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  1. #1
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    Questions about compact crankset

    I'm considering the Nashbar compact crankset to upgrade my 1976 chrome-moly road bike (already has 700c wheels, 7-speed cassette and other upgraded components). The Nashbar compact crankset comes in 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths. How do I know which to choose? I'm a 155-pound man who stands 5ft 10, and I'm 50 years old and doing about 100 miles/week on rolling, hilly roads and some bike paths. No racing for me.

    Also, I was planning to take apart, clean and rebuild the bottom bracket anyway, with new BBs and cups if they show pitting, regardless of whether I change the crankset. When I do this maintenance on the bottom bracket, can I simply pop the new compact crankset onto the existing old bottom bracket parts? The original crankset is an alloy double 130 bcd made by Takagi, in 170 length.

    Would there be an advantage if while I have it taken apart I change it to a cartridge system instead of the loose bearings?

    Please advise on what I'll need to install the nashbar compact crank. I've already bought the appropriate tools. Thanks.

  2. #2
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Bottom brackets are specific to the crank you use, both in spindle length, and style. The Nashbar compact crankset uses a totally different style bb, so no, it will not work.
    Last edited by wrk101; 07-12-12 at 07:39 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Bottom brackets are specific to the crank you use, both in spindle length, and style. The Nashbar compact crankset uses a totally different style bb, so no, it will not work.
    OK. So I will disassemble my bottom bracket and replace the components with those specified to work with the Nashbar crankset. Will I have a choice between modern cartridge style and old-school loose bearings? Any suggestions or should I just do a customer support chat with Nashbar?

  4. #4
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    I'm considering the Nashbar compact crankset to upgrade my 1976 chrome-moly road bike (already has 700c wheels, 7-speed cassette and other upgraded components). The Nashbar compact crankset comes in 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths. How do I know which to choose? I'm a 155-pound man who stands 5ft 10, and I'm 50 years old and doing about 100 miles/week on rolling, hilly roads and some bike paths. No racing for me. .
    I man of your height would typically use 175mm. But, I see that the current crank you have is 170mm. If that works for you, go with that. Does it FEEL like your spinning fast? Doe sthat feel ok? If not, longer crank arm.

    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    Also, I was planning to take apart, clean and rebuild the bottom bracket anyway, with new BBs and cups if they show pitting, regardless of whether I change the crankset. When I do this maintenance on the bottom bracket, can I simply pop the new compact crankset onto the existing old bottom bracket parts? The original crankset is an alloy double 130 bcd made by Takagi, in 170 length.

    Would there be an advantage if while I have it taken apart I change it to a cartridge system instead of the loose bearings?

    Please advise on what I'll need to install the nashbar compact crank. I've already bought the appropriate tools. Thanks.
    The Nashbar compact crank I see online (CR2) requires an ISIS type BB. Likely, your current setup is square taper? If so, you would have to get an ISIS BB.

    BUT before that, you'd have to determine what the BB shell is threaded as and it's shell width. I'm a little out of my depth at this point. So, hopefully, one of the mechs on here will help.
    Or
    They reading up on it here http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_bo-z.html#bottom

    You may want to consider a square taper triple. Perhaps Ebay?

    I fitted a mid 80s Raleigh about 2 years ago with a Shimano compact crank but with a Hollowtech II BB. I had to get my bike shop to shave off about 3mm from the BB shell to get the chainline right.

    It is not so cut and dry. You'll need to do some reading on it.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/bbsize.html

  5. #5
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    As wrk101 says, you will need a new bottom bracket (and tool for it if you are installing yourself). The Nashbar CR2 Compact Road Bike Crankset takes an ISIS bottom bracket.

    For crank length, see if you have any riding buddies on 175mm cranks that would let you try them out. You won't be perfectly set up on his bike but it should help you see if you like the feel. I am 5'9" and I prefer 175mm cranks. They give me just a bit more leverage for climbing. I probably sacrifice top end cadence but I don't often spin out in the terrain I live in (flat to gently rolling with an occasional hill requiring the lowest gear).

  6. #6
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    OK. So I will disassemble my bottom bracket and replace the components with those specified to work with the Nashbar crankset. Will I have a choice between modern cartridge style and old-school loose bearings? Any suggestions or should I just do a customer support chat with Nashbar?
    The ISIS bb you need only comes in cartridge style. Chat with Nashbar on spindle length.

    Nashbar 20% off sale ends today. Thats a pretty good deal on that crankset.

    Other critical factor: 1976 is old enough that there were a lot of different bottom bracket threading sizes then. Swiss, French, Italian, Raleigh, and british standard (yes, a lot of Raleighs did not use the british standard, ouch). So depending on what you have, project could be very straight forward, or it could be a non-starter.
    Last edited by wrk101; 07-12-12 at 08:07 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    The ISIS bb you need only comes in cartridge style. Chat with Nashbar on spindle length.

    Nashbar 20% off sale ends today. Thats a pretty good deal on that crankset.

    Other critical factor: 1976 is old enough that there were a lot of different bottom bracket threading sizes then. Swiss, French, Italian, Raleigh, and british standard (yes, a lot of Raleighs did not use the british standard, ouch). So depending on what you have, project could be very straight forward, or it could be a non-starter.
    This is a great forum with lots of helpful experts. THanks! This is a great way to learn and I appreciate all the input. The frame is a Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2, which I am told was made by Panasonic -- since it was one of the Japanese-made/Schwinn-approved models. Knowing it is a Panasonic frame made for Schwinn and badged as a Super Le Tour 12.2, does that give a clue to the threading? If you are asking yourself why I am devoting time and money to this bike, the answer is that I bought it brand-new in 1976 with my paper route money -- $200!!! and I have ridden it all these 36 years, including touring, and in many triathlons (during my marathoning and ultra-running days I also enjoyed sprint and olympic distance triathlons, even though my bike and swim times were lousy. I sure had fun). I love this old bike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    why I am devoting time and money to this bike, the answer is that I bought it brand-new in 1976 with my paper route money -- $200!!! and I have ridden it all these 36 years, including touring, and in many triathlons (during my marathoning and ultra-running days I also enjoyed sprint and olympic distance triathlons, even though my bike and swim times were lousy. I sure had fun). I love this old bike.
    $200 in 1976! That must have been a top-of-the-line rig!

    Don't blame you for working on it and keeping it. I would. Post pics when you start/finish. I'm curious.

  9. #9
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    This is a great forum with lots of helpful experts. THanks! This is a great way to learn and I appreciate all the input. The frame is a Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2, which I am told was made by Panasonic -- since it was one of the Japanese-made/Schwinn-approved models. Knowing it is a Panasonic frame made for Schwinn and badged as a Super Le Tour 12.2, does that give a clue to the threading? If you are asking yourself why I am devoting time and money to this bike, the answer is that I bought it brand-new in 1976 with my paper route money -- $200!!! and I have ridden it all these 36 years, including touring, and in many triathlons (during my marathoning and ultra-running days I also enjoyed sprint and olympic distance triathlons, even though my bike and swim times were lousy. I sure had fun). I love this old bike.
    I have several Panasonic built Schwinns right now. Most of the part sizing is standard on the Japanese bikes, the one exception is I think that bike has a smaller OD stem size, but that does not matter in this case.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    I have several Panasonic built Schwinns right now. Most of the part sizing is standard on the Japanese bikes, the one exception is I think that bike has a smaller OD stem size, but that does not matter in this case.
    So, can I assume that the bottom bracket on my Schwinn-Asonic Japanese frame is English thread? The Nashbar Isis cartridge bottom bracket comes in 68 x 108, 113, 0r 118. How do I know which of these three that I need? Again, the bike was manufactured as a road bike with a road double, if that is any help. Thanks again everybody. Great info so far.

    Yeah, and that pesky weird stem size. Driving me nuts. I'm using the ugly Harris Cyclery quill stem with the tig-welded clamp. It gave me the rise I want, but it's really ugly. I'm getting the Velo Orange threadless adapter, turning it down on a lathe, and then using an adjustable threadless clamp on top to get the rise I want. It should be a bit more aesthetically pleasing, and also make changing bars faster than with the old style bar clamps. I'm getting ready to ride the entire Great Allegheny Passage this fall, solo, and these finishing touches will make the old girl more pleasant to ride on the 350-mile tour and make her look really pretty for all the other cyclists who cast their eyes upon her.

  11. #11
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    I'm using the Nasbar compact crank on my new road bike. It's a great crank at an even better price. The 108 works on my 2X10 setup. ISIS bottom brackets use the Shimano tool. If you dry fit everything without torquing everything down, you quickly know if you've picked the right bracket. Nashbar seems to have a good return policy.

    I wouldn't change crank lengths without at least trying them out on a different bike. You should be fairly tall if you are going to use 175's. I am 5'7" and use 170's on both my singlespeed and muti- speed road bikes. I put 172.5's on my touring bike only because I didn't know better at the time. Remember you have to spin for speed and longer cranks spin slower than shorter cranks (all things being equal). Al

  12. #12
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    Crank length - if 170 works for you go with it. It's not as important as you might think, and I certainly would not make only a 2.5 mm change in any case.

    BB thread/length/type - Yes, standard english thread. Nashbar can tell you what bb the crank takes, especially if you are getting both from them. Once you have the bb apart they can probably also help you determine compatibility of their crank with the current bb. The merchant you are buying the part from will almost always provide the most accurate information - in fact could have told you the LeTour was English. Old school vs. cartridge is personal choice - whether you want more control or less fuss.
    Last edited by cny-bikeman; 07-12-12 at 10:11 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Simonius's Avatar
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    118mm would be for a triple. I don't think 108mm is so common, I have a FSA Gossamer road dual which uses it and have not found 2nd hand 108 BBs easy to find, I guess MTBs don't use it.

    So 113mm or possibly 108mm is the likely size. 113mm will be around for ages.

    You can get some idea of the offset of your cranks by holding the BB end flat on a tabletop and measuring the height up to the side the pedal screws into. Road cranks have a total width of about say 155mm, so you can do the math.

    If you keep your old crank, measure and check for an offset BB - it was quite common to have an offset of 3-7mm back then. Modern BBs are all symmetrical but a 1.5mm spacer gives you a 3mm offset which is usually near enough. The UN-55 with its metal LHS adjuster may be a better bet than the older plastic adjuster if you are going to run it with an offset.

    Nearly all modern cranks will look a bit silly on an old bike, even the silver aluminium ones.
    You can get longer old cranks. Over 175mm is very rare (in New Zealand at least) before the late 1980s. They appear in the catalogs since way back but the first real-life long cranks we see are Shimano 600 Ultegra FC-6400. and a few of the 105 FC-1055.
    Suntour Superbe Pro are sometimes long too, though you have to fight the hipsters for them and they have an ISO BB.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Simonius's Avatar
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    If your old BB cups are OK you can just replace the spindle, they are still available and don't cost much. You might get the perfect offset too.

    For convenience a square cartridge is easier and better sealed. Shimano's UN-54 and -55 are good, and cheap. Your Takagi's probably need at least 118mm BB.

    If you want a square taper triple the old Shimano Tiagra FC-4403 is very convenient as it uses the most common 113mm BB size. The look is a bit shiny and modern, and it also comes in Octalink V2 which is fine too.

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    The design of the crank arm profile has a profound influence
    on what BB length it uses.

    Example : Campag redesigned the right crank arm, when they made their last
    square taper type.
    to use the same BB, double or triple.. the arm profile is changed.

  16. #16
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    I agree that the old girl will look a little goofy with the compact crank. She was so pretty on the day I first met her, in 1976. But she’s aged since then, and so have I. We’ve been through various accidents and reconstructive and cosmetic surgery together. And we’ve both bounced back, a little bleary, worse for wear and tear (Stones reference, for you Stones fans out there who want bonus points for identifying that snippet of lyrics). And we’re both still out there on the streets, pushing it has hard as we still can. She’s sort of like an older single person who still goes out late on Friday and Saturday nights, partying as hard as the young kids, and to party hard, she has to dress like the young kids, with black aero wheels with bladed spokes and aero brake levers and dual-pivot modern brakes and a black one-piece seatpost and a goofy anatomical saddle. Some might look at her and think she looks pathetic, at her age, trying to keep up with the young kids. But when I’m alone with her, she feels so good and rides so nice, and I love her even more deeply than I did way back in 1976.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Simonius's Avatar
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    Wow, go modern then.
    Note that your BB threads were cut with an accuracy appropriate to 1/4" ball bearing races, which can tolerate quite a lot of misalignment. Cartridge BB is fine for you too e.g. Octalink, ISIS.

    If fitting a modern external bearing it would pay to go to a shop with a good workshop and get your BB threads aligned and the shell faced to modern standards, or else your bearing life may be disappointing.

  18. #18
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    I agree that the old girl will look a little goofy with the compact crank. She was so pretty on the day I first met her, in 1976. But she’s aged since then, and so have I. We’ve been through various accidents and reconstructive and cosmetic surgery together. And we’ve both bounced back, a little bleary, worse for wear and tear (Stones reference, for you Stones fans out there who want bonus points for identifying that snippet of lyrics). And we’re both still out there on the streets, pushing it has hard as we still can. She’s sort of like an older single person who still goes out late on Friday and Saturday nights, partying as hard as the young kids, and to party hard, she has to dress like the young kids, with black aero wheels with bladed spokes and aero brake levers and dual-pivot modern brakes and a black one-piece seatpost and a goofy anatomical saddle. Some might look at her and think she looks pathetic, at her age, trying to keep up with the young kids. But when I’m alone with her, she feels so good and rides so nice, and I love her even more deeply than I did way back in 1976.
    I hear that

    Hey, I just did the same thing with my '89 Raleigh Technium PRE. Rang up a R2 (similar to your CR2) crankset and had to order a BB to fit. I ordered their house brand ISIS BB and have been very pleased with the price and the performance thus far.

    You will need the crank removal tool and the ISIS wrench to tighten that BB in place. Nothing complicated, directions included. Good stuff.

    The live chat helped me with the BB shell thread size (68mm) and the ISIS/spindle size (108mm).

    You will enjoy the process, really
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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