Posts by Madcow
July 16th, 2013
For the last couple months rumors have been floating around the internet about what changes will take place for Campag in 2014, most of these are true but have lacked details. Finally we are able to show some pictures and give some details.
Internal EPS Battery:
The new EPS internal battery (available in both Record and Athena levels) has several mounting options, both internal and external. It includes a cage into which the battery fits much like a water bottle and cage. The cage can be mounted internally in either the downtube or seat-tube using the bottle cage bosses to hold it in place. Externally it can be mounted under the chainstay or under the bottom bracket, using frames designed for such mounts. Using this style of makes makes it compatible with frames designed for Shimano Di2. Hooray for compatibility. It has a separate charging port attached to it’s own wire so that it can also be integrated into the frame getting rid of the need to remove the internal battery to recharge.
Weight: The weight is down 50 grams from the previous battery. Internally it’s 132 grams and externally it’s 153 grams.
Dimensions: 17.2cm long including the mounting cage. Diameter is not circular but is 27mm at it’s widest.
Duration: Average use is expected to yield 1450 km before recharging.
Campagnolo Ultra One, Over-torque cranks: Ok, so naming a bike part Over-torque is a bad idea in my opinion, but just about everything else concerning these cranks is a good idea.
Models: The new cranks will be available in two models, the Comp Ultra and the Comp One.
Details: The Comp Ultra is a hollow carbon arm with 30mm aluminum spindle which should improve stiffness, not that the original was lacking. Available in compact (34/50, 36/52 or standard 39/53, 39/52) It will come in standard lengths, 170, 172.5 and 175mm. Compatibility is for oversize bb’s, specifically BB386, BB30 and PF30. The Comp One comes with a standard Campag steel bearing, but the Ultra comes with a special USB bearing in place of the SR’s Cult bearing. Q-factor remains at 145.5mm.
Weight: The Comp Ultra is listed at 620 grams (about 50 grams lighter than Super Record Ti) and the Comp One is listed at 675 grams.
Cassette: 2014 will also see the release of a new cassette size in 3 ranges. 11-27 for Super Record, Record and Chorus. 11 speed with 11, 12, 13, 14, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27.
Wheels: Campag has made changes to or introduced several new models for this year.
Vento and Vento CX.
Asymmetric alloy rims. 24mm deep front and 27mm deep rear. Stainless steel straight pull spokes, 18 front and 20 rear with red alloy nipples. Weight of the wheels is down 180 grams to 1645 grams per pair. The CX version features double seals. Weight is increased about 45 grams for Shimano/Sram freehub body.
Khamsin and Khamsin CX Asymmetric:
Same rim profile as the Vento, 23mm deep symmetric front rim and 27mm deep asymmetric rear rim. 18 front stainless spokes and 20 rear stainless spokes with brass nipples. Wheelset weight is decreased 113 grams to a claimed 1760 grams. Just like with the Vento the CX version has double seals and the Shimano/Sram freehub body will add 45 grams.
Bora One 35
A 35mm deep full carbon tubular wheelset. 18 stainless steel bladed spokes in the front, and 21 stainless steel bladed spokes in the rear, triplet laced. High flange drive side on rear hub. Like the others, this is also available in a CX version with double seals. Wheel set weight is 1260 grams, but with Shimano/Sram freehub body it pushes up to 1305 grams.
Bora Ultra 35
Same as the Bora One 35 but upgraded with Campagnolo CULT technology bearings and with a reduced weight of 1230 grams.
June 12th, 2013
Welcome back to the 5th installment of the crank shootout. We are not going to include all of the previously tested cranks in this review but will keep the most relevant/current ones. We’ll also be writing new descriptions as many of the cranks have changed over the years. You can see older cranks here: Perhaps the biggest change in this round of testing is the addition of a new contributor. We’re really thrilled to be able to introduce Jason Krantz. Jason has his masters from the University of Wisconsin in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics, with a focus on the intersection of composite materials and finite analysis. Jason has worked for some of the best bicycle companies in the industry and never fails to amaze me with the depth of his cycling related knowledge.
Disclaimer: A lot of typing and numbers have gone into this article and we apologize in advance for any typos, but would warn that the possibility of mistakes is present.
About the testing method: Each arm was preloaded with 50lbs to take up slack and then all calipers were zeroed out. Then another 200 lbs was added and the difference was measured in inches. Each arm was tested twice and an average of those two measurements is the result. A lower number represents a stiffer crank. These will be labeled as Deflection-D(Drive side deflection) and Deflection-ND(non-drive side deflection.
Stiffness/Weight: Is determined by: ((1/average deflection)/weight)x100
Notes about stiffness: According to received wisdom, pedaling stiffness is good. Stiffness implies efficiency, confident handling and gratifying response. As wonderful as all of those traits are, they’re only subjectively good—many people feel more efficient on a stiff bike. But it’s far from clear whether that aesthetically pleasing, from-my-quads-directly-to-the-road effect is actually faster. This is the question: is stiffer actually faster, or does it just feel faster? Looking at the numbers, we can see that average deflections range from roughly 0.20 inches to 0.30 inches. From this, we can generalize and say that the most flexible crank is about 50% more flexible than the stiffest crank. It’s easy to imagine that the stiffer cranks feel better, or have better “power transfer,” which is a particularly vague and ill-defined concept. But how can we move beyond “feel” and attempt to quantify whether a stiffer crank is better? The answer is, strain energy. Strain energy is simply the energy stored by an object as it is loaded. Quantifying how much energy stored by a given spring under a particular load is a basic problem that works perfectly well for understanding whether a stiff bicycle crank is better than a slightly less stiff crank. That is, you can think of a bicycle crank as a very stiff, oddly-shaped spring. The equations for calculating stored energy in a beam under bending are fairly simple. The following figure is taken from a Creative Commons-licensed engineering textbook by Piaras Kelly at the University of Auckland: In the equation above, U is strain energy, M is applied moment (torque), L is beam length, E is the Young’s modulus (stiffness) of the beam material, and I is the moment of inertia of the beam cross-section. A crank is somewhat beam-like, but it’s not really a beam. And we’re not applying a pure moment but rather a force at a distance that creates a moment. This bending example is somewhat close, but it’s still not a very good approximation of a crank on a bicycle. We can get a very good approximation of a crank on a bicycle by using finite element analysis (FEA). To find out how much strain energy a typical crank stores, we can solve an FEA model to find the strain energy of each of the constituent elements. We can then add up all of those strain energies to get the strain energy of the whole crank. This strain energy can then be converted into absorbed power by assuming a cadence; we used 100 RPM for this example. In this way, we can determine exactly how much power goes into crank flex, which can then tell us how much crank flex matters to total power output. We used ANSYS, a well-regarded FEA program, to model a generic aluminum left crankarm (172.5mm) and half an attached 24mm steel bottom bracket spindle.The remote force works out to 250 pounds of force (lbf), and it is applied 60mm to the outside of the center of the pedal threads. This simulates applying the force through a pedal.
Most of the action is happening on the inside of the crank; the interior elements report a higher strain energy value than the external ones do. But things get a lot more interesting when we dump the strain energy values for each of the elements to a spreadsheet. By summing the elements’ strain energy values, we can get the total strain energy for the entire crank and half BB spindle. The total strain energy of this crank under a 250-lb pedaling load is 4.604 Joules. As a unit, Joules don’t do much for most cyclists. We can convert them to a more useful unit by assuming a cadence of 100 RPM. At that cadence, this half-crank soaks up 7.67 Watts. The right-hand crank is usually stiffer than its left-hand counterpart, so it stores correspondingly less strain energy. So rather than doubling the left-hand figure, we’ll round down a bit to 14 Watts for the entire crank/BB axle system. 14 Watts might sound like a lot, and it is. But let’s keep in mind that this is a 250-lb force applied 1.67 times per second. A rider applying this force over 160 degrees of crank rotation produces an average power of 880 Watts, which few of us can sustain for long. And 14 Watts out of 880 is 1.6% To put this in perspective, if you were pedaling along at a steady 300 Watts, your crank would be absorbing 4.8 Watts of your effort. But those 4.8 Watts go into winding up your crank “spring,” which will spring back with nearly all the energy that was spent winding it up. Some of that spring-back energy probably helps turn the drivetrain while some of it may behave in a negative manner. However, there’s a fair amount of debate about how much energy is returned. The answer to the energy-return question involves kinematic analysis far outside the scope of this article. For now, we’ll assume that all of those 4.8 Watts spring back in a way that doesn’t help turn the drivetrain nor hinder it. As mentioned before, the most flexible crank in this review shows about 50% more deflection than the stiffest crank. Our FEA crank is quite flexible, and it absorbs 4.8 Watts of a 300-watt effort. Strain energy, roughly speaking, is inversely proportional to stiffness. We can use these relationships to calculate that at 300 Watts, a our flexible crank absorbs 4.8 Watts, or 1.6% of total power output. Meanwhile, a 50% stiffer crank absorbs 3.2 Watts, or 1.07%, in strain energy (technically, strain power). That’s a difference of 1.6 Watts (or 4.7 watts at our tested 880 Watts). And remember, this assumes that no strain energy is returned to the drivetrain. That’s not to say that crank stiffness is irrelevant, there is a measurable difference. It also provides all the psychological and “feel” benefits described at the beginning of this section. A stiff crank also incrementally improves efficiency by keeping bearings aligned, keeping the pedals more directly beneath your feet, etc.
Notes about Crank Length: Over the years a lot of different arguments have been made about the benefits of longer/shorter cranks. None of which has really been thoroughly tested until Jim Martins study. Martin showed that length didn’t statistically matter when it came to power, once power was averaged around the entire pedal circle and not just in the forward position, it turns out that shorter cranks (down to 145mm) produced more average power than a longer crank. This conclusion however considers only average power and not other factors which definitely have a bearing on real world use. Damon Rinard followed up the Martin study with some of his own testing comparing the aerodynamic differences in crank length. In almost every case there was an aerodynamic improvement with the shorter crank and without a loss in power. So the power advantage and aerodynamic advantage, combined with shorter cranks generally allowing for a more aggressive or more comfortable position on the bike and less chance of repetitive motion injury we feel that shorter cranks are something most people should consider. We’re not saying they’re right for everyone, but if you’re on the fence as to which size is best for you, we suggest that you go for the shorter. If you’re interested in more on crank length we suggest reading the above articles as well as this article written by Frank Day for USA Cycling:
Notes about BB standards: We’ve tested several different bb standards and have seen no coorelation between the type of bb and the stiffness of the crank, with one exception. True bb30 cranks do seem to produce slightly stiffer results than their traditional counterparts, however this difference seems to be pretty insubstantial.
Notes about weight: Some cranks include rings and bb in their complete weights while others do not. To give an even comparison we’ve done each set using a pair of Praxis rings (124 g) and their own production bsa bottom bracket. This comparison we’ve labeled as corrected weight. So on to the review. These are the cranks we’ll be looking at in this installment of the review.
- Campag Record UT
- Extralite QRC2
- Kcnc Proto
- Lightning SL
- Lightning HD
- Rotor 3d
- Shimano Dura Ace 9000
- Sram Red 2011
- Thm Clavicula
- Thm Clavicula M3
- Tune Smart foot
Data & Charts
Campagnolo Record Ultra Torque
|Claimed Weight||690g w/bb|
|Actual Weight||702g w/bb|
|Available lengths||170, 172.5, 175, 177.5, 180.|
Likes: Aesthetics, it’s a very simple and clean looking crank. Looks good on almost any bike. Q-factor is 2nd narrowest in the test which is great for most people. The rings shift quality and durability is also near the top of the charts.
Dislikes: Setup. The design prefers tight frame tolerances, it’s often not a plug and play kind of crank and can sometimes have issues with creaking noises. PF30 bb has a known bearing/cup migration problem. Also the proprietary bcd on the compact is annoying in that finding aftermarket rings is almost impossible. The proprietary chainring bolts that are ridiculously priced are well beyond explanation but probably do produce a stronger spider tab.
|Claimed weight||485g no rings|
|Actual weight||479g no rings|
|Price||$660 without chainrings|
|Available Lengths||170, 172.5, 175|
Likes: This is a lot like the original QRC and has all the same likes, it’s light, with super easy setup and a great preload adjustment. Add in the new lighter weight and stiffer design and it’s an improvement over an already nice crank. I also really appreciate the self extracting mounting bolt as a nice upgrade over the previous. Also new for 2013 they’ve added this crank in more lenghts while it had previously only been available in 1 length it’s now available in 3 lengths. At 138mm the QRC2 is the narrowest of all cranks.
Dislikes: Again I don’t like that it is only available in compact. I would still like to see it gain a little more stiffness. There also seems to be an issue with the hidden bolt tab needing to be filed with some rings but not others in order to ensure they run true.
Kcnc K2 Ver2
|Available Lengths||165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5|
Likes: Stiffer and with easier setup than a previous version of the K2. Simple 3 piece design with much improved looks over the last version. Available in wide range of lengths and chainring sizes. The new Cobweb rings which can be included with this crank shift well and look great in my opinion. At around $400 for the complete crank this is one of the most affordable in the review. Customer service with Kcnc has always been really good.
|Claimed weight||445g no rings|
|Actual Weight||448g no rings|
|Price||$670 Without chainrings|
|Available Lengths||160, 162.5, 165, 167.5,
170, 172.5, 175, 177.5,
180, 185, 190, 200
|Actual Weight||592g w/bb|
Likes: The latest version have come along way in appearance and are really looking much better than earlier versions. I like that they are available in gloss or matte finish and with or without logos. It’s light. It’s reasonably priced compared to it’s carbon competition. Like the Extralite crank the Lightning has a bb that is preload adjustable, a big plus in my book. Setup is easy and performance is good with a lot of available bb options. Customer service with Lightning has always been reliable. And with the newer version the recessed pedal insert has been moved flush with the arm. One of the best features is the very wide range of lengths from 160 to 200.
Dislikes: In fixing the recessed pedal insert Lightning has increased the q-factor 6mm wider than previous versions. Reports over the last few years do sometimes mention that the cranks creak more than some others. SL version does have a weight limit.
|Price||$400 without Chainrings|
|Availalbe lengths||167.5, 170, 172.5, 175|
|Q-factor||145mm Spindle, 24mm|
Likes: Looks (this refers to the shape not to the graphics.) Removable spider that can take a power meter. Stiffness. Saab bottom bracket. Separate preload/pinch bolt design that has proven as a concept to be trouble free.
Dislikes: The main dislike for me is the graphic package, graphics like these were only half way cool on a trapper keeper back in the 80′s and for me lack any retro appeal. But if my biggest complaint about your crank is the graphics package, that can’t be a bad crank. Note: I’m hoping to have a set of the new 3D plus for the next review as they seem very promising and come in a great range of lengths and bottom bracket styles.
Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
|Actual Weight||711 g w/bb|
|Available Lengths||165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5, 180|
|Q-factor||147mm Spindle, 24mm|
Likes: The 9000 has shaved some more weight from the previously tested 7800. I like the universal spider concept and being able to swap compact and standard rings on one crank. The looks are also improved over previous versions, but best of all is the stellar shifting rings.
|Available lengths||165, 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5|
Likes: It’s a good looking, stiff crank at a good price. The Red crank had one of the lowest average deflections of all cranks we tested. When you add price into the equation it becomes a very balanced crank set. I’d call this crank the sleeper of the test.
Dislikes: Rings. While the rings shift ok, they could definitely stand for some improvements. I’d also like to see the q-factor reduced by at least a few mm, but preferably more. It was also one of the heaviest cranks in the test. Notes: We hope to test the Sram Red22 crank in the next installment.
|Claimed Weight||420g no rings|
|Stock Weight||406g no rings|
|Price||$1250 w/o rings|
|Available Lengths||170, 172.5, 175|
Likes: Looks, this crank is gorgeous. Good stiffness and fantastic weight give this the best S/W of all the cranks in this round. The attention to detail is fantastic. There is a built in wear indicator in these cranks. Under the outer layer of carbon is a layer of yellow carbon fiber. If you have heel rub and eventually wear through the outer layer you’ll begin to notice the carbon turns yellow indicating it’s time to replace your cranks. It’s these details that make this the carbon crank that other makers should look at as a bench mark. It also has one of the largest selctions of available bottom bracket standards.
Thm Clavicula M3
Likes: There’s a lot to like about this crank. It improves on the q-factor and reliability of the original. It has an interchangeable spider which also allows for the use of a SRM and the ability to switch from standard to compact and back again. It has a better price. It has one of the largest selections of bottom bracket standards as well.
|Claimed Weight||450 g with spider and bb|
|Corrected Weight||581 g|
|Available Lengths||170, 172.5, 175|
Likes: A definite improvement over the previous Tune crank. It has a really nice look and a lot of available bb options. In my opinion this is perhaps the nicest looking crank in the review. Setup is super easy and preload adjustment is simple and secure. Overall a very nice crank with a bolt it and forget it design.
Dislikes: A little heavier, a little wider than some other cranks.
June 6th, 2013
- Frame / Fork: Bohemian Custom blended tubes
- Wheelset: Campagnolo Shama
- Tyres: Dugast
- Chainset: Campag Record
- Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record
- Levers: None
- Bars: Deda Pista
- Handlebar Tape: Soyo
- Handlebar Tape: Soyo
- Stem: Bohm
- Headset Spacers: None
- Saddle: Flite
- Seatpost: C-Record Round
- Seatpost Clamp: Campagnolo
- Front Mech: None
- Rear Mech: None
- Chain: KMC
- Cassette: Campagnolo
- Brakes: None
- Bottle Cages: None
- Cable Sets:
- Shifter: None
- Brake: None
May 20th, 2013
Crumpton SL with custom finishes on the bar, stem, seatpost and crank along with the frame and fork.
Crumpton SL Build List (12.9 lbs)
- Frame / Fork: Crumpton SL
- Wheelset: Fairwheel Hand Built
- Chainset: Sram Red
- Bottom Bracket: PF30 Ceramic Upgrade
- Levers: DA Di2
- Bars: Enve
- Handlebar Tape: Lizard Skins DSP Race
- Handlebar Tape: Lizard Skins DSP Race
- Stem: Enve
- Saddle: Prologo Scratch Nack
- Seatpost: Enve
- Seatpost Clamp: Campagnolo
- Front Mech: Shimano DA Di2
- Rear Mech: Shimano DA Di2
- Chain: KMC X10SL
- Cassette: Shimano DA
- Brakes: EE Cycleworks
- Bottle Cages: Bontrager
- Cable Sets:
- Shifter: Shimano
- Brake: Electronic
March 13th, 2013
Several years ago I had a Scott CR1, which at the time was my favorite frame. During some pulley wheel testing, a mishap led to the destruction of the frame. Considered destroyed because of it’s non-replaceable hanger. Also destroyed were the derailleur and rear Lightweight. Being a favorite frame of mine it didn’t get recycled but rather just hung up in the rafters as a memory. Some years later it we decided to pull the frame down and breath some new life into. It was sent off to a friend and custom carbon frame builder, Bre Ruegamer. The non-removable hanger/dropout combo was removed and replaced with custom machined horizontal dropouts. At the same time the rear end of the frame was re-spaced to narrow it by 10mm so it would accept a 120mm fixed gear hub. Then the frame, fork and stem were stripped and repainted with matte black. It was rebuilt without having an eye on choosing lightweight parts and finished weight is just over 12 pounds. Read more
February 15th, 2013
This week someone had asked me to pick some of my favorite project bikes and send them more detailed photos. In thinking about this I realized 3 of my 5 top choices had one thing in common, artist Geoff Mcfetridge. Not too many people get to work with such an awesome artist and I feel lucky that I’ve been able to work with Geoff on 3 projects so far, and hopefully another chance will come up in the future. If you aren’t totally familiar with his work, I’d suggest clicking this link and taking a look. Since we’ve now taken some new photos and pulled some never before seen ones from the archives it seemed like a good idea to share them. I’ve tried to use mostly detail shots that focus on the paint rather than the complete bikes. So without any more delay on to the pictures.
February 13th, 2013
So here we are back for another quick update on the worlds lightest Pro XL bmx bike. Last post covered the hubs, this time we’ll keep going with some more of the wheel components.
First off we have some rims that Velocity made for us using their A23 extrusion. Not terribly expensive at around $90 per rim, which is really quite affordable for a one off. This set came in at a very consistent 282 grams each for a 32 hole version.
Mated to that will be some Tioga Powerband and Powerblock tires. The front 1.85 came in right at claimed weight but the rear 1.75 was a portly 20 grams over claimed weight. Still not considered heavy by any means.
January 25th, 2013
For a few years we’ve been publishing what we consider to be the definitive hub reviews. Now we feel it’s time to tackle the rims and spokes that go into making a complete wheel. For now we’ll just be looking at rims: clincher alloy 700c rims, in fact.
One thing that made our hub review so successful was the presentation of different viewpoints by having the article be written by more than one person. We are going to continue on with that theme, this time with wheel builder Eric Gottesman from Ergott wheels. I consider Eric to be one of the best wheel builders working in the U.S. and am honored to have him writing this article with me. Eric has been building custom wheels for more than 12 years, giving the two of us a combined experience of more than 30 years.
Unfortunately, due to the staggering number of rim options, we just can’t cover every rim on the market. So we are limiting this review to 15 of the most popular rims, including selections from DT Swiss, H+Son, Hed, Kinlin, Mavic, Pacenti, Velocity, Stans, and Zipp.
January 22nd, 2013
Here at Fair Wheel Bikes we like to test most products before we add them to our catalog. We get a lot of products to test and we cycle through them so that different people get a chance to use each one. Once an item has been tested we usually move on to the next. This means that we eventually end up with extra items that we are never sure what to do with. A couple weeks ago we tried a test, we gave away a set of test Grooving Road Skewer through Facebook with the agreement that the winner would write a review. That seems to have gone pretty smooth, but not everyone that wanted to participate had a Facebook account which made it difficult to enter. Also it seems that we broke a few of Facebook’s rules. So in an attempt to correct these issues, we’re going to try this next round differently. This time for recently added New Ultimate carbon water bottle cage.
January 19th, 2013
I’ve sometimes been asked how we come up with the ideas for our project builds. Somehow the ideas just seem to find us, and being one who is willing to try most things we play with the idea until it either materializes or it becomes too absurd to pursue anymore. To show more how the whole process works start to finish, over the next several months I will chronicle a project start to finish and post updates here as it progresses.
The idea, it has to begin with the idea. Sometimes I try to give myself ideas by leaving things on my desk or hanging on the wall where I can see it in hopes that at some point the idea comes. This fails as often as it succeeds, as an example I have a 50th anniversary Colin Lange custom that’s been hanging on the wall for almost 10 years waiting for the idea to come, which it still hasn’t. Other times it seems to come quick. The quick ones tend to be the best as everything just seems to fall into place easily and naturally.