Thursday, January 22

Share the Wisdom Wednesdays (on Thursdays): Part Twelve

One from the "Why doesn't everybody know about this already?" category.

I really do love my Race Face Next SL cranks.   I had vowed some time ago that I would never own a set of crabon cranks ever again after a bad experience I had... about a decade ago?

Has it been that long?

I can't exactly remember.  Looking through some old emails, I had my FSA crabon cranks on my Dean single speed back in 2005.  I replaced them because I had removed a few layers of crabon from both cranks from heel rub.  I wish I had a picture of it somewhere... but those were the pre-blog years.  It looked like a topo map the way I was slicing down into the crankarms.

I did what I could to stop it.  I tried all manner of adhesive tape that I could find and eventually started stretching pieces of a road bike innertube over them.  It was a painful process, and one I had to repeat every few months as I was wearing giant holes through the thin butyl rubber.  I eventually sold the cranks and decided this was not a place for crabon on my bike.

Fast forward to 2014 and Sean at Vertigo is designing my new ti frame with the Race Face NEXT SL crank specifically in mind... because I asked for it.  Larger 30mm spindle, threaded BB option, easy bearing preload AND and a spiderless chainring?  I gave up my earlier convictions and went back on my word to myself.

Such a thing of beauty... but I had I known that Race Face was going to introduce the aluminum Cinch crank with all the same desirable features a few months later?

Who am I kidding?  I woulda never waited that long to build my bike.

The NEXT SL cranks came stock with a clear vinyl decal to protect the outer surface of the cranks.  They looked like ass within a few months.  I kept thinking about contacting Race Face for replacements, but it just wasn't high on my list of priorities. 

I did know about Crankskins already.. like a million years ago.  Ernesto had given me a couple samples, and I remembered that they were one size fits all back then.

All my cranks at the time were Race Face Turbines with a sorta I-beam structure, and no amount of messing around with the Crankskins could get them to stick in a beneficial manner.

So imagine my surprise (it wasn't Pearl Harbor level surprise, but close to finding a $20 in the street level) when I checked out Crankskins website now and see that they have a bunch of different options and custom shapes for different cranks.  Not only that, but they have kits for crabon frame protection (no, I don't haz a crabon frame right now).

I realize that I could just buy helicopter tape off eBay.  I did it back when I had my crabon Tallboy (R.I.P.).  It was a pain in the ass cutting pretty rounded corners and wasn't a whole lot cheaper than the Crankskins frame kit.   The difficulty of cutting the tape into crank shapes when less than $15 got me three pairs of Crankskins?  My time and saved frustration is worth twice that much.

The old, offensive protective vinyl:

Best removed while heating it with a hair dryer and then using alcohol (not the kind shown) to clean up the surface before putting on the new...

which has better wrap-around coverage than the original.  I know you can't see it... that's the point.  Handy tip from the Crankskins installation videos; use a hair dryer (I'm lucky I live with women who own such a thing) to smooth out the edges as it wraps around the crank.

Tip from me?  Make sure you really clean that crank.  They make installation look easy on the video, but it took me a couple (light touch) tries to get the decal lined up perfectly.  Each dab was another chance for dirt, grit and dog hair to get between me and my business.  One beer before to settle the hand but no more than two which might affect judgment and coordination.

Protect your shit.  It's too cheap and too expensive not to.


Joker said...

Team Crankskins (South) thanks you for your endorsement. Its a great product. EJ is a good guy. Get some.

Dave Rattigan said...

Dicky, is there a noticeable difference in stiffness with the larger 30mm spindle, especially with the single speed style of riding?


dicky said...

Noticeable... by me?

Prolly not.

Moving up to a 30mm (from 24mm) spindle makes it possible for it to be made from aluminum instead of steel and still be donkey durable. Also, with the external threaded BB, the bearings are nice and big.

To really find out if it's noticeable, I'd have to remove the cranks and run 24mm on the same frame... which I'm not gonna do.

Chip Batson said...

Do the Crankskins add any noticeable stiffness?

C Law said...

^Only to Dicky's lil Dicky when admiring his crabon cranks