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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-04-10, 12:10 PM   #1
CliftonGK1
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Of clydes and cranksets...

So I've noticed a consistent problem I get with my cranksets, and I was wondering if this is just a "bad mechanic" issue or if other Clydes are encountering similar issues with a square taper crank.

Cranks: FSA Vero, and Sugino XD700
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN54
Issue: Click/creak when placing full weight on cranks at horizontal position, then shifting cranks 180 degrees to opposite horizontal, as though there is play at the taper interface. Problem is not loose crank bolts; bolts are at or above torque spec.

I talked to some of the LBS shop geeks who work on clyde rides, and after checking my crankbolts with a torque wrench one of the wrenches suggested that I may have consistently over-torqued my crankbolts and bottomed out the taper so it cannot lock fully any longer. This is a distinct possibility, as I don't own a torque wrench and just sort of Sasquatched the bolts on there when replacing the original cranks, and have re-tightened things since the install. The other possibility is that my size and persistant stand-and-hammer hill assaults just warp the taper interface on the crank, and I've run out of taper to tighten it down on.

Do other big riders using square taper cranks find they're getting loosening issues at the taper interface? Am I just being a bad mechanic and overtightening that bolt, or am I being an overly abusive rider and wrecking that taper interface? Maybe a little bit of both?
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Old 02-04-10, 12:36 PM   #2
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Here's a couple of things I'd check.

Have you worn out the cranks so that they're no longer perfectly square?

Are your new square taper cranks designed for the same type of square taper BB as the previous cranks (e.g. ISO vs. JIS)?

Have you checked the bottom bracket cup tightness? (Sometimes removing / reinstalling the cups makes the noises go away, not necessarily for any good reason.)

How many miles do you have on this BB? If you're an uberclyde, and you're not in a low enough gear, you may be putting too much torque on the bottom bracket itself, and it may need replacement.

A new BB's only about $25, and it's pretty easy to swap out, so maybe you need to grab a new BB and head over to your local bike co-op and get this sorted out - http://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/...ons#Washington .

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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
So I've noticed a consistent problem I get with my cranksets, and I was wondering if this is just a "bad mechanic" issue or if other Clydes are encountering similar issues with a square taper crank.

Cranks: FSA Vero, and Sugino XD700
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN54
Issue: Click/creak when placing full weight on cranks at horizontal position, then shifting cranks 180 degrees to opposite horizontal, as though there is play at the taper interface. Problem is not loose crank bolts; bolts are at or above torque spec.

I talked to some of the LBS shop geeks who work on clyde rides, and after checking my crankbolts with a torque wrench one of the wrenches suggested that I may have consistently over-torqued my crankbolts and bottomed out the taper so it cannot lock fully any longer. This is a distinct possibility, as I don't own a torque wrench and just sort of Sasquatched the bolts on there when replacing the original cranks, and have re-tightened things since the install. The other possibility is that my size and persistant stand-and-hammer hill assaults just warp the taper interface on the crank, and I've run out of taper to tighten it down on.

Do other big riders using square taper cranks find they're getting loosening issues at the taper interface? Am I just being a bad mechanic and overtightening that bolt, or am I being an overly abusive rider and wrecking that taper interface? Maybe a little bit of both?
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Old 02-04-10, 01:03 PM   #3
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Here's a couple of things I'd check.

Have you worn out the cranks so that they're no longer perfectly square?
I checked with my calipers, and the cranks still measure up square. But we're also talking about 0.01mm tolerances which could cause a creak, so I can't say for 100% certain. It's not like I can wobble the suckers around by hand. It's only under full load of my weight that I notice it.

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Are your new square taper cranks designed for the same type of square taper BB as the previous cranks (e.g. ISO vs. JIS)?
Yep. Sugino XD700 is a JIS taper, just like the FSA Vero.

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Have you checked the bottom bracket cup tightness? (Sometimes removing / reinstalling the cups makes the noises go away, not necessarily for any good reason.)
I can try it, but I've pretty much ruled out the cups during initial RCA. Up to a certain point, tightening the crankbolts used to solve the problem. That won't fix it anymore, leading me and the LBS wrench to believe the taper may just be bottomed out on the crank.

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How many miles do you have on this BB? If you're an uberclyde, and you're not in a low enough gear, you may be putting too much torque on the bottom bracket itself, and it may need replacement.
This one's got less than 5000 miles on it. I'm barely on the north side of lightweight for this crew, at 235 pounds. I do stand and hammer at hills quite often, but I've never ruined a UN54 bottom bracket before. Even the UN54 on my singlespeed (which gets a lot more hill punishment than the BB on my brevet bike) doesn't make odd noises.
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Old 02-04-10, 06:09 PM   #4
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I'm 215-225 and I haven't ridden square taper cranks in a long time. They just didn't last for me. Over-tightening is a definite possibility for your situation.
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Old 02-04-10, 07:34 PM   #5
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One of the better upgrades I've done for my steel bike was going to a integrated spindle / external bearing crankset (Shimano 105 one from Craigslist).

Prior to the upgrade, I could make that bike (and every bike I owned back in my youth) rub the FD when on the big ring very easily. It's way stiffer with the new one and takes a keen eye and a big effort to make it move.

I know some guys like square taper for traditions sake and there are better cranks and BB's out there, but given what you can get a new one for.. I think the modern ones are pretty attractive.

here's one for $119 -- sizes and prices vary.. but around $100 for a new one is not too hard to find.

http://cgi.ebay.com/105-Shimano-5600...item1e5a0074da
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Old 02-04-10, 08:06 PM   #6
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Torque wrenches are not not expensive anymore. You can get one for 25-50 bucks that will last a while. I have one that cost me $45 at Napa, and it will do up 150 ft/lbs. It is also good to have to check to lug nuts on your vehicle periodically.
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Old 02-04-10, 08:20 PM   #7
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I don't get it. Several thousands miles with square taper cranks and I have NEVER had the problems you people had. I have always been heavy, around 300 pounds, and never fouled up a square taper aluminum crank. I've had the same RSX crankset for 5 years! I never use a torque wrench either.
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Old 02-04-10, 08:43 PM   #8
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I don't get it. Several thousands miles with square taper cranks and I have NEVER had the problems you people had. I have always been heavy, around 300 pounds, and never fouled up a square taper aluminum crank. I've had the same RSX crankset for 5 years! I never use a torque wrench either.
I never wrecked one or wore out the interface, just see a big difference in stiffness with the new ones.
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Old 02-07-10, 02:20 AM   #9
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make sure all your threads and contact points are greased. i had some clicky clacky going on in the crank area of a new bike with less than 100 miles. took off the crank, everything looked a-ok but the click was still there. i was getting really pissed and annoyed about the situation, then realized the threading of the pedals into the crank weren't greased. clicks dissapeared and have yet to re-appear 600 miles later.

i was SURE that my fat ass had warped a brand new drive train, but it's usually something way simpler.
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Old 02-07-10, 02:57 AM   #10
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Things like this make the best shop geeks go a little nuts...

Make sure that things stay surgically clean as you go through this...

It becomes a process of elimination when you encounter issues like this and chain ring bolts are often the cuplrit... if they have been greased and torqued to spec they should be okay.

If the crank isn't worn and has also been torqued to spec we can eliminate this as well... for now. The debate on whether or not to grease spindles is an epic one and would say that if you are using a torque wrench it does not present the problems it can if you are applying Sasquatch strength and go a little too far.

I'd be looking at the UN54 and bb as a possible source of the creak as even when you can't feel any play in a cartridge bb, that does not mean that something can't be wrong with this and one also needs to check it's fit on the bike.

I'd start by removing it, make sure the threads in this and the bottom bracket shell are squeaky clean, grease the threads and reinstall the bottom bracket. In a lot of cases the bb shell could benefit from having the threads chased with a tap. I do this as part of any bb overhaul as quite often the threads could be a lot cleaner than they are and not every shop preps a frame properly.

If this does not address the issue I would replace the cartridge with a fresh one and see what happens.
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Old 02-07-10, 11:00 AM   #11
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I have a couple experiences with this type of noise.

The first was a clicking noise at a certain point on rotation on the crank, it turned out to be a cracked rear stay.

The second is on road bike with square taper, my problem was not torquing it tight enough. torqued it to spec and that fixed the problem.

Never had a crank set that creaked that was torqued to spec and I have been a clyde for the last 30 years.
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Old 02-07-10, 11:29 AM   #12
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I wonder if Locktite yellow (the stuff FSA recommends for their carbon cranks) would work...?.. I had an FSA carbon crank that was a bit creaky (Octalink/ISIS type interface) and it did the trick (apparently whoever put it together the first time didn't put any in as per FSA the recommendation). I only rode it maybe 500 miles after fixing, but then sold and installed it on a friends bike -- he had no issues.

It's a not so sticky sorta gap filler sort a thing as best I can tell. Prolly a temp fix at best, but may be worth a try.
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Old 02-07-10, 11:36 AM   #13
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I don't get it. Several thousands miles with square taper cranks and I have NEVER had the problems you people had. I have always been heavy, around 300 pounds, and never fouled up a square taper aluminum crank. I've had the same RSX crankset for 5 years! I never use a torque wrench either.
Out of curiosity, how many miles do you ride a year? I don't think my BB was a square taper but it was totally shot after 2 years and 13,000 mile with lots of clmbing.

I'm Curious as so many riders have good luck with equipment (such as wheels) claiming they last for years without mentioning they only do 2000 a year. That would have stretched my 2 years of 13,000 miles to 6 or 7 years if I had 2k per year.
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Old 02-07-10, 11:48 AM   #14
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Out of curiosity, how many miles do you ride a year? I don't think my BB was a square taper but it was totally shot after 2 years and 13,000 mile with lots of clmbing.

I'm Curious as so many riders have good luck with equipment (such as wheels) claiming they last for years without mentioning they only do 2000 a year. That would have stretched my 2 years of 13,000 miles to 6 or 7 years if I had 2k per year.
I haven't had any problems with my cranks except the minor creaking that I fixed. And I only ride about 4000-5000 miles per year. And I can't remember when I had a wheel problem, and one of my bikes I have been using for 37 years.

How were your cranks shot?
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Old 02-07-10, 12:17 PM   #15
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How were your cranks shot?
BB toasted, side to side play. Shop replaced then loosened after 200 miles. ----->Shop retightened then loosened again. <----- This had to do with lousy a mechanic but from the start, I could hammer the pedals while remaining seated and hear the crank flex allowing the chain to drag on the derailleur.

Got tired of the madness so I switched it out for an Ultegra crank with the outboard bearings, much stiffer, no flex and no chain drag. Have about 12,000 miles in the last two years with no sypmtoms like those I had from the start on the original Isis/Bontrager crank.
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Old 02-07-10, 12:23 PM   #16
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Thanks, I was curious incase something like that happened to me.
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Old 02-07-10, 12:38 PM   #17
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And I can't remember when I had a wheel problem, and one of my bikes I have been using for 37 years.
Never wore out a brake surface? Wow, what model do you run, I'm getting some for my bike!
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Old 02-08-10, 12:01 PM   #18
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Never wore out a brake surface? Wow, what model do you run, I'm getting some for my bike!
I wasn't thinking about that but I can only remember buying 2 sets of brake pads in the last few years.

One was an old set of Dura Ace brakes and the second on a used set of Zero Gravities, I thought that the ZGs were the worst brake that I ever bought so I replaced the pads with cool stops and they work like champs. But I really a bike geek with 7 bikes.

But if you count worn out tires I go through a bunch of few of those every year.

Duh, you must have been meaning the brake surface on the rim. I feel so stupid. No, never wore out a brake surface there either, I normally use Mavic open pro rims now, not sure what the old rims are. I might have a set of tubulars with GP-4s. The others are mavic rims. And I had one spoke brake last year.

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