2012 Crank Brothers

Components Pro Reviews

Saddles
The iodine saddles come in a 3 and 11 level, and they have replaceable rails (kium rails on the 11, chromoly on the 3) , a flexible nose and scuff guards, and cost $110 and $170 respectively. I tried the saddles out at the Sedona press camp, and I really liked how they felt when you got yourself up on the nose, as you could grab enormous amounts of leverage and power up on its peak, but still retain some comfort. They were an impressive saddle, that was very useful and comfortable for All Mountain riding, and appear to be durable.

Pedals
Their pedals have gone through some major changes the last couple of years, with a redesign of the eggbeaters and candy in 2010, and the 5050 and mallet in 2011. They went back and worked on durability, production and quality control, and went through a couple of key areas that assisted in this endeavor. Their spindles are 50% stronger by doing a reshaping, and the springs are 10 times stronger. They reversed the springs wind, so when clipped in there is less tension (it loosens instead of tightens against the spindle), which alleviates additional stress to the system. They redid their sealing on the bearings to stop contamination, which was accomplished by going to a two piece design of all the pedals, allowing larger and better bearings to be added, and alleviating inboard leak paths (3 and 11 levels use needle bearings). Lastly, they worked on the shoe interface to the pedal, which is important since you want the tread to rest on the pedal body, for better platform, stability and less stress on the springs. Shoes can very in dimensions and construction, so they created what they call contact sleeves, which fill in the gaps between the tread height and the pedal body, and they come in 1, 2 and 3mm thicknesses. The Pro racers had been using duct tape to accomplish the same sort of thing.

The eggbeaters (1,2,3,11) and candy (1,2,3,11) use the same basic design through the series, but you get titanium spindles and springs, and higher quality bearings as you move up the food chain. The redesigned for 2012 mallet (1,2,3) and 5050 (2,3), are made with two pieces for better seals, have decreased weight and slimmer bodies, and are made with two different materials. Their inner portion use the lightweight and robust polycarbonate, while the outside use aluminum, which is more durable for abrasions and protects the more fragile outer bearings.

Pedal Model mallet, 5050 3 mallet, 5050 2 mallet 1
Weight mallet 435 grams
5050 433 grams
mallet?
5050 428 grams
mallet ?
Platform aluminum/polycarbonate aluminum/polycarbonate polycarbonate
MSRP mallet $120
5050 $100
mallet $90
5050 $80
$60

 

Wheels
All of their wheels use the same basic design, with direct-pull spokes and twin-spar lacing, and are connected to I Beam tubeless rim with no spoke holes. With their new redesign, the rim’s are 30% stiffer and stronger, and have been reduced in weight, which was accomplished by adding material at the weld and valve hole, and reducing it elsewhere. The redesigned hub’s strength has been increased by 10 fold, and the level 3 and 11 get four cartridge bearings, while the 2 retains the traditional cup and cone, with two cartridge bearings on the free hub. The level 3 and 11 also get threaded end caps instead of press on. All the spokes in the 26 inch wheels use the same spoke length, making it easier for shops and consumers to retain and replace extras.

The cobalt (26 inch – 2,3,11 and 29 inch 2,3) got a carbon version in the 11 level this year, costing $2200 and weighing a super light 1380 grams. The top secret surprise at the press camp was a carbon 29er cobalt 11, no price, pictures or weight as yet, but they were certainly very feathery. Currently only the cobalt series has the 29er size, but they change in the future? The iodine (2,3) wheels were joined by some tough company, with the new sage 2 and a lightened opium 3, which lost around 130 grams with the rim redesigns.

I tested both the cobalt and iodine 3’s at the press camp, and they both had a great ride and feel, the iodine being slightly less flexy in the front when pushed to the limit on the ugly technical terrain at Sedona.

Wheel Model cobalt 11 cobalt, iodine, opium 3 cobalt, iodine, sage 2
Weight cobalt 1380 grams cobalt 1550 grams
iodine 1765 grams
opium 1935 grams
cobalt 1690 grams
iodine 1850 grams
sage 2190 grams
Rim Width cobalt 19mm cobalt 19mm
iodine 21mm
opium 24mm
cobalt 19mm
iodine 21mm
sage 24mm
Front Axle cobalt 9, 15mm cobalt 9, 15mm
iodine 15, 20mm
opium 20mm
cobalt 9,15mm
iodine 9,15mm
sage 20mm
Rear Axle cobalt 135×10, 142×12 cobalt 135×10, 142×12
iodine 135×10, 142×12
opium 150mm
cobalt 135×10, 142×12
iodine135x10, 142×12
sage 150mm
MSRP $2200 cobalt $950
iodine $950
opium $950
cobalt $650
iodine $650
sage $650

Tools
Last but not least are some very nice new premium tools. The models are the pica+, pica and pixl ($70, $65 and $60), which use investment cast steel for strength and durability. I liked the pica+ and pica, since they both come with a chainbreaker (a necessity IMHO), with 17 and 15 tools respectively. They all have smooth lines, and are well sculpted, and are more like jewelry.

 

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • rkone says:

    I bought the cobolt grips, they were noticeably wearing down after the first ride. After 5 rides the texture was totally worn off in places. Stick with just the pedals!

  • willtsmith_nwi says:

    Crank Brothers products have traditionally been some clever twist combined with poor execution packaged and polished nicely. I expect nothing different from anything new they make. Early reports have it that their “new” Egg Beaters aren’t much more reliable than the old ones.

    Anyone should think twice about investing in their products.

  • 29ers247 says:

    Yeah, the grips probably wore down because they weren’t on a 29er. If they were on a 29er they’d last until the end of time. Just like titanium.

  • rkone says:

    Actually they were on a 29er. Maybe they wouldn’t wear down on a full suspension, mine’s SS rigid..

  • Brian Mullin says:

    All,

    Sorry to hear about the issues. I am an SPD pedal person myself, so I never really use Egg Beaters.

    I will be testing and reviewing the iodine wheels, bars, saddle and stem shortly, so I can’t comment on the longevity of those items, but they were fine in the week of abusive terrain I tossed them into in at Sedona.

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