Gnutti Cotterless Cranks

by Guthrum on April 4, 2012

The Viking race team used Gnutti cotterless cranks starting in the 1952 season (see advertisement).  Ian Steel’s 1951 Tour of Britain victory was won on Stronglight Competition cottered cranks as far as I can tell.  Any way, I came across an interesting tidbit in Michael Barry’s blog, albeit from a few years ago, in which he talks about the woes of steel cotterless cranks.  To quote from his blog:

“Race leader Ken Russell very nearly lost the Tour of Britain in 1952 when his Gnutti crank came loose on the last stage into London. Belgian rival, Marcel Michaux saw his plight and offered Russell his bike. Russell finished on the Belgian’s bike and retained his yellow jersey.”

My 1955 Severn Valley is reputed to have had Gnutti cotterless cranks when it was new, subsequently replaced by Stronglights. I never got the story behind the switch, but maybe this is it.  But to be fair to Gnutti, I did buy a bike with those cranks but a wrecked frame – I wanted some of the parts and wanted to dispose of the rest, including the cranks.  But, not having the correct extractor, there was no way I could get the cranks off, so securely were they stuck on the shaft. Ended up selling them with the remnants of the frame. Another thing about them that threw me for a while was that the crank to spindle attaching screws are differently threaded – one LH thread, one RH thread.  I am not aware of any other cotterless cranks that did that.

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