Posts from the ‘Products’ Category
November 20th, 2013
These rims aren’t new but with their limited availability not many of them have been seen so I thought I’d share these. They’re the 8.9 rims laced up into our Tune Mig/Mag hubs using Sapim’s CX Ray spokes. I’ve always been a fan of deep wheels, being 180 and 6’2″ I had to give up being fast up mountains a bit ago, and wouldn’t mind a set for myself soon. Either with Tune hubs or maybe a DT-Swiss build. Final weight was 1665g.
October 31st, 2013
Tune will be releasing new offset mtb hubs next year specifically for fat bikes.
The front is the Fat King. Available in a 152 quick release or 15mm version with a weight of 130 grams.
The rear is the Fat Kong. Available in a 170mm quick release or 177mm 12mm thru axle with a weight of 240 grams.
Single speed freehub body conversions should also be possible, though we still have to confirm this.
Designed with flange placement equidistant from center the hubs can allow for a wheel to be built with equalized left/right tension. The flanges have also been canted inwards to create a straighter and stronger spoke path. Aluminum freehub body and available in the entire range of Tune colors (black, gold, red, silver, orange, forest green, froggy green, blue, purple, pink and white). More details when we get them.
October 18th, 2013
We got our hands on a few upcoming products from Ashima back at Interbike. Namely, these floating rotors (white inner) which weigh in at a feathery 105 grams.
Check out this other set of rotors (gold inner) geared towards cyclocross, with a new mud shedding design. These come in at only 95grams per rotor. Keep an eye out for these on our webstore soon.
August 1st, 2013
We’ve received our first shipment of ENVE 25 clinchers. The rims weigh in slightly over 400 grams at an average of 406. The brake track and sidewall are thick and look up to the task of dissipating heat during long descents. The ERD is slightly smaller at 601mm and shows the ground up redesign ENVE went through.
We’ve built two wheelsets so far and the weights are respectful and show the effort ENVE went through to maintain reliability and performance. The first wheelset was built with Sapim CX-Ray spokes and Tune Mig 70 / Mag 170 hubs which weighed in at 1278g. The second was very similar but with a Mig 45 hub and came in at 1248g.
July 3rd, 2013
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be the sole North American distributor for Absolute Black. After months of test riding AbsoluteBlack has released two new mountain bike chainrings. Both are intended for singlespeed use. The company says their new directional tooth profile will let you leave your chainguide at home, but more aggressive riding will still require a chainkeeper. These rings are cnc’d out of 7075 aluminum.
We’ll be stocking a Sram spiderless chainring with a manufacturer claimed 150g weight savings over the standard design. These Sram rings will come in even toothed sizes from 28-34t and in three anodized colors; black, racing red, and yale blue.
The Shimano rings feature an XX1 style, wide-narrow, tooth profile to aid chain retention. They come in 104BCD in even toothed sizes from 32-36t in two colors, black and racing red.
The Sram chainrings are designed to work flawlessly with SRAM XX1, X0, X9, X7, S2210, S1400 and Truvativ AKA cranks. GXP models. They will also work with the long spindle version of the BB30 standard. The long spindle BB30 has a 16mm spacer on the drive side, and the shorter version has a smaller 10mm spacer.
The Shimano rings will work with any 4 Bolt hole 104BCD crankset, Shimano, Race Face, FSA, Aerozine and others. These rings can only be used with a 10 or 11speed chain. If you want to run them on a 1×9, just use a 10-speed chain.
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.
May 2nd, 2013
Alchemy’s ORC-UL rear hub has been out on the market for a few weeks now and we, like a few other custom wheel builders, are completing our first builds with them. Our initial impression was based on an early custom prototype made for a customer who’s extremely hard on wheels. We were impressed with how well it worked with the super-clydesdale specs of that wheelset. And then more recently we were delighted to receive our much-anticipated shipment of production hubs, and got going lacing them to some of our favorite rims. They are proving to be beautifully made, spinning very nice and smooth, with excellent non-drive side tension. We pulled one apart and took photos to give you an idea of what the new ORC-UL is about. But first we have new on the Campy release schedule, or lack thereof.
Alchemy’s ORC-UL Campagnolo Freehub Body
Alchemy has postponed the release of the Campagnolo 11 speed ORC-UL hub. At the very earliest the new release date is December 2013. According to Alchemy this is due to a couple of new developments. For one thing, the intense demand for this Shimano 10/11sp version of the ORC-UL has demanded significantly more time than expected. Also Alchemy has found a solution for Campagnolo drive trains that they say works perfectly.
Here’s the email we received from Alchemy on the matter. Read more
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.
December 19th, 2012
It’s been over 4 years since I wrote the last skewer shootout and many of them have since changed. I’ve decided to do an updated review featuring the latest and greatest. Writing this review has made me realize that things have changed over the years and the gaps between brands have definitely shrunk. They do still have their differences but those are becoming smaller. Any of the skewers in this review are just fine and there won’t be clear winners and losers but there will be some differences.
August 1st, 2012
We often get sent lots of samples of new, upcoming products in the hopes that we’ll give it our endorsement and add it to our catalog. Many items get rejected before we even test them, others after we test them. Some do get a thumbs up from us and get added to our product list. The latest one to make it through is the AICAN Bungarus. Most of you are asking yourself at this point, “what the heck is that?” I had to ask the same question as well. It’s a super light segmented cable housing that runs without an additional inner liner.
If you’re like me and you hear the words super light you naturally have to wonder, how light is super light. Claimed weight is 18gr per meter, which is definitely light but isn’t beyond some others, or is it? In this case the 18 grams per meter is a bit deceptive and here’s why. The 18 grams per meter is not only the shift housing, but also the brake, and that weight is indeed impressive.