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Mountain Gear

Tech FAQ: Getting’ Zinn on Cranks and Lubes's resident-wrench, Lennard Zinn, has a full mailbag this week: Readers want to know about SRAM XX and lubin' various things up.

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Dear Lennard,
Can I run SRAM XX with a triple crankset, like the Noir – use a XTR front derailleur and one GripShift?

Dear Eric,
Yes, you can. The new SRAM 10-speed mountain bike groups other than XX (X0, X9 and X7) all are cross-compatible with XX, and they all will be offered with either a double front chainring setup and matching front derailleur, or as a triple.

So substituting a TruVativ Noir triple crankset with a triple front derailleur and a triple-compatible shifter like GripShift should work just fine.

Dear Lennard,
Any reason any of the double cranks cannot be run with a 9-speed drive train? Are the doubles compatible with most existing front derailleurs? Finally, do the prices listed include bottom brackets/bearings?

Dear Jim,
I have not tried it, but my experience in mixing 10-speed cranks with 9-speed drive trains on road bikes (no problem; same with 11-speed cranks with 10-speed drive trains) leads me to believe that 10-speed MTB double cranks would work fine with 9-speed drivetrains.

Triple front derailleurs generally don’t offer great shifting on double cranks.

Crankset prices usually do include bottom brackets, yes.

Dear Lennard,
I am sure you have touched on this subject many times. Which chain lube do you use?

I have used Tri flow for many years. I like it except for the “wet” aspect of it.

Dear Barney,
I use ProLink from ProGold. I put it on daily after riding; I do a quick wipe of the chain, cogs, chainrings, jockey wheels and derailleurs and then run some more ProLink on. I seem to get more miles out of my chains than I have with other lubes, and I get great shifting performance, no squeaks after rainy rides, and minimal chain noise in general, so I see no reason to change.

I’m rebuilding an American Classic rear hub. I have some Rock n Roll web grease. Would that be an appropriate product to use on the freehub pawls or would I be better off using a green grease like Phil’s?

Dear Gary,
In general, you want a very thin grease or a thick oil. You don’t want the grease to be thick enough to stick the pawls down. Especially disconcerting is if it works fine in warm weather and then you go out on a cold day and your freehub won’t lock up.

I recommend using outboard motor gear oil or Morningstar Freehub Soup. The thickest grease I’d recommend would be something light like Buzzy’s Slick Honey.

Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Lennard Zinn.

Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (, a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

Follow Lennard on Twitter.

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