Monday, December 15, 2008

Crank Yankers

What with all the two-piece crank developments these days, you'd think that the venerable three-piece crank was being hustled off to the retirement home. Or at least the clearance racks. Bins. Section. Whatever.

But no. Profile continues to pump out their 48-spline race cranks, which remain virtually unchanged after 30-plus years (if you want to see what the originals looked like, and you have a spare $300 burning a hole in your pocket, you're in luck), and companies like Eastern, Primo and Shadow continue to cater to that weird market of people who'd rather not have to remove their entire crankset just to change sprockets.

And while other companies work hard to eliminate that pesky second spindle bolt, others seem content to simply fiddle with cosmetics.

Thankfully Profile is only making 100 sets of these candy-striped nightmares. One wonders whether Garrett Reynolds (and perhaps Jack Skellington) will ever get around to using all of them.


Drop me an e-mail when these are all gone—I'm just curious how long it'll take. (Personally, I there needs to be a "Louisville Slugger" set to go with all those poor abandoned Mosh parts and Verde seats, although I have no idea how you'd powdercoat woodgrain. Or what about this? Local pride!)

At the same time, other companies continue to develop brand-new three-piece cranks, which seems almost quaintly defiant in the face of progress—like a soda company selling their product in steel cans that require a churchkey, or a newspaper actually printing on paper. Take Premium, for instance. I'm almost sure they're just making a joke about being the first to use 16-spline "technology" for their new cranks:

Link
After all, Redline's been using something similar for their Flight Cranks since approximately the beginning of time, and both Mosh and XS (among others) offered a less-than-48-splined pinchbolt crankset. But maybe none of those companies used 16 splines. Maybe it was eight or 12 or 14. I can't recall. Regardless, it all seems a bit Nigel Tufnel of them.

That said, while Profile's 48-spline interface is tested and true (if memory serves, they originally went with 48 splines for their cranks because that's what they were using on their race car steering setups), it will forever be a pain to line up properly. I'm sure there are a rather large percentage of riders out there RIGHT NOW pedalling around with their cranks a spline or two off. You'd think in the ensuing years, as their cranks took off, that Profile would have reduced to a more manageable 32 or 24 splines. Although then perhaps the precision of the fit declines to the point where you need to taper the spindle or use pinchbolts or something. Hey, they're the engineers.

Still, it's good to see that the two- and two-and-a-half (ugh) piece crank has yet to entirely eclipse the three-piece variety. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find my churchkey.

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This week's sign of the apocalypse: Taj cut off the top of his seattube to run a wedge post.


(Send me this bike and I'll forget all about it.)

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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

as much as i respect taj and his bikes, i'm glad he's not running that ridiculous pushed back railed seat. odyssey should have made him a laid back intac.

or a laid back pivotal?

Josh said...

Is that an Odyssey Aitken pivotal seat I see???

ssnnakebigte said...

funny post, signs of the apocalypse haha

Beau said...

I love how premium claims that their 16 spline is "stronger" than the more spline profile etc. I'm sure now that Premium has figured it out 50 years of technology developing rear ends for drag cars will be blown out the window. This is why 48 spline is stronger: you have more surface area contacting the joint while maintaining the maximum outside diameter of the spindle. Maybe the "engineers" at Premium didn't take high school level physics though, so cut em a break and ride their super strong cranks. Also, people are riding 3 piece since no good 2 piece cranks have been made yet, I have seen 10 pairs of wombolts and fly's explode in as many months.

Jeremy said...

evidently people can't read. he said he did the wedge mod because the seat tube size is weird, so he kept breaking clamps. way to go guys...

ali said...

Intacs are laid back

noel said...

The photo of Taj blasting a 360 invert over the spine was taken in July 1995 in Hampton, Virginia. It was the first real contest I'd ever been to and the only real Hoffman BS comp.

I had a 1" head tube Hoffman TAJ in 1998. It ruled.

Anonymous said...

now theres 8 comments

probably less readers due to less continuity from you..........

SkidMarkPDX said...

Drag Racing cars are put together with impact wrenches and checked with torque wrenches, BMX cranks are put together with a T-handle allen wrench. Nobody is landing from 6 feet out on opposite spokes of the steering wheel in the dragster. There's hardly any weight on the front end once it's under power.

I've never liked 48 spline because every 180 lb.+ rider I've known who has had them has manage to give them an up-and-down wobble. It may not happen as much with today's heat-treated arms but I still don't trust them underneath me. I prefer a 12-spline/pinch bolt setup. Redline still makes Flight cranks and I think the Device crank is just there to capitalize on the trend toward 48 spline cranks. Profile has always made them, and they've always loosened up under big riders.

Why can't 2-piece cranks be made with the spocket side coming apart? I guess on ones with LSD they do.

Some companies must think a bolt on both sides is SPRFLS.

Anonymous said...

Tube.
Spacer.

h.l. said...

i'm glad jeremy has the presence of mind to read that taj is running the wedge post as multi-faceted solution to a problem he has been having with a prototype frame while at the same time being able to test out a new seat he's excited about. i know that you're quite pro-seatclamp, but given that running one is an impossibility in this situation i think the solution put forth is eloquent in it's function.

Beau said...

Russ: I motion every time a pro you like is spotted without a seat clamp, you install an additional seat clamp on your bike, there is plenty of room for them on the bends of your bars and on a longer seat tube. Drag racing or BMX, the more splines you have the more surface area is contacting the connection, you can't argue that less splines could ever be stronger. As to Profiles arms, that's a problem with the arm itself not the spline joint. I weigh 185 lbs and land flat all day and my profiles have been perfect for 2 years. If you want something a bit stronger go for these http://www.anempiricaldesign.com/aed/product_info.php?products_id=196

Jake said...

i have three friends i ride with every day who don't have problems lining up their profiles. it never takes me more than once to line any 48 spline cranks, having gone through dk socials and two sets of profiles. and the second set was bought just for the chrome....


i'd like to see an article on how chrome affects chromoly, with handy dandy diagrams and such...s&m with their chrome ltf, pitchforks, and slams (along with every other handlebar from every other company)...i have some chrome parts myself and i'd like to know

Anonymous said...

Stick with the trusty 4 sided Primo spindle and . I have never seen anyone break a set of powerbites, other then pedal bosses falling lossening up/falling out. 22mm Primo for life.

Anonymous said...

i built up a frame over the weekend and someone else had to tell me that my cranks were off. what an amateur.