Cranksets — Making Or Breaking The Ride
Connecting you with your machine, the bike crank is integral to how your energy will be transferred from your legs to your wheels.
With so many cranksets on the market, and so many bikes too, how do you know that you're riding the right set for your bike and riding style?
To answer this and make that ride smooth and satisfying, check out our Bikesters' guide to cranksets. Then get ready to maximise your pushing power!
- are comprised of the crank arms, bottom bracket and chainrings of your bike.
- come in three main categories: single, double and triple.
- are made from a range of materials including aluminium, steel or carbon fibre.
Different Bike, Different Bike Crank
Since mountain bikers often come up against harsh surfaces and trails, having a wider range of cassettes is more important than smooth shifting. This allows a quicker shift in the amount of effort you need to put into the chain work in response to the changing terrain.
For many years, MTB and Trail riders' bikes featured a triple chainset with 44, 32 and 22-tooth chainrings, for the most efficient gear range. While this is still the case, many riders have now taken to using a double or single chainring on the front and a 10, 11 or 12-speed cassette at the back. This overall lighter weight more than makes up for the narrowing of the gear range.
If you are looking to shed weight, then consider carbon fibre. If you want durability and strength (for longer distance riders), then you should weigh up the benefits of ceramic bearings and chainrings in place of the basic steel or alloy.
Road Bike Crankset
These are usually split into two main groups:
- Traditional cranksets
These have a double ring consisting of a 39-tooth and a 52-tooth chainring. This is combined with a 10-, 11-, or 12-speed cassette, giving the rider a larger choice of gears for climbing. Having a big outer chainring benefits the rider who wants to sustain a fast pace, whether in a race or training session or if riding on smoother flat surfaces.
- Compact cranksets
The compact crankset sits in between having a big ring for speed and a small ring for pulling power.
It usually features a double chainring setup with a 34-tooth ring accompanying a 50-tooth one. This means that the small ring can be removed, thus changing the overall weight of the crankset considerably.
Compact cranksets have become increasingly popular for their winning combination of power and climbing credentials.
These fall into four main categories:
- Three-piece: Found mainly on freestyle BMXs, these contain 2 separate arms attached to a splined axle.
- Two-piece: Here the axle is integrated into one of the arms.
- One-piece: The axle and cranks are a single piece (usually steel), and are mainly found on entry-level or children's BMX bikes.
- Race cranks: These are a bit closer to MTB cranksets and use an external bottom bracket and carbon or aluminium arms to save on weight. They can come in two or three-piece versions.
Not Just the Crankset
The crankset as a whole should be a fully functioning, well-oiled mechanism complementing your feet. It should all be working at full potential, so your bike ride experience can be as satisfying as possible. Adding things like crank arms with powermeters, better peddles, more dynamic chain systems and using lighter weight materials will all improve your ride.
So take a look at our collection of cranksets and all the associated drivetrain accessories here at Bikester. Check out our guide to see what is best for you, your bike and your feet before making your decision.