The Best Single Speed Cranksets: Road & Track Bikes
Best Single Speed Cranksets: Reviews
If you're building up a fixed gear bike, you're probably aware of the many different parts and brands that go into each bike build. In order to maximize your riding experience, it's very important that you pick one of the best single speed cranksets out there. Figuring out exactly what that means, however, can be a difficult thing.
There are many different brands and styles you'll run into out there. You'll find fixed gear cranksets, single speed cranksets, parts that look suitable and parts that you're entirely unsure of. There's also a lot of conflicting information about what you need and what will actually fit the bike frame and accessories you currently have.
This article is meant to help anyone who is building up a fixed gear bike, and wants a little bit of help tracking down the best single speed cranksets in order to make a choice. We'll take a look at some of my favorite single speed and fixed gear cranks on the market today, giving a brief review of each one and offering the pros and cons. I'll also touch on what you should look for, and what constitutes as unnecessary 'fluff', so you can make an informed choice. Let's get started!
Finding a Great Single Speed Crankset: - Things to watch out for, good and bad.
There are some things you'll want in a fixed gear crankset, and some things you'll want to avoid. Here are a few suggestions to help keep you on the right path and find something that will last.
- Avoid 'No Name' Brands:
I'm not exactly a big brand enthusiast, and I'm usually pretty open-minded. That said, in the world of single speed crank sets, I know that it's really easy to be burned by going with an unknown company. The thing is, there are a lot of bicycle parts manufacturers. The vast majority are in China or Taiwan. That isn't a bad thing in itself. However, unknown brands can tend to cut corners. Cheap metal quality, inconsistent finish work, it all adds up to a higher likelihood of a part failing.
- Be Aware of Tooth Count:
Each crank has a different chainring tooth count (that's the number of little teeth the chain hooks onto). This is one of the biggest factors in how your bicycle rides. Going up by a few teeth can make a bike a lot harder to pedal uphill, or a lot faster on straight stretches. I'd look for single speed cranksets that match what you currently have and like. Smaller chainrings are better for hilly regions, and vice versa for flatter areas. My personal 'go to' ratio is around 16 or 17 teeth on the back cog, and 42 to 44 teeth on the front chainring. It's a great ratio for handling the occasional hill.
- Buy the 'Set', Not Individually:
Unless you're positive it'll work, I don't recommend buying cranks piecemeal (meaning one single side). Each set is meant to work in tandem. The crank arm length, for example, is the same. If it's different, you'll notice it. Some cranks slot into the bottom bracket differently, meaning that if you get mismatched arms, they can end up at right angles to each other (makes it pretty difficult to pedal!). Get a matching single speed crankset and you'll be a lot happier.
Retrospec Fixed-Gear / Single-Speed Road Bicycle Crankset
A good 'fixie' crankset in multiple colors
The Retrospec Fixed Gear Crankset is a wonderful option for someone seeking to put together a good fixie build and save some money without compromise. It's also great if you're seeking to upgrade a road bike's drivetrain.
In any event, this one is a nice choice because it combines a light aluminum alloy single speed crank set with a steel chainring. It's a good combination because it makes the chainring a bit more durable. It's a three-piece crankset, and it comes in 44, 46 and 48 teeth.
As mentioned before, I'd run a smaller front chainring if you expect to ride in a hilly area.
Origin8 Square Top Track - Single Speed Bicycle Crankset
A classic looking fixed gear crank set, strong and light
This Origin8 Track Crankset is a really popular seller for a reason. It's got a certain classic look to it that works so well with vintage inspired builds or fixies built up from classic road bikes converted to single speed.
This one has a 46 tooth chainring, which is a good all-around crank for riding around town. It's made out of forged aluminum alloy, which makes it as strong and light as you can expect to find. You should also check out Origin8's other cranks for sale; they're a solid brand that's newer to the game but building a great reputation.
Sugino RD2-Messenger Single Speed Crank Set
Sugino cranks are high quality and attractive
One of the most popular cranksets in the fixed gear bike realm is the Sugino Messenger series. These attractive cranks are light, strong and match well with most modern and classic builds.
They are built from anodized aluminum alloy for a subtle and unique finish, and they work with the square taper bolt in most modern bottom brackets used on fixed gear bikes. As you can probably gather, they're pretty darn light.
This particular one has a 44T chainring, which is a good all-around tooth count for city or suburban riding.
FSA (Full Speed Ahead) Gimondi Single Speed Crankset
A high-end aluminum road / fixie crank set
FSA stands for 'full speed ahead', and they're one of the higher end producers of single speed crank sets today. A lot of more expensive fixie builds will utilize an FSA drivetrain, and they've garnered great reviews and a solid reputation over the years.
This is called the Gimondi, and it's made from 7075 forged aluminum alloy. This one is absolutely beautiful with a combination of silver, a black chainring and gold bolts. Like most good cranks, it has a full factory warranty should you run into any issues with it.
It's really light at only 639 grams, and it has a 42 tooth chain ring.
Big Roc Tools Lasco Single Speed Crank Set
A relative unknown, a good bargain
The Rig Roc Tools Lasco is a great crankset for fixed gear bikes because it offers a nicely manufactured crankset and chainring with a low entry price point. There are a lot of colors available, so you can choose based on the style of your ride.
The whole thing is forged alloy, with the arms themselves being 6061 aluminum, and the chainrings being stamped. It comes with a 48T chainring, which is a good ratio if you like to ride in a less hilly area or enjoy a higher top end speed.
These cranks are made overseas in Taiwan, but the quality seems pretty good and there are good reviews.
Other Cranksets for Fixed Gear Bikes:
Here are some other cranks you might want to think about as you search around. If you end up buying online you'll probably realize some savings, but I do understand the desire to see a part up close and in person, so you can also approach your local bike shop with a list of cranks you like and see if they have them in stock.
Wheelsets, Pedals, Gear & Accessories.
Here are some things you might be hunting for if you're after cranksets for a fixed gear bike. If you're putting together a custom built bike from scratch, I suggest making a big list of the parts you'll need and working through them as you order. If you're not sure exactly what you'll need, go to a bike shop and pick their brain a bit, they will help you compile a proper list.