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Verdict: 
Great idea to protect cranks, but check compatibility with cadence magnets or be prepared to cut to fit
Weight: 
20g
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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.

Verdict

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.

Material: Soft

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.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Nicely moulded, no visible moulding lines.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

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.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

There's nothing really to go wrong with these.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

About as light as you can get for the application.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

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.

Overall rating: 8/10

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,

 

17 comments

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DaveE128 [1010 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Probably particularly useful for carbon cranks, in which gouges could perhaps lead to failure.

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Skynet [48 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Plenty have been offering these for ages but useful none the less.

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Nick T [1282 posts] 4 years ago
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Alternatively just leave your bike in the living room and look at it rather than ride it. These are great for the kind of person who puts a plastic cover in their sofa or uses a bonnet bra on their roadster.

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Redvee [451 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Neodymium magnets on the back of the pedal spindle, neat and no cable ties needed.

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Lecoops [10 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

What tyres are those in the picture?

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Welsh boy [652 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Is it April 1st already?
I think I will bring a saddle cover out so you don't get your white saddle dirty and some handle bar tape covers so your tape doesn't fray if you lean it up against a wall in a moment of forgetfulness.

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BertYardbrush [61 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

You mean you don't know?

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bikebot [2116 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

The picture has it on backwards.

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bashthebox [752 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Mmm, bright green crank socks. Far better to look at than a small scratch  36

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dave atkinson [6516 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
bikebot wrote:

The picture has it on backwards.

yeah, it does. sorry. sam who reviewed it is more switched on than me who shot it though  1

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Truffl3Shuffl3 [18 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I've used some of that 3M clear tape on my carbon cranks, not for the same purpose as this stuff, but to stop my shoes from rubbing against them and scuffing them.

For the sake of a couple of quid it really is a no brainer and means if I ever decide to sell the cranks on, I'll no doubt get a few more quid for them.

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hectorhtaylor [68 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Or:
1. Glue a rubber lip onto the step edge
2. Change from your cycling shoes into platform soles to lift the bike a little higher
3. Build a ramp and avoid lifting altogether
4. Ask an adult for help
5. Move to a house without steps ...

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antigee [560 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I'd have thought intended to reduce crank damage out on the trails?

though I'd advocate MTB access to all CROW land - damage like this in the Peak District doesn't help

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mattsccm [409 posts] 4 years ago
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Do people really still use the original magnet not one on the pedal axle?
I guess you al use Ti pedals  4

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bikebot [2116 posts] 4 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:
bikebot wrote:

The picture has it on backwards.

yeah, it does. sorry. sam who reviewed it is more switched on than me who shot it though  1

I see you've fixed the picture, but it's still the wrong way around. That's clearly the one for the left crank that you've got on the right hand side.

 19

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Das [245 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

A solution for a problem that never existed.  35

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caaad10 [190 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

My only concern would be water trapped under the rubber for months on end, probably mixed with road grit for good measure... a bit of tape would be my preferred option