Riders from the mid-1990s will recall Sweetwings, a boutique hollow steel crankset that came with equal parts light weight, chi chi looks and reliability issues. But darn were they light. And everyone wanted them. Then they disappeared. Then they tried to come back. eeCycleworks founder (and original Sweetwings designer) Craig Edwards rebooted the name, showed a prototype, and did extensive development work, then even he abandoned the project.
But the idea lived on, and now that Cane Creek manages eeCycleworks’ brakes and other projects, it was revived once again. Now, after many iterations and years of work, the all-new Cane Creek eeWings are here…
The new eeWings are full titanium, offering lightweight to match carbon, but in a far stiffer and more durable package. Weighing in at a claimed 400g for arms and spindle, Cane Creek says they’re 20-30% stiffer than premium carbon cranksets. As for durability, they’re offering a 10-year warranty on them and say they’re made to take the abuse aggressive mountain biking can dish out.
“Through the course of aggressive riding, you invariably hit your cranks against rocks and other trail features which causes structural damage to carbon cranks and can lead to them breaking,” said Sam Anderson, product manager for Cane Creek. “Titanium just brushes those hits off so the eeWings can withstand a lot more abuse than other high-end cranks and not end up structurally compromised or broken. At the same time, they are incredibly stiff so more of the energy you put into each pedal stroke makes it to the back wheel and helps push you down the trail.”
And, yes, they’re intended solely for mountain bikes, from XC to enduro. The spindle length and arm design are made for mountain bike standards. But there’s a good chance this is just the beginning and that we’ll see gravel, cyclocross and road options in the future.
They use a 30mm spindle made to fit BSA73mm, PF92/PF89.5, 392EVO bottom brackets, plus PF30 and BB30 bottom brackets with outboard bearing configurations. The claimed weight is more impressive considering they made a custom CNC’d alloy preload ring, upgrading from the usual plastic parts found on other cranks.
The spindle is a machined piece, then the non-driveside arm is welded to it. The driveside arm attaches with a bolt and uses a toothed interface (looks similar to Campagnolo cranks, except not centered on the spindle) to lock it into place.
They get a simple brushed finish to keep the titanium gray showing itself off. The logo is lightly etched on it, and you can buff any scratches out yourself to make it look new again.
How much do the eeWings cost?
So, how much does it cost to have the lightest, strongest crankset on your bike? Well, let’s warm you up a bit more first:
“When we first set out to make a crankset we knew we wanted to create something that really pushed boundaries and deserved the ee designation,” said Brent Graves, president and CEO of Cane Creek. “That meant not cutting a single corner, using the best materials regardless of cost and holding ourselves to the highest standards of testing and design, We’ve done those things and it’s resulted in a truly exceptional product that we’re all very proud of.”
Retail is $999 for the crankset, sold without chainrings. They use the SRAM direct mount interface, which means plenty of aftermarket options for round and oval rings from SRAM, OneUp, Wolftooth Components, AbsoluteBlack and others.
- Weight: 400 grams
- Materials: Grade 9 Ti-3Al-2.5V titanium (crank arms), Grade 5 Ti-6Al-4V titanium (spindle, Hirth joint/chainring interface, pedal inserts), 7075 T-6 Aluminum (preload assembly)
- 98mm spindle width
- BB compatibility: 30mm spindle only; BSA73mm, PF92, PF89.5, BB30 (External Bearing Only), PF30 (External Bearing Only), 392EVO.
- 176mm Q-Factor (same as Shimano XT, which means it’ll clear the widest chainstays)
- Chainring compatibility: Compatible with X-SYNC Chainrings
- Length: Available in 170mm and 175mm
- Warranty : 10-year limited warranty
The new Cane Creek eeWings will be on display at Sea Otter Classic, and available for sale through Cane Creek dealers and on their website starting late April 2018.