2-Piece Vs 3-Piece Cranks – What’s The Difference?

When determining the best crank, the primary concern is strength and durability. The most popular BMX cranks are the 2 and 3 pieces. So, let’s have a closer at 2-piece vs 3-piece cranks.

The 2-piece BMX cranks are light in weight and easy to install. On the other hand, 3-piece cranks offer a great variety with modularity. Though the latter takes time to assemble, the two sets are almost equally strong.

 Notably, cranks have undergone lots of significant upgrades since their invention.

It is essential to note that 2-piece are cheaper and easy to install using only one bolt. Conversely, 3-piece gives you an easy time working with, taking apart, and worth every penny.

2-piece vs 3-piece cranks - Two old school cranks

Types Of  Bike Crank Sets

We have three different types of cranks you can use in an engine:

  • 1-Piece Cranks

One-piece cranks are famous to the gravity riders who spent almost all their time downhill and didn’t require a wide gear variety.

However, innovative work by SRAM to launch the 11- and 12-speed cassettes extended the gear ratios attainable with I piece crank upfront.

This way, it brought them into the territory of enduro and cross-country riders. Presently, they rule over the trails.

  • 2 – Piece Cranks

Even though they are still a favorite for some MTB riders, their gearing choices have totaled the vast ratios succeeded by 11- and 12-speed cassettes from the I cranksets.

However, some bikers still prefer their 2-piece regardless of the additional weight and reasonable reserves.

  • 3 – Piece Cranks

With the invention of massive cassettes, 3-piece cranks may somehow be regarded to as an antique form of technology. This is true, especially on mountain bikes, acting just like a stock on beginner budget bikes.

What Is A 2-Piece Crank?

The 2-piece crank has two distinct parts, a free crank arm plus a crank arm with a spindle attached to it.

Also, the two-piece crankset has an integrated crank arm and a bottom bracket used to increase rigidity with less weight.

Moreover, there are precision bearings whose function is to simplify installation and does not require high maintenance.

The 2-piece crankset has a broader bearing positioning with enhanced rigidity and efficiently supplied pedaling force.

What Is A 2-Piece Crank

What Are The Benefits of 2-Piece Cranks?

1. Light Weight

It is essential to understand that most 2-piece cranks are more lightweight than 3-piece cranks. This depends majorly on crank models.

But generally, 2-piece cranks are not heavyweight due to the powerful hollow spindle and larger diameter.

Moreover, less weight results from the pinch bolt on the arm, pre-attached to the spindle. For example, the GANOPPER Square Taper Crankset only weighs 499g (1.1 lbs.) and is compatible with single, double, and triple chainrings.

It’s also critical to state that heavier cranks aren’t so much of a disadvantage as one may assume due to the position of the weight – at the bikes’ middle. Besides, if the added weight were near the front or rear, it would have much impact.

2. Easy Installation

The attached crank arm adjusts comfortability because it is also used to handle the spindle through the bottom bracket.

Also, 2-piece cranks are easier to install because the crank arm is welded to the spindle while hydraulically pressed, requiring minor adjustment.

3. They Are Stiffer

 In reality, the 2-piece cranks are stiffer because the spindle comes as part of the crank arms making the power transfer stronger during pedaling.

However, this has been a debating issue of 2-piece vs. 3-piece crank installed to its perfection. Which will be stiffer?

Drawbacks of a 2-Piece Crank

1. Way Too Pricey

Notably, the 2-piece crank tends to have a higher price rate depending on the brand and model.

2. Only One Arm Is Detachable

 If your crank cracks or breaks, you must purchase a new crankset. Alternatively, the other option will be to find a second-hand spare in the market.

The formation of the 2-piece crank makes it challenging to eliminate both crank arms since one of them is machine-pressed into the spindle.

3. Fewer Available Options

 The 3-piece crank has been in the market for a long time compared to the 2-piece crank, which is new. So, the 2-piece crank has few designs, sizes, and it is scarce in the market.

4. Non- Replaceable Spindle

 By any chance, if your 2-piece crank spindle breaks, you will need to buy a new set. Luckily, the 3-piece crank is easy to replace the spindle.

What Is A 3-Piece Crank?

As the name suggests, a 3-piece crankset has three elements, a spindle, and two separate crank arms. Notably, they can use a wide range of pedals and bottom brackets.

What Is A 3-Piece Crank

What Are The Advantages of 3-Piece Crank?

Some benefits of 3-piece cranks include:

1. They Are Affordable

When comparing a 2-piece vs. 3-piece cranks, the three-piece cranks are easily available. Therefore, you can find a decent three-piece crank at a budget-friendly price.

2. Wide Range Of Variety

These cranks are popular with people, and the market offers a large variety of models and brands.

3. Easy To Repair Or Replace Components

If your spindles or crank arms are damaged, you can quickly repair the broken parts without adding to another expense of purchasing a new crankset.

4. Masterwork That Is Reliable

3-piece cranks are a long-time product used by a lot of people. Hence, it is self-representable as a lifetime commodity that is both reliable and robust. A good example of 3-piece cranks is the Redline Flight Tubular Chromo Crank (View on Amazon) which is strong and only weighs 2.55 lbs.

Disadvantages Of 3-Piece Cranks

As you all know, everything has its good side of the story and the same time it has the wrong side of the story, and as for the 3-piece crank we have:

1. Heavier In Weight

 After all the descriptions of the three-piece crank, it is evident that they are heavier on average than 2-piece cranks.

2. Weight Comparison Between 2-Piece Vs 3-Piece Cranks

On average, 2-piece bike cranks are lighter than 3-piece because the spindle is mostly hollow.  Though they have a larger diameter, they are light in weight and equally strong.

2 Pieceweight3 pieceweight
Odyssey Thunderbolt788 gramsOdyssey Calibur V2945 grams
Kink Pillar 2PC808 gramsKink Brace948 grams
SD Substance XL V2861 gramsMission Transit V21084 grams
Premium805 gramsStolen Mob V4991 grams
Fiend Team V2947 gramsStolen Talon V2986 grams

3. Repair Takes More Time

 The three-piece crank is repairable if the crank arm detaches. It takes more time and work to assemble the cranks to their normal position.


1. Are 3 Piece Cranks Better?

Three-piece cranks are better than 1-piece and 2-piece when it comes to repairing. Since the components are independent, you can replace the damaged part without buying the whole set.

2. What Size Are 3 Piece Crank Pedals?

All 2-piece and three-piece cranks use 9/16” pedals. This makes them a universal fit even for those who want to change to either type of cranksets.

3. Can I Convert From 2-Piece To 3-Piece Cranks?

You can convert from a 2-piece to a 3-piece crank without any adverse effect on the bike. All the same, you may have to change the bottom bracket together with the crankset. at times, choosing between 2-piece vs 3-piece cranks can be overwhelming.

Also Read: How To Remove Bike Crank Without Crank Puller.

Conclusion on 2-Piece Vs 3-Piece Cranks

Choosing the best crank between 2-Piece and 3-Piece Cranks can be an uphill task for most riders. However, if you want a classic crankset with high compatibility and heavyweight, I advise you to go for a 3-piece crankset and be impressed by the outcomes.

If you also desire a light crankset and a simple one that you can assemble and disassemble quickly using an Allen key, it would be a good decision if you go for a 2-piece crank.

So long as you are looking for a strong product, both 2- and 3-piece cranksets will give the same outcome depending on the quality of the crank.