FSA Afterburner Crank NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG
TWO-MINUTE REVIEWS

FSA Afterburner Crankset

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Mar 28, 2019

Ay Caramba

Instead of a crank review I was halfway tempted to write about our collective nostalgia for specific pieces of mountain bike gear from the past and throw a reference to the Full Speed Ahead cranks in there. Maybe I just hang around a lot of old bike nerds but performance be damned, on the trail the FSA Afterburners actually attracted a relatively generous number of comments.

"Woah, what cranks are those? They remind me of the Caramba Double Barrels I owned in the 90's!"

Aluminum crank arms, whatever the spindle size, are usually about as boring as bicycle tech gets so colour me surprised in the amount of interest these received. Which is an easy segue into saying, FSA, if you've ever thought of releasing a part in anodized purple or turquoise, these are it - "wait, what anodized colours do they come in?" Who cares how they perform, right‽

FSA Afterburner Crankset AndrewM

The Afterburner crankset includes a 32t narrow-wide ring for 130 USD. Rings from 26t to 38t are available as aftermarket options.

FSA Afterburner Crankset Clairebarian AndrewM

Easily installed with a 10mm hex key. A wave washer (spring) is used rather than a rotating bearing tensioner.

FSA Afterburner Crankset AndrewM

The Megatooth direct mount ring bolts on using the same tool as Cannondale's series of road & mountain cranksets.

I've become an aluminum crank evangelist, and in recent years that's meant a Race Face Atlas crankset. Like the Atlas arms, the Afterburners are using forged 7050 aluminum which makes them as stiff as any crankset I would want to own.

For anyone counting grams, the Afterburners drop 30 grams off of my Atlas Cinch cranks, these Afterburners clock in at 670-grams including a 32t ring and all the hardware - no BB. I didn't have a chance to weigh a pair of Turbines but based on other reviews I'd guesstimate the Afterburners are dead center in weight between those two popular options.

The direct mount lock ring does feel light and fragile in installation but presented no issues. I installed and removed the stock ring and also my Wolf Tooth Camo spider a number of times, which uses the same mounting pattern as Cannondale.

FSA Afterburner Crank NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

The self-extractor cap came loose once. A common pin spanner and some Loctite solved the issue.

FSA Afterburner Crank NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

The Afterburner cranks are plenty stiff for single speed usage but not as feathery as carbon.

FSA Afterburner Crank NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

I'm a notorious heel-rubber, and the shape of the crank has kept the wear isolated to this ridge.

Running the stock rings, I'd have to give a leg-up to Cinch for same-day emergency replacement although any Cannondale dealer would be able to hook me up in an emergency.

Crank arms are one of those parts I don't really appreciate until I have a failure in the middle of nowhere or I'm geeking out over min-maxing a custom build. But in terms of performance, price, and appearance, I have to say the AL 7050 Afterburners are as interesting as aluminum cranks get.

I think anyone looking for a great crankset for a fair price would do well to check out the 130 USD Afterburners.

Comments

cooperquinn
+3 AlanB Cr4w Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - March 27, 2019, 9:09 p.m.

Do an aluminum stem review next.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 pedalhound
Andrew Major  - March 27, 2019, 9:11 p.m.

"Crank arms are one of those parts I don't really appreciate until I have a failure in the middle of nowhere or I'm geeking out over min-maxing a custom build. But in terms of performance, price, and appearance, I have to say the AL 7050 Afterburners are as interesting as aluminum cranks get."

Reply

earleb
+1 Andrew Major
earle.b  - March 27, 2019, 10:21 p.m.

A chunk of steel, a vise, a file, and ten minutes is all you need to MacGyver what you need to get the lock ring off and on to remove the chainring.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 28, 2019, 12:11 p.m.

Photo of homemade tool?

Reply

rnayel
0
RNAYEL  - March 29, 2019, 11:59 a.m.

B. your home shop is a bit more advanced than most of us, and your resourcefulness is beyond mine when it comes to bike rigging. I won't be taking your advice, thank you.

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - March 28, 2019, 11:38 a.m.

I'd rather not have to rely on any Cannondale dealer for parts or tools.  What's the axle size? Do they require a specific FSA only BB or do they work with DUB/GXP/24mm?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 28, 2019, 12:11 p.m.

Standard 30mm axle (apologies - mentioned that in my first look but will add here). FSA recommends their BB but I’ve plugged it into a King BB and RaceFace BB without issue.

Reply

alexdi
+1 Andrew Major
Alex D  - March 28, 2019, 4:37 p.m.

If that lock ring is anything like Cannondale's, I'm not a fan. Easy to misthread. Easy to mangle the tool prongs locking it into place. I usually put the tool in a vice to even try.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 28, 2019, 4:54 p.m.

I tighten all these interfaces in a vice as you say (Cinch, e13, FSA)... none of them has a lot of threads and I prefer to have the tool fixed in place.

Reply

ac
+1 Andrew Major
Ac  - April 1, 2019, 1:21 p.m.

What makes you prefer an Atlas crankset over a Turbine?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Ac
Andrew Major  - April 1, 2019, 6:08 p.m.

It comes in blue! 

Some folks say they can feel a stiffness difference between the two, but at ~185lbs I'm happy single speeding on either crankset. 

If I was reviewing either RaceFace crank the only bad thing I'd say is I don't love the plastic bearing adjuster and coarse threaded screw. I replaced mine with the CaneCreek tensioner and it makes me happy every time I remove/install my cranks to grease my BB.

Reply

ReductiMat
0
ReductiMat  - April 2, 2019, 8:46 p.m.

Thank you, this might save me a lot of $$$ on those titanium wonders.

Reply

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