Primo Exel Cranks

 - Mark Langston

Back in 1988 I got a pair of Redline flight cranks very cheaply from the bike shop that I was sponsored by, in the mid to late 80ís Redline flights were THE crank to have, and with good reason.

A chap named Lynn Kastan came up with the revolutionary idea for a 3-piece tubular chromoly crank back in the early 80ís and approached Redline, who worked with him to develop the flight range, first the 400 flight crank which was similar to the profiles of today, them the 401 flight crank which became the industry standard.

These cranks were amazing, very strong, and light and a vast improvement on the heavy, weak one piece cranks of the day, I used my cranks for 11 trouble free years and now have them on my 1988 old school Haro Sport.

I got a set of Primo Powerbites when bottom brackets became hard to get for the Flights and they lasted 6months before the pedal thread stripped out, I then got a set of Profile SS cranks, but I was worried about the splines wearing and the cranks becoming loose, this could not happen to the flights as they had a pinch bolt to keep them tight to the spline, it also helped keep the retaining bolt tight.

Fairly quickly the splines became worn, and although the cranks do not creak or wobble or come loose, this worries me and I do feel that they are very heavy.

So I started looking for new cranks, they must have a pinch bolt design, not be aluminium, and be strong but reasonably weighted.

I looked at the demolition ones, thought they were ok, but nothing special, SNAFU looked ok but I was told they are made in Taiwan .

Then Primo released the Exel, Looks nice I thought.

Nice finish, good innovations like more metal round the pedal area and near the centre bolt to help spread the load, so I took a closer look.

I popped into Cyclone and had a look at a set, very impressive they were too, £139 of your finest Chromo, plus 80 beans for a Ti axle.

 I asked Ray what sort of deal he could do for a set with a Ti axle in place of a chromo one, 145 of my finest hard earned chunks was the reply, I couldnít get my card in his hand quickly enough.

Fitting was a piece of cake, standard bottom bracket job, the Ti axle was a bit tight, but they are spot on, spin well donít creak, stay tight and look lush.

I like the extra thought that have gone into these, and that they have a pinch bolt, they use a standard Powerbite axle too.

Time will tell if they are as good as my old flights, I hope they last as long!!