Posts Tagged ‘2 X 9’

Origin 8 2X9 Cranks: Final Review

August 27, 2009

I have been putting the Origin 8 2 X 9 cranks through their paces all summer and here are my thoughts now on this drive train option “geared” (sorry for the pun!) towards the 29″er riders out there.

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The cranks have performed flawlessly over the course of the test. Shifts have been good. Not super snappy, but not bad either. I used a SRAM X-9 shifter with the derailluer limited out to travel just far enough to allow the use of the 29T and 44T rings. I would characterize shifting performance as on par with what I had on the bike previously, which was a TruVativ Stylo crank. Pretty much standard for most trail riders.

The rings themselves have held up well, and they look great still, even after some pretty muddy sessions, what with the wet year we have had. A plus in the execution of the system for sure here. The arms with the ISIS interface is solid, and also came through looking great, but I will say that I am not one to rub crank arms with my shoes, so some folks results may vary accordingly.

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Now, as for the whole 2X9 thing, these are my thoughts and not all necessarily related to this particular product. The way you use the front rings with the rear cassette is different. I thought a bit of a closer ratio between the two front gears would be optimal. I probably would go with a 42T versus the 44T that the cranks were supplied with. This would have lent me the opportunity to shift from the outer to inner chain wheel without shifting in the rear so much to find a close cadence to where I had been before the shift. At any rate, a choice in chain wheels to match from Origin 8 is in order. Obviously, a rider in a mountainous area doesn’t need a 44T so much and a 29T definitely isn’t going to cut it for some. Maybe a 36T X 24T combo? Well, I have written this before, but it bears repeating.

Also, it should be remembered that Shimano’s 12-36T cassette is on its way. This would be a perfect compliment to this crank, allowing a rider to stay in either the big ring longer, or in the saddle longer in the smaller ring, instead of walking.

Conclusions: The Origin 8 2 X 9 crank is a winner in terms of functionality, looks, and gearing for XC/light trail work. The system needs to have options, and it needs to have a lighter weight version. The two piece crank style perhaps could be that version. At any rate, this idea is well executed and when you consider the asking price of $100.00 or so, it becomes apparent that the value of this gearing option for 29″er freaks is great. Not everyone will love it from a gear ratio/weight perspective, but hopefully Origin 8 will address this in the near future. I can recommend these to anyone curious about 2X9 and that doesn’t want to spend a fortune on the experiment, or to anyone that just likes high value/low cost with good looks, good performance, and a devil may care attitude about the weight.

Origin 8 2 X 9 Crank Set: Out Of The Box

June 11, 2009

I recently mounted up this Origin 8 crank set to my Dos Niner and will be testing out the 2 X 9 drive train and how this crank set performs in that role over the next few months. Here’s my first post on these cranks if you missed it. Let’s take a closer look at what we have here and how it has gone so far.

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The crank set uses a 29T X 44T set of chain rings to get pretty close to the same range in gearing as a triple set of chain rings. The advantage is less cross chain situations, less gear overlap, and slicker front shifting. This particular crank set has a MSRP of right at $100.00, so if we keep that in mind as we go along, some of what I am going to write here will make more sense.

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The crank uses an ISIS interface, which is okay from a performance perspective and allows Origin 8 to produce this crank for less money. It also uses the common 104/64 BCD four bolt pattern for the chain rings. Replacement chain rings are not yet available from Origin 8, but at least the common BCD pattern allows you to get chain rings some where else. (Reportedly, Origin 8 will have aftermarket rings available in 29T and 44T sizes to replace any worn out or damaged rings in the near future.) Speaking of those rings, these are 7075 aluminum and are CNC machined, laser etched, and the 44T is ramped and pinned for quicker shifting. The overall look and quality of the rings are impressive for this price.

The rings mount so that the 44T is in the position that a middle ring would normally be in. The 29T is using the inner bolt mounts where a granny ring would normally bolt on. This allows for the rider to use the entire cassette range in the big ring and almost all of it in the inner ring without severe cross chain issues or rubbing issues. The last three small cogs on the cassette will cause rubbing of the chain on the outer ring when using the 29T ring though.

Now with the low price to get into these cranks, Origin 8 made some compromises. The biggest one is weight. These cranks are heavy! Well, heavy for a 2 X 9. These topped out at 720 grams and that is without a bottom bracket. The other thing is that these cranks do not have a narrow stance. For all intents and purposes they are a modified triple crank forging, so if you were looking for an inexpensive, narrower crank set, these are not those.

Does it matter? Well, there is much debate about “Q” factor which I will not get into. It doesn’t bother me, I will say that much. However; the weight thing is a bit perplexing. I would rather pay a bit more and get a forging that was lighter. They are out there. Hopefully Origin 8 will see to it to bring out a lighter set in the future. To me, the possibility of a lighter weight crank set with a 2 X 9 is one of the bigger motivators to go with this sort of set up. Still, these are $100.00 cranks, so there wouldn’t really be a reason to expect them to be really light weight and strong!

The cranks do look great though, and so far are performing well. Installation was a no-brainer, and the shifting is smooth and hiccup free so far. I will report back with more once I find some trail time with this rig, but so far, it seems promising. I’ll be interested to find out if a 29T ring really makes that much of a difference in riding a 29″er, as some say it does.