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Vintage Crankset Question

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Vintage Crankset Question

Old 07-16-13, 09:49 AM
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KZlot
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Vintage Crankset Question

So I picked up an old beat up Raleigh Record to work on as a project bike. One of the cranks was pretty severely bent. The crank on the bolt side (3 bolt chainring) and the ring itself are perfectly fine, but the crank on the other side is very bent. What are the chances I find a crank that is the same length/shape as the other one? Or does it matter if they match perfectly? I'd rather not have to buy a whole new crankset for such an old bike, especially since the current one is in pretty excellent condition.

Thanks guys.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:03 AM
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Is this a cottered crankset or a square taper one? Raleigh cottered cranks are fairly commonly available (at least on eBay here in the UK) and I don't imagine there are too many sizes. However, bent cottered cranks seem to be fixable - my uncle managed to put a 20 degree bend in a cottered Raleigh crank while doing something dumb as a student (he won't say what), and he and my grandfather were able to straighten the crank with a big bench vice. I now have the bike he did that to, with the original crankset, and it's done a lot of miles with no trouble.

If it's square taper, any generic replacement should work assuming the square hole for the taper is oriented the same (some of them have a corner pointing along the length of the crank, others have a flat side of the square there) and that you get the correct taper for your spindle (ISO taper vs JIS taper are the two main ones, although an older bike might have something weird). Don't be too set on finding one that matches in appearance, though.

Last edited by Airburst; 07-16-13 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:18 AM
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First, put your place or residence into your profile, so someone here might steer you to a resource.

Without knowing where you live or any specifics about the crank I can't give you definitive odds, but it's very likely that you can find a comparable (same length, fits spindle) crank at a bike co-op. Many co-ops get large numbers of donated bikes of the same era as yours and strip them for parts, or cannibalize them so they can make one usable bike out of two or three relics.

So a co-op is the place to start, and if I knew where you lived I might be able to steer you to one.
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Old 07-16-13, 11:38 AM
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Hi,

Should be a cotter pinned steel crank and it will bend
back. Just apply some suitable brute force off the bike.

rgds, sreten.

Bending and straightening cranks came with the territory
when I was young. Some bent a lot easier than others.

Last edited by sreten; 07-16-13 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 07-16-13, 12:09 PM
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This being such an old bike, it would be a good idea to take off the cottered crankset and [strike]regrease[/strike]throw it away.
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Old 07-17-13, 10:48 AM
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Replacing the cottered crank with a cotterless one might well cost you more than the bike is worth and requires some special tools and skills. Find a suitable piece of pipe and bend the crank arm back until the pedal spindle is parallel to the other one. There is no problem with bending steel that some extra leverage won't solve.
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Old 07-17-13, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
First, put your place or residence into your profile, so someone here might steer you to a resource.

Without knowing where you live or any specifics about the crank I can't give you definitive odds, but it's very likely that you can find a comparable (same length, fits spindle) crank at a bike co-op. Many co-ops get large numbers of donated bikes of the same era as yours and strip them for parts, or cannibalize them so they can make one usable bike out of two or three relics.

So a co-op is the place to start, and if I knew where you lived I might be able to steer you to one.
It is a cottered crank, unfortunately. Removing the original cranks from a bike made in the 70's was not easy!

I'll update my profile ASAP. I live in Champaign, IL and I've actually got a bike co-op that functions as part of my University, so I'll give them a shot. First I'll try to bend it back, the other replies in this thread seem to think it's possible even though it seems like quite the hefty piece of steel.

Thanks guys.
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Old 07-17-13, 01:10 PM
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The longer the Pipe or whatever you use to bend it is, the less effort you'll have to apply. Take it slowly. Use a vise to hold the crankarm. Sreten is right, those of us who rode bikes like this back in the day have gone this route before. Keep us posted on this. Let us know how this goes.
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Old 07-17-13, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by KZlot View Post
It is a cottered crank, unfortunately.
Removing the original cranks from a bike made in the 70's was not easy!
Hi,

Nothing a decent hammer can't sort out quickly removing
them, and a file and a hammer to refit them properly .....

rgds, sreten.

Suspend the bike applying the hammer to the pins.

Last edited by sreten; 07-17-13 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 07-17-13, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided View Post
Take it slowly.
Hi,

It is actually better to try and do it one smooth go, and
then minor correction, hopefully in one further smooth go.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 07-17-13, 01:48 PM
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Good point. I was unclear there in my meaning. But yes, 1 smooth go is best. Just take your time and do it right the first or second time. Not probably high carbon steel, and it should be pretty forgiving. Try to get the bike co-op to help if things get too difficult, or find a replacement crank there, or at 4 Seasons Garage Sale .
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Old 07-17-13, 01:54 PM
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Remove the pedal (reverse thread on the left crank). Get a big old wrench or pipe to go over the crank arm. Slowly bend, check, bend, check until "good enough".
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Old 07-17-13, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Remove the pedal (reverse thread on the left crank). Get a big old wrench or pipe
to go over the crank arm. Slowly bend, check, bend, check until "good enough".
Hi,

Yes but don't mess around. Once you've got it bending, it will carry on
bending with not a lot more effort for a little while, use that window.

It is best to try to do it in one go. Once moving go for it quickly.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 07-17-13 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 07-18-13, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

Nothing a decent hammer can't sort out quickly removing
them, and a file and a hammer to refit them properly .....
Too crude!

Use a press to do it properly, without damage to the pin, bike, or anything else. A cotter press is not cheap, but perhaps "The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign" might have one the OP can use?
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Old 07-18-13, 11:47 AM
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I've actually got the cotters removed. It took a few swift hits with a hammer and the threads are now smashed in, but I can easily get replacement cotters (and hopefully a crank arm) from the co-op tomorrow.

Thanks guys!
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Old 07-18-13, 06:27 PM
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Sounds like an excellent time to consider going cotterless, go to the Bike Project and see if they do not have a newer crankset without cotters.
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Old 07-18-13, 07:37 PM
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Raleigh BBs are a bit wider than standard and putting any old square-taper spindle in might not work. I don't think there is much to gain from changing out the crankset.
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Old 07-19-13, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided View Post
Sounds like an excellent time to consider going cotterless, go to the Bike
Project and see if they do not have a newer crankset without cotters.
Hi,

Why ?
What is wrong with a cottered crank ?
What is the gain with changing ?

rgds, sreten.
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Old 07-19-13, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Too crude! ... A cotter press is not cheap ...
Hi,

Cotters and good hammers go together whether you like it or not.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 07-19-13, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

Cotters and good hammers go together whether you like it or not.

rgds, sreten.
Not on my bikes...

If there's a press available at modest effort, I'll use it in preference to a hammer any day.
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Old 07-19-13, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Not on my bikes...

If there's a press available at modest effort, I'll use it in preference to a hammer any day.
We all have our preferences, but there's nothing wrong with using hammers on crank cotters --- if it's done right. Unfortunately many people (probably a majority) don't do it right.

The key is to properly support the crank arm so all the hammer's energy stays in the cotter and arm and isn't transmitted to the bearing.
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Old 07-20-13, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

Why ?
What is wrong with a cottered crank ?
What is the gain with changing ?

rgds, sreten.
The gain with changing is that cotterless is current technology, hence more abundant. The many travails with cottered cranks posted in this forum are testimony to why this change was made, aside from weight and reliability. Ease of use and not needing a cotter press are also helpful to the amateur bicycle repairer.
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Old 07-22-13, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gravity Aided View Post
Sounds like an excellent time to consider going cotterless, go to the Bike Project and see if they do not have a newer crankset without cotters.
I looked into it and decided it wasn't worth it. Raleigh cups are a different TPI and the bracket width is not the standard so finding a square taper bracket/bearings that would fit would be a little tricky. I've put the original bracket back in and straightened out the bent arm the best I could, it is spinning very fluidly. I'm satisfied.

Thanks guys!
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