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Old 03-12-05, 04:12 PM   #1
B10Cycle
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Octalink cranks?

I saw at my Performance today that they had a set of Shimano Ultegra Octalink cranks at a really nice price and as I am in the market for a new crankset I thought about picking them up. I've searched the forums here and read some stuff about the Octalink, but I'm not really all square with what they are.

I know I'll need a new Octalink BB along with the cranks, but it there anything else I need to know? Is there anything special about them? The cranks physically looked/were shaped a little different from the other Ultegra and Dura-Ace cranks sitting around it, which threw me off a little bit. Is there a major difference in the Octalink or is the difference in appearance just an aesthetic difference?

Thank you.
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Old 03-12-05, 04:23 PM   #2
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Octalink cranks are much easier to get off than the old square tapers. You just unscrew a bolt with an 8mm allen wrench and they come right off. Unlike the square tapers where you have to crank down on that special tool. Sometimes new products really do make life easier.

I just went to an Ultegra Octalink BB and Ritchey WCS crankset last fall.
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Old 03-12-05, 04:24 PM   #3
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octalink is just the interface, where the crankarm meets the BB spindle. You have to use shimano BB's also so im not very fond of them
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Old 03-12-05, 06:05 PM   #4
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OK, that's pretty much what I was expecting. Thanks, guys.
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Old 03-25-05, 05:20 PM   #5
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is shimano the only ones that make an octalink bb?
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Old 03-25-05, 05:46 PM   #6
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Octalink was Shimano's answer to the ISIS bottom bracket consortium that was established by FSA, Truvativ, RaceFace, and Chris King. It works just fine, is durable, stiff, and the current price at Performance bike makes it an outstanding crank deal.

You'll need the bottom bracket tools if you are looking to replace your bottom bracket.
Shimano has since moved on with Ultegra and DuraAce by creating the outboard bearing bottom brackets on their new 10sp drivetrains.
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Old 03-25-05, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fogrider
is shimano the only ones that make an octalink bb?
I don't know of any brands of bottom brackets other than Shimano that are Octalink. Ritchey cranks and some Specialized cranks are Octalink compatible. There may be others.

It seems there are more brands of bottom brackets that are ISIS compatible, such as FSA, Truvativ, RaceFace, and Nashbar's house brand (if that counts).

I'm guessing here but my thoughts are that in the not too distant future Octalink will show up on Tiagra and Sora bottom brackets and cranks since DA & Ultegra 10 now use the integrated Bottom Bracket spindle. That way Shimano can keep the lifecycle of Octalink going for a few more years and take advantage of the R&D that went into them.

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Old 03-25-05, 06:49 PM   #8
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I've had 2 octalink set ups and I haven't been impressed with either. The first was an XTR bb with an S-works crankarm... never stayed tight. I ended up replacing it with a square taper XT crank and bb. The other is a 105 on my current road bike. It creaks like no other. I've had ISIS, square taper, and the new Shimano set up, all are better than Octalink, in my opnion.
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Old 03-25-05, 09:50 PM   #9
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Yes Octalink seems to be very good at comming loose and squeeking, poping and just making all manner of nasty noises.

The general advice is the liberally grease them when you put them on, but they still creak, pop ect. for me.
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Old 03-25-05, 09:55 PM   #10
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Im 450# and riding octalink cranks...they haven't failed or given me any trouble in 6 months of riding...so I can't complain.
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Old 03-25-05, 10:09 PM   #11
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I haven't had any troubles with them yet either. The operative word though is yet (knocking on simulated wood grain). I have two Octalink road bikes and 1 sq. tapered road and 2 sq. tapered MTB. I honesly can't tell any performance enhancements from using Octalink over square. Seems about the same to me, even when I stand on the pedals and mash away.
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Old 03-27-05, 01:38 PM   #12
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I think you'll find both octalink and ISIS working their way to the graveyard. You'll notice that all new Shimano products are of the integrated crankset BB design as well as Truvative and FSA following the leader. On FSA's website they admit to the inherent design restraints of the isis design. I'm sure the leader realized this as well.

All being said I ordered an Ultegra octalink BB and crankset for myself. It wasnt from Performance but for that price you cant go wrong.
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Old 03-27-05, 01:56 PM   #13
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What i want is FSA's megaexo stuff. THey have a BB out htere that has the ISIS interface but uses external bearings. That sounds like a greand idea to me, people complain endlessly about the bearings in ISIS being too msall, maybe they are but i have had no problem. Though im using a higher end BB, ISIS is fine for 90% of the riders out there
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Old 03-27-05, 02:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2
... ISIS is fine for 90% of the riders out there
... or more. IMHO square taper is fine for the overwhelming majority of the cycling populace.
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Old 03-27-05, 10:04 PM   #15
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A couple things to note:
  • ISIS was everyone else's response to Shimano's Octalink, not the other way around.
  • Be careful buying Octalink bottom brackets and cranks. There is Octalink V1 and Octalink V2; the second version was an improvement on the design, but it only appears on Shimano's lower-end stuff because of the way they trickle-down technologies. They look similar, but if you install V1 with V2 parts, you can damage them.
  • Dura-ace, Ultegra, 105, and XTR parts use Octalink V1 and XT, LX, Deore, Tiagra, and Sora, use V2 (I think).
  • You do need crank pullers for many Octalink cranks. The higher-end cranks come with self-extracting crank bolts, but not all do.

My sense is that ISIS parts will be available for longer than Octalink, but they'll probably both be available far enough in the future so that isn't a big deal. I personally prefer ISIS because there's a hard stop for the crankarm; a torque wrench is much less essential for installation than for Octalink and especially square taper. If I had money, I'd buy an outboard-bearing crankset.
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Old 03-27-05, 11:51 PM   #16
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Tiagra uses sq. taper BB-UN53 and Sora uses sq. taper BB-UN25. The rest are all Octalink or the newer integrated BB.
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Old 03-28-05, 12:09 AM   #17
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The new Sora and Tiagra use Octalink -- probably not available quite yet. The following web page is from Australia because the main site is down.

http://www.shimano.com.au/publish/co...road_2005.html
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Old 03-28-05, 01:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winston
The new Sora and Tiagra use Octalink -- probably not available quite yet. The following web page is from Australia because the main site is down.

http://www.shimano.com.au/publish/co...road_2005.html
So it is! I just used the Australian site for the same reason. However, I pulled up the PDF for Tiagra and it must be out of date as it still shows a square BB. Shimano's web site is pretty weak I suppose.

http://www.shimano.com.au/publish/co...agra_specs.pdf
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Old 03-28-05, 01:54 PM   #19
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Just another example of how Shimano continues to piss me off bu obsoleting perfectly good technology.

Exactly what problem was Octalink, ISIS, et all, trying to solve? Self-extracting crank bolts have been available forever and durability of square taper is not an issue.

Weight savings? Fine, but at least give us a freakin' choice about the issue instead of making us all guinea pigs for products with a purposely short life span.

-Z
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Old 03-28-05, 03:07 PM   #20
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Just another example of how Shimano continues to piss me off bu obsoleting perfectly good technology.

Exactly what problem was Octalink, ISIS, et all, trying to solve? Self-extracting crank bolts have been available forever and durability of square taper is not an issue.

Weight savings? Fine, but at least give us a freakin' choice about the issue instead of making us all guinea pigs for products with a purposely short life span.

-Z
Yes, it seems Shimano and Microsoft have much in common when it comes to planned obsolescence. Consumers do have choices though, even with all of the new designs and gadgetry bombarding the market. Plenty of good ol' square taper BBs out there right now and many can be had on the cheap due to the newer stuff coming out.

For $20 the UN-73 is a pretty good deal IMO. I bought a couple of them as I still have square tapered obsolete cranks, which are more than adequate for my application ... turning the cranks.

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...m+Bracket.aspx

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