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  1. #1
    Rides Majestic
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    Calling all cottered crank experts-French content

    I'm thinking of throwing my hat into the $100 clunker challenge and have a question about cottered cranks. I picked up a beat up Gitane mixte as a donor bike for $25. I'm planning to transfer as many parts as I can from it to a Windsor Carrera frame including the cottered cranks from the Gitane. The issue is the Gitane's bottom bracket is French and the Windsor's is British. I installed some British cups in the Windsor and when I installed the French spindle, the adjustable cup doesn't thread in as much as I'd like when the bearings are adjusted. I read about French BB cups being thinner.

    First: Does it really matter if the adjustable cup isn't screwed in as much as it would be with a "normal" spindle? Will it harm anything to run it like that?

    Second: Can I hunt down a british cottered spindle and use that instead of the French spindle? Are the drillings in the crank for the spindle/cotter pins the same for British and French cranks?

    Thanks, Mike
    Last edited by likebike23; 03-08-14 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly, French and Japanese spindles are 15mm and English spindles are 9/16" or something like that. I think the cotters are different, too.
    The longer French spindles are nice for those of us with 70mm Raleigh BB shells.
    If the adjustable cup only sticks out a couple of MM then don't sweat it, just ride.
    Maybe a Japanese spindle is what you want.
    It's been years since I actually knew this stuff so it might be best to wait for the next guy to respond.
    I have spoken.

  3. #3
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Sheldon also says that the pedals are different;
    http://sheldonbrown.com/velos.html
    I have spoken.

  4. #4
    Rides Majestic
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
    If I remember correctly, French and Japanese spindles are 15mm and English spindles are 9/16" or something like that. I think the cotters are different, too.
    Maybe a Japanese spindle is what you want.
    Thanks. I found this on Ebay:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Japanese-Chr...-/140607907873. I'll measure my spindle to see if it'll work.
    The seller says that he's not sure what cotters they use and that he believes it's more a function of the cranks. If the Japanese cottered cranks use a 9.4mm cotter pin, I would assume the depth of the slot on the spindle would be deeper than a French spindle which uses 9.0mm cotter pins. I guess for ~$7, I could buy it and see if it'll work.

    What I'm trying to do is not very common. There's lots of info out there for converting French cottered bottom brackets to square taper but no info on using French cottered cranks on a standard 68mm, British threaded frame.

  5. #5
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    I think I was trying to put a French stronglight crank on a 70mm Raleigh BB shell once. It's all gotten a bit muddled in my head. There used to be a great set of tables on the web for this but it's gone now. I really wish I'd saved that data somewhere. It was from an 80s edition of Barnett's or something like that.
    Seems to me that the flats on the spindle for the cotters are plenty wide to do whatever you want with them, so long as you file the tapers right. So yes, I'd agree that it's more about the crank than the spindle.
    I have spoken.

  6. #6
    rhm
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    If you can give me some dimensions, I may have the spindle you seek. I need to know the overall length and that divided into three segments: right end to the cusp after the right cone, cusp to cusp, and left cusp to left end. That last dimension may not matter much. I have a lot of spindles, yours for not much more than the cost of shipping.

  7. #7
    Rides Majestic
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    If you can give me some dimensions, I may have the spindle you seek. I need to know the overall length and that divided into three segments: right end to the cusp after the right cone, cusp to cusp, and left cusp to left end. That last dimension may not matter much. I have a lot of spindles, yours for not much more than the cost of shipping.
    That would be great. I need a 16mm diameter spindle. Right(drive side):46mm, Center:50mm, Left:Not critical (but at least 40mm). Total length:~136-137mm a bit longer is ok. If you have something that might work can you PM me? Thanks again, Mike.

  8. #8
    Rides Majestic
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    Just posting here with a workable solution. It was suggested that I could use a spacer behind the fixed BB cup by rhm. I had a spacer from an old cassette hanging around, installed it, and it looks like it's going to be a winner. Thanks again for your help guys.

  9. #9
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
    ......... Are the drillings in the crank for the spindle/cotter pins the same for British and French cranks?

    Thanks, Mike
    British cotters are 9.5mm diameter, and French typically 9.0.
    - Auchen

  10. #10
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    I will be the first to say why on tranferring low end French cottered cranks to anything other than a reycle bin? The Windsor should be ISO you can pick up a decent used crankset and BB for under $30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
    I will be the first to say why on tranferring low end French cottered cranks to anything other than a reycle bin? The Windsor should be ISO you can pick up a decent used crankset and BB for under $30.
    Because, when used with the right axles and pins, cottered cranks work fine and often look quite a bit better than low-end aluminum stuff. The idea that cottered cranks are worthless stems entirely from poor installation.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
    I will be the first to say why on tranferring low end French cottered cranks to anything other than a reycle bin? The Windsor should be ISO you can pick up a decent used crankset and BB for under $30.
    Sometimes it's not about ditching "low end" parts, upgrading, losing weight, or Campy. The bike is being built for a $100 C&V clunker challenge. Not only that, but I'm looking to learn a bit about French bicycle mechanics, and there is no better way than to make your mistakes on "low end" stuff. In the end, I'll have a French inspired bike that I built myself, that I learned something while building, and that I can take pride in.

    Edit: In addition to the above, I'm making good use of a bike that would otherwise be destined to the trash heap. Let's face it, a French mixte in need of new derailleurs, cables, full bearing service, wheel tensioning/truing, tires/tubes, rust removal/polishing, and extensive paint touch up is not an economically or technically feasible project for 99.9% of people.
    Last edited by likebike23; 03-09-14 at 08:47 AM.

  13. #13
    iab
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    Quote Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
    I will be the first to say why on tranferring low end French cottered cranks to anything other than a reycle bin? The Windsor should be ISO you can pick up a decent used crankset and BB for under $30.
    I put a French crank on an Olmo because it looked cool. And it was what I had on hand.


  14. #14
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    I put a French crank on an Olmo because it looked cool. ...
    You won't get an argument from me!
    - Auchen

  15. #15
    Rides Majestic
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    I put a French crank on an Olmo because it looked cool. And it was what I had on hand.j

    Thats as good a reason as any.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Salubrious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    I put a French crank on an Olmo because it looked cool. And it was what I had on hand.
    Plus its clearly an awesome crank!

  17. #17
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    Meh. Clearly he should have thrown it away and replaced it something modern and aluminum. You know, like this:

    $(KGrHqZ,!pgFCp)nq0)MBQsTO4s0Dw~~60_57.jpg

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