Snap Series 1 Cranks: Made in the USA Feb 4, 2010

Photo via Tokyo Fixed Gear’s Flickr

I know what you’re thinking, Snap is an unfortunate name for a BMX Company, especially when it comes to crank arms. Over the past year, I’ve broken numerous alloy cranks doing tricks. I can’t even remember how many crank arms and bottom bracket spindles broke on me, resulting in more money being spent on replacements. Now, I’m not advocating the Snap Series 1 Cranks for freestyle riding that involves gaps, drops and stairs, but for regular riding and everyday commuting, the Snap Series 1 cranks offer a great alternative to the Sugino RD cranks.

Unlike the Sugino cranks, these are machined in the USA, California to be exact, from 7075-T6 aluminum. Their pricepoint is reasonable when compared to their inherently weaker (because of the forging process) counterparts. Not sure what the wholesale is on the cranks, or what wholesale is on Sugino RDs, but maybe these would be a good substitute for a single-speed or fixed project. The only issue I can see is the 110 bcd. Regardless, there’s a lot to be said about the length options and if they’re machined in the USA, maybe they would consider a 130bcd? or a 144bcd? No idea.

I know of a few NYC-local shops, along with Tokyo Fixed Gear in London, who have been using these for single-speed and fixed builds with no issues. Check with your LBS and see if they carry them. if they don’t, hit em up! You can’t go wrong with the black or silver pairs.

  • MG

    Forging does not create a weaker part than machining– the grain alignment that forging creates can be used by designers to increase the strength of the part. I would imagine that Snap machines their crank arms because forging them would be too expensive for their production quantities.

  • prolly

    Thanks for the clarification. I was always under the impression that forging was weaker than milling.

  • MG

    It’s a common misconception; I think it stems from the aerospace industry where a lot of critical parts are milled because of low production volumes/need for accuracy. The association of aerospace quality and strength with milling sort of stuck, I guess.

  • Big Mike

    Not sure I buy that these are full CNC, I would guess the blanks are forged who knows where and then the TOTALLY METAL ninja throwing star design is CNC’d and the anodizing work done in LA. It’s really hard to see from these pics, could go either way. Not that it makes a difference, as noted above, just sayin’.

    Whatever the case, 160 bones for an unproven design a little-known maker claims is comparable to an RD or XD at ~$80 isn’t getting them in my pants any time soon. I think after the retardo “OMG guys I can totally feel how much more RD’s flex than 75’s even though I’m riding a steel frame in Vans” BS of the last few years everybody has figured out that other than designs with stress risers (cough, old campy, cough cough) pretty much all Al cranks from quality makers are about equal. Al isn’t like carbon where you’re adding material here and there for strength and two parts could look the same and vary radically in strength, we’re pretty much talking about a smoothed out beam of the same couple of alloys.

  • prolly

    haha. Thanks Mike.

    I saw a study a while back where scientists tested crank arm flex and said that the minute differentials are too slight for the human body to detect.

    Time to dig that up!

  • Jerry Likes Bikes

    The torsional flex of a bottom bracket spindle, along with minor flex that occurs between the mating interfaces of a square taper design are greater than you’d find coming from a “standard” Al crank.
    That being said, flex from the bottom bracket shell is going to make the biggest difference.
    Either way, those cranks look like a bad reminder of the 90’s CNC craze that swept BMX and MTB. Do they come in 3D Violet Ano???

  • prolly

    Zingers all day! Wow. I’ma start posting stuff like this more often.

  • MAX

    These are unproven because very few people ride them. Stick em on a 103mm BB & you’ll enjoy! Also they look fucking cool.

  • luno

    i think this stuff is obvious but i will say it anyway.

    cold forging = non-homogeneous grain structure = lower elasticity and elongation, fracture / plastic deformation instead of elastic deformation, higher strength, lower fracture strength.

    this means that you can pedal with the force of 10 men and your crank won’t care. however, if you pedal with the force of 11 men your crank will snap instead of flexing.

    the reason cold-forged cranks are a higher-end item (soma hellyer, sugino 75, sugino RD, dura-ace, campy, etc.) is because sprinters can benefit from the lack of flex. the reason they cost more is because the cold-forging process has high costs of tooling and dies.

    for the average person, non-cold-forged cranks are totally fine.