EB14: Single Speed Kit in a Box with Thomson’s Crate Motor, Thomson Ti Bikes, more

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (15)

When you think of Thomson you probably envision stems, seat posts and maybe handlebars at this point. But with Thomson’s latest project, you might just be left thinking single speed drivetrain. In addition to the components themselves, the concept for how the single speed parts will be sold would be unique to Thomson. Creatively named the Crate Motor concept, Thomson’s marketing manager David Parrett envisions the entire single speed drive train to be sold in a single box. That would include the forthcoming Thomson crank, bottom bracket, bash guard, true single speed chain ring, chainring bolts, chain, their new single speed cog system with 2 ratios, clear acrylic cassette body spacers, and a lock ring for somewhere around $700.

Of course, the parts would be available separately as well including the new single speed crank. Why would Thomson make a crankset? Part of the idea is to offer a cohesive single speed drivetrain package that also just happens to match the rest of their components. It’s also a chance for Thomson to do some interesting things with the design like coating the crank arms in Keronite instead of anodizing them. The Keronite coating not only wears better than anodizing but doesn’t effect the total part’s shelf like anodizing. Other touches will include a nickel plated spindle, steel helicoil inserts for the pedals, and standard 104 BCD. Some details are still yet to be worked out, but Thomson plans to have the forgings done in Taiwan with the machining done in the US.

The other big part of the Crate Motor is the new single speed cog system. Aluminum. Steel. It has it all…

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (14)

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (9) Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (1)

When it comes to single speed cogs, aluminum cogs with wide bases are ultimately the best for the sake of your freehub body. Steel on the other hand is usually better for the cog’s teeth themselves thanks to the added durability. Thomson’s single speed cog kit combines the two with a the added ability to switch out gear ratios with an allen wrench instead of a lockring wrench and chain whip.

The aluminum spider slides onto the freehub body just as any other single speed cog. Attached to that is a steel cog that is angled to emulate the design language of most disc rotors and held in place with 4 small bolts. This would allow riders to remove the wheel and switch out the cog only with an allen wrench which could be beneficial depending on the situation.

Crate Motors will likely be available in either 32, 34, or 36t chainrings while the rear sprockets will range from 16-22 t in both even and odd. Retail for the single speed cog kit alone with 2 ratios is planned for $99. It’s important to point out that these parts are still very much prototypes, but should provide a pretty solid idea of the final designs.

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (3)

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (4)

In other Thomson news, the 100mm Thomson dropper posts are now available, coming in at 495g without the remote and cable. David says there will be a cartridge retrofit available to make current 5″ posts into a 4″ post, but at a cost for the service.

Thomson has also confirmed that they are playing with designs for a road/gravel dropper which they plan to co-launch with a new titanium gravel bike.

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (6) Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (5)

Still some 6-9 months out, Thomson is working on a new road setback seat post design that will provide 25mm of offset. It will first be offered in 27.2 and 31.6 with plans for aluminum and carbon.

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (7)
We’re told the new 40mm X4 Thomson stem will probably be the shortest the company will offer. Still about 90 days out the stubby stem will finish out the line.

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (13) Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (10)

You may have already seen the details here, but yes Thomson has a small line of branded titanium bikes they designed that are made by Lynskey. Currently limited to a 27.5 hard tail and a 29er single speed hard tail, the frames are all designed with better than average mud clearance (think 2.4″ tire with plenty of room) 44mm head tubes, 73mm threaded bottom brackets, and a totally bitchin’ head tube badge.

Sold as a complete for $5800 or frame kit which includes Frame, stem, bar of choice, headset, seatpost collar, covert seatpost, and Thomson branded WTB saddle for $2800. To Thomson, the bikes represent what they are looking for in a bike while blending a number of US made parts from both Georgia and Tennessee.

Thomson single speed drive train cog spacer crank crate engine ti frame setback seatpost  (8)

 

Comments

Seraph - 08/27/14 - 7:12pm

Now this might be just me, but those cranks look just like older non-OCT Truvativ Stylo and Firex cranks. They also look forged, which is a little bit disappointing to see from Thomson.

Heathen - 08/27/14 - 7:14pm

2008 called and it want its Stylo cranks back.

Chad - 08/27/14 - 7:34pm

25mm set back Thomson road seatpost, finally!

Ventruck - 08/27/14 - 7:34pm

Was waiting to see something new about the setback post. Meh, can’t really say I’m a fan of the slimmer profile up top. Nice to know the brand has looked to expanding their offerings though.

Smokestack - 08/27/14 - 7:55pm

Forging is the way to go for most all components, with a bit of machine work to take the forged object to pure shape. I rode billet cranks back in the 90s and I can justify the forging process to me, especially a cold forged process resulting in as close to the finished shape as possible. I remember the headaches the OG Race Face Turbines, Kooka, and Caramba cranks caused me, the rides shortened and missed. I remember the warranty calls. Only shame is that there aren’t any cost competitive US forgers. I think I get Thomson’s line of thought at least a little bit. What companies have the ability to cold forge bike parts on a small production level scale domestically? None. Bummer, but at least they’re overseeing the finish and assembly of the final product in the States.

dave - 08/27/14 - 8:07pm

bummer the tubing and small parts for the frame are made in china

Adam - 08/27/14 - 8:22pm

Wow…only $200 for a single speed conversion! What a bargain.
Is the whole single speed thing really still relevant enough to warrant thought? Now that there are a lot of options from a slew of great companies in 2x, 1x and yes even ss does anyone even care about this offering?

Aaron - 08/27/14 - 8:28pm

Thomson, I love you guys and your products, stoked on more bike parts being made available, but if “Made in the USA” is only in quotes anymore… It’s just not as cool. I’m sure other riders can agree. Figure out a way to source the materials locally. People will pay for that.

Brattercakes - 08/27/14 - 8:31pm

This bike just made me go from six to midnight…

Marshall - 08/27/14 - 10:29pm

(deleted)

why, WHY - 08/27/14 - 10:29pm

(deleted)

cole - 08/27/14 - 10:34pm

Dear Thomson, for your next move please take the inductive step and make a CVT. Don’t stoop to the discrete gear nonsense! Then you can get around to making your FS frame with the CVT as a mid drive. and maybe belts.

PR - 08/27/14 - 11:31pm

Dear Thomson, for your next move, please ignore what cole is talking about.

Eric.NM - 08/28/14 - 12:12am

@ Seraph: it’s not just you. I looked over the picture three times before I realized that the cranks were Thomson branded! I totally thought they were Firex or older (non-OCT) Stylo’s! I am not kidding.

To Thomson: “D’oh!”

Ben - 08/28/14 - 12:36am

Thomson shouldn’t be judged too harshly for choosing to have forgings done in Taiwan; that’s the nature of modern industry. Cycling components only constitute part of their business, and, with their involvement in aerospace, I’m willing to bet that it’s not the biggest or most important part.

That being said, I’d be curious to know why they couldn’t go with, for example, Cerro Fabricated Products, or a similar company.

Anybody from Thomson care to comment?

Troy Junge - 08/28/14 - 12:41am

Great news on the set-back seatpost. On a 60 cm road frame that is the minimum amount required. Happy to help you evaluate and test it in real life conditions.

Michael - 08/28/14 - 12:53am

Does anyone else think their crank looks rather generic? It looks like an old Truvativ Stylo crank.
It doesn’t even have an interchangeable spider.
I was excited when I first heard that Thomson was making a crank, now I am very disappointed.

Jack Luke - 08/28/14 - 6:27am

I’m sure they’ll have it sussed out, but cogs bolted on a spider makes me a little suspicious. Sounds like 4 extra places to have creaks. I’m also astonished they’ve not gone down the interchangeable spider/direct mount ring route. A little disappointing overall for $700, although I’m sure it’s nice kit.

KBS - 08/28/14 - 6:53am

Are they making an XD driver version of that spider/cog setup? It would be pretty sweet if XD drivers finally could be used for SS too.

Henrik - 08/28/14 - 8:22am

I love Thomson to death, but I wish they built their frames differently than Lynskey. Seriously, I can’t stand the curved downtube so commonly found on all these ti bikes these days. Bleh!

Jesse Edwards - 08/28/14 - 9:40am

“…made by Lynskey…the frames are all designed with better than average mud clearance (think 2.4″ tire with plenty of room) 44mm head tubes, 73mm threaded bottom brackets, and a totally bitchin’ head tube badge. I don’t know why Lysnkey doesn’t just offer their own bikes with these qualities instead of other companies requesting it. It’s 2014, wide tires and 44m headtubes are not modern anymore, they’re pretty much standard.

-s - 08/28/14 - 10:15am

I guess I’m the only one who likes the Stylo crank. It just plain works, and that is what is needed for ss. The rear cog setup looks problematic though. I have to make sure my crank bolts are tight so why would I want to add 4 more to check.

trainwreck - 08/28/14 - 10:20am

@Henrik. couldn’t agree more.

Derek - 08/28/14 - 11:22am

What’s wrong with the stylo cranks? They just worked. Well. That’s pretty much Thomson’s angle for everything.

I sold my last stylo crank on ebay, and I regret it every time I step over my mountain bike.

Jon Palmer - 08/28/14 - 6:31pm

@Henrik The curved downtube is so the crown of the suspension fork doesn’t dent your tube. It’s not just asthetic. My old Karate Monkey has a nice dent in that area because it has a straight downtube.

Pichy - 08/29/14 - 5:46pm

…eerrr…..I think anybody said it before than me…but if you didn’t realise yet, the cranks look like the old Truvativ Stylo ones.

MulletRacer - 08/31/14 - 11:16am

Love Thomson, they are a local Ga company. But lately they have been moving a lot of their production overseas… In the past everything was made in Macon Ga with u.s. materials.
Some people care where their products are made… Even if overseas quality is good.
Also, I feel like they are trying to reinvent the wheel with the interchangeable cogs. It will be way more time consuming to bolt on a cog than to use a chain whip and locking tool. Ask anyone who has converted to center lock rotors!

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.