Classic forged cranks can really look great. There are a few makers still out there, TA, Rivendell, Sugino, but all the innovative cranks are machined. That’s not because machining is per se a better way to make a crank, it’s because machining a crank is less expensive than forging a crank. Forging involves taking a chunk of aluminum and smashing the every living crap out of it with a huge whomping press. That press is 100’s of thousands of dollars, and it’s big. It’s not something a small manufacturer has space for, or can afford.
In the 90’s, machined cranks got a bad rap. A lot of them broke, and their cold forged bretheren (sistern? isn’t that where you store water?) did not. But why did the machined cranks break? Did all of them break? They broke because people who didn’t really know what they were doing designed the cranks to be light, but had no way of guessing how long the cranks would last. Finite Element Analysis, the basis of any crank design done today, was the thing of advanced military computers, not bike nerds in garages in California. They designed stuff to be light and to look good. But today, anyone can get a CAD program that would have made the military software of the 90’s look pedestrian. Cranks (and stems, etc) are run thru the Finite Element Analysis program and are subjected to all sorts of virtual stresses and impacts. Engineers know where to beef stuff up before they even put mill to aluminum.
Which leaves us with today’s aluminum cranks. White Industries is a famous maker o’ milled cranks. I’ve been selling their cranks for 20 years, and have yet to see a failure. Rotor makes spectacular milled cranks, and I have never heard of a failure there either. And now, two of our favorite crank makers, Ignite and Ingrid, make gorgeous, strong, and light machined cranks.
Ingrid is a small company, with the goal of making a full Italian drivetrain by someone other than Campy. Right now they make nice cassettes, cranks, chainrings and really interesting rear derailleurs. On the crankset side of things, Ingrid makes 4 cranks, a heavy duty mountain crankset called the CRS-G, an XC / Trail crankset, which is what this ramble is about (CRS-X), a Gravel / XC crankset called the CRS-POP and a road crankset, which they have creatively named CRS-R2.
Ingrid makes 2 spindles for all of their cranks except the road crankset. That’s to accommodate two different bottom bracket widths and or two different chainlines. Basically, if you have a 73mm shell, or a boost chainline, you get the 136mm spindle. If you have a narrow Q factor bike with a 68mm BB shell and a 47.5 chainline, you get the 131mm spindle.
I used to be a big Wilco fan, and I really liked that Wilco / Billy Bragg collabo (worst word ever, number 548), where they raided the sock drawer of Woody Guthery or Pete Seeger or someone like that, and found some poems they’d written while sitting in a boxcar chewing pinetar. These poems had never been set to music, and so Wilco asked the granddaugher or whoever of Woody Seeger and said, if we fill YOUR sock drawer with money, can we put these to mid tempo country rock? And she said yeah, and Wilco and Billy dropped off a bag of Chucky Cheese game tickets they had won scamming kids at ski ball and told her: that’s as good as cash. Then they recorded said poems, all set to the click track of an old man snoring. As one might expect, most of the outcome lacketh, but there’s one song that stands out, mainly because it uses the word quiver and stromboli in one couplet. And that song is called Ingrid Bergman. No relation to the cranks, probably.
Ingrid, as previously noted, makes 3 mountain cranks, one heavy duty one for big riders or hard riders or people who just wanna save some money, then these, subject of this review that hasn’t started yet, and their POP cranks, which are gravel / XC cranks for light riders or gravel riders. If you are building a bike packing bike, these are likely the cranks you want. They’re wicked pissah light, as they say round Boston way, 450ish grams for two crank arms plus the big ole 30mm bottom bracket spindle. Ingrid achieves this by machining out the back of the crank AND drilling longitudinal holes along the length of the crankset, starting at the pedal spindle, and terminating who knows where. Despite extensive machining, the cranks are stiff, because they’re wide. The low weight makes them ‘spin up’ with a quickness, something you’d notice more with lighter shoes and a lighter set of pedals (one up makes our favorite lightweight aluminum pedal) than if you were wearing Muck Boots and riding with some chunky pedals.
It should go without saying, but every-time you press down on one side of the crankset, you have to unweight the other side. Your press down foot has to overcome both the resistance of moving your weight forward on the bike, but also has to overcome the weight of the other crank arm and pedal. Doesn’t sound like much, but walk around in Tevas and then in Chacos, or in running shoes then in hiking boots, and see which one makes your leg more tired, faster.
The milling on these cranks is fantastic. It’s very Soviet scifi, in the best way possible. I want to get a pair just to use the machined out hollows on the back as really expensive ice cube trays, but the cranks are too stiff to allow you to remove said cubes, once formed, dashing my dreams of conspicuous consumption. That, and I don’t have a freezer, which puts a damper on things.
Ok last points: probably best for riders under 200 lbs, but there is not stated weight limit. Chain ring is proprietary, so you have to get an Ingrid ring. Not a huge deal, they’re very nice looking! They also have a very clever mounting system for the ring, that needs a unique tool. If you get the cranks from us, we can either provide the tool, or install the ring, or both, but don’t go thinking you can use a flat head screw driver and your roommates’ hammer to install the chainring.
You can use any 30mm bottom bracket with these. We like the BSA 30mm BB’s from Enduro, Wheels Manufacturing and White Industries.