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  1. #1
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    stiffer bottom bracket/crank

    I want to stiffen and upgrade my bottom bracket and/or crank. I currently have an ISIS bb with a Gravity Maximus cranks @ 175. I'm looking at the 180 White Industries ENO with square taper bb. But I've heard that it's the external bb that helps with the stiffness issue more than the crank arms. Is it worth sticking with external bb and maybe an xt or slx crank? or would I get the same benefit out of the ENO?
    Last edited by sprocket47; 12-06-2010 at 02:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Schipperkes are cool.
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    Um, if you want a stiffer interface then what you already have, you will want to go to a crank with outboard bearings; Shimano, Race Face, SRAM/Truvativ, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.
    I ride so slow, your Garmin will shut off.

  3. #3
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    If you are looking for a solid SS crankset take a look at the Truvativ Stylo OCT 1.1. I have researched them to death and they are what I have chosen for the SS I am building.
    If you want all the comforts of home, stay there.

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  4. #4
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    If you want stiffer you should get the ByTheHive/E.Thirteen G SS crankset. It uses a 30mm spindle whereas the other outboards use a smaller one.

  5. #5
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    +1 on the outboard bearings. I'm dumbfounded on why people still insist the Eno with it's standard square taper spindle is the way to go. DEFINITELY go outboard bearings. I've also had a solid experience with the Stylo cranks, seem to be an excellent bargain. If I were going to do it again, I'd probably look into an XT cranset.

  6. #6
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    Thanks. I was looking at the Eno more because of style and strength but you convinced me that the outboard bearings are the way to go so I think I'll go with XT. Stylo look good too but I'm not sure they're really an upgrade from what I have now, other than the bb type.

  7. #7
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    suqare taper should be your option if your looking for the easiest maintence crank once installed properly.

    if you want stiff go external bearing.

    that said i don't really know what a stiff crank gains you. i am currently riding external bb cranks and they are noticably stiffer. but i don't think a lack of crnak stiffness ever hindered my ride once in my years of running square taper stuff.

    if you do go external look into this when you fry your stock bearings:
    http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id254.html

    i have found the stock bearings in the shimano cranks to be crap. these seem to be a much better thought out design and will fit in your existing cups when you kill the orginals.

  8. #8
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    If you want to go XT, you may consider the SLX cranks. You can find them for very cheap brand new, and they're every bit as stiff as the XT cranks.

  9. #9
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    I can't find SLX in 180...which would be my preferred length.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill
    ... but i don't think a lack of crnak stiffness ever hindered my ride once in my years of running square taper stuff...
    I've experienced loose cranks. I've had worn bb's. I've never had a reason to think I needed a stiffer crank...er, well...

    What constitutes 'flexy' in a crankset?

  11. #11
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    I'm big and I can feel the crank flex when grinding up a hill standing...plus I just want to upgrade this part. Forgot to mention that in the beginning but I'm gradually working through the bike and would like to get a newer better bb and crank setup and hopfully fix some flex while at it.

  12. #12
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    I'm not trying to be a dick, I've just never experienced it. I would expect to feel frame flex before that, but ...I guess you gotta have some tree trunks to be torquing that hard.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    I'm not trying to be a dick, I've just never experienced it. I would expect to feel frame flex before that, but ...I guess you gotta have some tree trunks to be torquing that hard.
    I agree. I could visibly flex almost every frame I've owned by holding the bike at an angle and putting a foot on the side of the bb. I've had some so flexy in that area I can do the same with a little sideways push on the peddle with my hand. On the other hand I've never been able to make a crank give any visible flex

  14. #14
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    You're probably feeling frame flex.

  15. #15
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    i really like the fsa vdrive crankset on my SS. they are external bearing
    Specialized HardRock 29er
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gager
    i really like the fsa vdrive crankset on my SS. they are external bearing

    I have the same cranks on my Kona Unit. Aside from the crappy bottom bracket, I have no complaints.

    Can any one recommend a good replacement BB for this crankset? Ideally, something well-sealed that will not require a lot of maintenance to be kept running smoothly.

    Thanks.

    Steve

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Mickstar
    I have the same cranks on my Kona Unit. Aside from the crappy bottom bracket, I have no complaints.

    Can any one recommend a good replacement BB for this crankset? Ideally, something well-sealed that will not require a lot of maintenance to be kept running smoothly.

    Thanks.

    Steve
    take your existing bb cups to the lbs and have them remove the bad bearings and press in the significantly better Enduro bearings (those should be compatible with the V-drive crankset too, but you shop can confirm that). Unless you get an expensive King or Phil Wood BB or something similar, you won't be able to beat the quality of the much less expensive Enduro bearing replacement

  18. #18
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    Ok ok...so it's likely frame flex that I'm experiencing. So what exactly does the "stiffness" of outboard bearing refer to? If it's going to make minimal difference and I've been riding square taper since the 80's and ISIS now then I might as well go with what I wanted to start with and pickup the Eno...they look sharp and are damn strong, right?

  19. #19
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    Shimano XT cranks in 180mm. I was torn myself on my singlespeed on what to get. The price and performance of XT can't be beat. I got mine for $181 shipped. Take the rings off immediately and sell them on ebay as brand new to save even more money on the total cost.

  20. #20
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    I used to ride RaceFace Turbines with a square taper and they were super stiff. That was in 1997. The 'stiffness' refers to the size of the spindle that goes all the way through the bottom bracket. It's a medal tube about an inch in diameter bonded to the spider. Makes for a stronger unit with better power transfer. If it didn't, those competing would still be using square tapers.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocket47
    I can't find SLX in 180...which would be my preferred length.
    The only Shimano cranks that are currently available in 180 are XTR, XT, and DXR(bmx).
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by erichwic
    If it didn't, those competing would still be using square tapers.
    Many still do, just not the pro's who are given bikes. For example Middleburn cranks are fairly popular with racer types and until recently were only in square taper and isis

  23. #23
    Kam
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    gotta second the fifteen.g/e.thirteen crankset. just plain awesome.

    i have used eno, middleburns, m960 and m970. they are all great, but the fifteen.g a.k.a. e13 crank has to be the stiffest i have used, and right around xtr m970 weight.

    at $200 or so for the ss model (no granny mounting holes) with the bb,chainring bolts and tools, it is not a bad deal at all. the replacement bb are pretty darn cheap, and the bb lasts a long time. the e.13 ss xc version no longer comes with a ss ring, you have to get your own.

    you can get them in 170, 175 and 180. i think that they are now branded at the e.13 ss xc crankset now...

    love 'em! get a rotor ring while you at it for a KICK @SS set up!!!
    "forget kings...forget hadleys......they all have crap engagement. just run your bike fixed gear." - FoShizzle

  24. #24
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    Thanks for all the suggestions and help.

    any thoughts on the Race Face Atlas FR? They don't make 180 but seems like a good cross betwee XC weight and DH strength...good SS set up for a big guy?

  25. #25
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    If you go external, then I'd highly recommend staying with Shimano (though not the m970 XTR), since they use by far the best bearing preload and LH retention system.

  26. #26
    Kam
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    If you go external, then I'd highly recommend staying with Shimano (though not the m970 XTR), since they use by far the best bearing preload and LH retention system.
    i have to agree with you there, i think the m960 was the easiest to install of the bunch, and probably the lightest of them all when you do a "jeff jones" style mod. i have a set on ebay

    the fifteen g crankset is not that hard though, i just carry a wrench with me on that first ride. from thereon, every now and then i just tighten it down. after over 2000 miles on the cranks (combined mileage on my ss and geared bike), no problems with loosening or anything.
    "forget kings...forget hadleys......they all have crap engagement. just run your bike fixed gear." - FoShizzle

  27. #27
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    Get the Stylo 1.1's. I have those and XT's and i can' tell the difference in stiffness and they are all over for just over $100 and the XT cranks are around twice as much.

    I disagree on the Xt being easier to work on. The Stylo with GXP is way easier with the self extracting left side you don't need the special tool to remove the crank and a torque wrench to clamp the left arm on either. Also, on the Xt crank you can over tighten the preload very easily if you don't know what you are dong. Not so easy on the Stylo.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourdaguy
    Get the Stylo 1.1's. I have those and XT's and i can' tell the difference in stiffness and they are all over for just over $100 and the XT cranks are around twice as much.

    I disagree on the Xt being easier to work on. The Stylo with GXP is way easier with the self extracting left side you don't need the special tool to remove the crank and a torque wrench to clamp the left arm on either. Also, on the Xt crank you can over tighten the preload very easily if you don't know what you are dong. Not so easy on the Stylo.
    For me it's not about easy, it's about reliable. Two bolts sharing the load on a clamping design is more reliable than a single point of failure with one bolt snugging down the end. I know most people don't have problems with Truvativ's either but there are still more reports of problems with them than Shimano, even from experienced mechanics.

    You don't actually need that special tool in order to spin that end piece on the Shimano cranks. Also there is even less need of a torque wrench on Shimano's because the two clamp bolts aren't so sensitive to torque (just like the steerer clamp bolts on a stem) and can really be cranked down without much risk of damage, whereas insufficient torque and eventual loosening on that single bolt on the Stylo is the cause of many failures and over-torquing can damage the crank/spindle interface. I wouldn't say overdoing the preload is really a worry with either one if you read the directions, pay attention and don't rush the install

    BTW, Shimano LX cranks are still available at Jenson for $79

  29. #29
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    Those 2 little bolts have to resist the torque from pedal forces and the one big bolt only has to hold the arm against the spindle. Anyway, those Shimano bolts are very sensitive to torque and I have seen an idiot bear down on them and break the ear of a crank leg.

    Regardless, either crank if properly maintained will last a lifetime. I have to give the nod to the GXP bottom brackets lasting longer than the Shimano ones though.

    While I still maintain that the Stylo is easier to work on than the Shimano and that both are very reliable, it is almost impossible to justify the basically double price of the Shimano crank.

    As a side note, I was able to buy the next step up Stylo OCT crank landed for $151 from Tree Fort Bikes this week. I was looking for the regular stylo for a SS build I am doing and noticed a competitor had it for $151 and they price matched and I got free shipping. This is, in my opinion, superior to the XT crank and still cheaper.

    http://www.treefortbikes.com/cat/0/1...222364314___93

    So if you can land that one for $151 I would do it for sure.

  30. #30
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    i have to agree with you there, i think the m960 was the easiest to install of the bunch, and probably the lightest of them all when you do a "jeff jones" style mod. i have a set on ebay
    I believe I'm watching your cranks on ebay right now! If you want to sell them directly to a fellow mtbr.com poster, let me know!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourdaguy
    Those 2 little bolts have to resist the torque from pedal force
    No they don't, the splined interface takes that load.

    Anyway, I agree that both are good. I do think you generalize too much to keep comparing only to the admittedly expensive XT crank and ignore SLX (whose crank arms are actually lighter than the XT, not kidding) or the older LX which can be found super cheap, plus you can sell the rings to get back some of the money back

  32. #32
    Kam
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    another thing about the fifteen.g/hive cranks;

    the machining is pretty crazy on them, they have some sharp edges, they can kinda hurt you shoes a bit. my shoe shave some marks and a nick, but nothing crazy for the amount of miles i have put on them.
    "forget kings...forget hadleys......they all have crap engagement. just run your bike fixed gear." - FoShizzle

  33. #33
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    I'd avoid RaceFace cranks, especially if you are concerned about the flex. Crank arms themselves are ok, but the arm/spindle interface relies solely on hard stopping on splines, which can get damaged if you are, well, brute. Then you'll start developping play on cranks which will drive you nuts, especially if you are concerned about the stiffness. As above poster said, Shimano interface is, IMO, the best of all.

  34. #34
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    Well he said several times he needs 180 length and SLX are not available in 180 length.

  35. #35
    Welsh Dave
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    Profile chromoly BMX cranks. Stiff enough and strong enough for just about anything.

    Available options include: MTB spider, MTB-length splined axle, "Euro" BB bearing kit and 180mm length arms.

  36. #36
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    Profile chromoly BMX cranks. Stiff enough and strong enough for just about anything.
    My LBS actually gave BMX cranks as a stong option as well...they suggested the Redline Flight 180 cranks.

  37. #37
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    Yes, they're stiff and strong, but they're also quite heavy.

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