Saturday, May 21, 2011

Long term review: cheap cranksets

You can spend a lot of money on a crankset. There's a lovely Campagnolo piece for sale at Wiggle for $1077. Lots of carbon, weighs in at 585 grams. Nice, thanks, but I'll pass.

My tastes run to the more utilitarian end of the spectrum where you're also likely to run into a little more sanity than the 53/39 tooth chainrings that come as stock standard these days on just about every bike from a Tour de France wannabe to hybrid commuters. Big gears are fine for sprinting, when you're going to hit 60km/h or more. They're of no use at all the rest of the time. I'd like to keep my knees thanks.

About a year ago I bought myself a Shimano Deore crankset for the Crosscheck. It was relatively inexpensive and had external bearings so it seemed to be an upgrade. I whipped the old Stronglight Impact crankset off and sold it on ebay.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the chainring teeth on the Deore crankset were hooked. This isn't that unusual in cranksets that have done hard miles, but this crankset is barely a year old and has probably only done about 4000km. Not real flash.
So it's back to the Stronglight crankset (723 grams) for me. It's good looking, a basic workhorse, though it doesn't even have ramps or pins to help with the shifting (though it doesn't seem to affect performance) but it's light and tough and durable and works just fine for my purposes. (It's reviewed here with muted enthusiasm) I even had a couple of old bottom brackets lying around the workshop which it fitted on just fine. The biggest advantage is that is comes with 44-34-24 ratios, which are just perfect for the sort of riding around I do, where speeds of 60km/h plus are a little uncommon. And for only around a hundred bucks, they're a bargain too.

2256km so far this year.

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