Sunday, May 19, 2013

First Thoughts: Rene Herse Cranks

I have been ogling Jan Heine's (Compass Bicycles) Rene Herse cranks since they made their entrance in early 2012. I thought the new Herse cranks in a double would make a good replacement for my Sugino 46-36-26 triple. I rarely use the very low 26 ring and the 36 often seems a bit high in some of the steep dirt roads I often ride. The Sugino double would work as well......but alas, the beauty of the highly polished Herse had me hooked.

Before making my final decision to purchase the Herse cranks, I contacted Jan and asked if the cranks would be compatible with the 113mm JIS spindle on my Phil BB. After Jan's affirmative response I ordered the cranks a few days later and within a week there was a delivery on a Friday afternoon. The package was eagerly opened to reveal a piece of beautiful bicycle jewelry awaiting a bicycle to adorn.

Sugino cranks pulled, spindle and threads cleaned and greased.... The Herse cranks placed on tapers and torqued to 25 ft lbs... A New Shimano cx-70 front derailleur and SRAM pc850 chain installed and adjusted. The only thing left to do is to hang the bike from the rafters to await a 6 am departure Saturday morning.

Pedaled off as usual on the usual weekend ride with all systems go and the new additions to the drive train running as smooth as one could wish for. Then it happened..... About five miles into the ride I felt my left shoe coming loose from the pedal... Loose cleat perhaps? Well needless to say that was not the problem. I stopped immediately to check on the problem and soon discovered that the left crank bolt had managed to back out leaving me with a loose crank arm. Without a 15mm socket there was no chance for me to tighten things up on the road so I limped back to the house to re-torque both bolts. At that point I realized I should have gone around the block a few times and re-torqued before embarking on a journey that would leave me coasting home because I did not have the proper tools in my kit. Once things were tightened up I headed off for a 25 mile ride and returned without experiencing any more “loosening up” problems.

For the next few rides I checked the torque before leaving and carried a 15mm socket and wrench as insurance. As of now the bolts and crank arms have settled in with the proper torque and with that I am confident I no longer need to carry “insurance” tools.

The Sugino cranks and the Shimano 105 triple derailleur performed well and made for a very solid and reliable drive train. However, the Herse cranks paired with the cx-70 derailleur not only provide very smooth shifting.. the drivetrain has gone from quiet to almost silent. When the cranks are turning the rings are very concentric and display a negligible amount of runout. I do not have other cranks that spin as true as these.  My first thoughts, the Herse cranks definitely have enhanced the form and function of my Heron Wayfarer.


  1. Nice pics! Any more modifications for the future?

    1. In time I will add a dyno hub and led lighting.

  2. Hey, its totally possible to install normal modern crank bolts on these, right? Then you could just retighten them on the road with an allen key?

  3. Absolutely. You could even use self extractors if you want. The spindle/crank interface is no different than any other crankset and that includes the 25 foot lb setting, same as most crank sets.

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