You may have noticed that various parts of all previous bikes are interchangeable. This would have reduced the cost of parts and the hassle of repairing the bike would have been much less. Nowadays companies are relentlessly researching to improve the quality of their products and using new technology on their bikes. Because of this, now bike parts, especially crank arms, may not be interchangeable except for the same model.
The power exerted by the rider while riding the bike is transferred to the chainring through the crank arm. Therefore, bike companies are trying to increase the quality of crank arms continuously, as these are important parts of the bike. And, modern bikers also want to use crank arms made of high-quality materials on their bikes.
In this article, I’ll talk about some important issues regarding bike crank arms, including their interchangeable properties. So, please keep continuing for more details.
What Is A Bike Crank Arm?
A bike’s crank arm is the extended part of the crankest to which the pedals are attached.
- The crankest consists of two arms, one on the left side of the bike and the other on the right side that is connected via an axle.
- Crank arms transmitted the power applied by the rider through the pedals through the crank arm to the chainring.
Modern bikes use crank arms made of lighter materials to reduce weight. These typically feature aluminum, carbon, or steel crank arms. But still, some Companies use steel crank arms on cheaper types of bikes. Although they are extreme, they add weight to the entire bike because of their heavy weight.
Are All Bike Crank Arms The Same?
No, not all bike crank arms are the same. The length of the crank arms varies according to the bike model, size, rider height, etc. And, different companies use crank arms made of different materials to increase the performance or reduce the weight of their bikes. In addition, companies bring some minor changes in the design of their bike’s crank arm to make them more attractive.
The most common crank arm lengths available are 170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm. Anyway, the length of these crank arms can range from 165 mm to 190 mm.
So, a rider can select the crank arm length according to his height and riding comfort. Although longer lengths increase the impact of power imparted to the rider, beginners should start with popular sizes.
Are Bike Crank Arms Interchangeable?
The arms of most cranksets today are removable, so the arms are interchangeable on the same model. But if the bike model or crankset model is different, then most of the time, they are not interchangeable. More noticeable in this case is that the attaching mechanism of the left arms is somewhat similar in different cranksets, but the right arm attaching may be different.
For example, you would never attach an arm from a mountain bike crankset to a gravel bike crankset. In most cases, crankset sizes, the structure of the crankset, the design of the arm, and the mechanism of arm attachment can be quite different. Because of this, crank arms on different model bikes are usually not interchangeable. Also, the arms are often not interchangeable even if the design or type of crankset is different.
Are SRAM And Shimano Cranksets Interchangeable?
Yes, SRAM and Shimano Cranksets are interchangeable. If you are using one of these brands of cranksets, you can replace them with the other. But for this you need to be careful about the drivetrain, i.e. use the same drivetrain.
The drivetrain is used to change the speed of the bike.
When replacing a bicycle crankset, we must set the new one to the same transmission system as the one you are using. For example, you can use SRAM 10-speed cranksets with 10-speed Shimano groupsets. This also applies to 11-speed cranksets, but you must install the bottom bracket properly.
How Do You know If The Crankset Is Compatible?
- At first, you should check the manual that comes with the bike to know if the crankset is compatible. If you can’t find any specific information there, check the manufacturer’s website, and you could get the necessary information.
- But the information on low-quality companies may not be rich. In this case, find the specific number of your bike crank. If you can find the model or number, it will be easier to know if it is compatible.
Shimano and SRAM type manufacturers provide a lot of information about these online. From here, you can be sure about upgrading the crankset of almost any kind.
The Last Thought
Crank arms are not parts that need to be replaced very often. And, it may never need to be replaced. But to become a pro cyclist, you need to have a good understanding of each and every part of the bike. Even a subtle change in the bike can make a tremendous difference in your performance.
If your bike’s crank arms are interchangeable, there may be an opportunity to replace it with a more suitable arm. Because the stock arms may not always be optimal for your height. And, I am pretty sure that this writing helps you decide on your bike’s crank arm.