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Cottered cranks...when did it end?

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Cottered cranks...when did it end?

Old 08-08-11, 01:40 AM
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marley mission
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Cottered cranks...when did it end?

i actually like cottered cranks - i mean - i have 2 bikes with cottered cranks and i aesthetically like them - i love the look - to me - nothing says "hey i'm an old bike" like cotters do

but what maker was the last to use the technology and when (i'm assuming no handbuilt makers still use them in builds but who knows)

i'm thinking maybe cotters ran into the early 80's but dont know

anyone?
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Old 08-08-11, 03:40 AM
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Chinese and Indian roadsters still use cotters. Until these beasts of burden stop being used there will always be cottered cranks in use somewhere.
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Old 08-08-11, 04:21 AM
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Chinese and Indian roadsters still use cotters. Until these beasts of burden stop being used there will always be cottered cranks in use somewhere.
Yup! Personally, I like em also...
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Old 08-08-11, 04:59 AM
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My '72 Motobecane Mirage was a cottered crank and I loved the looks of it until my girlfriend rode up with her fancy-dan new LeTour that spring of '74. Not sure when the cotters finally trickled out of the mainstream market but surely it must have been in that timeframe of the bike boom.

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Old 08-08-11, 05:52 AM
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As Xray said, they haven't disappeared. It's not a matter of disappearance, but of being crowded out of the market from the top down. So where in 1960 most high end bikes had cottered cranks, by 1970 they had been replaced bikes above a certain price point. Raleigh Super Course still had the cottered crank in the early 70's, and though it was gone by 1980 there were still other bikes that had cottered cranks. If cottered cranks were gone from the American market by 1990 ( I don't know) they certainly remained in some markets (and still do).
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Old 08-08-11, 06:28 AM
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My '73 SC has cottered Stronglights. I've got cottered cranks on several bikes: with a cotter press, they are easy to work on and the BB/spindle is pretty much a breeze to service and maintain as well. "Newer/better/flashier" stuff took over, but not because cotters were bad. (They are heavy though.)
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Old 08-08-11, 07:57 AM
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Peugeot was still using them in the 80's which helps to explain things....
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Old 08-08-11, 08:07 AM
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Raleigh went to cotterless cranks on their low-end Record in 1977
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Old 08-08-11, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
with a cotter press, they are easy to work on and the BB/spindle is pretty much a breeze to service and maintain as well.
yep yep

btw - i guess schwinn never used cottered cranks - cant think i have ever seen one - there answer to the cotter was the one piece i guess

Last edited by marley mission; 08-08-11 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 08-08-11, 08:20 AM
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  • Cottered cranks are beautiful.
  • They are extremely durable.
  • You don't have to worry about crank bolts coming loose.
  • You wont be pulling the threads out of your crank arm
  • You only need one cotter press (vs ISO,TA and SL pullers).
  • They ARE easy to work on in most cases. (It only takes a little finesse to fit cotters).
  • Rarely, they can be hard to remove even with the right tool, but you can still salvage the crank arm by drilling or drifting out the cotter.
  • You don't have to worry about wear in the chamfers of the square drive.

On the down side you'll need a stash of English, French and Italian cotters, and the cranks are heavier.
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Old 08-08-11, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by marley mission View Post
yep yep

btw - i guess schwinn never used cottered cranks - cant think i have ever seen one - there answer to the cotter was the one piece i guess
Paramounts came with a lovely cottered crank in the 50's and into the 60's. Superiors and some New Worlds also had cottered cranks in the 40's.
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Old 08-08-11, 08:51 AM
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love to see one of those
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Old 08-08-11, 09:00 AM
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I have a blue womens Schwinn (World Sport I believe) in the studio with cottered cranks
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Old 08-08-11, 09:02 AM
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This is mine ... not a great photo, but you get the idea.




This is not mine... but I'd be williing to trade.
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Old 08-08-11, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post

This is mine ... not a great photo, but you get the idea.
beautiful - 3 speed? what year? model?
love the crankset design plus the cotters
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Old 08-08-11, 09:18 AM
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By 1978 Raleigh had adopted square taper cranks on nearly all their models except the DL1 which has always had a cottered crank and it was in the early 80't that entry level Peugeots came with square taper cranks.

After that it seems that only lower end bicycles came fitted with them and many European three speed and coaster bikes had them and believe it was because they were tooled up to make 1/8 chainwheels / cottered cranks and the cost of a square taper would have been prohibitive considering their price point.

Indian and Chinese bicycles till can be found with cottered cranks as they have a history of making roadsters and have nevrer felt a need to change a thing.

Lots of folks hate them and think they are too hard to work on but they are just different and many older bicycles are fitted with cottered cranks of very high quality... a few of mine have been going for 50 - 60 years.

It is funny when someone looks at my 54 or 55 Raleigh and says it would be a nicer bike if I swapped out the cottered cranks... the 54 has a 48 tooth Heron chainwheel and the 55 has a 3 bolt Raleigh track ring.
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Old 08-08-11, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post

It is funny when someone looks at my 54 or 55 Raleigh and says it would be a nicer bike if I swapped out the cottered cranks... the 54 has a 48 tooth Heron chainwheel and the 55 has a 3 bolt Raleigh track ring.
"don't tell me to change my cotters you whippersnapper"

btw - care to throw a pic of that chainring
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Old 08-08-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by marley mission View Post
"don't tell me to change my cotters you whippersnapper"
I have been known to reply with, "Don't make me you hit you with my cane."

Those kids are funny... one thought my Ron Cooper (just an old ten speed) would make an excellent fixed gear conversion but thankfully... he was too short to even straddle it and although he was all lined up to buy it, it passed along to me.

It does not have a cottered crank... sometimes weight is a consideration.
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Old 08-08-11, 10:02 AM
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I certainly had trouble removing the cotters on my Ltd-3; took a big hammer and screwdriver. The new ones went in easily enough but had to be filed down a touch to get a snug fit.
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Old 08-08-11, 10:44 AM
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Cottered for life!

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Old 08-08-11, 11:49 AM
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The death knell of the classic cottered crank was the cheap (boy, was it!) 3-pin Sugino Maxy. They started showing up on bikes around 1973, the Raleigh Super Course went over in 1975 (memory?), and as mentioned earlier the Record had converted over in 1977. By that point, cottered cranks on 10-speeds were a dead issue. Roadsters held out longer, most likely to the end of their production.

It was all marketing. Once you could put a crank that superficially resembled that cranks on the $250.00 and up bikes on your $100-150.00 line, you ran with it. The Maxy's were somewhat lighter than a cottered, but not all that much, and I never liked them in the slightest. However, they sold. And the Japanese were much faster to jump on the cheap cotterless bandwagon than the Europeans.
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Old 08-08-11, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by blaise_f View Post
Cottered for life!

Love it.
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Old 01-20-15, 10:49 PM
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Came across the zombie while researching who built the Schwinn cottered cranks (I think williams).

Schwinn cottered cranks on the town n'country...I've seen different cottered cranks on some other ones.

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Old 01-20-15, 11:49 PM
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I believe the last Schwinn bikes with cottered cranks were the 1968 Paramount P11 and P12. In addition I believe those were the only Schwinn models that had cottered cranks after 1963 when the Town and Country Tandem was discontinued.
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Old 01-21-15, 12:02 AM
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I have avoided cottered cranks because I have heard they are difficult to work on. I understand this may not be true if you have the right tools. What if you don't​ have the right tools?
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