23 December 2010

Alpina or Grand Cru?

I've decided that I'd like to relieve Arielle of the burden of a triple.  That burden includes extra weight, redundant gears  and shifting that, while precise enough, is tedious. 

So I want to install a so-called "compact" road road double.  Now I'm trying to choose between the Sugino Alpina and the Velo Orange Grand Cru.

My heart says "Alpina" because of its looks.  As I don't do retro for retro's sake, I couldn't care less that the Grand Cru mimics some visual elements of old Stronglight and other European cranksets from the 1960's amd '70's.  That's not to say that the Grand Cru is unattractive; I just prefer the looks of the Alpina.

On the other had, the Grand Cru has a significantly lower tread, or Q-factor, than the Alpina.  That will make it feel more like the Campagnolo and Stronglight cranks I rode in the old days.  I'm not so sure of whether they were more comofrtable than current cranks, or whether I am simply older and not in the shape I was during my racing days. 

Another consideration, for me, is that I've used Sugino products for a long time, while VO is only a few years old and the GC is a new product.  Then again, I've been happy with the VO in-house products I've used.  But those products have included, maninly, accessories like fenders and bells, not central drivetrain components like cranks.  Then again, Chris, the proprietor of VO, stands by what he sells and has always been friendly and helpful to me.

One last consideration is that, whatever I buy, I may swap the chainrings, as I have some 110 BCD 'rings  in different sizes.  So I would be buying mainly for the arms, and the Alpina can be had for a bit less than the Grand Cru.

Decisions, decisions. What do you, dear readers, think?


  1. For me, a decision like this usually comes down to price. The Grand Cru looks like a pretty good product, but if you like the look of the Alpina, and it's cheaper, it's probably the way to go.

    Maybe it's just old age creeping up on me but a low q-factor bothers my hips. Weird.

  2. If I were buying, I'd go with the Alpina since I don't like being a pioneer on stuff like cranks and Sugino stuff is solid. However, you ought to consider the Grand Cru so the rest of us know whether or not we ought to go for it or stay away.

    Seriously, if I wanted to be retro, I'd simply get an old Campy crank off of eBay.

  3. I have the Alpina on my Royal H mixte, and just got the Grand Cru for review, which I will place on the "women's bike" Shogun that I plan to give away in the Spring. About the Alpina, I can say that I prefer the higher Q factor on an upright-ish bike; it just seems to feel better. For a sportier roadbike, I think that I prefer the old-style cranksets, although I like the Sugino triple on my Rivendell just fine as well. Hard to say really! Oh, and I too prefer the looks of the Alpina in many ways. The chainrings are almost floral.