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What's the deal with Octalink?

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What's the deal with Octalink?

Old 05-18-16, 11:27 PM
  #1  
DarKris
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What's the deal with Octalink?

Background: I built my cross bike up on a rather strict budget, which is evident in the parts that I used. So when it came time to pick a BB/Crankset I went with a square taper + shimano atlus triple crankset. This is because I originally converted my hybrid that had a triple crank and 8-speed to drops with Claris shifts.

Besides price, the only other reason why I didn't go with a Claris Octalink crank was because of negative reviews that I saw while searching around for feedback. People having bad experiences with durability + the price difference deterred me from going that route.

Fast forward two months and I started looking at cranks again to upgrade from my current set and low and behold my only options are: Square Taper cranks, Claris Octalink crank, and upgrading my entire groupset to a hollowtech compatible one. The latter I can't justify due to cost and due to the short amount of time that I've had my bike.

As a side note, when I looked at different bike brands to see their entry level gravel/adventure bikes all but 2 that I saw had bikes with a Claris group with a square taper crank. The wildcards were Specialized's Diverge A1 (which is a step above their lowest end Diverge w. a square taper crank) and, if you want to count it, BD's Motobecane Turino Elite. My guess is square taper is a great way to cut costs (as I did) and the difference in the value/cost ratio is so low between hollow and octalink compared to hollow and square that the middle step with Octalink is just not worth it.

I guess my main question is: is there anything wrong with Octalink? If not would that be the closest thing I can get to the feel of hollowtech w/o a full groupset overhaul?

- Long winded post but I was generally curious about the topic.
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Old 05-19-16, 12:05 AM
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I don't think there is anything wrong with Octalink other than that it is virtually dead as a technology. No one other than Shimano makes Octalink bottom brackets either, because other manufacturers don't want to pay for the license.
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Old 05-19-16, 02:53 AM
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If you keep your eyes open, you can come across some great deals on Shimano Hollowtech mtb & road crank sets. I was looking for a replacement on my CX bike back in the fall and found a Tiagra 10spd. compact double for $60, with a coupon code I got it down to $50. It came with a new BB as well. Hard to beat.
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Old 05-19-16, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by clydeosaur View Post
If you keep your eyes open, you can come across some great deals on Shimano Hollowtech mtb & road crank sets. I was looking for a replacement on my CX bike back in the fall and found a Tiagra 10spd. compact double for $60, with a coupon code I got it down to $50. It came with a new BB as well. Hard to beat.
My problem is that I am running an 8 speed drivetrain and a triple crankset. To my knowledge no one makes a triple hollowtech crank compatible with an 8 speed chain. I've seen people run a Double Sora crank w. 8 speed chains but I think a triple crankset would be pushing it.
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Old 05-19-16, 08:19 AM
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Amazon.com : Shimano FC-2403 50/39/30T Triple 8-Speed Claris Crankset : Sports & Outdoors
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Old 05-19-16, 08:36 AM
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Just be aware that there are two different versions of Octalink, and make sure you get the one which is compatible with you crank.
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Old 05-19-16, 09:15 AM
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Isis splined BB spindles& cranks were to be the open source alternative to patented by shimano Octa link crank arm BB spindle interface

in a transition towards a larger tube spindle

that has come to be embodied in the external bearing 24 &30 tube types that are permanently fixed to crankarms
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Old 05-19-16, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DarKris View Post
My problem is that I am running an 8 speed drivetrain and a triple crankset. To my knowledge no one makes a triple hollowtech crank compatible with an 8 speed chain. I've seen people run a Double Sora crank w. 8 speed chains but I think a triple crankset would be pushing it.

There was use of the same octalink design in XTR MTB cranks & BB that I can assure you were triples..
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Old 05-19-16, 10:10 AM
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There is nothing wrong with Octalink, but there is nothing wrong with square taper either. I have a 50/39/30 Claris crank that I got for $35 from Nashbar. It's a very nice crank but it's a boat anchor with steel rings. I also have a square taper FSA Vero 50/39/30. It's far lighter with aluminum rings, every bit as good as the Claris, can be found for cheap.
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Old 05-19-16, 10:42 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by DarKris View Post
My problem is that I am running an 8 speed drivetrain and a triple crankset. To my knowledge no one makes a triple hollowtech crank compatible with an 8 speed chain. I've seen people run a Double Sora crank w. 8 speed chains but I think a triple crankset would be pushing it.
Pretty sure you can run a 9 speed crank on a bike, with everything else being designed for 8 speed and it will work well.
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Old 05-19-16, 11:37 AM
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5-6 speed, 7 speed, 8 speed chains are all 3/32 in or 2.4 mm between the inner plates where the teeth fit. Sources differ on 9, 10, 11 speed chains, the Wipperman website says they are 11/128 in, or 2.2 mm internally, but other sources say they're all still 3/32 in. The rings and cogs are all 2mm wide or narrower. This means the 9-10-11 cranksets still work fine with an 8-speed chain. The basic spacing of the front rings is pretty much always 5 mm center-to-center and 2 mm wide. There are subtle differences in the inner ring as the speeds go up. Some references like this Sheldon link say the inner ring teeth went right to reduce the possibility skate, some like this bikeforums post say it went left to allow more cross chaining. Either way it's not a big deal.

In other words, get whatever crankset you want.
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Old 05-19-16, 11:53 AM
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It seems like a triple on a cyclocross bike is a poor fit, functionally. There isn't enough range difference to justify the 39 and 30T chainrings, and the 50 is too high.

All of this mish-mash because you had a triple left shifter? I'd ditch the triple and go with a 34-46T double. Or, depending on your cassette range, 36-48T. Exterior bearings are very nice with stiff hollow crank spindles, too. Triple? Meh...
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Old 05-19-16, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
There is nothing wrong with Octalink, but there is nothing wrong with square taper either.
that's what I was gonna say, what's wrong with square taper?! strong, cheap, and easily replaced. and I ditched the FD altogether and just went with a single up front, 8 speed in the back. heck I've even been going back and forth on keeping the loose bearing square taper so that I can clean and repack it after it gets all muddy in a race.

why do you need to upgrade this part?
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Old 05-19-16, 12:22 PM
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Octalink and ISIS bearings are smaller than square taper because the spindles are larger but space inside the bottom bracket shell doesn't change. That results in unacceptable life for some people riding in some conditions.

External bearing cranks have bigger bearings because they don't need to fit between the spindle and bottom bracket shell so they should last longer.

Some people don't have problems - my ISIS bottom bracket was still running well at 10,000 miles when I switched to external bearing; and that bottom bracket was a bit rough after just 15,000 miles.

OTOH, Octalink/ISIS crank + bottom bracket combinations can weigh about 100g less than external bearing units with the same construction (alloy, solid carbon, or hollow carbon).

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Old 05-19-16, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DarKris View Post
My problem is that I am running an 8 speed drivetrain and a triple crankset. To my knowledge no one makes a triple hollowtech crank compatible with an 8 speed chain. I've seen people run a Double Sora crank w. 8 speed chains but I think a triple crankset would be pushing it.
I run a Deore Hollowtech II 9 speed crank with my 8 speed drivetrain on my touring bike with no problems whatsever.
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Old 05-19-16, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
It seems like a triple on a cyclocross bike is a poor fit, functionally. There isn't enough range difference to justify the 39 and 30T chainrings, and the 50 is too high.

All of this mish-mash because you had a triple left shifter? I'd ditch the triple and go with a 34-46T double. Or, depending on your cassette range, 36-48T. Exterior bearings are very nice with stiff hollow crank spindles, too. Triple? Meh...
I like the triple for rides that will have a mix of pavement and dirt. Use the 50 and 39 on the pavement and the 39 and 30 on the dirt. I find compact doubles to be awkard on the pavement.
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Old 05-19-16, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
It seems like a triple on a cyclocross bike is a poor fit, functionally. There isn't enough range difference to justify the 39 and 30T chainrings, and the 50 is too high.

All of this mish-mash because you had a triple left shifter? I'd ditch the triple and go with a 34-46T double. Or, depending on your cassette range, 36-48T. Exterior bearings are very nice with stiff hollow crank spindles, too. Triple? Meh...
Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
I like the triple for rides that will have a mix of pavement and dirt. Use the 50 and 39 on the pavement and the 39 and 30 on the dirt. I find compact doubles to be awkard on the pavement.
OP says he has an Altus, which is going to be 48-38-28 or 42-32-22 depending which he picked. Both make very nice double-shifts with an 8-speed rear.
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Old 05-19-16, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
There was use of the same octalink design in XTR MTB cranks & BB that I can assure you were triples..
I was saying I have not seen an 8 speed Hollowtech crankset, cranks with integrated spindles.

Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Pretty sure you can run a 9 speed crank on a bike, with everything else being designed for 8 speed and it will work well.
I've seen it done with double chainsets but not triples, which was why I asked

Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
It seems like a triple on a cyclocross bike is a poor fit, functionally. There isn't enough range difference to justify the 39 and 30T chainrings, and the 50 is too high.

All of this mish-mash because you had a triple left shifter? I'd ditch the triple and go with a 34-46T double. Or, depending on your cassette range, 36-48T. Exterior bearings are very nice with stiff hollow crank spindles, too. Triple? Meh...
I say cross, but I don't race cross. It's my 40c tire commuter. Also main reason I don't want to go to double is because I can't justify the price. If I change my FD, Left Shift, and my crankset/BB, I might as well upgrade to a new group (again can't justify for reasons stated in the OP). Also if I go to a double crank I'd personally would want to go w. a 10 speed cassette for a broader gear range.

Originally Posted by robert schlatte View Post
I run a Deore Hollowtech II 9 speed crank with my 8 speed drivetrain on my touring bike with no problems whatsever.
Are you running a double or triple? Main thing that I heard about running 9 speed cranks w. 8 speed crank is the possibility of the chain jumping.
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Old 05-20-16, 05:46 AM
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It is a Deore 590 triple crank. I have never experience chain jump. In truth, i may have a 9 speed chain as well but with a 8 speed cassette. It runs very smoothly.
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