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  1. #1
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    Smile Square taper vs. Splined....

    A few months ago I picked up a set of slightly used square taper 180mm Race Face Turbine cranks. After years of riding splinned cranks (Turbines and XTs) and now going back to square taper I can say with complete confidence I feel no loss of "stiffness" with the square taper cranks. Of course this is all just my opinion, but I like to think I'm quite in tune with my gear and do tend to pick up on slight "alterations" on my bikes. There is also reassurance in the larger, and hopefully more durable, bearings in the square taper. Sure, many of you folks may have come to this realization on your own, but there it is anyway.

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    A few months ago I picked up a set of slightly used square taper 180mm Race Face Turbine cranks. After years of riding splinned cranks (Turbines and XTs) and now going back to square taper I can say with complete confidence I feel no loss of "stiffness" with the square taper cranks. Of course this is all just my opinion, but I like to think I'm quite in tune with my gear and do tend to pick up on slight "alterations" on my bikes. There is also reassurance in the larger, and hopefully more durable, bearings in the square taper. Sure, many of you folks may have come to this realization on your own, but there it is anyway.

    Mike
    Splined was a non solution to a non problem. I never left square taper.

  3. #3
    drinker
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    ditto brandon.

  4. #4
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    Amen Mike. I went through three sets of splined cranks (one ISIS and two shimano) and multiple short lived BB's before finally returning to good ole square taper. Plenty stiff, and function absolutely perfectly.

    Race Face Turbine cranks (ebay find) + $20 XT BB =

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon
    Splined was a non solution to a non problem. I never left square taper.
    Only minor advantage with the splined shaft is you are less likely to round over the splines if the crank bolt comes loose. Where as the square taper can allow the crank to spin on the shaft if the bolt loosens.

    I think from an engineering standpoint the ISIS is superior. From a practical stand point, you are correct, it doesn't matter. Just my $0.02.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    A few months ago I picked up a set of slightly used square taper 180mm Race Face Turbine cranks. After years of riding splinned cranks (Turbines and XTs) and now going back to square taper I can say with complete confidence I feel no loss of "stiffness" with the square taper cranks. Of course this is all just my opinion, but I like to think I'm quite in tune with my gear and do tend to pick up on slight "alterations" on my bikes. There is also reassurance in the larger, and hopefully more durable, bearings in the square taper. Sure, many of you folks may have come to this realization on your own, but there it is anyway.

    Mike
    My Paramount was 1969 Campy, but it was going strong and smooth when I sold it, and fresh grease is all the bb saw in the 11 years I owned it. I have lots of respect for thick pieces of metal and loose ball bearings. I also had and have Bullseye cranks, but am probably out of luck if/when those bearings go. I guess the Bullseyes are why I did not think "Hollowtech" and "ISIS" etc were that special.

  7. #7
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    When I first started riding, I used square taper cranks (2 sets) from truvativ and I managed to round off both the BB spindles and crank arms on both sets. I know that one set was always coming loose and I never stopped to tighten it when I was trail riding, I am sure that is the main reason I rounded it off. I then went with a XT isis style crank/bb and never had that problem again. I wonder how much of a factor quality had to do with my bad experience? I mean, the square taper cranks I used where on my first cheap mtb, I know that the crank arms where truvativ but I was under the impression that they where "entry level" cranks from truvativ. I think they only cost around 40 bucks or so. Now, if I where to pick up a quality crank like the eno cranks with phil wood BB, I wonder if I would have the same bad experience?

    One more thing, When I first started riding I was around 275 lbs and I jumped off of everything I saw (I usually ate sh!t though). Now I am 240 lbs and pretty smooth.
    Quite possibly the slowest single speeder on earth.
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  8. #8
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    I'm still getting over how good square taper is compared to cotter pin cranks.
    "The man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest" Henry David Thoreau (obviously a single speeder)

    "...everytime you throw something away your load gets lighter..."

  9. #9
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    i completely agee with Brandon

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon
    Splined was a non solution to a non problem. I never left square taper.

    another post mention rounded axle flats....never happen to me. I have rounded the inside of a couple of crank arms. That said, it has been my general experience that if the crank arm rode up on the axle and/or the crank got rounded the cranks were not worth a sh*t anyway. Same thing with puttiing a little grease on the bottom bracket spindle, if the crank rode up on it...the crank was not worth a sh*t.

    Even Shimano now makes a incredible inexpensive square taper bottom bracket that's just the mutts nuts.

    VTW

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon
    Splined was a non solution to a non problem. I never left square taper.
    I don't really agree with that. Despite my best efforts my tapered stuff came loose all the time. I tried all the tricks and always used a torque wrench too.

    That said, all my splined stuff has been flawless since day one and two bb's are 4yrs old with 2000+ mls on each.

    on the flip-side, my wife is still on tapered and has yet to have a single issue.
    I think it's rider and weight dependant for sure.

    I would say if you have an issue, change up, if not, no sense in wasting $$.
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  11. #11
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    Brandon nailed it ...

    I know that splined systems are measurably 50% stiffer (or better) than taper systems, but I have yet to hear a single credible instance of someone noticing a performance difference on their bike. Even a singlespeeder, and we'd notice more than anyone.

    If there were a real performance issue, Campy would have developed a splined system by now, and they haven't. Most Campy users aren't singlespeeders, but they do make a lot of track stuff, and if there were even a small performance benefit to splined the trackies would be all over it.

    I've heard WAY too many reports of premature wear/failure with ISIS to even consider it, except as part of a complete bike that was only to see dry pavement. Octalink sounds quite a bit better in that regard, but even then I'm not enough of a weight weenie to justify the extra price.

    My personal experience with square taper has been that it's utterly dependable, even in the worst of conditions. I've ridden a number of tapered BBs (all Shimano) for multiple consecutive years in awful conditions without having to do any service whatsoever. It's also dirt cheap, with nice UN-72 BBs easily available for under $30 and crank arms basically as cheap (or expensive) as you want them to be. Why change?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    A few months ago I picked up a set of slightly used square taper 180mm Race Face Turbine cranks. After years of riding splinned cranks (Turbines and XTs) and now going back to square taper I can say with complete confidence I feel no loss of "stiffness" with the square taper cranks. Of course this is all just my opinion, but I like to think I'm quite in tune with my gear and do tend to pick up on slight "alterations" on my bikes. There is also reassurance in the larger, and hopefully more durable, bearings in the square taper. Sure, many of you folks may have come to this realization on your own, but there it is anyway.

    Mike


    That square taper stuff is real crap. You should go back to the splined stuff...

    I feel so bad that you made the mistake picking up those square taper Turbine's. But I am willing to make it a little easier on ya. I'll give you 25 bucks for those old square taper cranks, you can use it toward the purchase of some brand new state-of-the-art splined stuff...

    Just let me know, I got $25 just burning a hole in my pocket.

    aLaN AT BikeMojo DOT com

  13. #13
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    My new bike is being built with square taper RF turbines and a phil wood steel bb with steel cups. Should last me a lifetime.

  14. #14
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    So is the ti phil wood square taper BB a good choice for my wife's new Niner? is their a lighter option?

  15. #15
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    Phil for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    So is the ti phil wood square taper BB a good choice for my wife's new Niner? is their a lighter option?
    I just blasted through an ISIS BB in three months on my Vulture...
    I just bought some ENO cranks and a Phil steel BB, that thing is so smooth and should last a long time...
    The ti version is very light, but I am 6'3" with a wide spindle for my wide 29er ebb. I would think the Phil ti model is her best choice for squre taper cranks.
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  16. #16
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    i've been running a campy track crankset on my fixxed gear for over two years now, with no problems. funny thing is that crankset requires the use of their track bb (chorus level with a carbon shell) and there is still no signs of wearing out...
    at first i figured the thing would crap out in no time, slinging it down city streets this thing has never actually seen a track, but through all the rain, snow, and dark of night it's been maintaining..
    "lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven"

  17. #17
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    Nobody has mentioned the new external type bottom brackets. They haven't been out on the market very long. I suppose the XTR is the oldest of any of them. They seem to be getting pretty popular and I have even installed a set of Race Face Evolve XC cranks on my full suspension gearie. I'll see how long they last. I have a set of Truvativ ISIS cranks on my hardtail, so I will be interested to see which lasts longer.

  18. #18
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    Weird....

    I've been MTB'ing for close to 15 years now. Do all my own wrenching and have build a ton of bikes. I have NEVER had a crank come loose on me, EVER! Then again every so often I make sure all the bolts are tight on my bike, but thats what makes the difference between a bike that never has a problem and one that does.

    KMan


    Quote Originally Posted by F5000sl
    I don't really agree with that. Despite my best efforts my tapered stuff came loose all the time. I tried all the tricks and always used a torque wrench too.

    That said, all my splined stuff has been flawless since day one and two bb's are 4yrs old with 2000+ mls on each.

    on the flip-side, my wife is still on tapered and has yet to have a single issue.
    I think it's rider and weight dependant for sure.

    I would say if you have an issue, change up, if not, no sense in wasting $$.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by F5000sl
    on the flip-side, my wife is still on tapered and has yet to have a single issue.
    Haha, does Lisa know you have a wife?

    DT

  20. #20
    JMH
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    Campy is not that kind of company...

    Campy not creating a splined BB is certainly no endorsement of square taper. Campy is not a company that makes ground-breaking design changes. They are a company whose components make evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) changes. They take proven technologies and work to make them refined and beautiful. As far as hot new technology goes, Campy pretty much blew their wad with the quick release skewer.

    Not trying to invite a flaming, I am a Campagnolo fan and will always consider their components when putting together a bike. But don't consider them the vanguard of technology.

    FWIW, Octalink BBs have the same bearing issues to address that ISIS does. If you ever worked on DuraAce Octalink bottom brackets, you can understand why Shimano dropped them like a bad habit and went to the new design.

    Here is an interesting article about these topics, maybe won't make you switch, but at least it has some candor:

    http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/...es/6799.0.html

    JMH

    If there were a real performance issue, Campy would have developed a splined system by now, and they haven't. Most Campy users aren't singlespeeders, but they do make a lot of track stuff, and if there were even a small performance benefit to splined the trackies would be all over it.

    I've heard WAY too many reports of premature wear/failure with ISIS to even consider it, except as part of a complete bike that was only to see dry pavement. Octalink sounds quite a bit better in that regard, but even then I'm not enough of a weight weenie to justify the extra price.

    My personal experience with square taper has been that it's utterly dependable, even in the worst of conditions. I've ridden a number of tapered BBs (all Shimano) for multiple consecutive years in awful conditions without having to do any service whatsoever. It's also dirt cheap, with nice UN-72 BBs easily available for under $30 and crank arms basically as cheap (or expensive) as you want them to be. Why change?[/QUOTE]

  21. #21
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    If it was weight dependant I'd be trashing them all the time. I've never weighed less than 215 since I started riding seriously and have never damaged a square taper crank.

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