FSA Carbon Pro Crankset|
Monday, September 20, 1999
OK, I admit it. I'm a carbon fiber junkie. Actually I love all hi-tech materials when it comes to bikes. But despite this zeal for the ultra light, it still took me a while to work up the guts to try a set of carbon cranks.
After a few years of various companies refining their respective offerings, I couldn't resist any more. I chose the FSA Carbon Pro Crankset. While not necessarily the lightest in this elite carbon fiber category, they seemed the most sound, not to mention the best looking.
At first glance, the FSA cranks look like an aluminum crank with a thin carbon outer shell. This, however isn't the case. The pedal and axle lugs are aluminum and connected via a thin piece of aluminum to ensure proper alignment every time. This is then built up with carbon fiber layers in a sandwich structure to ensure optimal strength and stiffness.
Installing the FSA cranks couldn't have been easier. Their exacting design meant my chainline was unaffected making them truly plug and play. Off with the old Shimano cranks, on with the new. If you have a crank puller, and any mechanical aptitude it's a 10 minute worry-free process. Some other cranks can be a major hassle because they change your chainline requiring some difficult adjustments.
At 495 grams they're light. No doubt about that. But in addition to weight, stiffness is another factor in high performance cranks. No complaint here either. The Carbon Pros were noticeably stiffer than both standard forged aluminum cranks and machined cranks. This extra stiffness translates to even more power being transferred to the drivetrain.
Once mounted, they stayed in place and didn't creak or complain. Even after several long rides, a few crashes and slamming the crank arms down onto rocks during pedal strokes, they continue to hold up flawlessly. The Carbon Pros are not only lightweight satisfying the racer heads, but they are also durable satisfying the hardcore rider. This is a rare combination, but a welcomed one.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I give these cranks two big thumbs up. The two blemishes in their otherwise perfect report are price and XTR compatability. At $299 without chainrings and 399 with rings, they ain't cheap. But high performance rarely is. Plus if you have a splined XTR bottom bracket, you're out of luck.
Who is it for?
Weight and/or carbon fiber junkies, racers
Who isn't it for?
Weekend warriors, anyone with an XTR bottom bracket