Tag Archives: Cranks

How not to remove the crankset from your bike #cycling

Mistakes are easy and knowing issues and trying to use them to your advantage isn’t a good idea either.

The mistake

I forgot to grease my pedal threads when I last put pedals on bluebell. This plus steel, aluminium and salt water (two winters worth) meant the pedals are welded on. The Internet says heating the cranks will break the seal, but it might damage the threads. Seems like I’m unlikely to fix them, but I thought I’d take them off and try.

The misuse of known issues

For the same reason as above, it’s advisable to grease the bottom bracket spindle else getting cranks off can be tricky. I initially had a problem with the left crank coming loose, so, I thought I’d clean off the grease in a hope it would bind on better. The real solution would have been to put more force on tightening the crank bolts. Anyway, as a result, the blasted crank wouldn’t come off.

Where it all went wrong

Having the tools for a job is all good and well, but sometimes one can overdo it, put too much force on something and watch your dreams shatter in front of you. What did I break?
The crank puller / removal tool, not only that, I also destroyed (stripped) the thread on the crank, thus destroying chances of removing it.

The plan to fix it

I figured the crankset was done for, so remove the crank somehow, replace crankset with a recently acquired crankset (that was being thrown away) put on other used spare pedals I had lying around (boxes of junk), didn’t even steal then from one of my other bikes!

Step 1

Hacksaw, not much room for it, a bit nervous about the frame, but got a chunk off….
Still unresponsive to my hammer, wiggling etc.

Step 2

Drill plus HSS drill bits, started small (nervous) then once through up sized the drill bit to cut through. Great care was taken not to drill the steel spindle. Of course steel is harder than aluminium, but being careful was key (since I hadn’t been earlier). This worked a treat, wedging a claw hammer in the gap broke the seal and freed the crank. He’s the crank and the sheared off crank removal tool:
A closeup on the crank:
Phew, glad it’s over with.

The lessons

  • Grease it up
  • Forcing it will only break it
  • Keep boxes of junk lying around just in case

Of course I would recommend that most people don’t do this, take it to a bike shop and get their help.

Bluebell is up and running and a crank removal tool is on the shopping list.


Introducing Rudy the RANS Fusion ST with a Rohloff Speedhub #cycling

Meet Rudy:
Named after the dinosaur in Ice Age 3.
You will notice he is a crank forward style bicycle which makes you feel a bit gangster as you cruise along. Rudy is a RANS Fusion ST (step through), the RANS Cruz is very similar, but has curved tubing. Rather than the normal derailleur gears, he’s kitted out with a mint condition Rohloff Speedhub. I’ve written about my other Rohloff before, that one is old and well used, this one is barely used, newer (hence lower friction seals) and is a fancy red colour. I bought Rudy as a complete bike second hand (but barely used) and I made a couple of changes, but nothing massive.

Introductions over, let’s go through some of the issues he had.

Notice anything wrong here?
Yes, the blocks are on the wrong sides 20130202-153615.jpg
But that is not all, notice anything here?
Yes, the pads were for different blocks and didn’t fit properly on one side. Closer inspection and the left and right are different, might be a manufacturer trying to prevent generic inserts being used as replacements
Anyway, I swapped them for a different set and all is well
Notice the bit of gaffer tape on the rim, I use that to toe-in my pads if I’m not feeling dexterous or i’m not having much luck at the time.
The second one shows Rudy is covered in road filth already – from the first test ride – mudguards are on the shopping list.

Next one, notice anything wrong?
Yes, apart from the colour of the pedal, it is on the wrong side, which leads to the pedals loosening as you ride and eventually falling off. Why’s that? Check this
Yep, they are a LHS crankset! Doh!

The fitted chain tensioner (required because of length of chain and no eccentric bottom bracket) was rubbish, fortunately I had a decent one i picked up second hand from eBay a while back, so I fitted that
It’s far better and meant I could fit a standard triple chainring and manually choose a chainring (should I want to)
Those are 152mm cranks so my midget wife can comfortably spin without hurting her knees.
All this of course meant I needed to extend the chain slightly
Can you spot the shiny new KMC X8 quick links joining it? I hope there will be enough chain remaining for the donor chain to fit Bluebell, hopefully nothing wasted. Worth mentioning, I like KMC chains, though the quick links are anything but unless you use a pair of pliers.

That’s it pretty much, a few other accessories fitted and I was cruising in style (or as close to it as I get).

I’ve since tweaked a few more things, snapped the mirror off, fitted a new one, etc. The wife took a quick test ride today and the summary of her thoughts:

  • seat is comfortable
  • both feet can touch the floor at once
  • knees aren’t too high, so no knee strain
  • gears change without fuss
  • great gear range and very low bottom gear
  • no pressure / strain on hands, wrists or shoulders
  • it’s cool and different
  • I didn’t feel as stupid as I thought I might
  • I try not to think about how much it cost