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Thread: Cranksets?

  1. #1
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    Cranksets?

    Always wondered why crank sets are so rediculously expensive. Being in the aerospace industry, I know I can get some pretty tight tolerance parts in a much lower quantity for WAY less. And, what really is the differnce between a XTR bazillion dollar crank set and anything in the 100-200 price range like the Ride XCs? I can't tell the difference.... I guess I've always thought this was the one component that was horribly overpriced for what it is. Anyone got a logical explination? Trigger shifters seem to have gotten a good technological flowdown. Mid-range stuff is better than the top level of even 5 years ago. But, really, what can you change in a crank?

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    Shimano XTR is largely titanium. Most other cranks are an aluminum alloy.
    The quiver: 2010 Santa Cruz Nomad, 2011 Specialized Demo II, 2011 Canfield Brothers Yelli Screamy.

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    Some manufacturers will offer their high end crankset in a hollow version. Shimano I think, and truvativ I know reserves the 7000 series for the highest end. Also shimano's nicer xtr finish and a little bit of weight reduction.

    Not that it rationalizes what can be an overpriced product. I'm all about the second teir down components, as well.

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    I have a couple sets I am not proud to admit I spent that much on. One is ti and carbon and I am sure the build cost is higher, but not as high as the price tag.

    If you want a great crank for good money, you really cant beat an Shimano XT crank.

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    The SLX cranks are almost the same weight, look better and are even cheaper than the XT!

    I have SLX on my 29er and XO carbon on my 26er and I really cant tell the difference between them.

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    That's kinda my point. My bother spending 500-600 or more on a crank set? It's kind of like snow sports, they don't "have" to be expensive to have fun. I was just looking at a new BB and thought about the newer all in one crank sets and then went into shock at the cost if some of the cranks out there. You could buy a functional bike for the cost of a crank set that most of us couldn't even tell the difference between the SLX model you mentioned...

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    The XO carbon came stock on my bike and it is nice, but there is no way I'd spend $400 on them. The SLX 2x10 w/bash are $109 on BlueSky right now and perform great. I wanted the XO for my 29er when I built it up, but the SLX and $300 in my pocket were definitely the right choice for me.

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    The type of alloy makes a big difference. Just look at the weight differences between handlebars. 6061, vs 7075 vs carbon. For essentially the same strength (and often the same manufacturer) the weight differences are around 20%. That is HUGE. So, for a more or less simple shape like a handlebar, you may see quite a bit larger difference going to a complex shape like a crank arm/BB/Chainring.

    When I was looking for a budget crank with all the bling but without the marketing hype, I felt the top alloy to be the 7075TV alloy. Hence, I ended up with Truvative Holzfeller. These were about as stiff as the Race Face Evolve DH, and a bit stiffer than the mega expensive Race Face SIXC I have now. And they were less than 200 bucks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdusto View Post
    Shimano XTR is largely titanium. Most other cranks are an aluminum alloy.
    What!?!?!? XTR cranks are made from aluminum.
    "It looks flexy"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Always wondered why crank sets are so rediculously expensive. Being in the aerospace industry, I know I can get some pretty tight tolerance parts in a much lower quantity for WAY less. And, what really is the differnce between a XTR bazillion dollar crank set and anything in the 100-200 price range like the Ride XCs? I can't tell the difference.... I guess I've always thought this was the one component that was horribly overpriced for what it is. Anyone got a logical explination? Trigger shifters seem to have gotten a good technological flowdown. Mid-range stuff is better than the top level of even 5 years ago. But, really, what can you change in a crank?
    One thing is the quality of the materials. For one of my previous jobs, I built a PLC controlled pneumatic crank testing machine - it would flex cranks with a counter until it failed. I was mostly testing chromoly BMX cranks but we threw on a set of USED XTR cranks just to see how long they would last. Let's just say the results were amazing cycle to failure wise. We also threw on some cheaper "forged" cranks that didn't last very long at all. XTR is certainly a step above if you want light and strong - of course the old saying is true here, you can't get cheap as well
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cranksets?-tester.jpg  

    "It looks flexy"

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    Point being there isn't a noticable difference between XTR and say LX or SLX cranks. Why pay so much more? I don't know anyone who regularily breaks their low end cranks. Heck LX is on sale at a webstore right now with a BB for 90 bucks. Bang. Screw the $600 dollar set. Save that for the parking lot poseurs and wanna be pros. I can use the 5 bills for a nice bike trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay View Post
    What!?!?!? XTR cranks are made from aluminum.
    I think the current models have carbon/ti chainrings though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Point being there isn't a noticable difference between XTR and say LX or SLX cranks. Why pay so much more? I don't know anyone who regularily breaks their low end cranks. Heck LX is on sale at a webstore right now with a BB for 90 bucks. Bang. Screw the $600 dollar set. Save that for the parking lot poseurs and wanna be pros. I can use the 5 bills for a nice bike trip.
    Yes, SLX is great for 90% of riders out there. But XTR wasn't made to be everymans equipment - it's for those that want the best.
    "It looks flexy"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Point being there isn't a noticable difference between XTR and say LX or SLX cranks. Why pay so much more? I don't know anyone who regularily breaks their low end cranks. Heck LX is on sale at a webstore right now with a BB for 90 bucks. Bang. Screw the $600 dollar set. Save that for the parking lot poseurs and wanna be pros. I can use the 5 bills for a nice bike trip.
    Some people pay more because the difference is worth it to them. Personally I have one set of xtr cranks, and they were purchased used. I'm very happy with them for what I paid, but wouldn't have bought them new. XT is definitely the sweet spot for value, and I personally wouldn't buy below that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Save that for the parking lot poseurs and wanna be pros. I can use the 5 bills for a nice bike trip.
    That's a hall of fame quote there, and with you that's saying something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Point being there isn't a noticable difference between XTR and say LX or SLX cranks. Why pay so much more? I don't know anyone who regularily breaks their low end cranks. Heck LX is on sale at a webstore right now with a BB for 90 bucks. Bang. Screw the $600 dollar set. Save that for the parking lot poseurs and wanna be pros. I can use the 5 bills for a nice bike trip.
    I'm good with XT although I just splurged on a set of Saint 1X cranks for my Nomad. I personally have bent more cranks than I've broken. Last one for me was a set of Sram TruVativ Stylo's where the NDS snapped.
    "It looks flexy"

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    The "R" in XTR, stands for race. If you want the lightest gear, and the latest tech., you are going to pay for it.

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    Advertising, sponsorships. Still, huge margins on those things from what I've heard.

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    Bob, those XTR cranks are over 200 grams lighter than LX cranks. I mean, who wants to climb with that extra 200 grams on their bike? Of course they are worth the money.

  19. #19
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    I'm ready to go for a two-chainring setup, but I hate the fact that all the 94/56 BCD cranks are gone. Hard to beat my three pairs of Suntour Microdrive's. I like using a 20 on the front, combine that with a 36 in the rear and that's one kick-ass climbing gear.

    So, I hit Fanatik in B'Ham on Monday coming back from the Lower Mainland. Those screwy carbon SRAM cranks they have i stock look really cool, but no way am I ever buying carbon for crank arms.

    Anyone make a low 20 anymore or are we stuck with 22s and 24s now again? I know Middleburn has a crank set, but I'm thinking forged.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Bob, those XTR cranks are over 200 grams lighter than LX cranks. I mean, who wants to climb with that extra 200 grams on their bike? Of course they are worth the money.
    200 grams is les than a half pound. If your not 4% body fat, it's a waste of mony.

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    a 20 up front? I dont know if I could tolerate going that slow (20f36r), I'd probably fall over!

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    Quote Originally Posted by darthjamo View Post
    200 grams is les than a half pound. If your not 4% body fat, it's a waste of mony.

    "wooosh,..." that was the sound it made as it went right over his head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimba View Post
    "wooosh,..." that was the sound it made as it went right over his head.
    Further proof there is no correlation between body fat and IQ!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    Further proof there is no correlation between body fat and IQ!
    You talk big from your desk. Nice pics, see you on the trail.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimba View Post
    "wooosh,..." that was the sound it made as it went right over his head.
    Gave me a chuckle this morning though. That's worth something!

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    Quote Originally Posted by darthjamo View Post
    You talk big from your desk.
    My desk has a crankset! And no, they're not XTR's.....


  27. #27
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    I like the beauty of a MTB that is put together with high end parts. I am the geek at the trailhead who stares at your one off bike admiring all the individually selected pieces that make it complete. This includes your crankset..... Some people collect guns, others collect cars. I appreciate and can sometimes afford quality bikes. A Hyundai is probably a pretty efficient car, but if you could afford the gas and maintenance, wouldn't you rather be driving a Range Rover....
    Last edited by tductape; 05-31-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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    Hehehe. I can't afford a Range Rambler anyways. And, let's face it, 99% of them never see dirt anyways...

    Another questions though. I just noticed I have 170 and 175 cranks. 5'9" with a 32" inseam on a Medium Covert. Does it really make any difference? I am sure there are more than a few bio-mechanical geeks out there that would love to spout the benefits of appropriate full cycle extension. All day XC with some AM and a little lowerign the saddle type rides are preferred.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aemmer View Post
    A Hyundai is probably a pretty efficient car, but if you could afford the gas and maintenance, wouldn't you rather be driving a Range Rover....
    XTR to SLX I'd compare more of a porsche 911 GT3 RS to a Nissan GTR. They both perform the same but the Nissan is quite a bit less $

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Another questions though. I just noticed I have 170 and 175 cranks. 5'9" with a 32" inseam on a Medium Covert. Does it really make any difference?
    Interesting question with no right answer. You might read the Sheldon Brown page on the topic:

    Bicycle Cranks

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Interesting question with no right answer. You might read the Sheldon Brown page on the topic:

    Bicycle Cranks
    I care to differ. There is a right answer, it's just that we may not ever discover it.

    With a 32" inseam. I think either would be fine. It does make a difference. I have 175 on most of my bikes (less torque on my knees when pedaling), 170mm on my FR bike (less torque on my knees when landing). You can see where my priorities lie.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought View Post
    With a 32" inseam. I think either would be fine. It does make a difference. I have 175 on most of my bikes (less torque on my knees when pedaling), 170mm on my FR bike (less torque on my knees when landing). You can see where my priorities lie.
    Eaxctly! Everyone has different priorities/tastes/preferences. There is no single answer that works for everyone!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Hehehe. I can't afford a Range Rambler anyways. And, let's face it, 99% of them never see dirt anyways...

    Another questions though. I just noticed I have 170 and 175 cranks. 5'9" with a 32" inseam on a Medium Covert. Does it really make any difference? I am sure there are more than a few bio-mechanical geeks out there that would love to spout the benefits of appropriate full cycle extension. All day XC with some AM and a little lowerign the saddle type rides are preferred.
    175 is the more common size. Sometimes sizes other than 175 can be found on sale. If you like to spin, shorter might be preferred, but really it's taste.

    You night take a look at FSA aluminum '386' double cranks, good cranks at near the price point you're after.
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