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  1. #1
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    suggestions for very light and stiff crankset?

    Hi, just wondering what people would recommend for a 172.5mm crankset that is light and stiff.

    I'm looking at a full DA 7900 purchase, but if there is a lighter, stiffer, better crankset as an option I would like to look at that.

    For parameters/reference - I'm looking at the DA 7900 crankset 39/53 for about $400 new (without BB), and so I wouldn't want to spend an extra $1000 for a Zipp crankset, for example. But I would buy something a bit more expensive if it was worth it, or go used for something better. Again for reference - this will all be going on my Scott CR1 LTD 2007 (I believe - it was their top end bike the year before the Addict came out, so it is still the race geometry, not the more relaxed CR1 now). Time to update the old 7800 DA, which can then go on my cx bike.

    Any thoughts out there?

    As a related topic, is it worth getting a ceramic BB instead of the stock DA BB? I'm not a high level racer, just enjoy the local crits and longer rides.

  2. #2
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    There really isn't much benefit in using ceramic bearings much beyond the psychological one. The upper end Shimano cranksets imo really do offer the best combination of light weight and stiffness. They're not the lightest, but are close weight wise to the others in their price range. Shimano are probably close to the stiffest on the market. The other benefit of the Shimano cranks are their rings. Shimano has really put a lot of thought and engineering into their ramps and pins.

  3. #3
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    light stiff cranks?

    Quote Originally Posted by bseracka
    There really isn't much benefit in using ceramic bearings much beyond the psychological one. The upper end Shimano cranksets imo really do offer the best combination of light weight and stiffness. They're not the lightest, but are close weight wise to the others in their price range. Shimano are probably close to the stiffest on the market. The other benefit of the Shimano cranks are their rings. Shimano has really put a lot of thought and engineering into their ramps and pins.
    why are light&stiff cranks important? isn't deflection very small?

  4. #4
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    Well, this is the "save some weight" forum, so I thought I'd check with others that may be similar to me (I like light weight bikes) to see if there are other options I should be considering. I don't, however, like to compromise performance for weight savings, especially if not substantially lighter.

    I agree that Shimano has a great product, and that the rings are awesome. I'm just less aware of the other models out there (the competing SRAM stuff, third party cranks, etc.) as I haven't had much experience with non-shimano stuff for a while now. So I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on other options that others know are a much better choice (whether that exists or not I don't know and is at least somewhat subjective, so I'm looking for thoughts/opinions on the topic).

    Thanks for the replies so far, I look forward to hearing more for the knowledgeable folks here.

  5. #5
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    SRAM red. Probably the best bang for the buck for stiffness and weight. Lighter than the DA 7900 crank, stiffer, cheaper. What's not to love?

    See the testing procedure: http://fairwheelbikes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5468

    I've got one on my bike, works great, compatible with pretty much any shimano drivetrain parts, relatively inexpensive overall, easy to install, replacement chainrings are fairly cheap too. The replacement dura-ace chainrings are extremely, extremely pricey.

    If you go with the SRAM red crankset, don't bother with the SRAM GXP Ceramic BB. Much more maintenance, requires special ceramic BB grease, all for a questionable/unproven improvement in drivetrain efficency. The youtube videos of spinning crank arms with no load are no indication of how much friction or how bearings will be have under high loads, which is what you are interested in.

    Edit: after re-reading that stiffness testing procedure, I am not sure if they are testing the 7800 or 7900 DA crankset. SRAM red is lighter than the 7900, and probably stiffer
    Last edited by ThePlowKing; 10-25-2010 at 12:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Red stiffer than DA ? I'd have to see test results for that and I use Red ( just not thier cranks). Like the one poster said Shimano puts alot into thier ramp design on the rings.As far as pricing is concerned, how often do you really change out the rings ? I have over 20,000 miles on my DA SRM rings and they are still in good shape.
    2nd place is 1st loser

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlowKing
    SRAM red. Probably the best bang for the buck for stiffness and weight. Lighter than the DA 7900 crank, stiffer, cheaper. What's not to love?
    sram red FTW

  8. #8
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    SRAM Red chainsets are heavier than DA 7900 equivalent by about 25g. - more if you get the stiff chainrings
    If you are limted by money then DA is probably the go - the old addage - light, stiff, cheap - pick any two applies here.

    There are a number of lighter cranksets that fall in your price bracket but frankly I can't think of any that I would personally touch due to reported quality issues - in many instances they are now in your price range because they are being cleared. These include FSA SLK, Easton EC90 (now withdrawn from Easton range), Time ASX (made by Stronglight - no longer made), Stronglight Pulsions (no longer made) etc. You would be far better off staying with the DA cranks.

    Remove budget constraint and the upper end offerings from 2011 Campy SR Ti, Fulcrum, THM Claviculas, Zipp Vumaquads and Cannondale Hollowgrams (the alloy ones - not the carbon ones which are made by FSA and also have quality issues) will all give you good weight savings and retain reasonable stiffness - but you are going to have to pay for them.

    I personally use the Zipp Vuma quads with Fibrelyte carbon chainrings on my WW bike and I weigh over 200lbs - stiffness is surprisingly good but obviously going to be less than DA 7900 which is about 225g heavier.

    I am expecting a set of the new Ax Morpheus cranks any day now - will save me about 30g on the Zipps with same style chainrings - if they are the goods I will let you know.

  9. #9
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    I have a set of FSA SLK cranksets that I've had for two years on my Cannondale. They work great, and have had no quality issues. This is under heavy training and racing.

    The biggest worry on the FSA cranks is over-torquing the aluminum crankbolt.

  10. #10
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    I'm running SRAM Red compact with Stronglight 51/37 chainrings. For the money, the Red crank is decent and light-ish.

    If you don't want to spend for Zipp cranks, then Campy SR UT is probably the best and lightest you'll get for the money. The Fulcrum cranks, by the way, are the same as the Campy but more expensive.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightfend
    I have a set of FSA SLK cranksets that I've had for two years on my Cannondale. They work great, and have had no quality issues. This is under heavy training and racing.

    The biggest worry on the FSA cranks is over-torquing the aluminum crankbolt.

    No problem with mine either.

  12. #12
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    the new FSA SLK-Light cranks are even better

  13. #13
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    The most commonly reported issues with FSA produced cranks are the pedal inserts coming loose and problems with some batches being overcooked in the curing oven affecting the carbon - some come out fine and some don't - the consistency is far more variable. The new SK-Force Light cranks have far less reported issues but they are also significantly more expensive because they have not been subject to the same discounting as say the SLK items.
    Last edited by dadoflam; 10-27-2010 at 02:57 AM.

  14. #14
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    An earlier post showed the fairwheelbikes crank shootout- there are a few of them. If you go to:

    www.fairwheelbikes.com/forum and go down to DRIVETRAIN, they're under cranks.

    it's worth a look/read. After going through that I decided on lightning cranks, which I've had for over 2 years w/ no issues. But, I was looking more for weight savings. Nevertheless, it's an interesting read.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdeth1313
    An earlier post showed the fairwheelbikes crank shootout- there are a few of them. If you go to:

    www.fairwheelbikes.com/forum and go down to DRIVETRAIN, they're under cranks.

    it's worth a look/read. After going through that I decided on lightning cranks, which I've had for over 2 years w/ no issues. But, I was looking more for weight savings. Nevertheless, it's an interesting read.
    Good test with lots of numbers, What does average deflection signify?

  16. #16
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    I have been running FSA SL-K light triple on my road bike for about 3 years and 8,000 miles without ever having a single problem. The triple is lighter than a Dura Ace 7800 double.

  17. #17
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    Zipp Vuma Quad!

  18. #18
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    Ax Morpheus now fitted - 476g with chainrings
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails suggestions for very light and stiff crankset?-img_4518.jpg  

  19. #19
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    Wow, those are nice. But carbon rings? I thought that was one of the few things that wouldn't work out (wear too quickly). What's next - carbon chain?

    BTW, I just received my full D/A groupo yesterday - I went with the D/A cranks as part of it. They are amazingly light - I don't have anything to compare to other than some older school carbon cranks and 7800 cranks, but they are pretty nice. I feel like I should be wearing them on a chain around my neck (yes, they look like jewelry). Can't wait to put the whole setup on - just waiting for a BB now, and a front der. to match. Not in too big a hurry, as the weather is turning and probably won't ride outside again until spring.

    I'm still interested in hearing about other cranks (like the AX Morpheus and the Zipps) - I could be persuaded to look at another upgrade if the right deal came along...

    Thanks for all the input, everyone.

  20. #20
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    I've had the Vuma Quads on my road bike for almost three years now. With about 18,000 miles on them they have been great. Light, (589 grams for mine with 53, 39 rings and the ceramic bottom bracket) stiff with zero issues. I did replace the rings this year. The clear coat is showing some nicks so I may strip them down and reapply the clear coat.

    Carbon is very good at somethings and not at others. Carbon rings do not like hard shifts although its the chain sliding across the top of the teeth that can separate the layers of carbon. Used in a single ring configuration carbon works very well. I've run a single ring carbon tt ring made my Fibrelyte without any wear on the ring for two seasons of hard tt training and racing.

    For my next trick I will now set myself on fire!

  21. #21
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    Go Zipp, but not the Vumaquad. The Vumaquad is awesome and very light but is high dollar.Instead go on ebay and find the Zipp 300 carbon crank. 455 grams. I have one and personally weighed it. That is one of the lightest cranks around and very stiff. You can get one new on ebay for around $300 if you are patient. Right now there are several listed at $600 that come with the bottom bracket. Don't bite on those. Look for a new one without the bottom bracket in the $300 range. Only drawback is they take an isis bottom bracket. Not actually a drawback to me. Token sells a super light and sweet ceramic bearing isis bottom. The Zipp 300 is a great little secret in the light carbon crank world.

  22. #22
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    I want a carbon chainring with steel or carbide teeth faces. Or with silicon carbide impregnated surfaces, like a grand Prix car brake disc. It'll last forever! No reason not to have an integrated crank ring system.

  23. #23
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    As mentioned by another poster, my vote goes to Cannondale's SL Hollowgram( aluminum, not the carbon). Very light and plenty stiff!
    EyeGuy

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