I've written about TA Pro-5-Vis cranks a couple of times; that's the official name of the "Cyclo Touriste" cranks, by the way. We just found and ordered a couple dozen more sets. They've been selling especially briskly since the article by Jan Heine in Vintage Bicycle Quarterly.
Jan thinks they are the best cranks of all time. I won't argue with that, but there are a couple of small errors in the otherwise super article I wanted to correct.
First, Pro-5-Vis cranks have about the narrowest Q factor, or tread, of any crank made. That's a good thing for most of us. In fact some experts claim that most riders pedal more efficiently on low Q-factor cranks. But there is a small percentage of riders who are more comfortable on with a wider crank. You probably know who you are and you should not buy Pro-5-Vis cranks. Simply using a longer bottom bracket, as the article suggests, will throw off your chain line and, in my experience, may result in balky shifting.
The other bit I wanted to correct is that all these cranks did not go to Japan, nor were they re-imported from Japan. You can just look in our stock room to see that.
Which brings us to the bigger issue of, "Will they be made again?" We were told, twice, that the last production run would be it. Forever; period; no more; finished. But apparently this past run sold so quickly that that decision was reconsidered, according to both Jan and my French contacts, and there may indeed be more runs. I'm happy about that since they really are great cranks. But I feel like I misled our customers by repeating what I'd been told about there being no more ever made. My apologies.
Here is what I wrote previously about these cranks:
One reason why so many people like the TA crank is that it has about the lowest Q-factor (width) of any crank ever made. This is because the crank arm is straight and very close to the outer chainring. So front derailleurs that have thick outer plates sometimes hit the crankarm, But all Campy models and many others work. These cranks will work with modern drivetrains, even 10-speed. Another reason to use TA Pro Vis 5 cranks is that they can replace a triple crank when set up as a double. You can run 28t and 46t rings with a 12-27 cassette (for example) and have almost the same range as a triple, but with a lot less overlap. Rings 26 to 68 teeth are available. By the way, TA sells the cranks and rings separately; there are no stock combinations. So why did these wonderful cranks go out of production? The big chainrings, above 50t or so, are too flexible for racing. And they are very expensive.To the above I'd add that other reasons to use them include: The chainrings are very durable and last a long time while the crank itself won't ever wear out. So you are buying a crank that will probably last you for the rest of your life. And these cranks weigh about as much as modern carbon fiber cranks. (Now that's progress!)
Finally, I've been told that prices for the next production run will be a fair bit be higher.