Zefal Crank Armor comprises a pair of rubber covers to go over the ends of your cranks to protect them from knocks and bumps. They work, but why would you want such a thing?
Picture this. You get home from the end of a ride wheel the bike round the back of the house, up the steps to the back garden and 'CLUNK'... that's the end of your crank arm digging into the concrete steps. Again.
A closer inspection shows that there's yet another ding in the end of the crank arm, you appraise the shiny exposed aluminium and once again chastise yourself for not putting the chainset into the 3/9 o'clock position before negotiating the steps. You should know better.
Zefal have come up with these nifty little shrouds that fit over the end of your cranks to prevent such abuse. They weigh in at a feathery 20g for the pair and are made of a firm yet malleable rubberised material.
Installation couldn't be simpler. Remove pedals, slide the Crank Armor on, re-fit pedals. Fit is good; they look a bit square when they were in the packaging – which is a single sheet of cardboard, no plastic parts so very easy to recycle – but they fitted well over Shimano cranks and FSA cranks which have a slightly rounder cross section.
Ours came in a bright green, great for a bit of added blingery, but not so good if you're after an understated look. Fortunately they also come in red, black and grey so you should be able to match it to most machines, even if you default to black. The price is good too, a sub-tenner purchase that wouldn't make you think twice.
So, this sounds like it's all great when it comes to making sure you stop getting dings in the end of your cranks, but there's one problem and that's the compatibility with a crank-mounted cadence magnet, I couldn't get the Crank Armour on the non-drive side without having to either move the magnet and sensor or trim them to fit.
The bike I was keen to test these on was my winter trainer. I'm never firing on all cylinders at the end of long, foul-weather training slogs and it's usually dark when I get home from work, so I wanted to reduce the risk of hearing that dreaded 'CLUNK'.
They've been fitted to my mountain bike, which I've ridden more than anything this winter as it has studded tyres for icy conditions and they've been a good addition to that bike. It's a bit heavier so lifting it up steps is a harder job, it gets ridden off road so there's more chance of contact with rocks on trails and it generally gets a bit more abuse than my road bikes.
The covers did have a bit of muck in them when I took them off after a few weeks of riding, so I imagine that semi-regular cleaning wouldn't go amiss. I also found that the Crank Armour was useful in protecting the crank from the side of my shoes. I have flat pedals on the MTB and wide feet, so crank arm rub is an annoyance if you get your foot positioned incorrectly.
I'd liked to have used these on my winter training bike, but the lack of compatibility with cadence sensors really put a stop to it, which is unfortunate as they're a great way to protect the end of your cranks from thoughtless scrapes. I probably wouldn't put these on my summer bike, where I'm a bit more particular about extraneous adornments, but they're great on a non-cadence sensored bike and seem best suited to off-road applications.
Great idea to protect cranks, but check compatibility with cadence magnets or be prepared to cut to fit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Crank Armor
Size tested: Green
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
What Zefal say:
Minimalist and effective end-piece protection, the Crank Armor protects cranks against impacts and stones. Available in 4 colours. Sold by pair. Durability and high resistance. Easy mounting on the crank.
Colors: Black / Grey / Red / Green
Weight: 20 g
Length: 70 x 40 x 16 mm
What road.cc say:
Aimed at riders wanting to keep their crank ends ding-free and chipless. Suited to bikes that are likely to come into contact with varying surface levels or rough treatment.
Nicely moulded, no visible moulding lines.
Took a few knocks off road and from the weathered concrete steps leading up to my back garden. Would be a 10 if they worked better with crank-mounted cadence magnets.
There's nothing really to go wrong with these.
About as light as you can get for the application.
At £6.20, they're not going to break the bank.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Worked well, but there could be some advice added to the packaging, or even moulding marks added to the rear of the left hand protector to aid with trimming for cadence magnets.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really, really simple and effective in what it does.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
You've probably guessed it by now - the cadence magnet compatibility.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, for MTB use.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A line cast in the left hand protector that allows the user to cut out a lozenge-shaped section would get around the issue of home-adaptation to fit crank-mounted cadence sensors. It seems it hasn't been considered that there could be a desire to use both items together.
About the tester
Age: 33 Height: 183 Weight: 77kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T My best bike is: Cervelo S2
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,