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Hi MTBR! New guy here, hoping to get some help on a new crank set up. I am coming off of BMX, and there are way more components to a mountain bike, so im still learning.

I picked up a 2014 Cannondale Trail 5 at the beginning of the season, and have been having a blast on it. A couple rides ago the left side crank arm came loose while in the middle of a climb, and I ended up having to slow pedal a couple miles back to the car. I guess I pedaled too much while it was loose, because the crank arm wallowed out and now it wont stay tight anymore. I can tighten the hell out of it and use a ton of red loc-tite, and it still comes loose in a 1/4 mile or so.

I thought about taking the bike back to the shop I bought it from, but figured this would just be a good opportunity to do the conversion to a single chain ring up front. I never use anything but my middle ring (I believe its 32?) and I want to get rid of the front derailleur all together. I know I need new cranks (obviously), a new chain ring, and a chain guide. So a few questions:

1. I have no idea what size my bottom bracket is, so shopping around for a crank is hard. I looked up the bottom bracket on my bike but couldn't really figure out what I was looking at. Here is a link to my bike, maybe someone would be kind enough to help me out? Trail 29 5 - MOUNTAIN - BIKES - 2014

2. How hard is it to install my own bottom bracket? Do you need special tools?

3. Will any crank set work with a single chainring? I see that some of them come with chainrings already on them, and some don't.

4. Are the guides universal? Which one is the most simple and cost effective?

Lastly, can I do this for around $200? I don't plan on buying a super pro crank set, my only stipulation is that its pinch bolt (to avoid wallowing it out again) and can be used with a single chain ring. I am mechanically enclined, so I would like to do all the work myself if possible (pending any special tools).

Thanks for any help!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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18,453 Posts
1) Probably 68 mm English. Post a pic.

2) Not very and yes.

3) Sure. But a crankset for use as a triple has some features you don't need. Also, a lot of single-ring users prefer a purpose-built 1x ring. So you may find you can get a better price buying something that comes out of the box as a 1x crankset.

4. No. Not really in my area, but there are a few different ways they can attach to the bike. Some require mounting features on the bike.

5. Probably.
 
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