Carbon Crank Timeline
ZIPP Speed Weaponry introduced its first Carbon Fiber Crank set in 1997... Yes, that’s right.
We began working on the original ZIPP CA380 Carbon Fiber Cranks way back in 1995 and introduced them to the public in late 1997. They were a beautiful design, light, strong and totally different than any crank set available. Both had hollow crank arms, yep, that’s right, hollow cranks, bonded to aerodynamic carbon fiber chain ring spiders. Very pretty, and strong too. We tested the ZIPP Carbon Fiber road cranks at 25% stiffer than other competing models.
The ZIPP cranks were available in two styles: one for Road use, the other for Mountain use. The Road version was set up on a standard 2 degree taper, 113mm bottom bracket, and in lengths of 170, 172.5, 175,177.5, or 180mm for a 130mm chainring bolt pattern. They retailed at $525. The Mountain crank was for a 2 degree tapered, 122mm bottom bracket with a 58/94 bolt pattern and a 175mm length. They also retailed at $525. You could buy them both through the end of 1998. In fact, they were the only carbon fiber cranks you could actually buy!
We replaced the cranks with a new, better fitting, even stronger type, the aluminum spider ZIPP CA 420 model. Again we had hollow arms and an inset pedal lug and a keyed inset for the crank arm to attach to the bottom bracket. It weighed about 520g. Yes, it was a bit heavier in the crank, but in combination with the bottom bracket, now the Shimano spline model, it was 30-40g lighter. It was 40% stiffer in torsion than ANY crank we were able to test and 63% stiffer than the top cranks from Shimano and 58% stiffer than anything from Campagnolo. The crank was available in 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5 and 180mm. For 2 years it was the only crank aside from the Shimano that you could use with the Shimano bottom bracket. We made the crank through the end of 1999 and had them available through the first months of 2000. They retailed for $399.
It was pretty lonely building the only carbon crank set, so we discontinued the crank for a few years until 2005…then, boy,oh, boy, we decided to come back into the market! In late 2005 we introduced the model ZIPP 300 Crankset, the most beautiful, stylish and fully integrated model ever from the ZIPP enclave of cranks. In early 2006 we began shipping the Model ZIPP 300. The ZIPP 300 crankset is further improved upon for 2006 with the addition of the ZIPP 185 Titanium Bottom Bracket. The combination of the two components with ZIPP’s proprietary 6AI/4V hardware result in a Crank/BB system that is more than 100g lighter then the competing crank/BB systems.
The heart of the ZIPP 300 Crank set is a revolutionary bonding process which allows the carbon fiber to bond to the aluminum with a strength similar to that which it bonds to itself. This process is so specialized and sensitive that it is thus far available on in the USA, and only from 3 aerospace suppliers. With a strength 3x more than traditional methods, the ZIPP 300 cranks can use two intricately forged and machined aluminum slugs only where they are needed and does not require an internal aluminum spine to hold the crank together. This bonding process allows the ZIPP 300 to use more than 200g less aluminum than other designs and allows designers to utilize nearly 80g of additional carbon fiber in order to increase strength and stiffness. This is truly the finest crank on the market: Light, stiff and strong, it is the finest ZIPP crank ever.
The ZIPP 185 Bottom Bracket is the result of years of research into making a better BB, and after careful work with bearing supplier; we feel that we have created the ultimate ISIS compatible BB. It uses a Titanium spindle, double, twin row bearings, and a big honkin’ 14mm wide (12mm is standard) bearings to better reduce ball load and add considerable bending stiffness to the spindle. These ultra-precision bearings were designed in Germany to the highest standards and use the custom formulated waterproof grease to ensure that the bottom bracket will roll as smoothly at mile 10 as it does at mile 10,000. Together with the ZIPP 300, the ZIPP 185 Bottom Bracket makes a great package. You can get both packaged together in the beautiful dimpled tin and foam box.
We took the technology we developed making the Zipp 300 crank and made an even lighter and stiffer compact crank called the VumaQuad. The entire crankset weighs 564g including the rings and bearing cups and is 11% stiffer than its closest competitor. The VumaQuad utilizes a modification of the Cannondale BB30 standard with a 30mm bottom bracket spindle integrated into the left arm and external bearing cups instead of bearings pressed directly into the BB of the frame. This crank is offered in lengths of 170, 172.5, 175, and 180mm with either 50T/34T or 53T/39T chainrings and a choice of precision steel or ceramic bearings.
The VumaQuad set the standard for ultra-light cranksets. We took what we learned from that project and introduced the VumaChrono, which sets new standards for time trial cranks. The VumaChrono utilizes the same bottom bracket geometry as the VumaQuad and weighs in at 860g, which is 30g lighter than its nearest competitor. It is 9 seconds faster over 40k than that same competitor with 10 times less chainring deflection. The VumaChrono is offered with 53T/39T, 54T/42T, and 55T/42T chainrings. Since the inner chainring mounts independently of the outer chainring, the small chainring can be removed on courses where it would not be used in order to save the weight and aerodynamic drag. The VumaChrono is offered in lengths of 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5, and 180mm with a choice of precision steel or ceramic bearings.
Vuma products get conversion kit for BB30. This kit has spacers and washers to make the VumaChrono and VumaQuad cranks fit any BB30 bottom bracket. Released November 2009.