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Old 04-17-11, 05:41 PM   #1
smoore
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Anyone riding a 48X34 Crank?

I'm building up a new (to me) Landshark and was planning on going with a standard compact 50X34. Then I ran across some great looking Velo Orange cranks that are apparently big with the loaded-touring crowd.

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ts/cranks.html

In reality, I seldom ride in my current 50X11 or 50X12 and I was wondering just how livable the 48 tooth large ring might be? Especially since I live in a hilly area and I'm more of a spinner than a big gear guy anyway. Perhaps a 48 big ring would give me more usable gears before I have to switch to the inner ring?

Any opinions?
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Old 04-17-11, 06:12 PM   #2
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I have a Canondale SuperX cyclocross bike that I use for road riding in northern NM. I have SRAM Rival CX gearing, which is 46/36-12/27. I plan to get a 50 on it when I have time to start riding a bit more. I spin out of the 46/12 fairly often on long, shallow downhills around here.
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Old 04-17-11, 06:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoore View Post
I'm building up a new (to me) Landshark and was planning on going with a standard compact 50X34. Then I ran across some great looking Velo Orange cranks that are apparently big with the loaded-touring crowd.

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ts/cranks.html

In reality, I seldom ride in my current 50X11 or 50X12 and I was wondering just how livable the 48 tooth large ring might be? Especially since I live in a hilly area and I'm more of a spinner than a big gear guy anyway. Perhaps a 48 big ring would give me more usable gears before I have to switch to the inner ring?

Any opinions?
I've chosen to ride a 50x13 top gear since 1996 which is even smaller. It's a decent 30 MPH cruising gear and 35 + MPH sprinting gear (I never made it beyond cat 5), more than ample for living in the Rocky Mountains where there are just a few places where you might gain more speed pedaling down-hill than being more aerodynamic (east bound rides with a Chinook are a different issue, although I never cared how fast I made it to work with a 40 MPH tail wind). More importantly it means that with 9 cogs I can have both 16 and 18 cogs while still retaining a 34x23 low gear which is like 39x26. Being dragged kicking and screaming into the 10 speed era with an extra 30 pounds of beer gut I'll add a 26 on the large end instead of a 12 on the small.

A 46 would be the equivalent big ring with a 12 starting cog and 42 with an 11 - this is simple arithmetic ex 12/13 * 50 = 46.

It's not hard to note where you might want an extra gear, when you'd like a bigger gear, when you'd like a smaller gear, how bad the absence is, and pick something which matches your tastes.

Lots of people are heavier or lighter than you, stronger or weaker, have a wider or narrower cadence range, pedal faster or slower, and live places with steeper/longer or flatter/shorter hills. Their opinions on what you should be riding aren't too relevant.

The bike company bean counters might limit what you have in back so they have fewer SKUs, although you can work around that with companies like TA Specialties making nice enough chain rings in every practical size.

You also want to look at how much overlap between rings you have, where the split intersects with your riding, where your preferred speeds end up on the rear cassette,eand perhaps how messy a double shift is.

In the 8 speed era I ran 50-40-30x13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 in back - as much low and high gear as I needed in the mountains, as tight as I wanted in the plains. After wearing out parts I switched to 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23 in back because I couldn't buy 13-21 8 speed and 50-34 in front because 34x23 was the same low gear as 30x21. It doesn't work as well - only 50x21 and 34x14 overlap apart from the extreme combinations so there are terrain/wind/fatigue combinations involving a lot of double shifting, I'm riding 50x21 or 34x14 on the ends of the cassette which are louder than 40x17 in the middle, and a double shift means going 5 cogs larger or smaller instead of 3 which is no longer one Campagnolo right shifter wiggle when going from small to big ring.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 04-17-11 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 04-17-11, 06:20 PM   #4
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I had a 48/34 with a 12-25 nine speed cassette on my Kona Jake. Great for hills.
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Old 04-17-11, 07:46 PM   #5
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I use a 46 & 38 Cyclocross crank-set with an 11-25. It's great and I don’t miss the bigger chain-ring.

Sram makes a 48 & 34 OEM Apex crank-set if you can find one. I would want an external BB and would avoid a square taper BB like the VO crank.
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Old 04-17-11, 07:57 PM   #6
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I've had a 48 big ring for many years. Until last year it was 48/36, then I switched to 48/34. Also until last year I ran a 5-speed freewheel, the old standard 14-17-20-24-28. I spend all my non-climbing time on the 48. On flat terrain with no real headwind I'll generally cruise with the 20 cog. The 17 and 24 cogs get used when the slope or wind helps or hinders. I almost never use the 14 except for the silly thrill of going yet faster down a hill which would carry me pretty fast without my help! Later in the day my cogs must get smaller because I have to go up a notch.
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Old 04-17-11, 08:03 PM   #7
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I changed the 52-42 on my Motta with 10sp 12/27 to a 48 /39, and it made a great deal of good difference. much better for all riding that I do ,
the 52 was way to tall for my riding...and the 39 makes for much easier hills...and with the 10 sp gives me much nicer ,even, selection of ratios..
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Old 04-17-11, 08:07 PM   #8
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Heck, I ride with a 46x34 with a 13-30 cassette. But I'm more a century guy than a speed demon.
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Old 04-17-11, 09:00 PM   #9
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I would want an external BB and would avoid a square taper BB like the VO crank.
Why?
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Old 04-17-11, 11:22 PM   #10
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The gearing set-up I run most often is a 48/34 with an 11-28. I don't race, but I do quite a few 200, 300 and 400km rides and tour quite a bit (add the 24 tooth granny). I rarely find myself without the right gear for the cadence I am holding, which is nice.
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Old 04-18-11, 12:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Why?
I would ask the same question- but I would want the taper BB to be of good quality.

I run compact 50/34 and 12/27 and I need that 34/27. Top end and even for me I find that 50/12 is just high enough and those slight downslopes are where it comes in. Surprising how often I find myself in 50/12 on rides- particularly if I am lucky enough to find a tailwind aswell.

Unless there is a reason for getting away from the crank currently fitted-like low quality- then I cannot see the expense of fitting another crank would be worthwhile on cost or efficiency. a 50/34 would do the same as a 48/34 and allow that little bit extra in a slightly higher gear that may at some time be required.
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Old 04-18-11, 02:23 AM   #12
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with a 12-27 cassette and 50 t chain ring the gear in range is 50-113, with the same cassette and 48 t chain ring the range is 48-108; I personally won't miss anything with the 48 - I don't race or do any club rides.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:16 AM   #13
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Why?
Two reasons;

1) The bearings are spaced wider on an external BB. The result is a stiffer crank-set with better power transfer. These bearing are also larger in diameter.

2) The Square taper is an interference fit that require the crank-arms to distort on the tapered axle before a fixed assembly is achieved. This requires perfectly sized parts and skilled assembly or the arms could work loose. An external BB is assembled with a fixed axle at the factory. The axle is easily installed and removed without precise fitting skills and the parts are not distorted with each fitting.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
...then I cannot see the expense of fitting another crank would be worthwhile on cost or efficiency. a 50/34 would do the same as a 48/34 and allow that little bit extra in a slightly higher gear that may at some time be required.
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
I'm building up a new (to me) Landshark and was planning on going with a standard compact 50X34. Then I ran across some great looking Velo Orange cranks that are apparently big with the loaded-touring crowd.

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...ts/cranks.html

In reality, I seldom ride in my current 50X11 or 50X12 and I was wondering just how livable the 48 tooth large ring might be? Especially since I live in a hilly area and I'm more of a spinner than a big gear guy anyway. Perhaps a 48 big ring would give me more usable gears before I have to switch to the inner ring?

Any opinions?
The OP stated that he is building a bike, so now is the best time to select the gear range. He also said that he is seldom using the 50X11 or 50X12 on his current bike. He can achieve a better chain-line, reduce shifting of the chain-rings and reduce cross-chaining if he uses a smaller chain-ring on the outside location of the crank-set.

The gear spacing will be tighter from 20 to 32 mph, providing a smaller change in cadence with each shift. I'm able to use 5 of the rear cogs above 20 mph and can also crawl as slow as 10 mph without reducing my cadence or using the small chain-ring.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 04-18-11 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:49 AM   #15
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I suggest doing your own due diligence and test ride a cross bike or something that has the crankset you are contemplating. Here is a calculator to check the gearing. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Depending on your fitness and leg speed, it may be a great idea or a poor one. I tend to remember riding situations as I wish they were, thought they were and not as they ACTUALLY were. YMMV.
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Old 04-18-11, 10:07 AM   #16
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I run with a 48-34 crank and a 14-34 9 speed cassette on my main road bike. Works great for me.
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Old 04-18-11, 10:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Two reasons;

1) The bearings are spaced wider on an external BB. The result is a stiffer crank-set with better power transfer. These bearing are also larger in diameter.

2) The Square taper is an interference fit that require the crank-arms to distort on the tapered axle before a fixed assembly is achieved. This requires perfectly sized parts and skilled assembly or the arms could work loose. An external BB is assembled with a fixed axle at the factory. The axle is easily installed and removed without precise fitting skills and the parts are not distorted with each fitting.
Nice in theory and possibly at some levels of performance, but square taper BBs have and continue to perform very well in real world situations. I see no particular reason to avoid them. No problem with the external bearing type either. The only BB that ever gave me unsatisfactory service was an ISIS type that wore out far too quickly.
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Old 04-18-11, 10:43 AM   #18
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Nice in theory and possibly at some levels of performance, but square taper BBs have and continue to perform very well in real world situations. I see no particular reason to avoid them. No problem with the external bearing type either. The only BB that ever gave me unsatisfactory service was an ISIS type that wore out far too quickly.


The Anti-friction bearing was invented by Leonardo DaVinci. It’s been a proven theory for hundreds of years, It's also 8th grade physics.

BTW, good luck even finding a new Crankset with a Square tapered interface. The only suppliers making them are smaller players serving the restoration crowd.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 04-18-11 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 04-18-11, 11:30 AM   #19
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The Anti-friction bearing was invented by Leonardo DaVinci. It’s been a proven theory for hundreds of years, It's also 8th grade physics.

BTW, good luck even finding a new Crankset with a Square tapered interface. The only suppliers making them are smaller players serving the restoration crowd.
Ever hear of Sugino? Does it really matter how large a company builds you crankset?

BTW - I was one of the minority of people in my school who took physics at all and that was in the 12th grade. I don't recall studying DaVinci's work with bottom brackets.

Last edited by BluesDawg; 04-18-11 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 04-18-11, 11:43 AM   #20
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46/33 on my Paramount PDG Series 3
Had this setup 6 years now
I may use the 46 once in 15 rides.
I tend to spin and the 33/12 has allowed me to keep the 17mph pace fine.(even go up to 19)
I'm actually building a 13-30 'hill wheel' for the same bike.
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Old 04-18-11, 11:45 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Ever hear of Sugino? Does it really matter how large a company builds you crankset?

BTW - I was one of the minority of people in my school who took physics at all and that was in the 12th grade. I don't recall studying DaVinci's work with bottom brackets.
Actually, Sugino’s most expensive cranks use an external BB. Thank you for proving my point! The invention of the lever has been around for a while, even before you graduated from the 12th grade!
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Old 04-18-11, 12:08 PM   #22
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I ride a 46/34 crank with a 11/28 10-speed cassette. I don't seem to miss the original 50t chainwheel that came with bike -- fewer shifts up front!
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Old 04-18-11, 12:45 PM   #23
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Actually, Sugino’s most expensive cranks use an external BB. Thank you for proving my point! The invention of the lever has been around for a while, even before you graduated from the 12th grade!
I'm not sure how or why this pissing contest got started.

I don't dispute the theoretical advantages of wider spaced bearings. I do contend that at real world levels of performance, very good functionality can be, has been for decades and continues to be found in typical square taper bottom brackets with the bearing size and locations they employ.

You suggested that it is hard to find cranksets using square taper bottom brackets today and that this scarceness was a reason to avoid buying one. That is not so. True, they are not the direction that the major makers are going with most of their production, but there are still good examples to be found. The OP found one. Sugino still makes many (I wouldn't be surprised if the VO cranks are sourced from Sugino). Campy held on to the square taper standard for several years after Shimano switched. Campy triple cranks are still square taper, as are some of the low end cranks from Shimano and other mainstream companies.

I would not steer anyone away from buying a crankset with external bearings. I have them on my MTB and my best road bike. But I don't see a reason to avoid buying a crankset that meets your your gearing, performance and aesthetic requirements just because of the square taper BB.
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Old 04-18-11, 01:14 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=BluesDawg;12523342]I'm not sure how or why this pissing contest got started.
[QUOTE]

You asked "Why" and I answered. BTW: Turn down the sensitivity knob.
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Old 04-18-11, 01:19 PM   #25
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I would want an external BB and would avoid a square taper BB like the VO crank.
Feeling too strong? or just want to ride the wave of the latest Gizmo?

For their Triple , Campagnolo still supplies a square taper set.
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