Best Square Taper Cranks vs. Splined Cranks

Before you buy a unicycle, you might as well do your homework. After all, you want to be able to enjoy the experience, so it pays to put your money in the right choice up front. This goes further than tire size and tread pattern. Though crankset length and pedals may generate more interest than the engineering of the cranks themselves, it’s worth developing a little familiarity as the style of cranks your unicycle accepts may affect its utility, given your intended purposes.

Many beginner unicycles take what are known as square taper cranks, which are also known as cotterless cranks. The reason for the former reference is because square taper cranks have a receptacle that is square in cross section. This fits over the hub axle, which is also square in cross section; hence the name.

These types of cranksets are common on beginner and affordable unicycles primarily because they are relatively affordable to manufacture. When they are adjusted properly, they afford a secure fit to the hub axle and reasonable control over the unicycle itself.

However, a concern that some have with square taper cranks has to do with the fact that if they become loose while riding and the rider doesn’t notice, the corners along the edges of the cranks can deform, which weakens their fit over the hub axle. If this happens, it can permanently ruin either the cranks or the axle, making it impossible to ride the unicycle without replacing either or both.

Splined cranks, of which ISIS cranks are a subset, are another popular and highly regarded form of crankset. Whereas square taper cranks are square in cross section, splined cranks are roughly star shaped. The corresponding hub axles appear the same, with many ridges or “teeth” that accept the splined cranksets.

Because these types of cranksets contact the hub axles along great surface area, they generate greater friction and it would take more force to deform them. Consequently, splined cranksets, like ISIS cranksets, are seen as some of the strongest interfaces that can be formed between cranksets and hub axles. They provide excellent control and handling, and are extremely durable.

Like cotterless cranks, it is important that you never ride a unicycle with splined cranks if the cranksets become loose. Also, installing them on the wrong sides of the axle can permanently damage them, so be aware of this. Nonetheless, splined cranks like ISIS cranks are seen as highly durable and are preferred for unicycles such as muni or mountain unicycles because they are able to withstand such high force while providing excellent control.

Whether you’d like to see some additional resources regarding different cranksets or you just need a new set and need a place to find them, visit Unicycle.com. Unicycle.com has plenty of resources on their website and on their blog, along with a wide range of unicycles, parts, accessories and gifts. Check out their website and if you need further assistance, you can reach them by phone at 678-494-4962.

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