Carbon cranks (of any brand) overrated?



Bigbananabike

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Dec 29, 2004
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I recently read in Brit mag Cycling + (plus) that they think carbon cranks are overrated. They didn't say why there but must have their reasons for such a sweeping statement.

Why would they say that?

[For one thing a friend of mine who's a very strong rider has a set of Pizzaz(sp) carbon cranks his partner bought him and finds they flex which he's never had with alloy cranks.]
 

kdelong

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Dec 14, 2006
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Bigbananabike said:
I recently read in Brit mag Cycling + (plus) that they think carbon cranks are overrated. They didn't say why there but must have their reasons for such a sweeping statement.

Why would they say that?

[For one thing a friend of mine who's a very strong rider has a set of Pizzaz(sp) carbon cranks his partner bought him and finds they flex which he's never had with alloy cranks.]
Search for this. It was covered ad-nauseum several months ago. It ignited some good flame wars though, so it will make interesting reading:D.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Well, every material is overrated if you get picky. Also, all the people that think they flex the **** out of stuff are overrated.

There's sod all difference, in most tests, between the stiffness in a given direction of Dura Ace cranks vs. CF Record cranks. Given that, the whole material bitchfest is pretty useless.

Buy what you like. That's what matters.
 
Dec 30, 2007
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Bigbananabike said:
I recently read in Brit mag Cycling + (plus) that they think carbon cranks are overrated. They didn't say why there but must have their reasons for such a sweeping statement.

Why would they say that?

[For one thing a friend of mine who's a very strong rider has a set of Pizzaz(sp) carbon cranks his partner bought him and finds they flex which he's never had with alloy cranks.]

NOBODY can really tell the difference from one crank material stiffness to another. They are 'feeling' other things if they are feeling anything at all. Same with all the hype about ceramic bearings. Crank is there to turn the chain to the rear wheel to propel the bike. 'Overrated' in that nobody needs a multi hundred dollar carbon crank to rotate the chain. Bearing design has evolved because of poor design in the past(octalink and isis). Way too much ado about bike parts these days but in a flat market, gadgets get recognized, talked about(in mags and in web sites) and then sold.
 

Powerful Pete

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May 29, 2004
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Yup. Then again, group sets are overrated. No need for anything beyond Veloce or 105 for the average joe/jane when he/she can make time after work/kids/etc. And yet we all salivate for the latest and greatest and need the carbon fiber bits and/or super stiff Shimano cranks. ;)
 

saintsfan342000

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Apr 6, 2007
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I think the vast majority of people still think of carbon fiber composites as some kind of super-miraculous, space-age, can't be beat material, and therefore think that if a particular component is made from carbon fiber, then it must be the best, most highly engineered piece of equipment out there. But the fact remains that but for the highest end stuff (see most expensive), carbon fiber composites are very mundane, and can be just as sloppily engineered and/or manufactured as any other material.
 

Phill P

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Jul 9, 2006
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The Al DA cranks stand up very well in most strength/stiffness to weight comparisons against the high end CF cranks.

You can design a bad CF crank just like you can design a bad Al crank.

There does not seem to be anything to prove that CF cranks do anything you can't do with Al cranks.

Shimano are pretty much the only brand that have stuck with Al cranks, and the rest went CF as it was "easier" to get a crank that sold well and was competitive with what Shimano could do.

Anything much lighter than DA cranks seem to have more issues with failure. Cranks that are stiffer are usually heavier. Trade off what you like to get the cranks you want.

Cannondale SISL cranks are AL and are lighter and stiffer than most CF cranks, but the BB30 design might be giving the edge there. Don't know what FSA BB30 cranks perform like.
 

Powerful Pete

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IMHO and seeing other people I ride with, FSA cranks are nothing to write home about. I have a set of Gossamer cranks on my newest bike and I am underwhelmed.

Obviously, comparing apples and oranges, but my square taper Chorus all alu cranks from about five years ago are far superior.

But, I will probably be mounting a set of Chorus UT compact cranks on my bike tomorrow. I could not resist. :eek: :D :cool:
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Powerful Pete said:
IMHO and seeing other people I ride with, FSA cranks are nothing to write home about. I have a set of Gossamer cranks on my newest bike and I am underwhelmed.

Obviously, comparing apples and oranges, but my square taper Chorus all alu cranks from about five years ago are far superior.

But, I will probably be mounting a set of Chorus UT compact cranks on my bike tomorrow. I could not resist. :eek: :D :cool:

For some reason, FSA just can't figure out how to make cranks that either don't squeak, don't have inserts come loose, don't shift well, or don't have bearing cups go loose or wonky.

For looks, it's tough to beat alloy Record or Chorus cranks. Even DA 9 cranks looked nice.
 
Dec 30, 2007
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Phill P said:
The Al DA cranks stand up very well in most strength/stiffness to weight comparisons against the high end CF cranks.

You can design a bad CF crank just like you can design a bad Al crank.

There does not seem to be anything to prove that CF cranks do anything you can't do with Al cranks.

Shimano are pretty much the only brand that have stuck with Al cranks, and the rest went CF as it was "easier" to get a crank that sold well and was competitive with what Shimano could do.

Anything much lighter than DA cranks seem to have more issues with failure. Cranks that are stiffer are usually heavier. Trade off what you like to get the cranks you want.

Cannondale SISL cranks are AL and are lighter and stiffer than most CF cranks, but the BB30 design might be giving the edge there. Don't know what FSA BB30 cranks perform like.

Expect a carbon DA crank from shimano for 2009. It was introduced, than cancelled, now on tap to be introduced. Actually carbon wraaped aluminum core and initially, $1300. Along with carbon bits on STI(7900) and RD, shimano has been assimilated.
 

Powerful Pete

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alienator said:
For some reason, FSA just can't figure out how to make cranks that either don't squeak, don't have inserts come loose, don't shift well, or don't have bearing cups go loose or wonky.

For looks, it's tough to beat alloy Record or Chorus cranks. Even DA 9 cranks looked nice.
Yup. For the life of me why people would spend big money on an aftermarket FSA I cannot understand. Anyway, looking for options to replace the dang thing on my new commuter. Hate it. ****-ola quality.
 

531Aussie

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Apr 11, 2004
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alienator said:
For looks, it's tough to beat alloy Record or Chorus cranks
from the mid '90s, right? :)

d_chorus_cranks.jpg
 

Tech72

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Nov 29, 2003
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Not to sidetrack the thread but IMHO, the Mavic 631 crankset from the late '80's (the first edition, not the later revised shape) is the best looking crankset ever made. Heavy, but beautiful shape and finish. They were matched to the Mavic BB with the smoooothest bearings....
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Those are either CDA, Chorus or Athena, made from about 1989(laser etched logo, not stamped) until 1994. NICE cranks, I have 2 sets of C-Record.
Yes, but the self-extracting bolt used a 7mm Allen wrench ...

And, the non-driveside crank required a special, left-hand threaded crank extractor if you didn't have the self-extracting bolts!
 

531Aussie

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Tech72 said:
Not to sidetrack the thread but IMHO, the Mavic 631 crankset from the late '80's (the first edition, not the later revised shape) is the best looking crankset ever made. Heavy, but beautiful shape and finish. They were matched to the Mavic BB with the smoooothest bearings....
ah yeah!! They were also pretty schmicko
 

nbfman

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Sep 12, 2005
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Anyone remember Sugino Super Mighty cranks with drilled out chain rings? I thought they looked ok at the time (late 70's/early 80's .... not quite sure, and maybe too early for folks here).
 

alfeng

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nbfman said:
Anyone remember Sugino Super Mighty cranks with drilled out chain rings? I thought they looked ok at the time (late 70's/early 80's .... not quite sure, and maybe too early for folks here).
Yes. I had one on my Holdsworth ... it was one of the many 144BCD Campy compatible cranksets which were available -- i.e., it was basically a 'copy' of the Campagnolo (Nuovo) Record Strada crankset which is possibly why you thought it "looked ok at the time."

They STILL look good, IMO.
 
Dec 30, 2007
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alfeng said:
Yes, but the self-extracting bolt used a 7mm Allen wrench ...

And, the non-driveside crank required a special, left-hand threaded crank extractor if you didn't have the self-extracting bolts!

The first thing one does with these cranks with self extracotrs is take them out. The second thing is get the left handed crank puller..did both those things 20 years ago whe I got them.