eeCranks Prototype Road Cranks…Bringing Sweetwings Back

eecycleworks eecrank prototype lightweight road and mountain bike crankset based on sweetwings design

Last week, we talked to eeCycleworks‘ founder Craig Edwards about his redesigned, superlight eeBrakes and he mentioned that he’s working on a set of cranks, too.  Given that he’s basing the design on the notoriously lightweight Sweetwings of old, my curiosity was piqued, so I pulled this photo and some details outta him.

If you’re familiar with the Sweetwings, they were very light (520g with BB!) and very hard to come by.  Back then, the company was undercapitalized, the welding process they used was incredibly difficult and their shallow splined interface and those difficult welds made reliability, well, unreliable.  Craig was co-owner of Sweet Parts, and now he’s taken that experience and refreshed the design to make manufacturing easier, more reliable and every bit as light and good looking.  Oh, and every bit as proprietary.

Sweetwings were one of the first two-piece cranksets on the market, eschewing the square-taper BB.  The non-drive crank was connected to the spindle, which then bolted to the drive-side crank arm.  The new design, dubbed eeCrank, uses the same two-piece design, but with major improvements and an outboard bottom bracket with 35mm ID (inside diameter) bearings…yes, that makes it bigger than BB30, but it fits in standard frames.

There’s lots more to share!  Weights, specs and pricing after the break…

sweetwings-mountain-bike-cranks

The original chromoly Sweetwings crankset.

The new eeCranks are billet aluminum with three holes bored out through the length of the crank.  Craig says the difficult part of this design is carrying the stresses well through the arm into the spider, but he’s not sharing is how he’s overcome it.

The tall spider keeps the chainrings laterally very stiff, which also allows for pretty thin chainrings without compromising performance. In fact, Craig says a prototype of the eeCranks has tested stiffer than all major cranksets available, and pointed us to the test results to prove it.  It uses a proprietary bolt pattern that allows you to run standard or compact gearing using the same spider (with ee’s rings).

For those weary of buying into another proprietary system, the spider is removable, and eeCycleworks will offer it with their spider or optional spiders with bolt patterns for standard rings, followed by “if there’s demand” plans for a compact gearing spider.

Target date is a late Summer launch with a proper introduction at Interbike.  It’ll launch with two chainring set options, 35/50 and 39/53, with a 36/48 set coming for the 2011 ‘cross season.  Oh, and it’ll initially be English thread only, which means yours truly won’t be able to put them on his Pinarello.

QUICK SPECS:

  • Uses 35mm bearings in outboard cups (vs. BB30 at 30mm)
  • Spindle will be 35mm on outer edges and taper at center to fit in standard BB shells
  • For road only with proprietary bolt pattern that allows for both regular and compact rings (170 bolt circle for big and 110 for small)
  • English thread only at launch
  • Price will be somewhere between $600 and $900 depending which spider is ordered and whether chainrings are included. Exact pricing has not been set at this time.
  • Complete set with rings and BB weighs less than 650 grams.
  • Working on “slipfit” 30 / BB30 design for Slipfit 30 / BB30 frames.

Comments

[...] like Craig’s going to really have to bring the lightweight to the party with the new eeCranks to top, er, undercut [...]

[...] To further combat gram creep, Fairwheel used a prototype crankset from Myth’s Rico de Wert that weighs in at an astoundingly light 281.4g with bottom bracket bearings! These saved about 16.6g over the THM Clavicula crankset on Gunter’s build. They look an awful lot like Craig Edwards/eeCycles’ new Sweetwings… [...]

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