and I think Dale picked up the tab. Anyway after lunch and required chat I returned to Raleigh well before dark with 176 miles in me legs that day.
Amazingly though not very practiced my average speed (on the road) was 1 mph faster than usual but that did not matter. The amazing thing was that my diapham needed a transplant (from breathing all day) but my legs seemed to have no fatigue what so ever. The next day the same.
Scott Dickson won the national Team TT championship ( as I recall, maybe medaled ) with 3 other average guys (his words) with the team using this crank and he rode to first place with this crank in 2-3 Paris Brest Paris events. He passed me in the 1983 event riding the first 200 miles in under 8 hours ( with required checkpoint stops) riding a 68x11 gear at about 32 mph on a flat road.
I seem to remember Lon Haldeman winning (placing?) the RAAM using this crank too. I loved it and used it in PBP in 1983 but reliability was a little weak (correctable or corrected) but the roller cam broke off on the way to the start of the event and I rode in straight drive the whole 1200 km. My modest 60 toot standsard chainwheel did allow me to draft a tandem triple at over 50 mph down some hills that no other single bike was geared tall enough to do.
This was really a terrific product that never realized it's potential. So many less reliable, innovative or noteworthy products survived and are now used in one form or another today. Anyway on a longer (non sprint) event the Powercam won't slow you down, that is for sure. On long events it is a weapon.
Remember full suspension mountain bikes, just kidding.
Gilbert Anderson Raleigh, NC USA
<<If I recall correctly, Steve Tilford, set the North American Hour Record using these cranks to push something like a 168 gear inch. I don't remember if this was the exact gear, but it was insanely huge, due to the mechanical advantage of the cam in the cranks. I would need to break out the old magazines to confirm... I asked him about it once, and all he said that his knees hurt for a very long time afterward... Jeremy Haynes KCMO>>
Yours in Cycling,
Gilbert Anderson North Road Bicycle Company 519 W. North St. Raleigh, NC 27603 USA Toll Free Ph: 8003215511 Local Ph: 9198288999 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org