The Best Single Speed Cranksets: Road & Track Cranks Reviewed

Updated on August 29, 2018
BikePro profile image

Graeme is a Victoria-based web developer who worked as a bicycle mechanic for three years. He loves writing about bike-related topics.

Source

The top five single speed cranksets for budget fixie builds

If you're building up a fixed gear bike, you're probably aware of the many different parts and brands vying to be a part of your bike build. To ensure a worry-free pedaling experience, it's very important that you select a good quality, single speed crankset.

That being said, figuring out what to look for and what to avoid can be crazy difficult.

There are so many different brands and styles you'll run into. What's the difference between fixed gear and single speed cranksets? What's the optimal gearing ratio? What about track components? Which parts are suitably high quality, and which parts are shoddy garbage?

There's also a lot of conflicting information about what's actually necessary and what will actually fit the bike frame you currently have.

This article is meant to help anyone who is building up a fixed gear bike, and wants help tracking down the best single speed cranksets on the market. We'll take a look at some of my favorite fixed gear cranks on the market today, giving a brief review of each one and offering pros and cons. I'll also touch on what you should look for versus the unnecessary "fluff".

Let's get started!

Things to pay attention to:

It's not that hard to find a great, trustworthy, affordable single speed crankset. There are some things you'll most definitely want, and some things you'll most definitely want to avoid. Here are a few suggestions to help keep you on the right path:

  1. Avoid "no name" brands:

    I'm not really a big brand enthusiast, and I'm usually pretty open-minded. That said, in the world of single speed crank sets it's really easy to be burned by 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, most bike components are crafted there. However, unknown brands tend to cut corners. That means anything from cheap quality metals, inconsistent finish work, or shoddy alignment; it all adds up to a higher likelihood of a part failing you.

  2. 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 a fixie or single speed will ride. 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 like. Smaller chainrings are better for steep inclines and hilly regions, while higher tooth counts are better for flat areas and high speed. 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 a mixed ride, since you can handle the occasional hill.

  3. 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, needs to be 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 (which looks hilarious by the way.)

    Whatever single speed crank you end up with, just make sure it's a set.

Retrospec: A good, attractive 'fixie' crankset in multiple colors

Source

For someone seeking to put together a slick fixie build and save some money without compromise, this Retrospec fixed gear crankset is a wonderful option. It's well suited to multiple uses, great if you're seeking to upgrade your fixed gear, single speed or track bicycle

Whatever your intended usage, this is a nice choice because it combines light aluminum alloy single speed crank arms with a steel chainring. These two materials make a good combination because the chainring ends up being more durable.

Retrospec's offering is a a three-piece crankset, and it comes in 44, 46 and 48 teeth depending on your preferred gearing. It's intended for square tapered bottom brackets, and it is compatible with 9/16" threaded pedals.

As mentioned before, I'd run the smallest front chainring if you expect to ride in a hilly area, or go for the 48 if you crave speed on those flats.

At under $50 this is a budget-priced crankset for fixed gear or single speed builds of all types. I've been very impressed with each of these cranksets I've installed.

Origin8: A classic-style single speed bicycle crankset, strong and light

Source

The enduring Origin8 Track Crankset is a popular seller for good reason. It has a definitively classic look that works well with both vintage inspired track builds, but also plenty of colour for those fixies built to catch your eye.

Oh, and it's light, tough as nails, and priced extremely well.

The set comes equipped with a 46 tooth chainring, which is a good all-around crank for various conditions. It's made out of forged aluminum alloy, which makes it as strong and light as you'd expect.

This inexpensive track-style crankset fits any bike with a square bottom bracket, and you can choose between 165mm, 170mm and 175mm lengths. If you're unsure, just grab a tape measure and make sure you'll have enough ground clearance. They are drilled for 9/16" pedals.

It's worth checking out Origin8's full lineup of cranks for sale; they're a solid brand with a pretty impressive reputation.

That said, these are the ones I reach for most often when putting together a classic looking track ride for a client.

Sugino RD2: High quality, gorgeous, messenger-style single speed cranks

Source

In the fixed gear bike realm Sugino has enduring popularity and appeal. Their RD2 series is pretty venerable; little has changed in quite a few years. And why should it? They have a great product with a massive fanbase. These attractive cranks are light, strong and match well with both modern and classic builds.

They are built from cold-forged 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 from the build materials, they are really stinking light too.

This particular one has a 46T chainring and 165mm length, which is a good all-around tooth count for city or suburban riding. There are a variety of styles. This stealthy looking black setup is just my personal favourite.

These are a step up in price compared with the first two items I've reviewed, but they're one of the top cranksets for bike messenger-style fixed gears due to premier build quality. They are a truly fantastic investment.

FSA Vero: A high-end aluminum crank set for road, fixed and single speed

Source

FSA stands for 'full speed ahead', and they're a mid-to-high range producers of single speed crank sets today. A lot of premium fixie builds will utilize an FSA drivetrain because they've worked hard to 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 stunningly beautiful and tastefully restrained in its design. Like most good cranks, it has a full factory warranty should you run into any issues with it.

The set comes in at a delightful 584 grams, and it has a 42 tooth chain ring. Like the others here it fits with a square taper bottom bracket and 9/16" pedals, and its built to work with a 3/32" chain.

It's not the only FSA crank you could choose from, but it's probably the most affordable of the lot. And don't let that discourage you either; it's still a premium set.

State Bicycle: A slick, fixie-friendly crankset that's a good bargain

Source

State Bicycle Co. has cornered a sweet spot in the fixed gear craze: inexpensive gear that looks great on absolutely everything.

This is no different: State has produced a great crankset for fixed gear bikes because it offers excellent manufacturing quality and a sturdy chainring coupled with a low entry price point.

There are a lot of colors available, so you can choose based on the style of your ride. State is decidedly less subdued as a whole (think tons of colour and flash), but I'm a big fan of their whole aesthetic.

The whole thing is forged alloy, with the arms themselves being 6061 aluminum, and the chainrings being stamped. It comes with a 46T chainring and 170mm total length, which is a fairly well-rounded ratio, though I'd probably recommend it for a less hilly area or for achieving higher speeds. It's compatible with 1/8" chains.

If you're a fan of colour and turning heads, I'd definitely check out State's awesome and inexpensive fixed gear cranksets, they're quite a bargain.

A note on chain alignment

Whatever crank you end up purchasing, make sure you're precise in your installation. Attach the cranks to the recommended torque.

Also, be aware of alignment. The number one complaint I hear about is clicking chains and premature wear.

If you experience these symptoms, check that your chain is a) the right size for both your chainring and your rear sprocket, and b) that the chain runs nice and straight between the two.

If the chain runs at too much of an angle, you'll experience annoying clicking and jumping, not to mention early wear on these components. You'll also risk losing the chain entirely; that's bad news on a fixed gear.

I've seen some scary homebuild setups with horrendous chain angles, so please be cognizant of this.

If the alignment isn't quite right, don't fret. You can make little adjustments to improve functionality, usually by using spacers. I find that a local bike shop can be a huge help in this. It's not giving up to ask for a little professional help, in fact it often saves you time and headache.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Questions or comments?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BikePro profile imageAUTHOR

      Graeme 

      6 weeks ago

      Hi fonzy, no need to worry, you probably won't have an issue going odd-even, lots of cranksets are geared that way.

    • profile image

      fonzy 

      8 weeks ago

      running 16 rear and 42 front,if i went up to 17 rear should the front be and odd number of teeth like a 45 not a 44?

    • cstrouse lm profile image

      cstrouse lm 

      5 years ago

      I'm a big fan of the SRAM omnium.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, skyaboveus.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://skyaboveus.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)