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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 08-17-08, 07:19 PM   #1
bigbris1
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Uh Oh. I think I broke Something!

I was hauling down Broadway & when I hit Times Square, I hit the brakes (locked up my legs) & felt/heard this weird noise. It was a sort of ratchety sound. Like when the cog comes loose (I doubt it did). I pulled over & checked the crank arms which seemed to have play. So I walked 2 blocks to Metro & had them check the bike.

They brought it back & said 3 of my chainring bolts were loose, as well as both crank arm bolts. They tightened them up, no charge.

OK, got back on the horse & continued down to Union Square to pick up a bar/stem set from another member. On the ride back home (151st Street) I started hearing a creaking noise (last time it creaked like this was a loose pedal) & more play in the left crank arm (this arm had come loose like 4 times before, to the point I had to start riding with an Allen wrench).

Got home, tightened the pedals, crank arm bolts & there is still play. Feels wobbly & creaks when I pedal. Needless to say I think the left arm is shot. Funny thing is, when I move the drive side arm I can see the chainring move a bit, along with the whole bottom bracket (frame part). What's up with that?

Is it possible the BB is messed up? Will I just need a left arm, or a whole assembly? This sucks, I can't ride 'till this is fixed.

Thanks for reading this.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:54 PM   #2
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I just hope it's just your bottom bracket and not your frame. Get that thing into a shop and let them check it out. It might have been something they didn't catch before. In the mean time you should dis-assemble and re-assemble your bottom bracket area and check for anything weird (i.e. bunged up threads, stuff that shouldn't be there).

Don't forget to lube.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:05 PM   #3
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Jobst Brandt says...

Jobst Brandt says your cranks are ruined.

See here:
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Old 08-17-08, 08:05 PM   #4
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once the crank-arms come loose, if you keep riding like that, the aluminum of the square taper will mall up. this makes it impossible for the arm to get properly re-seated. this warrants a new arm. normally, if its the left side, you can replace it with a generic part for not too much money. if it happens to the drive side, you are looking at a new set of crank arms.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:10 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses.

After checking it again just now, I have determined that the left arm needs to be replaced. The movement I was seeing on the drive side was the frame flex due to the pressure I was applying (hoping, at least).

Before I pull the trigger on a generic replacement arm, I'm going to see if anyone has the actual part. Mike at BD told me to send it to him & he would either repair or replace it, but who knows how long that will take.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-17-08, 09:13 PM   #6
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depending on the type the axle in a BB can come loose which has he same effect. Bring it to a shop before you go buy new cranks for no reason. If it's just the BB, it is an easy fix.
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Old 08-17-08, 09:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by droptop View Post
once the crank-arms come loose, if you keep riding like that, the aluminum of the square taper will mall up. this makes it impossible for the arm to get properly re-seated. this warrants a new arm. normally, if its the left side, you can replace it with a generic part for not too much money. if it happens to the drive side, you are looking at a new set of crank arms.
yep..
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Old 08-18-08, 12:17 AM   #8
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good thing is the cranks not the bottom bracket/frame.
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Old 08-18-08, 03:41 AM   #9
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this happened to me, and when i took it into the shop the square taper of my left crank arm was definitely a little malled up. luckily, i caught it quick (i guess?) and didn't keep riding on it. the shop was able to tighten the cranks and I have still been riding on them. advice from LBS was that they won't last that long, and i'll need to replace sometime down the road. Oh well though, they are bulletproofs. i feel ike this happened to me because they weren't installed tight enough or correctly for that matter.
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Old 08-18-08, 07:01 AM   #10
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depending on the type the axle in a BB can come loose which has he same effect. Bring it to a shop before you go buy new cranks for no reason. If it's just the BB, it is an easy fix.
Could this be true in the case of a sealed BB? I'm pretty sure it's the left arm, especially since it kept coming loose ever since I got the bike.
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Old 08-18-08, 08:23 AM   #11
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If you read the article I linked to you'd have seen the part that explains why tightening a crank that comes loose pretty much ruins it right away. Whether anything else is wrong or not, if you've been tightening either of your cranks as much as you say without taking them off first you will have ruined the tapered holes and they'll never stay tight on the spindle.
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Old 08-18-08, 09:06 AM   #12
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I think it was more of a continuing to ride while it was loose until I realized it was loose issue rather than a not taking it off & reinstalling once it came loose issue.

Really though, I think it wasn't torqued to spec when the bike arrived. I only realized just how much crank bolts need to be torqued down upon intial installation until after the fact.
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Old 08-18-08, 10:20 AM   #13
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this happened to me, and when i took it into the shop the square taper of my left crank arm was definitely a little malled up. luckily, i caught it quick (i guess?) and didn't keep riding on it. the shop was able to tighten the cranks and I have still been riding on them. advice from LBS was that they won't last that long, and i'll need to replace sometime down the road. Oh well though, they are bulletproofs. i feel ike this happened to me because they weren't installed tight enough or correctly for that matter.
Same thing happend to mine on my roadbike. Two separate LBS failed to fix the problem. One suggested I needed a new crank arm and bottom bracket. This was several years back when I knew nothing about bike repair. I bought an huge allen wrench with lots of torque and some locktite. I cranked down with everything I had as I figured I had nothing to lose anyways. I've ridden it about 1,000 miles since then and it is a tight as ever.
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Old 08-18-08, 10:45 AM   #14
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Yeah, but the resisting & trackstanding & my weight probably warrants a new arm.

Can the spline be damaged this way, or just the arm? Also, does anyone know the bcd of the FSA Vero crank? 110?
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Old 08-18-08, 07:09 PM   #15
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I came home & was shopping online for a new crankset. Something told me to just make sure so I go over to the bike & wiggled both arms. They both seemed to move so I decided to take the chain off (DUH!) I realized quickly that the drive arm was even more loose than the left arm! I took the bike up the block to the LBS so he could take the cranks off.

He took them off & I inspected them. I had used thick bearing grease when I installed them after the powdercoating & saw all kinds of grime in there. I asked him to clean everything & reinstall the cranks.

He protested a bit but did it. When he took the bike down I asked for his 8mm to tighten the bolts even more (by foot). I broke the drive side bolt off into the BB spline!!

By this time the shop is supposed to be closed (8PM) I asked if he could take the broken bolt out. He tried, eventually drilled a hole in it & we were able to get it out by hammering a long star wrench in & turning it out. By this time it's 9PM & his wife is looking antsy. "How much do I owe you?" I asked. "Five dollars" he replied with a shrug. Needless to say I gave him a nice tip for getting me riding again. Best of all, it seems the cranks are working well now. My drivetrain is quieter because my chain is looser than before & the bike is less resistant.

I'm sure the left arm will come loose again, but hopefully it will hold on until Mike at BD sends me the replacement.

So here's to my LBS guy for saving my day & my bike!
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Old 08-18-08, 07:25 PM   #16
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It's a spindle, not a spline. Splines are raised longitudinal ribs like on an ISIS spindle or a freehub body.
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Old 08-19-08, 08:12 AM   #17
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i don't think i like the OP, esp. after that lame conversion/brake thread.
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Old 08-19-08, 08:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by bigbris1 View Post

When he took the bike down I asked for his 8mm to tighten the bolts even more (by foot). I broke the drive side bolt off into the BB spline!!

By this time the shop is supposed to be closed (8PM) I asked if he could take the broken bolt out. He tried, eventually drilled a hole in it & we were able to get it out by hammering a long star wrench in & turning it out. By this time it's 9PM & his wife is looking antsy. "How much do I owe you?" I asked. "Five dollars" he replied with a shrug. Needless to say I gave him a nice tip for getting me riding again. Best of all, it seems the cranks are working well now. My drivetrain is quieter because my chain is looser than before & the bike is less resistant.

I'm sure the left arm will come loose again, but hopefully it will hold on until Mike at BD sends me the replacement.

So here's to my LBS guy for saving my day & my bike!
Wow, this is an amazing combination. Super nice bike shop owner and stupid arrogant customer.

Sorry, don't want to be offensive but you really should trust the expert, and using your foot to tighten the bolts!!! ****ing Stupid!

He should have politely told you to **** off and keep the bike for a few days to fix something you broke and that he had just finished working on whilst charging your stupid ass for all the extra work you are requesting of him.
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Old 08-19-08, 09:08 AM   #19
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This is a humble bike shop owner, and just because he has the tools, doesn't necessarily mean he has the knowledge. He had no idea how many in/lbs to tighten the cranks, and when I took the bike down it took at least 5 complete turns of the bolt to get it tightened down properly.

When he first took my cranks off he told me I needed a new BB & tried to sell me one stating that the one I had on the bike was not the right size, that I needed longer spindles. He knows nothing of chainline. Also tried to sell me a cheap crankset.

Yeah, I went too far tightening the bolt, but that doesn't make me arrogant, just not a sheep like most of you are.
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Old 08-19-08, 09:17 AM   #20
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Sorry, i retract my arrogant statement. But as we only have your word on the matter it's pointless to go any further into it.
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Old 08-19-08, 09:22 AM   #21
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i don't think i like the OP, esp. after that lame conversion/brake thread.
He is the dude that had that awful thread with the "that is a guy I can roll with" quote, right? I spend too much time on these forums......
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Old 08-19-08, 09:57 AM   #22
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I think it was more of a continuing to ride while it was loose until I realized it was loose issue rather than a not taking it off & reinstalling once it came loose issue.

Really though, I think it wasn't torqued to spec when the bike arrived. I only realized just how much crank bolts need to be torqued down upon intial installation until after the fact.
I had the same thing happen and I bought some brass shim stock. I used the thinest in the pack and torqued the arm until it was in the proper position.
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Old 08-19-08, 10:12 AM   #23
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How's that holding up?
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Old 08-19-08, 10:30 AM   #24
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This is a humble bike shop owner, and just because he has the tools, doesn't necessarily mean he has the knowledge. He had no idea how many in/lbs to tighten the cranks, and when I took the bike down it took at least 5 complete turns of the bolt to get it tightened down properly.

When he first took my cranks off he told me I needed a new BB & tried to sell me one stating that the one I had on the bike was not the right size, that I needed longer spindles. He knows nothing of chainline. Also tried to sell me a cheap crankset.

Yeah, I went too far tightening the bolt, but that doesn't make me arrogant, just not a sheep like most of you are.
With your attitude, you're lucky anybody wants to try to help you out.
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Old 08-19-08, 01:29 PM   #25
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He is the dude that had that awful thread with the "that is a guy I can roll with" quote, right? I spend too much time on these forums......
mhmm, thats the one.
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