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  1. #1
    Pisgah-Pale-Alien
    Reputation: FatTireGoose's Avatar
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    External BB crankset worth the money

    I just bought an entry level 29er HT and am already interested in what improvements are worth my time and money. I've already changed out the seat and bars and I'm definitely upgrading the fork eventually but today at my LBS they almost convinced me $125 for an external BB crankset is smart money. Agree/disagree?

  2. #2
    Rub it............
    Reputation: frdfandc's Avatar
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    Depends on what is already on the bike.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireGoose View Post
    I just bought an entry level 29er HT and am already interested in what improvements are worth my time and money. I've already changed out the seat and bars and I'm definitely upgrading the fork eventually but today at my LBS they almost convinced me $125 for an external BB crankset is smart money. Agree/disagree?
    In tough conditions water mud winter etc...external BB's will outlast ISiS internal BB's.

  4. #4
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
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    Use the BB/cranks that you have until they start causing problems, if they do. External BBs don't last forever either.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  5. #5
    usually cranky
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
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    upgrade to external when what you are running craps out. imo external bb's just feel better somehow.

  6. #6
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    Reputation: limba's Avatar
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    Yup. Ride whatever you have until it's ruined then upgrade.

  7. #7
    www.derbyrims.com
    Reputation: derby's Avatar
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    Yes, for durability and stiffness.

    But wear out what you have now first. You'll need new cranks to go to an external BB.

    After 5 years I just replaced my 2nd with another $45 FSA Mega Exo BB for my FSA Afterburner cranks.

    So I'm getting close to 2.25 years per cheaper model external BB.

    ISIS, 4 months to 1 year each for the best made RaceFace Signature model, same conditions. Fortunately RaceFace warranted each one.

    Square taper UN52 (XT) 1.5 years each time.

    Square taper UN72 (XTR) 2.5 years each time.

  8. #8
    I should be studying...
    Reputation: frank daleview's Avatar
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    I agree with the other posts. Unless there is a glaring issue urging you to upgrade your cranks, I would spend money else where. The most cost effective upgrade will be to get new tires, on entry level bikes the difference can be quite dramatic.
    Formerly known as iceaxe

  9. #9
    Pisgah-Pale-Alien
    Reputation: FatTireGoose's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone, all good advice. I am of the persuasion to upgrade whenever replacing but the way this guy at the LBS put it (and of course he's a salesman), the increase in pedal efficiency is too good not to switch now and also that it makes better sense to do it while the drive-train is new so the new chain rings will marriage well with the almost new chain and cassette. I think I'll wait though and get it done once I've worn out the OE stuff, a better fork is more needed anyway.

  10. #10
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    Reputation: JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Your fork is almost certainly a bigger bang-for-the-buck upgrade than your cranks.

  11. #11
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireGoose View Post
    pedal efficiency is too good not to switch now and also that it makes better sense to do it while the drive-train is new so the new chain rings will marriage well with the almost new chain and cassette.
    Efficiency? I doubt you'd feel much of a difference.

    By the time you have to replace the BB/cranks, you will have worn out at least one chain. More likely a few chains. And after a few chains the cassette will be ready to be replaced too.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: limba's Avatar
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    My bb comparison is the opposite of Derby's. My square taper bb (Shimano, Race Face, etc) lasted for years and my external bb (RF) only last a few months. I commute all winter long though in very crappy conditions. I think I've gone through two square taper bottom brackets on my cross bike in ten years.

  13. #13
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    Usually the best bang for the buck are

    Lighter stronger wheels...or maybe the front fork....depends on what you have...

    and of course what ever wears out first.

  14. #14
    usually cranky
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Efficiency? I doubt you'd feel much of a difference.
    that puzzled me. maybe if we were ultra sensitive robots riding on perfect roads

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaxe View Post
    I agree with the other posts. Unless there is a glaring issue urging you to upgrade your cranks, I would spend money else where. The most cost effective upgrade will be to get new tires, on entry level bikes the difference can be quite dramatic.
    Great advice here ^^^^^^

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