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Dura Ace, Grand Mighty, or...?

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Dura Ace, Grand Mighty, or...?

Old 02-10-07, 07:01 PM
  #1  
Ken Cox
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Dura Ace, Grand Mighty, or...?

Greetings and Aloha!

I ride a fixed gear bike on the street, 24/7, rain, snow, sleet, hail, lightning, and SUV's.

I don't drive a car, I rarely get in someone else's car, and then only if I must.

I weigh 235 all up and my lbs says he doesn't know anyone who rides as much as I do (meaning, I put some wear and tear on the equipment).

About two years ago, following my son's advice, I bought a Bianchi Pista and used it as a storage place for upgraded parts; a storage place that I could also ride while I learned more about fixed gear bikes.

Now, after two years of learning, thinking and buying, I've got great wheels (Cane Creek Volos Track); EAI cog; exquisite tires (Conti 4 Season in front and Armadillo in back); a super light and comfortable saddle (Selle San Marco Aspide Arrowhead Ti); a perfect (for me) set-back (35mm) seat post (FSA 220SL); the latest and greatest pedals (Shimano 970's), a front brake so light it floats on the breeze (Cane Creek 200SL); Chris King headset; Ritchey Pro stem (I went through five cheap stems to find the right angle and length); Profile Design bullhorns; and titanium everything else.

Man, I've had a great time learning about these fixed gear critters.

Notice I didn't mention the crankset and bottom bracket?

Well, at age sixty, I've had to almost live with my Physical Therapist while I developed the body mechanics that would allow an old guy like me to ride 30 miles a day on a fixed gear bike.
Part of this meant using a Biopace chainring, which, at 130BCD, led me to use a Stronglight crank on a Phil Wood spindle and crank bearings (thanks to John Dacey at Business Cycles).

I experimented a lot with chainrings (both round and Biopace) and cogs; and I could easily and cheaply do this with a 130BCD crank.
I have ridden every gear inch between 72" and 82" with great pleasure (thanks to Sheldon Brown for his Online Gear Calculator).
I find 72" or 73" about perfect for all around riding, and I get around town, hills and all, faster than most cyclists (except for the very elite riders - got a few of 'em here in Bend, Oregon).

Sometime in the next two years, maybe this summer, I would like to try to ride to Portland, Oregon, from Bend, Oregon (165 miles through the Cascade Mountains), on my fixed gear bike.
At my age it might take me two, three or four days; and, I might need to gear down to 65 gear inches.

Hey, do I know how to make a story long?

Anyway, the time has come to move full-time to a round chainring, and this means picking a crankset and crank bearing that matches the quality of the rest of my components.

Amongst the 144BCD cranksets, the Dura Ace, Sugino and Campy offerings appeal to me, either practically or aesthetically.

I have read the recent threads about the Dura Ace Octalink issues, and what I have read concerns me.
Apart from the Octalink, I would go with the Dura Ace crankset on the basis of lightness, stiffness (or so I have heard), and aesthetics.
I'd like to hear one more round of discussion about the Octalink.

As for the Sugino cranksets, what does one get for his extra bucks by choosing the Grand Mighty over the 75's?
One hundred extra bucks for the Champagne Anodizing on the Grand Mighty doesn't seem like a good deal to me, especially since I don't particularly like Champagne.
What about the Sugino loose ball crank bearing?
I've never done the loose ball thing, and I have questions about rain and maintenance.
I like working on my bike, but I need for it to hold up over a few days of riding in a wet and dirty environment, in case I can't get to it right away.
Will the Sugino bearings tolerate a few days of riding on wet, cindered roads before getting cleaned and repacked with grease?

Which brings us to the Campy crankset.

I like prime numbers.
What does that have to do with anything?

Well, 47t and 53t chainrings, in conjunction with 17t and 19t cogs, give me a range of 65 gear inches to 82 gear inches.

As far as I can tell, Campy doesn't make a 53t chainring.

If I went with a Campy crankset with a 47t chainring, I would have a gear inch range of 65" to 72.7".

Do I really need to ever ride at 82 gear inches again?

And, prime numbers?
Gimme a break.

Hm.
That Campy crankset sure looks beautiful.

Finally...well...maybe not finally, but close to finally...with the Dura Ace I could continue with my 3/32's cogs and chains; whereas going to the Sugino or Campy would require going to 1/8's chains and cogs.
I could do that, either way.

So, I have questions about the Octalink; the Champagne Grand Mighty and greased ball bearings; and, whether the Campy has sufficient virtues and qualities to warrant a 72.7" upper gear inch limit.

I know my questions and concerns might seem frivolous to some of my fellow fixed gear riders, and especially those struggling to pay the rent and just keep their bike rolling.
I've spent a lot of money on my bike, and I don't want to throw that in anyone's face.

Butchaknow?
I don't have that many more years to ride a fixed gear bike, and I love riding a fixed gear bike.
One might say I have an unwholesome love for riding a fixed gear bike.
I look forward to every ride, and I grieve days when for one reason or another I can't ride.

I want to maximize the days and rides I have left, and I want to make this beautifully elegant little machine as perfect as possible.
I think about it all the time.

Happy me.

I hope all my fellow riders someday have the opportunity and means to build their perfect machine.

Anyway, comments, suggestions, advice on my crankset?

Thanks.
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Old 02-10-07, 07:06 PM
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I got no advice for you but youre my hero.
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Old 02-10-07, 07:19 PM
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Longest Post Evar
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Old 02-10-07, 07:25 PM
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I know campy is classy, but I personally think the DA crank is pretty dang hot.
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Old 02-10-07, 07:25 PM
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i've ridden dura ace (square taper and octalink), sugino 75
and campy (old style). i found the dura ace octalink to be
the stiffest of the those four. i combined it with an ultegra bb
so its not so expensive to change. as far as the octalink horror
stories go, most of the time it seems like poor installation/ignoance.
then again, i only weigh 150lbs...

the newer campy are supposed to be stiffer than the old, but i
haven't ridden them yet. if you're worried about not having a
53t chainring, you could always use ...gasp, dura ace or sugino
on the campy crank ...but be warned, it might explode.

as for a loose bearing bb, if your bb shell has a weep hole and it is
serviced now and then, you will be fine.
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Old 02-10-07, 08:38 PM
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Man, I love hearing about your adventures Ken.
There's supposed to be an organized Bend to the Beach "race" in June that some of us Boise people are planning on. We've all been wondering if it'd be possible to do fixed?
My personal suggestion-- DA square taper to a Phil BB. Just plain tasty.
Best of luck.
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Old 02-10-07, 10:41 PM
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Ken,

They are all good. I have ridden them all. It is all personal taste. I am not big on Octalink cranks, I sold mine after two rides. Im old fashion.

I hoped to ride to your age but it won't happen. Again they are all good cranks of the ones you choose. Campy chainrings and cogs are still out there in 3 / 32 on craigslist and on this fourms sale section.

S/F,
CEYA!
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Old 02-10-07, 10:58 PM
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are you related to woody cox?
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Old 02-10-07, 11:02 PM
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I think this thread needs to be locked; complete sentences, capitalization, and proper punctuation are not allowed in this forum. And a linear thought pattern that is written in an easily comprehended manner - blasphemy!

Mac
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Old 02-11-07, 07:04 AM
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Ken,

I've ridden old and new campy, old dura ace, and sugino 75 and frankly couldn't tell much difference between them. They are all nice and stiff, and pretty. I recently had a Kalavinka built and went with the new dura ace cranks and splined bb, and they feel great, noticeably stiffer(for me at least). I'm also about the same weight as you. I have splined bottom brackets on my road bike(shimano) as well as my mountain bike(race face isis) and have had no problems with any of them. So, basically I don't think you should worry about the durability of the splined system.

Have you considered a new frameset? Possibly custom? There's nothing at all wrong with a pista, but it seems like you're serious enough about cycling to justify it. I've been riding for work and pleasure and competion for quite some time, and have owned all sorts of bicycles, some that fit well, some that didn't. But nothing I've ever owned has felt as perfect as this Kalavinka, it's unreal how good it feels. Sorry to derail the thread and spend more of your money, but I think you should consider it.

Eric
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Old 02-11-07, 08:07 AM
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- If you are taking your cranks off every few days to repack the bb they aren't going to last all that long. But an unsealed bb will indeed be able to cope with a few days of riding between repacks in all but the worst circumstances.
- You can get 3/32" 144bcd rings and there is no reason to match chainring and crankset brands.
- You don't sound like you are going to be happy with octalink so don't get them no matter what the practical benefits are.
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Old 02-11-07, 08:24 AM
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If you used the Sugino cranks you could re-use your Phil bottom bracket. Any 144 BCD chainring will work on them.
 
Old 02-11-07, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by get_nuts
If you used the Sugino cranks you could re-use your Phil bottom bracket. Any 144 BCD chainring will work on them.
what does bcd have to do with the bb?
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Old 02-11-07, 10:04 AM
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he is saying that Ken can still use the Phil Wood BB on the Sugino ( maybe they fit well) . He can then use any 144 chainring for his correct gear he want to acheive in 1/8 or 3 /32.

S/F,
CEYA!
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Old 02-11-07, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken Cox

Anyway, the time has come to move full-time to a round chainring, and this means picking a crankset and crank bearing that matches the quality of the rest of my components.
The phil bottom bracket is about the best you can get for street riding. I would keep that.
Unless you're having real problems with the stronglight cranks flexing, i would keep those too.
businesscycles has a selection of good quality round 130 bcd chainrings which would fit them- get one of the Spécialités TA in 47, plus an wipperman chain, eai cog, and you should be golden.
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Old 02-11-07, 10:30 PM
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i wonder why it is time to switch to a round ring ?

anyway, why not stick with what you know works ?
it will be hard to beat square taper cranks on a phil bb for the ultimate in maintenance intervals, adjustability, and interchangeability amongst all your bikes
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Old 02-12-07, 04:13 AM
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What are these "horror stories" regarding Octalink BB's? I figured anything new HAD to be good...Right?
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Old 02-12-07, 08:03 AM
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Ken -- time to also get that Mercian you've talked about for years now.

Regarding cranks: DA's are the only cranks I have not ridden out of the lot.

I'll get to Sugino first: I run 75's on one bike. They were my first real track crank and they've performed solidly over the years. Stiff and they feel burly and solid. They feel like they look. I'll continue to tout them as the best bang for your buck track crank out there. The Sugino 75 BB is smooth as butter -- the two together are one of the best combos ever. While cartridge might be worry-free, I love the feel of loose ball -- so smooth. Packed with Phil Wood, I only ever cleaned out the BB every 2 months or so. 1 month perhaps with a lot of rain, 2 weeks with snow. You should really try out loose ball sometime, I think a person like yourself would appreciate the subtleties.

Regarding the Grand Mighty, 11.4 has the last word on this:
Originally Posted by 11.4
What does the Grand Mighty have? Most of the cost is in the forging. Instead of something like three forging passes on the 75, the Grand Mighty has an amazing 26. This means it's much stiffer and individual parts such as the spider and the area around the pedal threads are much more resistant to impact damage or to flexion. If you fall (or get hit) hard enough to snap your crank, you probably have other bigger worries.

The finish on the Grand Mighty is mighty Mighty. It's a gorgeous finish and happens to be extremely resistant to corrosion, oxidation blooms, and the like. So it'll keep looking gorgeous while the 75 will look a bit punky after a while. And if you use toe straps, the clear anodized finish on the 75 will disappear in days, but the gold Grand Mighty finish will last a lot longer.

The milling of the square taper on the Grand Mighty is more precise (both done to size more accurately and also more precisely in the center of the crank) than on the 75. This plus the superior forging means you can take it on and off a lot more than a 75 before it doesn't quite go on as straight, and it is more likely to give you a truly centered chainring (people ***** about chainrings not being round when the problem is usually that the square taper was milled off-center, causing the whole shebang to be off-center, and no change in chainring will correct it).

It's up to you which one you get at this point. Personally I like the Grand Mighty and its durable finish and precision. Plus I do race track and it is quite definitely stiffer, although you have to put out a lot of watts and feel really good on an evening to be able to notice that difference.
My favourite cranks however, are on my daily ride. The Campy Pista cranks. I've had two sets because I've liked them so. They feel stiffer to me than my 75's, especially at the track. On the street, I'm not sure if I feel much of a difference -- but knowing what I've felt at the track, I can feel it on the street as well. Part of it certainly the way the two bikes are set-up as well and I've run the 75's and the Campy's on different frames to get a good idea of the feel. They feel more "alive" to me than the solidness of the Sugino 75's which feel also more "dead" or "dense". I attribute it to the way the cranks are forged with a thinner profile but a wider width in terms of how "spiffy" they feel.

The DA's are a crank I'm quite interested to eventually delve into, particularly for track as they are lighter, are forged similarly in terms of profile and width to Campy. They seem like a balance between Campy and Sugino.

But for now, I'm happy with the Campy's and 75's. Whatever choice you make, I don't think you'll go wrong with any of them, but to me, it sounds like you're going to be more intrigued and interested with the DA's.
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Old 02-12-07, 09:18 AM
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I say bring an extra chain and chainring/cog with you on your mountainous ride for the downhills, as long as you have a front break. What better way to make up for all that lost time climbing them than swapping parts for the downhill while you take your time to enjoy the view, just like they did it 100 years ago.

Either option you go for, keep that in mind.
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Old 02-12-07, 09:32 AM
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as absntr said, i also think you'd really be into the d-a track setup. following your posts in the last few years it really seems the newer and better technology of the d-a's would get you excited and you would be surprised at the performance difference. i think your weight and strength would make the benefits even more pronounced.

i completely agree with travsi. the octalink setup seems to be only problematic for skidheads that don't keep their crank bolts tight or install them improperly. octalink is going to be superbly stiffer than any square taper, despite the luddite tears. i run d-a 7700 cranks on my road bike. super, super stiff. i also run an ultegra bb, as they are cheaper and better sealed, but still light and good quality. also, my mountain bikes are isis and octalink and my cross bike is also isis. stiff, stiff, stiff with no complaints.

as for the campy's... they are indeed good looking. probably my favorite looking crank... second would be the d-a 7410 road crank. anyways, i run the campy pista c-record cranks with an fsa chainring on my track bike. i love these cranks. they're stiff enough for me on track, even though i have the "climber" build: 165 at 6'4". i love my fsa chainring. that thing is beefy!! it seemed to stiffen up the crank response/power transfer.

as for 130 bcd round chainrings, salsa and blackspire both make great quality ones you can get in 3/32 and 130 bcd. business cycles used to carry the blackspire ones, but they're no longer on his site.

Last edited by isotopesope; 02-12-07 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 02-12-07, 09:49 AM
  #21  
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Is weight the only difference between the Grand Mightys and the regular 75s? Of course the color but yeah..anything else? Thinking of getting the Mightys eventually. I have the regular 75s..no complaints, but i like the color on the Mightys when its time for new cranks or for another frame build
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Old 02-12-07, 09:58 AM
  #22  
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the grand mighty's are better forged and machined to closer tolerances.
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Old 02-12-07, 04:22 PM
  #23  
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If you need a 144bcd 53t campy NOS ring, a friend just found one hidden under some rocket rings in a shop that he recently bought.

Oterwise, the Dura-Ace cranks is very nice.
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