EE Cycleworks Update: Cranks and Brakes
Many of us have been anxiously waiting for the new EE Crank from EE Cycleworks to be released. We’ve been covering the development since our first impressions during the crank shootout. Also, many of us know that it’s getting hard if not impossible to track down a set of the EE Brakes. This is why I’m happy Craig took some time out of his busy day to sit down and answer a few questions with what’s going on behind the scenes at EE Cycleworks. First I’d just like to say that when the EE cranks get released and when the updated brakes come into stock we will let you know! Don’t worry, we’re not going to let the big news fall adrift.
Fairwheel Bikes: First Craig, thanks for taking the time to talk to me about what’s going on with EE Cycleworks. Let’s start off with the brakes. We understand that the brake is going to be undergoing some changes in manufacturing process as well as some design tweaks. Most notably parts are moving to a forged process. What’s the benefits to this?
EE Cycleworks: Overall, everything is staying pretty much the same for the 2011 eebrake (as compared to 2010 when almost every part was changed). Functionally its the same, weight is the same. Moving into forgings for the main parts of the brake started with the goal to stabilize and shorten the manufacturing process. As I try to grow to meet demand, I wanted to be able to produce parts more quickly with increased quantities. Making people wait for brakes in not fun for me or anybody else. In addition to that, there are some strength advantages and some shape capabilities that forging can do and CNC can’t. For example the pad holder has been tuned to hold the pads a bit more positively while maintaining the quick pad change feature. The subtle pad holder changes were enabled by the forging process.
Fairwheel Bikes: How will the forging effect colored brakes and consistency?
EE Cycleworks: Colors are black and silver as usual with black being the overall winner and most popular. The finish will remain anodized, with the surface finish will be more satin. The hard CNC corners, machine marks and edges will be gone in favor of rounded corners and smoother overall shapes. Custom colors are a question mark for me as it is expensive for the customer and still a money looser for me. I have done it to now as a favor for the guys that really dig the custom stuff. As I grow, this will be even more of a challenge. We will see.
Fairwheel Bikes: Also, in a previous redesign, the brakes were set up to run better with wider rims. What width rims are you testing up to and how far out do you think you can push the brakes? Will any of this change with the new design?
EE Cycleworks: EE Brake geometry relative to rim width is unchanged for 2011. I have not done a lot of testing of all the wide rims out there. So far I have not heard of rims being too wide the for ee yet. If they keep getting wider (which I think is a good thing), at some point, I may have to make some more adjustments. At this point, I think I work pretty well on whats out there.
Fairwheel Bikes: Any difference in weight from the previous model?
EE Cycleworks: No, maybe a gram or 2 one way or the other.
Fairwheel Bikes: Onto the long awaited cranks. We’ve covered the cranks before, so let’s start by checking in on the changes. One of the important changes in the crank was your usage of a larger, 170mm BCD, on the outer ring, are you still planning on using this?
EE Cycleworks: “Long awaited” is an understatement. If you told me I was going to be still trying to get the cranks out now (2011), I would have told you that you are nuts. It has been a way too long road, but I am still at it. Some time I wonder if I have gone totally crazy. Bolt circles: Yes I am using 170 for the big ring. This set can handle 48 teeth to 53+….so compact to standard on the same spider ….no compromise. (I’m not wild about 53+/- rings on 110 BCD…not great in lateral stiffeness.)
Fairwheel Bikes: With this in mind is doing a compact and standard inner bolt diameter is this still the plan?
EE Cylceworks: You bet.
Fairwheel Bikes: Last we talked to you there was mention of a BB30 standard crank. Are you planning on releasing a BB30 as part of the initial offering?
EE Cycleworks: Axle is 35mm/30mm+ currently and it fits in an Eng. BB. I’m am currently developing bearing/cups as an option the will be compatible with BB30 and PF30. Ultimately, I plan to offer a eecrank that takes full advantage of the larger bore BB shells (New ground up design).
Fairwheel Bikes: Let’s rattle off a few of the details on the cranks, what’s the projected weight and price?
EE Cycleworks: Weight: All in (crank, BB, rings, bolts everything) 630 to 650 grams. Price: High hundreds (all in as well).
Fairwheel Bikes: Also, what colors and length are you offering it in?
EE Cycleworks: Black, silver. 170, 172.5 and 175.
Fairwheel Bikes: It sounds like right now you are happy with the design and looking to make sure the manufacturing is 100% what you expect for your crank. In the spirit of everyone wondering “when” how’s this coming along?
EE Cycleworks: Right now things seem to be going very well. Sometimes, I think getting this crank out is tougher than catching Osama, but I am encouraged right now and hopeful for later this year 🙂
I’d like to again thank Craig for taking time out of his day to talk to me. We’ve posted a photo of the EE cranks above and that is the newest version. As I understand it the crank will not be changing aesthetically at this point. Changes, if any, that Craig will be making are internal. You can see our previous interview with Craig about EE Cycleworks for more photos spanning from Craig’s work as an architect to piles of prototype cranks.