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Vintage cranksets and bottom brackets

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Vintage cranksets and bottom brackets

Old 04-10-21, 03:43 PM
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tough_boots
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Vintage cranksets and bottom brackets

I converted my 87 Raleigh Technium Tri-lite to singlespeed. It rides really nice. I love it and have been meaning to do this for years. I put an inexpensive 46t chainring on it assuming I'll want to go 48t at some point in the future. Other than weight saving is there any real benefit to upgrading the BB and cranks or should I just keep everything original if its still working fine? The kid I bought it from a few years ago worked at a bike shop and had used this bike as a restoration project so I know the BB had likely received some love. Would I feel a difference on a modern BB? I'm happy to spend a little more money on it if it's worth it. My office is moving in August and I'll be able to start bike commuting daily.
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Old 04-11-21, 05:21 AM
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Mikefule
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First of all, I am deeply shocked by anything being called "vintage" that was made when I was already a quarter of a century old. How can this be?

I'd settle for "classic".

Funny thing is, bicycles worked perfectly well in 1987, and for many decades before that. They were cheap and simple to maintain with basic tools, with no need for special kit to extract or press in sealed bearing units.

However, being easy to work on went hand in hand with needing more routine maintenance. Jobs that we now do (or get done) once in a blue moon needed doing every few weeks or months if you rode any distance.

As for your question, it really is a matter of personal choice. You can go for some likely weight savings and reduced maintenance with modern parts, or you can go for authenticity and the many rewards of home spannering that go with keeping the original spec.

The biggest improvements I have seen in my lifetime: the move away from using cotter pins to hold the cranks on; interchangeable chain rings; and everything being lighter and less prone to rust.

Personally, I'd stick with the original, but that is in no sense a rational preference.
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Old 04-11-21, 11:12 AM
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acoustophile
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I've used 80's Shimano 600 road cranks and have found them to be as stiff if not stiffer than brand new track cranks. As far as bottom brackets go, I prefer a standard sealed bearing system, but a cup and cone loose bearing BB is basically the same difference except with more maintenance.
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Old 04-11-21, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm not super concerned with keeping too much original but I will probably keep the cranks as long as they ride good. When I go up to 48t, I may keep them depending what chainring I want. If I find a good deal on cranks and a BB I'll probably switch them out.
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Old 04-11-21, 06:47 PM
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ofajen
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Iím still using a first gen Dura-Ace crankset I bought in the late 70s. No reason to change it, it is rock solid.

My other bike has an SR crankset of similar vintage that is also perfectly solid. That one I may change but only because it has the obsolete 118 BCD and Iíd like to run a 38T chainring I canít find for it.

Bear in mind these are both SS and I do a lot of out of the saddle riding so they are being well tested and still totally solid.

I am using sealed bearing BBs on both bikes but have nothing against cup and cone other than they do require more maintenance, and that requires a bit of skill and time to do just right.

Otto
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