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Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why not, folks? I'm sure others are in the midst of winter doldrums, right?

First up: the Crank Bros. Directset that I installed a couple months back? In September, actually.

Looks sweet! Light, low stack, smooth, quiet. Seeminngly trouble free innocence in a headset, right? The outer bits of the bearing housing actually makes up the actual headset cup. Smart design, but not so hot implementation.


Eh, not so much. This was supposedly the "burlier" version as well. Outers of the lower cup breaking off. No riding out of the ordinary for me, and in fact less, with the onset of craptacular winter weather. However, everyone assures me that Crank Bros. has "such great warantee coverage" anyhow. . . Meh. Lower cup has been replaced with a trouble free and much tougher in design Cane Creek S3 unit.

Next: Continental Spike Claw 240 2.1" studded tires. Spendy, but I figure to be getting a few seasons from them, leaving them on the singlespeed over the winters to have a dedicated "oh crap the trails are frozen sheets of ice, which bike to take" problem solver.

They rock.

On ice. In soft snow or slushy stuff, they are not better than regular tires, possilbe worse since they are skinny and don't give much wide float on top. Bogged down like a sovereign nation invasion, I tell ya. Depends on you theories of snow/ice riding. Fat and soft to float over the top, or skinny and hard to cut through to underneath?

Whoo! Planet Bike Borealis half lobster winter gloves. Not too expensive,in fact, fairly cheap.

Really, really warm. As in, over freezing temps they are too hot and your hands sweat too damn much - somewhat breathable, but when things get too warm, their ability to vent and breath is overcome. Down into the teens they've kept me pretty toasty though without overheating.

Not waterproofed, but they'll take a bit before soaking through, and even then they stay fairly warm. You could treat them with something to add to their water proof-ness if wanted. Nice and soft inners, with a big hook and loop wrist closure that is easy to grab with big glommy gloves on. Large terry cloth type snot wiper bits on back of the thumb and index fingers.

Selle Italia SLR saddle stripped of its stock minimal butt floss padding and recovered in deer hide. Yeah, it's weird. A gift from my brother-in-law, who says he found it on e-bay. Go figure.

It's not too uncomfortable of an ass hatchet. Really. However, it also is on the singlespeed, since it's a bike that sees me standing up more than the others. No, it did not keep my but any warmer than any other seat. Only time will tell how the deer hide/hair will stand up to abuse.

Shimano MW80 winter boots. Shoes. Whatever.

Gore Tex lining with a bit of thermal insulation. Seam sealed. Not too heavy. Got them a touch larger than I'd normally wear. Plenty of warm sock room. Doesn't feel tight. They are actually very comfortable, and the warmest winter bike shoes I've tried yet. (though that has only been some Answer Kashmir and Specialized models)
Downside: I'd love to see these with toe spikes. the only thing missing, IMO.
 

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Witty McWitterson
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5,023 Posts
Similar feelings on the Crank Bros headset here. I wanted to like it, I really did. Nice innovative approach the headset. Mine cracked just like yours did, only on the top cup. For a few bucks more, I'm MUCH happier with the Cane Creek 100. In fact, I'd call that one better than King.
 

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Registered
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Thanks for the insightful reviews scrub.

I'm about to ante up for some of those pricey studded snow tires myself and wondered if they would be worth it. In fact I was going to post back on my thread where you were complaining of the skanky, freezing rain, sleet weather you'd been having that you should try some. Looks like you did. Hmm. Not so sure now.

However, generally there's very little chance of me floating on top of our snow and it usually doesn't get too deep, stays pretty dry, powdery, with fozen ground or ice underneath so they may be just the ticket. Someone recommended the Nokian 294s but they are $79 each!!:eekster: I can buy tires for my moto for less than that. Wish I could try them before I buy.

And the seat......... eeeeeeew. Be sure and check for tics.
 

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Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Picked the tires up at the end of last winter, but didn't get to use them until recently. They've come in handy on a couple icy commute days as well, rather than my normal commuter bike. One of the days was bad enough that my car would have been dicey heading to work. The studded tires absolutely kicked ass. No trouble at all.

Figure with that sort of dual duty, and that they ought to give me a couple winter seasons of use, the cost gets spread out quite a bit. Just leaving them on the SS for the winter. Makes it easy to just grab that bike and go when trails or the commute will be icy.

I think in hindsight - doing the DIY thing with some older and wider tires would work just as well and be considerably cheaper, though not sure if they'd last as long.

KRob said:
Thanks for the insightful reviews scrub.

I'm about to ante up for some of those pricey studded snow tires myself and wondered if they would be worth it. In fact I was going to post back on my thread where you were complaining of the skanky, freezing rain, sleet weather you'd been having that you should try some. Looks like you did. Hmm. Not so sure now.

However, generally there's very little chance of me floating on top of our snow and it usually doesn't get too deep, stays pretty dry, powdery, with fozen ground or ice underneath so they may be just the ticket. Someone recommended the Nokian 294s but they are $79 each!!:eekster: I can buy tires for my moto for less than that. Wish I could try them before I buy.

And the seat......... eeeeeeew. Be sure and check for tics.
 

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ride
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5,275 Posts
yo Dave!

Good to see you're still riding in those harsh northeast winters, Dave. A buddy of mine made some home studded tires. They worked well but he said it took him forever.

I agree with y'alls on the Crank Bros headset. Cool in theory. Methinks there is a reason that so many folks know about the "outstanding" customer service at Crank Bros...:rolleyes:

First Pic - the Crank Bros super duper light Cobalt headset - this pic was taken of the lower cup on the first install on a brand new properly face frame. oops!

Second pic - since it's review time, here's one of my favorite things to come around in recent times. The Wheels Mfg emergency der hanger. You may have the correct der hanger for your bike but does your buddy? :) 1 size fits all. Take the der hanger off and put everything back together with this inside the qr nut. The QR holds everything together. It doesn't work 100% but at the very least, this beauty will keep you from hiking. Pic is the one that lives in my bag.
 

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Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ignazjr said:
Good to see you're still riding in those harsh northeast winters, Dave.

Second pic - since it's review time, here's one of my favorite things to come around in recent times. The Wheels Mfg emergency der hanger. You may have the correct der hanger for your bike but does your buddy? :) 1 size fits all. Take the der hanger off and put everything back together with this inside the qr nut. The QR holds everything together. It doesn't work 100% but at the very least, this beauty will keep you from hiking. Pic is the one that lives in my bag.
Thanks! It was rough for a bit - busy at work, holiday time at the in-law's, then a week down with a nasty cold kept me off the bike for a bit. finally was able to get out for a bit the other day. Cold enough tomorrow that everything will be iced over enough to be out on the studs again.:thumbsup:

Picked up one of those Wheels Man. hangers with the most recent bike build, to go with some real spare hangers. Seemed a good idea - it just hangs out with the other spare crap in my Camelbak.
 

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Off the back...
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2,304 Posts
Those Contis - are the studs steel or tungsten-carbide? The tungsten-carbide studs [i.e. Schwalbe, Nokian] last for years, even when you have to ride on bare pavement.

I have the MW80s as well - they are awesome so far! They actually fit like regular mtn bike shoes, and my feet didn't freeze on the 45 minute ride home in -27C windchill today. Woot!
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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40,402 Posts
scrublover said:
First up: the Crank Bros. Directset that I installed a couple months back? In September, actually.

Smart design, but not so hot implementation.
Well, like most CB products, it has a "hook", but it fails to deliver. You could possibly call it a "gimmick", but the light weight of their products isn't really a gimmick, they really are light. It's simply that the engineering is substandard in every other way. Take for example the eggbeaters, novel mechanism idea AND they are light, but the bearings get trashed easy (they use one bearing and a bushing..common now, a bushing?), my pedal fell off the spindle more than once, I broke the axles with the mallets without too much trouble, you can't adjust the release, the cleats wear down in a matter of months (common, brass cleats?), the cobalt cranks that split where they were "bonded" together...not like we didn't see that one comming from a mile away, my crankbrothers rust-17 multitool, pretty sure the metal was sourced from a russian submarine, and so on.
Whoo! Planet Bike Borealis half lobster winter gloves. Not too expensive,in fact, fairly cheap. Really, really warm. As in, over freezing temps they are too hot and your hands sweat too damn much - somewhat breathable, but when things get too warm, their ability to vent and breath is overcome.
Meh, no doubt you experienced that, but it seems to be a common experience for me with any winter gloves. Unless it's REALLY cold or you're REALLY moving (on a downhill) then almost any winter glove is overkill. The situation that may not fit into this is if it was very wet and cold, but not freezing. Otherwise, if it's freezing or slightly above I sometimes need my regular gloves, cause you generate so much heat by mtbing that it's not an issue. When you stop or do an extended downhill, you need the winter gloves. It's kind of annoying when you're right around the temperatures like this, but recently I've just been throwing the winter gloves in my pack, so I can put them on when needed, or have ther regular ones avail.
 

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Rolling
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11,120 Posts
Jayem said:
Well, like most CB products, it has a "hook", but it fails to deliver. You could possibly call it a "gimmick", but the light weight of their products isn't really a gimmick, they really are light. It's simply that the engineering is substandard in every other way. .
The engineering saying I recall is, "anyone can build a bridge, it takes a good engineer to barely build a bridge."

Crank brothers follows the barely build philosophy. They barely build their products; Factor of safety = 1.001
 

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ride
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5,275 Posts
Agreed on the pedals for sure. I love the 4 sided concept, though. Look licensed the original Eggbeater for a year or two - that was a well thought out design. Didn't have adjustable spring tension, but it had rebuildable bearings, etc.

I think the tools are the only thing Crank Bros has going for them. I haven't experienced rustage on them, but they've gone in a backpack instead of a jersey pocket.
 

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V-Shaped Rut
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3,178 Posts
I can't for the life of me figure out why their products are so popular. I've liked nothing made by them I've ever used, INCLUDING eggbeaters. Woohoo, clipless pedals with no tension adjustment. Who cares if they're light when you break your ankle cause you can't get out in time. :madman:

Jerk_Chicken said:
Crank Bros: The Kevin Costner of the mtb industry. No matter how many bombs they make, people still give them a chance.
 
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