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About Cranks

Bike cranks, cranksets or chain sets are the common names for a bicycle’s components that convert the reciprocating motion of a cyclist’s legs into rotational motion used to drive the belt and chain. This phenomenon results in driving the rear wheel. Cranks are one of the important bike parts. Here’s the detailed guide on how to choose the best ones out of the many choices you get in the market.

 A bike crank consists of one or more than one sprocket, also called chainrings or chain wheels. These are attached to the cranks and arms to which the pedals of a bike are attached. This mechanism is connected to the rider via clutches and the bottom of the frame by the bottom brackets. These are also connected to the rear sprocket, freewheel or cassette via a chain. These cranks are generally made of stain-resistant durable metals like carbon fibre, titanium, or aluminium alloy. However, we can also find some cheaper options made of steel.

Types of bicycle cranksets

By now, we know that crank or chainset is part of the drivetrain of a bike. It is important to connect the chains to the drive wheels of the bike. The chainset also spins using the bottom brackets as support and lodging. The clockwise movement of a crank empowers the bike to move forward. Considering their role, the cranks in a bike are nothing less than an accelerator in a car or a throttle on a boat. To turn the wheels, you need to turn the cranks. However, different bicycle crankset parts work in a synchronized manner to move a bike. But considering the varying needs of cycling, there are different types of cranksets available in the market.

Standard 5 Bolt Road / CX

Here the word standard is a bit of a misnomer when we speak of the cranks. These are called standard because of simple configurations that have been around for a long time. And without any confusion, these are the most popular types of cranks. They come in two configurations, 130mm BCD and 110mm BCD, called “Compact.” They are sold in sets of 5 pairs – to 10 pieces. It includes five males or bolts and five females or nuts. A 5 pair is the basic number required for typical cyclocross or road bike.

Shimano 4 Bolt Road/ CX

This is a somewhat unequal design of cranks that consists of a 4-bolt. It is now available in higher-end shapes. One of the most used models is Dura-Ace, FC -9000, but they do come in a wide range with different performance levels. However, all the Shimano cranks are available in110mm BCD, so there is less to worry about when buying a new pair. These bolts are ideal for road bikes and are constructively somewhat similar to the standard five-bolt rod cx. Hence you can find the functional parts and bolt location somewhat similar to other available types.

SRAM Exogram Style

Previously known as hexagrams, these cranks are now known as Red 22. These cranks are much different from many other available SRAM options available in the market. With different construction and the working mechanism, they need different hardware to mount the rings on it. Mainly the 5th bolt differs them from other family members. It is hidden from view and mainly threads into the back of the crank arm. These cranks are generally available in 130mm as well as 110mm BCD.

SRAM 22 Removeable Spider

These, along with the 22 designations, are much similar to the previously discussed programs. However, they require entirely different types of mounting hardware for proper functioning. The main point that differentiates them from others is that the 5th blot is hidden and not connected to tread into the crank arm. Apparently, look permanent, but the spiders on these cranks can come off and are easy to replace. It offers convenience when you want to mount it directly with a Quarq or change the BCD. They are available in both 130 and 110 mm BCD.

Tips on how to buy Cranks online in the UAE

A bicycle chainset comes with fitted chainrings, but the crankset does not. This makes a good starting point for what you should look for. So, if you are looking for an upgrade and keeping the same size chainrings, start by looking at the existing chainset you own. The chainrings generally have stamped information about the length and other specifications of the chainset. Once you have the specifications, here are some tips on what else you need to look at while picking a cheap crankset to buy.

  • The diameter of the axle – Start by considering the diameters. You will commonly have two options; 19mm and 22mm. Check ideal diameter compatibility for your bottom bracket. Check the product description section to know all such details.
  • The crank length – Always measure it from the centre of the bottom bracket axle to the centre of the axle in the pedal. Most of the bikes have 170- or 175-mm cranks. You can find them as short as 140mm and longer up to 190mm. Choose the cranks that suit your inside leg measurement.
  • The tooth profile – Look for alternating thick and thin teeth on narrow/wide chainring with male and female links on the chain to enjoy the secure engagement. It will also lessen the risk of chain loss. You can pick a single ring with 9, 10 or 11-speed gearing.
  • BCD – The bolt circle diameter is commonly available in varying sizes. It will be 104mm for a triple crank-set but will vary in double crank-set and even some custom BCDs. In custom BCD, generally, the SRAM’s XX1 cranks are used.
  • The bottom brackets – Remember, not all cranks have a BB, so you will need a special budget for it. Also, note that some cranks come with different diameter spindles, so you must get the right size for your bike.
  • Forged arms – Forging offers additional stiffness and gives you the strongest aluminium because it aligns with the grain structure of materials. In contrast, hollow forging is also better but is a complicated and a bit expensive option. You can pick based on your budget limitations.

In the end, reading customer reviews is also of great importance. It will help you know about all the hidden pros and cons of the product you are about to buy. This is where the existing customers and users share their opinions and experience with the bike accessories you are about to buy. When it comes to online shopping, such reviews are of great importance. And you must opt for a product with higher customer reviews.

Question & Answer

Do carbon cranks make a difference?

According to experts, they do not make any considerable difference. And this is the reason why they claim that it is not worth it to upgrade the carbon cranks unless you are all out of things to change on the bike. In another case, if you want to decrease the overall weight of the bike, carbon cranks can be your pick. This is because these cranks can reasonably look after the business and are lightweight compared to aluminium arms. However, there will be some decrease in the overall performance.

Where to buy bike cranks online?

Experts recommend exploring a product search engine to find quality products from top global brands like Cannondale, BMX, Brompton, Shimano, Stout, Bontrager and many more. Explore Shops.ae and use the price comparison tool to find cheap products from such trusted brands. Here you can find dozens of options of bicycle parts, tools, and accessories suitable for different types of bicycle models. Hence, ensure a secure buying decision while saving money.

What is the best crankset for a road bike?

The best crankset depends on the weight, height, and type of bike you own. However, some of the bestselling items you can think to buy include; Shimano 1-1,361 Hybrid, Sram 5,300 Courier, Origin8 XLT Road, Shimano 105 Triple, FSA K-Force Light 386, and the Sugino XD600. Other options that match your needs are Sram Red22 GX, Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000, Sugino XD600 and the FSA K-Force Light 386. Luckily all these options are easily available online at Shops.ae.

What is BCD for bike cranks?

BCD is a short form for “Bolt Circle Diameter.” It is the measure of the circle that goes through the centre of all the bolts on a chainring. On a bike chainring, this dimension is generally measured in millimetres. BCD is an important part of any crankset and should be in main consideration when you head to buy a new chainring for your bike. In most cases, it is written or stamped on the backside of the chainring. It is important to be aware of the BCD of your crankset while you choose a new chainring for your bike.