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  1. #1
    Baby Bear is in the house
    Reputation: r1Gel's Avatar
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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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: asphaltdude's Avatar
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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 )
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  4. #4
    Single Speeder
    Reputation: ETP2008's Avatar
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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
    mtbr member
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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
    Reputation: madcap's Avatar
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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
    conjoinicorned
    Reputation: ferday's Avatar
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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
    Reputation: madcap's Avatar
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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
    Baby Bear is in the house
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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
    mtbr member
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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
    Baby Bear is in the house
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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
    Baby Bear is in the house
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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
    mtbr member
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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
    Baby Bear is in the house
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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
    Reputation: Tone No Balone's Avatar
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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
    Baby Bear is in the house
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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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    Reputation: CDtofer's Avatar
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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
    metrotuned WoS
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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.

    #willofthesun and author of the most viewed MTBR thread: Platform Pedal Shootout

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