Pit Bits - Crankworx Les Gets 2017

Jun 18, 2017
by Paul Aston  
Sixpack Skywalker flat pedals



Who doesn't love a new, neatly machined and finished flat pedal? The CNC machined Skywalker from Sixpack is their first pedal to be produced in Europe, an interesting step forward for the brand who currently manufacture in Taiwan.

The pedal body measures at 110mm x 110mm, uses four sealed bearing and weighs 380g per pair. There's been a huge attention to detail including hollowing out some of the axle and Sixpack's custom seals. All this doesn't come cheap, though, the Skywalkers sell for €160 and there is a titanium axle version for a whopping €260.


Sixpack Skywalker flat pedals

Sixpack Skywalker Details

• Intended use: trail / downhill
• 110mm x 110mm
• Four colours
• 14 pins per pedal
• 380 grams
• MSRP: €160
sixpack-shop.com

Sixpack Skywalker flat pedals
14 pins per pedal, four bearings and a 110mm square platform
You know your serious about building pedals when you make custom seals May the dust stay away
You know you're serious about engineering pedals when you make custom seals - "May the dust stay away"




Sixpack Vertic clip pedals


Sixpack have also launched their first ever clip in pedal called the Vertic, which should be available in August. The fully CNC machined pedal is SPD compatible and is supplied with 8º cleats. Sixpack also say they have a wider range of spring tension adjustment than Shimano and HT, so if you need more tension to stay clipped in these could be the ones.

Another interesting feature is that there a two axle lengths available, 52.5mm and 58.5mm. This could help if you want a wider stance for balance, or if you have problems unclipping when the shoe on your trailing foot connects with the crankarm.

Sixpack Vertic clip pedals

Sixpack Vertic Details

• Intended use: trail
• CNC machined body
• 52.5mm or 58.5mm Q-factors
• SPD compatible
• 4 pins per pedal
• 356 grams
• MSRP: €129
sixpack-shop.com




Gusset S2 handlebar


Everybody wants lighter parts, and I'm like "can I have things that don't break?" Especially when those parts are integral to a rideable bike. These refreshingly chunky S2 bars from Gusset weigh in at 335g, are 800mm wide and have a 35mm clamp diameter. Priced at £55 GBP.


Gusset S2 handlebar

Gusset S2 Handlebars

• Intended use: trail / downhill
• 7075 alloy
• 800mm width
• 10, 20 or 38mm rise
• 5º upsweep / 8º backsweep
• 335 grams
• MSRP: £55
gussetcomponents.com


Gusset S2 stems
Gusset are also prototyping these S2 stems. The direct mount downhill stem has a 35mm clamp and an adjustable 45/50mm length.


Gusset XD 1-ER singlespeed kit



Gusset's best selling products are single speed conversion kits, who would have thought it? To keep up with changing standards they now have an XD driver compatible version, there are already a couple of these on the market but the Gusset one is easily the most affordable at £25 GBP.
Gusset XD 1-ER Singlespeed Kit

• Intended use: singlespeeding
• 7075 alloy carrier
• 16, 18 or 22t cogs
• 49mm chainline, 51mm with spacers
• Removes with a 40mm headset spanner
• MSRP: £25
gussetcomponents.com




HXR EasyShift

HXR is a fresh French marque from Annecy, around an hour drive from Les Gets. Their EasyShift system is designed to do as its name suggests, make shifting easier. The system works by using a special freehub spacer to block the freewheel of the rear hub (DT Swiss, Aivee, Duke, and now Mavic are onboard selling the spacers), a specially designed freewheel and chainring is installed on to their own crankarms. This allows for constant rotation of the drivetrain, meaning you can change gear at any time.


HXR EasyShift


HXR EasyShift Details

• Intended use: easier gear shifting
• Forged alloy crankarms
• 165/170 crank length
• Compatible with 94mm BCD chainrings
• MSRP: €449 (complete system inc. cranks, chainring, and bottom bracket)
hxr-components.com


A complete kit is priced at €449 including the crank arms, bottom bracket, freewheel, and chainring. All component parts are available separately so you won't need to buy a complete system should you break any part of it. We have just received an HXR kit to test, so expect a review later this year.


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Ride Fast Die Last.



70 Comments

  • + 27
 You could essentially remove the entire ratchet system from the rear hub. Possibly making the rear wheel lighter for less unsprung weight? You'd have to be extra careful to not bash your chain ring into something though, or it'd be a fixie all the way home.
  • + 5
 also you have drag when coasting, like the honda n1.
  • + 5
 Love the idea of being able to shift at any time regardless of pedalling or not, but since your drivetrain is constantly moving that would mean I'd have to replace my chain, cogs, and sprocket much more frequently. Don't like the idea of that at all considering the prices of higher end drivetrain components.
  • + 10
 @danthepirate: I would feel like the spinning chain would be quite dangerous due to increased likelyhood of snagging at the wrong moment, say through a ruff rock garden. Nah unless it is a true gear box I'll stick to the good ol fashioned static chain. It works well enough.
  • + 7
 @hamncheez: Freehub bodies produce drag too
  • + 5
 @mnorris122: Yes, but much less. This is moving the freehub to the cranks, so if it was just that it should be a 1:1 ratio; however in this design the chain is moving, the jockey pulleys, and cassette.

@danthepirate It is moving, yes, but there is minimal load on it, so I'm not entirely sure it would wear faster.
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: you're absolutely right
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: Good point! I think a moving drivetrain would still wear quicker than a stationary one, but you're right, a drivetrain under torque from pedalling forces would wear much quicker.
  • + 1
 @johan90: haha true that I was thinking that too. I don't know what would snag in their easily, but I couldn't help but think back of the days my baggy bottom pants would get snagged in my chain lol
  • + 20
 The problem with this system is that if you drop the chain your derailleur explodes, your chain bends or breaks, and you risk munting your chainstay or losing a bunch of spokes as your entire drivetrain gets sucked around your cassette and slams into everything else at ramming speed. No thank you.
  • + 1
 @AgrAde: "The system works by using a special freehub spacer to block the freewheel of the rear hub"

If you're not actually ditching the rear freehub (if you keep the rear one than you don't actulaly lose any unspring weight) but using some sort of a spacer, maybe its like a clutch or blowoff valve where it allows the freehub to work after a certain load point is passed. This could save your drivetrain.
  • + 1
 Shimano had a road bike system like this a long time ago -MCT I think it was called. I liked it.
  • + 1
 @AgrAde: Mandatory chainguide!
  • + 1
 @Kiwi19: the shimano system was called the FFS (front freewheel system) they had it back in the 70s and it was used by a couple companies, most frequently found on old schwinn 10 speeds. the one big difference between the old shimano system and this goofy HXR remake was that the old shimano freewheels could actually spin backwards if something got caught in the chain (clothing, sticks, whatever...) or cranks which makes sense to me.
heres a quote from Sheldon Brown himself Front-Freewheel System (FFS ®)
Front Freewheel System. The freewheel was built into the bottom bracket, so that the chain would turn even when the rider was coasting. This was to allow shifting while coasting--a solution in search of a problem.
  • + 1
 @AgrAde: crazy that shimano at least had that part of this crazy/stupid system figured out.... and that was back in the 70s! they had what was called the FFS (front freewheel system), you would sometimes find them on old 10 speed road bikes. the cogs they used on the rear wheel seemed fixed until something was caught in the chain, then the rear cogs would actually spin. in shops when these old road bikes come in for repair youre supposed to get the bike up to speed in the stand and while the chain is spinning grab it with your hand to make sure the cogs are free on the rear wheel! always fun to make a young high school kid try it.
  • + 14
 Sixpack CEO: "Ok let's make some new clip pedals!!
Sixpack Engineers: "Yeaaaaaaaa!!"

Two Years Later

Sixpack Engineers: "Ok boss here is the prototype for a "never seen before amazing clip pedal"

Sixpack CEO: "meeehhh i dunno...we better make them exactly the same as Shimano XT's and HT pedals"

Sixpack Engineers: "Ok Frown "
  • + 2
 Look up Issi pedals. Look dimilar? Wink
  • + 17
 160 seems a lot for a flat pedal. Feel like you would be better off with some DMR vaults/Brendogs and some FiveTens.
  • + 9
 Especially when superstar components UK made in house pedals ( nano x) are sold around 50$ !!!!!!
  • + 3
 mrsp on the vaults is listed at 140, so these are not that far off.
  • + 2
 dont you mean chester composites?
  • + 2
 I paid 30 € less for my hope pedals. Can't see any reason why I should choose these instead.
  • + 2
 Canfield mountain flats all the way.
  • + 1
 But there boost 110
  • + 1
 @danrowe: I've heard nothing but good things.
  • + 1
 I ride premium bmx's PC (plastic) pedals. they are awesome for everything, lightweight, and don't cost an arm and a leg.

the best part? need more grip, just add some pins!
  • + 1
 @jumpman2334: My old deity nylon pedals were great. Lightweight and big pins, but not the snapping risk that comes with regular plastic pedals.
  • + 1
 @jaha222: most of the pedals now are impact/shatter resistant, if you've ever seen a professional bmx rider and what they do to pedals. you will have no issue running composite pedals.
  • + 13
 "You know you're serious about engineering pedals when you make custom seals"

Why then have a cut away section that doubles the number of possible paths of dirt into the bearings?
  • + 9
 This is what happens when art students claim to be engineers
  • + 4
 @ctd07: as a former art student and son of an engineer, CAN CONFIRM LOL
  • + 5
 Another version of shimanos FFC, front freewheel coaster. I had an early 80s schwinn with ffc and it worked fine but with the chain always moving it added drag. Not for my mountain bike thank you.
  • + 4
 We are in 2017... Material, r&d and conception tools, machining precision have highly increased and improved from 80's... Don't judge it from nothing, test it !
  • + 1
 I saw one of those at the bike project I volunteer at! Its super heavy, at least the older version I checked out.
  • + 1
 What if you have to back pedal because of chain suck?
  • + 6
 Just in case somebody's wondering why most people ride clip pedals: because it's cheaper!
#whyisaclippedalcheaperthanaflatpedal?
  • + 1
 ^ This, why does a flat pedal cost 30 Euros more than a clipped pedal???
  • + 1
 @jstnrt: economy of scale.
  • + 1
 Because flats are associated with Sam Hill, #26forlife, #freerideaintdead, Fest Series and so on whereas clips are associated with a lycra clad ex roadie...which isn't cool for some reason.... therefore less desirable ... and so cheaper.

BTW. The old version of the Shimano Saint Platforms cost just as much as the XT SPD. Don't know where they are now in terms of price as they never break and so I've never had to replace them...
  • + 6
 Now attach a gear box to that BB free wheel. May be in another ten years.............
  • + 2
 Pinion. Look it up Smile
  • + 3
 If in muddy conditions your chain got sucked up around the front chainring you would completly lock the rear wheel.
Also if your chain came off the front chainring it would continue to rotate probabaly doing quite a bit of damage to your frame/leg.
If they left a much stiffer freehub in the rear wheel that only disengaged when the chain jammed some of these problems could be alleviated.
  • + 4
 That HXR system makes the rear lighter so we get less unsprung weight? Why don't use these fancy 26" wheels? I heard they are lighter and stiffer than 27,5"
  • + 1
 @squarewheel: yeah I read this and I always like new innovations but I think this has too many disadvantages. The weight benefit would be less than 10%.
  • + 1
 If reducing unsprung weight were a serious concern 1x11 wouldn't be a thing.
  • + 2
 That Easy shift... ugh... drag anyone? there is a reason this caught up only on trials bikes... also why is it so easy to make pedals with Shimano system? WHy don't you make Time system in a decent cage. Then that cage has been proven to suck on all Shimano pedals. Gimme Mallet like platform or gaaaeeeet out
  • + 2
 DMR, most under rated SPD platform ever. Has the spring loaded cage of old. bullet proof. I've left Time for it. Getting so comfortable on it I may well use clips on DH holiday in the alps, for which I usually ride flats, Seriously recommend you try these @WAKIdesigns
  • + 1
 How long have you had the DMRs @ovadebarz and how are they holding up? I heard from someone who ditched them after a lot of play developed in just a couple of months.
  • + 1
 @ovadebarz: but how's the float? I don't like Shimano SPD system for lack of float
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: and @Lornholio DMR quality is legend. 3 months in, perfect bearings.... float... about the same, in effect you decide with the pins. I use 4 pins to mimic a flat pedal... like no float. with no pins... they float... too much for me .. may well float your boat ( sorry, shit pun, even for PB).

@potatomasher the spd is spring loaded / angled to be raised above the platform, to make clipping in easier. Shimano used to have the patent, and would not share it. It's a game changer in terms of use for me.
  • + 1
 Thanks @ovadebarz. I like the idea of shimming the pedals without pins for good contact with my shoes and just a little friction compared to Shimanos. Price is the main thing putting me off them ...and my XTs will probably last another 10 years anyway. Maybe if I ever see some on sale cheap.
  • + 4
 The flats remind me of the old Point One Podium pedals

m.pinkbike.com/news/point-one-racing-podium-pedals-review-2010.html
  • + 1
 Agree, they are very closed to podium pedals. Gamut has purchase POint One if I'm correct. the point one was very good pedals.
  • + 6
 Those Skywalker pedals.....better hope the force is with your wallet.
  • + 3
 Agreed, those are some Dark side prices for those!
  • + 3
 The only pedals that I would use on a Canfield Jedi!
  • + 2
 I could watch that cluster spin all day - cogs look to be rotating at different speeds and directions. Reminds me of working on bikes at a 24 hour race by LED headtorch. Sympathetic resonancy and Moire patterns: mesmerizing.
  • + 1
 Great now I sit here and watch it spin for the rest of the day...
  • + 5
 .... can we talk about that sweet motorcycle, or....??

baahahahah
  • + 1
 @tacoma73 yeah, nice custom motorcycle with a bunch of different parts on it. I especially like the old Rizzato engine. Very cool.
  • + 3
 Easyshift sounds great until you forget to shift out of an easy gear before going downhill and suddenly your chain flies off at Mach 2.
  • + 4
 What a way to chomp through your drive components chain change every few rides lol
  • + 2
 That HXR system going to need to be a bolt on addition to the common RF/E13/SRAM cranks or it is DOA.
  • + 2
 Must be old the idea of a free spinning chainring? And roadies are worried about disc brakes lol
  • + 1
 I had a sixpac gold stem once only because it matched the gold race stancions on my marzocchi 55crs.
  • + 1
 I'm seeing 2 more areas for grime to get past the seals on those open spindle flat pedals......
  • + 1
 CRAMPON MAGS!!!

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