a Cross Country Rider
from Berkeley, CA
Date Reviewed: July 27, 2009
Strengths: beautiful form in a demanding function.
Weaknesses: creaks if not lubed regularly, and not easy to get reassembled so that the spider is properly aligned and the rings are properly centered.
Jack (Witmer, of the late Cook Bros. Racing) recommended i use a 111mm BB spindle with these, and the chainline has worked out fine with the 135mm rear axle spacing of the 'lügi.
while i love the look of these cranks and they don't seem to flex inordinately under my 215lb lard'ness, they're the only cranks i have that require periodic lubing where the spider attaches to the arm in order to keep them from creaking annoyingly. i've tried various grease and anti-seize products, but nothing lasts for as long as i think it should.
additionally, it seems more difficult than it should be to get the spider reassembled to the drive-side arm so that the rings don't wobble around the the BB spindle causing the rear Derailleur to bob slightly.
undeniably beautiful (and they polish up nicely with a little Simichrome, if you care about that sort of thing), but like so many beautiful things, more High Maintenance than they really should be with regard to something that simply shouldn't be an issue at all. sadly out of character with my experience with most other CBR products.
Weaknesses: 2-piece design requires maintnance to keep from creaking
Near Net Forged Cranks are STRONG! They look decent too... Not elegant bike art like my E2's, but still nice.
After 5 years riding these I have nothing but praise for them. When I first got them I was swapping out from a 2-peice XT crank. The XT were good, but not as stiff, and the XT CREAKED! Not as stiff as my Sweet Wings, but great for an AL crankset.
While the F-cranks didn't creak at first, I found they needed annual maintenance to stay creak-free. This required removing the locking ring on the back of the crank arm, cleaning & re-applying anti-seize. This has kept the F-cranks rockin!
Who are F cranks for: Trail riders, XC racers, DH guys, Dirt jumpers. If you like to go really big or you regularly land flat you'll probably want a crank that allows the use of a larger diameter BB - ISIS options.
As with any crank good shifting is a function of chain-line. Buy the wrong BB & suffer the consequences. I use a 104mm BB in my Moots & all is fine. Measure twice, buy once!
Those that complained about chain-line need to look up Shimano's specs (measure from middle of bb shell to mid chain ring - with crank pressed on). Make sure everything lines up. There are some crank/frame combinations, which just don't work well. Recognize that this is the combination - not the fault of either individual product.
The only weakness of this crank is the interchangeable spider - Read my comments about maintenance above. Caveat: The CBR specific locking ring is a PAIN to get on or off. Thankfully an old XT lock-ring fits, and is now in use on my cranks.
I wish CBR were still making bike-stuff, their cranks ride well & look good on a bike. In contrast XTR is nice & functions great, but looks...?
a Cross Country Rider
from Big Bear, Ca
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2004
Strengths: Unbelievably strong. Amazingly stiff. ALL your lag power goes to the chain.
Weaknesses: Time consuming to set up.
Some peolple say they`re heavy. That`s subjective. My ex-wife is heavy. I logged over 25,000 miles all over United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico on my Bonzo Fury that regularly wieghed over 100 pounds with these cranks. On the same bike, I won a national trials championship and numerous state championships on them. I broke forks, wheels, pedals,handlebars and hearts. I did not break the cranks. My friends laugh and tell me to upgrade. "Sure," I say, "When they come out with something better" Anybody know where I can get replacement TA chainrings?
a Weekend Warrior
from Atlanta, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2002
Strengths: Looks like a well built, sturdy crank (with one major "flaw")
Weaknesses: Nowhere near the amount of offset as most cranks (e.g. Shimano, RaceFace, TruVativ, etc.)
These are very nice cranks. Their design is not only unique, but even intuitively, it seems like a very sturdy, rigid design. The back surface (i.e. the surface that faces the bb) is concave, thus making the crank appear to be like half an I-beam in cross section. The build quality is very nice.
Two problems I have with this crank. The first is that the place where the dust caps screw in are not centered around the point of rotation, thus, when you spin the cranks fast, the dust caps appear to wobble slightly. Although this has no functional consequences, it does indicate somewhat of a lack of precision.
The second problem is a major one. These cranks have almost an inch less of offset than most cranks, meaning that the end of the crank (where the pedal spindle inserts) is closer to the chainstays than most other cranks. Furthermore, Cook Brothers recommends that you use a bottom bracket with a short spindle, a 107mm!! If I do that, these cranks would clear my chainstays by about 2mm! That's way too close! If you use a longer spindle, my chainline is off and I have shifting problems.
The verdict? I have to dump these cranks and get something else. They are incredibly nice cranks, especially if you have a frame where the chainstays are pulled inward a little. But because they have much less offset than the industry standard, which renders them nearly incompatible with some frames, I'm gonna give them two flaming turds.
Strengths: Look cool, very stiff, ok weight, work very well with shimano gruppos
Weaknesses: none so far
I've had these cranks for a while now. First, I had shifting problems with my chainrings. Then I replaced them with Shimano chainrings (also have a Shimano rear derailleur). Now my bike shifts super solid. If you run these cranks with shimano chainrings and stay away from mixing up your shifting components, these cranks work beatifully. Try to get em on sale though.
Weaknesses: A little heavier than comparable models, but it LOOKS better.
This has got to be the best crankset I have ever used. I work at a bike shop and so get to try all sorts of cranks, from cheapie to expensive, and these by far are the best. I have two pairs, one on my daily ride and my race bike, and they both hold up wonderfully. I got the special gray set as a special deal, and they look even cooler than the black set I have on my Kona. They even cost $30 less to boot. These are definitely worth the money even at full retail of ~$200, and I would get them at that price if I had to.
Bike Setup: Bontrager Race, Superfly, xtr, Valiant/NukeProof
a Weekend Warrior
from San Francisco, CA
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2000
Strengths: Looks, Quality, Racing History (BMX)
Weaknesses: None yet. Possibly weight. See below
These can be had for very little money through Cambria Bikes at $149. They are awesome and I've always wanted them. I wanted them back when I had a BMX bike and when I heard that they were making cranks for mountain bikes, I knew I had to have them, but waited almost a year before I got them. These cranks are the most artworthy piece on any bike and they're as boutique as you can get. People do complain about their weight vs. RaceFace Turbine LPs, but I have a theory on this one: I weighed both my turbine lps and cook bros. F cranks on my company's digital postal scale. The Cook Brothers came in at 1 pound 1.6 oz. The turbine lps came in at 15 oz. That's a difference of 2.6 oz. Now here's where RF manages to beat Cook Bros on weight. They don't include the spacers for middle and outer chainrings into their crank arms. You have to get these large spacers separately. On Cook Bros. and most other cranks these spacers are part of the forged process so that all you need is the chainring bolt to secure the middle chainring and outer chainring. I'll bet these spacers (which are usually steel) weigh at least 2.6 ozs. Further, the chainring bolts are also larger and probably weigh a couple ounces more than standard chainring bolts. Conclusion: there is no difference in weight between RF and Cook Bros F cranks. I say this not to detract or criticize either cranks. I have both, but I want to clarify to Cook Bros. fans that you can buy these cranks and not experience a weight penalty vs. your trusty RF Turbines LPs.
Similar Products Used: Race Face Turbine LP, Specialized Son of Strong Arm
Bike Setup: Dean Oscar, XTR build, Mavic 217s, SDG Saddle, Rock Shox SID XC
a Cross Country Rider
from Colorado Springs
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2000
Strengths: Strong, snappy looking, no creaks and get lots of envious comments.
Weaknesses: None, maybe a little heavy (but that's not much of a trade off for the strength).
All in all, I gotta say that I really like these cranks- just got back from the annual trip to Moab where I pushed as hard as I could and boy are they stiff. Aaron @ Cooks really came through and I take back my previous comments about customer service. You won't be unhappy with these cranks!
Got these when the toplines broke. spindle holes machines wrong, chain line was screwy, bought a 103 bb, couldn't get onto big ring, bought a new xtr front Derailleur(more throw), still no go. Sent them back to cooks may 1998, still haven't been sent back to me. On top of that, they don't even answer my e-mails wondering what's going on. I'll never buy anything from them again.
Similar Products Used: White Industries/Sugino mocks (piece of shit don't get'em they're only 50$ but they suck)
Bike Setup: I have them on my 15.5 Specialized Stump Jumper Trials bike, XTR/ESP 9.0
a Cross-Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 4, 1999
Strengths: nice craftmanship, colors, strength, looks, name
looks sweet , havent had long enough to know of strength but they feel rigid and strong enough for xc riding. not happy with shimano products and thought to give this a try. i love the colors whether thwey stay on or not doesnt matter. if they work i am happy.
Similar Products Used: shimano lx & xt, coda 502 crank
Bike Setup: cannondale caad3 w/ fatty sl (srictly xc)
Date Reviewed: May 24, 1999
Strengths: They look nice and are very stiff
Weaknesses: They break easily
These cranks look great, but they break. I only used them for 3 months cos that's how long it took me to crack them at the spindle. It is posible that because they are so stiff, they crack easily. Probably OK for XC boys, but I broke them riding my SantaCruz Heckler full-sus frame and I only weigh 11 stone.2 stars because they are so good for power transfer, but they break.