Cycling - Gear/Equipment

Cycling Maintenance: How to Handle the Two Piece Crankset

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Cycling is one of the activities that you may take up as a hobby. You can also practice it as an exercise to enhance your fitness. These days, cycles are getting developed keeping modern needs in mind. Hence, many important parts of the cycle are getting upgraded. As a cyclist, you must be aware of these parts. One of these vital cycling parts is the two piece crankset. The other name for the crankset is chainset.

The cranks get placed on each of the sides and they link the pedals with the bottom bracket axel. Replacing and removing is often a task for the cyclists as it gets needed to be done while cleaning the frame. To perform this task, you must learn about the device in detail along with its functionalities and certain techniques.

Table of Content:

  • Removing the Two Piece Crankset
  • Installing the Two Piece Crankset
  • Replacing the Two Piece Crankset
  • Which MTB Crankset is Right?
  • MTB Cranksets: In Depth
  • Which Road Crankset is Right?
  • Identifying Your Crank System

Removing the Two Piece Crankset

First of all, you have to pull up the chain from the chainring and keep it on the bearing cap. To loosen the chain, you must press on the tensioning arm forward. Now, slightly loosen the pinch bolts on the non-drive-side crank arm. However, you must not remove these parts completely.

how to remove bicycle crank bearings
SRAM Crankset(Source)

It is time you use the bottom bracket tool to remove the plastic pre-load cap and set the cap aside (pre-load cap removing tools can differ according to the brand of crankset).

After removing the cap, pull out the left crank from the spindle. To loosen it, you can hand tap the spindle. You can use a rubber mallet to make the whole procedure a little comfortable. Once you are done loosening the spindle, you can pull out the cranks and the chainring.

Read: A Guide to replacing the bike chain!

Installing the Two Piece Crankset

To remove and install a two piece crankset, you need to keep some crankset removal tools handy and you have to use them accordingly. While installing a bicycle crank, apply grease to the spindle surface on drive side crank arm.

Put it in through the right side cup and out the left side cup. Grease up the splines of the spindle and apply the same or anti-seize to threads of left arm pinch bolts. Place drive side crank arm in the six o’clock position. Hold the left side arm in the twelve o’clock position. Now press arm onto spindle with hand pressure.

Put grease to threads of crank cap and softly line into the spindle. The crank caps draw the arm toward the bearing. Now tighten both the pinch bolts alternating between them every half-turn and make both of the pinch bolts evenly tight.

Replacing the Two Piece Crankset

While replacing the two piece Crankset, you must slide the spindle through the bottom-bracket shell and tap it with your hand to place it appropriately. Now tighten the cap using the bottom bracket tool.

Now, you have to tighten the pinch bolts on the crank arm. However, you must not completely tighten one bolt before the other. Try back and forth for each bolt until they're hand tight. Then use your torque wrench to reach the particular torque.

Complete the task by moving the chain back onto the chainring and shifting it through the gears to ensure all the parts are in perfect working condition.

Which MTB Crankset is Right

Before choosing a suitable bicycle crank, you must know about the several types of cranksets. A Crankset or chainset consists of multiple parts such as chainrings, bottom bracket (together called crankset) and cranks. The axle is threaded through the bottom bracket (BB) that gets screwed into the frame’s BB shell, positioned at the linking spot of the seat tube and down tube. The pedals are joined to the other ends of the crank arms.

buying a new crankset
MTB Crankset (Source)

Your riding style and your bicycle determine your choice of buying a new crankset or chainset. For pedal-heavy cross-country (XC) racing, strong and lightweight gears are needed.

Most of the XC and trail mountain bikes carry a triple chainset with 44, 32 and 22-tooth chainrings. But these days, cyclists prefer to use a double and sometimes single chainring up front. XC riders with a goal to lose weight, opt for carbon fiber often. Long-distance cyclists choose ceramic bearings and chainrings.The extreme cyclists prefer using single- or double-ring chainsets, to ensure bash guard and chain device setup.

MTB Cranksets: In Depth

Here is some in-depth knowledge on two piece crankset that you must know before the replacement of a crankset and before buying a new crankset.

  • Crank Length

The usual bicycle crank size is 175mm. But you can also opt from 165mm to 180mm limb length covering ranges.

  • Bottom Bracket (BB) type

There are types of BB setup that you can choose from. The modern is External BB setup and the older is cartridge BB set up. External BB setup offers more stiffness. But due to imperfect alignment, the bearings can stop working soon. For mid- to high-end carbon bikes Press-fit brackets are common. The key benefit of the press-fit generation of BB standards is amplified frame and pedaling firmness.

replace bike crank arm
External BB Setup (Source)
  • Chainrings

Depending on the usage or if you want to change chainring, you can use one, two or three rings of MTB chainsets.

  • Triple Ring

Cyclists, who prefer a wide range of gears, often choose triple rings. When it comes to low gears for climbing vertical heights, triple rings get easily chosen.

types of cranksets
3 Ring Crankset (Source)
  • Double Ring

Those who don’t opt for ‘granny gear’, often handpick the double ring to ride at steep areas. Double rings can also be used in combination with a chain maintenance tool which pumps up their demand for aggressive riders.

types of cranksets
Double Ring Crankset (Source)
  • Single Ring

The debut of 10- and 11-speed cassettes have made single ring an option for riders from other disciplines who appreciate ‘pared-down’ aspect of a simpler drivetrain. Gravity riders have always preferred Single rings.

Which Road Crankset is Right

There are two types of two piece crankset basically. One is traditional crankset and the other compact crankset. Professional and advanced riders choose traditional crankset and the compact crankset get generally chosen by amateur riders. Let us these two cranksets in brief.

Traditional Chainsets

double chainring setup with 39- and 53-tooth chainrings is a common feature of traditional chainset. 9-, 10- or 11-speed cassettes offer up to 22 gears. The traditional setup is suitable for hard-riding cyclists who maintain a faster pace on mainly flat surfaces.

Compact Chainsets

This beginner-friendly upgrade crankset or chainset offers the lower range of gears featuring a double chainring setup with 34- and 50-tooth rings.

Identifying Your Crank System

Cranks link the pedals to the bottom bracket spindle. The cranks get fitted with toothed chainrings that move the chain. Crank systems have turned more multifaceted in recent years. To learn the service choices you will need to learn the type of crank and type of bottom bracket bearing system attached to the bike.

Read: Know about types of pedals for bike lovers!

Self-Extracting Cranks

When it comes to self-extracting crank systems, you get an inbuilt crank puller. It uses use threaded rings. No other two piece crankset extractor tool is needed when you have a self-extracting crank. Self-extracting systems can be seen in both two-piece and three-piece form.

Two Piece Compression Slotted Cranks

Many cranksets use a two-piece compression slotted system. These cranksets come with a left crank arm and a compression slot guarded by two pinch bolts and a right crank arm with an incorporated spindle. These systems use outer bearing cups and do not require a usual crank puller.

Campagnolo® Power-Torque™ Cranks

The Power-Torque™ crank uses a spindle incorporated into the drive side crank. The left side crank is separated to get to the bearings or to eliminate the right crank.

crank extractor tool
Campagnolo® Power-Torque™ Crank (Source)

Campagnolo® Ultra Torque™ Cranks

Ultra-Torque™ is an owner crankset system used by Campagnolo® and Fulcrum®. Using this system, the left and right crank arms get fitted with one-half of the spindle system, with teeth machined into each spindle end. Ultra-Torque™ uses peripheral bearing cups, the bearings are not included.

Instead, the bearings are placed onto the cranks. A “wavy washer” can be seen in the left side cup. This washer determines the variations in frame shell widths and efficiently plays the role of the bearing adjustment.

An understanding of parts can help you in maintaining the vehicle on your own. It can also help you riding better by understanding the nature of your bike. If you are an avid cyclist or ride the same to maintain physical fitness, then share your experiences with us. You can also feel free to let us know if you have fixed any technical issue on your own lately. We are always interested to hear from you.

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