Lightning crank reliability?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Posts: 2196
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA

by eric

The BB on my old FSA Carbon Pro ISIS cranks died again, and its time for something more modern. The Lightning crank looks good and isn't too terribly expensive.
Is it reliable?

Posts: 3553
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:47 pm
Location: Pittsburgh

by gumgardner

Did u read madcow's crank shootout? It talks about this crank. Not sure about about the long term reliability though.

Posts: 2196
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA

by eric

gumgardner wrote:Did u read madcow's crank shootout? It talks about this crank.

Yes, I did read it, and the one potential negative was short time in the market and thus lack of user feedback. But I know (from searching) that a number of people here have them. The one set I have seen in real life had some issues according to the owner. So I am looking for more user feedback. I'd like some reliable cranks.

Posts: 259
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 12:33 pm

by a.davis12

if you want reliable, buy shimano or campag.

User avatar
Posts: 8609
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
Location: Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California

by prendrefeu

Eric, have you tried searching on this forum?

There have been at least 2-3 threads asking for Lightning crankset long-term reviews, reliability, etc:. You will find your answers there.
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

User avatar
Frankie - B
Posts: 6614
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2003 8:17 am
Location: Drenthe, Holland

by Frankie - B

Eric, Prendrefeu is right. Please use the search function and you will find the answers you are looking for. I read somebody said that if you want reliable, you need to buy Shimano or Campag. well. yes you can. but it is not lighter.
'Tape was made to wrap your GF's gifts, NOT hold a freakin tire on.'

User avatar
Posts: 4446
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 6:24 pm
Location: BELGIUM

by strobbekoen

Seems all replies so far are about looking elsewhere for answers.
I have the Lightning cranks, and yea, I searched high and wide for real world experiences on these before getting them.
There's not a lot of it around.
They are good cranks, easy to install, and of course light.
I've been riding them with Look Keo pedals, which installed fine. However, the pedal thread is recessed into the crank arm so I had to adjust my cleats a bit to avoid rubbing the crank arm. I think they should address this.
Other (small) negative is the quality of the finish. It's not bad, but also not on par with campagnolo or other top brands. Scratches rather easily. Not a biggie for me though this one. Can be rubbed out rather easily.
The adjustable bearings are a nice touch. Easy to set up. You can do it by hand, although it is a lot easier with a 36mm spanner. Expect to check this a couple times before it settles in. A couple test rides around the block are a good idea.
Overall I think they are reliable and well-designed cranks.

User avatar
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:39 pm
Location: Bergen, Norway

by anderz

I have to agree with strobbekoen on what he says. I have put Lightning cranks on my Speedvagen and must say I can not feel any difference in stiffness compared to my Cannondale System6 with Hollowgrams. I'm using the compact version with Stronglight CR2 rings and Super Record and the shifting is flawless and as well if not better than the Chorus 11 cranks I had on before.
As for the pedals, you can get a spacer to increase the Q-factor if you cannot reposition your cleats enough to clear the crankarms. Or do as I did and get Ward Industries to make a slightly longer pedal spindle in Titanium.

Posts: 2196
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA

by eric

prendrefeu wrote:Eric, have you tried searching on this forum?

There have been at least 2-3 threads asking for Lightning crankset long-term reviews, reliability, etc:. You will find your answers there.

Yes, I tried searching, as I mentioned above.
I found a number of posts from people saying they'd bought them, but none reporting any issues.
Which could mean that there aren't any, or that there are and no one is saying anything.
I know someone who is a bit unhappy with his.
Hence my query.

User avatar
Posts: 859
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2003 9:11 pm
Location: SC, USA

by ras11

Had my set now for almost ~2 years.. with the Quarq. Road across the country (2900+miles) with them. You have to be confident in your gear if you're riding across the US.

The cranks now come with pedal spacers, so any pedal issues should be resolved... or, if you're tricky, you can decrease you q-factor by leaving the spacers out.

Setup is easy, but as mentioned you need to keep tabs on them until the they settle. Just bring your wrench with you the first month.

I did break the adjustable lock ring. Not sure how I did that... must of got excited with the clinch bolt. Easily replaced with a phone call to Lightning and FexEx next day.

I did have some concerns about the BB bearings, but they have survived surprisingly well. Keep in mind they only have a single seal, and not well protected aginst high pressure hoses.

One of the best features of these cranks is their flexibility. You can run them BB30, or not. You can have a Quarq... or not. You can run them 110bcd, or 130bcd... easy peasy. Hard to ask that of most high end cranks.

The only beef I have is the non-tool loosening of the BB cups. Man they can get stuck on there. I keep a set of channel lock pliers around, and the supplied rubber sheet. I couldn't find a small enough strap wrench to fit the cups.

The support is fantasitc!
:-) Toys-R-Us

Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:22 pm

by BobLogIII

I saw a guy break his non-drive side arm right after clipping in at the start of a race back in April. He got off easy as it was literally just as he clipped in, so he was barely moving forward & was able to stop cleanly. Never did hear the story as to what happened, but it didn't look good. Essentially a stub of a spindle sticking out & the arm completely separated. Likely would have looked much worse had it happened coming out of the final corner & heading for the finish line.

User avatar
Posts: 7926
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

by djconnel

Only down side I've had is they tend to creak. If I remove the bearings, grease the threads, and reinstall it solves the problem. But the whole operation is incredibly fast. So I like them.

The recessed pedals wouldn't be compatible with Metrigear Vector without a spacer, since the battery/transmitted packs screw between the pedal and the crank. So if that's on your long-term radar, keep that in mind.

It's the only down-side I see to the cranks, at least for me. I bought them in part for the promise of Quarq compatibility, which has now been realized. But a further advantage is their modular nature and flexibility. For example, it would be easy to convert them to different BB types, given the range of bearings that Tim has available. That's not to say I'm not at least a little tempted by the AX-Lightness Morpheus. But I'll probably stick with my Lightnings.

Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 9:53 pm

by lanierb

I've had a Lightning crank since November of last year, with a Quarq power meter. It has about 1900 miles on it as of now. I was basically happy with it up until this week, when somehow the right pedal started wiggling around. The nut that holds the pedal in the carbon seems to be failing somehow, so I've just sent it back. Hopefully I will get it back soon because that means my main bike is temporarily out of order.

I've also had the creaking issue djconnel posted about, but only twice in 1900 miles. I removed the bearings and greased them and replaced and it went away both times. It's fast and easy to remove so no big deal.

As for riding, I've found it to be stiff and I don't notice the difference from the Dura-Ace crank on my other bike, so I'm happy with it. And obviously, it's really light.

User avatar
Posts: 1155
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:02 pm
Location: around amsterdam

by tochnics

amazing thread and cranks

i was holding out lighter cranks because of a possible frame upgrade
running sr11 now with a standard bracket but these could be it
sure i can fit adapters on the records but still not as light as the boutiqe cranks

keep em coming
Join the light side

a light bike does make you go faster unless you are slow

User avatar
Posts: 557
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:28 am
Location: Northern California

by Ritterview

I have two Lightnings on my tandem (Lightning now makes a tandem crankset, which has been great because these are 1.15 lbs lighter than the FSA tandem crank heretofore the only outboard bearing crankset available). It has the same aluminum spindle as the single crank, and so is a test of robustness, as the stoker's crank must transmit the power and torque of two riders.

I am very pleased with my Lightnings. I had creaking at one point, that was solved by repacking. My shoe rubs on the crank arm, which rubs off the Lightning logo sticker, which is perhaps for the better. I could use the spacer I guess. On tandems too the modularity is useful, first as a triple is available, and both captain and stoker can individualize the crank length (175 captain, 170 stoker for all on the FSA).


Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post