Summary of FSA cranks, grades and ratings

Posted at: Feb 13, 2022

FSA cranks are often chosen as standard equipment for complete bikes. Here is a summary of their grades and why they are often rated low.

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FSA Component Series and Grades

The grades of FSA components are as follows

  1. K-FORCE
  2. SL-K
  5. OMEGA
  6. Velo
  7. TEMPO

The most common complete bike are GOSSAMER, OMEGA, and VERO, which are mainly used as cost cutters for complete bike, mainly for brakes and front cranksets.

Some people may think of FSA as GOSSAMER, but many users who bought such complete bikes upgrade to Shimano cranks, so you can often find GOSSAMER, OMEGA, and VERO cranks and brakes in the used market.

On the other hand, the higher series such as K-FORCE and SL-K are less common components because they are rarely used in complete bikes (Shimano is often chosen because they do not cut costs), but they are expensive components costing several hundred dollars for a crankset.

Why FSA cranks are not so highly regarded?

Because only the lower grade is in circulation.

As pointed out earlier, FSA cranks are often chosen as a cost cutter for complete bike, and in order to cut cost, it is necessary to choose lower grade.

FSA’s OMEGA crank is the third grade from the bottom, so its performance is not equal to the third grade from the top, Shimano 105.

So, why don’t we use FSA’s higher grade crank? FSA’s cranks also cost several hundred dollars for the higher grade, so it would be better to choose Shimano.

The result is a complete bike with full 105 and ULTEGRA components costing around $3000 (a few hundred dollars more than a model with FSA cranks).

Because they are expected to perform as well as Shimano cranks.

The three major component manufacturers, Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM, develop all drivetrain components themselves, but other third party brands such as FSA only sell components that can be used with Shimano and Campa.

Therefore, it is only natural that the performance of their components will be lower than that of the three major component manufacturers who strictly design their own drivetrains.

However, since users know (or upgrade to know) Shimano’s performance, it is inevitable that they will evaluate Shimano’s performance as inferior to theirs.

Are FSA cranks bad?

There is a tendency in many online reviews that “FSA cranks are no good, you should upgrade to Shimano immediately”, but it does not mean that FSA cranks are necessarily poor in performance.

First of all, it would be unreasonable to expect a third party FSA crankset to perform as well as a completely stock Shimano crankset. Basically, the best compatibility and cost performance between components is between stock components that are designed at the same time.

Secondly, many of the reviewers who say that FSA cranks are not good are reviewing lower grade FSA cranks.

For example, FSA’s OMEGA crank is sold at 104 Euro on the official site, but if you upgrade it to Shimano 105 crank whose price is around $150, the price is almost 30% higher, so it is natural to feel the difference in performance.

Of course, there are some reviews of FSA cranks that give lower reviews to K-FORCE, SL-K, etc., but we don’t know what kind of situation they are in (whether they are properly maintained or not, compatibility of componentry is maintained, etc.).

Also, we should deduct the fact that reviews on the Internet are basically bad reviews (people who can use the product normally do not dare or need to review it).

It is certain that Shimano is the best in many cases

I have written about the cause of low evaluation of FSA cranks, but nevertheless, it is certain that Shimano cranks are high quality and not that expensive, and they are very cost effective. In this sense, it is right to say that “Shimano is better.

However, it does not mean that “Shimano is better = FSA is worse”. In fact, there are many cases where FSA cranks are not a problem, so why don’t you choose one without making a general decision and considering the cost?

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