04 May, 2006

What about NERVAR?

Many connoisseurs of fine French bikes seek out old TA Specialties and Stronglight cranks. This is understandable as both companies made beautiful and practical cranksets that were fitted to the finest bicycles. But there is a third brand, Nervar, that also made top quality components and whose cranks were occasionally used by even the best constracteurs.

The relative anonimity of Nervar cranks makes them a bargin. I bought the crankset in the first photo for about $20 on E-Bay. Yet it is as well made and takes the same chain rings as a TA Cyclo-Tourist or a Stronglight 49D crankset, either of which usually sell for over $100. As for appearance, I think the the 49D is a bit more elegant, but I find the Nervar prettier than a TA.

An additional benefit of Nervar cranks is that they use standard-taper axles and standard crank removers, no special tools required. And yes, they work fine with 9 or 10-speed drivetrains.

The great thing about this 50mm-bcd bolt pattern is that you can run a wide range double, say a 46 and 30. This means that with a modern 9 or 10-speed 12-27 cassette you'll have the equivalent of a triple with only two chainrings and standard cage derailleurs. And most riders will find that they stay in the big ring 90% of the time with plenty of gears on either side of a normal 16-19 mph cruising speed.

The lower photo shows what may have been the last model of crank Nervar produced. They are pretty 122-bcd cranks that makes a fine single on my Motobecane. They are very light, lighter than Campy record cranks, or so I've read. I paid $15 for them.

7 comments:

Andrew Karre said...

I have that Nervar crank (paid $10) and I agree that it is a great way to get into the 50mm BCD, which allows for a wonderful range of chainrings in double configurations (48/32 or 28 are my setups of choice). I eventually switched to a TA Cyclotouriste, a crank with, in my opinion, finer aesthetics (and requiring a slightly different BB), but I wouldn't part with the Nervar. It's destined for another project.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if the Nervar is standard or French threaded?

c_c_rider said...

i recently acquired an old atala track bike (60's vintage or older) and it has a TA track crankset on it. these take a special size of crank puller to remove them, right? where can i get one? i'd like to remove the cranks and bb and sell them as i'm retrofitting the old frame with more modern parts. any info would be appreciated. thanks

cole said...

what is the axel length of the bb you use? just bought a track crankset at a swap for real cheap. totally campy"esque"

Richard said...

Those particular Nervar Crank arms are standard thread at least that's what I found.

heavyrollinmetal said...

Those particulular Nervar cranks take standard puller and pedal threads, at least that's what I've found.

Patrick Nagle said...

I've had the exact same Nervar crank for a while and never swapped out on my Alan until now. I really enjoy the look of them and was very pleased to find that I didn't need to get different pedals or some french parts to make it work with my lovely Italian lightweight!