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What Is Crankset? Everything You Want To Know

What is a crankset, first?

The crankset (in the US) or chainset (in the UK), is a part of a bicycle’s drivetrain that transforms the rider’s leg motion into rotational motion used to drive the chain or belt, which drives the back wheel. It consists of one or more sprockets, also called chainrings or chainwheels attached to the cranks, arms, or crankarms to which the pedals attach.

It is attached to the rider via the pedals, to the bicycle frame via the bottom bracket, and to the rear sprocket, cassette, or freewheel via the chain.

Please continue reading for more information.

What Is Crankset?

The crankset or chainset is a part of a bicycle’s drivetrain that transforms the rider’s leg motion into rotational motion for the chain or belt, which drives the back wheel. The cranks, arms, or crankarms to which the pedals are attached are equipped with one or more sprockets, also known as chainrings or chainwheels. It is connected to the rider via the pedals and bicycle frame via the bottom bracket. It is also connected to the rear sprocket, cassette, or freewheel via the chain.

The Function Of A Good Crankset

A good crankset has many different characteristics. It goes without saying, though, that a “good” crank can sometimes depend on the rider. A crankset is considered a “good crankset” if it meets certain criteria, including those of length, weight, travel distance, convenience, efficiency, and other factors.

The typical range for crankset sizes is 165mm, 170mm, and 190mm.

When a crankset fits the rider’s preferences for a pleasant riding experience, it is good enough. It should also be compatible with the rider’s height, cycling discipline, and style.

For instance, a change in crankset length will definitely influence how pedaling feels and how the saddle fits for the rider, the same way altering the number of teeth on the chainrings makes it either easier or harder to pedal.

While cranksets can be quite generic in nature to fit a variety of bicycles, various bicycles still have unique cranks that are more effective for them.

For instance, the single front chainrings part for mountain bikes are usually attached to the drive-side arm, making it easier to ride on hilly terrains without being clumsy. Most good cranks for this bike also have a better gearing range.

Frontal Drivetrain Anatomy

Crank Arms

The term “cranks” refers to the pair of crank arms. The two crank arms are mounted on either side of each other at 180 degrees to each other, connected by an axle. The axle sits within the bottom bracket.

Steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber are just a few of the materials that are used to make crank arms. Steel cranks are common on older and more basic bicycles. On the other hand, the majority of entry-level to mid-range road and mountain bike cranksets are made of aluminum. High-end cranksets intended for racing are typically the only ones to use lightweight carbon fiber cranks.

Aluminum cranks are thought to be durable, stiff, and light for road and mountain bike use. Most manufacturers will try to lighten their products while keeping them stiff. Some manufacturers prefer hollow crank arms, while others remove extra metal by machining.

FUN FACT: Even on their most expensive models, like the Dura-Ace crankset, the Japanese manufacturer Shimano still firmly believes in the superiority of aluminum cranks. They think that even with aluminum, they can meet the requirements for weight and stiffness.


What you see in front are essentially large sprockets called chargings. With the spaces in the chain fitting in between the teeth around the edge of each chainring, they allow the chain to drive the back wheel.

As is frequently the case with the small and middle rings on mid-range cranksets, these rings are typically made of lightweight aluminum or less expensive steel. These rings are bolted onto a four or five-arm piece called the spider.

The majority of road bikes have a “double,” or two chainrings, up front. The most basic bicycles and touring bikes occasionally have three chainrings up front, or “a triple.” Single-speed bikes and track bikes only have one chainring.

Road bikes frequently have more teeth on the largest ring in front to be used with the smallest ring at the back for maximum speed. The size and number of teeth on the rings will depend on the bike type and riding discipline.

A type of chainring called an oval chainring also exists. The chainring is oval in shape as the name would imply rather than round. But why? To fully comprehend this, watch the video below.

These chainrings are made to balance out the uneven power generated during the pedal stroke. The most benefit comes from road/MTB riders who are extremely powerful but have erratic pedaling, particularly during periods of constant high power delivery, like during sprints and breakaways.

What Is Crankset
What Is Crankset

A Good Crankset Benefits

Chainrings, crank spiders and crank arms make up a bicycle’s crankset (also known as chainset), which connects the bicycle to the pedals. The crankset is fastened to the bicycle frame by a bottom bracket.

Regardless of the kind of bicycle you ride, the following are just a few of the numerous advantages that a better crankset can provide:


A good crankset is comfortable for the rider and does not cause pains and aches in the joints. It fits the rider’s riding requirements and physical characteristics better. A good crankset can make riding more enjoyable for the rider.

Light Weight

In recent productions, good cranksets are made with materials that make them lightweight. Tubular Steel Cranks and Aluminum cranks are made in a way that they are lighter as well as stronger. As a result, these cranks are lighter than they once were.

Recently, THM introduced Carbon Molded Crank, which just weighs 320g (including spider and axle). (Source)

Modern cranks may be a few hundred grams lighter than their vintage counterparts. Furthermore, cyclists who enjoy climbing hills will benefit from a lightweight crankset.


A stiff crankset and chainrings make room for more efficiency as they ensure that the bearings and pedals are well aligned. The bike’s tendency to flex is reduced by a stiff crankset. Furthermore, the force generated by pedaling is converted into power for the chain to a greater extent the stiffer the cranks’ arms are.

Ease Of Pedaling

Pedaling is made simpler by a high-quality, rider-appropriate crankset. Shorter cranks are more advisable to use as they involve a shorter pedaling cycle.

Adjusted Gear Settings

The way the gears shift slightly changes when a crankset is upgraded.

Using a shorter crank improves shifting while a longer crank may make it more difficult.


An effective crankset should be an advancement over previous models. This is apparent in both quality and outward appearance. A good crank upgrade should appear nicer, classier, and sleeker.

How To Select A Quality Crankset?

The kind of crankset you choose will depend on the gear range you require. Cranksets are available in single-, double-, and triple-speed varieties.

However, regardless of your gear needs, here are a couple of rules to help you choose your appropriate crankset:

Body Size

The body size of the rider is taken into account when selecting the best crankset. When choosing a crankset, measurements of the body like height and hip circumference are taken into consideration.

The ideal crankset depends on the body type, and tends to have an arm that appears to be shorter.


The main consideration when selecting a crankset is your level of riding comfort. There is no one size fits all when it comes to comfort; it is relative and up to the rider.

The rider’s joints, knees, and ability to navigate terrain correctly are all impacted by an uncomfortable crankset.

The cranks’ length also needs to be taken into account when evaluating comfort. With a shorter crank, the rider’s pedaling cycle will be shorter, requiring less effort and allowing more room for the joints.


Your choice of cranksets should be influenced by the weight of the crank.

Over the years, cranksets have evolved from the era of heavy metal. Nowadays, aluminum and carbon fiber materials are used to make cranks and these materials result in a lighter end product.

Lighter cranks are easier to ride and more efficient.


A strong crankset may function for thousands of miles before appearing worn or needing replacement.

A crankset’s strength determines how long it will last, and the material it is made of can affect how long it will last. A few cranksets are made of steel, carbon fiber, or aluminum.

Although most modern cranksets forfeit durability for lightweight because of the material they are made from, cranks made from aluminum or steel are stronger and less prone to wear.


While a crank might be comfortable, durable, and fitting, it has to be compatible with the bicycle it is to be assembled with.

Some bike manufacturers only create parts for their own products and some other bikes are also manufactured uniquely to only fit custom parts of the manufacturer.

An incompatible crankset will be inefficient and only cause more problems with the bicycle.

The Ideal Time To Upgrade Is When?

Wear and damages to a crank are sometimes unnoticeable to those who are not looking, however, a crankset in need of a change gives signals. When one of the following occurs, your crankset needs to be changed:

When You Notice Wear: A bicycle’s crankset is a durable component that is frequently ignored. Cranks will eventually wear out, but once they are noticed, they need to be replaced to prevent accidents.

A crankset that has splits, cracks, or other damages should be replaced right away.

Damaged Chainrings: Sharp edges protruding from chainrings indicate damage caused by nature or accident, which needs to be repaired. This is usually referred to as fish teeth.

Aches and Pains: It is not advisable to continue using cranks that cause hip, knee, or other joint pain. Better length replacement cranks are a better option. See more about What Is Wakeboarding?

Should You Use Longer Or Shorter Cranks?

For a variety of personal reasons, some people prefer longer cranks, but shorter cranks are still the best choice.

The appropriate length of a rider’s crankset is relative to a lot of factors. For various body sizes, manufacturers typically use a generic measurement. The installation of cranks on adult and teen bikes is then done using these generalized proportions.

The general measurement does not apply to all of us, though.

Do All Cranksets Work Together?

No, every crankset does not fit every bicycle. Despite the fact that cranksets are currently produced in a similar manner, it is impossible to generalize about their compatibility. Additionally, even cranksets with comparable characteristics can be distinguished by others that are more suitable or compatible.

One important factor to consider when upgrading is how well the new crankset works with the other parts of the bicycle.

Cranks can be compatible with different bottom bracket shells, like the square taper and Shimano Octalink on mountain bikes, and press-fit and external bearings that are on road bikes, as long as the axle has the same diameter and the bottom bracket is compatible with the bike’s frame.

If you check the length of the bottom bracket shell and it is around 68mm or 73mm (it is quite common to come across), it should be compatible.

Furthermore, your chainset ought to be compatible with the rest of its components: your drivetrain, which entails the chain, cassette (rear & front), rear derailleurs, and others.

The End

What crankset is was the post’s main topic.

One of the most crucial components of a bicycle is the crankset, also known as the chainset. It is at the core of the drivetrain and contributes to what makes a bike a bike by being one of the essential elements that helps the chain move as you pedal.

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