TA Zephyr Tandem Cranksets
We have a few Zephyr tandem cranksets in stock!
TA has discontinued production of the Zephyr crank. Duh! They are replacing it with a new crank that will have interchangeable spiders. It's called the Carmina. And they will not be offering it in as many arm lengths as the Zephyr. So, when these are gone, that's all folks! And the Carmina is not available as a tandem cankset.
However, the TA Carmina is now available in crank lengths from 155mm to 185mm; we keep them all in stock. It uses a system of interchangeable triple spiders, allowing 94-58, 110-74, or 130-74 triple chainrings to be used, or three different double spiders of 94mm, 110mm, or 130mm for either super compact, compact, or road double chainrings to be fitted, all on the same crank arms. After several years selling these, I've found them to be very reliable, strong and pretty good looking.
In the triple version for solo bike, not a tandem, we have none left in stock. I still have a few Zephyr Light double cranksets, and a few tandem sets. And I now have many Carmina cranks in stock. We still have a few Zephyr tandem cranksets in stock.
"Why?" you ask. "Because they're beautiful!" I say.
Well, at least I think so. And I sell what I like. This photo shows the Zephyr 175mm crank set up as a triple with 46-36-22 teeth chainrings. The optional Auto-Extractor is installed in the left arm. A 6mm allen key is all that's needed to install or remove the crank with the Auto-Extractor. The cranks come with BB fixing bolts, as well as washers for the pedals. The washer fits between the pedal and the crank. Polished aluminum finish.
There aren't many cranks being made these days in the 110 - 74mm bolt circle pattern, which is so well suited to tandeming, touring and randoneuring. Not only is the TA particularly well made and aesthetically pleasing, TA makes a wide range of chainrings to fit it. And of course 110mm and 74mm chainrings are widely available from other manufacturers. The crank not only accepts 74mm rings at the inner position, there is a third, smaller bolt circle at 56mm, that will accept 20 and 22 tooth chainrings. To be clear, you would use either the 74mm position, or the 56mm position, not both.
We have chainrings in many sizes for the Zephyr, including the larger sizes generally needed for road tandems. The largest outer ring is 60 teeth. The smallest outer ring is 42 teeth. The smallest inner ring is 20, and the largest is 32. So as you can see there's almost no gearing setup that you can't get with the Zephyr.
Unlike most other tandem cranksets, the Zephyr was available in a wide range of crank lengths, though now we have very few left; For stokers, we have 172.5mm. For captains we have 170mm. And that's it. There will be no more.
Available crank lengths: in the triple for solo bikes, nothing! These are now all discontinued by TA, and they are all gone. Tandem sets only. The chainrings for the new Carmina crank fit the Zephyr.
I stock many lengths in the tandem version. I also have Zephyr Lights left in 170mm.
This is a Zephyr Tandem set. The stoker's right crank has an optional Auto-Extractor installed. Note the difference in length between the stoker's timing crank, pictured on the right, and the captain's timing crank on the left. Stoker triple cranks use a 135mm Phil Wood bottom bracket axle.
Currently available tandem crank lengths:
See the Zephyr Light page for available double arm lengths.
Most outer and middle position chainrings are pinned and ramped for smooth index front shifting. The exceptions are 45, 47, 49, 55, 57 and 58 tooth outer rings. All of my listed middle position rings are pinned. Most rings are compatible with Campagnolo 10 speed chains and derailleurs, as well as 9 speed, 8 speed and 7 speed.
These chainrings are not exclusively for the Zephyr, and are not being discontinued.
Available outer chainrings: 58t, 57t, 56t, 55t, 54t, 53t, 52t, 51t, 50t, 49t, 48t, 47t, 46t, 45t, 44t, 42.
Available middle chainrings: 46t, 44t, 43t, 42t, 41t, 40t, 39t, 38t, 37t, 36t, 35t, 34t, 33t.
Available 74mm inner chainrings: 32t, 30t, 29t, 28t, 27t, 26t, 25t, 24t.
Available 56mm inner chainrings: 22t, 20t.
All chainrings are 7075 aluminum except the 56mm which are stainless steel. 74mm 24 and 26 teeth are also available in stainless steel as an option.
I also stock many sizes of TA rings for other cranksets. See my chainrings page.
Zephyr Light double chainwheel crankset
The Zephyr Light crankset uses a double version of the Zephyr arms, with special "Syrius" chainrings and aluminum chainring bolts. Choose an outer chainring, 50, 48 or 46 and an innner ring 36 or 34. The only finish available is black, as shown in the photo above.
These chainrings are spaced for nine or ten speeds. If you use them with an eight or seven speed drivetrain, you should simply use a nine speed chain. The nine speed chain will shift just as well as a wider eight speed chain in back, but will prevent the chain from rubbing on other chainrings in front. I have found Sachs nine speed chains to be just as tough and durable as eight speed chains, so there's really no reason not to use them.
The Zephyr cranks can be used with other brands of chainrings if you need eight speed chainring spacing for front STI indexing. Rear STI indexing won't be effected. You can also re-space TA's nine speed chainrings to make them compatible with eight speed STI front shifting.
The Zephyr can be used as a double crankset, as well as a triple, though I expect that most folks will use it as a triple. 125mm TA Axix bottom bracket axle offset to the right gives the best triple chainline. If you prefer a perfectly symmetrical crankset, a 131mm axle can be used.
Shimano's nine speed triple front derailleurs are designed for a 47mm chainline. This is wider than it needs to be for frames with 1 1/8" seat tubes, but Shimano wants them wider for all of those plastic frames with 1 3/8" seat tubes. With the fat plastic seat tubes, the front derailleur won't be able to make the shift from the middle ring to the inner ring without bottoming out on the frame. So for triples I like to set the chainline to 45mm, which happens to be the chainline at the cassette if the rear spacing is 135mm. Shimano's nine speed triple front derailleurs won't shift into the inner ring of a triple very well if the chainline is less than 45mm.
A spacer can be added to the left side of TA bottom brackets to adjust chainline. The spacer is 2.5mm thick, and fits between the left bearing and the left bearing cup. That shifts the axle 2.5mm to the right, and with the 125mm axle, gives you a 45mm chainline with the Zephyr Triple crankset. The spacer adds $3.70 to the cost of the bottom bracket. Or use a 131mm TA Axix for symmetrically spaced crank arms. For most tandems, a 135mm Phil Wood should work well.
Axix Bottom Bracket
I also stock a high quality sealed bearing bottom brackets from TA to work with the Zephyr cranks; the Axix. The Axix retaining cups have lip seals, in addition to the seals built into the cartridge bearings. For the triple Zephyr, the axle is steel, and the cups and lock rings are all aluminum. The Axix bottom brackets require a special tool set to install. The special tool is needed because the lock ring is slightly smaller than standard lock rings, and since it's made of aluminum, a standard spanner will strip out the notches in the ring. Only the TA spanner will fit. I also stock Phil Wood bottom brackets to fit the Zephyr. If you want the easiest bottom bracket to install, by all means get the Phil Wood, but the Phil is more expensive.
Some cyclists are concerned about "Q" factor. "Q" factor is the width of the cranks where the pedals attach. I've measured the "Q" factor of the Zephyr triple crank with several bottom brackets.
For symmetrical arm spacing, a 130mm or 131mm bottom bracket axle should be used. Phil Wood makes a 130mm, and TA makes a 131mm. Both work perfectly with the Zephyr triple. When using a 125mm axle, it needs to be shifted to the right by 2.5mm in order to give the correct chainline. The TA can be shifted to the right by using a 2.5mm spacer. The Phil Wood is available in a +5 version which has the axle shifted 2.5mm to the right, resulting in an axle that is 5mm longer on the right side than on the left, hence the +5 designation.
TA is probably best known for their Pro 5 Vis (Cyclotouriste) crankset. These have been discontinued by TA, though there may still be a few available. However, while they may have some value to users of vintage bikes, they aren't a sensible choice for use on modern bicycles. The gap between the outer chainring and the crank arm is very narrow, and the outer plates of modern front derailleurs are simply too wide to allow using the larger chainring without hitting the crank on the derailleur.
TA Pro 5 Vis crankset
Also, the bolt circle is tiny, even for the outer chainring. This allows the outer ring to flex easily to the outside during upshifts, and in time, the gap between the ring and the arm becomes even smaller. As the gap between the outer and middle ring increases, the chain ends up falling between the two. When I was installing the Pro 5 Vis regularly on high end touring bikes in the 1970s, I rarely used outer rings larger than 46 teeth for that reason.
Because of these problems, I haven't stocked any Pro 5 Vis arms, chainrings or bottom brackets in years.
The thread used for crank dust caps and extractors on TA cranks used to be unique. But the Zephyr uses the industry standard thread, so Campagnolo, Sugino and Park crank extractors work just fine with the Zephyr. And the TA Auto-Extractors can be used on most other brands of cranks.
Axix Bottom Bracket spanner sets will only work with the Axix Bottom Bracket. And, the Axix bottom bracket cannot be installed properly without the Axix spanner set.
For more chainrings see my chainrings page.
Now available, TA Alize cranksets. Double ($ 199.00 ) or triple ($ 225.00 ), 130 x 74 bolt circle.
I get frequent requests for weights of various combinations of cranks and chainrings. One person wants to know how much a 175mm Alize with 52-42-26 rings weighs. Another wants to know how much a 155mm Zephyr with 48-36-24 rings weighs, and what the difference would be if he got a stainless 24 tooth ring instead of aluminum.
Well, I don't have all the answers, but I do have some weights for comparison purposes.
Zephyr Light crankset: 175mm arms, 48-34 teeth: 560 grams.
This page was last updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
To see my full selection of chainrings, click here.
For TA Alize cranksets, click here.
For more about bottom brackets, click here.
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This page updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Peter White Cycles