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I've had a 2007 Marin Larkspur which I have been using as a commuter and recreation bicycle for 3.5 years. For the past year, I've been slowly learning to do my own repairs and upgrades as they have come up. I recently upgraded the chain and rear cassette (SRAM PG-830 and PC-830, respectively).

Now it seems like my crankset is acting up. My middle chainring is quite worn and with the new chain especially it tends to skip very easily on hills. Based on Marin's specs, the bike should have a Suntour NCX-410 crankset, and I've been told that I can't simply replace the chainrings on this part. I've done some reading (Todd Downs, Zinn books) about cranksets and bottom brackets while cross-referencing with Marin's specs. I think my bike has a sealed cartridge square taper bottom bracket, but I don't know anything about its size, etc.

I'm looking to this community for a recommendation on a good-quality but budget crankset with replaceable chainrings that will either work with my current bottom bracket (if it doesn't need to be replaced, how to tell?) or that would work with a modest bottom bracket purchase as well. I'm looking for the best value given that long-term cost of upkeep is a large factor in my upgrade/repair decisions.

Thanks in advance.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Unless your bottom bracket is giving you issues, you shouldn't need to replace it. Sealed cartridge bottom brackets have quite long lifespans.

The link you provided indicates that the current crank is designed for a 113mm long spindle (that's the LL113 bit), which is a fairly common size. My personal favorite square-taper crankset with replacable rings is the Sugino XD-350, which is also designed for a 113mm spindle. It's basically a drop-in replacement for the cranks you have now.

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This crankset looks like a great replacement. I'm going to try to source one in Calgary where I live. Any idea on a decent price range or an online dealer? Also, my current crank has a chain guard on it that looks like it's not removeable. Is it possible to by a new guard to install on the new crank? –  fideli Apr 21 '11 at 5:11
    
Should be about $75 in an LBS. Ben's Cycle online lists them for $64. I don't know about a source for a standard chainguard that would be compatible - most of the ones I've seen in that size have been custom-ish, and therefore expensive ($90). –  lantius Apr 21 '11 at 19:29
    
I shot a few emails to some LBS around here. Most don't seem to carry Sugino products. One store offered to sell me a Shimano Deore with a Hollowback II BB for $149. Another store offered to sell a SRAM S600 for $60. A store that can order Sugino offered to sell me the XD-600 for $199 (!!). Ben's Cycle would probably be best for me. Thanks again. –  fideli Apr 21 '11 at 21:28
    
Just got my crank and installed it today. I wanted to wait until I needed more parts before justifying the shipping cost to Canada. On the other hand, Ben's Cycle now charges $85 for the XD-350. Smooth crank, no doubt. Thanks! –  fideli Aug 19 '11 at 2:08
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