What cranks/chainrings recommended for SS in 2020?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. What cranks/chainrings recommended for SS in 2020?

    Hi guys, first post here. I'm converting an old 26er to a fully rigid SS. I have ordered some things but I want to upgrade BB and cranks too and I'm having trouble deciding what cranks/chainrings system to go for.

    Ideally, I'd like to run a 34T steel or stainless steel SS chainring, but not sure if anybody makes these anymore for MTB. There are a few systems with spiders of different BCDs, direct mounts etc, so it's a little confusing to see what ties up as the best overall option.

    I also have a Giant Trance 2, full sus trail bike with Shimano SLX 12 speed. At first I thought going Hollowtech II and SLX cranks on the 26er as well, for the sake of interchangeability if nothing else, but would this be reasonable for SS chainring options?

    Appreciate your help.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGNB View Post
    Hi guys, first post here. I'm converting an old 26er to a fully rigid SS. I have ordered some things but I want to upgrade BB and cranks too and I'm having trouble deciding what cranks/chainrings system to go for.

    Ideally, I'd like to run a 34T steel or stainless steel SS chainring, but not sure if anybody makes these anymore for MTB. There are a few systems with spiders of different BCDs, direct mounts etc, so it's a little confusing to see what ties up as the best overall option.

    I also have a Giant Trance 2, full sus trail bike with Shimano SLX 12 speed. At first I thought going Hollowtech II and SLX cranks on the 26er as well, for the sake of interchangeability if nothing else, but would this be reasonable for SS chainring options?

    Appreciate your help.

    Cheers.
    I have an older Hollowtech II system (XT from 2010), race face narrow wide chainrings in 32,34,36 and surly cogs. The aluminum chainrings really hold better than you think.

    To specifically answer your question, surly makes a 34 steel. I also had a steel in 32 from a Canadian company Blackspire maybe.

  3. #3
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    Most mtb cranks these days are perfect for singlespeeding. Cranks with more than one chainrings are the exception rather than the rule.

    I don't see much advantage in a steel ring over any modern SS ring. There might be some odd tooth-count ring.

  4. #4
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    So no real advantage for steel in terms of durability? I thought this was more of an issue on SS due to being a drivetrain generally running at a higher tension.

    There seems to be more chainring choices if you have something like a 104 BCD type crankset, rather than say Shimano direct mount, which pretty much only has 12 speed specific chainring options? Are other cranks like Shimano Zee or Saint better for SS as they have 104 BCD so in principle more choice of chainrings?

    Is there any advantage in SS specific chainrings?

    NW chainrings aren't necessary for SS but since they are ubiquitous are they counterproductive or do they work just fine in SS?

    What about chains. In the Shimano ecosystem, I understand that up to 11 speed chains you can run any multi speed chain on any 1x chainring as SS as the differences only affect the outer width of the plates for the narrower cassettes, correct?

    What about 12 speed Shimano chainrings and chains, can you run other chains in a 12 speed Shimano chainring as SS? Asking this as Shimano direct mount pretty much restricts you to Shimano 12 speed type chainrings.

    Sorry if I sound confused about crankset/chainring and chainring/chain compatibility for SS, but I want to make sure I understand what are the possible options.

  5. #5
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    SS is easy and almost completely backward compatible. Cheap 8 speed chains are fine. Any crankset can work. Triples are fine - run the ring in the middle position for a standard chainline, or in the outer position if you have wide chainstays. 104 bcd has lots of options, but if youíre going newish (non-shimano) Iíd recommend race face with their cinch direct mount. And Iíd definitely recommend an elliptical chainring. Seriously. Alloy is fine, but steel is also available (check wolftooth).

  6. #6
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    My SS bikes have pretty old cranks: Hollowtech II LX from the time when LX was till a MTB group, and Saint. I've just put 104mm BCD SS chainrings in in the middle position, and a bash ring in the big ring position for looks and times when among rocks and stumps. Blackspire and Race Face alloy chainrings, I recall.

    When I last bought BBs, there were Downhill models with longer threads available. Not sure they help, but they might.

    Steel Cogs from Surly or On One.

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    I've been running old SLX triple cranks (M660?) on all my single speeds for way over a decade. Never a problem. Always running it with surly cogs, sram 8-speed chains.
    Chainrings have been surly stainless, Renthal Alu, hope alu.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGNB View Post
    1. So no real advantage for steel in terms of durability?

    2. There seems to be more chainring choices if you have something like a 104 BCD type crankset, rather than say Shimano direct mount, which pretty much only has 12 speed specific chainring options? Are other cranks like Shimano Zee or Saint better for SS as they have 104 BCD so in principle more choice of chainrings?

    3. Is there any advantage in SS specific chainrings?

    4. NW chainrings aren't necessary for SS but since they are ubiquitous are they counterproductive or do they work just fine in SS?

    5. What about chains. In the Shimano ecosystem, I understand that up to 11 speed chains you can run any multi speed chain on any 1x chainring as SS as the differences only affect the outer width of the plates for the narrower cassettes, correct?

    6. What about 12 speed Shimano chainrings and chains, can you run other chains in a 12 speed Shimano chainring as SS? Asking this as Shimano direct mount pretty much restricts you to Shimano 12 speed type chainrings.
    1. not really. modern chainrings with narrow-wide teeth are pretty beefy and last a long time. there are very few steel rings because it's just not a problem for most people. if you search around this forum, you'll find plenty of bent steel Surly rings, but I think they started making them thicker a few years ago.

    I prefer a steel cog on the back because the smaller tooth count puts all the strain on fewer teeth and wears them out faster. aluminum cogs are blingy but it seems to me that they wear out faster.

    2. you can use 1-, 11, or 12-speed specific chainrings on your singlespeed bike. there is really no such thing as a single chainring that does not work just as well for a 1X drivetrain as it does for a singlespeed drivetrain. direct mount rings are common and several manufacturers make rings for each system now. it's just a matter of what crankset you like the best. you can still get cranks and rings for a 4-bolt 104 BCD setup, but there's no reason to limit yourself to that unless you need a odd tooth-count ring. that's the only limitation.

    3. all chainrings are SS specific these days unless they are designed for front shifting. front derailers are all but dead now except for a few people who still want them. so almost all cranks and chainrings work for a 1xwhatever drivetrain, including 1x1.

    4. no, NW rings are necessary for singlespeed, but why not use one? they work just fine and are slightly less likely to drop a chain if your frame flexes or your wheel slips a little bit. the only advantage to a non-NW ring is if you need an odd tooth count ring. if you need that, get a 4-bolt crankset or a DM spider adapter for your crankset. I have a RaceFace crankset with a DM ring, but I have a 4-bolt spider that I could use to mount a 33-tooth ring. I'm considering it.

    5. you can use just about any chain on a SS drivetrain, even if you're using a 12-speed ring. most of us just use $10 8 speed chains from KMC or SRAM because they come with a nice removable link and last for a ton of miles.

    6. you need a 12-speed chain if you are using a 12-speed cassette and derailer. I could be wrong, but I don't think you need a 12-speed chain with a 12-speed ring if you are only using one ring in the back. someone verify that: a 12-speed ring with a single cog in the back should work fine with an 8-speed chain, right?

  9. #9
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    Thank you for all the replies guys, in particular mack_turtle's COMPREHENSIVE answer. Very useful info.

    I had only ordered the spacers/cog kit and an 8 speed chain (KMC) and was planning to run it on the middle chainring (has 3x8 Shimano system) until I figure out what BB/cranks/chainring combo to go for (as BB needs replacing). Initially thought about Shimano Zee FC-M640 (104 BCD and hollowtech), but can't find any in stock available to ship to Australia. So further investigation needed.

    Good to know NW have benefits for SS too. I guess I don't want to pay extra for features that are not relevant to SS, like hyperglide tooth profiles of Shimano 12 speed chainrings, but if these are compatible with pretty much any 3/32 chain then I'd consider that option too for interchangeability with my other bike.

  10. #10
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    Just one more nudge - donít miss your chance to go with an oval ring. I held out for years and was angry with myself when I finally tried one. Now theyíre on all three of my single speeds.

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    at risk of opening an old, worn out discussion... I have used a few oval rings and I can't tell the difference between oval and round. I sense no difference whatsoever in the sensation. either it's too subtle for me to notice, or there's something about the way that I ride that nullifies the benefits. or both.

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    I tried the old Shimano "Biopace" oval road chainrings in the past and didn't notice any difference, though the current oval designs have their ovality at right angles vs the Biopace design so they work on a different principle. I'll give it a try at some point, but if the cranks come with a round one (like the Zee ones do), then I'll just go with that for now.

    Apart from that, I've noticed some shops list popular chainring models as compatible with 9-12 speeds? Why only from 9 and up?

    Currently exploring the option to get a friend to order a Zee for me in Europe and forward it to Oz. Even with custom charges it's the best deal I think as it'd come with a 36T chainring and BB. Either 32x18, 34x19 or 36x20 would work for me. A bit more tooth engagement always good and ok with ground clearance too as it currently has a 42T big chainring (non-removable), so an improvement in any case.

  13. #13
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    I recently bought a Sram 34t direct mount steel chainring to try out on a SS I am building up. For me, the primary reason was the ring was $19 shipped, vise the $70+ I would normally spend on a Wolf Tooth aluminum chainring. The aluminum does last, I just did not want to spend the money to try something I might not end up using. Who knows, if the Sram steel ring works good, might just keep using them.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGNB View Post
    I tried the old Shimano "Biopace" oval road chainrings in the past and didn't notice any difference, though the current oval designs have their ovality at right angles vs the Biopace design so they work on a different principle. I'll give it a try at some point, but if the cranks come with a round one (like the Zee ones do), then I'll just go with that for now.
    I get it. My first MTB back in the 80s came stock with biopace and I didnít know what I didnít know back then. But I still have that old ring hanging in the garage

    Now I know that shimano got the clocking wrong. The new ovals really work. Less wheel spin, smoother power output, better peak power. I ride the same stuff as Mack here in Central TX and honestly only know one other single speeder who ever tried the new oval and switched back to round. And I know a lot of single speeders.

    And for the record, Iím not sponsored by the oval ring cartel - just trying to help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    The new ovals really work. Less wheel spin, smoother power output, better peak power. I ride the same stuff as Mack here in Central TX and honestly only know one other single speeder who ever tried the new oval and switched back to round. And I know a lot of single speeders.
    We've got a lot of converts up here in North Texas but like Mack, it didn't seem to fit my riding style (or something). I could feel a subtle difference but it was the opposite of what was expected/desired. I'd stall out on the same punchy climbs that I could normally grind up on a round one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willawry'd View Post
    We've got a lot of converts up here in North Texas but like Mack, it didn't seem to fit my riding style (or something). I could feel a subtle difference but it was the opposite of what was expected/desired. I'd stall out on the same punchy climbs that I could normally grind up on a round one.
    Wow - ok, youíre the 3rd person Iíve met who didnít love Ďem. You folks are probably the only three who ever truly mastered ďspinning in circles.Ē Nicely done. And Iím jealous because you now have access to piles of slightly used round rings!

    Sorry for the thread divergence, OP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    Wow - ok, youíre the 3rd person Iíve met who didnít love Ďem. You folks are probably the only three who ever truly mastered ďspinning in circles.Ē
    somehow I even manage to do that with flat pedals. I must be part chimp.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    Wow - ok, youíre the 3rd person Iíve met who didnít love Ďem. You folks are probably the only three who ever truly mastered ďspinning in circles.Ē Nicely done. And Iím jealous because you now have access to piles of slightly used round rings!

    Sorry for the thread divergence, OP.
    Me four. The oval rings discombobulate my rhythm when I'm doing a desperate bouncy sprinty thing. Rode one for 3 full days and it never felt good and it never stopped bothering me. Was glad to be back on a round ring.
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    I have no way to know how to conduct such a thing, but...

    It would be interesting to analyze how people pedal with round vs oval rings. some people obviously love it and others don't. there's likely some rational explanation why that has to do with pedaling style, muscle engagement, etc.

    I'd consider trying one again, but I found the perfect CSL/gear combo for my bike to be 34/20, and a 34t oval ring would not fit on my bike. I'd rather have that perfect balance than compromise it in favor of a smaller oval ring at this point.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I have no way to know how to conduct such a thing, but...

    It would be interesting to analyze how people pedal with round vs oval rings. some people obviously love it and others don't. there's likely some rational explanation why that has to do with pedaling style, muscle engagement, etc.

    I'd consider trying one again, but I found the perfect CSL/gear combo for my bike to be 34/20, and a 34t oval ring would not fit on my bike. I'd rather have that perfect balance than compromise it in favor of a smaller oval ring at this point.
    For me...

    Where it actively sucks is standing for really desperate climbing because the pedal falls away just as I'm coming down to hit the pedal the hardest and bounce back up. Messing with my uncontrolled desperate climbing isn't forgivable.

    It also sucks for higher cadence spinning, the pedal falls away at the wrong time and it messes with my rhythm, I don't really care so much about that because being spun-out is idle slack-jaw time for me.

    There is a seated 'casual climbing', like a 5-8% slope - what I call dessert-time - where the oval rings honestly feel terrific and smooth on the legs and knees, but same as before it pulls the pedal force away just as I'm engaging force and I feel like I lose immediacy with the bike - is pooping on my dessert!

    I've been biking since the mid-80s so could be my legs just like round rings. I remember even when I was shopping for my first real bicycle I hated biopace (which is clocked 90 degrees from these new things) and I told the shops to stuff it if they wouldnt provide a round alternative.

    My guess is its a princess and the pea thing (I'm the princess) and some folks just care more than others. I can see this not mattering much on a geared bike but with SS in particular being so painful, internal and personal I'd expect more folks to reject the oval rings.
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  21. #21
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    I just have an old XT triple crankset on my SS. Works great. I do use an oval ring, on every bike, but I switched to oval as one of a number of things I was trying when I had some chronic knee problems. The knee problems are long gone and I can't say it was the oval ring that made a difference, but I don't see a reason to move to round as long as it's all working for me. IMO the idea that oval is a big performance boost is somewhat misguided - it likely just works for some people's style/body and not for others.

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    I haven't tried modern oval rings yet, but I'm hearing people on geared bikes say it helps mainly in technical climbing while seated, particularly on maintaining cadence as it seems to feel less disruptive and easier to ride more smoothly and balanced. With SS you tend to climb technical stuff standing and at a lower cadence, so it's harder to maintain both traction and balance. Ovality may affect SS climbing differently to geared climbing depending on your technique I suppose. I'll give it a try at some point.

    As for the cranks I'm down to these options:

    - Shimano Zee FC-M640. Comes with BB (the Deore BB for some reason), 104 BCD and a 36T round non-NW ring. It's a DH crankset, so stronger and don't mind the extra weight. The versatility of 104 BCD and reputation are appealing.

    - Shimano SLX M7100 with Shimano Direct Mount. Same as I have on the full sus geared bike. Ring option limited to 12 speed hyperglide tooth profiles at the moment, so expensive and unnecessary for SS. But if Shimano sticks to it I suppose adaptors and more ring options will become available. I'm assuming 12 speed rings can work with any chain and rear cog in SS?

    - RaceFace Aeffect Cinch cranks for 24 mm spindle. Versatile system but creaky reiviews, maybe due to press fit arm-spindle assembly.

  23. #23
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    Iíd opt for the SLX, the 12 speed chain ring doesnít matter. As for oval ring on a SS. One point I would consider is the chain will be looser. I like my oval ring on my 1x11 but obviously a derailer takes up the slack. My SS bikes have all been round rings and I think oval works and has its biggest advantage for seated climbs. My SS bike is rode on trails that are 80% standing climbs. A good thing to do is build your SS for the trails that you are looking to be most active on.
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  24. #24
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    Always go for 3x cranks as the chainline on 2x is wonky. Also sounds like your bike is non-boost. You probably are aware of the new standards but its worth mentioning that there are different spacing for the same model crank these days. I like oval, seems to smooth out the climb. Aluminum rear cogs are for show bikes or for dialing in gearing before a real cog goes on. Any of the SLX or XT 3x cranks in a non-boost should do the trick. 104bcd or the 96 bcd both work fine and the 96 bcd actually allows a smaller oval than a 104 bcd could. The direct mount stuff is cool also. There are several shops like Wolftooth, One Up, and Absolute Black that make a wide range of chainrings and sprockets for Shimano cranks. WT has stainless options also.

    I am running M8000 with a WT oval ring and a Niner ti cog 32x22.

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    Sorry for my ignorance, but why 3x cranks for SS?

    My bike is indeed 135 mm, but thought for SS the 52 mm chainline on the 12 speed SLX cranks (M7100) wouldn't be too bad as I'll arrange the freehub spacers accordingly? The q factor on the narrower variant is pretty similar to what I've got now. The middle chainring is at 50 mm in the 3x set currently on it. The M7000 11 speed SLX cranks had a chainline of 50 mm, but those are 96 BCD not DM.

    I've just realised that 12 speeds have trickled down to Deore now, but not sure they have suitable cranks for 135 mm on the new range. Some Deore cranks are DM others aren't.

    Need to check SRAM DM stuff too, the Lowside comes with a SRAM crankset. For some reason I've always gravitated towards the Shimano ecosystem but there's more flexibility with SS.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGNB View Post
    Sorry for my ignorance, but why 3x cranks for SS?
    They are often cheap and easy to find and do the job just fine. very, very few people want 3x cranks anymore, so you can find some really nice XTR cranks or something like that for a song and just bolt a single ring on them. you have a little adjustability for chainline with them if you bolt the ring on the inside or outside of the spider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    They are often cheap and easy to find and do the job just fine. very, very few people want 3x cranks anymore, so you can find some really nice XTR cranks or something like that for a song and just bolt a single ring on them. you have a little adjustability for chainline with them if you bolt the ring on the inside or outside of the spider.
    Yup.

  28. #28
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    GGNB, Shimano for a long time refused to make a 1x crankset and forced us to choose between the 2x and 3x options. When running the middle ring on a 3x, the chainline is optimal. The new 1x cranksets from Shimano work well also. It's those 2x cranksets that jack up the chainline.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    I just have an old XT triple crankset on my SS. Works great. I do use an oval ring, on every bike, but I switched to oval as one of a number of things I was trying when I had some chronic knee problems. The knee problems are long gone and I can't say it was the oval ring that made a difference, but I don't see a reason to move to round as long as it's all working for me. IMO the idea that oval is a big performance boost is somewhat misguided - it likely just works for some people's style/body and not for others.
    I think I shouldn't have posted this...... it didn't work out well as a few days later.......What cranks/chainrings recommended for SS in 2020?-whatsapp-image-2020-06-18-5.57.19-pm.jpg

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    I run raceface cranks and direct mount aluminium chainring. When I ran round it was a raceface ring, but with oval I use absolute black. I like the oval for SS. To me the sanding climbing is touch better as I feel like it just a bit easier in the high torque moves. In the fast spinning it works well if I keep some pressure on the pedals. If I get sloppy on pedaling it will bounce bit, but pedal less in squares and more in circles and it just goes well. I fell like I can run one tooth smaller in the back with an oval. My 34 oval just barely clears my chainstay, but it does. I got a couple thousand miles from my One-up oval 34t and endless cog. Both aluminum and on the same 8speed chain. Replace because I had lot of miles not due to a specifc failure
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    I think I shouldn't have posted this...... it didn't work out well as a few days later.......Click image for larger version. 

Name:	WhatsApp Image 2020-06-18 at 5.57.19 PM.jpg 
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    Wow!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostin View Post
    It's those 2x cranksets that jack up the chainline.
    under what conditions would it "jack up the chainline"? on most singlespeed bikes, you can adjust the rear cog spacing to match the front. that's what I did for years and still do: place the ring wherever it happens to fit best and space the rear to match it. I've used 2x, 3x and single direct-mount cranks. i have a Shimano 105 crankset on my CX bike with a White Industries freewheel and I just had to run the ring on the inside of the spider and it lines up within a few millimeters of perfect, which is perfectly adequate. getting chainline "close enough" is all you need unless you just have an irrational OCD obsession with having your chainline within a hair's width for perfectly lined up.

    the only obscure reason this would of the very few people using a thread-on freewheel, it's dead simple to line up the ring and the cog. even then, you have options to fine tune the chainline at the ring, with a thin spacer behind the freewheel, or minor adjustments at the BB.

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    Happy with white industries eno square taper

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    I think I shouldn't have posted this...... it didn't work out well as a few days later.......
    ...
    I recall one or two photos like that from way back. That might be one reason I put a bash ring on my LX cranks (from times when LX was a MTB group). The theory was that having the "ears" sandwitched between the ring and the bash would eliminate sideways bending, and might even distribute the forces between the 4 bolts.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    I recall one or two photos like that from way back. That might be one reason I put a bash ring on my LX cranks (from times when LX was a MTB group). The theory was that having the "ears" sandwitched between the ring and the bash would eliminate sideways bending, and might even distribute the forces between the 4 bolts.
    That makes sense. This crank has plenty of years in it - it was on a used bike I bought years ago - so plenty of flexing and fatigue. Fortunately I had a spare xt cranset in the bin, that's much newer. The spare is a 175 mm and the one that broke (the only one I've ever used for SS) is 180. Do some people prefer to use longer cranks for SS than they would for a geared setup? I just stuck with this crank because it's what came on my first SS.

  36. #36
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    I'm late to the discussion here, but if you haven't bought anything yet, consider a SRAM GXP crankset with the direct mount setup. Aluminum versions are super cheap, and even carbon versions can be had at great prices. They use a 24mm spindle, so the bearings will be decent size with your (I'm assuming) threaded BB shell. LOTS of chainring options, both direct mount (which I'd recommend), or various spiders that can be bolted on. Wolftooth makes really nice stainless steel chainrings in both round and oval if you want to spend the money, and SRAM makes steel rings that can be had for like $15, well worth it! I also like steel for my drivetrain(or titanium!), and use them on my SS as well as geared bikes. They last forever and I'm less worried about hitting them on logs and such. I use SRAM 8 speed chains and have found them very long lasting. I also use steel or titanium cogs for longevity.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    ... Do some people prefer to use longer cranks for SS than they would for a geared setup?...
    Some seem to. There's different theories, and some work for some people and others work for other people. I've just stuck with 175 for everything.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    Do some people prefer to use longer cranks for SS than they would for a geared setup?
    Not exactly what you asked but I'm really liking shorter cranks on my suspended SS (170) vs. rigid SS (175)...May eventually try 180s on the rigid and 165s on the suspended. Had 155s at one point and while I did get somewhat used to it, it seemed a little too small. My 5'2" wife has them now.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    under what conditions would it "jack up the chainline"? on most singlespeed bikes, you can adjust the rear cog spacing to match the front. that's what I did for years and still do: place the ring wherever it happens to fit best and space the rear to match it. I've used 2x, 3x and single direct-mount cranks. i have a Shimano 105 crankset on my CX bike with a White Industries freewheel and I just had to run the ring on the inside of the spider and it lines up within a few millimeters of perfect, which is perfectly adequate. getting chainline "close enough" is all you need unless you just have an irrational OCD obsession...
    Dedicated SS hubs don't have wide freehub bodies to mess with spacers. Yes there is a little wiggle room but when looking to get a chainline that is 'inline' with where a 1x crank would provide - 2x is outside that line. Fiddling with spacers and flip floping chainrings is all fine and dandy but over the years I get squeaks, creaks, flex, and loosening stuff when I get creative like that. It's better for me to get everything lined up and right before I go out and put the hammer down.

    Over the years I have run m660, m760, m7000, m770, m780, m8000 without issue.

    The m980 flexed too much for SS and ended up on a gravel bike.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostin View Post
    Dedicated SS hubs don't have wide freehub bodies to mess with spacers. Yes there is a little wiggle room but when looking to get a chainline that is 'inline' with where a 1x crank would provide - 2x is outside that line.
    I get that dedicated SS hubs have short freehub bodies, but I would be surprised if they don't have enough wiggle room to make up for <5mm of variation from different cranks. I always measure my chainline within 1mm on my crankset and then measure the spacing on the wheel, rearranging spacers until it's within 1mm of the front. I have not used a SS-specific hub for this, but several different cranksets and chainrings with different offsets have always put the cog within a narrow margin of just a few millimeters of each other. it's a very narrow range that any SS hub should be able to accommodate, unless you're using something weird like a fat bike crankset on a 73mm bb shell (not sure if that's even possible).

    bottom line: MOST bikes should be fine with whatever crankset and ring you use on a hub with a splined freehub. a full length or short freehub should have enough room to fine-tune the spacing. if you don't have enough room to line up the cog, I'd be curious to know what your actual chainline at the ring is and how far the cog is in either direction that it can't match the front.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 1 Week Ago at 05:46 AM.

  41. #41
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    there are many decent cranks.
    I used xt on one bike and zee on another and can recommend both.
    since you want 34t a BCD 104 is fine.
    if you want to use super small chainrings (28, 30 may barely fit some cranks) then you may need to go smaller (idk the sizes by heart, 94 bcd?!?).

    Quote Originally Posted by scottg View Post
    Do some people prefer to use longer cranks for SS than they would for a geared setup? I just stuck with this crank because it's what came on my first SS.
    crank length should only be about fit. 180 suit me fine as I got long legs.
    when someone "prefers" 180 cranks over their usually shorter cranks (considering they are the ideal fit in the first place) then they are simply running a too high gear and should adjust that instead of the cranks.

    for the oval discussion. try them.
    I did and I would not go back anymore.
    use the same number of teeth though. that is my advice.
    it gives you the same ratio overall, but flattens the peaks (for a lack of better word) noticably. power is distributed more evenly through the stokes. at least for me.

  42. #42
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    Me four. The oval rings discombobulate my rhythm when I'm doing a desperate bouncy sprinty thing. Rode one for 3 full days and it never felt good and it never stopped bothering me. Was glad to be back on a round ring.
    Me five.

    I agree with Eri about the rhythm. I couldn't tell a difference on the trail.

  43. #43
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    Not that this is what the thread is about, but I am considering a new crankset that comes with a 34t round ring, and it'll be cheaper for me initially to leave it and just pick up a new cog to get the right ratio, and that'll be the first time I have ridden non oval on the SS in a few years, so I will try to remember to chime back in if I do and notice anything, or not.

  44. #44
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by garcia View Post
    Not that this is what the thread is about, but I am considering a new crankset that comes with a 34t round ring, and it'll be cheaper for me initially to leave it and just pick up a new cog to get the right ratio, and that'll be the first time I have ridden non oval on the SS in a few years, so I will try to remember to chime back in if I do and notice anything, or not.
    Curious to hear your thoughts.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    I'm late to the discussion here, but if you haven't bought anything yet, consider a SRAM GXP crankset with the direct mount setup. Aluminum versions are super cheap, and even carbon versions can be had at great prices. They use a 24mm spindle, so the bearings will be decent size with your (I'm assuming) threaded BB shell. LOTS of chainring options, both direct mount (which I'd recommend), or various spiders that can be bolted on. Wolftooth makes really nice stainless steel chainrings in both round and oval if you want to spend the money, and SRAM makes steel rings that can be had for like $15, well worth it! I also like steel for my drivetrain(or titanium!), and use them on my SS as well as geared bikes. They last forever and I'm less worried about hitting them on logs and such. I use SRAM 8 speed chains and have found them very long lasting. I also use steel or titanium cogs for longevity.
    Bought some parts but not crankset and BB yet, had more time to think due to injury (not cycling related) and the slow delivery/low availability of some of the parts and options I'm considering.

    I was considering SRAM DM, but I only find DUB options. Is GXP more desirable for SS? I guess for DUB I have to get a SRAM BB too, but is GXP compatible with Shimano Hollowtech type BBs for example?

    My frame is BSA 68 mm btw.

    The SRAM option is appealing as if I ever went back to gears on this bike I could get a good chainline with the nonboost options (OLD 135 rear), whereas if I go for a Shimano DM option like SLX 7100 I'd be stuck with a 52 mm chainline, unlikely to run well with gears (though with freehub spacers it should be ok for SS).

  46. #46
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    Man, you are making this way over complicated.

    Quote Originally Posted by GGNB View Post
    I was considering SRAM DM, but I only find DUB options. Is GXP more desirable for SS? I guess for DUB I have to get a SRAM BB too, but is GXP compatible with Shimano Hollowtech type BBs for example?
    GXP vs. Dub: no difference as far as one being better than the other. There are other manufacturers making Dub BB's now, you're not stuck with just Sram. No, GXP is NOT compatible with Shimano. 22/24 spindle for GXP, 24/24 for Shimano.

    The SRAM option is appealing as if I ever went back to gears on this bike I could get a good chainline with the nonboost options (OLD 135 rear), whereas if I go for a Shimano DM option like SLX 7100 I'd be stuck with a 52 mm chainline, unlikely to run well with gears (though with freehub spacers it should be ok for SS).
    Why not a previous gen. non boost Shimano crank? I agree there's no reason to run a boost chainline on a 135 rear SS. New take-off SLX and XT cranks are all over Ebay for cheap.

    Alternately you can run a DM like Raceface Aeffect or Turbine. There's so many good options out there, don't limit yourself to a Sram crank.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Why not a previous gen. non boost Shimano crank? I agree there's no reason to run a boost chainline on a 135 rear SS. New take-off SLX and XT cranks are all over Ebay for cheap.

    Alternately you can run a DM like Raceface Aeffect or Turbine. There's so many good options out there, don't limit yourself to a Sram crank.
    I thought Shimano DMs would have more future options than the odd 96 BCD of older offerings (but they don't at the moment) and would be interchangeable with my other bike that runs 7100. Problem is the boost only options.

    As for RF, I've heard creaking reports from the Aeffect level cranksets due to the pressfitted spindle/arm subassembly. So ended up with either Zee (104 BCD and non boost), SRAM DM or Shimano DM.

  48. #48
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    I have two Aeffect cranks, no issues, would not hesitate to buy another or recommend to a friend. FYI many many (most?) cranks have a pressed in spindle. It's not a poor engineering design. Turbine cranks have a removable spindle.

    The rest of my bikes have Shimano cranks. They just work with everything, forever.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  49. #49
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    I am a big Shimano guy, had a couple sets of 8000 XT cranks, one I am considering getting rid of if I go with the newer DM Shimano crank I talked about above, and the only reason I am considering doing so is to one day possibly run a spider power meter. Otherwise, while the 96bcd is odd, and not as common in aftermarket, absolute black, wolftooth, oneup, gararuk, they all make rings, I believe all in round or oval, and garbaruk even has a ton of awesome colors. So, I wouldn't worry about finding rings for quite a while.

  50. #50
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    Are the RF Aeffect cranks compatible with Shimano HT2 BBs? They're both 24 mm but I'm not sure if they're cleanly compatible.

    The cinch system does seem to offer lots of options for rings and chainline issues, but I'd rather stick to either Shimano or SRAM BBs.

    I'm not ordering anything yet as I can't find a "whole set" of components for any system available in stock at the moment.

  51. #51
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    I have a RF Aeffect crankset with a Shimano BB. If it doesn't work, someone should have told me over a year ago because I've been using them together that long. The spindle is a tight fit at first but it works great.

  52. #52
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    Guys, finally ordered the RF Aeffect cranks, a Shimano XT MT800 BB and a RF oval chainring. Other combinations we've discussed weren't as available so just went for this as it was all in stock, sounds reasonable and don't want this to take forever.

    After taking some measurements on the frame, played it safe and ordered a 32T ring. A 34T could have been ok, but it depends how far it sits with the new cranks so hard to be sure. No experience with modern ovals so I thought I'd experiment and see for myself.

    Thanks to everyone. Will update on how it goes as soon as I receive all the parts and can get my hands dirty.

  53. #53
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    i've had RF Next cranks and BB with 34T RF ring. it's been working pretty well i guess. prior to the RF cranks, i was using all different iterations of XT cranks with great success.
    i will not yield to DH traffic.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    Curious to hear your thoughts.
    Well, first ride on the round yesterday, and did a ride I do often for comparison sake. After a few years on oval, it felt a bit weird, I will say that.

    The problem, is I also switched to an easier ratio, from 32/21, to 34/23 (which is very close to 32/22 that I was going to ride but the parts showed up early) so my comparison is not quite apples to apples. I will say, I did not make it up the really steep gut check climb that I was having trouble with on the old ratio, but I did make it up the really steep climb at the end of the ride, and didn't notice any traction issues with the round vs the oval.

    Not sure if it is worth going to another oval or not. I honestly love the round for chain tensioning purposes. And I can't say I noticed much difference in performance, but I would like to pick up a 34 oval at some point and do a more direct back to back comparison.

  55. #55
    Rod
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    Thank you for following up. I have experienced some of the same observations, especially chain tension.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

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