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Is there any conventional wisdom as to the strongest crank set available? I assume stiffness is correlated - and need that too if I can keep the crank in once piece.

Today I did what I thought was impossible. I was sprinting out of the sadlde up a short, moderate grade... working hard to power over it. Wasn't looking at my powermeter but typically on a thing like that I'd put out 1000-1100 watts. Well, I pushed down on my right leg and my drive side crank arm split open on the outside of the arm - bending it inward and ending my ride in a big hurry. Happened in "slow motion" - not a catastrophic failure. This is lucky - I could have been hurt. I felt the arm bend on the downstroke. And even with a big gash in the side I can't budge it with my hands. But, what the heck!? I bent/broke my crank arm! Does this happen to other people?

This was a Shimano Dura-Ace, 7800 (latest), crank, 175mm. 1 year and 8000ish miles old. My understanding is DA is some of the strongest/stiffest stuff out there.

Now I have done weird things to equiptment before.. I am not a normal sized rider. I'm 6'3", 250 lbs, and athletic. Obviusly more linebacker then cylclist - a fact which gravity reminds me of on long climbs. I've been training like a madman to cycle in the French Alps this summer and have continued to get stronger and stronger on the bike - able to ride out of the saddle longer and with greater comfort...say... to power over inclines :) Not coincidentally, I am certainly stressing my equiptment more then I ever have before... I fear more breakages as I will continue to get stronger (and maybe a little lighter but not much lower then 240... at least without amputation - I'm bizzarely heavy for my appearance... whatever.).

So... advice? Is there a gold standard for crank arm strenght? I thought DA was it. Sigh... Have already learned about handbuilt wheels - Mavic K's do ok but the rears need truing. Ride a Ti Seven built for my weight. Replace chains more often, yada yada.

Thanks for any advice.

-NW
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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13,390 Posts
That's the 1st time I've ever heard of bending or breaking a crank arm. I folded a chainring over during an uphill sprint once, but the crank was all right. Dura Ace is some of the best stuff you can buy, as is Campy Record or Chorus.
 

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Big is relative
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I broke a 7400 DA crank at the pedal hole once. Back then I was a pedal smacker on crit corners so I probably damaged it before it broke. Other than that, a bent ring and a broken look pedal are the worst of my breakage for components. I did break four Raleigh 753 Technium frames, three at the bb, one at the seat cluster.
 
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