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Specialties T.A. Cyclotouriste (a.k.a. Pro 5 Vis) History/Info

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Specialties T.A. Cyclotouriste (a.k.a. Pro 5 Vis) History/Info

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Old 09-08-11, 06:55 PM
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Specialties T.A. Cyclotouriste (a.k.a. Pro 5 Vis) History/Info



I've been trying to sort out more or less what was the original production dates of this crank. I understand it might be being made again but I havent confirmed.

In the meantime, I'm compiling a bunch of TA Cyclotourist info in one thread as I haven't seen some of it here, let alone in one place. I can find a lot of reading on them. Here's some of what I've learned (feel free to let me know if you think any of it is incorrect):

- work well with 115-118mm ISO (but JIS seems to work too) square taper bottom brackets. 120 or 123.5 to run it as a triple. The taper is apparently proprietary so it might be best to use a TA spindle if possible.
- 50.4 bcd
- can be finicky with front derailleurs as you need a flat cage due to the clearance between the outer part of the outer ring and the crank arm. click here to see
- they have a very narrow Q-Factor, perhaps the narrowest for a double.
- to remove the rings you must remove the arm, can be a pain
- the chain rings are very hard/durable and are available in increments of 1 between 26 (possible 25 at one point)-64. The large ones however have too much flex for racers, which is part of the reason why they were not used in that capacity. Outer chain wheels can have anywhere from 40-64 teeth, middle and inner 26-50.
- can be run as a double or a triple.
- available in lengths of 165, 170, 172.5, 180.
- they are aluminum allow, very light, english pedal threads.
-According to Sutherland's 3rd Edition, the TA extractor threads are 23mm X 1mm, and you need either a TA or Var 408 puller or a Park CPP-1.

some similar cranks are Sugino PX (no longer made), VO Grand Cru, Stronglight 49d, Williams AB.77 and I'm sure more.

Phew, that was a lot. Anyhow, who the heck can tell me when they began and ended production?
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Old 09-08-11, 07:07 PM
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I can't tell you more except that they were the most versatile crank out there. The was word of how flexible it was but I'm guessing it was an exaggeration. I don't think I could feel the difference between a flexible crank and a stiff one. I doubt most people can. I always thought it was a very sexy crank, but I never had one.
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Old 09-08-11, 07:23 PM
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You've pretty much nailed it, Holiday, except for a few anecdotal bits I might add/clarify:

- they came with English or French pedal threads

- I did not know about the proprietary taper, I thought it was standard ISO, and renowned builders have been using just about every brand of BB with them, whether it be TA, Stronglight, Shimano, Campy or Phil, ISO or JIS.

- depending on the bike, you can get away with even narrower BBs. I run a TA double on a 115mm JIS spindle. Q factor with that set up is 136mm. I also run a TA double on a TA 114mm ISO spindle, and there's plenty of room to spare.

- the Q factor on these is so narrow that sometimes you have to use a wider BB when using with a modern 8, 9 or 10-speed cassette, since in the smallest cog the chain may rub against the end of the crank arm. These cranks were optimized for as low Q as possible, back when bikes had 120mm rear spacing!

- can be run as a single, too!

- the 'Cyclotouriste' designation only applies to the chainring sets: those that work with the Pro 5 vis cranks and have an inner chainring drilling BCD of 80. The crank arms themselves are called 'Pro 5 vis' (aka Professional 5-pin)

Additional chainring drillings that work with the Pro 5 vis:

- 'Randonneur': those that have an inner chainring drilling BCD of 112.
- 'Criterium': those that have an inner chainring drilling BCD of 152.
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Old 09-08-11, 07:27 PM
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thanks for the clarifications/edits Southpaw! That helps. What i'm really looking for is the production dates though, or maybe just an idea of when they began being producted!

btw, i forget that I used to own yet another copy or similair crank. A Milremo.



it's cottered, steel arms, and actually had TA rings. RHM has it now. I have the rings.
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Old 09-08-11, 07:37 PM
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I can only guess that it would have been sometime around 1947 or thereafter, as that was when the company first started. I think the Stronglight 49d was introduced in 1933, so TA was a late follower of that pattern. According to one web account I remember, TA stopped production of the Pro 5 vis in 2005.
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Old 09-08-11, 07:42 PM
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I think the most recent TA Cylco crank was selling for about $600 new. Insane. If I remeber they stopped in the early 2000's (I think)
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Old 09-08-11, 08:01 PM
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They had previously marketed a front wheel driven velo, dubbed the Traction Avant.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:23 PM
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According to an article in Bicycle Quarterly, TA did not start producing cranks until 1960. They produced rings, bottle cages, pedals, adapteurs, cable guides and other small parts prior to 1960. The Pro 5 appeared in 1962.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:43 PM
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1962! great. thanks!
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Old 09-08-11, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaneferd View Post
They had previously marketed a front wheel driven velo, dubbed the Traction Avant.
They originally organized around a front wheel drive bicycle, but it never made it to market.
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Old 09-08-11, 09:36 PM
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I have doubts that TA and Stronglight tapers are really ISO. ISO (the organisation) dates from 1947, and the square taper standard has date 1991. Does anyone know when that standard was first published? I don't.

Sutherland has amassed a lot of measurement information on spindles, and it goes like this: from small taper end to large, they list Ofmega, Zeus, ISO, Campy** and JIS (6th ed, p.2-5). Then, next page, they observe that
"TA cranks: crank bolt face comes close to flush with the ends of many spindles." (including Campagnolo?)
"Strongllght, JiS (Japan Industry Standards), and Suglno AT cranks: bottom on the ends of the flat on most spindles except Stronglight, TA, JIS, and Phil Wood." (does most include Campagnolo?)
and finally
"JIS spindles can be used to place chain line farther from the frame with Stronglight or TA cranks."

From this I infer (perhaps wrongly) that TA + Stronglight are both in the JIS-range (stubbier than Campy?, which they say is stubbier than ISO), and that TA spindles may have been a bit less stubby than Stronglight.

But what I take from this is that if you don't have a Stronglight or TA spindle for your Pro 5 vis or vintage Stronglight crank (there; now I'm on topic), you can probably use JIS without any problem, maybe subtracting a couple/few mm unless the sockets are worn.

Footnote:
**in 1992 or thereabouts, Campagnolo changed to ISO from their "proprietary" standard (that's supposedly stubbier than ISO) -- which proprietary taper was emulated for spindles/sockets on other vintage "racing-oriented" equipment like Sugino Mighty (*), SunTour Superbe (made by Sugino for SunTour) and, I think, even Dura-Ace in some earlier years. Phil Wood never made "Campy" tapers, but recommended JIS tapers for those who wanted Phil BB for a Campy crank.

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Old 09-08-11, 09:47 PM
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Great info here. I'll add that I have seen the Pro 5 vis in 150 length. It seems the Pro 5 vis was used on a lot of tandems.
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Old 09-08-11, 11:47 PM
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If I only knew how to measure these things.... I have TA, Stronglight, Phil, Campy, JIS and maybe Ofmega spindles down in the bike cave. In any case, I think there must be some equivalent to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in effect when it comes to mixing square taper BB's and cranks. You know if it fits but you don't know why. Or you know why but it doesn't fit. But you can't have both simultaneously.

And don't forget the Viscount/Lambert copy of the Pro 5 vis.
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Old 09-08-11, 11:55 PM
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Great stuff. I love those cranks. I have a couple copies.

My favorite one...



And here's the Viscount version.


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Old 09-09-11, 07:24 AM
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I have a 160 mm version, and am pretty sure I saw a 155mm one somewhere.

The 50.4 mm bcd was common on high end cranks in the 30's, when Stronglight introduced the first cotterless crank. 50.4 seems such a random measurement I wonder if it didn't start out as 2" or something (I know, that would be 50.8 mm...). I have a Constrictor cottered crank that takes that size ring.

The first version of the TA crank had a bizarre spindle that was half round and half square, and took a cotter pin. I used to have one of those cranks, but gave it away. Duh.
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Old 09-09-11, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I have a 160 mm version, and am pretty sure I saw a 155mm one somewhere.

I think I have a 150mm version.
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Old 09-09-11, 08:03 AM
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I have a set in 170 length w/ both criterium and cyclotourist rings. IF I ever get my project done, theyre going on that. Holiday, if you need the puller, let me know. I'll bring it down one day
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Old 09-09-11, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
According to one web account I remember, TA stopped production of the Pro 5 vis in 2005.
FWIW, the 2010 TA catalog still offers Pro 5 vis chainrings (but not arms, apparently):

http://www.specialites-ta.com/images...gueTA_2010.pdf

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Old 09-09-11, 05:12 PM
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Does anyone know if a source to get the chain-rings from(other than ebay)?

I apologize for the hi-jack
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Old 09-09-11, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger M View Post
Does anyone know if a source to get the chain-rings from(other than ebay)?

I apologize for the hi-jack
I've gotten new TA rings from Boulder Bikes/Rene Herse. Cheaper than eBay, and you're supporting a very worthy bike shop.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:00 PM
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Good info. Just to add a few comments:

The TA was not the lowest Q of any aluminum cotterless double. The Stronglight 49D was. Some Q numbers for you (doubles in all cases):

Magistroni cottered: 120 mm
Stronglight 49D: 129 mm
Duprat steel: 132 mm
Campagnolo Record ('62 - '77): 132 mm
TA Pro 5 vis.: 133 mm
Campagnolo Record ('58 - '62): 142 mm
Campagnolo Record (modern): 146 mm
TA Zephyr: 150 mm
Shimano Dura-Ace (modern): 159 mm
Sugino (modern, XD): 159 mm

Also, the TA arms were available in lots and lots of lengths, from 150 or so up to about 185. I think you didn't mention 175, for example (my size!).

Lately, I am really digging the old Stronglight cranks - the 49D (produced 1949-1984!), 57SC, and 63, mostly. 93/105 is cool, too, especially all of the '-bis' and '-ter' drillium stuff.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
I've gotten new TA rings from Boulder Bikes/Rene Herse. Cheaper than eBay, and you're supporting a very worthy bike shop.
Thanks for that link, Anton. They even have the foil TA crank arm decals. Nice.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:13 PM
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The run from a few years ago added a bit of space between the outer ring and the crankarm, so the front derailleur clearance issue is greatly reduced. I had a pair that could even handle a modern mountain bike derailleur - although the shifting was awful. I think modern derailleurs may be dependent upon modern pinned/ramped/whatevered chainrings. An older road derailleur worked perfectly. I was very happy with the cranks until one broke, so I'm a little leery of them now.

Also worth noting that Boulder Bicycle was promising a new run of T.A. cranks, which apparently have arrived. They are currently offering "fresh production TA Cyclotourist (AKA Pro 5 Vis) crankarms" in lengths from 150 to 175, for $439 a pair without rings or bolts.
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Old 09-09-11, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I have a 160 mm version, and am pretty sure I saw a 155mm one somewhere.

The 50.4 mm bcd was common on high end cranks in the 30's, when Stronglight introduced the first cotterless crank. 50.4 seems such a random measurement I wonder if it didn't start out as 2" or something (I know, that would be 50.8 mm...). I have a Constrictor cottered crank that takes that size ring.

The first version of the TA crank had a bizarre spindle that was half round and half square, and took a cotter pin. I used to have one of those cranks, but gave it away. Duh.
According to the BQ article I referred to in my previous post, the design allowed one to make side to side adjustments of the crank to fine tune the chain line. The TA cotter design did not bear the pedal load and only held the crank in place on a pear shaped axle.
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Old 09-10-11, 01:16 AM
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So what size puller do I need for a mid-60s T.A. 3-pin crank? Park tool is too small, Stronglight is *just* too big. Perplexing.
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