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Upgrading The Vilano Diverse 3.0 DriveTrain
#1
I bought this Vilano Hybrid in 2020 as my “old person’s Chinese Cheapie”. It was - (and is) - FAR from equaling the “serious” bikes that I owned back in the 1990’s.

The first Trek I had was a gorgeous blue road bike - worthy of all the gawkers it inspired.

My Klein Pro Race MTB was the finest all-round “terrain-chewing animal” I ever mounted. It never failed. It never said “no”. - But all of that was long ago.

So I will cut out the “Cmdr.McBragg’s dreams of yesteryear” saga - and get to my current dilemma.

The Vilano is a “fair” bike. It has many good quality entry level components and it is a hybrid “looker”. It has a medium-light frame, 3x8 gears, and disc brakes.

In the 90’s, the name-brand bikes were already built to an extreme measure of excellence - to the extent that only time and wear were the issues “stalking” - the only real threat hampering a great riding experience.

But the newbies now flooding the markets are carefully disguised with good dtyling hiding some of the cut corners.

Vilano rides “good” out of the box. Yet it also has many areas where upgrades may be done to provide noticeable improvements. And ignoring those opportunities will allow the rider (at worst) a “ho-hum” experience to enjoy - until the necessity for upgrade or perhaps a “summons for repair” - bring “alternatives” to mind.

My issue was in the triple chainring setup of the drivetrain. The 3 rings were nice gearing - that really complemented my type of riding. Ironically- the tooth counts on my bike were not those reported on the Vilano specs.

They are 4 bolt, 64/104mm BCD rings, with 24T/34T/52T counts. They include a pair of Prowheel 107mm cranks for attaching the pedals.

HOWEVER - many of the “teeth” on my chain rings were “mangled” looking! Not “curved “ like wear - but oddly shaped and mismatched. Strange and curious.

This was the way the bike was shipped new. I never noted how ugly they were at first. I was busy having fun, trying to get use to the bike. I wanted to “master it” by repeated use on the roads and hills in our area (as often as I had the opportunity to enjoy it).

As I realized that some tuning refinements iwere needed for “smoothing out” shifts and quieting the chain flow - I began slowly adjusting and then inspecting very meticulously.

This showed me a number of areas where component upgrades were going to be required, if any further enhancement to its performance was to be gained.

So when I began contemplating replacing the chainrings, I could not determine who the manufacturer of them was. Nor that of the BB, or for some of the other associated components.

The lack of ID also meant I would need full measurements to be done on each part - (and the need to be precise is obvious).

In looking at the rings up close, (with my bike mounted on the work stand), I can’t really tell if they are “bolted” - or if they used “rivets” that have heads made to look like hex-head fasteners! Either way, the black paint has filled them in.

The pedal-ends of the cranks use a 8mm hex bolt to attach them, which is common for square taper cranks. And I would think that the BB is the popular 68 or 73mm width.

So I must disassemble the entire setup and measure the shaf;, (how long it is overall, how far the shaft protrudes on the left side of the cartridge- and then the right).

But then I also have to know exactly how far along the right side of the shaft to position each chainring, and the chain run- line must be correct - (whatever that is)!

I do want to keep those original tooth counts. So I know what ring specs to order.

But the spider? Do I stay with 4 or go to 5 bolts? Is the 104mm BCD ok - or do I bump it to 110mm for 5 bolts? Is 64mm stoill fine too? Etc, Etc Etc.

I asked Vilano about this too. I had about 5 lengthy email volies between myself and at least 3 of their tech/sales reps.

They DID give me a spread sheet with some of the component specs on it. But the ones that would describe the BB, crankset, and chainrings were all just left generic or blank - without any mfgr or part numbers. Nothing at all in the way of info, except the chainring’s BCD, toothcount, and crank lengths of 107mm.

When I told them that my big ring was 52T (they called it out as 44T). They said that during the pandemic and its supply issues - substitutions were sometimes made.
When I pressed them for more help - (not needing “formal documents”, but just “old fashioned help” - giving me some example parts that Will work - or something better to replace what I have -

But they got VERY strict - (and eventually belligerent) - refusing me further assistance - because they do NOT want to encourage any DIY in their customers whatsoever.

They repeatedly stated that “only the LBS should be working on or even adjusting the bikes”. And If I even touch ANYTHING on the bike, the shop should check it over to certify it safe -!before I (or anyone else) rides it.

So that is where I am. I am deciding the best time to select for doing the disassembly, because I CAN ride it now. But once it is apart……. (Well you get it).

So if anyone has the knowledge I am seeking, I would be grateful to learn whatever you feel comfortable imparting.

Thank you all - and best to ya.
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#2
I would start by adding clear close up photos of what you have. include front/rear derailluer brand and model numbers. Did you assemble the bicycle yourself? From what you are telling us, you believe that swapping chainrings is the way to go to improve your bike performane? your description of the teeth sounds normal by design more than likely. also the 24t-52 combo seems extreme to me. which leads me thinking you are exceeding the front mechs tooth capacity.
So lets start with model # of your f/r mechs
your chainset is more than likely rivited, again clear pics front and behind shots of that will help too
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#3
   
Well I didn’t expext the response of such magnitude. And I appreciate those that took the time to compose their post with their motive to help. Since there was a comment concerning the 52T chainring seeming tall and out if place - OK. But it is a Hybrid.

Furthermore - “it is what it is”. If it is much easier to install the more common 48T or even 44T rings, I may consider them. But my immediate tasks are based on my desire to upgrade the entire BB, with the triple chainrings with a setup that provides bolt-on rings - NOT riveted ones.

I have the photos I took of the bike for the Vilano team, including close-ups of the pertinent components relavant to my dilemma. They had no interest and rebuked my endeavors altogether.

So far as my judgment of the chainrings being doubted as valid - and stating that they are typical in condition….. I have photos of their teeth that back up my claim. Howver I am not here for debate, but to share, learn, and perhaps gain resolve in my situation.

Therefore, I hope to remain focused on the requirements to meet, in order to most easily replace the noted assemblies with the best components and proper fitment that will function smoothly with the other components that they are connecting with.

To that end, the Shimano HG 8 cog cassette gearing is spec’d to be:
12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32.

See photos.

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#4
Teeth are normal, now back to the model numbers and brand of the derailleurs. Also answer if you assembled this bicycle. I understand you want a better quality bb and crankset. Also since you have the bike in front of you, try to find the crankset you have online and send me the link
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#5
[attachment=2924]
(03-15-2024, 01:14 PM)Painkiller Wrote:  Teeth are normal, now back to the model numbers and brand of the derailleurs. Also answer if you assembled this bicycle. I understand you want a better quality bb and crankset. Also since you have the bike in front of you, try to find the crankset you have online and send me the link


Well if those teeth look notmal to yoi, I should send you pics of the chainrings on my other 3 bikes! They will appear absolutely perfect!

And if I had managed to find the model numbers on the parts - or identical parts somewhere online - I would have already found/used their specs to procure the parts - and not have this dilemma or posted here to begin with.

I will probably just tear it all down, and measure the crankset/BB parts - and buy replacements. Then I will also buy compatible chainrings etc that fit both those dimensions and the legacy components, still on the bike.

FYI - The rear/front derailleurs are fine. They were both Tourney types. I did replace the front one with a “VG Sports” unit - it shifted a bit nicer and was easier to adjust.

And “Yes” - I assembled the bike, at least the portions that were not already assembled as it was shipped, in the box.

I perceive by the tone that I was assessed to score somewhat below average in mechanical aptitude and bicycle drivetrain comprehension. Fair enough. I didn’t come here for self esteem.

Therefore, I will move forward now at my own pace - and work through it - like everything else - I will eventually succeed.

Thank you for your helpful comments. I posted a few more pics just for entertainment purposes.

[attachment=2924]


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#6
Sorry you feel that way, nothing about you was ever intended at all. You had questions and I can only answer them once I have the proper information to do so. It is obvious that you need proper guidance but you will have to put yourself aside for the moment. If there is anybody here that can help you modify a bicycle of this type and do it right, it would be me. Yes I will have questions that I need answered correctly because I do not have the bike in my lap, yes I suspect there are other things wrong with the performance issues other than your crank. But if you’re done I am fine with that too. Good luck, have a nice day! Sorry to bother you. P.s. no charge
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#7
Just for entertainment purposes, recount the teeth on your big ring, probably no bigger than 48t if that big, since you removed your front mech that came with the bike, do you still have it? what is the part# of it? Here are a couple pics of a similar crank to yours, again perfect and new in box. The teeth are designed this way. When you said you have 3 bikes with teeth that are normal and one that is not (the prowheel rings) all you have told me was that in one hand you have three apples and in the other you have an orange. Why you expect an orange to look like an apple I have no idea. but that is what you are doing here. in the photo of the silver rings, these are your apples and the photo of the black rings, well, this is your orange. you ready to get back to the business at hand? or live with a bicycle you will never be satisfied with because of improper everything? from set up and part choices.
If I may ask, what is the tooth capacity of the front mech you are using now?


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There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#8
I would replace the entire drivetrain for a 1x with an oval ring.

This brings the sweetness of simplicity, while giving you huge gains in climbing, against the wind riding, cadence, etc.

Shimano Cues setups hitting the market offer an incredibly large range that compliments 1x systems greatly, especially for those that want diversity.

I think the BCD are 96, which makes the chainrings harder to come by.

There are plenty of BCD 104 cranks out there from various makers. If you need a Shimano, M640 Zee is a great choice. It has BCD 104, is hollowtech, and weighs 600g. That's pretty solid. The oval chainrings are easily and cheaper as well for BCD 104. I would suggest for your build 44T or 46T. Then go 10 speed Shimano Cues for the rear derailleur, shifter, and cassette (maybe 11-39). Note that you cannot mix Shimano Cues (Linkglide) with non-Linkglide components (except for crank/chainring).
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#9
(03-15-2024, 03:33 PM)Painkiller Wrote:  Sorry you feel that way, nothing about you was ever intended at all. You had questions and I can only answer them once I have the proper information to do so. It is obvious that you need proper guidance but you will have to put yourself aside for the moment. If there is anybody here that can help you modify a bicycle of this type and do it right, it would be me. Yes I will have questions that I need answered correctly because I do not have the bike in my lap, yes I suspect there are other things wrong with the performance issues other than your crank. But if you’re done I am fine with that too. Good luck, have a nice day! Sorry to bother you. P.s. no charge

Alright PK,

Allow me to put “myself” aside and concede that you are the ultimate in bicycleology on our planet. I found it redeeming that you seem to forgive my ignorance somewhat - by coming back (after writing me off to drown in my own frailties).

Yet I honestly do respect your proven expertise, so I can agree to get back to business, if your reprieve is sincere. So before you test me by asking “How many fingers am I holding up?”

Let me first state that the “large ring” tooth count was initially a shock to me as well. Especially after reading the Vilano specs they provided me. So I counted, recounted, and even marked the first tooth - then every tenth tooth…… I think you get my point.

And not that this “backs me up” in any way - but I was not in error in counting the teeth - nor the other 2 rings - but I still marked & recounted them too.

As for those nice pics you posted, I was surprised (and humbled) by the appearances of those teeth. And this must be where your obvious experience with chainrings and their design “trumps” my experience - which pales- being only “generic” - dealing only with chains and sprockets on “machines” in general.

It occurred to me now that the seemingly bent teeth, curves, different tooth heights, flat topped teeth - and other small anomalies may be incorporated by design - perhaps to theoretically aid in shifting operations - facilitating chain movements between rings without slip or stumbling under load. If so, I can accept that as a consideration I missed, that is “worthy” of understanding.

And as for my “apples to oranges” comparison I am accused of making - which has no-doubt determined me a poor candidate for any fruit inspector position. ..

My inexperience in observing that detailed tooth design of chainrings - (and probably many other upgrades that have enhanced drivetrains over recent years) perhaps leaves me “in the dark” about more modern systems. And those systems are now prevalent throughout the bike industry. So - I admit to being ignorant of such.

But having a great deal of other types of mechanical experience - (and successes in those other areas) - should shorten my ramp to learning and grasping the understanding needed, because of the many shared principles that are common.

Assumptions, like ignorance, can often lead to wrong conclusions or false confidence. Therefore, I want to “yield” when indications suggest that I need to.

So to move on - if your purpose is to help us “lost sheep” in the bicycle world, I would think that my intended goal should be revealed to you - in hopes of devising a clear solution.

Regardless of what is - “now”. I would like to replace my current BB/crankset/chainrings (x3) - with a good quality sealed bearing cartridge unit, and a spider (that allows replacement of 3 new chainrings).

I expected to replace the chain too.
But I want to keep the (24T/34T) lower 2 chainring gear sizes - and my rear wheel/cassette/derailure - “as is”.

So with all that in mind, I will either measure the current components (I have an excellent machinist digital caliper) sufficiently to permit buying those parts, and then I will carefully set them up, or…

Consider any “more knowledgeable and experienced” sources, that I am fortunate enough to find - that may already know some (or all) of those required components - to the extent that perhaps even the part numbers needed are already known - and could be readily suggested for ordering.

Any positive help is appreciated. I am grateful for those that truly try to help others. So thank you.
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#10
Good deal roadhard, lets move on baby, no hard feelings! The most important thing in what you want to achieve is the comaptability of chosen components. That is why we need to know the tooth capcity of your front derailluer. the average triple front capacity is 22t. With a 52t big ring and a 24t small that would be 28tooth difference. The average big ring triple would be 30t small mated to a 52t big ring. the middle is only as important as the clearance across the 8 speed cassette. In the back of my mind I cannot help but think that the crankset you have may have been assembled wrong by accident from the factory. I have seen many strange things such as this in the past i.e. rear cassettes missing a cog from the factory and such, Shimano being just as guilty of such oddities. I cannot seem to find any other cranket from this manufacturer with these specs. I would mention that imho one could probably build up a crankset like the gearing you seem to like at a not so cost effective way to go and have virtually zero noticable performance gains. For the bike you have, the first thing i would do to smooth things out would be to replace the rear derailluer, possibly the rear cluster and chain. I would have to believe the setup across all your gears and combos in the front is not happening without rubbing somewhere on the front derailluer. So I ask if this is true or not. If not awesome!
I am not saying never replace the crankset, just not yet. I need to know if you have a freewheel or a cassette? ultimately it does not matter to me at all who assembled the bicycle because if whom ever did, did not start by checking and aligning the rear derailleur hanger as part of the setup then they have started out wrong from the very start, and this will cause issues such as poor performance and noisy drivetrain. It does not matter in the least that the bike was new in the box and it is very rare that anyone, professional or home wrench would even think of doing this and the home wrench guy most likly does not even own a derailleur alignment tool. Do you own one? did you do this first or have it done by a shop? The industry standard on 4 points is +or- 4mm. I dial it closer to +or- 2mm. this is very important especially with low end components like the ty line of Shimano
At the moment you may not agree with this avenue to gain more performance from your steed but by replacing the rear derailleur, swapping to a better rear cassette to a 11t to 30 or 32t and better chain, all setup properly will make the most notable changes for the better and at not a ton of $$. Then down the road you can change out the crankset and bottom bracket to a more front derailleur user friendly setup with say a 46 or 48t big ring which will still give you decent top end and be comatible with the changes already made like the rear derailleur and cluster with the now 11t to high gear.
So read thru this again and answer the questions, If you still have the original front mech, look on the back of it and give me the model # of it and do the same with the one put on so I can spec it out to know exactly what we are dealing with.

Also would like to mention. If ultimately we are going to change out to a suitable new triple crankset do no worry about BB measurements at the moment. it will have nothing to do with what you have now, only what you choose to put on. the BB spindle length is determined by the crank you are going to use not the bike itself or your old crankset.
And while we are here again, what shifters are on the bike? rapidfire or grip shifters?

Many times I come across a bicycle that has good bones, low end maybe but a good platform to build from or to upgrade. enter the Shimano tourney lineup. the first thing I toss out!
they are heavy, bulky, and just so so. but they do work. this is where you need to start to bring it all together nicely in the end


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There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#11
Its a shame that some people think that they are so special and so much better than anyone else and that other peoples time means nothing at all. I think this post needs removed altogether, and any other "Post and Ghost" posts on this site. It is people like this that merely join to gain free advice, argue about it, think the local bike shop charges to much, and in this case top notch free advice from people who fix their problems like this everyday. They are the ones who lose. Bikeride loses also because of people like this. So sorry that the OP "roadhard" got put away wet on this one. So all I have to say to him, her, it, whatever , cannot even fill a bio out. Is a picture paints a thousand words, can you pick out at least two words with this one. And this goes out to everyone like you! air sucking POS


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There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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