Chainsets & chainrings
If you've got a older bike that needs some love, then the Genetic Heritage double crankset will look just the ticket on your 1980s steel bike. It's not cheap, though, and the alternative – buying a real period crankset – may make the finished bike more authentic.
FSA's SL-K Light Compact MegaExo chainset might be a bit of a mouthful to say but it is light, stiff and strong while after six months of use the bottom bracket is still running as silky smooth as it was out of the box.
Hub gears are back, folks: We've had anything from two to 11 speeds in the office in the last year and more and more manufacturers are speccing them. The FCSX chainset from Sturmey Archer is specifically designed to be paired with a hub gear and it's an excellent, if pricey, transmission option.
I could sum up this review of All City’s 612 Track Crank in one word: solid. The thick arms of this cold forged crank grip every bit of the square taper on the bottom bracket axle, and the slight hollowing in the back of the arms not only saves a bit of weight but also improves the crank arms’ resistance to torsional flex, making this a very stiff crankset indeed.
Stronglight’s ST 55 is one of those components that does exactly what is says on the tin, sure it’s the workhorse of the range but a great choice for moderately geared town hacks and budget fixer/singlespeed conversions so long as you’re the lighter side of 80 kilos. Non detachable rings, old fashioned square tapers and bog standard 170mm arms won’t set anyone’s Lycra ablaze and the arguably limited ring choices demand a more creative approach to gearing.
Compact chainsets are all the rage amongst the sportive set these days and if you're looking for something a bit special then this super-light unit from KCNC is certainly worth a look. We've had some issues with clicking from the cranks on our set, the source of which we can neither find nor completely cure, though extended fettling has rendered it less of a problem.
With ruggedly handsome looks and remarkable rigidity, it comes as little surprise Stronglight’s track 2000 is aimed primarily at track connoseurs. However, slipping straight aboard 107mm axles it’s spot on for bespoke or pretty production fixers and single-speeds but as it costs £89.95 (plus £49.95 for the ring) it’s far too tasty for hacks.
I'm not a fan of black components but couldn’t fail to be mesmerised by the elegance of the Miche Race Evo Max crankset. Fitting is pretty much identical to other integrated two-piece systems and although when turned by hand, the bottom bracket’s cartridge bearings felt marginally less refined than some aftermarket designs this was soon forgotten once aboard the bike.
The hollow forged alloy crank (after flirting with carbon, Shimano Dura-Ace cranks are now fully alloy again) is matched up with a hollow outer chainring to produce a crankset that’s a tad (15g) lighter than before. It’s also said to be 20% stiffer although, in use, you’ll do well to notice. Even if you’re a big rider pushing a big gear, the difference is tiny – but, hey, everything helps so we’re not going to argue.