Monday, February 27, 2012

GIANT Attraction, Crank-Set Replacement

Hello and Welcome.
Some of you may remember the Giant Attraction restoration I finished back in August of 2011. As it turned-out the original crank that I planned to re-use was bent. At the time the only suitable replacement crank I had on-hand was this generic triple crankset. A crank I suspect was off of Department Store mountain bike. It seemed to work OK, but it just looks kind of trashy. So much so that I pulled it off the market and used it for my part-time rider.
Above: The Giant as it still looks today. (pic from late summer 2011) Every time I look at this old mountain bike the same thought goes through my mind "you really need to replace that God-Awful looking crank-set". So I have decided this would be a good time to make the change. It is still really cold in the shop this time of year. So hopefully I will be able to do some of this work in the house.
Above: The crank is in pretty fair condition. But it definitely could use a good cleaning. So I broke it down so I could get all the hard to reach areas good and clean. Because of the fumes I had to do this part of the job in the shop/garage.
Above: As you can see the chain-ring teeth are coated with a hardened lubricant and sand mixture. I like to use Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish to remove this. It really breaks this stuff down nicely and also leaves a nice finish as well.
Above: Here is the "Computer Designed" BioPace crank-set all cleaned-up and ready for re-assembly. If you look closely you will notice the BioPace chain-rings are not perfectly round. This is for a more natural rotation (that's the "Bio" part) that will maximize your power out-put to the crank / drive-train (that's the "Pace" part). And you know it works because it was "Computer Designed" (: Hey this was "cutting edge stuff" back in the day! Personally I have never noticed a positive or negative effect using this type chain-ring. So basically I have no problem with it.
Above: Since I have ridden this bike less than 50 miles since rebuilding the bottom-bracket approximately 6 months ago, I will not be doing that this time around. That would be "over kill" even for me.
Above: Here I have everything laid out for reassembly. Because this is a BioPace chain-ring set, it is important the it be assembled correctly. What I mean is, being the chain-rings are oval in shape it is important that the rings are in the correct position as they relate to the position of the crank arm. I have marked the peg location on the large chain-ring. The crank-arm must be directly over the pin when I start re-assembly.
Above: First I get the middle chain-ring ready. I have it face-up with the crank bolts (C) "receiver end" in place with the spacer/washers (W) in position.
Above: Here the crank-arm is in the correct position on the large chain-ring with the peg (P) hidden under the crank arm. I have marked the position of the label (Arrow) on the large ring that shows the size or tooth count. (in this case 48) This is important because for the middle ring to be in the correct position the label must a be visible just below the label on the large ring. As all three chain-rings are oval in shape they must all be in the same proper position as it relates to the crank arm to function properly.
Above: Here I have placed the large chain-ring over the middle ring with the chain-ring bolts (CRB) inserted in the corresponding holes on the large ring. I have marked the labels on the pic to show how both rings are in the same position. Now it gets a little tricky. As I insert the male end of the bolts for tightening I have to try to keep the whole thing together. I will loose a few spacers and crank-bolts in the process. But it is ok because I can replace them as I go. The main thing is that the rings are in the proper position.
Above: Here is one where I have lost the receiver end of the bolt and the washer/spacer. No big deal I just slide the washer back into place, I use an Allen wrench or small screwdriver to move it into position. When the spacer/washer is in place, I just insert the receiver bolt in through the bottom. And hold it in place while I start threading the chain-ring bolt in place from the top.
Above: Here I have inserted the receiver bolt in through the bottom of the middle chain-ring. Also through the spacer/washer and the large ring. Now I am ready to thread in the chain-ring bolt from the top. I will only put these in snug not too tight. Too tight and it might be tough to replace any other washer/spacers that fall out.
Above: Once I have snugged all the chain-ring bolts in place I am ready to flip the crank over and install the smallest chain-ring. Again I need to make sure I have the small chain-ring in the proper position. The label should face outwards and line -up with the labels on the two larger chain-rings. Notice I have marked the order in which I snug then tighten the chain-ring bolts. This method makes sure everything goes on straight and does not warp or bend. This ring is simple to install, it has no spacers or washers and the crank arm has threaded holes for the chain-ring bolts to screw into.
Above: Here you can see that all three chain rings are in the proper position. When I tighten up the medium and large rings I use the same method I used on the small chain-ring. Just don`t work in a circle when tightening the bolts. Tighten one, then tighten the one directly across (or as directly across as possible) again this makes sure everything is straight and prevents warping. I like to use a very small pocket ratchet for bicycle work, this helps prevent over tightening.
Above: When doing the final tightening on the chain-ring bolts for the two large rings sometimes it was necessary to hold the receiver end in place with a screwdriver. A short wide slotted driver works best. Just pretend my other hand is on the ratchet, my volunteer photographer was out shopping. You could probably do this step with the crank-set standing in a vise. If you do, make sure you use two small pieces of wood to protect the crank-arm from being scratched by the vise. And only tighten it enough to hold it in place.
Above: Here is the triple chain-ring all cleaned-up and ready to be installed on the GIANT Attraction.
Above: Here I am back on the first floor (my wife does not like me calling it the basement) using my "one cent" dust-cap removal adapter on the Giant Attraction. It was cold and damp today, so this is a real treat working in the house.
Above: First order of business is to remove the pedalS. For this I am using a "Gear Wrench" 15mm open-end / box wrench. The Gear Wrench`s have a typical open-end wrench on one end and a ratcheting box wrench on the other. I have the straight ones with "no lever". Which means when I want to change rotation direction I have to pop the wrench off and flip it over. I really like this design, less moving parts / less chance of failure.
Above: Here I am using a 14mm 6 point socket to remove the crank arm retainer nut.(rightey tightey / lefty loosey) Actually I should remove the chain first. To take the chain off the chain-ring. First shift to the smallest (rear) sprocket. (stop the rear wheel first) Now with my left hand I grab the rear derailleur by the bottom of the jockey wheel frame and pull it forward. This takes the tension off the chain so I can now slip the chain off the chain-ring with my right hand and let it rest on the bracket housing.
Above: I talk about this a lot. Using the right socket for the nut or bolt head. It is a 14mm socket. But it is also a six point socket to match the six point nut. This greatly reduces your chance of rounding off the nut. Look closely and you can see this socket is ready to be replaced. A couple of the points (inside the socket) have round-off badly.
Above: Here I have threaded the crank removal tool into the crank. I always start threading this in by hand to ensure it is not cross threaded. You may need a wrench to screw it all the way in. Do not over tighten this, when you feel it is all the way in Stop. You should feel it bottom out when it is in far enough. It is normal to have some threads exposed when it is threaded in all the way.(see pic)
Above: Now I turn the tool clock wise using the blue handle. This handle is basically welded to the end of a threaded post. As I turn it clock-wise the post threads inward through the hollow threaded nut part of the wrench. (the part I screwed into the crank) As it does it will contact the threaded end of spline. As I continue to turn the wrench it forces the crank off the tapered end of the bracket/spline. You will need to hold the crank arm so the crank does not spin when you are turning the wrench. This is why I like the Sun-Lite wrench better. On the Sun-Lite wrench the handle is not welded into place. I can re-set it to the best position to hold both the wrench and the crank arm at the same time. Now most of the time this does not really matter. But when you get a "stuck crank" that has rusted onto the tapered bracket/spline it matters a lot. I don`t want to get any hate mail from Park Tool lovers. Hey! PARK makes lots of great tools and stands etc. But in this case, I think the Sun-Lite wrench is a much better design.
Above: Once the post part of the removal tool has worked it's magic, the crank will slide right off the bracket/spline easily. Now you will need a wrench to remove the tool from the crank. This is why I said "do not over tighten it" when you thread it into the crank.
Above: Before installing the new crank I wipe off the tapered spline and smear just a very light coat of grease on it.
Above: Here I have slid the new crank into place and am threading the retainer nut onto place on the threaded end of the tapered bracket/spline. The crank will not slide on all the way. (if it does it`s too big)
Above: Here I am tightening the retainer nut which pulls the crank tightly onto the tapered spline. I have changed ratchets to a smaller one that does not require an adapter. I like to keep the set-up as short as possible it helps me keep the socket tightly in place while tightening the nut. And the smaller ratchet prevents me from applying too much torque. If you want, a little blue thread-lock on the threads is always a good idea too.
Above: Here I am removing the pedal from the opposite (left) side. I want to run this through the gears and the pedal is hitting the stand. I will turn the bike around on the stand before I replace the left side crank arm.
Above: A couple of quick adjustments to the derailleur and it is good to go! I am lucky here. The derailleur is big enough to accommodate the up and down motion of the chain is it passes through the derailleur. This vertical motion of the chain is caused by the oval shape of the chain-rings.
Above: Now I pop on the dust cap, and I think it is looking really good! Time to turn the bike around on stand and change the left crank-arm and re-install the pedal.
Above: So there you have it. I think this crank set is a huge improvement over the generic p.o.s. department store crank I had on it before. This is a very a comfortable bike for me to ride. I think I am going to swap the saddle for the one on the Specialized FS. It has a new WTB "Speed V Comp" saddle. One of my all time favorites. It is supposed to warm-up again real soon. I can`t wait to try this out with the new crank-set and the WTB saddle as well.
Above: I snapped a few shots with the Ze'Fal light flashing. Not bad of a light set under 20.00 US. Well fellow bicycle lovers that about does it for now. I know I got into way to much unnecessary detail for some of you more experienced mechanics. But I have to assume some of the people who view this will be doing this for the first time. So thanks for your patience. I`m running late for "coffee break" so See You Soon. Ride Safe and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!!


  1. Thank you, Hugh. I enjoy your DIY approach.

    1. Thanks Annie,
      I appreciate the kind words.
      Cheers, Hugh

  2. Hey Hugh! I've been buying some Sun-Lite stuff as well. Their chain whip was substantially less than the Park model and let's face it, a chain whip ain't that high tech. Also the LBS stocks their tubes and other small bits. I only heard of them last year.

    That Giant came out fine. Fear not: the warm weather will be here soon enough.

    1. Hey Tim Joe,
      I agree a chain-whip "is what it is". Here is a real quick price check. Park chain-whip at tree fort bikes 27.45
      " " Sun Lite 10.98
      " " 3/32 Avenir 11.95
      " " 1/8 Avenir 9.97
      Does it really does make sense to spend more than you have to for a chain-whip?
      I think not.
      About the Giant, Thanks I think it looks good too. And I hope you are right about the warm weather being here soon.
      I really should not complain as we have had a very mild winter. Thanks again.
      Cheers, Hugh

      P.S. On E Bay bike-man-for-you has a five in one chain-whip that is pretty cool.

  3. Hugh the before and after of the bio pace crank is a testimony to Mothers and your workshop Magic. Wow. And the Giant looks even better with that gleaming silver crank-set Chapeau! I notice that Nashbar has the WTB Rocket V (Brown) on sale for $20 bucks by the way, since you mentioned liking their saddles.

    1. Thanks Ryan,
      I think I just received that Nashbar catalog a few days ago. The WTB brown saddle looks pretty cool. And you are correct I really do think WTB is one of "if not the most" comfortable saddles I have ever ridden. Although I am not a long distance rider. As my uncle pointed out, The WTB Speed V comp might me "a bit wide in the nose" for some.
      The best looking cheap brown saddle I have ever seen is the CHARGE Brown Spoon Saddle. I have not seen them offered lately. And I think the price had gone up substantially the last time I found one "in stock".
      I am glad to hear the positive response I have been getting about the Giant. But there is no magic. A good restoration is just 20% debt and 80% sweat.
      Thanks again, Cheers

  4. Trust me Hugh I spend more time than I care to admit looking at restored bikes on the web and in person and yours gleam brighter than most. As they say "the whole is more than the sum of its parts" and somewhere in the equation there is at least 5% magic generated by your hard work and eye for detail ;-)

    1. Plus he knows how to ride a unicycle.

    2. Hey Ryan,
      I could have used some magic today. I was removing a cotter pinned crank. All was going well. The pins came out almost too easily. Then the crank would not slide-off the bracket spindle. After trying the WD40 with no success. I thought No problem I have a puller that should do the trick.
      I stripped the threads on the puller trying to get this crank from (you know where) to break loose.
      I found a piece of threaded rod and repaired the puller. Stripped that sucker too. So I hooked up a cutting wheel to my new DeWalt drill. That sucker is off there now. LTMS..... Some days are better than others!

    3. Oh Man sometimes I think that Cottered Cranks are like Zen Koans, meant for contemplation but not meant to be solved.

      "...Some days are better than others.." Wise words brother, wise words.

      I am guessing that you experienced a similar satisfaction with your DeWalt Drill that I did with a large hammer and punch removing an, already ruined, cottered crank in July..."Oh yeah? take that!!" ;-)

    4. Hey Ryan,
      Yeah those cotter cranks can be a real test of your patience. This one was "really strange" as the pins came out easily. Then I went to pull off the crank and it came about 1/3 off and locked-up. Mind you I had sprayed the pin holes with WD40 after removing the retainer nuts. Anyway after destroying my very cheap puller I as able to cut the bracket spline behind the crank. Then I laid the crank on the vise and tapped out the remaining piece of the bracket spindle using an old bolt and a ball-pein hammer. It only took one good hit. So the crank and arms are ok. The only loss was the old bracket spline or axle. I figure the spline was deformed in some way anyway. So no real loss except for my cheap puller. I must say
      I remained fairly calm through the ordeal.
      In my younger days they would have pulled the women and kids off the streets and called the sheriff. LTMS.
      Maybe someday I`ll tell you all The weed-whacker story.

  5. I am AMAZED at how many Biopace cranks remain around - including those giveaway stickers.

  6. Hey Steve,
    I agree. I never knew the BioPace crank was ever "that popular" until I started repairing and restoring older bikes.

  7. Beach cruiser prices have escalated to an outrageous price these last few years and together the founders realized there had to be a way to make things more affordable.

    bike grips

  8. i have lost my spacers washers and dont no what size they are there free spiders to the crank if that make any sense


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