Posts Tagged ‘crankset’

2009 SRAM Force Crankset

February 26th, 2011 [print] No comments

The other day, a buddy of mine emailed me a link about an 2008 FSA road crank on sale at Competitive Cyclist.  I’ve spent quite a lot of time trying to find a good deal on a (used) road crankset to replace the super-low-end EighthInch model on my singlespeed, so this looked like a good possibility, especially since it was new.  So, I spent some time looking at reviews, and ultimately decided against it due to many people complaining about the bottom brackets.

Oh, well, I thought, it could have been nice.  But before I left CC’s website, I browsed through the rest of their sale items.  That’s when I spotted the deal of a lifetime:  a 2009 SRAM Force 53/39 crankset–normally $340–listed for only $89.  Considering it’s difficult to even find lower-end Shimano 105 cranksets under $250, I decided to hop on it before I missed my chance.  Three days later, I had a new crankset.

SRAM Force - Click for larger image

Now, here comes the weird part.  I bought the Force for my singlespeed bike, so obviously, I had one extra gear that I wasn’t going to need.  I also had a crank designed for a typical road bike, not a singlespeed.  Before I ordered, I measured my chainline, from the center of my seat tube to the end of a gear tooth:  47mm.  According to the late Sheldon Brown, that’s a bit wide for a singlespeed set-up–about 5mm too wide, in fact.  But, who am I to argue with a chainline that has worked perfectly for me for a year and a half on this bike?

To get the new crank to work, I first had to ditch the 39T chainring, then use a set of singlespeed-specific chainring bolts to hold the 53T ring in place (yes, that’s 3 teeth more than what I’ve been using for some time).  After installation, I found my chain wasn’t going to reach around the larger ring, which meant I ended up having to add one link to it.  Once it was all finished, I measured the chainline again, hoping for the best.  As luck would have it, it came to exactly 47mm.

After having ridden a non-singlespeed chainring for the past 8 months, I’m confident in the chain not falling off, assuming I keep chain tension just right:  loose enough not too bind, tight enough to keep slack very low.

Now, to address those 53 teeth

Since last June, I’ve ridden a 50T ring with 16T freewheel, resulting in 82.4 gear-inches.  However, as winter set in this year, I swapped to a 17T freewheel to help counter the additional weight from extra clothes, denser air, and additional wind this time of year always brings.  With spring making its way back, I was about to swap back to the 16T again, but instead, I’ll leave the 17T in place.  Matched to the 53T Force ring, I’ll be running 82.2 gear-inches, keeping me right about where I was before.  And once summer makes a return, on those particularly energetic days when all I want to do is sprint around town like a madman, I can put the 16T back on for a total of 87.4 gear-inches (I doubt I’ll do this very often).

As for the unnecessary 39T ring, that will be going on eBay, where I should be able to make back about 1/3 of the price I paid for the entire crankset, bringing my price down to about $60.  That’s right, $60 for SRAM Force.  That’s only $10 more than what you’d have to pay for a new EighthInch (or Origin8) singlespeed crank, which weighs a ton and uses an out-dated square-taper bottom bracket.  Speaking of that old EighthInch crank, I’ll try selling that on Craigslist for $25, bring my total cash out of pocket down to around $35.

So, after getting my fancy new crank put on and laughing all the way to the bank, I was suddenly hit with the realization that I’d probably never get a deal on such a high-end crank ever again.  Too bad, since I plan to build my own frame later this year, and it’ll need a crank of its own.  I thought about it for a while, tried to clear my mind of future bike parts I’ll need, and finally decided it’d be a terrible thing to miss out on.  In the end, I ordered a second one.  And it’s a good thing, too, since I apparently got my order in just before they ran out.

SRAM Force - Click for larger image

Now it’s time to post some ads to eBay and CL, and clear out my parts box of unneeded components.  If anyone needs a 39T ring, I have two available. :)

Categories: Photos Tags: , ,

Return of the Race Face Turbine

September 11th, 2010 [print] No comments

I’ve been riding a set of Race Face Turbine cranks since 1999, and they still perform like the day I got them, along with the RF taperlock titanium bottom bracket I bought at the time.  These originals were machined in Canada, before RF decided to start out-sourcing a lot of their products to China.

Click for larger image

Well, after a few years absence from the market, the Turbine model is returning!  And although they still have a look similar to the older ones, they’re totally different.

The original Turbines used a classic square-taper bottom bracket, back before integrated spindles had ever been thought up.  The 2011 models, of course, are going with the integrated spindle, only you can have it made of North American-sourced titanium, or cheaper (heavier) steel.

Click for larger image
(image copyright Jacob Gibbons Photography)

The other obviously change is the 4-bolt chainring pattern, one less than the classic version.  They come in double-, triple-, or double+bashguard chainring combos.

I haven’t yet found where they’re made; hopefully they machine them in Canada, just like the good old days, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were out-sourced to China like everything else.  If you look around MTB forums, you find a lot of issues with RF cranks these days, with many older riders lamenting about the high quality of the older Turbines, back when quality control was better, and everything was made in-house.  If Race Face knows what’s good for them (and their customers) they’ll get back to making their own products, and stop with the low-rent Chinese vendors.

For now, though, I’m happy to see the return of the iconic Turbine brand.  Unfortunately, my classic cranks and BB are in such great shape, I have no reason to drop a few hundred dollars on the new ones.

For more on all of Race Face’s new products, check out

Categories: News Tags: , ,

Polished Crankset

June 26th, 2008 [print] 4 comments

I was inspired to do this project after seeing RL Policar’s How To Bling Your Bike For Less Than $5.00 post on last week.

I had recently bought a used Shimano FC-M510 crankset off eBay for my wife’s bike, as a replacement for her Shimano Tourney crankset.  She likes the Tourney because of its integrated chainguard, but it’s always bugged me that the chainrings are riveted on, as opposed to bolted.  Once riveted chainrings wear out, the entire crankset is useless, since the rings can’t be replaced.  It was also a bit on the heavy side which, for someone like me, is downright blasphemous.

Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I ordered a used crankset from eBay.  While waiting for it to arrive, I found the above mentioned article and decided I’d give it a try.

The crankset arrived very scratched up, just as I had expected, but in perfect condition otherwise (unfortunately, the picture doesn’t do the paint damage justice, as it was far worse in person than it looks).  Also, a couple teeth on the large chainring looked as though they had a bite taken out of them by a piece of concrete, but this won’t matter once I’m done (you’ll see why).

Click for larger image

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Categories: How To Tags: , ,