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  1. #1
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    French crank/pedal issue - help please1

    So I got this ok old (probably mid 70's but thats a guess) Atala frame basically for free (I had to help move a couch in exchange) and so I decided to convert it to a fixie (I always need a project and my other bikes were finally 'done'). Anyway, I was going to replace the cranks until I realized that they were 'stronglight' French cranks and that my crank puller wasn't going to work. not wanting to hammer them off, i decided to leave them on. The pedals are complete garbage though, so I wanted to replace them, and last night I went to take off the old ones and realized that my pedal wrench was too small (its 15mm). These appear to be about 17mm (but my 17mm wrench can't fit in between the pedal and the crank arm, and so I will have to buy a real 17 mm pedal wrench, and hope I am right about the size). Tomorrow I'm placing a wheel order and thought I'd throw in some pedals while I was at it, but now I am concerned that like everything else with these cranks, I might run into some sort of weird French sizing issue. According to Sheldon, old French cranks sometimes do have another pedal sizing, but I have no idea how or what I should measure. Does anyone have and experience or advice with French cranks?

    the picture below is not my bike, but the cranks look just like that in case that provides any clues.



  2. #2
    Senior Member akky's Avatar
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    If you can get the pedals off, you should be able to mount any current pedals into it. I have the same cranks on one of my bikes, and I'm running Shimano SPDs on it.

  3. #3
    cxmagazine dot com pitboss's Avatar
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    should these be discussed as "Freedom crank/pedal issue?"
    Deathlap - cyclocross, training, beer,...escape hatch

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by [165]
    should these be discussed as "Freedom crank/pedal issue?"
    Yes! Change it, mr. mod!

  5. #5
    i don't stop travsi's Avatar
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    akky is right. i've also had experience with such pedals, and normal pedals will fit as well.

  6. #6
    town idiot Mr. Fusion's Avatar
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    if the bike was bought new in the states, then it shouldn't be a problem. my stronglight cranks have the pedal size stamped on the inside of the crank arm.

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    I have one more question. The crank seems to have a 122 BCD, which is a bit of a pain. First of all, for those with these cranks, is that right? I'm using a yard stick, so my measuring isn't the most precise, but that seems to jive with the info I've found online for the BCD of old Stronglights. Anyone have some tips on where to get some chainrings for this? Either online, or in the nyc area? Harris has a limited number of sizes (38, 40, 42, 50, 52), but I'd like a little more choice. I'm also very impatient and don't want to wait 5 days for some ebay auction to end.

  8. #8
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    These Stronglight cranks take a specialized remover, 23.35 mm. Some shops will try to remove them with a TA remover (23mm), DO NOT LET THEM, you can strip the threads from the crank. Look on the back of the crank. Stronglights will have one of two markings indicating threading for pedals, 14x1.25= French, 9/16x20= English. If French, a competent shop should be able to tap French pedal threads to English. 122 is proper stronglight BCD for those cranks. SL did use some different BCDs on other model cranks
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

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  9. #9
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    yeah, i already know about the TA thing. EVERY shop I went to wanted to use those but I already knew enough not to let them. No one seemed to have the SL crank puller. they all kept saying, "I have the one with the big and the little, so I'll just use the big side." I lost a lot of faith in a couple LBS' that weekend. But I just can't bring myself to buy the proper crank puller to use just once to take them off. Not to mention, I don't really have the cash for a new crankset.

    As for the markings on the back, all I can find is "170," which is obviously the length of the arm, near the hole for the pedal. I don't see any markings about the pedal threading on either arm. Where is it marked on yours? Would the fact that the more standard 15 sized pedal wrench does not work give me a clue one way or the other?

    Also, if I don't buy a new chain ring, I am limited to either the 40t or the 52t that came with it. If I use one of these, I'll use the 52, but I noticed last night that one tooth was slightly broken off. Could this cause my chain to jump or anything bad? or is one bad tooth inconsequential?

  10. #10
    The Silver Hammer emayex's Avatar
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    i had the same problem when i first converted my follis

    french pedal threads are 1/2, stard size is 9/16. really with the exception of some rare ebay finds the only thing you can get are kids bmx pedals...you know...crappy plastic barbie bike ones. your best bet is to buy a new crankset...it will save you los and lots of touble

    if you love your cranks though you could buy a set of taps (i think sheldon has teh correct one) and rethread the hole to fit a modern pedal.

    french bikes are a pain in the ass

  11. #11
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Owning eight frenchies, I'm not sure I agree about the PITA thing. What the heck, I'm used to them.

    Every SL crank I own (somewhere around eight or nine) has the pedal thread markings on the rear side, right near (above) the crank length. Sometimes the stamp for the pedal threading is a little lighter.

    If the crank is on an Atala, I'd reckon the pedal threading is standard (Atala is Italian, I believe). But you never know, it might be a take off from a French bike. SL cranks of this design were used on numerous non-french bikes, notably Raleigh. A lot of SL cranks imported to the US were English pedal threads, even on French bikes.

    Too bad you're not in town, I'd remove the cranks for you no problem.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

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  12. #12
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    damnit. So it says 14 x 1.25 on the crank arm. It was faint, but I found it. So this means my pedals coming in the mail won't work. Right? Does anyone know a good place in NYC to tap them to English, OR a place where I can get french pedals? This sucks...damn French. errr....damn Freedom.

  13. #13
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    PS. Poguemahone...if you have a bunch of French parts, wanna trade me for your French pedals? I ordered the wheels for this little project from Tony and just through in some pedals, but now it seems they do me no good. They're the ones shown on the IRO site.

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