René Herse Cranks Sold Out

The first production run of the new René Herse cranks has sold out. Reports from users have been very positive. The cranks work well with current 10-speed drivetrains, as well as classic setups with 5-9 cogs in the rear.

The second production run is under way. In a month or two, new cranks and chainrings should arrive here. In the mean time, you can pre-order your cranks. Or watch this blog: We’ll announce when the new shipment arrives.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

I love cycling and bicycles, especially those that take us off the beaten path. I edit Bicycle Quarterly magazine, and occasionally write for other publications. One of our companies, Bicycle Quarterly Press publishes cycling books, while Compass Bicycles Ltd. makes and distributes high-quality bicycle components for real-world riders.
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19 Responses to René Herse Cranks Sold Out

  1. Bubba says:

    Congrats on firing through those! Hopefully that helps amortize a bit of the investment.

  2. Lee Legrand says:

    Congratulations for selling the cranks

  3. Ryan says:

    Any adult sizes coming in that new batch? ;-)
    I’ll preorder a 175 today!

    • We decided not to make cranks of inferior strength by using an “adjustable-length” forging, so the cranks are available only in a 171 mm length. (Big makers can use different forging dies for each length, but that isn’t feasible for a small makers.) 4 mm represents a 2.3% difference in length. That may be noticeable to some riders, but I don’t think it’s significant. Our leg lengths differ by much more than 2.3%, so if you really need a longer crank, you probably should try a 190 or 210 mm crank. I have written about this in a previous post.

  4. Paul Richard says:

    I’m saving up. I would love a set of these awesome cranks. Maybe in the next run. Congratulations on bringing this great product to market!

  5. Stephen Longshanks says:

    Well done Jan!

    I’ve specified 190mm crank clearance for my upcoming 650B Hetre sporting Randoneusse frame. In the meantime I plan to run 185mm TA Carminas and continue to dream of world peace and 190mm Rene Herse cranks :-)

  6. Paul Ahart says:

    Jan, Congratualations on bringing those wonderful classic cranks back into production, and selling out the first batch! Just goes to show there is demand for components of timeless design. I’d get a set myself, but love my 1990’s Ritchey cyclocross crankset. If only I could install a chainring smaller than 34T….

  7. William says:

    I am very glad I ordered mine a short while ago. Right on time!

    I had vacillated with going with the Sugino OX801d crankset, but decided in favor of the RH crankset instead. I was not convinced of the durability of external bottom brackets (a SKS cartridge unit clearly wins that battle) nor was I convinced that the rampings of the Sugino chainrings were as developed as ramps in general need to be, and thus, are of little importance. If I understand correctly, ramps need to be heavily developed (heck, a former Shimano employee told me they employ people full-time to simply sit in a cubicle and only design the ramps on their chainrings) as well as be paired with exact-matching chainring sets. Think of the awesome front shifting of the latest Dura Ace. Otherwise, shifting improvement due to ramps is minimal. A proper front derailleur for one’s chainring teeth/capacity and careful derailleur adjustment is far more important, I think. I am using a NOS XTR triple front derailleur that works perfectly with my setup.

    I also think the Sugino OX801d would look aesthetically better on an OS tubing frameset. The bulbous appearance of the crankset lends itself to match better with a more modern looking frame. My frame, on the other hand, is standard diameter and more classic. The Sugino certainly is a quality crankset and we all know that Sugino can create wonderful components. I simply decided the RH was a better choice for my bicycle.

    My only reservation about these cranks would be future availability of the chainrings. Aside from the very thick chainrings that I bet will last many, many years, I can always invest in a couple outer rings to future-proof these cranks if I am so worried (I am less worried about wearing out the inner granny ring due to my local terrain). I already have a drawer full of spare parts and extra stuff just in case manufacturers decide to stop producing my favorite things (and they always do eventually).

    I perhaps wish the arms were anodized since I will be riding in the winter. My city heavily salts the roads and I’ve had corrosion problems before. But, then again, this may not be a real issue due to the type of aluminum used. The arms can always be polished which protects the surface, if I understand correctly.

    I have been riding these cranks daily for 2-3 weeks. They are lightweight, look fantastic, well-thought out and designed, run as true as possible, shift fine enough. I highly recommend purchasing them when production run #2 arrives. Good stuff!

    • Thank you for the positive feedback. I am glad the cranks work well for you. The aluminum we use for our cranks is highly corrosion-resistant. If you like, you can put some car wax on the cranks to protect the finish further. On anodized cranks, I have found that the anodizing tends to rub off in some places, and then they look awful.

  8. Richard Isham says:

    I recieved my cranks in May, and have ridden them daily since then. I will be using them for a cross country trip this summer. I opted for a 44/26 combination. After a month of use, the combination is perfect. I am almost always in the 44 until the road really tilts up, as it does here in Colorado. I have had knee problems in the past, the low Q factor and the 171 crank length have been a tremendous help for my knees. It shifts well with a Shimano 105 double front deraileur. It is mated to a XT rear deraileur with an XT 11-32 cassette. The 44 chain ring with the 18 rear cog gives me a perfectly straight chain line. Currently, I am using a Shimano BB, but I started with that BB since I didn’t want to make the bigger investment in the event I needed a longer spindle. I have a Davidson light touring frame with 135mm spacing and 43.5cm rear chain stays. The 113mm Shimano BB seems to be about right, so I will probably switch to the SKF when this BB needs to be replaced. Several people have commented that the 44 front ring seemed too small. When I started cycling in the early 1970’s we used 170 cranks, 52/42 chainrings with 14-21 freewheels. Our high gear was 100 inches. Our climbing gear was 54 inches. With the current set up, I have a high gear of 108 inches, and I can tell you that 40 some years later, I am rarely in my top gear unless I am going down hill with a tail wind. This crankset has given me so much pleasure already, and I anticipate that it will make my summer a great success.

    • Regarding high gears, my Urban Bike has a high gear of 42-13 with slightly smaller 650B wheels. I won’t win any downhill sprints on this bike, but in normal riding, there is little need for a bigger gear than that. My Alex Singer has a 48-13, and I’ve never, ever used that, yet I also have never been dropped on a downhill, even when riding with pretty competitive people. In practice, I really don’t need a high gear beyond 90 inches. Riders who have a slower cadence may benefit from larger gears, though.

  9. Greg says:

    By “10 speed drivetrain” do you also mean the current 10 speed XT setups? Or just the road stuff?

    • The cranks work with the chainlines required by current 10-speed drivetrains, both with 130 and 135 mm spacing. This means that there is more room between the arm and the big ring, otherwise, the end of the arm would hit the chain in the biggest gear, where the chain angles outward. This also means that most modern front derailleurs fit between arm and big ring, but I cannot guarantee that all mountain bike derailleurs will fit there. So at worst, you may need a different front derailleur.

  10. Derek Emery says:

    i have read most things about your cranks that you have put out. I appreciate your attention to detail not only in the bicycle components you put out, but also your written information. that said, i do have a curiosity: i understand that your prices are higher (“affordable”) because you put out products where the main consideration is quality. i understand a company like velo orange puts out products that have a mixed consideration between value and quality. this being the case, what am i really to expect for your cranks vs those put out by velo orange for nearly double the cost? CNC-machined vs cold forged 7075 and aesthetics are the only major differences. my future purchase is a melding of value and durability with the focus on durability.

    this is not an attempt to pit compass/rene herse against velo orange. i very much think they have their own space in the bike world as there are people at all budget levels trying to assemble a quality bicycle. i respect what both companies are doing to the highest.

    • As a maker, you can get a budget product by sending a drawing to an agent in Taiwan. They then find a maker – often in mainland China – and make the part for you. It usually turns out OK, but rarely to the highest standards of quality and design. You then sell it, and have the customers figure out the bugs.

      We design our products ourselves, start to finish, have an engineer who works closely with the manufacturers, go through many prototypes and testing, etc. All this costs money. We’d probably make more with the “budget” approach. However, I don’t want to ride budget components, and I also don’t think they’d be worthy to carry the “René Herse” name.

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