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.
The Heritage looks like a Campagnolo Super Record crankset from the 1980s. That's unlikely to be an accident, in our thinking. It's not identical but it's plenty close enough for people to comment on what a good job I'd done of buffing up the cranks on my 1986 Raleigh Sirocco that's currently sporting them. They really, really look the part. You'll need to source some old(er) crank bolts with a 14mm nut head, as more modern 8mm Allen key ones don't fit behind the dust cap on the non drive side crank.
And they work fine, too. There's nothing particularly techy about them – it's a square taper bottom bracket fitting and some standard pegs for ramping the chain up on to the big ring – but they worked perfectly well in my drivetrain, which is a combination of period Sachs shifters and a 7-speed cassette and chain (I'm running Halo's Retro wheelset on the bike too, watch out for a review soon).
Shifting between rings didn't present any problems; with down tube shifters you need to finesse the shift a bit more and back off the gas, but that's not an issue with the rings. And you're not fitting a retro crankset as a performance benefit. You're fitting it because it looks nice. The 172.5mm cranks will be fine for nearly everyone; again, it's marginal gains when you're adding or subtracting a few mm of leverage.
Any downsides? Well, the obvious one is that you can get a real 1980s Super Record chainset for about the same money, if you're prepared to scour ebay and wait for the right one. That approach will appeal to purists; personally I'm very happy with the look of the Heritage and the fact that it's new means it meshes perfectly with the new chain and cassette that I've also fitted. Plus, the modern 130mm BCD for the chainrings, standard threads for the pedals and so forth will make it a lot easier to mix with modern equipment, if that's the route you're choosing.
Good looking modern cranks that'll blend in nicely with your retro project.
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Make and model: Genetic Heritage Double Crankset
Size tested: Silver
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?
Genetic Heritage - Twin Crankset
Classic style Double crankset, with modern performance.
Forged alloy square type crank arms
with full CNC finish.
53/39T 7075 CNC alloy shifting type chain rings.
Hi polished and silver anodied finish.
Classic Square BB type (Chainline: 43.5mm).
Recommended chain: 9sp (or 8Spd).
Recommended Chainline: 43.5mm:
Recommended BB axle: JIS 118mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well - people thought it was a period crankset.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Retro looks, modern spec.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A bit on the pricey side.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.