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Old 06-06-11, 04:15 PM   #1
surreal
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roadster question re: cottered cranks and such

i think i'm in over my head.

I bought an indian-made hero jet gold at the indian grocery the other day. cheeeeeeep. I knew i was getting an international version of a BSO, but how could i resist something with rodbrakes, a drop stand, and woods valves for only $125?

So, I got it home,played with the fenderline, aired up the tires, tuned the brakes, had some fun. Took it for the maiden voyage. Put maybe 10 minutes in on it, riding slow, trying to find any bugs,doing some wrenchin' in between. Things seemed to be ok for the most part; very rattling and crappy, but stuff that i could work with, until out of nowhere, the NDS crank arm starts rubbing on the chainstay. I've never done anything with cottered cranks before except remove them in disgust and replace them with a decent cotterless 3 piece. However, this particular piggie is a knock-off raleigh, with the dreaded 26tpi BB shell. I'd prefer to save this crank(which has a cool chainwheel with the word "hero" cut into it), b/c i don't want to spring for a phil BB or roll the dice with the spurious VO threadless thing. I might try to mess with bearings in an old loose-ball BB and retain the indian cups, but this seems like another crap shoot, so I'm looking for advice on how to get this existing one back into alignment...

tia,
-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 04:22 PM   #2
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maybe some pics would help - it sounds like you've got some wrenching experience and the bike sounds like a cool pickup
i'm kinda not sure of the question or exactly what happened though
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Old 06-06-11, 04:33 PM   #3
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I can probably do some pics, but while i do have some exp with a wrench, i have very little experience with "brit bikes" or their many knock-offs. I will try to post somepics once i get the camera, but for reasons that are not apparent to me, the very end of the NDS crank-arm,right by the pedal spindle, is now bumping the chainstay as i turn the crank. I can't say just by eyeballing it if the crankarm has bent, if the crankarm has slipped on the BB spindle to make it a little bit "off", or if the frame itself has been twisted under my awesome power. =P(seems unlikely.) I'm reluctant to try to loosen and fiddle with the crank where it interfaces with the bb spindle, b/c my exp with cottered cranks has led me to believe that a guy like me will never get it tight and straight enough once i remove that cotter and install a new one. (If a new one can even be readily found.)

FWIW, i do suspect something has occurred at the crankarm/BB spindle interface, as the armitself appears straight end-to-end, but it may be askew enough to cause the rubbing.

-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 05:25 PM   #4
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http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/cottered-...6-mm-prod6861/ ?

but that would not be Raleigh's novel thread pitch
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Old 06-06-11, 05:28 PM   #5
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exactly. the cups have gotta stay. if i dont get any ideas to save the crank, i'm going to use the indian cups with a very old japanese spindle. might experiment with ball bearings, if need be.

-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 06:03 PM   #6
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Sheldon said you could just put standard cups in but it will change the threads.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:08 PM   #7
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Cottered cranks are easy. Nothing wrong with them. Don't know what the disgust is for except for you own lack of knowing how to work on them.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:24 PM   #8
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From what i read on sheldon, i can put standard cups in IF i re-tap the BBto 24tpi. I don't wanna do that, as it'd be potentially expensive, and it could weaken the threads.

I'm trying to upload some pics; i've never done this on bikeforums, so bear with me. seems like flickr won't let me post the picture as-is; something about copyright. =P here'sa link to the photo set, though.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/5584072...7626903082300/

The last 2 pics show the crank contacting the stay on the non-drive side, and the crankarm clearing the stay on the driveside.

Any input is welcome!

-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
Cottered cranks are easy. Nothing wrong with them. Don't know what the disgust is for except for you own lack of knowing how to work on them.
These are the sort of posts that just keep us all coming back to bikeforums, aren't they? The super-friendly and helpful ones. Nice.

I don't doubt that cottered cranks are "easy" if you're the sort who has the experience for them and the proper tools for installing cotters and a nice cottered crank in good condition to start with. Amesja may be that sort of person, but his (her?) kind are becoming more and more rare everyday. Most ppl I know ditch cottered cranks when they can, for many reasons. Any search on the subject will reveal piles of frustration over design flaws, many of which are arguably not warranted. Even worse, however, is the lack of compatible new parts for cottered cranks that are of decent quality. Complaints of that nature are more understandable, and the majority of cyclists that I know tend to swap out cottered cranks at the first sign of trouble.

My main problem with cottered cranks is that, compared to any other sort of crank system, they are the biggest hassle to service, b/c you need to source new cotters each time, and finding the proper cotter isn't always easy. Now, then, if you read my posts above, Amesja,you'll see that I am trying to save this particular crank. If you've got the technical know-how to fix 'em, and you enjoy posting on this forum, how about giving me some tips/pointer/etc? Hopefully, the pic will help. Most of the tips available thru searches conclude with "convert to a cotterless system."

Thanks.
-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 06:37 PM   #10
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pic of problem area:

pic of drive-side, for sake of comparison:


Hope that works.
-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 06:47 PM   #11
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Cottered cranks are easy. Nothing wrong with them. Don't know what the disgust is for except for you own lack of knowing how to work on them.
Cottered cranks are pure, 100% crap. Man I love my old Raleigh LTD-3, but I have no confidence in those cranks. Even after installing them filed, with hammer taps (not a press -- no way I'd pay for a press for those pieces of ****) after about 3 rides the cranks are either not at 180 degrees, or have a slight amount of play.

Yeah - they worked for who know how long before something else was designed, but my vote would be to spring for the threadless or Phil stuff if you really love the bike.

I liked the idea of cottered cranks, but in practice wanted to tie the entire bike to last year's Christmas tree and sink it in the lake for crappie beds.
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Old 06-06-11, 07:01 PM   #12
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Crank troubles aside I love the bike, where can I get one and how much was it?
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Old 06-06-11, 07:50 PM   #13
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Try wiggling the cranks. You should be able to tell if the spindle is loose in the bottom bracket, or if the crankarm is loose on the spindle. If it's the first, you'll have to remove the non-drive crank and tighten the adjustable cup. If it's the second, give the cotter on the loose crank a few taps with a hammer (while supporting the crank with something underneath), and then snug down the nut (these strip easily, so don't go too hard on it). If nothing is loose, that suggests something is probably bent.

I'd also recommend posting this in the Classic & Vintage section. You're probably more likely to find helpful advice over there. Cottered cranks aren't that difficult to deal with. The main problem is that you are likely to destroy the cotters if you try to remove them with a hammer (you can still buy replacements, although modern cotters are generally poor quality). There was a somewhat recent post in C&V about making a cotter press from a cheap Harbor Freight chainbreaker, which is worth taking a look at. Also, if you have a local bike coop, they're likely to have appropriate tools and people used to working on these bikes.
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Old 06-06-11, 08:06 PM   #14
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Try wiggling the cranks. You should be able to tell if the spindle is loose in the bottom bracket, or if the crankarm is loose on the spindle. If it's the first, you'll have to remove the non-drive crank and tighten the adjustable cup. If it's the second, give the cotter on the loose crank a few taps with a hammer (while supporting the crank with something underneath), and then snug down the nut (these strip easily, so don't go too hard on it). If nothing is loose, that suggests something is probably bent.
this

pics did help - i have a cottered bike and i picked the bikesmith cotter press and also some cotters from the same source
the tool and the cotters work great and i no longer fear the cottered bike

anyway - it may be that the spindle is loose in the BB - which means you might want to just get those cranks off and overhaul the BB anyhow
i also wonder if the fixed cup is properly tightened - could be a culprit too assuming all other factors checked out ok

edit:btw - this is def a good thread for CV - where i usually hang - i sometimes wander in here though and this thread caught my eye
oh - nice bike btw
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Old 06-06-11, 09:39 PM   #15
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Crank troubles aside I love the bike, where can I get one and how much was it?
The bike cost me $125. I got it at a place called Subzi Mandi, in Cherry Hill, NJ. It's an indian/"asian" grocery. I was buying cumin,darjheeling, and basmati when I saw one of the side rooms had like 12 very dusty roadsters, with the factory cardboard-and-bubble wrap wrappings. So, yeah, I asked to see em, road home, and came back with my car and rack the next day to buy one.

I've been told that bikes like this (Indian Raleigh DL-1 knock-offs) sell for between $40 and $50 in India. $125seems steep, but not when you consider that until December, YellowJersey.org was selling a similar bike (Eastman) for $400 plus shipping. That particular eastman has a hairpin seat and a full chaincase, so it's arguably more expensive. But, it didn't have a dropstand and rack that appear to be made of wrought-iron, nordid it have a buil-in rear wheellock. Most importantly, even if the finish on the eastmans look to be both durable and shining, they were bereft of any stickers that proved the durability and shiningness of the ride.

I see you're in ABQ, which my decoder ring tells me is another way of saying "NM". If I'm wrong, and you're close to the metro Phila area, PM me. We shall chat. (Or, just drive out to Subzi Mandi yourself.) Shipping on these things would be silly. It's not as heavy as your mom, probably, but it is prolly as heavy as one of your larger nephews. I'm thinking about 75 to 80lbs, due primarily to the stand (which weighs at least as much as my gut and @$$ combined.)

My suggestion is to head out to the largest Indian/Pakistani food emporium in all of New Mexico. You ought to anyway, if you eat food, like spices, or drink tea. (Dirt cheeeeep!) Lurk around, act creepy, maybe even ask about bicycles. If you're as "lucky" as I am, you'll frequent the place for 2 years, and roadsters will magically appear.

-rob

ps-the "your mom" comment might've seemed rude, but this bike is at least half as heavy as the typical mom, so I was trying to use it as a legitimate frame ofreference.
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Old 06-06-11, 09:46 PM   #16
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Cottered cranks are pure, 100% crap. Man I love my old Raleigh LTD-3, but I have no confidence in those cranks. Even after installing them filed, with hammer taps (not a press -- no way I'd pay for a press for those pieces of ****) after about 3 rides the cranks are either not at 180 degrees, or have a slight amount of play.

Yeah - they worked for who know how long before something else was designed, but my vote would be to spring for the threadless or Phil stuff if you really love the bike.

I liked the idea of cottered cranks, but in practice wanted to tie the entire bike to last year's Christmas tree and sink it in the lake for crappie beds.
Turbine-

I'm beginning to suspect you're right re: the cottered cranks. The more I eff with them, the more I realize that theywere designed to infuriate anyone evolved enough to have known the pleasures of square taper. I have a bike with an ashtabula crank, and while that is a terribly heavy and primitive creature, at least it can be taken apart and reassembled with one adjustable wrench. (If ya don't have that, a rock of the proper weight and shape will do.) The whole mess reminds me of when I was a shop drone, and we'd always include a "Crank upgrade" on customers who were converting an old cottered roadie to a fixed gear. At first, I thought this was an immoral scheme to run the price up on these fools, but as I got a closer look,I realized it was totally worth the cost of the upgrade, even at the viciously inflated retail-level, with installation fees to boot.

I actually hate the idea of cottered cranks on any bike that's younger than I am. The only thing that makes me want to retain this one is the incredible pimptitude of that chainwheel. But a phil wood BB would cost more than the complete cost me, and that is at odds with my sense of bicycle justice.

-rob
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Old 06-06-11, 09:58 PM   #17
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This seems to be solid advice. I wiggled the cranks vigorously. I wiggled both the problem arm, and his far more talented brother on the driveside, to note any differences and to kind of "triangulate" any play so's i could reckon whether it resided in the arm or the spindle. I don't want to say that there is "no play", but there's very very very little play. Like, seriously, negligible play. The tiny bit of play seems to be in the spindle, and it's play of the sort of magnitude that I feel is necessary to keep the BB from binding.

I reckon i need to tear this thing down, and being that I have some sort of 1970s sugino crank with a 144mm bcd in the parts box, with a MUSA 44t salsa chainring already hung on it, as well as an aged Tange loose-ball BB with the appropriate-length spindle, I suppose I'll try to hang the ST 3-piece on the roadster while I have it apart. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, or so the old folks tell me. Speaking of the elderly, I do know some old folks running 1.125" threadless systems on old schwinns with nominally 1"-compat headtubes, who were able to achive this feat thru the use of the original american-spec cups, some parts from an unsealed 1.125" threadless headset, and smaller-than-standard bearings. Sheldon claimed that the JIS spindles usually play nice with the raleigh-spec cups even with just the standard 1/4" balls, so i reckon I'll give it a shot. It won't cost me anything, save a little bit of sweat and cussing.

As for the C&V forum, I am reluctant to post there, b/c the snobbery level is thru the roof, and the resultant tension is more than I can bear. To show up there with a 2010 model-year Indian fake roadster would be kind of like showing up to church naked.

Thank you ever so much for the advice, Ian. It is helpful. I suppose something is bent on my ride; whether it is the spindle or the crankarm is hard to say, but i think i'm gonna "upgrade" regardless.

-rob

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanHelgesen View Post
Try wiggling the cranks. You should be able to tell if the spindle is loose in the bottom bracket, or if the crankarm is loose on the spindle. If it's the first, you'll have to remove the non-drive crank and tighten the adjustable cup. If it's the second, give the cotter on the loose crank a few taps with a hammer (while supporting the crank with something underneath), and then snug down the nut (these strip easily, so don't go too hard on it). If nothing is loose, that suggests something is probably bent.

I'd also recommend posting this in the Classic & Vintage section. You're probably more likely to find helpful advice over there. Cottered cranks aren't that difficult to deal with. The main problem is that you are likely to destroy the cotters if you try to remove them with a hammer (you can still buy replacements, although modern cotters are generally poor quality). There was a somewhat recent post in C&V about making a cotter press from a cheap Harbor Freight chainbreaker, which is worth taking a look at. Also, if you have a local bike coop, they're likely to have appropriate tools and people used to working on these bikes.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by marley mission View Post
this

pics did help - i have a cottered bike and i picked the bikesmith cotter press and also some cotters from the same source
the tool and the cotters work great and i no longer fear the cottered bike

anyway - it may be that the spindle is loose in the BB - which means you might want to just get those cranks off and overhaul the BB anyhow
i also wonder if the fixed cup is properly tightened - could be a culprit too assuming all other factors checked out ok

edit:btw - this is def a good thread for CV - where i usually hang - i sometimes wander in here though and this thread caught my eye
oh - nice bike btw
Thanks for the kind words about my latest bicycle. I agree that Ian gave some good advice, and you do give some good leads on spots for cottered crank enthusiasts to get proper tools and repair parts. Your fears about loose BB components is well-founded;much on this bike was loose-as-a-goose. However, that was mostly the "accessories"-type stuff. Fenders, chainguard, the l'il doo-hickies that mount to the fork/stays to guide the brake pads. The headset, pedals,and BB seem to be tight. I suspect that, wherever final assembly occurred, they had the experienced folks putting the real hardware together, and the neophytes adding the bolt-on goodies. could be wrong, though.

I remember seeing your posts on C&V. I think I recall you from the Folk Engineered Bikes thread, specifically. Good to see Jersey ppl represented on Bikeforums.

I'm sorry for posting several lengthy and rambling entries on this thread.I'm just psyched about working on stuff that is sort of new territory for me, and Iwanted to respond to y'all individually,as Itruly do appreciate your input on my stupid bike.

Regards,
-rob
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Old 06-07-11, 01:41 AM   #19
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hey rob,
yup - i remember posting in that folk engineered thread - i was gonna head to their open house but something came up - enjoy your wrenching - even when frustrating - we are always learning - good luck with the bike - def consider posting in CV too with mech questions - CV is like a mech forum most times anyway since old bikes equals plenty of mech issues and questions
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Old 06-07-11, 02:04 AM   #20
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I've gone through a couple of bikes with cottered cranks. Used them for the 1/2 mile ride to the train station if I was running late. They were fairly beat up to begin with, so they could be left in public places with only marginal concern.
Once assembled I have no objections against cottered cranks. It's like square taper - must be assembled with proper initial force applied, or misery will follow.
I have minor objections against working with them. It's all about precise application of brute force. A drift punch, mid-size hammer, a sturdy something to rest the crank against, and maybe a helper to hold the bike in position and you shall be the victor when it comes to getting the cotters out.
I found buying the right size cotters somewhat challenging, but I got it after a while. Assembly was daunting at first(should I really hit it this hard?), but once I started whaling away with happy abandon, even that worked out OK.
Today, the only thing that would really fill me with dread is if someone were to say that "you have to get it apart, and back together again, using the same cotters"...
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Old 06-07-11, 04:26 AM   #21
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Today, the only thing that would really fill me with dread is if someone were to say that "you have to get it apart, and back together again, using the same cotters"...
w a press its no problem
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Old 06-09-11, 06:13 AM   #22
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update--
I pulled off the NDS crankarm, in hopes of frankensteining my tange BB spindle to fit in the stock BB set. Upon removing the crankarm, the logical inner voice that I usually just ignore asked me "what d'ya think they do in the Punjab region?" So, I just re-installed the NDS crankarm and improperly wailed on the cotter to get it tight. The clearance is minimal and decidedly different from the driveside, but it is holding tight so far (prolly got ten miles on it this way). No more rubbing, thus far. I'm thinking that this is more in-tune with the spirit of the bike and its intended purpose; if it fails again, I'll take more drastic/responsible measures.

-rob
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Old 06-09-11, 07:15 AM   #23
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Buy a press from Bikesmith Design and you won't have any more problems with cotters. You'll wish you had more cottered cranks to work on. The press is not cheap, but either is converting to cotterless.
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Old 06-09-11, 07:28 AM   #24
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Hmm.. have you tried putting the BB backwards?? no idea if somebody said it already but looks like u have room to put them backwards, I agree that cotter cranks are a PITA, Velo orange was selling a set of cranks that are chromed and the price was ok, like 30 or 40 bucks, they would look awesome in that bike.

U misspelled POS, u wrote BSO

Good luck.
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Old 06-09-11, 08:52 AM   #25
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Looks like you have some fudge in the spindle cut-out to move the crank outwards as good 2mm. That should be enough to give you clearance to the chainstay. I've put them in too close like yours in the past and the clearances ARE very tight and they can/will rub.

You don't have to spend big money on the BikeSmith cotter press. You can make your own for under $20 with the Harbor Freight chain tool mod.

Having a cotter press makes cottered cranks even easier than a square-taper. It's not that the cottors suck or they are a bad design -it's just that doing it without the proper tool sucks. Imagine how much of a PITA a square-taper crank would be if you couldn't find a crank-pulling tool? People would swear and say they sucked. But with the proper tool it is a SNAP.

If you do nothing else and just leave the crank on the spindle a little too far like that (it should be flush and not stick out any) you should be OK as long as it is not rubbing. But I'd "wail" on it a bit more after riding 10 miles. It's best to snug up the cotter after going for a bit of a ride (a mile or two is pleanty but I think at 20 it should be OK as long as it hasn't gotten noticeably loose.

Worst comes to worse and it gets loose next time after pulling the cotter pull the crank over a couple mm so that the spindle isn't sticking out any as there is some fudge in the keyway like I said before. File the cotter flat if there is any burr in it otherwise it won't get tight properly, and wail away at it again so it gets tight. If you had a press it'd be a 2 minute job.
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