Price: 10 - 17 US Dollars for a pack of 3 (depending on colour/pattern)
Test duration: 1 year
My feet rub my crank arms. It doesn't matter whether I'm using flat or SPD pedals or what shoes I wear. I've tried adjusting things but I can't pedal comfortably and not cause wear on those (expensive) bits of alloy! I was therefore keen to try out the variety pack of Crankskins I received.
Crankskins are a pretty simple idea: a self sticking protective cover for the outside face of your cranks. They come in a plethora of colours and patterns from simple translucent clear to full on "in yer face" bling. Some people may want them for the protection they offer; others might just want them for the look?
Initially I was sceptical about getting them to stick and them staying stuck. My previous experiences with protective sticky stuff of all sorts had led me to believe nothing would stick well to an odd shaped bit of bike without bubbles, peeling edges, dirt getting under it etc, etc. I needn't have worried. Crankskins seem to have got exactly the right balance of thickness, flexibility and stickiness.
I applied a set of Crankskins to each of my three mountain bikes. One set were a translucent orange pattern specifically tailored for Hollowtech II cranks; the other two were a generic "Downhill" template that I applied to two sets of Saint cranks. One was translucent clear and the other was decorated with skulls. Applying them is simple: remove your pedals, clean the crank (I wiped them down with some isopropyl alcohol to remove any grease) and then align and stick the Crankskins on.
The Hollowtech II specific skins went on perfectly first time. The others required a bit more moulding to the shape of the Saint cranks and then some trimming around the end of the crank. I would recommend selecting the ready cut skins specific to your cranks when ordering if they are available. I had a hair dryer ready in case I needed a bit of heat to help mould the skins (from experience with helicopter tape) but I didn't need to use it.
Looks wise the skins look very good. You can't see the clear ones unless you look closely. The patterned orange ones match my bike well and the skulls had my teenage nephews saying: "Wow! They're cool!" Other riders seemed to generally like the look and often enquired as to what they were.
One year later: how have they faired? Very well! They are still in place and my cranks have not worn (any more). They are scuffed and scratched (they wouldn't be working if they weren't) but they are not tatty enough to need replacing yet. And yes: they will be replaced not removed.
Overall: Highly recommended. Get the ones specific to your cranks and your cranks will last longer and look better.
Orange patterned Hollowtech II specific Crankskins: