31 August, 2006

TA 60th Anniversary Cranks (updated)

As you may know TA Cyclotouriste cranks, which are officially called the Pro Vis 5 went out of production last year. But my French connection has just learned that as part of their 60th Anniversary hoopla, TA will make one last run of these cranks. Naturally I ordered about 25 pair immediately.

I don't know if these new cranks will have any special markings or even the exact cost (probably about $225). They will arrive in January and we have ordered 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths.

In any case, these will obviously be in very short supply so I thought I'd offer any dedicated francophiles the opportunity to reserve them.

One reason why so many people like the TA crank is that it has about the lowest Q-factor (width) of any crank ever made. This is because the crank arm is straight and very close to the outer chainring. So front derailleurs that have thick outer plates sometimes hit the crankarm, But all Campy models and many others work. These cranks will work with modern drivetrains, even 10-speed.

Another reason to use TA Pro Vis 5 cranks is that they can replace a triple crank when set up as a double. You can run 28t and 46t rings with a 12-27 cassette (for example) and have almost the same range as a triple, but with a lot less overlap. Rings 26 to 68 teeth are available. By the way, TA sells the cranks and rings separately; there are no stock combinations.

So why did these wonderful cranks go out of production? The big chainrings, above 50t or so, are too flexible for racing. And they are very expensive.

Also, assuming we have no trouble with customs, the Ostrich bags should arrive around the end of next week.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris, you should try to get your hands on some Sugino PX cranksets.

They're sharp, and hard to find. Thats your niche.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I've actually been trying to find even one pair of PX cranks to look at. My impression is that they are a little too "rounded" to look like classic cranks, but that's just from photos.

I noticed that there are several pair of 50mm bcd Nervar cranks on E-bay. Those can be a real good deal. They are as well made as TA cranks, but often sell for under $40.

Anonymous said...

TAs are expensive because, well, they're built by TA.

It's a simple, low material design. Chinese knock-offs would be one of the most inexpensive cranks on the market.

Is it important to have the function of the design, or pay Frenchfolk for their economic structure, business practices and lifestyle? (no wrong answer)

david_nj said...

The one problem with the older Nervar cranks is they're made of a pretty doggone low-grade alloy and they are incredibly flexible. Just stand on one pedal and watch the crank arm bend. One also needs to take a good deal of care so as not to strip the pedal threads. Doggone nice looking cranks though.

The newer Nervar cranks are swell but they have a bolt circle diameter devised by Klingons or something ... ce n'est pas possible to source substitutes.

Anonymous, man that seems pretty uncharitable. OK, I'm 25% Breton, but still. Having the Chinese knock off others' stuff is more closely related to your gas being $3 a gallon than you might think. And it just is so unwell. I say, if one has to eat Rahmin noodles for a while to get the real thing, that's hardly the end of the world.

Chris Kulczycki said...

David, You must be referring to the later 122 bcd Nervar cranks. The the type of alloy does not affect the flex, only the strength. Those 122 bcd cranks were developed to be lighter than Campy Record cranks, and they were. But, as you say, they are also too flexible for strong racer-types. The old 50bcd cranks that look like the TAs are actually pretty stiff.

dashap said...

I found a pair of Sugino PX cranks on St. John's Cycles website:

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product-Parent-Sugino-PX-touring-triple-chainset-26-38-48-244.htm

Andrew Karre said...

Has anyone given any thought to developing a new "adapteur" (see http://www.classicrendezvous.com/France/TA_main.htm) for TA cranks that would allow them to use 94 BCD rings in a double config?

Might be interesting . . .

Andrew