18 April, 2007

Late Breaking News from France


A couple of exciting developments, at least for me:

The TA factory might still have some Pro-5-Vis cranks stashed away. We are trying to get all we can. They confirm that these are the last of them, forever. But they will continue to make chainrings for them!

We will have NOS Belleri Randonneur handlebars in a few days. Now you can have real French Randonneur bars on you French style bike. And these are not some left-over narrow sizes, but proper 44cm wide bars for big Americans.

We'll also have two more shapes of NOS city bars from France.

I am working to get 0.2mm shims. Can you guess what those are for?

11 comments:

Michael S said...

.2 mm shims must be for a seatpost. Which one? I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

.2 mm shims. For stems? Why? French stems never need shims in my experience. Besides you can use a beer can shim if necessary.

Chris Kulczycki said...

You are actually right. But there are people who worry about that .2mm. Beer cans? You must drink that foreign beer. American beer cans are SAE sized.

Andrew said...

Why is it that TA don't want to make the Pro 5 Vis anymore? Is there that little demand for it? I think it's a fantastic crank - light, low Q, endless variety of ring combinations...

james said...

There could be any number of reasons why TA wants to stop making the Pro 5. One would be modernization, or I suppose I should say contemporization. The Pro 5 is based on a 80 year old design, the stronglite from the early 30s. It doesnt work well with modern front derailluers, bigger ring sizes bend eventually (not a problem, if like me you dont ride a bigger front ring than a 46 or 48), there is an unjust but still prevalent stigma about high profile cranks and heel clearance.
Popular thought also has longer spindles out of fashion, 'heavier' 'flexier' not as availible. The hardware is expensive and proprietary. A 30 dollar crank puller, anouther 25 for chainring bolts, more for dust caps, pedal washers, crank bolts. The endless variety of rings is pricey to make. I say all this as an avid fan, mind you. But corporations dont operate on fan loyalty. Case in point, campy's recent move away from square taper. Also, the forging dies for the TA could be wearing out. Those are super expensive to replace. If the crank is generating under X amount of dollars per year, it would be a hard desision to spend 100,000 dollars on a new set of dies. Remember, TA also had a great crank in the Zephyr, perhaps an even better crank. Low Q, smarter hardware and rings, stronger forging, great looks. The Zephyr is gone too, a victim of low profile cranks and cheap anodizing.

Help is perhaps on the way though. Sugino's Corpsea cranks are really nice zephyr copies. Sugino has a rudimentary pro 5 copy, but they have proven they could do a nice copy. The Japanese seem to rescue us from these things.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I found out that TA does not do their own forging, but contracts it out. I wonder if this has anything to do with the decision to discontinue cranks that sell in smaller numbers. They do their own machining and rarely seem to discontinue machined components like chainrings.

Also, the Sugino PX, the TA copy, is out of production. But my set is gorgeous and not at all crude.

Also, while the Zephyr was nice, it could not be used as a wide range double. That's a huge advantage of the Pro 5. And they do give you the dust caps and washers with the cranks, but not the bolts.

I've been thinking about stocking the Cospea, maybe the version with outboard bearings; we need to have at least a couple of modern components.

Anonymous said...

Cranks like the Zephyr and the Suxino XD where the fifth spider arm is hidden behind the crankarm are, IMO, ugly. The Cospea is much more elegant but I don't see a need for outboard bearings on your site - I cannot imagine many folks who source components here would have much interest in outboard bearings.
Chris, if you could convince Sugino to make a run of Cospea cranks as wide range doubles, that would be something!

Johnson said...

By crude, I meant they arnt as low Q, have a thicker profile, lack the side indentation that is a Pro 5 hallmark.
I think the white industries design maybe the smartest out there. It uses proprietary stuff, sure, but the big ring is super stiff, and you can run down to a 22 tooth granny. Decently low q, good finish, made in america. Cheaper than the pro 5 too.

C said...

"there is an unjust but still prevalent stigma about high profile cranks and heel clearance."

Huh?? Judging by the worn off logos on most of my cranks I'd say it's a pretty legitimate concern for some of us! Straight crank arms don't work so well for some of us duck-footed freaks.

Johnson said...

if worn off logos is the worse thing that happens w/ hi pro cranks...

in other news, all of my lo pro cranks have worn logos, and all of high pros dont, which i attribute at least partially to lower q.

Andrew said...

I have a Zephyr on one of my bikes and it's a very nice crank. So I was piqued when the Cospea was mentioned. But on closer inspection... the smallest size is 165mm. Still too long for my tastes (I prefer a 155 or 160). No one seems to match TAs range of ring or crank length sizes. Maybe that's why they seem to be a bit of a marginal company these days?