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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 03-20-12, 09:13 PM   #1
born2pdl
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Crankset Upgrade Recommendation?

Currently have the stock ultegra 9speed crankset on our trek t2000. Chainrings are worn out so I'd like to use that excuse to upgrade to a decent external bottom bracket crankset. High-end taste, thriftstore budget, ~$300.

Looked at the fsa gossamer. They designed it to fit 68-73mm wide bottom brackets. Their instructions call for 4 of their 2.5mm spacers on our t2000 for a total of 10mm added width. Is it just me or does that sound lame?

Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 03-20-12, 09:46 PM   #2
Dean V
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I would prefer the crankset you have over the Gossomer. Just get some new chainrings.
The Gossomer has a very wide Q factor and the chainrings are very short lived as well.
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Old 03-20-12, 10:57 PM   #3
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What I did was to buy a cheap Truvative triple on closeout and use it as a ring donor. I then sold the crank for half price...
Net cost 25.00 for a set of triple rings. Sometimes an "upgrade" isn't really.
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Old 03-20-12, 11:20 PM   #4
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You have the best. New Ultegra rings. You might lay by a NOS Ultegra BB, too. Good for you for wearing out your rings. I get about 30,000 miles out of an Ultegra BB, YMMV. I went through my FSA external bearings in one year.
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Old 03-21-12, 10:31 AM   #5
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Ultegra's are nice cranks. Unless you bust your budget I doubt you could do better. I would buy some nice chain rings and maybe a bottom bracket.
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Old 03-21-12, 11:19 AM   #6
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FSA Gossamer crank installation instructions are best read drunk or upside down.

I spoke with their tech on a couple of things and they mentioned they have a typo or two in there. Seriously. How's that for QC? Left is right, right is left, 2 is 1, 1 is 2....

As for their spacer specs, I'd ignore those too and go with what works in your judgement, based upon your frame. My chainline is just about perfectly aligned and the shifting is spot on, and I didn't use all the spacers. Finally got to that point after ditching the instructions and looking at what made sense.
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Old 03-21-12, 02:25 PM   #7
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OT to budget crank:

This is the long-anticipated eecycleworks crank, on a Calfee half-bike at NAHBS. In the Fairwheel crank test, the prototype had the best stiffness/weight ratio. Mike Moore stated that he had talked to Craig Edwards, the engineer at eecycleworks, about making a tandem crank version of this. An eecycleworks tandem crank would be very expensive, and thus OT to your crank situation.



Note the Praxis chainrings. Probably next year there will be a triple version of these forged chainrings. I am using 53 outer (double) Praxis chainring, with TA inner and middle triple chainrings, and I think the Praxis shifting is superior.

So, if it is your chainrings that are worn, but your crank is still good, and you want to try something different, Praxis chainrings could be the thing. Hopefully it won't be too long until the triple rings are available. I can give a qualified endorsement of the double Praxis outer chainring on a triple (I haven't ridden it long enough to be sure).

Last edited by Ritterview; 03-21-12 at 08:24 PM. Reason: meant middle, wrote outer
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Old 03-21-12, 03:52 PM   #8
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I would also just get some new, quality chainrings (stick with Shimano rings if you are happy with the sizes they offer), and not waste my money on a FSA Gossamer crank. If you really want external bearings then save up some more cash to buy the new Shimano R601, R603 tandem crankset.
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Old 03-21-12, 07:33 PM   #9
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..we have your same Ultegra's on our '07 T2000, and we have Gossamer's on our "10 C'dale. I like them both, but I would not spend the money to convert either to the other. When the chainrings go on the Ultegra's, I will definitely replace them with the same Shimano rings.
If I had to choose one set over the other, it would be the Ultegras....they just seem to be better quality, not that the Gossamers aren't quite decent.

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Old 03-21-12, 07:36 PM   #10
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I would stay with the Ultegra crankset. I have FSA Gossamer on one tandem and Ultegra on another tandem. I like the Ultegra much better.
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Old 03-21-12, 09:37 PM   #11
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My old FSA Gossamer gets clicking noises sometimes. I have to unbolt the pedal arm, clean the axle splines, and regrease it. Other than that, it's been OK. I don't consider it an upgrade from an Ultegra.
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Old 03-22-12, 06:32 AM   #12
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I appreciate all the very good input. I'll follow the advice for getting new chainrings for the original ultegra crankset. That brings up a couple of minor questions and ring sizes.

We do spin out on some descents, and we run an 11-23 cassette (unless serious climbing is planned) since I like a narrow cadence range. The stock rings are 52/42/30. I already changed 30 to 28. I'm thinking maybe 53/39/28 unless there are other things to consider. Any thoughts on ring sizes? Thanks.
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Old 03-22-12, 06:54 AM   #13
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If your happy with the crank lengths then just get new rings.......if not and you want to change then I have just put a compact set up on my cannondale. There's some pics on the "upgraded cannondale" thread below. You get a wide choice of cranks to choose from and can do it a lot cheaper than the same weight tandem kit......though obviously it depends on the team weight terrain etc
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Old 03-25-12, 11:54 PM   #14
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I would just think about which chainrings you use the most for the riding you do. If you ride mainly in the middle ring dropping to a 39 may make it less usable and you will be swapping back and forth with the big ring more. If you are in the big ring a lot making it bigger might mean you can't stay on top of it so much and need to drop to the middle more often. I would rather have a smaller big chainring and spin a bit more on the odd occasion that we need to than having it bigger and needing to cross chain more or keep dropping to the middle. I had a 56 on our bike for a bit because I wanted to do some silly down hill runs. It was great for that but hopeless for riding in general. The 52 was soon put back on. We are not spun out till over 50mph on a 52/12 and are usually happy to coast from then on.
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