|The best crank set format ever made.|
Now days, things are not at all like that. This was the genesis of the discussion I was having yesterday with Grannygear, via messenger. First, I have to say that in all my years of knowing Grannygear, it has been a joy to be able to have differing viewpoints AND have a civil discussion about it. Trust me, Grannygear and I don't always agree on things. But when we discuss our ideas, we are both respectful to one another, we listen, we consider, and then, as in many cases, one or the other of us, (and sometimes both of us!) change our tune a little bit.
Anyway, I had to share that because, not to brag on us, but it is something sorely missing in today's communications. We could do with a LOT more of that sort of "getting along". But anyway.....
The crank thing! Right then.... Okay, so we were discussing gearing, specifically for gravel travel, and we both had different ideas of what that should look like for both of us. Which, after a bit of thought on the matter, turned into a revelatory thought. That being that the bicycle manufacturers, specifically parts manufacturers, have us pigeonholed into niche groups. They are trying to come up with multiple gearing solutions for smaller pieces of the pie that are demanding different things from their bicycles. The other thing is that, while doing the solution in the form of parts, the manufacturers have developed niche standards, not cross-compatible with others. This has led to much consternation on the part of riders who often are left with a compromised set up because they cannot customize their gearing to their individual needs and for where they live and how they ride.
|Not that square taper cranks are better, but the 110/74BCD format was better.|
I picked on the old 110/74BCD crank as being reflective of a time when gearing wasn't proprietary to a certain style of cycling or specific manufacturer of parts. That bolt circle diameter, and arguably the 94/58 as well, were the epitome of cross-compatibility and customization of gearing. You could get a double or triple chain ring set up and then combine that with almost any combination of chain rings. Go nuts. Do weird jumps, half-step gearing, wide, bail-out grannys, or even just one gear. A few stock crank sets could cover almost anything the cycling world put out.
Arguably, we could have that today as well. 4 bolt, five bolt arms, cartridge bottom bracket, adjustable chain line, pipe spindle bottom brackets, I don't care, just pick one type, make it 110/74 BCD, and then 11/12 speed compatible and let's get on with this. No one would complain a bit because you could set your bicycle up in about a 100 different ways to accommodate anyone's gearing needs. But what we don't need is arguing over what chain ring sizes are "gravel" and what ones are not. That is stupid and ignores the real issue at hand, which is the proprietary nature of what the component manufacturers have to offer us. It didn't used to be so much that way, and it shouldn't be now either.