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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-18-06, 01:11 PM   #1
Ken Cox
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Stronglight and Businesscycles

I got some feedback that I might have given a wrong impression about a Stronglight crank I bought from Businesscycles.
I'd like to set things straight.

I experiment with bicycle parts, especially chainrings and cogs.
I like to play around with biopace chainrings, thanks to an article on biopace by Sheldon Brown.

The biopace chainrings I have require a 130 BCD crank; an uncommon BCD for track and fixed gear.

Businesscycles had a good deal on a very nice looking 130 BCD crank made by Stronglight, and research indicated this crank would also work with my titanium Phil Wood bottom bracket.

When the Stronglight crank arrived I put it on my bike with a 53t biopace chainring.
It looked good, worked great and I rode it over the spring, summer and fall, and had a blast.

With the first frosts I wanted to significantly gear down so that I could stay off the front brake.

I took off the 53t biopace chainring and put on one of my truly round and smaller 130 BCD chainrings.
As I adusted the chain tension, I noticed I had a tight place on the chain with the right crank at the two o'clock position.
Hm.
I tried Sheldon Brown's chainring centering technique, which had worked for me before on a different crank, but without success.

OK.

So I got all my 130 BCD chainrings and started going through them.
I spent the entire afternoon putting each chainring on with a matched cog and chain (I keep different length chains for each ring and cog combo).
All of them showed a tight spot at the two o'clock position.

Bummer.

I called John at Businesscycles, where I had purchased the crank six months or so earlier, to pick his brain.

John said very rarely he had encountered an out of round crank.
He went on to say had I noticed this earlier, he would have exchanged it outright, but after six months, so many variables could have entered into the equation that it didn't seem right to put it all on him or the manufacturer.
John said if I wanted to send the crank to him, he would look at it, but for me to not have any expectations about which way it would go.

Well, since I rode primarily with a biopace ring on that bike, and since I didn't want to lose the use of the bike while John looked at the crank, I decided to live with it.

So then a thread came up somehow remotely related to this subject, and I mentioned my experience with the Stronglight crank and John; someone responded and it got me thinking I'd like to take another run at this, but perhaps directly with the importer or manufacturer with an at-cost exchange of my crank for a known good crank.

And now we get to the reason for this thread.
I think during the above conversation, someone might have gotten the idea that John at Businesscycles did not wholeheartedly support me regarding this crank, and I want to set the record straight.

Long story, eh?

I have purchased bicycle parts and tools from John at Businesscycles for about two years.
John has spent a remarkable amount of time on the phone with me, and has always steered me in the right direction and made good suggestions that have worked for me.
From the beginning of the Stronglight crank thing, John has very supportively said I coud send him the crank and he would look at it, figure out the problem, talk to the importer and do whatever else he needed to do to make it right, but after six months of riding (and the crank arms have plenty of visible cosmetic wear and tear from street riding) and "variables" (my amateur maintenance), he didn't feel comfortable with a direct exchange.

If anyone got the idea from my writing that John did not respond wholeheartedly and with the intent to make things right, I want to correct that now.
Shame on me if I gave anyone the impression that John gave me any less than 100% support.

I might still talk to the importer and see if they have any ideas.

Regardless, I plan to buy a Sugino crank from John at Business cycles for use with round chainrings, and at that time I'll send John the Stronglight crank and let him and the importer look at it while I ride around on my Sugino crank.

I buy all my track stuff from John and will continue to do so, and I highly recommend John for everything and anything having to do with fixed gear bikes.
John lives and breathes track and fixed gear and has always treated me super decently and given me plenty of his time and advice.
I have had a much more enjoyable fixed gear adventure these past two years because of John's friendly help and advice.
Good prices, too.

www.businesscycles.com
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Old 12-18-06, 02:48 PM   #2
teiaperigosa
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guy's been always very pleasant and helpful on the phone when I've ordered from there

prompt shipping, products as desired....a plus
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Old 12-18-06, 03:41 PM   #3
Sheldon Brown
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox
Businesscycles had a good deal on a very nice looking 130 BCD crank made by Stronglight, and research indicated this crank would also work with my titanium Phil Wood bottom bracket...

As I adusted the chain tension, I noticed I had a tight place on the chain with the right crank at the two o'clock position.
Hm.
I tried Sheldon Brown's chainring centering technique, which had worked for me before on a different crank, but without success.

So I got all my 130 BCD chainrings and started going through them.
I spent the entire afternoon putting each chainring on with a matched cog and chain (I keep different length chains for each ring and cog combo).
All of them showed a tight spot at the two o'clock position.
Actually it would have been better to try rotating the same ring 144 degrees (2 bolts) and see if the high spot was still at 2:00.

You might also try removing the right crank and installing it 180 degrees away on the spindle. If it's still tight at 2:00 that indicates the problem is the crank. If it shifts to 8:00, you know it's the bottom bracket.

Sheldon "Check It Out" Brown

P.S. Though he's a competitor, I too have a high regard and respect for Business Cycles.
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Old 12-18-06, 07:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teiaperigosa
guy's been always very pleasant and helpful on the phone when I've ordered from there

prompt shipping, products as desired....a plus
yeah, a little too pleasant and helpful on the phone.
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Old 12-18-06, 08:56 PM   #5
Fugazi Dave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
P.S. Though he's a competitor, I too have a high regard and respect for Business Cycles.
High praise indeed!

I love Business Cycles and though my budget doesn't allow me to purchase much gear, I do buy from John when I can. Never had anything less than an exceptionally good experience dealing with the man.
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