René Herse Cranks: Prices and Availability

René Herse Cranks: Prices and Availability

The new René Herse cranks have entered production. The arms are being forged, the chainrings are being machined, and the crank bolts are being made, each by specialist manufacturers who are among the best in their trade. The photo above shows the final production version of the arms and chainrings. (The crank bolt still is a prototype.)
We plan to have the cranks in stock for the Holidays. We also have finalized the prices: $385 for single- and double-chainring cranksets, and $440 for a triple. We will offer tandem cranksets as well.
The double-chainring cranks are designed for a 113 mm JIS bottom bracket, resulting in a tread (Q factor) of 142 mm with a standard chainline. (If you ride mostly on the big ring, you can use a shorter BB spindle to move the cranks inward a bit, if your frame permits. This will reduce the tread/Q factor by up to 6 mm.)
The new René Herse cranks are compatible with many bottom brackets, including the excellent SKF bottom bracket available from Compass Bicycles.
I am looking forward to putting these cranks on my new randonneur bike!

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Comments (22)

  • JE

    Will there be a significant difference between the single/double and triple? From what I understand the arm would be identical and the width of the chainring bolts would vary. This would make conversion trivial.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:36 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      Doubles and triples use the same arms. A conversion just requires an extra chainring and longer chainring bolts, plus a spacer between inner and middle ring.
      The single arms are different, because they don’t have a shelf on the insider of the spider to locate the small chainring.

      October 12, 2011 at 8:43 am
  • Joshua Bryant

    Awesome! What chainring sizes will be available?

    October 12, 2011 at 8:36 am
  • Andre

    Are there any currently manufactured front derailleurs you recommend for use with these cranks sets?

    October 12, 2011 at 8:43 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      The gap between chainring and crankarm is large enough that you can use most current front derailleurs. (It is larger than the originals, mostly because the arms needs to clear the chain even when it runs on the smallest cog of a 10-speed rear cassette.)
      Most modern “road” front derailleurs are designed for a 53-tooth big chainring, so the cage has a larger radius than you need for a 48 or smaller ring. It still works fine, but doesn’t look great. A few companies offer “compact” front derailleurs with a smaller radius.

      October 12, 2011 at 8:54 am
  • Kathryn Hall

    Those crank bolts look very nice. What are your considerations about them?

    October 12, 2011 at 8:54 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      They are copies of the original Herse crank bolts, except they use a 15 mm wrench. We also specified a standard 22 mm extractor, rather than the 23 mm that Herse (and later TA) used. This means that standard tools work on these cranks.
      Of course, you can use any crank bolt on the new René Herse cranks, for example, if you prefer an Allen head. The extractor threads are deeper than the original Herse, TA, etc. They are the same depth as Sugino, Campagnolo, etc., so the bolt head will not protrude much, if at all.
      We designed these cranks so that they can be used on modern bikes without too many special considerations.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:00 am
  • barbour Warren

    The cranks look very nice. Do you plan on having them anodized?

    October 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      Anodizing is used to protect aluminum that is either too soft or not corrosion-resistant enough to be exposed to the elements. For example, 7000-series aluminum must be anodized if used outdoors. Our cranks are made from 6066 aluminum, which naturally resists corrosion, yet offers excellent strength and durability. Thus, the cranks do not need to be anodized (and won’t be).
      Anodizing on cranks rubs off where ankles, booties or toe straps touch them, making them unsightly. Scratches also show up on anodized cranks, and there is little you can do about them. René Herse cranks will not tarnish, but if your cranks get scratched up with use, you can easily sand and polish them to make them as good as new.
      The chainrings are made from extra-hard 7075 aluminum for better wear resistance. They are anodized to protect them from corrosion.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm
  • seth vidal

    Is there any reason this design would not support a quad or a quint ring in the front? You would need longer bolts of course but the design I was thinking of would mean you could have a tandem with the timing chain all on the same side and still have a triple or more.

    October 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      Anything is possible. It’s hard for me to see the need for more than three chainrings. The tandem idea is interesting, many 1930s tandems had this setup.

      October 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm
  • Ryan

    Nice! Looking forward to getting one.
    What length arms will you be offering?

    October 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm
  • Bubba

    Those are just splendid. You must be very excited to seeing this project move forward. Will you have a pre-order program?

    October 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm
  • Ben

    The $2650.00 someone paid for this ( RH crankset certainly makes your price point look pretty good Jan! b 🙂

    October 13, 2011 at 2:46 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      We did not orient ourselves on collector pieces, but just calculated what our cost is, plus a little less than the standard markup. (We hope to recover the investment in the forging dies and other development costs over larger quantities, rather than price this as a “premium” item.)
      Almost all other high-end cranks are more expensive, because other companies have more overhead:
      Sugino OX801D: $ 530 (includes BB).
      TA Pro 5 vis: $ 590
      – Shimano Dura-Ace: $ 500+ (includes BB)
      – Rene Herse: $ 385
      You can get budget cranks for less, but you’ll have to sacrifice quality, function and/or performance.

      October 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm
  • Seth Vidal

    How much will the chainrings cost on their own? For example if I wanted to buy some replacement or other-sized rings.

    October 13, 2011 at 11:49 am
  • azorch

    This crankset is simply drop dead gorgeous.
    I must also tell you that every since the latest BQ arrived in the mail this past week, I’ve been thumbing back to the pages on your new bike. It is stunningly beautiful and I’m endlessly fascinated with the background details.

    October 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm
  • Kathryn Hall

    I’ll have to display my ignorance openly here. You mention using a 113mm bb for a tread of 142mm, but what size tire/fender will that work for? It’s hard to imagine a bb that short if you have 58mm fenders, unless the chainstays are crimped to a hair’s width.

    October 14, 2011 at 8:25 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      With wide tires, it can be difficult to make tire and fender fit between bottom bracket shell, chainstays, fenders and cranks, without moving the crankarms outward like on a mountain bike.
      Builders usually curve the chainstays, indent them a bit for the tire (or use oval stays), and it all will fit well. On my new bike, I use a shorter BB spindle to move the chainline to the big ring, since I use that most of the time (and I never use the small-small combination). So I used a 107 mm spindle, which brings the tread (Q factor) to 136 mm. My fenders are indented a bit where they pass between the chainstays, but there still is plenty of room between tire and fender/stay. The stays are not indented excessively, either. It all fits very nicely, and there are sufficient clearances everywhere, yet no space is wasted. (The latter part is crucial, and I chose my builder in part because they know how to resolve this issue.)
      Our crankarms actually do sit a little further outward than original Herse arms, because they need to work with 10-speed cassettes rather than 6-speed. (As a result, the tread/Q factor is about 3-4 mm wider than the originals.) The BB spindle length does not affect this – it is relatively short simply because we curved the crankarms slightly to offer more ankle clearance and use commonly available BBs. Especially for a triple, the spindle would get awfully long otherwise (126+ mm).

      October 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

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