15 August, 2007

TA 60th Anniversary Cranks and VO 650B Fenders

The very last of our TA Pro 5 Vis 60th Anniversary cranks have arrived in the US and will be in our shop in a few days. They will be available in sizes from 162.5mm to 175mm. We will sell them at the old price, $225. This is your last chance to get them new. TA assures us that they are permanently out of production now. The only reason we got these is that they didn't get polished with the rest of the production run; yes, they've now polished them for us.

You can e-mail me to reserve a pair. Here is what I wrote about them in an earlier post:

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.

We will also have more, lots more, TA crank decals.

I've also heard that the aluminum 49mm fluted 650b Velo Orange fenders have been made and are waiting to be shipped. we should have them in a couple of weeks. The price will be $35, just like the 700c fenders. I've heard nothing but very positive reports from folks who have already bought the new VO fenders. The more experience I have with them the more I like them. We will also have extra fender hardware available for all models of VO fenders.

That last photo is from Neil B. Thanks.


patrollers said...

What type of bottom bracket does the TA Crank take? I'm tempted by the low q-factor, and might consider this if it uses a modern (and widely available) square taper bottom bracket...

Robert said...

I like the look of those fluted 650b fenders. How wide a tires do you think 49mm fenders accept?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The TA cranks use a regular square taper 115mm to 118mm BB when set up as a double, or about 121mm as a triple.

The 49mm fenders fit 38-40mm tires. My rule of thumb is that the fender should be 8-10mm wider than the tire.

C said...

I can see the issue of the rings flexing under racing conditions but I don't get the part about them being expensive. As crank shapes go, the TA is about the simplest design out there. It's just a solid chunk of aluminum lacking any hard to polish nooks and crannies. Much easier to manufacture than the hollow Shimano cranks or the carbon/alloy cranks from other companies. I just don't get why a simple forged crankset from TA costs so much more. Heck, Sugino has forged cranks that have more intricate designs yet cost less than the TA. What exactly is it about the TA cranks that makes them so expensive??

Chris Kulczycki said...

C, TA is a small company that outsources the forging, then machines and polishes the cranks. Their output is very small compared to the Japanese manufacturers, little economy of scale. And Europe is a more expensive business environment than Japan, more like the US. And TA actually keeps stocks of, even very old, parts. That is rare in Japan where most bike parts are made as they are ordered. Finally, someone has to pay for all that wine and cheese.

C said...

Yeah, I figured a big chunk of it was economy of scale. Maybe VO could get Sugino to bring back their version of the TA crank?

Speaking of wine and cheese, I'm off to Paris in the morning. Know any good shops worth visiting?

JoelMatthews said...

C: The TA's sure are better looking than Shimano or the carbon/alloys.

Mine are coupled with a Phil Wood bottom bracket. Phil was pretty cool (as always) with the process. I had to return the spindle twice because I had trouble getting the right chain line. Folks at Phil were patient and helpful.

If you readers are considering buying a TA crank, I cannot encourage you enough. I am very happy with mine.

C said...

Looks are a matter of opinion. Some find the TA butt ugly. Personally, I like it but then I also like the looks of the Record Carbon. Much in the same way I can appreciate both a Singer and a Cervelo. I don't limit my tastes to one narrow subset.

Tom said...

Good shops in Paris?

I would recommend:

Alex Singer Cycles
53 rue Victor Hugo

Although the address is Levallois-Perret, this is a suburb of Paris. The rue Victor Hugo is between two metro stations, so there is a bit of walking involved in getting to the shop, but it should take no more than about 30 minutes all told from the Gare St Lazare.

Unbeatable atmosphere of a vintage cycle shop! Lots of gorgeous Alex Singer bikes, some old some new, to drool over. Unmissable. As August is holiday month in Paris, it would be worth ringing in advance (0033 1 47 37 42 14) or email (untested - alexsinger@libertysurf.fr) to check that they are open.

If Mr Csuka (the current proprietor) likes you, he will give you a "Cycles Alex Singer" water bottle :-)

Bon voyage!

JoelMatthews said...

C: I guess some may not like the TA.

But then for a while Pam Anderson was the most googled woman on the net.

New Campy's are not for me, but I agree they remain attractive.

If I wanted a modern race set, it would be hard to get by the TA Alize.

Tom: Chris says Alex Singer may be closed. I hope to visit someday, however.

JoelMatthews said...

Singer closed for August that is, not for good or anything.

patrick said...


how d'you think the 650B fenders would work with a 26"/559 tyre?

(or, will you be producing a 26"/559 version of the fenders?)

I am really glad you are making these fenders available and at such a reasonable price.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Patrick, I hope the 650b fenders work with 26" wheels, but I'm not certain they will. I wonder if there is enough of a market for 26" fenders to make a special run. When we stocked 26" Honjos they sold very very slowly.

patrick said...

ok... I will just get a pair of the 650B fenders, and if they don't work on the 26" wheeled bike I will put them on one of the 650s. I bet they will work OK though. thanks!