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  1. #1
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Hope Best budget external BB crankset

    I'm working out the numbers for a budget SS-specific rig and am now looking for a low-cost external bearing crankset.

    It goes without saying that I am looking for standard, triple-chainring set-ups (unless they now make budget SS cranksets). I'll just be removing the rings as I already have a non-ramped, SS chainring.

    I'm considering the Deore-level M54X series cranks as options. Any others out there I should be checking out?
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  2. #2
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    Ride more!

  3. #3
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphaltdude
    Interesting read...

    However, I have neither the time nor the resources to do that (this is a budget build after all), and I couldn't care less about Jeff Jones

    Thanks anyway.

    ...and I'm going for the stealth black look (will be, hopefully, a black Surly 1x1 <fingers crossed>)
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  4. #4
    Single Speeder
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    I've been happy with my FSA V-drive single speed crankset. The mega exo BB went on easy and functions very well. I would consider it budget although a Truvativ Stylo is a bit more cheap.

    http://www.treefortbikes.com/93_3332...-Crankset.html

  5. #5
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    FC-M532 - Shimano Deore. Steel BB axle, comes with the cups & bearings, and has a proper splined pinch bolt interface with preload, all for well under $100.

  6. #6
    You know, for kids
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    TruVativ Hussefelt - $60-70
    matching TruVativ Howitzer BB - $30-35

    slightly heavy, but very strong and reliable
    disclaimer: I sell and repair bicycles

  7. #7
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    I would also recommend the FSA V-drive. It's light, stiff, and it looks great. I've seen it at bikeisland.com for $109

  8. #8
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    the truvativ are cheap, and my stylos have functioned very well....for short time, until the bearings crap out. i have now used enough BB's that i could've just gotten some XT cranks.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  9. #9
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    The entry-level external BB cranksets from Shimano and FSA are both good options. They both use a nearly identical system for mounting and preloading the non-drive crank arm, very simple and very solid. I have heard too many complaints about Truvativ's system to try them myself.

  10. #10
    You know, for kids
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    the truvativ are cheap, and my stylos have functioned very well....for short time, until the bearings crap out. i have now used enough BB's that i could've just gotten some XT cranks.

    Holzfeller and Hussefelt use the Howitzer BB which has larger bearings than your Stylo. I've been pounding on my two Howitzer BBs for over 2 years and both still feel new.
    disclaimer: I sell and repair bicycles

  11. #11
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    The entry-level external BB cranksets from Shimano and FSA are both good options. They both use a nearly identical system for mounting and preloading the non-drive crank arm, very simple and very solid. I have heard too many complaints about Truvativ's system to try them myself.
    What particular issues do the Truvativs have? Is it the bearings?
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdoable
    FC-M532 - Shimano Deore. Steel BB axle, comes with the cups & bearings, and has a proper splined pinch bolt interface with preload, all for well under $100.
    I am leaning towards these... cheap, easily available and "Shimano-reliable." Do you know how much they weigh? I'm no weight weenie, but I don't want to weigh down my SS project needlessly.

    Is there any reason I shouldn't be looking at the higher level Deores (M54X series)?
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel
    What particular issues do the Truvativs have? Is it the bearings?
    Maybe I came off too hard on the Truvativ cranks. First, I don't think Truvativ bearings are any worse than the average external cup BB.

    What I was referring to is that the non-drive arm is held tight by a bolt on the end of the spindle (kinda like square taper, Isis, etc) instead of two pinch bolts at a right angle to the spindle. This style is much more likely to loosen through use. Being a splined fit, if you ride without noticing it is loose you will damage the splines and will never get that crank arm to stay tight again. This is why people come here and wonder why their crank arm keeps falling off. If you keep a good eye on the fixing bolt you shouldn't have a problem though.

    They don't have preload adjustment either, but I believe their system is designed to make that a non-issue through the way the spindle contacts the NDS bearing. I'm kinda hazy on the details.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel
    I am leaning towards these... cheap, easily available and "Shimano-reliable." Do you know how much they weigh? I'm no weight weenie, but I don't want to weigh down my SS project needlessly.

    Is there any reason I shouldn't be looking at the higher level Deores (M54X series)?
    No idea on the weights.

    I hadn't seen a M54X crank before so I had to go look it up. It doesn't appear to be any higher level than the M53X cranks, it just has a different series # to differentiate it because if comes stock with a big bashguard and 22/36t rings instead of 22/33/44t rings

  15. #15
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    holzfellers on a howitzer over here on my cottage bike/jumper...
    dead cheap (grungy take-offs from someone who was "upgrading from stock")
    don't waste your time looking for new parts... find something "used" in the take-offs bin at the LBS.
    I'll also vouch for leftovers
    my saints cost me 70$ canadian, lx cranks with "worn rings" were 50$, xt's with "some worn, some ok" were 120$ all on craigs... I don't really suffer from upgrade-itis as bad as some people... and a missing logo or model name (like the "dura-ace" being worn off the crankarms) doesn't stop a person who knows what number sequence to track down stamped on the inside of the arm itself. (those were 57$ on the 'bay by the way!)

    oh yeah! old isis cranks, like specialized branded ones for example... tough, decent quality, dead nuts cheap.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Maybe I came off too hard on the Truvativ cranks. First, I don't think Truvativ bearings are any worse than the average external cup BB.

    What I was referring to is that the non-drive arm is held tight by a bolt on the end of the spindle (kinda like square taper, Isis, etc) instead of two pinch bolts at a right angle to the spindle. This style is much more likely to loosen through use. Being a splined fit, if you ride without noticing it is loose you will damage the splines and will never get that crank arm to stay tight again. This is why people come here and wonder why their crank arm keeps falling off. If you keep a good eye on the fixing bolt you shouldn't have a problem though.

    They don't have preload adjustment either, but I believe their system is designed to make that a non-issue through the way the spindle contacts the NDS bearing. I'm kinda hazy on the details.
    I get ya...

    'guess no one can touch Shimano for value right now...
    Last edited by r1Gel; 03-03-2009 at 06:41 PM.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  17. #17
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    uhh... okay... thanks, but no thanks.

    This will be my only bike so I'd like to start it off with brand new parts.

    thanks for the input all the same

    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts
    holzfellers on a howitzer over here on my cottage bike/jumper...
    dead cheap (grungy take-offs from someone who was "upgrading from stock")
    don't waste your time looking for new parts... find something "used" in the take-offs bin at the LBS.
    I'll also vouch for leftovers
    my saints cost me 70$ canadian, lx cranks with "worn rings" were 50$, xt's with "some worn, some ok" were 120$ all on craigs... I don't really suffer from upgrade-itis as bad as some people... and a missing logo or model name (like the "dura-ace" being worn off the crankarms) doesn't stop a person who knows what number sequence to track down stamped on the inside of the arm itself. (those were 57$ on the 'bay by the way!)

    oh yeah! old isis cranks, like specialized branded ones for example... tough, decent quality, dead nuts cheap.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel
    I get ya...

    'guess no one can touch Shimano for value right now...
    Yep. I have an FSA Moto that I am happy with. It uses the same system as Shimano (and the cups are interchangeable)

    I definitely agree that the Shimano's are the best value, though. Especially if you are willing to buy from the UK

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    I definitely agree that the Shimano's are the best value, though. Especially if you are willing to buy from the UK
    No worries. I'm in the Philippines, and Shimano is dirt cheap at LBSs here

    Thanks for all the input.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  20. #20
    You know, for kids
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Maybe I came off too hard on the Truvativ cranks. First, I don't think Truvativ bearings are any worse than the average external cup BB.

    What I was referring to is that the non-drive arm is held tight by a bolt on the end of the spindle (kinda like square taper, Isis, etc) instead of two pinch bolts at a right angle to the spindle. This style is much more likely to loosen through use. Being a splined fit, if you ride without noticing it is loose you will damage the splines and will never get that crank arm to stay tight again. This is why people come here and wonder why their crank arm keeps falling off. If you keep a good eye on the fixing bolt you shouldn't have a problem though.

    They don't have preload adjustment either, but I believe their system is designed to make that a non-issue through the way the spindle contacts the NDS bearing. I'm kinda hazy on the details.

    Also, just for more...the Stylo is a 2-piece design with the drive crank arm permanently attached to the spindle (just like Shimano external cup designs) where the Holzfeller/Hussefelt design is 3-piece where both arms are separate and bolt to the spindle with huge bolts. I have heard of both Stylo spindle wear and bearing issues but have not seen any firsthand. I've sold a few Stylos and so far the customers don't have any complaints. And I've got no complaints with the huge Howitzer spindle/bearings used with my Holzfeller/Hussefelt, may even transfer one setup to a brand new frame.
    disclaimer: I sell and repair bicycles

  21. #21
    singletrack bound
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    Don't get the Stylo 1.1 SS crank.....ain't worth the hassle, believe me. I had to carry a 10mm allen and retighten non drive crank arm multiple times on one ride! Shimano XT's work great. I ended up going square taper BB with ENO White Indrustries Cranks.
    Installed and forgotten!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone No Balone
    Don't get the Stylo 1.1 SS crank.....ain't worth the hassle, believe me. I had to carry a 10mm allen and retighten non drive crank arm multiple times on one ride! Shimano XT's work great. I ended up going square taper BB with ENO White Indrustries Cranks.
    Installed and forgotten!
    I read somewhere in these forums (do a search) that you should have your shop tighten that bolt to spec so as to have it not keep backing out.

    The ENOs are nice, but too high end and spendy for me

    Thanks for the input.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  23. #23
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    I got an XT set - the new M770 from chainreactioncyles for $143 US and I added a little bit more to the order to to get free shipping. I then turned around and sold the chainrings on eBay for $75 BIN in 3 days. A little work and bit of a pain in the arse but my net cost for the cranks was $68.

    I think I caught the right day on the exchange rate as they wrere higher the last time I checked but still might be worth looking into to get a sweet set of cranks on the cheap.

  24. #24
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    r1Gel,
    Just an FYI I have seen the weight for the M532 cranks listed as 1010 grams. Thats about 250 grams heavier than XT.

  25. #25
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    Idea! Shimano Saint 1st Gen for the win!

    SHIMANO SAINT. All stealth black, most durable, stiffest, very little weight penalty if any. Retail MSRP $3XX. Get them used ($150) or on clerance special (<$250) for budget requirements.

    Have you seen Robotech? You can see the influence it has on the design of the Saint crankarms.







    The polycarbonate bash guard came on the Saint 800-2 (double chainring), removed granny ring, replaced ramped stock outer ring (it works fine for SS though) with a Salsa 32T single speed chainring, and it's all cherry. Saint's came out BEFORE Chris King's 2009 release of the BB, perfect timing for an upgrade ... the Saint idea was alerted to me by fellow MTBR's who found the Saint on clearance blowout at Jenson. I got in the mix with a pair of them.

    Never fails: go with what you want, not what your budget allows, you will never regret your choice. It is too often that later you re-purchase something you originally intended to buy, thus your purchase just doubled in price and time and you feel like a fool. Don't let it happen if you have this choice!





    The new generation Saints are even better (lighter) and have gold ano bits like the cups, bolts (have logos etched across the cranksarms front and back.) See below for example. A pic of the March 2009 release from Animal Commencal, dubbed the Supreme DH World Championship Edition.

    Lead actor Will of the Sun, Author Platform Pedal Shootout 820K views

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphaltdude
    what is the point of drilling the two holes?
    of course my opinion is the right one, thats why I have it.
    "there's my chippy"

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDtofer
    r1Gel,
    Just an FYI I have seen the weight for the M532 cranks listed as 1010 grams. Thats about 250 grams heavier than XT.
    Thanks for that. I'm no WW but don't want to unnecessarily weigh down my build
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  28. #28
    You know, for kids
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDtofer
    r1Gel,
    Just an FYI I have seen the weight for the M532 cranks listed as 1010 grams. Thats about 250 grams heavier than XT.
    A good portion of that extra weight is in the 3 stamped steel chainrings. If modified for singlespeed with a single alloy chainring it would be much lighter.
    disclaimer: I sell and repair bicycles

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by madcap
    A good portion of that extra weight is in the 3 stamped steel chainrings. If modified for singlespeed with a single alloy chainring it would be much lighter.
    Good point. Thanks for pointing that out

    I'll be taking all the stock rings off anyway, as I already have an unramped alloy ring.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by madcap
    Quote Originally Posted by CDtofer
    r1Gel,
    Just an FYI I have seen the weight for the M532 cranks listed as 1010 grams. Thats about 250 grams heavier than XT.
    A good portion of that extra weight is in the 3 stamped steel chainrings. If modified for singlespeed with a single alloy chainring it would be much lighter.

    FYI: Shimano FC-M532



    1120gm, fully wet, steel 26t & 36t rings, aluminum 48t ring with gaurd.



    788gm bare with BB cups and bearings.


    Not bad for less than $100.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdoable
    FYI: Shimano FC-M532

    788gm bare with BB cups and bearings.


    Not bad for less than $100.
    NICE! 788 w/o rings is not bad at all. I think I will be picking a set up as well.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDtofer
    NICE! 788 w/o rings is not bad at all. I think I will be picking a set up as well.
    I agree. I wonder how much less the SLX or XT weighs for just the crank and BB.

    Makes me feel better about having an FSA crankset that is listed as 1003g for the triple ring setup

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    I agree. I wonder how much less the SLX or XT weighs for just the crank and BB.

    Makes me feel better about having an FSA crankset that is listed as 1003g for the triple ring setup

    I've noticed that on some of the lower end outboard bearing Shimano cranks that the arms and bottom bracket cups and spindle are the same, the only differences being the materials that the rings and spider are made out of. I'm not sure on the newer Shimano range as I have not seen any SLX or XT cranks lately but on the older models this was definitely the case. The Deore cranks used to use the same arms as LX and even Alivio, though they each had their own color or graphics.
    disclaimer: I sell and repair bicycles

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by (((И)))
    what is the point of drilling the two holes?
    It makes them look more like the set of modified and polished XTR cranks they were trying to mimic.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDtofer
    NICE! 788 w/o rings is not bad at all. I think I will be picking a set up as well.
    yah, but no 180mm??


    Q

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by quicklaps
    yah, but no 180mm??


    Q
    I believe the only Shimano cranksets that do are XT and XTR

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDtofer
    NICE! 788 w/o rings is not bad at all. I think I will be picking a set up as well.
    Ye, that is nice. Thanks, itsdoable for posting that.

    I'll be keeping an eye out for the M532s...
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel
    Ye, that is nice. Thanks, itsdoable for posting that.

    I'll be keeping an eye out for the M532s...
    Speedgoat has them on sale tonight for $82!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Speedgoat has them on sale tonight for $82!
    Oh I'm pretty certain I can get them at my LBS for less than that

    Thanks all the same
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel
    Oh I'm pretty certain I can get them at my LBS for less than that

    Thanks all the same
    You are a lucky man then. Retail for these '09s is like $125

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    You are a lucky man then. Retail for these '09s is like $125
    That's one great thing about being in SE Asia. I'm closer to the source

    Wish the same could be said about digital photography equipment
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  42. #42
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    got mine

    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    You are a lucky man then. Retail for these '09s is like $125
    Got this from a LBS over the weekend for about USD53 (at current exchange rates)












    An extra USD20 could've got me the M545, a dual ring with polycarb bashguard [which is nice but not necessary] and a 36-tooth middle ring [a closer alternative to my current 40-toother than your usual 32t]. Or I could've gone to the M531 which had 48-36-26-teeth chainrings [for only a small upcharge over the M532]. I figured I didn't really need the 36er, so the savings I got allowed me to buy the BB installation tool to mount up the cranks
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

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