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  1. #1
    I should be studying...
    Reputation: frank daleview's Avatar
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    Crank Bros Cobalt SL

    I was looking at the design spec of these cranks only to realize that they are very different from all the other high end cranks on the market. They bond high grade aluminum to stainless steel to achieve their hollow design. It would seem to me that if anything, this would result in failure points (the bonding between the aluminum & steel) and a flexier (using thin stainless steel rather than aluminum), rather than a stiffer crank. Has anyone used these, what did you think?
    Formerly known as iceaxe

  2. #2
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    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
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    From Mountain Biking Australia Nov/Dec/Jan 07/08 issue carrying over from the previous two issues.

    ...we had some real issues with multiple failures in testing.At eht time of writing the review we had two left hand cranks fail when the bonding let go. Crank Brothers blamed this on 'early production problems'... We were then given a third pair to test from much later in the production line (around 7,000 cranks produced)... Well sure enough the third set broike in the same manner...

    With this, Crank Brothers went back to the drawing board and reviewed their quality control testing... Crank set number four was newer again; the serial number indicated that they were around the 13,000th crank to roll off the production line.

    I have ridden the latest version for four months and they have not failed. However they have developed the same 'click' under load. {my edit - the 'click' noise was mentioned in previous issues}... we don't know whether it has any connection to the bonding failures. Even if it has no connection, it is disconcerting that a $968 crank set should 'click'.

    ... With these issues the Australian Crank Brothers importer, Dirt Works, has decided not to sell the Cobalt cranks - they just don't want to take the risk... The latest quality controls implemented by Crank Brothers may have done the trick but i personally wouldn't trust them after what i have experienced.
    The article is not by me, but John Hardwick, MBA editor.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: rockman's Avatar
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    I'm on my second set of the isis version. They seem plenty stiff to me but I bent the drive side crank (twisted arm towards the pedal) after 300 miles or so. I'm on a 5" travel bike and weigh 205#. Small jumps and dropoffs but nothing too agro. CB replaced them without question and I had a new pair at my house in less than a week. 600 miles or so and no problems but I haven't checked the serial numbers to see where they fall in the production line.

    On another note, if you use them with a different isis bb like FSA you'll need to take the dust caps/self extracting deal off in order to use the m14 bolts. CB uses M15. I might have this backward. Anyway, it was no small deal to get those suckers off with a spanner wrench (or even a combination of two spanners and two sets of hands) and I ended up with the cranks in a vice and hammered them off with a punch. CB sent me new caps in the mail as well as replacement m14 bolts if I wanted to use them, again no questions asked. They have a special tool for the job but perhaps the ones I had got torqued a little to much at the factory.

    Unlike the anondized look, the stainless wrap wears really well. They still look new and I like to support the little guy. My 2 cents.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: frank daleview's Avatar
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    Wow, I've never heard of a crank arm failing like that; maybe at the splines or the pedal threads, but never just an arm failure. That's too bad, I hold the Crank Bros in very high esteem. There design marks a serious departure from current design schemes, I guess it's to be expected that there are going to be some initial unforeseen trials. I am glad to hear that they dealt with the problem swiftly. I too have had great customer service from them as well.
    Formerly known as iceaxe

  5. #5
    Ride Everything
    Reputation: GRAVELBIKE's Avatar
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    I have two pairs of them (both mated to Cobalt CroMo BBs). No problems with either set. They're reasonably light, have decent q-factors, and are simple to install.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  6. #6
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    On the subject of crank brothers pedals, are they a hit with most everyone who uses them? I see a lot of them out there. I've always ridden with Shimano SPDs, but was thinking of switching to crank brothers because of weight savings.

    Are they easy to get in and out of? Do they keep you clipped in well when you don't want out?

  7. #7
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    I use and I think they are great. I've not used the new shimano pedals, but they are easy to get in and out of and I have not had any premature release issues.
    Formerly known as iceaxe

  8. #8
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatorback
    On the subject of crank brothers pedals, are they a hit with most everyone who uses them?
    No, you can't hit them.

    On the other hand, I can hit the hell out of my 545s all day long.

    These weren't the only CB pedals that I killed, but overall I find their designs to be lacking, ultimate strength, reliability, and so forth. There is no comparission IMO, the CB stuff has a nice feature or two sometimes, but I got so tired of having to have the company send out rebuild kits or fix things. Heck, just look at the cranks in this thread. Every CB product I've had has been substandard in some significant way.
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    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  9. #9
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    Love all my CB pedals. I've got a set of candies, set of smarties and a set of Acids that have all been flawless despite repeated abuse.

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