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  1. #1
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    SSers: what crank to get?

    I'm building an SS at the moment... I've already bought a fetish fixation, manitou black fork, hayes hmx-1 mech. discs and an easton ec70 stem. I'm stuck on the crank here... doesn't seem to be many options, especially what's in my budget.

    I was looking at this truvativ firex SS crankset that comes with a gigapipe team sl bottom bracket (here ). It all seemed good till I read the review of the BB on this site and everyone says it sucks! Can anyone recommend a SS crank/BB combo that I can get for 100 or less shipped?

    What are you guys runnin? What lengths would you recommend for around a 2:1 ratio and a 5"9 rider?
    Last edited by cjh_mtb; 07-16-2005 at 03:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    square taper crank, or LX,XT

    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    I'm building an SS at the moment... I've already bought a fetish fixation, manitou black fork, hayes hmx-1 mech. discs and an easton ec70 stem. I'm stuck on the crank here... doesn't seem to be many options, especially what's in my budget.

    I was looking at this truvativ firex SS crankset that comes with a gigapipe team sl bottom bracket (here ). It all seemed good till I read the review of the BB on this site and everyone says it sucks! Can anyone recommend a SS crank/BB combo that I can get for 100 or less shipped?

    What are you guys runnin? What lengths would you recommend for around a 2:1 ratio and a 5"9 rider?
    I'd say get a decent square taper crank and a xt un52 BB, this way your bb bearings will last a while and you can get a crank and BB for pretty cheap. Also a LX or XT octalink crank is also good, and I've had good luck with the splined octalink XT BB and crank, since they are not making them anymore you might be able to find a good deal.

  3. #3
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    good advice. I run the XT (752 I think) Octalink on my trailbike and they have had zero problems. I like them a lot.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by single1x1
    I'd say get a decent square taper crank and a xt un52 BB, this way your bb bearings will last a while and you can get a crank and BB for pretty cheap. Also a LX or XT octalink crank is also good, and I've had good luck with the splined octalink XT BB and crank, since they are not making them anymore you might be able to find a good deal.
    what is mean by square taper? This is the first bike I will be building... all I know about cranks and what I need is that my frame (fetish fixation) has a 68mm BB housing

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    what is mean by square taper? This is the first bike I will be building... all I know about cranks and what I need is that my frame (fetish fixation) has a 68mm BB housing
    square taper:
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  6. #6
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    splined:
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  7. #7
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    you should get some red race face cranks
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  8. #8
    drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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    I'd get the Sugino XD300 and an UN-73 BB. You can get both new for under $100.
    "Keep your burgers lean and your tires fat." -h.d. | ssoft | flickr

  9. #9
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    dans- :drool: I wish I could afford that beauty

    TOG - so the taper only affects which crankarms I can use, correct?

    drevil- I'll check em out

    thanks for the advice, keep it comin

  10. #10
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    You can also check out theFMF Crank with a Salsa ring, also from AEBike.

    You are right that the square taper affects what crank you can choose. There are cranks available at every level that use the square taper, from the FMF's mentioned above up to the White Industries ENO. The square taper interface is technically not as stiff as a splined interface, but it is not something that most people notice. As stated above, the bearings tend to last longer on a good square taper BB than on a similar splined BB. Make sure that you torque your crankarm bolts correctly to avoid damaging your new arms. Retorque them after you ride the first time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccwenk
    You can also check out theFMF Crank with a Salsa ring, also from AEBike.

    You are right that the square taper affects what crank you can choose. There are cranks available at every level that use the square taper, from the FMF's mentioned above up to the White Industries ENO. The square taper interface is technically not as stiff as a splined interface, but it is not something that most people notice. As stated above, the bearings tend to last longer on a good square taper BB than on a similar splined BB. Make sure that you torque your crankarm bolts correctly to avoid damaging your new arms. Retorque them after you ride the first time.
    thanks for the advice and site, aebikes is great! Can I use any bmx crank for SS as long as it fits my BB? I previously imagined some of the standards were different...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    dans- :drool: I wish I could afford that beauty

    TOG - so the taper only affects which crankarms I can use, correct?

    drevil- I'll check em out

    thanks for the advice, keep it comin
    The arms were $86.88 shipped and they looked like this when they came.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dansjustchillin
    The arms were $86.88 shipped and they looked like this when they came.
    Do they come in blue?

    btw - have an answer to the question i asked above bout bmx cranks?

  14. #14
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    There is no general answer to your question about BMX cranks. There are some that will work easily with your bike, those with European-style BB and square taper or splined interfaces, like the cranks mentioned above. There are some that will work with a little more difficulty, those with adjustable European-style BB and different interfaces, like some of the Profile models used by others on this board. These are generally out of the price range you are looking at. There are BMX cranks that will not work with your bike, most one-piece cranks, and those with American-style BB.

    Hope this helps.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccwenk
    There is no general answer to your question about BMX cranks. There are some that will work easily with your bike, those with European-style BB and square taper or splined interfaces, like the cranks mentioned above. There are some that will work with a little more difficulty, those with adjustable European-style BB and different interfaces, like some of the Profile models used by others on this board. These are generally out of the price range you are looking at. There are BMX cranks that will not work with your bike, most one-piece cranks, and those with American-style BB.

    Hope this helps.
    are you saying that as long as it fits the 68mm/113mm BB in my frame, it will work?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    Do they come in blue?

    btw - have an answer to the question i asked above bout bmx cranks?
    i dunno i didnt think they came in red until they popped up. with the way bmx has been going more and more frames are being made with euro bb shells, so you can get a conversion kit for just about any bmx crank out there.
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  17. #17
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    what length would you guys recommend for a 5"9 rider? I understand a longer length means you could apply more torque, but is 175mm long enough to make a 5"9 guy uncomfortable?

  18. #18
    Enjoying Every Sandwich
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    what length would you guys recommend for a 5"9 rider? I understand a longer length means you could apply more torque, but is 175mm long enough to make a 5"9 guy uncomfortable?

    5'7" here and run the 170 TruVativ Stylos (w/ISIS BB)........I like 'em. With a 33x16 ratio, it works well for me and where I usually ride.

  19. #19
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    Try Ebay

    I have bought at least 3 decent, brand new cranks there in the last few months. Most recent were 2 pair of Black 175mm Shimano Deores for octalink BB for about $45 each the BB for them would be between 20-30. I found some Truvative 5D square taper cranks for $35, but they seem to have dried up. You can also check the MTBR classifieds.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dansjustchillin
    The arms were $86.88 shipped and they looked like this when they came.
    Where did you order them from?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drevil
    I'd get the Sugino XD300 and an UN-73 BB. You can get both new for under $100.
    This is your best value IMHO. I personally use the XD500/UN-73 combo on my Spot SS, but only because I couldn't find the XD300 at the time. As a consolation, I sold the rings to my roadie friends.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudInMyEars
    This is your best value IMHO. I personally use the XD500/UN-73 combo on my Spot SS, but only because I couldn't find the XD300 at the time. As a consolation, I sold the rings to my roadie friends.
    2nd Sugino cranks. or 3rd I guess. I just got some Sugino RD cranks for my SS roadie and was pleasantly surprised with the very nice quality and weight for the price. I will never consider another brand crank since the entire setup costs less than the outer chainring on an XTR crankset and they work just as well.

    I'm no clyde but they feel just as stiff as my xtr cranks.

    with a 48T chainring attached they felt lighter than my XTR cranks with a 34T ring. I didn't weigh them though cuz I don't really care to know the exact weight.
    Last edited by Spookykinkajou; 07-19-2005 at 06:44 PM.

  23. #23
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    I have one more question regarding this matter... how does the length of BB affect my decision? I know the frame I have takes a 68mm diameter, but if i'm running a crank with just one cog for SS, how do I determine what length to choose?

  24. #24
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    Most times you need to run a113mm B/B for a single speed setup. I have that setup and it works but it can also depend on your chain line. Are you using a dedicated SS hub with a screw on BMX freewheel or a regular mtb rear wheel that uses a cassette?

    You need to have the correct chain line because if you dont, it will slip off the cog and you will run your knees into your handlebars.

    What type of frame are you using? SS specific or one with a der hanger?
    What type of wheels?
    Your crank with deterimine your BB length

    Rich
    Proud Tribe member since 1992 - looking for better singletrack to be ridden year round

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetirich
    Most times you need to run a113mm B/B for a single speed setup. I have that setup and it works but it can also depend on your chain line. Are you using a dedicated SS hub with a screw on BMX freewheel or a regular mtb rear wheel that uses a cassette?

    You need to have the correct chain line because if you dont, it will slip off the cog and you will run your knees into your handlebars.

    What type of frame are you using? SS specific or one with a der hanger?
    What type of wheels?
    Your crank with deterimine your BB length

    Rich
    I have an SS specific frame (Fetish Cycles - fixation) with a horizontal droput. The crank I will be likely to get is
    this one. I have not decided what type of rear cog I will be using - I still don't quite understand the differences between a freewheel, ss cassette, etc.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    I have an SS specific frame (Fetish Cycles - fixation) with a horizontal droput. The crank I will be likely to get is
    this one. I have not decided what type of rear cog I will be using - I still don't quite understand the differences between a freewheel, ss cassette, etc.
    After reading a little bit more into the faq, I think i've found that i want a cassette. I certainly do NOT want fixed gear... I'm looking for something that performs like a bmx drivetrain.

  27. #27
    The man who fell to earth
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    Avoid ISIS and Shimano Octalink Splined formats. The ISIS bottom bracket is garbage pretty much through and through, whereas the Shimano Octalink is somewhat better, but I've toasted several of their BB's too (in a short period of time). Right now the old reliable square taper is still the best for durability (by far) and also lightweight with good strength.

    The shimano Deore square drive crankset is about as good as you can get, plus they're very affordable at about $50 brand new WITH three chainrings (you'll be using the middle for trails and possibly the big one for road if you decide to try road SS'n). And the chainrings are steel, which is a good thing for singlespeed because aluminum ones wear out much faster when you rely on only one. These cranks also use the hollowtech technology which makes for a very light/stiff/strong crank, it's really the best of all the worlds. Square taper drive + hollowtech lightness/stiffness + steel rings + low price + shimano quality =


    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=CR7378

    Also you'll want to get these stubby chainring bolts which you'll need to remove the granny (small) and big chainrings (thereby retaining only the middle ring). Or you can use a bashguard instead with the c-ring bolts that come with the crank.


    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=CR0010

    As far as the crank length, just get a 175mm, that will work fine for your inseam. Im 6'1" and Ive run both 180 and 175, and 175 is fine....that's what most people use, and although some swear longer or shorter is the shiznit, 175 works fine for most everyone unless you're a serious daddy long legs.

    Good luck

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy-Stardust
    Avoid ISIS and Shimano Octalink Splined formats. The ISIS bottom bracket is garbage pretty much through and through, whereas the Shimano Octalink is somewhat better, but I've toasted several of their BB's too (in a short period of time). Right now the old reliable square taper is still the best for durability (by far) and also lightweight with good strength.

    The shimano Deore square drive crankset is about as good as you can get, plus they're very affordable at about $50 brand new WITH three chainrings (you'll be using the middle for trails and possibly the big one for road if you decide to try road SS'n). And the chainrings are steel, which is a good thing for singlespeed because aluminum ones wear out much faster when you rely on only one. These cranks also use the hollowtech technology which makes for a very light/stiff/strong crank, it's really the best of all the worlds. Square taper drive + hollowtech lightness/stiffness + steel rings + low price + shimano quality =


    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=CR7378

    Also you'll want to get these stubby chainring bolts which you'll need to remove the granny (small) and big chainrings (thereby retaining only the middle ring). Or you can use a bashguard instead with the c-ring bolts that come with the crank.


    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=CR0010

    As far as the crank length, just get a 175mm, that will work fine for your inseam. Im 6'1" and Ive run both 180 and 175, and 175 is fine....that's what most people use, and although some swear longer or shorter is the shiznit, 175 works fine for most everyone unless you're a serious daddy long legs.

    Good luck
    So you're saying there's really no difference between a regular 3 ring or a SS specific crankset except for the ring count?

  29. #29
    zeebot
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    So you're saying there's really no difference between a regular 3 ring or a SS specific crankset except for the ring count?
    Most here use converted cranksets. I disagree with the above posters opinion on octalink being a bad BB. I've never had a problem and have a LOT of miles on mine as well as a ton of abuse. I've not seen others I ride with have any problems either. ISIS though is definitely sketchy.

    I would still lean towards the suginos. I'm super impressed with them.

  30. #30
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    In most cases yes, a "singlespeed" crankset is nothing more than a stripped down standard three ring crank (which sometimes has a bashguard in addition to the middle ring). But there are dedicated SS cranks like the ENO which are designed to only accommodate a single ring (chainwheel). Also, the older shimano XTR cranks are often converted in a way so that the spider is removed and a single chainwheel is installed in its place, which essentially converts it into a dedicated SS crank.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    So you're saying there's really no difference between a regular 3 ring or a SS specific crankset except for the ring count?
    Last edited by Ziggy-Stardust; 07-20-2005 at 02:53 PM.

  31. #31
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    why would so many crank manufacturers use ISIS standard if it's so shady, though? It seems like 90% of all of the cranks on the market are ISIS, except shimano's proprietary version of it.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    why would so many crank manufacturers use ISIS standard if it's so shady, though? It seems like 90% of all of the cranks on the market are ISIS, except shimano's proprietary version of it.
    there's just as many outboard bearing cranks out there any more. personally i've never had a problem with isis but then again i've never had it on a bike that got any miles on it either. pretty much everything i have now is square tapered.
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  33. #33
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    The ISIS and Octalink standard were developed because the bike industry is always looking for new product upgrades/evolutions for the purposes of (a) legitimately improving bike technology/performance (b) to get an edge over existing products and/or to differentiate or otherwise distinguish their product from others (c) to enhance the 'disposability' of their product so that it needs to be replaced more often, and most importantly (c) to increase prices and to promote/generate sales by creating a need (via marketing) for a product that will supposedly improve the mountain bike's performance over existing technology (in this case, that being square taper).

    And the basic philosophy behind the larger diameter, hollow shaft, splined crank/BB interface is a good one and does have some merit, especially in regards to extreme applications like downhilling or freeriding. By using larger hollow shafts you get a stiffer and more structurally efficient configuration when compared to a smaller diameter solid shaft (given same amount of material). The larger splined union also potentially provides a more stable and robust torque transfer connection, lessening the likelihood of crank loosening or slippage as can occur with square taper under certain circumstances (again, especially during freeriding/downhilling).

    The only problem is with the ISIS/Octalink BB bearings. Since the hollow shaft is a larger diameter than the older solid shaft, the ball bearing size must shrink in order for it to fit into the same cartridge size (which is required to fit into the old standard BB shell). What this means is that where there used to be a smaller number of larger diameter balls (in the square taper), now there are a larger number of smaller balls to carry that same load. As it turns out, the smaller balls just don't cut it. They break down and wear much more rapidly than the big square taper balls, and develop play much sooner...which in turn leads to the seals getting compromised which then admits more dirt and moisture which results in more play, which further destroys the seals...and so on.

    Bottom line? The square taper provides far superior durability, they remain lightweight (in some cases they are still lighter than splined offerings), are plenty strong for all but the most severe duty, and are usually substantially cheaper than splined BB's. ISIS and Octalink are pretty much a sham as far as I'm concerned and I've used both extensively and have seen others use them quite a bit as well.

    Lastly, as a caveat Shimano does have the new external cup cartridge bearing BB/crank setups now which are different than the previous generation of Octalink. I'm not familiar with these setups, it may be that these are durable (or not). I suspect the reason they put the bearings on the outside is to get bigger balls in there, which hopefully will increase its durability. Although it comes at a price, I see that XT cranks which used to be available for under $100 are now nearly double that. XTR is almost $400 and even LX is getting out of hand. No thanks, I'll stick with what works and at reasonable/sane price too.

    Incidentally, if you do decide to go with ISIS or Octalink, I have two sets of Octalink cranks I'll be selling and also the Truvative Stylo 180mm ISIS you referenced with only about a month of riding on it. Let me know if you're interested.

    good luck

    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    why would so many crank manufacturers use ISIS standard if it's so shady, though? It seems like 90% of all of the cranks on the market are ISIS, except shimano's proprietary version of it.

  34. #34
    17.5" pistons of love
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjh_mtb
    why would so many crank manufacturers use ISIS standard if it's so shady, though? It seems like 90% of all of the cranks on the market are ISIS, except shimano's proprietary version of it.
    ISIS is cheap and easy to make! Big spindle-good. Big spindle in small bb shell-bad. Big spindle in small bb shell leaves no room for bearings-bad. Hence the new outboard bearing types. I've also owned and ridden the truvativ ISIS cranks and they bottom out on the stop on the spindle before the really tighten up, leading to constant creaking. Look nice but not my choice.

    I have the new shimano LX outboard bearing cranks which I believe are only sold with all three rings and may be slightly out of your price range. But, you can sell the unused chainrings and reduce the cost, also keep in mind includes bb. Foolproof installation in minutes, they rock.

    The 68mm measurement you keep refering to is bb shell width, not diameter. 68mm and 73mm are standards for mtbs. The Lx cranks I mentioned will work with either.
    The Domesticated SSer

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Bulging Calves
    ISIS is cheap and easy to make! Big spindle-good. Big spindle in small bb shell-bad. Big spindle in small bb shell leaves no room for bearings-bad. Hence the new outboard bearing types. I've also owned and ridden the truvativ ISIS cranks and they bottom out on the stop on the spindle before the really tighten up, leading to constant creaking. Look nice but not my choice.

    I have the new shimano LX outboard bearing cranks which I believe are only sold with all three rings and may be slightly out of your price range. But, you can sell the unused chainrings and reduce the cost, also keep in mind includes bb. Foolproof installation in minutes, they rock.

    The 68mm measurement you keep refering to is bb shell width, not diameter. 68mm and 73mm are standards for mtbs. The Lx cranks I mentioned will work with either.
    thank you! to the rest of you as well

  36. #36
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    if money is no object, and you want bling, pony up for a set of the ENO cranks. if money is a concern at all, forget shopping around, and get the suginos. they'll perform just as good if not better than any other crankset out there, and you'll still have money in your pocket to blow on other bike parts. i've been beating the heck out of an old (early 90's) LX crankset and UN-73 (i think) square taper BB for over 10 years (the last 2 of which have been SS), and i have not one complaint.


    the_dude
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  37. #37
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    I use the Deore Hollowtech cranks on my Unit and haven't had any issues with them, zero, nada. I run the ring on the outer position just for looks and use the OEM ring bolts. For BB I use the XT Octalink (ES71 if not mistaken) and haven't had any issues there also.



    Tried a RF Turbine set with ISIS BB and took it away quickly, the cranks were flexy and the BB didn't lasted.

  38. #38
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    I think I will be buying these:

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    but that says it requires 118mm bb? I can't seem to find a 68mm/113mm square tapered BB...

  39. #39
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    for what it's worth,

    my new project will be getting the new outboard bearing LX cranks. You can get them w/ bb included for about $100 on Ebay, new. I've read good things about the OB integrated cranksets, so I'm going to give it a go. Plus this years look almost exactly like the XTs. They're silver and everything. Oh yeah, and they're light.
    As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs. - Henry David Thoreau

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