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  1. #1
    Ex Racer, frame builder
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    Modern cranks suck!

    I'm setting up my track bike to re-start track racing after about 18 years off.

    As I'm now 200% less fit than I was back then, I'm trying to sort out gears to match my level. Looking back I think I was probably overgeared and relied on brute strength to push big gears on 170mm cranks.

    I thought I should get some 165 cranks (cheapies) and try 47/16 gearing. The gear seems OK, but the modern style cranks are offset away from the frame by about 20mm each side. So my feet are now at least 40mm further apart. It feels all wrong, and the pedals get closer to the high banking on the track than the narrower 170s did. Our track is a 250m steep one, thats a lot of fun, but I don't want to clip a pedal when just rolling around.
    Also I find that when I push really hard out of the saddle, the wider pedal position tends to tilt the bike sideways on each pedal stroke, a lot more than the narrower 170s. I need to pull much harder on the handlebars to keep the bike upright and straight.

    Is this a recognised consequence of using the modern wiggly cranks ?

    I've put the straight narrow 170s back on and will try it out at the Friday evening race meeting.

    Maybe I need to spend more money and get straight/narrow 165s ??

    Bobthe....

  2. #2
    Not-so-Senior Member
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    What are the 170s? If they are good quality track-specific cranks they could well be made with a low Q factor (overall width) for precisely that reason. And if your cheapie 165s are road cranks they would have a normal road-style Q factor, ie wider.

  3. #3
    (Grouchy)
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    most track cranks nowadays use somewhere between a 102mm and a 110mm spindle length. most road cranks (except campy) use 113 or 118.

  4. #4
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    I am seriously contemplating using the new DA 10 speed road cranks and using just the inner ramp to hold the chainring. Thoughts?

  5. #5
    Ex Racer, frame builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny B
    What are the 170s? If they are good quality track-specific cranks they could well be made with a low Q factor (overall width) for precisely that reason. And if your cheapie 165s are road cranks they would have a normal road-style Q factor, ie wider.
    The 170s are Sugino super mighty road cranks with the inner ring steps cut off. The BBaxle is a short track one, so the outer ring position lines up perfectly.
    The cheapie 165s are road cranks, and on the same axle, but I need to use the inner ring pos'n, and spread my legs.

    In the good old days, all cranks were straight & narrow, the track ones just had one ring pos'n.
    The ring allignment for road was adjusted by using a longer (right side) axle.

    Why would anyone need cranks that wiggle around and end up so far out ??
    I'm convinced that modern designers have totally lost the plot........................

    Bobthe....

  6. #6
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    http://pedalpowerbikes.com/site/page...134&SKU=CR7444

    These cranks is what some Keirin guys I know uses and the are pretty close to the frame. Just like you I am to coming back to race and don't like most of the new stuff out there.

    I am not riding my old track bike with campy super record. i have the old style Dura Ace crank on my keirin bike I just built up.

    S/F,
    CEYA!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthe....
    Why would anyone need cranks that wiggle around and end up so far out ??

    Bobthe....
    so i'm no expert, but 'wiggling' is bad for cranks, no? maybe this is the problem? they're not 'on' correctly? unless wiggle means something diffrent is aurstralia.

  8. #8
    Ex Racer, frame builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by hair07
    so i'm no expert, but 'wiggling' is bad for cranks, no? maybe this is the problem? they're not 'on' correctly? unless wiggle means something diffrent is aurstralia.
    Sorry, I don't mean they are loose........ I mean they don't take a straight radial line from BBaxle to pedal thread. They curve away from the frame then straighten parallel again so they end up putting the pedals too far apart. Surely the pedals should be really close in line with hips and knees ?

    As a Junior 30 years ago I was taught to pedal with my knees passing as close as possible to the top tube. Thats fine with old fashioned narrow cranks, but not comfortable or efficient with the padals so far out wide.

    Still wondering why modern designers need to throw out all the tried and true principles, just because the blonde in marketting says it looks more sexy if its all curvy and weird !!!!

    Bobthe....

  9. #9
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    I'm going to guess in general that it's a stability thing. A higher q-factor provides a more stable stance at the expense of straight-ahead riding. That's not terribly useful on a track when the course is pretty well known and not very dynamic. It's a little more useful on the street. It's ultimately useful for BMXers and MTBers.

  10. #10
    Ex Racer, frame builder
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    That sounds reasonable, and I guess bike manufacturers see the rugged MTB look as being good for all bike design..... so road bikes get the same wide cranks ?

    Bobthe....

  11. #11
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    road cranks are not as high of a q-factor as mtn bikes, but they did start incorporating a milder version of that design.

    It doesnt bug me much, but I rode mtn bikes first, and having stright cranks is really odd feeling to me as a result. My good roadie as a result does have the "bent-arm" cranks, since I feel more comfortable with them.

    Maybe that was a secondary reason, make the mtn bike to road bike conversion a bit easier. Really I like the added stability though, makes getting out of the saddle a far easier task.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthe....
    Sorry, I don't mean they are loose........ I mean they don't take a straight radial line from BBaxle to pedal thread. They curve away from the frame then straighten parallel again so they end up putting the pedals too far apart. Surely the pedals should be really close in line with hips and knees ?

    As a Junior 30 years ago I was taught to pedal with my knees passing as close as possible to the top tube. Thats fine with old fashioned narrow cranks, but not comfortable or efficient with the padals so far out wide.

    Still wondering why modern designers need to throw out all the tried and true principles, just because the blonde in marketting says it looks more sexy if its all curvy and weird !!!!

    Bobthe....
    maybe you should be looking at *gasp* actual track cranks instead of road cranks? sugino 75 cranks are straight, campy pista cranks are straight, the FSA vigorelli cranks are straight, even the dura ace track cranks are straight. even road cranks with the little bend in them have that bend because the spindles are narrower than previous years. the chainrings are closer to the frame, and they have to put a little curve into the arms to clear the frames. it's either that or put little divots in the chainstays of every single frame. but as far as i know, FSA is the only manufacturer i mentioned who makes cranks with arms that curve outward...so which manufacturers are you talking about, exactly? have you actually ridden any of these cranks? i'll take my sugino75s over "old school" campy "snap off at will" pista cranks.

  13. #13
    Ex Racer, frame builder
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    I don't understand your point.

    Yes I've ridden narrow, wide, straight, bent, steel, alloy, cottered, cotterless, long, short, black, white and brindled cranks. I've built frames, setup BBs, and fiddled with chain allignment for 35 years.

    I have several sets of old Sugino cranks, but not 165's for track.
    I have 170 Sugino Mighty road cranks on a short axle (the inside faces of both cranks are about 3mm from the BB cups) and the pedal ends clear the frame by about 4mm both sides. The chainwheel alligns perfectly with the cog on the Campag Record High Flange 40 hole hub.

    I was hoping to get a relatively cheap pair of 165s to do the same job.

    I've not found any in the 3 LBS nearby.

    I was wondering why all the LBS cranks are so wide.

    Riding on the track with Cinelli Pista 67-39 bars with wide cranks felt VERY weird, way too much tilting of the bike when I get out of the saddle.
    It might be OK for MTB or commuters to have the "stability" feel of wide cranks, but it is definitely not good when you're sprinting in a close bunch on steep banking and you need to keep a straight line while out of the saddle.

    Bobthe....

  14. #14
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    my point is that if you want narrow track cranks, you should get narrow TRACK CRANKS and not expect a road crank to be the same width as a track crank. they're designed for two very different types of riding. if you're going to be riding on the track, get track cranks.

  15. #15
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthe....
    I've not found any in the 3 LBS nearby.

    I was wondering why all the LBS cranks are so wide.
    I'd be willing to bet that if you told them the problems you were having with the cranks that they had in stock, they'd be able to find and order what you need, which are true track cranks. A lot of LBSs don't stock true track components since the demand isn't that great, and most people that are looking for track components probably already know the exact item that they want. Even if they were to carry 2 or 3 different track cranksets, they might not ever sell them.

    I went to one of the LBS out here that carries a little bit of track stuff out here looking for just a chainring. I needed 144mm BCD, and wanted 46t. It took 3 employees for them to finally accept the fact that it was 144mm (I told them this is what I needed when I walked through the door) and about 20 min of them sorting through to find anything that would even bolt onto my crank. Even then, they didn't have a ring that was under 58t! There's just not enough of a market for them to keep some things in stock. I did get the right size ring later from a LBS that is more frankenfixe friendly - they had to order it in too, but it was a lot cheaper than I could have ordered from the first shop...

  16. #16
    fast retro grouch
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    Road Cranks = Crap

    Track Cranks = the only way to go

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by FixinInTraffic
    Road Cranks = Crap

    Track Cranks = the only way to go

    BUT the new DA 10 speed cranks are the stiffest out there so if one were to convert them in a manner that garnered a suitable track chainline, then one would have the stiffest cranks on the track. I have also run road pitch on the track so that would not be a problem so long as the chainrings were obtained.

  18. #18
    fast retro grouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by xntrick
    BUT the new DA 10 speed cranks are the stiffest out there so if one were to convert them in a manner that garnered a suitable track chainline, then one would have the stiffest cranks on the track. I have also run road pitch on the track so that would not be a problem so long as the chainrings were obtained.
    this is like weight weenies except it's a stiff weenie.

  19. #19
    addict motion sickness's Avatar
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    Stiff they may be, but those outboard bearings surely can't help to obtain a low Q-factor.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FixinInTraffic
    this is like weight weenies except it's a stiff weenie.
    Ar Ar he said "stiff weenie" heh heh

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