Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

26 October 2015

Same Color, Different Fade

I like the color of your crank.

I heard that compliment while I was parking my LeTour.  Of course, I didn't put the bike together as I did so that people could admire it:  I intended it as a beast of burden that could be parked in urban combat zones.

The person making the comment added, "I've always liked gunmetal grey. It looks good with the color of your bike."

The funny thing is that I hadn't noticed what color my crank is until that person pointed it out.  Or, more precisely, I thought of it as black because that's what color it was when I installed it on the bike.



Believe it or not, the crank and guard were almost exactly the same.  In fact, it almost looked as if the guard was of one piece with the crank and the chainring was bolted to it. Of course, the guard and the ring are bolted to the arms of the crank "spider".

The LeTour is almost always parked on the street; I very rarely bring it inside.  (In fact, I even left it parked in front of Terminal B at LaGuardia for five days while I was in Montreal.)  I have long known that anodizing faded, especially after repeated exposure to the elements. But I never saw two parts in the same color, attached to each other, fade at such markedly different rates.  Or, to be more precise, I never saw one part fade so much and the other so little.

Now, to be fair, the crank is a no-name cheapie.  So far, it's served me well on two different bikes.  But it didn't cost me much less than the guard, on the other hand, was made by BBG.  I know little about how anodizing is done, but I suspect whatever materials BBG uses (in Oregon) in the process are better than the ones used by the (probably Chinese) crank-maker. And, being a smaller operation, BBG probably takes more time to do whatever it does.  Whether that makes a difference in fading (or lack thereof), I don't know.

The chainring is, by the way, a US-made Rocket Ring.  It's very good, better than most inexpensive single-speed rings I've seen.  Being silver, it has not faded.

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