Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Phoenix Project - Sugino OX801D Compact Plus Crankset

Background on The Phoenix Project is available here and here.

As alluded to in a previous post, I have a Sugino OX801D currently installed on the 1985 Trek 620 project bike.

The most novel feature of this crank extends the conventional compact double paradigm by offering a 74mm BCD drilling in addition to the typical 110mm BCD arms found on most conventional compact doubles.  This allows a truly wide range compact double.

Interestingly enough, the U.S. based retailers only offer it with both rings as 110 BCD.  I had to order from Japan to get one with a 110mm outer ring and a 74mm inner ring - I got this in 46/30.

As you can see, this is a external bearing bottom bracket type.  The Sugino OX801D does come with a Sugino bottom bracket, but is compatible with recent Shimano 105/Ultegra/Dura Ace external bottom brackets:

And as a nice touch, the non-drive side cap has an allen head fitting rather than some special tool.

Another interesting feature of this crank is that the spider is outboard of the large ring, much like the old Mavic Starfish cranks:

Another very unconventional aspect of this crank is that I ordered it in 160mm crank arm length.

I had been rolling around with 165mm cranks on my Fuji America and I was pleased with that plus various online crank length calculators suggested that the universe would not implode if I tried some 160mm cranks.  And finally, the 1985 Trek 620 is a bit tight on the toe clip overlap situation so some shorter cranks may help in this department.

Overall, this crankset is an experiment - wide range compact double, external bottom bracket, and short crankarms.  Ultimately, this crankset will likely end up on my wife's bike - she is rather petite, I carry all the baggage, and navigating a triple is irksome for her, so a wide range compact double with short arms is just the thing for her.  I've already ordered a conventional triple crank, but for now The Phoenix Project will be rolling with the Sugino OX801D.

Street Cred

Sugino has sterling credentials for making high quality products.

Gizmo Lust

The Sugino is a unique piece of work with the external spider and 110/74 options on a compact double.  The claimed Q-factor is a very low 145mm and the claimed weight, including bottom bracket, is a very low 787 grams. Beyond all that, the fit and finish are excellent:

And let's not forget all the extravagant shift assist engravings:


There is a whole pile of unconventionality here, again the aforementioned external spider, external bottom bracket, and simply the fact of being a compact double, although this is becoming much less controversial.

Tweed Factor


Way too expensive and flashy and externally bottom bracketed for the Riv set.

Phony Accent


The only thing this crank remotely resembles is a Mavic Starfish and the similarity is very slight.  This is definitely a Sugino original.

Lily Gilding

When the Sugino OX801D first hit the streets, there was a huge amount of bellyaching about the price.  But that was simply because in recent years the Sugino offerings encountered stateside tended to be lower rung offerings, such as the wonderful and economical XD series of triples.  But compared against high end cranksets, which the Sugino OX801D assuredly is, the price is not nearly so astronomical.

Running Tally

$3499 USD

We bring forward $3015 USD.  U.S. retailers are selling the Sugino OX801D for around $550 USD.  However, I managed to purchase mine before the latest lurch downward of the dollar against the yen for $484 USD inclusive of shipping from Alex's Cycles in Osaka, Japan.  The shipping got it here in 2 days, if you can believe that.

The Sausage Factory

1 comment:

Dale said...

Interesting crank. I suppose the spider has to be on the outside or the 110 mounting area would interfere with the smaller 74 rings? I also wondered if the ramps and pins are specific to the 46/30 matching pair as Sheldon says this is important, although I can't really see why.

I have been struggling with similar gearing issues and have gone with 48/34-11/28 but would like a bit lower gearing for really steep and long climbs. I hope to squeeze a 30 sprocket on with a dura-ace 7700GS triple derailleur...not sure this will work and may try the VO 50.4 or new Rene Herse cranks as I already have a really fake accent :-)