stiffness test of integrated cranks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    test: integrated cranks...

    german magazine "Mountain Bike" did a comparison test of 11 different integrated cranksets.
    they measured weights and stiffness as well.
    Gewicht: weight
    Steifigkeit: stiffness
    SGI: stiffness to weight factor (stw)

    as you can see the XT is the big winner here. its stiffness is well above XTR and the weight still pretty light. the FSA V-drive gets the "buy-it" tip as it is the best value for the money.

    and finally they show the ancient XT combos and the according numbers. see the small scan below where they show the numbers for 1998 square XT crankset,2003 octalink and finally the 2005 integrated version.

    what the added stiffness all means:
    they say you can feel it as the shifting precision is better and chainrings don't rub on the front derailleur in hard sprinting situations as was sometimes the case with older setups.

    i also added that older crank stiffness test done by another magazine about 2 years ago. don't compare numbers 1:1 as they tested differently but still you get the point. we see Deore square cranks get 83 N/mm reading which is about what the XT has in the little scan of this actual test (84,76 N/mm). we have many octalink cranks in the 100 N/mm region and ISIS cranksets way above (118 N/mm for a FSA ISIS crankset) so the difference in stiffness compared to these new, integrated cranks isn't that different...oh - i almost forgot to mention the famous XTR octalink crankset: at 88 N/mm definitely much weaker than most actual cranks but i can't remember people saying the stiffness was low on those cranks...

    my question however if that added stiffness actually has any power benefit isn't answered...too bad. i would really like to see some numbers. does a "flexy" crankset have an influenece on power output or not? my chainrings don't rub and shifting is good so i don't have a problem there. if i would have serious powerloss i think i would have to change....but so far i don't see or feel any disadvantage. on the road peloton almost half the field is using Campagnolo which has square BBs only so it can't be that bad powerwise
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    Last edited by nino; 11-14-2004 at 04:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    Pretty cool stuff.

    So if I am reading this right... then the Deus cranks are the 2nd flexiest?

  3. #3
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    correct...

    Quote Originally Posted by bike_freak
    Pretty cool stuff.

    So if I am reading this right... then the Deus cranks are the 2nd flexiest?
    yes - these numbers don't lie!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nino
    yes - these numbers don't lie!
    Damn....

    ohwell, at 55kg's I'm not likely to flex any cranks

  5. #5
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    Keep in mind...

    that the integrated desgins are still twice as still as many square-taper models, and few were complaining then. Also, crank (lack of) stiffness becomes most noticeable if you have a rather stiff frame. Us all being weight weenies (well, many of us): how many here have a heavy, ├╝ber-stiff frame?

  6. #6
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    Comparing my Trek that has RF Next LP with American Classic square Ti BB and my Serotta with the new XTR, I can definelty say I notice a difference. The chainrings on the Trek rub the front derailleur pedalling hard even in the saddle, and I've adjusted the derailleur countless times to try to get it out.

  7. #7
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    Describe the test method.

    Please describe the test method. I assume the stiffness measurement is the force required to flex the cranks a given number of degrees in the direction of rotation with the chainrings held in a fixed position? If it measures lateral (inward) flex, it seems like a useless test.

    I have noticed that the Deus cranks I have feel less stiff laterally than my previous Next LP ISIS, but I have never noticed a difference in stiffness in rotation between any crankset.

    Personally, I would be more interested in fatigue and bearing test results along with actual weights as always of course.

  8. #8
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    Interesting. I like the looks of Saint but i reckon the XTs offer me all the performance i need for my biking. I would be interested in seeing some figures for road cranks as well.
    Last edited by erol/frost; 11-14-2004 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Spelling.

  9. #9
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    Road Cranks

    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost
    Interesting. I like the looks of Saint but i reckon the XTs offer me all the performance i need for my biking. I would be interested in seeing some figures for road cranks as well.
    Note that Velo News published a test of crank stiffness about a year ago or so, and Dura Ace with the external BB was way stiffer than naything else. Included in the test were Campy Recod Carbon, FSA carbon, and anything else that might be considered high-end.

    Nino: I do believe that Campy is going to be producing external BB cranksets very soon, in order to compete with the stiffness of Dura Ace.

  10. #10
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    But how is it being measured?

    What sort of stiffness are we talking about? We don't really care if it is inward flex. We care about rotational stiffness. In other words, does the bottom bracket spindle twist or do the crank arms deflect in the direction of rotation when placed under load?

    At one point, someone here said the German tests measured inward flex. This is useless information since the power loss due to such flex would probably be unmeasurable.
    Last edited by B R H; 11-15-2004 at 11:23 AM.

  11. #11
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    The're also a torsional load on the crak arm, not just a bending load in the direction of pedalling. How far from the crank arm centerline is the center of your cleat? You could easily make a crank that is really strong to resist bending, but twist like a noodle. That's why I'm curious as to how the test was done. A while ago someone posted a rodie crank arm stiffness article and they applied the load directly to the crankarm. This test totally neglected any torsional force on the crankarm.

  12. #12
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    Good point.

    That's another important measurement of "stiffness" that matters. In fact, I bet this one would result in the most wasted power input since I suspect the other measurements I mentioned would show results that are high enough.

    I doubt there is much to be gained with stiffer cranks anyway (except sales). I went to the external bearing type design mostly with hopes of finding greater bearing life. Since I have had a Next LP ISIS arm crack due to fatigue, I would also be interested in any fatigue test results.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by B R H
    That's another important measurement of "stiffness" that matters. In fact, I bet this one would result in the most wasted power input since I suspect the other measurements I mentioned would show results that are high enough.

    I doubt there is much to be gained with stiffer cranks anyway (except sales). I went to the external bearing type design mostly with hopes of finding greater bearing life. Since I have had a Next LP ISIS arm crack due to fatigue, I would also be interested in any fatigue test results.

    That was the jist of that road bike crank comparison. They stated through thier testing (which neglected torsional forces) that all high end crankarms were so close in stiffness that it didn't matter.

    Here're some plots to illustrate my point. It's hard to read the text, all shrunk down, but the one w/o torsinal load has a deformation scale of about 30:1, and the other one about 4.4:1. This shows (of my extremely simple) I-Beam crankarm is damn stiff in bending but quite noddley in torsion.
    Last edited by Ultra Magnus; 07-29-2009 at 10:09 AM.

  14. #14
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    One more.. I thought I'd do a tubular arm to compare (take my word for it, this arm is hollow). This arm is the same mass as the I beam version, (+1g), but is more than twice as strong in torsion, while having identical strength in bending. This proves that in a test that neglects torsion, you could state that crankarm x and y are just about the same in stifness, or worse, say x is stiffer than y, but the truth would be completely opposite.
    Last edited by Ultra Magnus; 07-29-2009 at 10:09 AM.

  15. #15

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    I just want the lightest crank arms with the greatest resistance to fatigue ...stiffness isn't really a concern of mine.

  16. #16
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    Neat images. I think the Deus (I-beam type) actually feels less powerful than my old Next LP (sort of tubular?). Your work tends to make me believe that twisting is the likely culprit. It's hard to stand on my bike and watch for twist, but I sure can see the Deus arms flex inwards when I press down hard on the pedal. This was one of the first things I noticed when I installed them. I still don't think it matters much when actually riding but I did prefer the feel of the Next LPs. However I MUCH prefer the bearings in the Deus. Can't wait for X-type Next w/carbon.

  17. #17

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    I think we have to train harder not to take care about crank stiffness...
    The engine is the rider and it is not because your cranks is a bit flexier than an other that you are not going to loose. If you do long races, you are never at 100% of your power so the difference of the stiffness become so little. But i think the weight is more important. On marathon races we spend a long time climbing with a high legs rotation speed not to burn all the glycogene.
    In fact, when we do our custom made mtb it depends of which races we will do.

  18. #18
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    Interesting. Baidsed on the stength analyiss, hollow cranks are far supirior to I-beam design. I smell a senior project for my Manufacturing Enginineering degree coming on!! I love this stuff. Great thread!
    --Miles Graydon
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  19. #19
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    That was fun reading. My SweetWings steel, tubular cranks were the first external BB cranks I used, and they remain stiff and very reliable. I waited and got the new, hollow, aluminum XT external BB cranks as soon as they became available, and they've been great, too. At 210-230 lbs (winter happens), I notice when cranks, BB spindles and frames flex, and I like the XT set a lot.

    On bearing issues: the XT use the same size, but not quality, of bearings as on the non-drive side of my years-old SweetWings. When I got them, I opened up the XT bearings and found them nearly without lube grease. With that remedied, I expect they'll last a good long time.

  20. #20
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    one thing to note whenever looking at finite element analysis pictures, is that they are pretty. however, they're often misinterprited. pretty pictures or not, you still have to use your brain.

    when comparing from one analysis to the next, you can't just go by which has more or less yellow, blue, or red. make sure to look at the scale legend. most analysis packages set 'red' to be whatever the highest load in the entire analysis is. that typically throws colors off in the area that really matters. be careful about this. plus, analysis is ONLY valid when constrained properly. this is a VERY important part of the process, and is extremely difficult in most scenarios, requiring experimental validation to set up in the first place.

    finite element simulations are useful for finding the areas of peak von-meisis stresses, but the plots given here don't indicate overall strength or stiffness. that too can be found, but it's something entirely different. i've said it before, but overambitious techno-engineering heads need to spend more time remembering not to confuse stiffness with strength.

    looking at crank structures for senior project? comeon, apply yourself dude. here's the result for you. i-beams are stiffer/stronger from a strength to weight perspective from vertical bending moments. round, circular, or square designs suffer (again, when same linear mass/volume is used) vertically, but are more even vertical/horizontal, and are stronger torsionally. two designs specialized for two different things. Moments of inertia, MY/I formulations, etc...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by B R H
    That's another important measurement of "stiffness" that matters. In fact, I bet this one would result in the most wasted power input since I suspect the other measurements I mentioned would show results that are high enough.

    I doubt there is much to be gained with stiffer cranks anyway (except sales). I went to the external bearing type design mostly with hopes of finding greater bearing life. Since I have had a Next LP ISIS arm crack due to fatigue, I would also be interested in any fatigue test results.
    I really doubt it, if they aren't the "stiffest" cranks in the world, what happens when they flex? They bend back of course, and there's going to be an infitestimal amount of energy lost, but if you are concerned about that, you better give up your front and rear suspension, also you are going to have to go to solid tires, because anything that compresses is going to lose some energy, because nothing is 100% efficiant (except ellsworths as claimed by Tony Ellsworth).

    BTW, I ordered the FC-760s today. I'm expecting to be .000003423mph faster with the 175mm cranks as opposed to the 170s I'm currently running (was running for rock-clearance). These will also obviously be stiffer as I have just read in deutsch, und I expect deise cranks to make my fahrrad .00034232kph schneller.

    Got verdamnt, ich spreche deutsch.
    Last edited by Jm.; 11-15-2004 at 08:15 PM.

  22. #22
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    Don't be such a smartass. If you read all of what I wrote I am only saying that twisting stiffness probably is the only stiffness aspect of a crank that could matter but that I doubted any of it mattered.

    My Race Face Deus cranks are faster than your shiny new 760s anyway.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by B R H
    Don't be such a smartass. If you read all of what I wrote I am only saying that twisting stiffness probably is the only stiffness aspect of a crank that could matter but that I doubted any of it mattered.

    My Race Face Deus cranks are faster than your shiny new 760s anyway.
    Can't you tell when someone is agreeing with you?

  24. #24

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    Stiffness...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    I really doubt it, if they aren't the "stiffest" cranks in the world, what happens when they flex? They bend back of course, and there's going to be an infitestimal amount of energy lost, but if you are concerned about that, you better give up your front and rear suspension, also you are going to have to go to solid tires, because anything that compresses is going to lose some energy, because nothing is 100% efficiant (except ellsworths as claimed by Tony Ellsworth).

    BTW, I ordered the FC-760s today. I'm expecting to be .000003423mph faster with the 175mm cranks as opposed to the 170s I'm currently running (was running for rock-clearance). These will also obviously be stiffer as I have just read in deutsch, und I expect deise cranks to make my fahrrad .00034232kph schneller.

    Got verdamnt, ich spreche deutsch.
    I agree with you. It is what i said 2 messages ago.

  25. #25
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    The stresses are listed, but I can't create a deflection plot. We only have cosmos express, which only does stress tests, in part only mode. Kinda lame, but it can still tell you a lot, if like you said, understand the difference between your stress analysis model and real world conditions.

    I only created those illustrations to show the difference between loading the arm only in bending (as some guys did a test that was posted here a while ago) vs. accurately simulating a load on a pedal. My only intent was to show that a test done unrealistically is useless to compare cranks' stiffness.

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    K-force Megaexo

    i would love to see the FSA K-FORCE MEGAEXO on that chart too...........
    anybody have any insight of how that would rate?

  27. #27
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    I guess not. Sorry.

  28. #28
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    No one seems to have explained how they tested the stiffness. Do they only concentrated on the drive side?

    I am interested to see how the pinch bolt system performs at the non drive side. My take is that it may not be as stiff compared to ISIS or the Octalink?

    However I do agree the stiffness is not really performance enhancing as most cranks are plenty stiff enough however a stiffer cranks may last longer.

  29. #29
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    thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by nino
    german magazine "Mountain Bike" did a comparison test of 11 different integrated cranksets.
    they measured weights and stiffness as well.
    Gewicht: weight
    Steifigkeit: stiffness
    SGI: stiffness to weight factor (stw)

    as you can see the XT is the big winner here. its stiffness is well above XTR and the weight still pretty light. the FSA V-drive gets the "buy-it" tip as it is the best value for the money.

    and finally they show the ancient XT combos and the according numbers. see the small scan below where they show the numbers for 1998 square XT crankset,2003 octalink and finally the 2005 integrated version.

    what the added stiffness all means:
    they say you can feel it as the shifting precision is better and chainrings don't rub on the front derailleur in hard sprinting situations as was sometimes the case with older setups.

    i also added that older crank stiffness test done by another magazine about 2 years ago. don't compare numbers 1:1 as they tested differently but still you get the point. we see Deore square cranks get 83 N/mm reading which is about what the XT has in the little scan of this actual test (84,76 N/mm). we have many octalink cranks in the 100 N/mm region and ISIS cranksets way above (118 N/mm for a FSA ISIS crankset) so the difference in stiffness compared to these new, integrated cranks isn't that different...oh - i almost forgot to mention the famous XTR octalink crankset: at 88 N/mm definitely much weaker than most actual cranks but i can't remember people saying the stiffness was low on those cranks...

    my question however if that added stiffness actually has any power benefit isn't answered...too bad. i would really like to see some numbers. does a "flexy" crankset have an influenece on power output or not? my chainrings don't rub and shifting is good so i don't have a problem there. if i would have serious powerloss i think i would have to change....but so far i don't see or feel any disadvantage. on the road peloton almost half the field is using Campagnolo which has square BBs only so it can't be that bad powerwise
    That was some excellent information I was looking for, could not have been better info, except maybe in English......good enough for sure. Thanks again.
    OUCH...!!!!!!

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