Want it Wednesdays. And sorry if I get a little weepy eyed as I cast my mind back to the late ‘90s, it was a sweet spot in my life: I was a strapping young lad, a new father, and my career seemed to have potential. The only thing missing from my life was a 520 gram pair of Sweet Wing cranks; so beautiful that they could actually make the hair on my neck stand up. There were a lot of companies making pretty anodized cranks CNC’d out of aluminum; Sweet Wings were completely different (actually I think Bullseye and Coda had similar cranks but I will simply ignore them to make my story more dramatic, and I’m not motivated enough to research my hunch).
Unlike all the other cranks, Sweet Wings were steel, hollow, and had an integrated bottom bracket. They were the lightest cranks available back then and are light even by today’s carbon fiber standards. The Sweet Stem was a steel quill stem made by the same company which only weighed 180 grams, lighter than quill stems made out of titanium, but that’s for another post. Sweet Wings are so similar to the current Shimano cranks that I have to imagine Sweet Wings, either directly or indirectly, influenced Shimano. That is a nice way of saying Shimano, that juggernaut of a company, stole the design. Sweet Wings remain a coveted retro mountain bike part and I still want a set. A savvy entrepreneur should re-introduce Sweet Wings in the same way BeBop re-introduced their pedals right after I gave up trying to find NOS BeBop pedals and switched everything over to Shimano.
Now that I think about it, I wasn’t really a strapping young lad, I mean, "strapping" and "young" are both relative. Emilie was brand new and charming but changing dippers wasn’t all that much fun, plus a meaningful conversation with her was still 10 years away. A potential career was stressful. My employee’s problems became my problems that I had to deal with in between working on my post graduate degree and taking terrible plant assignments to make myself look good on paper. Hum...the 90's kind of sucked.
I suppose one could make an argument that the Shimano XTR cranks currently on my Tomac are better than Sweet Wings. XTR cranks weigh only 33 grams more and Sweet Wings had significant issues: they rusted, creaked, wore out bearings quickly, the inner race wouldn’t stay tight, and the spider occasionally broke. I’m not aware of any issues with XTR cranks. And you can buy ceramic bearings for Shimano cranks if you are neurotic.
Maybe I tend to glorify the past in my head. On second thought, I don’t want Sweet Wings; I’m pretty happy with the way things are.