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Can't see the forest for the trees?

Old 01-21-14, 08:12 AM
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bradtx
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Can't see the forest for the trees?

Hi All, Awhile back I swapped a 53/42 600 crank set for a 53/39 600 crank set to appease my knee. The little chromed bolt covers broke during the removal process so I'd been riding the bike with the ugly exposed bolt.

When I was almost out the door to pick up some small parts from my favorite bike shop the crank set on my touring bike caught my eye. On it, and almost every other bike I have, is the square taper crank arm fixing bolt with the integrated seal. Why had I not realized this before?! Picked up a pair at the shop and while not OEM, the appearance is sooo improved.

Anyone else had a similar experience?

Brad

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Old 01-21-14, 08:24 AM
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My bikes generally get uglier and more practical the longer they are in my hands and under my kiester. I don't worry about it too much. What did they charge you?
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Old 01-21-14, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
My bikes generally get uglier and more practical the longer they are in my hands and under my kiester. I don't worry about it too much. What did they charge you?
The bolts were $5.99 each, which is cheaper if you buy online plus shipping (if not added to another order).

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Old 01-21-14, 10:16 AM
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I also prefer these hex socket bolts w/ black seal. I think they not only look better, but also easier to handle.
But some of my C&V bikes came with cheaper spindles that require nuts. Then you're stuck with the caps. Too bad most are chromed plastic and super fragile.
I wish there was still a source for the old steel ones like from Sugino.
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Old 01-21-14, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by WNG View Post
...I wish there was still a source for the old steel ones like from Sugino.
Me too.

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Old 01-21-14, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by WNG View Post
I wish there was still a source for the old steel ones like from Sugino.
Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
Me too.
They're available again. I forget the distributor, but it was a common one available to most any LBS. They're available here and on eBay as well. Another option is the Rene Herse crankbolts. They're really nice, but they don't look right on all cranks.
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Old 01-21-14, 10:53 AM
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^ i can't get a regular socket on a 15mm bolt. so i switch them all out for 14mm.
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Old 01-21-14, 11:03 AM
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That's one solution, I guess. Another is a thin walled socket.
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Old 01-21-14, 02:09 PM
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Justin, A good heads-up in your post.

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Old 01-21-14, 02:09 PM
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I stopped using crankarm caps soon after starting my first LBS wrenching job. Also never considered exposed crankarm bolts ugly. But I think I look good, so there's no accounting for taste.
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Old 01-21-14, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
I stopped using crankarm caps soon after starting my first LBS wrenching job. Also never considered exposed crankarm bolts ugly. But I think I look good, so there's no accounting for taste.
Perhaps better than ugly would be unfinished? About the other point, we all have or had moms to tell us how attractive we are.

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Old 01-21-14, 02:58 PM
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I know a lot of the local guys who are into the old Italian stuff take the chrome campy dust caps off all their bikes. Never understood why, perhaps carrying over from the old race days of shaving weight.
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Old 01-21-14, 03:07 PM
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I've asked about that, Eric, and was told it was to save time during a race if something happened and a crank bolt needed to be accessed for whatever reason.
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Old 01-21-14, 03:59 PM
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if you want to be really obsessive about your crank bolts, switch them all to sell-extracting bolts / caps. they look good and are handy whenever you need to remove the crankset but don't have the right tools.
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Old 01-21-14, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ericbaker View Post
I know a lot of the local guys who are into the old Italian stuff take the chrome campy dust caps off all their bikes. Never understood why, perhaps carrying over from the old race days of shaving weight.
Merckx took 'm off, so the weekend warrior crowd followed suit!
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Old 01-21-14, 06:31 PM
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I empathize with the OP. I favor dust caps on my crank bolts.
- The metal ones seem to be scarce and /expensive, likely in part because Merckx & Co. removed them and promptly lost them.


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Old 01-21-14, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
I've asked about that, Eric, and was told it was to save time during a race if something happened and a crank bolt needed to be accessed for whatever reason.
Indeed. I've never raced but I can offer this anecdote. On an early ride with the Masi I stopped at a bike shop which has a back door to the Minuteman Bikeway. The proprietor and every employee had to come over and ogle it. Then the proprietor started telling me about all the bike he'd collected and restored, not just interesting models but the actual bikes used in various Olympic or world championship or TDF runs. (I'll take his word for it.) But one story was how he finally after a long search found the exact caps for his crank. Then he showed it to a buddy who asked why he bothered. The first thing any race mechanic did was throw them away because you couldn't service the crank quickly with them in place.

Okay, so it's just a second-hand story. It's the best I got.

I've been told I should keep them in to keep dust out of the threads. I've been told I shouldn't bother. Some of my bikes have them, some don't. I think. I should go check or else I'll have something else to worry about.
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Old 01-22-14, 07:46 AM
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The only potential problem with metal caps is that they can bond to the aluminum crank arm in the same way as a stuck seatpost or stem. I had a 1984 Trek 620 given to me, and since it was missing a wheel and the Helicomatic hub was dead, I decided to part it out. One of the metal caps was absolutely welded to the crank. It took very careful cutting and grinding with a rotary tool to weaken the cap enough to peel it out without ruining the extractor threads. If you do use metal caps, put on some Permatex or grease.
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Old 01-22-14, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDaddy View Post
The only potential problem with metal caps is that they can bond to the aluminum crank arm in the same way as a stuck seatpost or stem. I had a 1984 Trek 620 given to me, and since it was missing a wheel and the Helicomatic hub was dead, I decided to part it out. One of the metal caps was absolutely welded to the crank. It took very careful cutting and grinding with a rotary tool to weaken the cap enough to peel it out without ruining the extractor threads. If you do use metal caps, put on some Permatex or grease.
POSI-LUTELY! Never ever mate steel and aluminum without something in between.
Of course if the PO failed at that, the upside here is that caps are a heck of a lot easier to remove than a galvanically-welded seat-post.
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Old 01-22-14, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
POSI-LUTELY! Never ever mate steel and aluminum without something in between.
Of course if the PO failed at that, the upside here is that caps are a heck of a lot easier to remove than a galvanically-welded seat-post.
If its metal on metal of any kind.... Grease. Grease. Grease.
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Old 01-22-14, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
POSI-LUTELY! Never ever mate steel and aluminum without something in between.
Of course if the PO failed at that, the upside here is that caps are a heck of a lot easier to remove than a galvanically-welded seat-post.
The covers for the 6400 crank set are chrome plated plastic with a small slot on the side for removal and simply broke when I pried them out of the crank arms.

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Old 01-22-14, 11:08 AM
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Personally I am a fan of Single Key Release or Self extractor systems. No muss no fuss.




Although on these stupid Ti ones, you need to torque the cranks using steel bolts then install the the Ti. Same deal when you take them out/off. I guess that is one of the reasons Speed metal didn't last.




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Old 01-22-14, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
I empathize with the OP. I favor dust caps on my crank bolts.
- The metal ones seem to be scarce and /expensive, likely in part because Merckx & Co. removed them and promptly lost them.


I could use a pair of those in that condition!
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Old 01-22-14, 11:26 AM
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I was referring to the chromed steel caps from Sugino, similar to the Stronglight Auchen posted above.
But those chromed crank bolts are pretty though.

The caps serve a purpose for the non-racer. Besides keeping the threads clean and dirt out of there, in case the bolts/nuts back out from a botched install, the caps prevent you from losing them down the road, in the middle of nowhere.

Where ever I can, I do switch over to the newer 8mm hex bolts. I rather deal with my long shank Shimano 8mm crank key, than searching for my thin-walled sockets and ratchet.

I do like the suggestion from Bianchigirll for self-extractors. Used to have one on my 600 EX crank, held up well. The aftermarket new ones are nicer with bigger 8mm bolts.
I installed one on a new crank for a daily rider. I think any tourer would benefit from such a retrofit. Fewer tools to pack for that long road trip.
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Old 01-22-14, 11:46 AM
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I think the best reason to keep dust caps is to prevent losing the crank bolts in case they ever happen to come loose on a ride. But I don't think bikes look ugly without them. I used to take them off (just 'cause it was the racer thing to do).

They can be a pain though. I don't lay my hands on nearly as many bikes as some others here on this forum, but I've had more than my share of fused dust caps, stripped allen wrench holes, and deformed slots. More often than not, I think they cause more problems than they prevent.

As an aside, I've found the edge of a cone wrench is a great tool for removing slotted dust caps.
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