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  1. #1
    Guy who likes to fish. fish0n's Avatar
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    (Karate Monkey build) Help, I need to get my learn on!

    I'm wanting to build me a Karate Monkey. It could take a little time to complete, and I would like to research my different options, and start buying parts for it. The thing is a don't know jack about bicycle parts. How do I go about learning about all the current and past parts? I know (for now) I can't afford every modern day wonder part out their for the bike, but I don't want crap on it. I'm finding it very frustrating it being so difficult, if I wanted to learn about guitars I'm sure it would be much easier. So, any advise? I'm hopping I might be able to find some good deals on ebay, as soon as I know what the heck I'm doing. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Tell them I hate them Peedtm's Avatar
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    Start with Sheldonbrown.com. When I first started wrenching, this site was invaluable. In terms of parts, I'd probably recommend you just stick with Shimano when you get started. It's a lot easier to familiarize yourself with one timeline, and you're less likely to run into incompatibility (no guarantees though.) Plus, Shimano runs the whole gamut from crap to professional race components, so you have a lot of gruppo's to choose from and decide for yourself when extravagance outweighs performance.


    Anyway, go to www.sheldonbrown.com.

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    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    The Surly website is also invaluable, since you will need to know things like what type of front derailleur to use, seatpost diameter, etc. The Karate Monkey is so versatile that it makes your task harder and easier at the same time - harder because there are so many different ways you can build it; easier because there are lots of different parts you could put on there. I have one I use as a commuter and I can't stop modifying it. For the last modification it went from a 1x9 with a mullet (9 speed rear, no front derailleur, disk front brake/V-brake rear) with 700x44 knobbies back to a single speed with front and rear disk brakes and monster fat slick tires (Schwalbe Big Apple 29 x 2.35).

    Here are some of the possible configurations: geared mountain bike, single speed mountain bike, monstercross (drop bar mountain bike), touring, commuter, cruiser, fixed gear road bike, fixed gear mountain bike, giant BMX bike, the list goes on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish0n View Post
    I'm finding it very frustrating it being so difficult, if I wanted to learn about guitars I'm sure it would be much easier.
    I think you'll find quite a lot of help and guidance from this forum. The amount of resources for building-up a bike far outnumber the almost nonexistent amount of ones for how to sample a piano for a midi controller, which I'm trying to learn...



    Good luck with the bike!

  5. #5
    Guy who likes to fish. fish0n's Avatar
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    I tried posting this last night but the forum or my computer was having trouble.


    I am familiar with the sheldonbrown site it is a great resource. I also been to the Shimano site, but they aren't much help, hey maybe if they would list the damn MSRP. Is there a site that lists most of the Shimano line of products and prices? I don't want to go to the bike shop and say "hey guys, so what parts do I want for my bike, and hey, is that a good price or could I get a better deal elsewhere? Plus like I said earlier I'd like to try and cut costs by finding deals on-line, either ebay, craigslist, or.... I can look anything up online, but it seem I'm hitting a wall when it comes to this. It's agitating to say the least.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    Here are some of the possible configurations: geared mountain bike, single speed mountain bike, monstercross (drop bar mountain bike), touring, commuter, cruiser, fixed gear road bike, fixed gear mountain bike, giant BMX bike, the list goes on...

    Yep, that's what sold me on the bike was its versatility.

  6. #6
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    An online retailer will probably provide you with more info (and choices) than you want to know. I use these guys a lot:

    http://www.jensonusa.com/

    They have a tech library/help section as many of the online retailers do.
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

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    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Another 29er is born. Nice!

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    Senior Member
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    You can ask your bike shop for prices on used parts. They probably have boxes of brakes, saddles and shifters from bikes people have done upgades on their components.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    I built the Iron Monkey out of junk parts. In the end, it cost me a little over $100. If you have an *actual* budget, you could stretch that much farther.

    For instance, I got a bunch of used parts at one of my LBSes: the bars ($10), the chainring (another $10), the saddle ($15), the seatpost ($12?).

    Cables ($12) were, of course, new, and I put my favorite tires ($34) on it.

    and it's got a serious issue or three with the back wheel and front fork, but, well, $100. So if you're spending $450 on a frame, I suspect you won't settle for using a back wheel that had vines growing through it. But I bet you can get good stuff by trawling through the used parts bins at the LBS. I recently got a DT Swiss RR 1.1 rim for free because it has a rattly piece of crap trapped in it, and another for $15 on Ebay because it was attached to a broken hub (complete with spokes!).

    Something else I've noted about the last two bikes I've built: it can start cheap but can get expensive as choices you've made define other choices you now have to make. The number of gears determine the shifters and vice versa. Likewise, the brakes. You might find yourself with cool, cheap cranks that require an expensive bottom bracket, or an axle the wrong width for the frame. Be flexible, be willing to throw away ideas, and the resources you'll find will be inexpensive. Stay away from obsolete technologies that no longer benefit from mass production and the compatibility that comes with it. Stay away from uncommon standards (Italian threaded bottom brackets, e.g.), even if they're perfectly decent. You want to be compatible with the parts you're most likely to find.

    I'm working on a bike right now that will probably cost me $350. It's already shaping up into the "super hot" category for me. It started with two ideas: low frame for groin clearance, no front derailleur, and 700c wheels. Everything else has been a flowing spec. I knew that I wanted Shimano instead of SRAM stuff because that's the stuff I was finding. I knew I wanted 8 speeds because those were the cheap hubs and cassettes I was finding. I'm using friction shifters because it reduces compatibility issues. And so on.

    I'd bet that, if you took your time, made nice nice with the LBS dudes, and trawled Ebay, bidding low and passing up things past your budget, you could put parts together that would make you happy for a couple hundred dollars. And if you don't like that derailleur after all, sell it on Ebay and get a different one.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  10. #10
    Guy who likes to fish. fish0n's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the help so far. I just recently discovered the nashbar website, and while browsing on there I think I may have found the crank for my KM? It's the Shimano Deore LX FC-M572 Trekking Crankset with Chain Guard. I'm wanting to use my KM as a do all bike from off-road to pavement, it will spend much more time on the pavement because it will also be my run-around/commuter. I would like to do all this with out have to change cranksets. Would the Shimano Deore LX FC-M572 be a good candidate for this, and what do you think about its quality, would I be going too cheap? Also, on the KM specifications sheet it says that the bb is 73mm wide, and 1.37 x 24t; what dose the "1.37 x 24t" mean? Any recommendations on a bb to go with this crank (if I get it)?


    Link to The Shimano Deore LX FC-M572: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...20ATB%20Cranks

  11. #11
    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    For some reason I thought you're building a singlespeed. The KM is an eccellent frame for singlespeeds. If you wanted to make it geared, you would have found a much larger choice of frames, much cheaper, too. Vertical dropout frames are a dime a dozen, especiallly on eBay. Pretty good ones, too. I saw some Ti frames with vertical dropouts going for $500 and similar bestial offers. But they're useless to me because I only ride SS nowadays.

    The crankset you link to uses Octalink. Are you sure you want to be trapped into a prorpietary interface like Octalink? There's nothing particularly wrong with it from a technical point of view, but you're marrying Shimano for bottom brakcets.

    Another fact: this crankset comes only in 175mm long version. If that's OK with you, great. If the length is too much for you, though, you'll hate it. I like 165mm, for instance.

    Finally, 1.37x24 means simply BSA (english) bottom bracket. The great majority nowadays are BSA, so that's a good thing. The other type is "italian", and was in the past found mostly on, duh, italian bicycles.

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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fish0n View Post
    Thank you all for the help so far. I just recently discovered the nashbar website, and while browsing on there I think I may have found the crank for my KM? It's the Shimano Deore LX FC-M572 Trekking Crankset with Chain Guard. I'm wanting to use my KM as a do all bike from off-road to pavement, it will spend much more time on the pavement because it will also be my run-around/commuter. I would like to do all this with out have to change cranksets. Would the Shimano Deore LX FC-M572 be a good candidate for this, and what do you think about its quality, would I be going too cheap? Also, on the KM specifications sheet it says that the bb is 73mm wide, and 1.37 x 24t; what dose the "1.37 x 24t" mean? Any recommendations on a bb to go with this crank (if I get it)?


    Link to The Shimano Deore LX FC-M572: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...20ATB%20Cranks
    I think that would be an excellent crankset for what you're wanting to do. And it's a great price, too. As already mentioned, the bb numbers mean it's English threaded, by far the most common. I've got a lot of experience with Octalink mountain bike cranks/bb's, and highly recommend them. The bb's will last a very long time. I notice the recommended spindle length is 121 or 126mm, my guess for your KM would be 126 but it's just a guess. As for the 175mm crankarm length, that's very common, pretty much the "standard" mtb crank length for many years. Unless you just like shorter crankarms, they should work fine-

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    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    I think that would be an excellent crankset for what you're wanting to do. And it's a great price, too. As already mentioned, the bb numbers mean it's English threaded, by far the most common. I've got a lot of experience with Octalink mountain bike cranks/bb's, and highly recommend them. The bb's will last a very long time. I notice the recommended spindle length is 121 or 126mm, my guess for your KM would be 126 but it's just a guess. As for the 175mm crankarm length, that's very common, pretty much the "standard" mtb crank length for many years. Unless you just like shorter crankarms, they should work fine-
    Well, then you'll have to explain him why he can't buy Octalink version whatever anymore, when Shimano decides they are not anymore interested in the small market of users of that specific version of Octalink.

    To the OP: there are currently two versions of Octalink, V1 and V2, which are not compatilble with each other. And neither is compatible with the more ubiquitous square taper. Whatever Shimano says, you gotta pay. No choice.

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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
    Well, then you'll have to explain him why he can't buy Octalink version whatever anymore, when Shimano decides they are not anymore interested in the small market of users of that specific version of Octalink.

    To the OP: there are currently two versions of Octalink, V1 and V2, which are not compatilble with each other. And neither is compatible with the more ubiquitous square taper. Whatever Shimano says, you gotta pay. No choice.
    Good grief, chill man. The bb's are readily available, and in all honesty the bb might very well last as long as the cranks. Even if they don't, I seriously doubt bb availability would be an issue. Heck, buy two.

    You seem to have a serious dislike for geared bikes, and you speak poorly of Octalink even though you have no experience with them. The specific bb the crankset uses is listed on the Nashbar site. All Octalink mtb cranks except XTR use V2. $54.99 is an excellent deal on a very good crankset that will fit the OP's needs very well-

  15. #15
    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    Good grief, chill man. The bb's are readily available, and in all honesty the bb might very well last as long as the cranks. Even if they don't, I seriously doubt bb availability would be an issue. Heck, buy two.

    You seem to have a serious dislike for geared bikes, and you speak poorly of Octalink even though you have no experience with them. The specific bb the crankset uses is listed on the Nashbar site. All Octalink mtb cranks except XTR use V2. $54.99 is an excellent deal on a very good crankset that will fit the OP's needs very well-
    Just two things I would like you to take into consideration:
    1. I do have experience with Octalink. I have an octalink crankset on my beater.
    2. I said that there are no technical issues with Octalink, so why you say I speak poorly of it?

    As for buying two: that's exactly what companies selling proprietary stuff want you to do: buy more just in case, because you're gonna buy from us - no choice.

    See, what you don't want to acknowledge is: if Shimano decides they want to increase their profits for the following year, they might just decide to make V1 or V2 obsolete, forcing the owners to buy new cranks when their BB is due to replacement. That was the idea behind Octalink to begin with, anyway, and it worked. Hundreds of thousands of cyclists bought brand new cranks to fit with the new shiny new Octalink (V1) even though their existing cranks were just fine.

    Let me pre-empt another possible attempt at distorting what I am saying: I know that the chainrings on a crankset could last about as much as the BB. I am talking about the cranks, which are the part you must fit to the BB, and which (the cranks) can last nearly forever. Which is bad for Shimano, so what do they do to force people throw away perfectly good cranks? Octalink.

    EDIT: ok, let me step back from this for a second: the OP will decide whatever he wants to buy. All I wanted (and exectuted poorly) was to make sure he makes an informed decision, and has a more rounded view of the matter.

  16. #16
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
    2. I said that there are no technical issues with Octalink, so why you say I speak poorly of it?
    I have a good memory. I remember a post you made not too long ago where you said something pretty close to "Octalink and ISIS have been scientifically proven to suck." I corrected you in that thread, so if you've changed your mind, maybe it was me who helped you see the light in regard to Octalink.

    I could bore you with stories of how my riding buddies and I have ridden these cranks/bb's in the most challenging conditions, for years and years, thousands and thousands of miles, etc. and the darned things just keep on going. They're excellent cranks/bb's. If you want to get into a great big conspiracy theory regarding Shimano, parts availiability, etc. that's your business. But I stand by what I've said regarding the OP's situation and these cranks. It's a very good deal and they're very good cranks/bb's for what the OP is wanting to do.

  17. #17
    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    I have a good memory. I remember a post you made not too long ago where you said something pretty close to "Octalink and ISIS have been scientifically proven to suck." I corrected you in that thread, so if you've changed your mind, maybe it was me who helped you see the light in regard to Octalink.

    I could bore you with stories of how my riding buddies and I have ridden these cranks/bb's in the most challenging conditions, for years and years, thousands and thousands of miles, etc. and the darned things just keep on going. They're excellent cranks/bb's. If you want to get into a great big conspiracy theory regarding Shimano, parts availiability, etc. that's your business. But I stand by what I've said regarding the OP's situation and these cranks. It's a very good deal and they're very good cranks/bb's for what the OP is wanting to do.
    Octalink did suck some time ago. Now the scientific community took notice of the fact that they stopped sucking. So I read in a paper on ScienceDirect.

  18. #18
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
    Octalink did suck some time ago. Now the scientific community took notice of the fact that they stopped sucking. So I read in a paper on ScienceDirect.
    Okay, truce. But are you sure you're not talking about ISIS? I began using Octalink fairly soon after they came out, never had anything but good luck with them, and always heard good things about them as well. Of course, in theory with the larger spindle/smaller bearings enclosed in the shell they theoretically might have been problematic. ISIS is the same way. But the thing is, it seems Shimano got it right with Octalink, the ISIS manufacturers didn't at first. I've heard lots of horror stories about the early ISIS bb's. Interestingly, I've got an ISIS bb that's two or three years old now, on a bike I do most of my pavement riding on these days. It's a Nashbar brand ISIS bb, $24.99. I had heard ISIS bb's were much better than they were at first, and so far this $24.99 ISIS bb seems to be proving this correct.

  19. #19
    Guy who likes to fish. fish0n's Avatar
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    Well I will definitely consider the the Shimano Deore LX FC-M572. Don't know why they don't also sell the bb on the site. Are all, or most square tapered cranks and bbs compatible with each other (not taking into account spindle length)? Also, dose the type/size crankset limit my options with other components? You said there are other 29 frames I can get for cheaper, are any of them as versatile as the KM? I'm going with the KM because I can turn it into just about anything.

  20. #20
    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fish0n View Post
    Well I will definitely consider the the Shimano Deore LX FC-M572. Don't know why they don't also sell the bb on the site. Are all, or most square tapered cranks and bbs compatible with each other (not taking into account spindle length)? Also, dose the type/size crankset limit my options with other components? You said there are other 29 frames I can get for cheaper, are any of them as versatile as the KM? I'm going with the KM because I can turn it into just about anything.
    Yes, the Karate Monkey is very versatile, that's true. However, much of its versatility comes in handy if you plan on using it for SS or, well, fixed gear. Those are hard to impossible to do on vertical dropout frames, without using special components like the ENO eccentric hub (which has its own weaknesses, of which I could talk long but won't right now). But yes, the KM is versatile even for a geared bike, due to the geometry and the availability of both V-brake bosses and disk brake posts. It is a very good MTB frame but can very nicely be used for road commuting. If I recall correctly, it even allows for use of 26" wheels (this is a question of geometry). The V-brake bosses are useless in that case, but you can always use disk brakes.
    And who knows, one day you might want to try singlespeed.

    Yes, all square taper cranks are compatible with each other and with all square taper bottom brackets. There is only one thing you have to keep in mind: ISO/J.I.S. Interchangeability:

    If you install an ISO crank on a J.I.S. spindle, it will sit about 4.5 mm farther out than it would on an ISO spindle of the same length.
    Conversely, if you install a J.I.S. crank on an ISO spindle, it will wind up about 4.5 mm farther in than it would on a J.I.S spindle of the same length.

    That's it. If you go with square taper cranks, you know you have a million manufacturers to choose from for your BB. And vice-versa for the cranks.

    The funny thing is, I actually really like Shimano, because I believe they make good components for very reasonable prices. I really believe they have some of the best price/performance ratio. But Octalink is prprietary no matter what. There is no reason why Shimano couldn't charge 10% more for their Octalink components. Or 20%. It's not like you have a choice of buying them from someone else.

    Let's make a silly example: what if you decide you want to give your bike as a present to your wife (or girlfriend), but you know she really digs red. So, you think about making this bike special, just for her, and replace the crankset with a red-anodized one. That would look cool on a dark brown frame. Great, now ask Shimano to please make an Octalink red anodized crankse. No dice, you get to replace both cranks and bottom bracket. Sure, no problem, because luckily with square taper you have a bazillion various BBs to chose from, including cheap buy good Tange BBs.


    Oh, and do make sure 175mm cranks fit you. This is no game, the wrong length of cranks does have a huge (bad) effect on your cycling. It's like sex: if it's good, it's just 10% of the issue. If it's bad, it's 90%.


    I almost forgot: no, the type/size of cranks does not actually limit the choice of other components, at all.
    Last edited by wroomwroomoops; 11-18-07 at 11:27 AM.

  21. #21
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    What's the big deal about Octalink being proprietary? It's not like the bottom bracket is welded into the frame. If compatibility or availability become an issue, simply replace the bb.

    I am sure Shimano will be reluctant to discontinue Octalink bb's since this move may push people to other brands. The theory that they'll do it to drive up their own profits is stupid because there's no guarantee the customer will buy into their latest system.

  22. #22
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    It's good to hear testimony that the Nashbar ISIS BB is performing well after years of service.
    I'm about to install one with a Nashbar crankset to replace a 105 Biopace on a Specialized road bike project.

    I believe the bad start of ISIS was due to FSA's use of substandard bearings. It screwed a lot of people.
    I believe it's going to be the market demand that dictates what happens to these BBs.
    It's undeniable that Shimano tried to push their Octalink standard with their clout. IMO, the BB is superior to the old square taper, but just not enough to really capture the buying public like SIS did.
    That meant they couldn't dictate terms. And let's be realistic, the industry manufacturers wanted to make obsolete the old square taper equipment on the public. Force a new standard on us which is cheaper for them to manufacture, and create an upgrade market.
    This is true of any company in dominance of their market. ie Intel anyone, MS?)
    It's just internal arguments on royalties created the ISIS standard. IMO, this worked against both of them. It would have been more profitable to accept the licensing for Octalink. A new spec would have been established for many years to come. cheaper tooling, higher pricing. Instead, the market is awashed with competing standards. Prices fall, ISIS gets a bad rep. Octalink is a sole supplied (until the patent expires) spec. The ol' square taper still around seems like the familiar one to stick with.
    And this forces the big juggernaut to introduce another spec BB that has more perceived benefits.
    Shimano's hollowtech 2 becomes the new high end standard, almost like SIS deja vu.
    Now almost every brand has a 1-piece hollow spindle crank.
    The market will determine if it's a hit or miss. And Shimano has a headstart on the rest of the players in changing public perception.
    I like the old square taper because it works, easily maintained and replacement parts aplenty. It's good for keeping old loved rides on the road.
    ISIS and Octalink are all marketing, and attempting to capture more business.
    When the aero craze hit in the 80s, look at all the mediocre, over-engineered, average performing, expensive equipment released on the market. It either hits or misses, it's all been replaced and they are not in the business to supply us with endless replacement parts.
    I personally was willing to try ISIS and V1 Octalink. If they are reliable, great. They would have served their purpose. The cranks would be obsolete by the time I wear them out. Replacement chainrings are available, no monopoly there.
    And should both standards be dumped. Then there will also be a fire sale on clearing them out.
    Buy and stock up on cheap replacements if you love the standard.


    Personally, I'm not worried of companies trying to push new standards. If let say a large diameter BB is superior performance wise, and yields better frames I'd be convinced enough to try it.
    Just because they push new, doesn't mean I must buy. If it's that much better, then it's time to change.
    Unfortunately, that's just the way it is. If companies decide there isn't enough of a market for 27" tires, then that's the fat lady clearing her throat that you're hearing.

  23. #23
    that bike nut BikingGrad80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
    See, what you don't want to acknowledge is: if Shimano decides they want to increase their profits for the following year, they might just decide to make V1 or V2 obsolete, forcing the owners to buy new cranks when their BB is due to replacement. That was the idea behind Octalink to begin with, anyway, and it worked. Hundreds of thousands of cyclists bought brand new cranks to fit with the new shiny new Octalink (V1) even though their existing cranks were just fine.

    Let me pre-empt another possible attempt at distorting what I am saying: I know that the chainrings on a crankset could last about as much as the BB. I am talking about the cranks, which are the part you must fit to the BB, and which (the cranks) can last nearly forever. Which is bad for Shimano, so what do they do to force people throw away perfectly good cranks? Octalink.
    I have two bikes with octalink v1 cranksets [came with the bikes]. If shimano decides to orphan everyone I doubt it will increase their profits. I for one would never buy a shimano crank again. However, by then their octalink patent would expire and perhaps someone else would make octalink BB's to fill the market, even Nashbar.

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    [QUOTE. Are all, or most square tapered cranks and bbs compatible with each other (not taking into account spindle length)?

    No they are not. As far as I know there are two standards of the tapering, ISO (European, Campy fpr instance) and JIS (japanese, Shimano) I do not think it is a good idea to mix them

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    Senior Member teamcompi's Avatar
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    As per your original question, sheldon brown, the park tool site, this forum, and the internet in general will give you all the info you will ever need. By the way I have a KM, bought it on ebay as a multi-speed, its one sweet bike it is a great ride, it can be a PIA because to do certain things because of the multi nature of the dropouts but overall its a super frame. If you have any specific questions contact me I will see if I can help a brother 29er!

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