Whenever I get a new bike, I like to eliminate a whole bunch of mechanical problems, at least the potential ones, by switching to a single-speed crankset. You don’t want to skimp on this component because, after all, it’s your drivetrain.
Get the good single-speed crankset money can buy, and if you don’t know which one to get, sit back and go through the list of recommended products on the market down below.
With a proper setup, your bike can quickly leap from a standstill to 20mph in a few pedal strokes and skid to a stop with a little back pressure on the cranks. Depending on how much you want to spend on a crankset, some might be overkill for you, while some can give you the best bang for your buck.
Best Fixie Crankset
Here is a list of some of the best cranksets for single-speed bikes that are super stiff and very strong.
1. Retrospec Fixed-Gear Crank Single-Speed
If you are building a slick fixed-gear bike and want to get your hands on the best budget single-speed crankset, this one is a good option. With the Retrospec Fixed-Gear Crank, you will be saving a lot of money without making any compromises. This is also a good option for upgrading your fixie or track bike.
It combines a steel chainring with lightweight aluminum alloy ss crank arms. This makes it suitable for multiple uses without compromising on durability. Thanks to Retrospec’s new crank arm design, it gives you a more aggressive and faster-riding experience. The crank arm is strong and has a length of 170mm.
It’s a three-piece forged crankset that is burly and lightweight. And it comes in three different sizes 44, 46, and 48 teeth count, and a lot of color options to match the aesthetic of your bike. Just make sure to choose the correct size according to your preferred gearing. Go with the highest teeth count if you are the type of person that carves speed on flat roads.
It might be the best crankset for fixie, but keep in mind that it’s not a racing crank, nor it is built like one.
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2. Origin8 Track/SS Crankset
This beautiful crankset by Origin8 is one of the best cranksets for fixed gear if you are planning your next conversion project. Installing this set is a piece of cake thanks to the clearly marked instruction. Finally someone added the recommended torque values for the crank bolts in the owner’s manual. It’s a nice-looking crankset that is also a good value for the money.
The main reason why this crankset has been popular for a long time is its looks. This one gets along well with both modern-themed bikes as well as vintage-inspired track builds. Not only is it priced extremely well, but it is also tough as a nail. It comes equipped with a 1/8″, 46-tooth chainring, which makes it an ideal all-around crankset for various road conditions.
Since this crank is made from forged aluminum alloy, it’s both lightweight and sturdy. Keep in mind that this is an entry-level set with a track-style shape that will fit any bike that has a square bottom bracket. You can choose from three different crank arm lengths 160, 170, and 175mm. The holes are drilled for 9/16″ pedals but avoid using steel pedals, or else it will cut through the threading of the alloy.
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3. SRAM S300 Courier Crankset
The SRAM S300 courier crankset is a piece of art crankset for a reasonable price. It is durable, performs great, and looks amazing. Only the threads come greased and nothing else, and that’s a good thing. You won’t find any excessive grease on any of the parts. Just so you don’t mess up the arms when installing pedals, it comes with washers that fit the crankarms.
After installing, you can ride your bike for miles with little visible wear on the crank. You won’t feel any flex either. This incredibly durable crankset is one of the best fixed-gear cranksets you can have. Compared to the price you are paying, the bottom bracket is okay. For the most part, it’s plastic except for the outer cups, which are made from aluminum.
There are no rough edges on the pedal and bottom bracket threads. And the spindles are of good quality too. Unless there is any significant wear, the laser etching is clean and remains on the face of the crank arms. Is this one worth upgrading from your current square-tapered crankset? Yes. The difference between them is like night and day.
4. CDHPOWER Single Speed Crankset
This single-speed crankset from CDHPOWER is the perfect option if you plan on switching to a 36T crankset. It has a durable build quality, and the crank arms are sturdy too. The forged aluminum-alloy arms are not only durable but also very lightweight. You can also choose the 32T model if you want. It comes with a solid carbon steel chainring and two pedal cranks.
The length of the pedal crankarm is 165mm, and the total length is 200mm and compatible with 9/16-inch pedals. Without the ball bearings, the net weight is 515g for the 32T model and 620g for the 36T model. This crankset will fit most square taper kind bikes easily. The bottom bracket is designed for all 26-inch bikes. This includes all the bikes with a 2-inch bottom bracket as well as normal bikes.
However, there will be occasions when you will need the help of some extra parts to make it work and fit your bike. Additionally, this set would be the best crankset for single speed if you want to convert a 10X Raleigh Grand Prix or anything like that. This is possible because the teeth size is 1/8 inch, which is designed for a 1/8-chain.
5. Pro-Lite Single Speed Crankset
The Litepro single-speed crankset from Pro-Lite is a step-up version from certain low-end stock or OEM cranksets. The best features of this product are its low weight, low cost, and unique chainring design. This design offers a tighter chain line as the offset is relative to the connection with the spider.
Even without using the narrowest bottom bracket, you can easily achieve a satisfactory level of parity with the chain line of the track hub, considering your track hub is 42mm. Rather than using a track typical 103mm bracket, you can mount a 107mm bottom bracket. Design-wise, you won’t face any mounting issues.
Moreover, the only downside of this set is the lack of quality control by the manufacturer. The problem lies in the spider arms of this set. There is a slight float of about 0.4mm, which can lead to about 0.7mm lateral movement. If you are new to bikes, you won’t even realize the float.
In applications where the chain tension isn’t that important, the slight deviations in centering/roundness won’t matter at all. The lower runout can even help with the quietness and smoothness of the drivetrain. Apart from that, this is one of the best cranksets for single speed I have come through.
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6. Sunlite Single Speed Crankset
Need an inexpensive upgrade? This crankset from Sunlite is a good budget option that is easy to install, very well made, and has a nice finish. It is a lot lighter than stock cranks too. The crankarms are made from lightweight but durable aluminum alloy, and the chainring is made from solid stainless steel. This single-speed crankset is available in two sizes 32T and 44T and has a square taper interface.
If you have a 36T and want to move to a 32T, you will feel the difference when making your way up to a steep heel. You can easily climb a heel without getting exhausted. Design-wise, I think if the chainring was more on the outside, the chain alignment would have been much better.
You will need a longer spindle with a new bottom bracket for this crankset to work on a fat bike. Apart from this, the quality is really good. While there is no doubt that this crankset is great, it is a bit more robust. Another minor inconvenience would be the occasional chain slip-off. Moreover, this is because the sprockets are not being precisely machined.
7. State Bicycle Co. Fixed Gear/Single Speed Bike Crankset
For a budget fixed gear crankset, this one from State Bicycle Co. has surprisingly good quality. It is quite strong, and you can use it for years to come. The appearance is definitely a head-turner, and you can get it in three different color options. It will fit any fixed-gear bike like a champ.
Coming out of the box, this set looks gorgeous and compliments other vintage alloy components. While the build quality is great, it does scratch easily. You will see occasional paint chips in certain areas. This is a 3-piece forged aluminum crankset that features a 1/8-inch 46T chain ring.
All the cranksets that the State Bicycle Co. makes are 5 bolts, 130mm BCD. You will need a square taper as it doesn’t come with any bottom bracket. The chain arm length is 170mm, and the whole unit weighs 734g. When it comes to spindle length BB, some prefer to use 68 x 110.5 while others go with 68 x 118.
However, it depends on your frame. If you want to, you can install a sprocket guard on this crankset with a spacer for chain tolerance.
8. CYSKY Single Speed Crankset 48T 170mm Crankarms
If you want performance, fantastic build quality, and good looks in a single crankset, this is the one. It looks amazingly well on any bike and is lighter than the most-stock setup. You can easily fit it without a hitch and has a much better function.
This crankset has a decent quality to back up the price and you can easily mount it on most fixies but will have a hard time with fat bikes. As long as you have a square taper bottom bracket, this set will fit just about any 103 BB. It doesn’t come with spindles, ball bearings, or bolts. When purchasing, make sure to keep these items. Also, keep some BB lubes and pedals just in case.
With this crank, you cannot put the chain ring on the inside of the spider. Another minor drawback would be the aluminum sprockets. They are not very sturdy, so don’t use them for rough riding. As long as you are street riding, this crankset should last as the bike and other components you have. Spec-wise, it’s a 48T crankset with a 170mm crank arm length. The BCD is 130mm and works with a 9/16″ pedal size.
9. Vuelta Pista Track Crankset
This is a fixed gear crankset from Vuelta that is made in the USA. Vuelta products have a good reputation for being high-quality, good value, and delivering smooth performance. This Pista crankset is no exception. In most applications, the crank works with any 108mm BB spindle.
You will need a square tapered bottom bracket for this crankset. The BCD is 144mm, which means you can use it on the track. Although it’s not as sturdy as the Shimano, still, this is one of the best fixed gear cranksets for the price. The reason I prefer square-taper cranksets is that they don’t require too many complicated tools. They are also very simple to use and install.
There is no creaking noise, and it works perfectly on a 7X-speed bike. The crank arms fit tight and nicely, and there are no mechanical flaws or issues in the build quality. Appearance-wise, this crankset is shiny and highly polished. It looks even better with a pair of Black Candies. Performance-wise, it moves and turns the chain smoothly.
10. Sugino Single Speed Crankset
This is probably the only crankset in this list that comes with both BB and crank bolts. It goes well with touring bikes, and when you install this on your fixie, the chain line will have proper alignment with no rubbing against any of the gears. You can turn the crank into a double by getting a double chain ring bolt set, a bottom bracket, and an appropriate chain ring.
Since it is from Sugino, you can easily find complimentary items. If you want to add another chain ring, you can do so with ease. Everyone who bought this crankset is delighted with the appearance. The high-finished look of the crank goes really well with vintage bikes. It’s not just about looks; the build quality is also there. Even if you are a heavy person, it won’t groan under your weight.
If you want to save some money when building your first single-speed bike, I would recommend you go with this one. Although it’s more expensive than the rest of the cranksets on this list, the quality you will get is well worth the money. The whole set weighs around 565g.
Benefits of a Single-Speed Crankset
When I’m out there riding around town, I would always go with a single-speed bike. There are no derailleurs or shifters to worry about, and I can put all of my focus on the thing that matters most, and that is, riding my bike. It’s a simple and fun experience that you won’t get with any other type of bike.
You will have fewer mechanical issues because fixes have fewer moving parts. And they are light and cheap. Most single-speed owners mostly live in a flat city, and they prefer this type of bike for two main reasons. One they are very low maintenance and two, they are great for commuting.
The Only Downside
Sadly, you are limited to one gear, and for that reason, maintaining momentum is crucial. When riding an SS, you need to learn how to spin and tackle corners. This also goes the same when attacking a hill. The best part is you will never be in the wrong gear. Now that you know about the pros and cons of this type of bike and crankset, let’s have a look at some of the top choices.
Things to Consider When Buying the Single-Speed Crankset
The heart and soul of a single-speed or a fixie bike is the crankset. It’s like the engine of a car. If you were looking to build a single-speed bike and got all the components ready except for the crank and arms, you are at the right place.
Types of Single-Speed Cranksets
When it comes it crank types, there are two choices. The first one is called Square Taper, and the second one is Integrated.
Design-wise, the most functional and technically simple crankset is a square taper. It’s the most common type out there, and almost all fixies will have a square taper crankset and a cartridge bottom. The reason why it is so popular is that they are effortless to install and maintain. If you prefer looks, you might have to look at integrated cranksets. Square tapers aren’t that elegant.
However, appearance is subjective. So, make sure you take a look at some of the name brands out there first before making your decision.
If you really want to spruce up the overall appearance of your bike, go with an integrated crank. The main reason why you would want to choose this one over a square taper is to reduce the weight. Integrated cranks are lighter, cooler, and more durable. Yes, that’s right. They are more durable because the external bearings are larger. Cartridge BBs have smaller sealed bearings, and when they get worn out, you will hear occasional creaking noise.
Understanding Track Cranksets
Not all SS cranksets are designed to work with your fixie. Some of them are designed to be used with track bikes. Don’t what track bikes are? They are the very pinnacle of single-speed cycling, and their components are all about performance and speed. Track bike owners aren’t concerned with looks. Their primary goal is to go as fast as possible.
On the other hand, riding a fixie is all about simplicity. You want to look cool when you commute, don’t you?
Gear Ratio & Tooth Count
For a fixie, understanding the gear ratio is very simple. I mean, you only have one gear to understand. The only thing these cranksets have that is not common is the teeth count. I’m sure you have already noticed it by now. The teeth count represents the gear ratio of the crankset. You will see something like 32T, 36T, 44T, etc. The higher that number, the harder it will be to push the bike.
However, you will gain speed much faster. Go with a small tooth count if you are a daily commuter, as it will make paddling much easier. The general rule of thumb is that if you live in a hilly area, go with a lower gear ratio. If you want speed, you’ll want a higher gear ratio.
Crank Arm Length
Different cranks have different crank arm lengths. Now, this one is really important for two reasons. One is speed, and another is directly related to knee pain. Let’s talk about speed first. If you choose to go with a longer crank arm, you will be able to go faster and paddle with less effort. This will also make gearing a lot easier.
However, watch out for the pedal stroke if you are riding a fixie. The shorter length will allow you to ride at a faster cadence and also reduce the risk of pedal strike. However, you will have less power compared to longer crank arms. If you have knee pain, you should always pick shorter crank arms.
And the second reason is the proper bike fit. Crank arm length is also a major reason for occurring knee pain if you don’t pick the right length. There are other reasons too, but this one is proven to be the main culprit.
Even if you are not a big brand enthusiast, when buying certain items, in this case, a crankset, being open-minded can actually lead to a waste of investment. In the world of single-speed cranksets, you can easily get a cheap quality product if you go with a no-name brand. Also, rather than buying the components separately, you should buy them as a set.
This way, you won’t have to worry about compatibility because all the components in a set are meant to work in tandem.
Can I use any crankset for a single speed?
Yes, any crankset available will work for single-speed and you can use them all. When it comes to chain tension, the frame you have need to be a horizontal dropout, or you may take the help of a chain tensioner. The frame is the more important factor here rather than the crankset.
What is the correct crank arm length?
Most common crank arm lengths for bikes go from 170mm to 175mm, such as 170, 172.5, and 175mm. You can also find crank arms with lengths of 145mm to 190mm if you need them. The more the length is the lower the gear ratio it will have. With more length, you will be able to climb better but the effect is not that significant.
What is the best single-speed gear ratio?
The best gear ratio for single-speed or fixed-gear bikes is 2.7 to 2.8. To choose a gear ratio you must consider the terrain you ride or the skillset you have as a rider. Riders start from 2.1 and then adjust as per their need. Remember single-speed or fixed-gear bikes with high-pressure tires may require a little higher gear ratio. But, if you live in flatland, you may require to have lower gear.
Most of the fixie crankset options in this list are geared toward budget bike builders. However, they are way better than the stock crankset that you will find on entry-to-mid-level bikes. All of them have the same purpose, deciding one will come down to your choice of color, teeth count, and bottom bracket design.
There is also a budget issue. How much are you willing to spend on getting the high-quality crankset for fixie? Hopefully, you know the answer after going through our buying guide and recommended list of products.