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Your Thoughts on Black Cranksets

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Your Thoughts on Black Cranksets

Old 12-05-18, 07:25 AM
  #1  
sdn40
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Your Thoughts on Black Cranksets

I've been pondering a build and some color schemes "require" a black groupset. The problem is, every black crankset I've seen on used bikes looks like crap. Whether it's that grayish oxidized look or the finish simply wearing off or even rust, I'm reluctant to go that route. I am certainly a newbie compared to most of you guys. Is my thinking correct or skewed ? New bikes seem to be going this route as well. I like the look but worry about longevity of the finish. Of course feel free to show us pics
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Old 12-05-18, 07:35 AM
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I have a first generation black Dura Ace set that looks brand new (not for sale, just an example here). As I recall, its 1976, might be a little earlier. So some of them last just fine. Its all about how the bike was stored over the years. Black Dura Ace components go for quite a bit FWIW, more than the comparable regular finish. Check out the black pedals, black shift levers, black RD, black hubs, black headset, etc. All look shiny and new. Somewhat odd the brake levers are not the black version, but I have another set of them in black.

So you can find nice ones, just be prepared to pay a premium.


1977 Carabela Professional by wrk101, on Flickr

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Old 12-05-18, 07:46 AM
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There was a nice black 105 gruppo, too, in the early days of outboard bb's. 😎
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Old 12-05-18, 08:28 AM
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The problem with black anodized components is really with the wear surfaces. Like at the teeth of chain rings that never really wear out to silver evenly. The spider and crank arms can get beat up too with scratches that really show up bright silver scuffs, marks and scratches, but to some extent you can avoid such if you are careful to not bang around you bike and make sure your pedal, shoes and straps are adjusted correctly so they do not rub against the arms when pedaling, wearing out the black anodizing at points of contact. There are some manufacturers like Rino that made chainrings with black (other colors too) anodizing just at the non-wear areas (teeth are silver), so they look good longer than other dark anodized chainrings. They could be a good alternative to stock black anodized chainrings.
Black anodizing can also fade to grey from exposure to UV. There's really no getting around that other than only cycling in the dark or under leaden skies....
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Old 12-05-18, 11:25 AM
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I really liked the FSA set that I fitted to my first Cyclops. The unpainted teeth are a must, to begin with. And, as for rub wear on the crank arms, just use SPD pedals and that rubbing will no longer be...

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Old 12-05-18, 11:36 AM
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Crank arms are another thing you can have gloss black powder coated .
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Old 12-05-18, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Crank arms are another thing you can have gloss black powder coated .
Yep.
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Old 12-05-18, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
I've been pondering a build and some color schemes "require" a black groupset. The problem is, every black crankset I've seen on used bikes looks like crap. Whether it's that grayish oxidized look or the finish simply wearing off or even rust, I'm reluctant to go that route. I am certainly a newbie compared to most of you guys. Is my thinking correct or skewed ? New bikes seem to be going this route as well. I like the look but worry about longevity of the finish. Of course feel free to show us pics
This may be a shock to the new generation of cyclists but there were no fully black groupsets in the vintage days. Black accents yes, blacked out, no. Almost none at least. IIRC Galli made one, but that's it. Let's say vintage means 1987 or earlier. Crankarms were left silver. The reason is that toes straps would wear off any black anodizing and make the crankarms look terrible in short order. Pretty much everyone had some wear marks from the the straps rubbing the crankarms. If the cranks are silver anodized or polished, it was NBD.

Black OTOH chainrings go back to the early 70s at least. They were fairly common once. Black gruppos were around but they were typically more like black and silver. It was a good way to differentiate your brand from Campagnolo. I remember lusting after the Stronglight 105BIS with it's black drillium chainrings in the late 70s. Dura Ace also had black parts, as above^^^. Zeus 2000 came in black, as did Galli and Gipiemme.

So this being the C&V forum, I'm going to say if you want black, go with a silver crank with black chainrings. It can look alright. Here's my modern Sugino Mighty Tour. I might have got all silver, but Ben's had this one on sale, and it reminded me of the 105Bis I never got...

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Old 12-05-18, 12:43 PM
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Shimano had some pretty cool black stuff in the seventies:





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Old 12-05-18, 12:47 PM
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I've had no problems with them, just picked up a black Shimano R565 in black, a decent compact in black that uses Hollowtech II.

I like black on some builds, but the wheels have to "be there" too.

Sometimes, you can get a real bargain on a set of black crank arms, then add silver rings and be snazzy. Or, as pictured already, the other way around.
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Old 12-05-18, 12:59 PM
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To add to Salamandrine’s post:


I like the black. Makes it unique to me but I think all silver might look better.

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Old 12-05-18, 01:23 PM
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Here's my Gitane with a black big ring.....
The anodizing is just starting to wear out on the valleys between each chainring tooth. Nothing I can do about it except maybe replace it when it gets looking really bad. But the problem is, this Stronglight 107 black anodized ring is now close to being unobtanium.....

Last edited by Chombi1; 12-05-18 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 12-05-18, 02:13 PM
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I've got a pair of black SORA cranks on my Tricross. The silver wear marks really show up!!!

On the other hand, the carbon Campagnolo cranks really look sweet, even if not that vintage.
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Old 12-05-18, 02:23 PM
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You don't have to think in terms of "groupsets" either. Check out what a black bar stem does:


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Old 12-05-18, 02:23 PM
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Timely thread. I just bought this velo orange crankset. Its beautiful IMHO. It will be going on my black Pogliaghi.





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Old 12-05-18, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
Timely thread. I just bought this velo orange crankset. Its beautiful IMHO. It will be going on my black Pogliaghi.





I checked those out, but the big ring only goes up to 49T, IIRC....
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Old 12-05-18, 03:52 PM
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I used to like black cranks:

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Old 12-05-18, 04:43 PM
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My thoughts on black cranksets (or any other black anodized part, for that matter)?

Don't like 'em. A scratch on a black crankset is silver. A scratch on a silver crankset is silver.

Black will only look good for a short period of time.
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Old 12-05-18, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Here's my Gitane with a black big ring.....
The anodizing is just starting to wear out on the valleys between each chainring tooth. Nothing I can do about it except maybe replace it when it gets looking really bad. But the problem is, this Stronglight 107 black anodized ring is now close to being unobtanium.....
Love the look of that bike.
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Old 12-05-18, 05:17 PM
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Black and orange are a great combo. This groupset is over 40 years old and still looks great.


Centurion Semi Pro '76 by BJ Stevens, on Flickr


Centurion Semi Pro '76 by BJ Stevens, on Flickr

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Old 12-05-18, 08:28 PM
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All this talk about attractive black cranksets, but still no photos of attractive black cranksets. :sigh:
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Old 12-05-18, 08:37 PM
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What's not to like...black is the new chrome...Black Lightening owner...looking for a Fuji Ace.
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Old 12-06-18, 01:29 AM
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I'll join the chorus: black chain rings are the business. Black cranks are... somewhat problematic.

OK, sure: If you're talking about a modern CF alien-vs-predator looking thing, with the all-black 4-arm 105 stuff that everyone says is so wonderful, and billboard sized logos on the super fat carbon frame, then great.

But on a vintage bike, I don't think I've ever seen a black crank that wouldn't look better in silver. EDIT: Although, now that I think of it, I've seen a few vintage builds that make use of of black crank and silver rings that look pretty sweet. Northbend posted one up here a day or two ago.

My silver+black contribution:



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Old 12-06-18, 01:56 AM
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Black chainrings on silver cranks can look quite delicious.



All black cranksets, with the right visual supporting cast, can also look particularly devastating.

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Old 12-06-18, 06:10 AM
  #25  
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Dont' have them, don't desire them. Not C&V to me. OTOH, I have seen some attractive chain rings like the Stronglight above. Since I don't have a desire to have any, I don't remember which are which but there is a set that has a chamfer along the cutouts that are silver that I do like more than others.
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