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Gear and Tech: Don’t Forget FSA

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Apr. 27, 2010
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:14 PM EDT

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Last week we saw Shimano and SRAM’s new mountain bike 10-speed offerings from Sea Otter, but what about Full Speed Ahead (FSA)?

FSA has a variety of cranks made to run with Shimano and SRAM's new 10-speed drivetrains.

The company, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Tien Hsin (TH) Industries, has become such a mainstay that we think of it almost in the same breath as SRAM and Shimano, at least when it comes to cranks, but we forget how rapidly it has come on the scene.

In fact, FSA as a brand first appeared a little over 10 years ago and founded its Seattle and Milan offices in 2000 and 2001, respectively. In 2003, it became the first company to sponsor a ProTour road team with cranks other than Shimano and Campagnolo, and in 2004, Gunn-Rita Dahle won the Olympic gold medal using an FSA crankset, stem, handlebar and seatpost.

To mesh with the new SRAM and Shimano drivetrains, FSA has introduced a whole range of 10-speed-compatible mountain bike cranks, both in double and triple configurations. The compact chainrings on the double cranks are small enough and consequently stiff enough that FSA only provides three spider arms for them, saving a bit of weight. They are called “386″ cranks for the three spider arms with an 86mm bolt circle diameter (BCD). The triples have four spider arms, and all of the new cranks are available with either a BB30 aluminum spindle or a MegaExo 24mm steel spindle.

And as testament to its commitment to BB30, FSA is offering a BB30 reamer that fits on Park bottom bracket threading tool handles. The tolerances on BB30 are so fine that if the bottom bracket shell’s bearing seats are undersized by even a few thousandths of an inch or are not bored concentrically, the bottom bracket can bind and wear rapidly.

Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

Follow Lennard on Twitter.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / MTB / Sea Otter Classic TAGS: / /

Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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