Join Date: Jul 2000
Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;
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Because the chainrings on a 4-arm spider have longer unsupported arcs than those on a 5-arm of the same BCD, they may well be slightly more susceptible to warping. After one of my admittedly somewhat heavy friends bent a TA Professional (3-bolt) chainring, he replaced the crankset with a 5-bolt Stronglight, and I put the TA set on my wife's bike, a much less demanding application.
The new 4-arm designs are yet another stupid fad foisted on the bike-buying public by the manufacturers, to render their 5-arm chainrings and spiders obsolete, and perhaps to save 20 percent on the cost of bolts. Simple physics tells us that, for a given total weight, a wheel with more spokes is stronger than one with fewer. On my mountain bike and road touring bike, I plan to stay with a 5-bolt 110/74mm system as long as I can.
The wonderful thing about standards, such as BCDs and bolt counts, is that there are so many from which to choose!
"Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069