ISIS vs Octalink vs square



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J

Jim D

Guest
So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for my cyclocross bike. I have
always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but since I now have so many options I'd like some
opinion from anyone who has used or regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They definitely look
like an improvement, but does the average mountain or road cyclist see an advantage? Is the square
stuff going to vanish eventually? I guess I'm mostly interested because the square stuff seems so
much cheaper. I have a bunch of bikes and it is nice to keep components as standard as possible. I
trend away from Shimano as much as I can, so I guess my real options are ISIS vs square(unless
someone here can give me a good reason to go Shimano).
 
D

David

Guest
"Jim D" <[email protected]*.._no*spam> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for my cyclocross bike. I have
> always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but since I now have so many options I'd like some
> opinion from anyone who has used or regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They definitely
> look like an improvement, but does the average mountain or road cyclist see an advantage?

I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among bikes, and I could tell that
the ISIS and XTR were stiffer than the square-taper XT (since I got to ride some of them on the same
bike). The XTR may have been a little stiffer than the Truvative ISIS, but not by much, and the
Truvative crank/BB was definitely a better value.

So far my experience with ISIS has all been good. Never used Octalink though.

David
 
S

Squid-In-Traini

Guest
> I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among

>Never used Octalink though.

Huh? I thought XTR specifically used octalink...

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
 

boudreaux

New Member
Oct 16, 2003
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Originally posted by Squid-In-Traini
> I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among

>Never used Octalink though.

Huh? I thought XTR specifically used octalink...

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
You did not read it right.
 
P

Paul Southworth

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Jim D
<[email protected]*.._no*spam> wrote:
>So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for my cyclocross bike. I have
>always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but since I now have so many options I'd like some
>opinion from anyone who has used or regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They definitely
>look like an improvement, but does the average mountain or road cyclist see an advantage? Is the
>square stuff going to vanish eventually? I guess I'm mostly interested because the square stuff
>seems so much cheaper. I have a bunch of bikes and it is nice to keep components as standard as
>possible. I trend away from Shimano as much as I can, so I guess my real options are ISIS vs
>square(unless someone here can give me a good reason to go Shimano).

Yeah I bought a Truvativ Rouleur ISIS road crank because I thought "ISIS is new and cool, square
taper is so yesterday!"

Unfortunately it ended up being impossible to obtain correct chain line, even using all
manufacturer-recommended parts. Retried on several frames using both Truvativ and FSA BBs. It's just
not going to work. I have no idea what the manufacturer was thinking, the chainline specs they
advertise are just not what I get. My lame old Campy cranks with their "obsolete" square taper BB
work a lot better. Totally pointless money pit.

But if you'd like to try for yourself, email me and I'll make you a great deal. With a
recommendation like that how can you refuse? :)

I'm going back to what works - getting a "superior design" at the expense of inferior chain line is
no improvement.

Also while I'm ranting about this ****, those aluminum self-extractor bolts that Truvativ sells are
junk. I installed the crank with torque to spec using a torque wrench. Rode it a few hundred miles.
All OK. I go to remove the left arm for the first time, the bolt breaks free just fine, but after I
back it off until it starts pushing the arm off, it strips instantly without moving the arm off at
all. As far as I can tell, there was nothing I could have done to make that arm come off without
stripping the bolt, unless I had removed the self-extractor ring first and used a proper crank
extractor (in which case what the hell is the point?). I guess that's what they call "stupid light".

Oh and speaking of "stupid light" the mfr claims this crank is lighter than Record but my scale says
they are actually about the same. No surprise there.

--Paul
 
J

Jose Rizal

Guest
David:

>
> "Jim D" <[email protected]*.._no*spam> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for my cyclocross bike. I
> > have always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but since I now have so many options I'd like
> > some opinion from anyone who has used or regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They
> > definitely look like an improvement, but does the average mountain or road cyclist see an
> > advantage?
>
> I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among bikes, and I could tell
> that the ISIS and XTR were stiffer than the square-taper XT (since I got to ride some of them on
> the same bike). The XTR may have been a little stiffer than the Truvative ISIS, but not by much,
> and the Truvative crank/BB was definitely a better value.

How can you tell which is stiffer? Since there is no movement in the splines nor on the taper, and
since the metal interface doesn't yield nor move, there is no way you can measure stiffness by feel,
let alone by metrology.
 
M

Michael Dart

Guest
"Phil, Squid-in-Training" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> > I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among
>
> >Never used Octalink though.
>
> Huh? I thought XTR specifically used octalink...
>

XTR splined (pre '03) is it's own thing and not compatible with XT or LX ones. The XT/LX splines got
dubbed Octalink.

Mike - same thing only different.
 
M

Michael Dart

Guest
"Phil, Squid-in-Training" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> > I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among
>
> >Never used Octalink though.
>
> Huh? I thought XTR specifically used octalink...
>

XTR splined (pre '03) is it's own thing and not compatible with XT or LX ones. The splines are cut
deeper on the XT BB axles. The XT/LX splines got dubbed Octalink.

Mike - same thing only different.
 
Q

Qui Si Parla Ca

Guest
Jim D-<< So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for my cyclocross bike.
I have always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but since I now have so many options I'd like some
opinion from anyone who has used or regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. >><BR><BR>

Many cranks use ISIS now and I think that's going to be around for a while. Octalink is being
abandoned by shimano as DA now, then ultegra(2005) and then others go to the one piece crank system.

Square taper is still around in most places where there are bikes, many crank makers still use this
system(TA, Stronglight, etc).

ISIS shortcomings are with bearings and sluggishness IMO...but as a spline system, much better than
octalink...

Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
Q

Qui Si Parla Ca

Guest
david-<< I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among bikes >><BR><BR> <<
So far my experience with ISIS has all been good. Never used Octalink though. >><BR><BR>

XTR splined is 'Octalink'...for info-

Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
B

Bruni

Guest
While I totally respect Paul's experience with his truvativ isis, I love my FSA compact road crank,
and highly recomend isis as a system . I have used it on tandems and other triple equipped bikes as
well. I had a similar experience to paul's with profile design/octalink when I tried to get 110 bc
double ring. The crank was designed for 112mm XTR and the combination of 2 rather than 3 rings and
130 vs 135 rear, meant that even with a108mm BB, the chain was too far outboard. Tom

--
Bruni Bicycles "Where art meets science" brunibicycles.com
410.426.3420 Paul Southworth <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:_s0mb.37983$A%[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>, Jim D
> <[email protected]*.._no*spam> wrote:
> >So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for
my
> >cyclocross bike. I have always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but
since
> >I now have so many options I'd like some opinion from anyone who has used
or
> >regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They definitely look like an improvement, but does
> >the average mountain or road cyclist see an
advantage?
> >Is the square stuff going to vanish eventually? I guess I'm mostly interested because the square
> >stuff seems so much cheaper. I have a bunch
of
> >bikes and it is nice to keep components as standard as possible. I trend away from Shimano as
> >much as I can, so I guess my real options are ISIS
vs
> >square(unless someone here can give me a good reason to go Shimano).
>
> Yeah I bought a Truvativ Rouleur ISIS road crank because I thought "ISIS is new and cool, square
> taper is so yesterday!"
>
> Unfortunately it ended up being impossible to obtain correct chain line, even using all
> manufacturer-recommended parts. Retried on several frames using both Truvativ and FSA BBs. It's
> just not going to work. I have no idea what the manufacturer was thinking, the chainline specs
> they advertise are just not what I get. My lame old Campy cranks with their "obsolete" square
> taper BB work a lot better. Totally pointless money pit.
>
> But if you'd like to try for yourself, email me and I'll make you a great deal. With a
> recommendation like that how can you refuse? :)
>
> I'm going back to what works - getting a "superior design" at the expense of inferior chain line
> is no improvement.
>
> Also while I'm ranting about this ****, those aluminum self-extractor bolts that Truvativ sells
> are junk. I installed the crank with torque to spec using a torque wrench. Rode it a few hundred
> miles. All OK. I go to remove the left arm for the first time, the bolt breaks free just fine, but
> after I back it off until it starts pushing the arm off, it strips instantly without moving the
> arm off at all. As far as I can tell, there was nothing I could have done to make that arm come
> off without stripping the bolt, unless I had removed the self-extractor ring first and used a
> proper crank extractor (in which case what the hell is the point?). I guess that's what they call
> "stupid light".
>
> Oh and speaking of "stupid light" the mfr claims this crank is lighter than Record but my scale
> says they are actually about the same. No surprise there.
>
> --Paul
 
M

Mike S.

Guest
> > So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for
my
> > cyclocross bike. I have always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but
since
> > I now have so many options I'd like some opinion from anyone who has
used or
> > regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They definitely look like an improvement, but does
> > the average mountain or road cyclist see an
advantage?
>
> I've moved Truvative ISIS, square-taper XT and splined XTR around among bikes, and I could tell
> that the ISIS and XTR were stiffer than the
square-taper
> XT (since I got to ride some of them on the same bike). The XTR may have been a little stiffer
> than the Truvative ISIS, but not by much, and the
Truvative
> crank/BB was definitely a better value.
>
> So far my experience with ISIS has all been good. Never used Octalink
though.
>
> David
>
I can vouch for the stiffness thing. My D/A cranks are stiffer through the BB than my older
square-taper cranks. I noticed it the first few rides, and haven't paid much attention to them
since. I'm not sure where the extra stiffness came from the new style crankarms or the added
stiffness of the bigger diameter BB spindle.

Does it really make THAT much difference? Nope. If it did, Campy would be jumping on the
bandwagon...

Mike

I haven't ridden any ISIS cranks, so can't comment on them.
 
M

Matt O'Toole

Guest
"Paul Southworth" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:_s0mb.37983$A%[email protected]...

> In article <[email protected]>, Jim D
> <[email protected]*.._no*spam> wrote:

> >So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom bracket for my cyclocross bike. I
> >have always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but since I now have so many options I'd like
> >some opinion from anyone who has used or regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. They
> >definitely look like an improvement, but does the average mountain or road cyclist see an
> >advantage? Is the square stuff going to vanish eventually?

My crystal ball says Octalink is the one that will go away, and that square taper will still be with
us for a long, long time.

Octalink is flawed, a poor design. Shimano has already dropped it with the new Dura Ace, and will
probably phase it out over the next few years, in favor of the new DA design. However, since there's
so much of it out there already, parts should still be available for quite awhile.

ISIS is a better design than Octalink, and not proprietary like the new Shimano DA system. It may
become the new non-Shimano standard, or it may go away. There's really no telling.

> >I guess I'm mostly interested because the square stuff seems so much cheaper. I have a bunch of
> >bikes and it is nice to keep components as standard as possible. I trend away from Shimano as
> >much as I can, so I guess my real options are ISIS vs square(unless someone here can give me a
> >good reason to go Shimano).

> Yeah I bought a Truvativ Rouleur ISIS road crank because I thought "ISIS is new and cool, square
> taper is so yesterday!"

> Unfortunately it ended up being impossible to obtain correct chain line, even using all
> manufacturer-recommended parts. Retried on several frames using both Truvativ and FSA BBs. It's
> just not going to work. I have no idea what the manufacturer was thinking, the chainline specs
> they advertise are just not what I get.

There's always this risk when fooling around with nonstandard components. Note that this has nothing
to do with the crank/BB having ISIS splines -- it's simply the wrong BB axle length. Perhaps the
right one is not even available. But that's a Truvativ/FSA problem, not an ISIS one.

> My lame old Campy cranks with their "obsolete" square taper BB work a lot better. Totally
> pointless money pit.

> I'm going back to what works - getting a "superior design" at the expense of inferior chain line
> is no improvement.

Unless you need the slightly lighter hollow axle, or you're big enough to be breaking spindles,
there's no advantage to these new BBs for you.

> Also while I'm ranting about this ****, those aluminum self-extractor bolts that Truvativ sells
> are junk.

Yup, those are a bad idea. Shimano once made some better ones, but they still stuck. The biggest
problem is the allen head crank bolts, which almost always eventually get stripped. (My crank has
been stuck on my bike for two years.)
6/8mm allen heads are just not strong enough. They're fine for one-time use on automotive CV joints,
but not bicycle cranks that have to come off occasionally. Traditional 14/15mm hex bolts are a
much better solution.

The original idea (ie, sales gimmick) of self-extractors was field serviceability. Now that we have
well-sealed cartridge BBs, there's almost no reason to take your crank off in the field.

Matt O.
 
D

David

Guest
"Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Perhaps the right one is not even available. But
> that's a Truvativ/FSA problem, not an ISIS one.

If true, that would be an ISIS problem. Not a design problem, but certainly a weakness when compared
to square-taper, where there are an incredible number of axle lengths available (and IIRC even ones
that allow the axle position to be adjusted a little side-to-side).
 
D

Doug

Guest
Related, but different issue:

Can someone comment on the serviceability of the new DA Crank/BB?

I know you can replace bearings, but would anyone expect there to be a need to replace the BB
spindle itself, and if so, am I correct in assuming that you'll need to replace the entire
crank-arm/bb assembly? Is this a justifiable concern?

"Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Jim D-<< So I'm starting to think about a new set of cranks & bottom
bracket
> for my cyclocross bike. I have always had square BB spindles on my bikes, but
since
> I now have so many options I'd like some opinion from anyone who has used
or
> regularly worked on the spline drive stuff. >><BR><BR>
>
> Many cranks use ISIS now and I think that's going to be around for a
while.
> Octalink is being abandoned by shimano as DA now, then ultegra(2005) and
then
> others go to the one piece crank system.
>
> Square taper is still around in most places where there are bikes, many
crank
> makers still use this system(TA, Stronglight, etc).
>
> ISIS shortcomings are with bearings and sluggishness IMO...but as a
spline
> system, much better than octalink...
>
> Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
> (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
J

Jim Beam

Guest
> Octalink is flawed, a poor design.

how so?

octalink has a taper for snug fit and lateral load bearing. the splines only transmit torque.

isis has full length parallel splines which depend on a higher accuracy of fit and does not really
address the lateral load situation.

jb
 
M

Mike S.

Guest
<snip for brevity>

> The original idea (ie, sales gimmick) of self-extractors was field serviceability. Now that we
> have well-sealed cartridge BBs, there's
almost no
> reason to take your crank off in the field.
>
> Matt O.
>
I don't remember having to take a BB apart in the field, ever. I rode non-cartridge BBs for lots and
lots of years...

Mike
 
J

Jose Rizal

Guest
Mike S.:

> I can vouch for the stiffness thing. My D/A cranks are stiffer through the BB than my older
> square-taper cranks. I noticed it the first few rides, and haven't paid much attention to
> them since.

How do you know it's the BB? Square taper or splined, the interface doesn't move, so any feelings of
stiffness or not will be due to the cranks and/or pedals.

> I'm not sure where the extra stiffness came from the new style crankarms or the added stiffness of
> the bigger diameter BB spindle.

It'll be the cranks.
 
M

Mike S.

Guest
"Jose Rizal" <[email protected]_._> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Mike S.:
>
> > I can vouch for the stiffness thing. My D/A cranks are stiffer through
the
> > BB than my older square-taper cranks. I noticed it the first few rides,
and
> > haven't paid much attention to them since.
>
> How do you know it's the BB? Square taper or splined, the interface doesn't move, so any feelings
> of stiffness or not will be due to the cranks and/or pedals.
>
> > I'm not sure where the extra stiffness came from the new style crankarms or the added
> > stiffness of
the
> > bigger diameter BB spindle.
>
> It'll be the cranks.
>

Like I said, I don't know where the added stiffness came from. I'm just happy that its stiffer...

Now that I've ridden the crank/BB for about a year, I don't notice anything any more.

Its not like it was WAY stiffer, just a little...

Mike
 
M

Mike Demicco

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, jim beam <[email protected]> wrote:

> > Octalink is flawed, a poor design.
>
> how so?
>
> octalink has a taper for snug fit and lateral load bearing. the splines only transmit torque.

I don't know what "lateral load bearing" means, but Octalink splines are not tapered to prevent
backlash from developing in the splines, especially if you do not descend with the left foot forward
(do a Google search on the subject). Octalink does have a shoulder that the crank butts up against,
so there is no variability in the chainline if used with the proper length bottom bracket. I suspect
that is one of the main reasons Shimano went to this style of bottom bracket. ISIS does not have
this shoulder.

--
Mike DeMicco <[email protected]> (Remove the REMOVE_THIS from my email address
to reply.)
 
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