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  1. #1
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    Lesson Learned About Climbing

    So today the weather was finally nice. I had a rough day and was really looking forward to riding and as I started, I felt really good. I was thinking that there was a good chance I was going to crush my best time on my normal 18-mile route. So living in central PA, I regularly run into hills. This one in particular has some meaning to me because I had my first fall on it (my own mistake, I learned that your front derailleur doesn't like it when you're climbing and you try to downshift). So anyway, I'm 6'5 and 265 lbs. I currently ride a Giant FCR 2 and I really want to get a "real" road bike this winter/spring. I'm planning to go with a compact crank on a double chainring as opposed to the non-compact/triple that I currently have. With that being said, I'm trying to stay away from my smallest chainring so that I can try to get used to not having all those lower gears.

    I was really putting a lot of torque into this short, yet steep, climb. I got to the top and started to head down the other side only to find out that in about 50 feet, PennDOT had oiled and graveled the road. I slowed down and decided that I'd ride slowly across the 150 yards or so until it passed. About halfway through, I started to notice that my pedals felt weird...my left one especially. I looked down and the crank was halfway off! I started to slow down to figure out what was going on and it came completely off...just dangling there by my shoe! Since I carry a multi-tool, I was able to get the crank back on and I decided to take the "back way" home so that I could go real easy. Now, my local LBS said to come back in for a free "tune up", so I figure this is as good a time as any. I trust them, so it should work out fine.

    Anyway, since I'm really into the idea of a dedicated road bike, this brings up some concerns for me. Like I said, I'm riding a Giant FCR 2 and so far my top two bikes for consideration are a Giant TCR Alliance 1 and a Trek 2.3 (this LBS sells Giant, Trek, and Masi). The Giant uses the same wheels that are on my FCR and they haven't let me down yet, plus I really like the way the Giant looks, so I'm leaning a bit that way. I also don't have much experience with Trek. Anyway, the crankset on my FCR is an FSA Omega. Here are my questions:

    1. Does it sound like it's an issue with the crankset, or just my weight or riding style?
    2. I know the FSA Omega is toward the bottom of the line, so would a "higher up" FSA give me more strength, or is there another crankset to consider on a new bike?
    3. Being Clydes...we all know that there's more to consider than just potholes...at least I think that sometimes when I'm really spinning fast that I'm a bit harder on my frame. With that being said, is a carbon/aluminum mixed frame going to support my weight/torque? Would an aluminum frame with carbon seat stays (Trek) support it as well? Or do I need to stick with all aluminum?

    Sorry for such a long post, but there seems to be a wealth of knowledge here, so I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this for me.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Well, at 240, I snapped an aluminum frame.

    ON your crank, I think you need to view a gearchart. You don't use the small chainring to avoid using smaller gears. NOT WISE! If you knew what the gear combos were, you'd see it's not wise to avoid the small ring. If you view the chart, you will notice that the small ring and the 4th tallest cog is about he same gear as a double crank with a 12/25 cassette.

    Only thing you did was destroy your equipment by crosschaining for no reason....If you use th small chainring and the 21'ish cog, you have a starighter chainline while applying the torque of climbing.

    My current frame is a carbon/CF mix. It hasn't snapped yet and I do plenty of climbing (5,000 -10,000 footers)

  3. #3
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markdavid570 View Post
    1. Does it sound like it's an issue with the crankset, or just my weight or riding style?
    2. I know the FSA Omega is toward the bottom of the line, so would a "higher up" FSA give me more strength, or is there another crankset to consider on a new bike?
    3. Being Clydes...we all know that there's more to consider than just potholes...at least I think that sometimes when I'm really spinning fast that I'm a bit harder on my frame. With that being said, is a carbon/aluminum mixed frame going to support my weight/torque? Would an aluminum frame with carbon seat stays (Trek) support it as well? Or do I need to stick with all aluminum?
    1) it's a crankset issue. I had the same problem with an FSA Gossamer crank and bottom bracket
    2) I now run an FSA Carbon octalink crankset and have had zero issues. Note I'm no longer using the FSA external bearings bb.
    3) If the Giant fits you, stay with it. That's more a determining factor than anything. If the Trek fits, and test rides give you warm fuzzies, do it. It's safe enough (I ride an AL with carbon seat stays and carbon seat post)

    Granted, I'm a clyde-emeritus (194 now), I've ridden the above setup as heavy as 220 with no probs. I would stay with an aluminum seatpost in your case though (it's a little unnerving looking down at a flexing seatpost)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Well, at 240, I snapped an aluminum frame.

    ON your crank, I think you need to view a gearchart. You don't use the small chainring to avoid using smaller gears. NOT WISE! If you knew what the gear combos were, you'd see it's not wise to avoid the small ring. If you view the chart, you will notice that the small ring and the 4th tallest cog is about he same gear as a double crank with a 12/25 cassette.

    Only thing you did was destroy your equipment by crosschaining for no reason....If you use th small chainring and the 21'ish cog, you have a starighter chainline while applying the torque of climbing.

    My current frame is a carbon/CF mix. It hasn't snapped yet and I do plenty of climbing (5,000 -10,000 footers)
    I've not viewed a gearchart. I've only gone by what feels easier to pedal...with less resistance...and that has been the smaller chainring. I've been using the larger two more...which has also mean not using the largest on my cassette because it doesn't keep the chainline very straight...especially when climbing. On this particular climb, the chainline was straight and I don't think I was in too high of a gear, especially seeing as I wanted to maintain some speed up the hill.

    My issue is that the actual left crankarm came right off my bike. I guess what I'm trying to determine is whether it's an issue with it being a lower quality crankset and therefore with a better crankset I'll most likely avoid the issue. Or is it a problem that I'll have with just about any crankset?

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    Your cranks were probably just not torqued down tight enough.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by markdavid570 View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to determine is whether it's an issue with it being a lower quality crankset and therefore with a better crankset I'll most likely avoid the issue. Or is it a problem that I'll have with just about any crankset?
    Sounds like lack of maintenance or improper assembly to me. As such, the problem could potentially happen with any crankset...

  7. #7
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    Does anyone ever worry about exceeding the weight limit on their crankset/arm?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hill-Pumper's Avatar
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    Just a couple of observations, first, don't sweat the gearing the on the compact double. I have both, a compact double on my road bike, and a standard triple on my cross bike. Honestly, I can climb and hill that I have tried to date with my double. I very seldom use my lowest gear on my triple, but I may need it for pulling a trailer or a trail-a- bike later.

    Second, don't sweat the toughness of the Giant Alliance frames. My road bike is a Giant OCR Alliance 1, and you won't be breaking it. They have a lifetime warranty and no weight limitations, so if that is what you want, then by all mean, go get one.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Herbie53's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with the FSA Omega, but I had an FSA SLK-Light carbon for awhile. After much re-adjustment, re-installation using the recommended fixes (some super secret yellow locktite), I finally gave in and bought DA 7800 crank on eBay.

    I sold the FSA one to a non-clyde buddy and he's been very happy with it. I think the way the left crank arm fastens with the little spring washer and reliance on loctite is less than optimal for high torque applications (aka clydes).
    Last edited by Herbie53; 08-22-09 at 02:15 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie53 View Post
    I'm not familiar with the FSA Omega, but I had an FSA SLK-Light carbon for awhile. After much re-adjustment, re-installation using the recommended fixes (some super secret yellow locktite), I finally gave in and bought DA 7800 crank on eBay.

    I sold the FSA one to a non-clyde buddy and he's been very happy with it. I think the way the left crank arm fastens with the little spring washer and reliance on loctite is less than optimal for high torque applications (aka clydes).
    That's the same thing I'm wondering. With that in mind, I want to look into other cranksets that maybe have a stronger "connection" and just ask the LBS to switch it out when I buy the bike. I figure if I'm going to spend some money on a new bike that I want to last for awhile, I might as well spend just a bit more to get it up to the components that will work/last for me.

    Just a couple of observations, first, don't sweat the gearing the on the compact double. I have both, a compact double on my road bike, and a standard triple on my cross bike. Honestly, I can climb and hill that I have tried to date with my double. I very seldom use my lowest gear on my triple, but I may need it for pulling a trailer or a trail-a- bike later.

    Second, don't sweat the toughness of the Giant Alliance frames. My road bike is a Giant OCR Alliance 1, and you won't be breaking it. They have a lifetime warranty and no weight limitations, so if that is what you want, then by all mean, go get one.
    Thanks for that. The carbon/aluminum mix of the TCR Alliance makes me a bit nervous, but I've read about a lot of good experiences so far.

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markdavid570 View Post
    With that being said, I'm trying to stay away from my smallest chainring so that I can try to get used to not having all those lower gears.

    I was really putting a lot of torque into this short, yet steep, climb.

    Quote Originally Posted by markdavid570 View Post
    I've been using the larger two more...which has also mean not using the largest on my cassette because it doesn't keep the chainline very straight...especially when climbing. On this particular climb, the chainline was straight and I don't think I was in too high of a gear, especially seeing as I wanted to maintain some speed up the hill.

    You are 265 lbs and can crank up a "steep" climb in the mid-ring without touching the tallest cog in back? That's great!....You should skip the compact and go with a standard double!

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markdavid570 View Post
    That's the same thing I'm wondering. With that in mind, I want to look into other cranksets that maybe have a stronger "connection" and just ask the LBS to switch it out when I buy the bike. I figure if I'm going to spend some money on a new bike that I want to last for awhile, I might as well spend just a bit more to get it up to the components that will work/last for me.
    Your problem isn't with the crank but, as others have said, with the torque on the crank bolt. The connection is strong enough but it has to be at the proper torque to get the proper strength. I always torque crank bolts. I haven't had a crank come off a spindle in 20+ years of riding and wrenching

    There may be an issue with this crank, however. On square tapers, a crank that loosens enough to come off is ruined. On splined cranks, you may or may not have the same issue. The interface is different but you could have damaged the splines. Best to have it looked at before you ride much more.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    You are 265 lbs and can crank up a "steep" climb in the mid-ring without touching the tallest cog in back? That's great!....You should skip the compact and go with a standard double!
    Haha...well thanks. At 265 keep in mind that I'm also 6'5. I guess I'm built like a linebacker (even though I was a soccer player...but a keeper at that). So while I have some weight that I definitely want to lose, I have a decent amount of muscle that I worry can cause more wear and tear on a bike. I guess that's what I really worry about with being a clyde. Not just the excess weight, but also the extra force that comes with the weight combined with the muscle. Ugh...I don't know.

    I'm planning to look at the crank arm again tonight and get it all tightened up, but I think it's definitely time to take it out to the shop for my first free tune up. It'll give me some peace of mind.

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