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Old 08-19-07, 11:23 AM   #1
bruce19
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Things I've learned---FSA cranks

Last year for my 60th birthday, my gf bought me a Masi Gran Criterium S. Really nice bike fitted with Dura Ace except for the FSA Mega Exo carbon crankset. In the past year, the bolt has backed out of the left crank arm twice. And, I would periodically have dropped chains when shifting either up or down on the chain rings. Finally, in desperation, I bought a Dura Ace standard crank set. Problem solved. Shifts are excellent. FSA? Never again.
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Old 08-19-07, 12:21 PM   #2
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Can I swop your GF for my wife. My wife keeps spending my money on herself.

And as to the cranks- Shimano and Campag make good stuff. Never tried Campag myself but it has a large following. Only reason I got Truvatif Cranks on my last bike is that they are a respectable quality-Lightweight and they were cheap. Thanks to my Lbs- Very cheap. I have no problems with them so will not complain but on previous bikes I have always bought for the frame and expected that The bits bolted on will wear out-Sooner or later. First thing to cause problems on the lower end of a range are normally the crankset. This occured with the Bianchi MTB. I bought An FSA Crankset to replace the Cheap shimano that was standard. Every thing was Fine for 12 months and it was time for Ring change. Stipping down- the FSA bottom bracket broke on removal- The Rings had Alloy bolts to hold the rings on and they just broke on undoing them and then- when I got the rings off-There were Cracks in the Right hand crank. I went back to Shimano LX- the same that I had on all the other bikes.
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Old 08-19-07, 04:12 PM   #3
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Any flexing of the crank at the spindle eye or shifting of its position on the spindle can exert torque on the fixing bolt. Since forceful flexing and shifting tend to occur on the downstroke, this specifically makes the left crank self-loosening, which certainly matches my empirical experience. I have never had a right crank come loose on a ride, but it has happened to me about 5 times with a left crank. (The cyclist exerts left crank torque through the spindle, but right crank torque directly through the spider.) Once you have ridden with a crank a bit loose, its deformed spindle eye may make it even more susceptible to bolt loosening.
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Old 08-19-07, 04:32 PM   #4
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The FSA cranks are usually savaged at roadbikereviews.
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Old 08-19-07, 04:42 PM   #5
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The owner of one of the LBS I frequent hates the FSA chainrings. Every bike he gets in with FSA or Truvativ the crankset is removed and sent back to the bike mfg! When I asked where were all the 2008 bikes to look at, he told me that he would not put a bike in inventory unless it had a 100% Shimano drivetrain. He said almost all of his warranty work was dealing with problems with these cranksets and customers not too happy with them either.

Makes you wonder how FSA can ask $500 for a crankset with all the bad press.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Any flexing of the crank at the spindle eye or shifting of its position on the spindle can exert torque on the fixing bolt. Since forceful flexing and shifting tend to occur on the downstroke, this specifically makes the left crank self-loosening, which certainly matches my empirical experience. I have never had a right crank come loose on a ride, but it has happened to me about 5 times with a left crank. (The cyclist exerts left crank torque through the spindle, but right crank torque directly through the spider.) Once you have ridden with a crank a bit loose, its deformed spindle eye may make it even more susceptible to bolt loosening.
This is basically, exactly what happened to me. After the first failure my LBS tried to put it back using blue Loctitie to secure the bolt. Lasted about 100-150 mi. Then it was trashed. I wrote to Masi telling them how much I liked the bike but that the use of FSA cranks was a mistake and had cost me $500 on top of the $3K price of the bike. They never responded.
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Old 08-20-07, 08:38 AM   #7
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I had my Mega Expo FSA crank lossen up once and used blue Loctitie on it. It's been good now for over 2000 miles. Also had my Ultegra crank do the same.... used blue loctite on it, and it's been good for over 3000 miles.
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Old 08-20-07, 09:13 AM   #8
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My FSA Compact SL-K also suffered from the loose bolt. I called FSA, got an RMA, and received a brand new one. Has worked perfect for about a year now.
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Old 08-20-07, 08:20 PM   #9
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The instructions that came with a Phil Wood BB said to retorque the bolts regularly. I do it about every 3-4 weeks. Sure enough, the left one usually moves a little bit. Shimano cranks, too. Got to keep them tight. bk
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Old 08-20-07, 08:40 PM   #10
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Was riding from Cedar Creek Park one day and ran into a guy walking what looked to be a very droolworthy Orbea back to the lot ... with an FSA crank arm in one hand, Bike in the other. He said the crank had come loose one time already and he'd taken it back to the bike shop to have it put back on. Forget the money for a minute; what a waste of a couple of good rides for that guy. Not too many of us have that kind of ride time to blow, let alone the $$.

I recently checked a slew of reviews, since I am in the market for a crankset, and my budget tightened, so I began to look at FSA again. However, a lot of what I read reinforced what I saw with my own eyes.

I'm sure FSA have a lot of cranks out there working just fine, and I've never had a problem with any of my family's Truvativ's but I think I will stick with what's worked for me in the past (Campy and Shimano).


Quote:
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This is basically, exactly what happened to me. After the first failure my LBS tried to put it back using blue Loctitie to secure the bolt. Lasted about 100-150 mi. Then it was trashed. I wrote to Masi telling them how much I liked the bike but that the use of FSA cranks was a mistake and had cost me $500 on top of the $3K price of the bike. They never responded.
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Old 08-20-07, 09:58 PM   #11
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I'm riding a bike that has an FSA Gossamer crank (triple) and external bearings. I've got about 1300 on it so far and it has been trouble free.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:07 AM   #12
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My FSA crank bolt became loose in less than 500 miles. Tightened the bolt and it was loose on the next ride. Then I used loc-tite. This has worked. My brother told me the FSA would not last any time. How did he know? He told me to go all Shimano or walk home.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:24 AM   #13
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Are we talking about external bearing cranksets here or traditional bottom bracket setups?

For the folks using traditional bottom brackets, the use of alloy bolts with some of the high end cranksets is the problem. Racer equipment deserves racer maintenance. Constant retorking and replacement of the alloy bolts is called for. For the more traditional bolts on any brand of Crank, a little locktite works wonders as "long as you are willing to invest the time to degrease and clean the threads in the bottom bracket and on the bolt". Anything less than this is probably a waste of time.

The new external bearing cranksets have a different approach and different technology. You are clamping an aluminium arm onto a splined shaft. Frequent retorking of the clamp bolt, the use of locktite, special lock devices (like the black spacer in the gap of Shimano Crankarms) and generally good maintenance practices are called for. With experience these problems disappear.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:38 AM   #14
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I rode my FSA SL-K compact over 5000 miles and thought that these loosening stories were just a few isolated incidents. When my new Campy Record Ultra Torque crankset arrived and I took off the FSA, the fixing bolt took only about 1 inch pound of torque to remove. It must have been hanging literally by a thread.
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