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Howitzer BB and Holzfeller crank follow-up:

S.K.C.

Turbo Monkey
Feb 28, 2005
4,104
24
Pa. / North Jersey
So - did a search and saw the old thread regarding the creaking issues that the Howitzer/Holzfeller interface had - but that was when the cranks first hit the market...

Normally I'd make some calls, but I wanted to hear what you guys have to say - Anyone have any long-term experiences on these cranks? I'm looking for riders who are pretty fast but rough on equipment. Do the creaking issues still persist? Does the hardware come loose frequently? (more than 3 times a month to the point where it's noticeable)

Might pick up a pair of 83mm / 165mm OCT's for racing this season - just wondering.
 

DIRTWRKS

Monkey
Aug 13, 2003
616
0
Canada EH !
I have been running a bunch those on four different DH rigs over the past three years and never had any real issues.

I have a new set of the 165's OCT that I will run in 2008.


While not the lightest option out there I think that they offer a good weight to strength ratio.
 

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
I've had about 6-8 months on that set-up, and I've never heard a peep from them. I had heard that the bolts can come undone really easily; after the first couple of rides or so where I maybe had to nip them up a bit, they have been fine since.

I'm not the quickest or roughest rider around but I have given them a fair amount of stick on some rough tracks (Ft. William etc.) and the ends of them have taken a beating without flinching.

If it makes a difference, I know you're supposed to get the BB shell faced, but I couldn't be arsed and so far the BB is still rock solid. All in all, very pleased with my decision to get them.
 

Jim Mac

MAKE ENDURO GREAT AGAIN
May 21, 2004
6,364
281
the middle east of NY
I might not be the hardest rider, but I used the Howitzer BB and Holzfeller crank setup all 2007 with no problems whatsoever. Just began my overhaul and everything looks fine - BB has no creaking/play and crank bolts were tight as the day I installed them - raced a lot in the rain at Platty and Mt. Snow in 2007 with no affect on the system.

Picked up a 2008 set for my next build too.
 

profro

Turbo Monkey
Feb 25, 2002
5,602
273
Walden Ridge
I have run the same cranks since 2006. I have been through a few BBs. Mine tend to come loose a couple of times on new BBs until I re-tighten them a few times, then they seem to stay put. They do creak, but I just ignore it for the most part. I bent one BB spindle and have a bent arm. Can't say they have been the best cranks ever, but they have lasted.
 

Banshee Rider

Turbo Monkey
Jul 31, 2003
1,456
10
I hack raced on a set in semi pro last year. Never had any creaking issues or any major problems. (bent spider, pedal insert, abnormal BB wear, etc.) The only minor issue I ran into was the coming loose problem a few other people mentioned, and it was few and far between that it happened. They are certainly not the lightest option, but I'm not the smoothest racer, and it was a trouble-free set up for me last year.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,288
874
My own world inside my head
I am currently running a set on my dirtbag, been there for four months now, I am beating the living daylights out of them, not once have I had any trouble, never come loose been smashing them to bits on rocks, and I weigh in at 245. I am running 170's and like someone else said, there not the lightest, but there tough. Just follow the step by step set up and youll be good to go
 

wiscodh

Monkey
Jun 21, 2007
783
83
303
i broke 2 bb's last year. Buddie had his seize up on him. Only sram product i have been dissapointed with, ever.
 

S.K.C.

Turbo Monkey
Feb 28, 2005
4,104
24
Pa. / North Jersey
Guys - thanks for the feedback!

Interesting - it would seem that the issue still persists (BB bearings blowing up, creaking, etc.) but not as much as it used to...

It was a toss up between the OCT's and the Gravity Lights... but I get the feeling I may destroy the G-Lights halfway through the season...

Hmmm....
 

mattmatt86

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2005
5,354
10
Bleedmore, Murderland
I've been using a Holzfellar with Howitzer BB for 6 months with 0 issues. In fact I just picked up a second set for my DS buildup. As others mentioned, they aren't the lightest option, but when you compare cost, weight, and strength between cranksets this setup is one of the best.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,288
874
My own world inside my head
Guys - thanks for the feedback!

Interesting - it would seem that the issue still persists (BB bearings blowing up, creaking, etc.) but not as much as it used to...

It was a toss up between the OCT's and the Gravity Lights... but I get the feeling I may destroy the G-Lights halfway through the season...

Hmmm....
The only time I have had bearing issues with the new howitzer drive, is when they were not installed properly. And that mainly happens when someone is trying to adjust there chainline which is not possible with these BB's. You in fact use a different BB to get your chainline. If you dont set the spacers properly, the bearing dont ride properly in teh cups, making them wear and make noise.


Lately I have seen wonders hearing more and more people here readin the install instructions, and using torque wrnches when setting up there rig. Proper setup makes all teh difference in how long something will last.
 
I had bad luck with both OCTs and regular Holzfeller with the Howitzer. I never had a problem with my ISIS ones. I pulled pedals out of the threads 3 times this year. Gotta give it to Sram, as they replaced them immediately. Never happened on a crash, it was pretty weird...
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,288
874
My own world inside my head
Sram is good about warranty, in fact they probably eat more than they should. Most everybike that comes through our shop has the pedals overtightened, remember Truvatives call for a 25lb torque spec on pedals, and most pedal wrenches give you the ability to acheive much more than that.


Edit.....Also remember since the release of the Howitzer drive, Truvative has been making improvements to the system.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,752
879
Guys - thanks for the feedback!

Interesting - it would seem that the issue still persists (BB bearings blowing up, creaking, etc.) but not as much as it used to...

It was a toss up between the OCT's and the Gravity Lights... but I get the feeling I may destroy the G-Lights halfway through the season...
I think the howitzer interface is flawed or something, everyone here seems to have issues with creaking, coming loose, and the usual (unrelated) BB's getting fried... pre and post OCT, I don't think they changed anything significantly apart from the arms. But in comparison, the old ISIS cranks, while the BB bearings died because they were tiny - there were no interface/creaking issues with them. Not sure why they changed from the ISIS interface but it was definitely a change for the worse.

Personally I'd steer well clear of truvativ products. On the other hand, Shimano Hollowtech II is pretty much bulletproof, as are any accurate copies of the design (like FSA). I'd get a weight on the OCT's complete with arms and BB, and try find something in the FSA or Shimano lineup that's comparable.
 
They chaged to get away from those tiny bearings and to allow larger axles...I think the Shimanos are awesome but really had liked my Truvativs till this year, but i think it was just a bad batch or luck as I never had a problem with the set on my freeride bike, on the racer
 

S.K.C.

Turbo Monkey
Feb 28, 2005
4,104
24
Pa. / North Jersey
The only time I have had bearing issues with the new howitzer drive, is when they were not installed properly. And that mainly happens when someone is trying to adjust there chainline which is not possible with these BB's. You in fact use a different BB to get your chainline. If you dont set the spacers properly, the bearing dont ride properly in teh cups, making them wear and make noise.
Wait - you mean if I have an 83mm BB - there are different configurations of the Howitzer to accomodate different chainlines for this size BB? I always thought you just use spacers like on an external crankset (like RF Diabolus or SAINTs)...

Lately I have seen wonders hearing more and more people here readin the install instructions, and using torque wrnches when setting up there rig. Proper setup makes all teh difference in how long something will last.
Yup - that's definitely important.

(Question for everyone):
BTW - are these cranks particularly sensitive to BB faces? For example if the BB shell isn't faced, will this have a noticeable effect on how they perform?

Thanks for the input!
 

DIRTWRKS

Monkey
Aug 13, 2003
616
0
Canada EH !
Sram is good about warranty, in fact they probably eat more than they should. Most everybike that comes through our shop has the pedals overtightened, remember Truvatives call for a 25lb torque spec on pedals, and most pedal wrenches give you the ability to acheive much more than that.


I agree usually when pedals come out they were either over tourqued or the required washers which go between the pedals and the Holzfeller cranks were not used.

Also cranks need to be checked frequently after they are installed to keep them snugged up on the BB. If they loosen up and you ride on them for any length of time you will ruin the interface between the crank and BB and then you will develop creaking and you will have on going issues with them coming loose.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,288
874
My own world inside my head
.

Also cranks need to be checked frequently after they are installed to keep them snugged up on the BB. If they loosen up and you ride on them for any length of time you will ruin the interface between the crank and BB and then you will develop creaking and you will have on going issues with them coming loose.
Absolutly, that goes for any interface.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,288
874
My own world inside my head
Wait - you mean if I have an 83mm BB - there are different configurations of the Howitzer to accomodate different chainlines for this size BB? I always thought you just use spacers like on an external crankset (like RF Diabolus or SAINTs)...



Yup - that's definitely important.

(Question for everyone):
BTW - are these cranks particularly sensitive to BB faces? For example if the BB shell isn't faced, will this have a noticeable effect on how they perform?

Thanks for the input!


As a matter of fact, ANY outboard BB system is sensitive to BB face. We face every bike we install an outboard system on.

As to the chainline part, the 68/73mm system for the Howitzer chainline comes in either a 51mm spindle, or a 56mm spindle. 51 is what is reccomended for the 135 hub, and 56 for 150. On the 83mm system there is only one way to set it up, and no there is no way of fine tuning the chainline on this system like what raceface has.

When you read up on swapping a standard Isis<old style> to the Howizter it also reads that a 113 spindle equates to the 51mm chainline BB and the 118 SPindle equates to the 56MM spindle.


The new spindle itself is Nothing but BURLY, its still hollow, but much thicker, its Outside diameter is still the same, the Inside diameter is much smaller, and instad of using an M15 bolt, Its using an M12, to kep this thickness all the way top the end.



As far as the spacers for the Howitzer system go, all they do is set the BB up properly for the intended width shell, one thing people are aking a mistake on, is they think they can move them from side to side to get a chainline adjustment, unfortunaly it just doesnt work that way, also you need to realize that It was never intended for the bearing cup ti sit directly on the BB shell, there will always be at least one spacer on each side, possible a chain device or etype derailer in place on teh drive side spacer.



I f you get this system and need help getting it set up properly for your bike, or with ordering the proper BB to go with it, feel free to PM me. Its actually a simple system to use/setup. To me its the best of both worlds




P.S. I personally HATE shimanos tool for installing Outboard BB's, I use Pedros External BB socket, Accepts a 1/2 in drive, so there is no reason why you cannot use a torque wrench, and damn the thing fits perfect on the splines of the cups
 

davep

Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
3,279
0
seattle
....I'd get a weight on the OCT's complete with arms and BB, and try find something in the FSA or Shimano lineup that's comparable.
Agree 100%.
The weight comparable shimano crank is the saint (and they are easier to install, easier to remove, a better attachment interface and are foolproof IMO). The OCT arms are light, but the howitzer BB is a total tank = heavy complete OCT set-up...(check s-lines for some weight/scale pics if you feel so inclined).
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,752
879
And just when you thought the spline interface and BB were the worst part, Truvativ comes through with more...




These were posted on my local forums, the guy didn't even hit the pedal/crank on anything, they busted from just riding hard. Not even XT's do that!
 

S.K.C.

Turbo Monkey
Feb 28, 2005
4,104
24
Pa. / North Jersey
Jesus... seriously how the hell did THAT happen?! Don't even see any impacts on the crank arm... I am suspect of the idea that he did that just from riding on it but... damn.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,752
879
He said it happened taking a corner (hard, no doubt), but no direct hit involved.

You can argue whatever way you want really, it doesn't matter - that's a horrific failure. The worst I've seen with even lightweight cranks like XT's (used for DH, which they shouldn't be) is slight bending of the arm... I'll stick with my original statements, if you want a good crankset, go with Shimano or FSA.
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,754
961
Australia
I killed a set of 2 week old set of Hussefelts just by cornering hard. Disbelieve me if you want (hell the warranty dept didn't believe me), but I'm not running Truvativ **** on anything again. Saint cranks all the way IMO.