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Thread: Kooka history

  1. #1
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    Kooka history

    I remember when kooka cranks first were introduced. I was starting a bike mail order business(yeah, to support my MTB habit) and kooka readily sold me several cranks. My friends were so lucky. Some of the first ones cracked; kooka improved them and replaced them. The spider of the crank was well designed. Before 94mm BCD became standard, you could mount a 20tooth on the spider without an avid adapter. Their sweet color schemes made you faster too, and go for $$$ on Ebay. Anyone have any history on the rise and fall of Kooka? Here is the old Bike Pro write up. Kooka Cranks - Bicycle Parts at discount prices / the Buyer's Guide / Bicycle Parts at their finest! / Professional Bicycle Source / Bike Pro
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    They are History

    7 individual cracks developed in 500 miles of road riding, and then one failed. Thanks Kooka.

    Kooka history-img_2010_zps4e898613.jpg

    Kooka history-img_2011_zpscc408af2.jpg

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    I was gonna say it's the History of breakage.

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    Does anyone actually own a set of Kooka cranks (that have actually been ridden ) that haven't broken? A friend of mine in the business at the time had a bunch of sets, and he offered me a pair for nothing. Of course, he warned me that they would eventually self destruct, hence the reason that he offered them to me for free.

    I stuck with my XC Pros.

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    They were known as either Kreaka's or Kracka's bitd. All I got to add.
    A bike by any other name is still a bike.

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    Been riding the same set for Kooka I-Beams for about 20 years now. I've heard others complain about breakage but they've treated me right. I'm 6'0 and 200 lbs so not exactly light.



    Also have a second set in silver (not the I-Beam style) on a recently rebuilt Zaskar but haven't ridden them too much.

    ...and since I was such a good boy this year Santa is delivering more Kooka goodness.

    Tough crowd. I'd counter the breakage critics with all the other cranks I've seen suffer breakage. Plenty of broken Caramba's, Cook's, Topline's, whatever. Not sure how you could break a road crank. That seems like an obvious manufacturing flaw that should have been under warranty.

    Don't know much about their history but the minute I saw them I had to have a set.

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    I have a set that had been used and remain. I believe that the first runs cracked and that later ones were thicker and did not, do not remember the source of that information. The Zaskar mine came on definitely had hours on it. The one's I have are tie died and have a identical spider as Groundoggy's set. The tie die colors and patterns is artwork IMO.

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    I've had a Kooka crankset, several sets of brake levers and a bottom for years. No issues. Love 'em!






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    Rode, raced and swapped mine from bike to bike over the last 20 years and no problem so far.
    Wanted: more of the same ... but different

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    Some were forged and some were made from billet.

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    My silver ones were second run billet, the only problem I had was the bolt that holds the spider to the arm sheared a few years ago and I had to drill out the part stuck in the arm, and then re-tap the hole to take a different bolt threading.
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    Picked these up somewhere. Someday I will use them on a build:



    Levers are already assigned to a project:



    Never have actually used Kooka products.
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2 or 3. Cunningham Racer.

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    From what I've read the set I posted are the original design that had some breakage issues. There's some extra aluminum around the BB taper - on later cranks it is machined away. Not sure how removing aluminum increases strength but I read it in another thread and you can't put it on the internet if it's not true.

    Aemmer's set is the 2nd gen. Still an I-Beam style but less prone to breakage.

    Misterdangerpants has the 3rd generation.

    ...and then they went cold forged probably because all three probably broke if you put enough force on them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundoggy View Post
    From what I've read the set I posted are the original design that had some breakage issues. There's some extra aluminum around the BB taper - on later cranks it is machined away. Not sure how removing aluminum increases strength but I read it in another thread and you can't put it on the internet if it's not true.

    Aemmer's set is the 2nd gen. Still an I-Beam style but less prone to breakage.

    Misterdangerpants has the 3rd generation.

    ...and then they went cold forged probably because all three probably broke if you put enough force on them.
    How can you tell Aemmer's set is 2nd gen? The spider?
    Thanks
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    The area where it attaches to the BB is milled out on 2nd and 3rd generation cranks. Instead of that milled out thin 'U' shape there would be solid aluminum.

    There is no milling in that area on the first generation cranks.

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    I have a set like Aemmers, 2nd gen I guess. Bought them new to put on my new K Fervor. Guess that was back in 94.

    Kooka's still going strong, now set up as a SS. I keep an eye on them, as I've heard about breakage.
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    [QUOTE=Groundoggy;9998746]The area where it attaches to the BB is milled out on 2nd and 3rd generation cranks. Instead of that milled out thin 'U' shape there would be solid aluminum.

    There is no milling in that area on the first generation cranks.[/QUOTEThanks for the info, I guess I have the second generation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Smedley View Post
    I have a set that had been used and remain. I believe that the first runs cracked and that later ones were thicker and did not, do not remember the source of that information. The Zaskar mine came on definitely had hours on it. The one's I have are tie died and have a identical spider as Groundoggy's set. The tie die colors and patterns is artwork IMO.
    Definitely anodized artwork on many Kooka cranks. Even in silver I just think they have a beautiful, elegant shape and luster.

    You are selling your set on eBay right? A bit faded but not much shoe rub (which I noticed immediately). I was the high bid for a recent set that sold. It was hard to resist for Christmas as long as things didn't get too crazy and I'm a sucker for 3DV. Hoping I didn't ace somebody here out but oh well. They were too damn purdy to miss out on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundoggy View Post
    From what I've read the set I posted are the original design that had some breakage issues. There's some extra aluminum around the BB taper - on later cranks it is machined away. Not sure how removing aluminum increases strength but I read it in another thread and you can't put it on the internet if it's not true.

    Aemmer's set is the 2nd gen. Still an I-Beam style but less prone to breakage.

    Misterdangerpants has the 3rd generation.

    ...and then they went cold forged probably because all three probably broke if you put enough force on them.
    Your set is the same series as my silver 180s with the double-granny bolt pattern. Its also worth noting that the Kooka that was american isn't related to the Kooka under canadian ownership other than the canadians bought out the americans, and solved all the product defects when they switched to canadian manufacturing and especially cold forging of the crankarms.
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    Kooka = Garbage.

    Pretty garbage, but garbage.

    True story; early on when they were still in Carson City one of the original principal figures in the 'company' was a guy named "Stan Fail". I think I still have a business card from that guy from Interbike '93.

    You cannot make ironic crap like that up.


    Riding Kooka cranks is living on borrowed time. They will break, and it will not be a subtle event. Why not just retire them to a bookshelf and run something else?

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    If they haven't failed in several years of usage, they're not gonna just let go without any warning signs....
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight View Post
    If they haven't failed in several years of usage, they're not gonna just let go without any warning signs....




    May your brother in law be a maxilofacial surgeon, so at least you can keep all that money for your mandibular reconstruction in the family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight View Post
    If they haven't failed in several years of usage, they're not gonna just let go without any warning signs....
    +1, many have had good luck with the later Kooka's

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    I've been riding on a pair of the forged cranks for years now and they are still solid. I weigh 240 lbs. and have bashed them on all sorts of rocks and logs in AZ too.

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    Still using my two set of cranks ...







    Also my brake levers ( had another 2 pairs without issues ) ...


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    I just sold my set of blue brake levers on retrobike, still have three cranksets including the first generation design / second production batch ones and a pair of second generation US-made ones. I also have one of the rasta colour stems and two seatposts. My silver 180 1st gen cranks saw let's see... FOUR years of continuous weekly usage on my Manitou FS-DH, and then three years of occassional usage on my singlespeed. I can't remember what I used them on before the Manitou but I didn't build it up until 1998 and I got the cranks around 1995. They've endured numerous rock strikes and again, as I said already, the only problem has been needing to replace the bolt that holds the spider in place.
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    When did Kooka switch to forged? I just got a set of rasta ones from a co worker and was surprised to see they where forged? He thought they where silver but the rasta was a nice surprise. The bcd on these is 110/74 so still Vintage (I dont think of compact as vintage but maybe im just a sizest).

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    When they were sold by the americans, bought by canadians, and the entire company including production moved to british columbia about a decade ago. They moved to cold forging the cranks at the same company (Imperial) that did Raceface and Blackspire's forged products.
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    Bummer was hoping these where more the correct vintage for a santa cruz bontrager or I picked up. I didnt know kooka was still around after 2000.

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    i used kooka's for many years during the nineties...pretty much exclusively...One, im very light... two, I try to ride very smooth...so no real issues with parts breaking and I used all the lightest stuff available. I had to have them sweet looking kookas when I first saw them. I purchased my first pair right when they went onsale. I ruined them in about 4 months so they gave me a replacement (they came loose on a downhill and egged out the square taper)...for a small fee of course...but hey, they replaced them even if it's my fault....then they told me that if i ever hit them on a rock real hard and it leaves a mark (on the end by the pedal) they would replace them real cheap too....sooo...every year I sent them back and got a new pair (because there's always rock dings in my cranks sooner or later)...I'm not sure how long I did this but it would have to be untill I got a bike equipt. with XTR with the external bearings. I left it alone and sold the old steed with the kookas on it. I currently own several pairs that are for builds im doing. It's really scary to see a broken one, but since I still weigh what I did 20 years ago (and alot smoother rider too)...im not too worried about breaking stuff. very cool to see others liking the kookas...and to hear the horror stories too...good times were had by all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundoggy View Post
    Definitely anodized artwork on many Kooka cranks. Even in silver I just think they have a beautiful, elegant shape and luster.

    You are selling your set on eBay right? A bit faded but not much shoe rub (which I noticed immediately). I was the high bid for a recent set that sold. It was hard to resist for Christmas as long as things didn't get too crazy and I'm a sucker for 3DV. Hoping I didn't ace somebody here out but oh well. They were too damn purdy to miss out on.

    I was bidding aginst you on these...I happen to win a frame that i wanted so I backed off..otherwise, we wouldve been on a bidding war...very cool cranks!

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    WTF were they thinking with those hideous green chain ring bolts?

    FWIW - I remember a few companies having production issues with cranks. There were a lot of new companies popping up back then and sometimes production demands created material/manufacturing issues that didn't live up to expectations (especially if a bike company threw a high volume contract at you). Maybe your old reliable metal supplier couldn't meet the new demands or a new/expanded production facility created issues. It was a bit of an experimental era of lightweight and strength via CNC billet aluminum cranks. Sometimes a decent design properly executed wasn't executed properly and it lead to failure.

    While cold forging may have created stronger cranks CNC billet aluminum parts scream early '90's MTB era to me. The supposedly inferior CNC'd Kooka cranks seem to fetch a higher price on eBay. To the poster who worried about the cold forged products not being quite 'era specific' I would issue a pass. Close enough -a hat tip for sure.

    To me it is the shapely style and the anodizing that makes the cranks stand out. I like Kooka for embracing the over indulgence of anodized parts. Wish others would have embraced it a bit more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pugslybell View Post
    When did Kooka switch to forged? I just got a set of rasta ones from a co worker and was surprised to see they where forged? He thought they where silver but the rasta was a nice surprise. The bcd on these is 110/74 so still Vintage (I dont think of compact as vintage but maybe im just a sizest).
    They made the switch in 1997 from what I can remember. I bought a set of powder coated yellow and they sold me the billet ones as they were having trouble with the powder coat on the forged arms.

    Looking back, why the hell would anyone buy painted Kooka cranks?

    BTW - Still have the BB, very creaky.

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    Like many vintage parts - for every hater there is somebody who remembers the part fondly. Gotta admit I was shocked at these recent prices for some very colorful Kooka's. The 'superior' forged set sold for a bit less. I don't think the color scheme alone dictated a $120 price difference.

    Crazy Price

    Crazier Price

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundoggy View Post
    Like many vintage parts - for every hater there is somebody who remembers the part fondly. Gotta admit I was shocked at these recent prices for some very colorful Kooka's. The 'superior' forged set sold for a bit less. I don't think the color scheme alone dictated a $120 price difference.

    Crazy Price

    Crazier Price
    it is all the color choice...i was into the blue/silver/black ones for over 300 but obviously lost...I would prefer the older non-forged cranks, but with Kooka...color is key.....otherwise i can just buy any number of 90's cnc'd cranksets.....but nobody...nobody did anno like kooka....ok maybe some

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    I'm reviving this thread because I'm addicted to collecting these cranks.
    I have 7 pairs and after reading the BikePro article, I realize that there must be at least 4 different versions of the classic "I-beam" non forged types.
    Can anyone identify all of the types?
    I'll post some pictures later.

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    What I liked about Kooka, and all the other companies that made those awesomely anodized parts was that, unlike today, you could make your bike stand out, be an original.
    Don't get me wrong, I like parts that hold up and I love carbon fiber, but nothing compares to the look of bike with all those crazy anodized parts.

    BTW, I have never owned any Kooka parts, but I did have some admiration for them.

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    Kooka history-dsc00892.jpg
    2 different Rastas. Left side is the original Kooka according to BikePro.
    Right side is Micro drive compatible
    Kooka history-dsc00893.jpg
    Another Micro drive
    Kooka history-dsc00894.jpg
    A Hyper C compatible
    Kooka history-dsc00896.jpg
    Micro drive
    Kooka history-dsc00901.jpg
    Vader Road Crank on left and Original Kooka.
    Kooka history-dsc00897.jpg
    Backside of Micro drive, notice the notches closest to the spider?
    Kooka history-dsc00895.jpg
    Same Hyper C
    Kooka history-dsc00898.jpg

    Kooka history-dsc00899.jpg
    Kooka history-dsc00900.jpg

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    zygote2k....all your cranks have the area at the top near the crank bolt removed (milled around the end of the crankarm)...there are some that have the top potion still intact (makes the end like a "U" instead of an "L"). There are also cranks that dont have the "I" beam profile but a "C" (the front long cut is not there only the rear channel cut).

    CNC'd cranks have the Kooka logo machined in the crankarm face(after anoodizing) and the forged have a raised type lettering.

    some cool cranksets you have there.


    Does anybody know how they did their anodizing? This has always amazed me, I never asked any of my anodizers the question, but figured someone here prob. knows.?
    TIA

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    Thanks..they had some nice stuff...most looked masked off but there was one that had a background fade...I can understand the masking but the fades got me scratching my head. Anno parts are so sweet.

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    check out "Splash anodizing" and you'll see the stuff they can do. You could get a bike frame anodized in typeface of your style or basically anything you can imagine.
    Look at paintball guns, AR15 accessories, skateboard decks, etc.

    I've seen the "C" style and I've also seen some that were solid on both sides.
    Some of mine are clockwise and some are CCW. The new Rasta and the Vader are nearly identical except for the shape of the spider arms. Neither has the cut away portion where the arm meets the spider on the backside.

    Anyone else care to post theirs? Maybe we can start an official Kooka Kranks database....

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    Thanks for the info....I'll post my Kooka goods up when I get a chance.

  44. #44
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    There were way too many running changes applied to Kooka cranks over the years to narrow the line down to specific models, as Kooka struggled to refine a nightmare of a product. I'm sure that people have Kooka junk that has not broken but you are in the minority in my opinion. Better to leave well enough alone than try to find that specifc model in a generation of suck that has a marginally lower potential for splitting open your ball sack. I see Kooka cranks on bikes and all I think of is two possibilities; trailer queen or borrowed time.

    Or buy a set in your favorite color and put it on a shelf. Really that is all they are good for. There are plenty of retro brands that fit that category, if perhaps a little less so than Kooka.

  45. #45
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    Looks like Zygote only collects stuff that most people think sucked. LOL
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    I have several sets. They will be used for bikes that will barely ever be used(and lightly even then)...or sit on a shelf to look at. As I stated, I used them for years without 1 problem but I'm not too much of a fool and will heed the warnings of those that have experience with the unfortunate. catastophic failure always hurts.
    Last edited by syklystt; 11-26-2013 at 08:36 AM. Reason: dyslexamania

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    Quote Originally Posted by syklystt View Post
    catastophic failure always hutrs.
    Awesome.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce Bigelow View Post
    Looks like Zygote only collects stuff that most people think sucked. LOL
    I'm not like most sheeple round these parts. I've actually used the things that I have said that suck. It's amazing what constitutes as sucky around here too-
    there are some people who actually collect Slingshot bikes....
    I personally don't ride the Kookas because I believe they were made for average 180# riders and I'm a fair bit larger than that. They're on the wifes bikes because she falls under the average rider weight and I doubt she would break them.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahdog2003 View Post
    There were way too many running changes applied to Kooka cranks over the years to narrow the line down to specific models, as Kooka struggled to refine a nightmare of a product. I'm sure that people have Kooka junk that has not broken but you are in the minority in my opinion. Better to leave well enough alone than try to find that specifc model in a generation of suck that has a marginally lower potential for splitting open your ball sack. I see Kooka cranks on bikes and all I think of is two possibilities; trailer queen or borrowed time.

    Or buy a set in your favorite color and put it on a shelf. Really that is all they are good for. There are plenty of retro brands that fit that category, if perhaps a little less so than Kooka.
    Holy crap man, did a Kooka crank bang your wife or something?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahdog2003 View Post
    There were way too many running changes applied to Kooka cranks over the years to narrow the line down to specific models, as Kooka struggled to refine a nightmare of a product. I'm sure that people have Kooka junk that has not broken but you are in the minority in my opinion. Better to leave well enough alone than try to find that specifc model in a generation of suck that has a marginally lower potential for splitting open your ball sack. I see Kooka cranks on bikes and all I think of is two possibilities; trailer queen or borrowed time.

    Or buy a set in your favorite color and put it on a shelf. Really that is all they are good for. There are plenty of retro brands that fit that category, if perhaps a little less so than Kooka.
    Can you please elaborate on the 'running changes'? If they were such a nightmare product, why did everyone want them back in the day when they were plentiful?

    Most of the Kookas that I own have come from bikes that have been ridden for the last 15 years or so. None of them have any cracks or visible metal fatigue. I have only seen and heard of the broken ones here but to be honest, the Cook Bros cranks that everyone goes ape**** over had a reputation for breaking too. Carambas, SweetWings, Toplines, all have stories of breakage so I'd have to think that 90's crank manufacturers across the board had products fail.

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