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REVIEW

Race Face Aeffect Cranks: Boxing Above Their Weight

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Jul 14, 2017

Race Face Aeffect Cranks

I'm conflicted on whether to tuck the price tag for Race Face's Aeffect crankset down at the bottom of this review or to boldly flash its $200 (CAD) / $150 (USD) price tag in the opening sentence. I guess that's out of the bag. It's too easy to buttonhole the crankset as a budget product and that doesn't do justice to the performance or value. 

The Aeffect crank uses Race Face's excellent Cinch chain ring mounting system, includes a 30t or 32t direct mount chainring and is manufactured with the same forging technique as the higher end Turbine aluminum crankset. 

Race Face Aeffect Cranks AndrewM

The Aeffect crankset shares the detailed 'deep pocket' forging and CNC machining process of Race Face's highest end aluminum Turbine cranks. The big differences are crank arm material and width.

There are two big differences between Aeffect and its higher end siblings. One is the 6066 aluminum construction compared to the stiffer, stronger, and more complex to manufacture 7050 aluminum arms on the Turbine crankset or carbon fiber crank arms. The second is the steel 24mm spindle on the Aeffect rather than the 30mm aluminum axle found as the price goes up.  

Firebird

Chris Cocalis, the "aggressively calculated" president and CEO of Pivot cycles, is very thoughtful when it comes to his bikes whether it's the cable routing, compatibility, or spec, so I was surprised when I saw a set of Aeffect cranks mounted on our $7400 (USD) Pivot Firebird Pro test bike. The bike runs on Reynolds carbon hoops... and Race Face's lowest price direct mount cranks?

Pivot likes to streamline spec choices and the Aeffect arms are easily adaptable for both  Boost bikes like the Firebird and the Super Boost Plus Switchblade models by simply swapping a chainring. A ring swap will also allow the Aeffects to run standard 135/142 spacing.

The Aeffect is light for the price (sub-700 grams including a 32t ring), stiff, and the 24mm spindle is a great choice for the Pivot's PF92 bottom bracket (30mm spindles don't leave room for bearings large enough to be durable unless you have a PF 30 BB - Ed.). Saving money on crank spec lets Pivot equip the Fire Bird with better components where it really matters (brakes, suspension, and tires). 

A Tree Within A Tree

These are not the lightest or stiffest aluminum cranks on the market, but they're stiff and light enough for me. The Cinch direct mount system is excellent and rings are tightened using a non-proprietary legacy BB tool that was otherwise wasting space in my tool box. Thank you Race Face!

Race Face Aeffect Cranks AndrewM

The best budget-performance bike parts are like a tree growing in a tree. The development, design and marketing costs are all borne by higher level parts that came before them and they get to mature to offer similar performance while shielded from the worst winds of fickle trend-chasing early adopters. 

The Aeffect cranks lack the bearing tensioner of the higher priced Turbine crankset but the new version of rubber crush-washer that Race Face specs with the crank is a serious improvement over the old system. Achieving the perfect combination of play-free cranks and smooth spinning bearings on the first go was a snap. 

Buy The Self-Extracting Cap

My one complaint with the Aeffect cranks it's the fact I have to dig out my old cotter-less crank puller every time I remove them. I can't remember the last set of cranks I've seen that didn't have a self-extracting cap sitting over the crank bolt but it was a long, long time ago. 

Please, charge me $205 Canadian dollars and include a the self-extracting setup. I'm going to end up buying it but now I have to track one down and probably pay three times more for it than I would if it just came with the cranks. 

I had to pull these a lot more than the average rider but there is still going to come a day when a chainring or bottom bracket has to be swapped out and on that day the owner of said crankset will wish for the self-extracting cap. 

Can't Go Wrong?!

Actually I have one more complaint. I wish the cranks came in silver because the finish on Race Face's Aeffect & Turbine aluminum cranks lasts only about twice as long as the black on Shimano M8000 cranks which means after half a ride it looks like a season's worth of wear. I rub my cranks pretty badly and don't really care so this certainly wouldn't stop me from buying a set but it probably bears mentioning. 

Race Face Aeffect Cranks AndrewM

If the worst thing you can say about a $150 (USD) crank & ring set is that it should have a self-extracting bolt I think that's a winning product. 

I'd recommend the Aeffect crank for bikes of any price. If you have a bike like that, you can check out more information of this $150 (USD) crank & ring setup here

Comments

cooperquinn
+1
Cooper Quinn  - July 14, 2017, 3:21 p.m.

The cranks on my Switchblade came with the self-extracting cap, so..... YMMV?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 14, 2017, 5:09 p.m.

Pivot specs them that way as noted in caption above. Awesome little bonus and I think it shows in a small way how Chris & Co ponder the tiny details.

Reply

dimitree
0
dimitree  - July 14, 2017, 10:41 p.m.

Chris Cocalis and "thoughtful" cable routing...did you not look at the photo of the Firebird in your article...and the Mach 6, Switchblade...nobody routes the derailleur cable under the bottom bracket where they can catch, snag or be ripped out of the frame.  I can't believe Pivot, a company that is next door to Phoenix's south Mountain park, continues to route this cable so thoughtlessly.  And that first iteration of the Mach 6 with the cables crisscrossing below the top tube, above the rear shock...noisy, binding and protruding.  It is safe to say that Chris Cocalis places cable routing LAST in his designs.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2
Andrew Major  - July 15, 2017, 12:23 a.m.

I have looked at the routing on the Firebird and Switchblade very closely (I wrote a piece about it) and I'm going to strongly disagree with you with the caveat that I think everyone should buy whatever bike makes them happy.

Two things:

1) The bolt on cable covers are a smart way to silence internal cables without running internal sleeves and the issues that can come with them. I prefer external cables but baring that or making an investment similar to what Santa Cruz does I think Pivot is really smart.

2) I worked in a Specialized dealer - literally hundreds of suspension bikes with the housings all routed under the BB shell just from one shop - and have otherwise been around bikes a long time. I've never seen an issue with the under bottom bracket loop. Pre-internal routing I've seen a few crushed housings high up the downtube from tailgate shuttles but I am still perplexed where the idea that the under BB loop is prone to issues/damage comes from?!

Reply

GladePlayboy
+1
Rob Gretchen  - July 15, 2017, 6:20 a.m.

You are 100% correct Andrew.... as a Pivot dealer I have never seen an issue with a snagged cable due to the routing...

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - July 15, 2017, 6:22 a.m.

The first gen Mach 6 had poor routing agreed.   But this has been remedied in the past 2 years.   No issues with any of the Pivot frames and routing currently that bears any discussion IMO.

Reply

jan
+1
Jan  - July 14, 2017, 10:51 p.m.

It's worth mentioning that they're cross compatible with the ubiquitous Shimano BSA BBs. I'll trade a few grams for that BB reliability (and availability) any day.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1
Andrew Major  - July 15, 2017, 12:15 a.m.

In my case a well worn ~7 year old King BB that's been regularly greased but otherwise trouble free in at least a half dozen frames. Either way lots of good stuff about 24mm spindles.

Reply

velocipedestrian
+1
Velocipedestrian  - July 15, 2017, 2:25 p.m.

The Enduro bearing press/puller is a worthwhile investment. 

Laugh at the 'do not disassemble' note on the cups.

DBone95
0
Darryl Chereshkoff  - July 15, 2017, 5:34 a.m.

Funny, I was just deciding between these and Shimano, and I ended up going with SLX 7000s. In the end it came down to Shimano's brilliant preload and pinch bolt mounting style...... Had RF included a self extracting bolt/cap, the decision might have gone their way, but there was no way I was going back to the 90s to remove the crank. Also, no preload made me nervous in terms of side-to-side play.

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - July 15, 2017, 2:22 p.m.

SLX is hard to beat. 

I'm still running the 9spd triple crank, as I like to run a bashring. 

I find it slightly odd that as the low BB gained popularity the bashring faded from fashion. The ISCG tabs on many frames are not rated for the impact a taco can deliver.

Reply

XXX_er
0
XXX_er  - July 15, 2017, 9:36 a.m.

Yeti put that crank on their cheapest (a relative term) 5.5 sb and I like them, I went to a 28T ring so I had to pull the crank, my old crank puller was broken so I put an 11mm socket in the hole gave it a tap with the hammer and  bob's yer uncle

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 15, 2017, 10:19 a.m.

For future removals the self extracting kit isn't expensive and can be installed without removing the cranks.

Reply

DBone95
0
Darryl Chereshkoff  - July 17, 2017, 11 p.m.

If you find one online, a link would be appreciated.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 17, 2017, 11:21 p.m.

Apologies Darryl, I'm a bit of a Luddite. With rare exceptions (like the limited edition, online-only, DeFeet F*cking Magical Unicorn socks I'll soon be enjoying ) I buy as much from local businesses that pay local taxes as I can. I mean, I'm "that sucker" that pays an extra $15 for my Birkenstocks so I can buy them around the corner from where I live even though I know exactly what size and model I want. 

Anyways, if you e-mail your preferred online Race Face dealer I'm positive they'll be able to confirm the correct part number for you. If you don't have a preference I've met one of the guys from Jenson one time and he was a great dude so I'd try them.  

AndreiV.
0
AndreiV.  - July 18, 2017, 8:11 a.m.

I found this on Jenson. Just wanted to know if this is the part you're talking about?

http://www.jensonusa.com/Race-Face-Cinch-DS-BoltPuller-Cap ;

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

AndreiV, I will try and find out for you. That part is for the 30mm Cinch cranks.

AndrewMajor
+1
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 1:50 p.m.

The RaceFace part number for the self-extracting cap is F30018.

The guys at RaceFace say there are lots out there in the world often tagged as 'DEUS' since the Aeffect uses the same cap. They could also be tagged as E-Type or EXI.

Example:

http://m.ebay.com/itm/Race-Face-F30018-Bolt-Puller-Cap-EXI-Type-M15-/401093944526

DBone95
0
Darryl Chereshkoff  - July 18, 2017, 2:55 p.m.

Thanks for the part # I found many online...... much appreciated!

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 3:57 p.m.

No problem at all. The guys at Race Face were very quick with the info.

AndreiV.
0
AndreiV.  - July 19, 2017, 8:05 a.m.

Thank you very much!

rndholesqpeg
0
rndholesqpeg  - July 15, 2017, 9:58 a.m.

My Ripley came with Aeffects on it, I was happy with them until I was booking it down a trail and caught my pedal on the side of a root. It was a big crash, but I didn't think big enough to rip all of the threads out of the crank where the pedal threads in, which it did. I had a few mile walk back to the truck, I've replaced it with Turbines and have crashed way harder without issue, for what it's worth

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 15, 2017, 10:18 a.m.

Riding flat pedals or clipped in? There was similar comment on Facebook re. flat pedals - which do present a larger flatter target for rock strikes compared to my clipped in experience. I didn't have any notably huge smashes but definitely hit cranks/pedals regularly. 

Either way the 7050 series aluminum Turbine arms will absolutely have more durable threads. 

.

Did Race Face help you out with a crash replacement or have you otherwise had good experiences with their products?

I'm just curious because usually it seems riders who experience similar failures adopt an any-product-from-a-diffferent-brand mentality.

Reply

rndholesqpeg
0
rndholesqpeg  - July 16, 2017, 10:12 a.m.

I was riding xt clipless at the time.

I think the arms have been updated since I rode/broke them, previously they were cast and it seems like they are now forged so maybe the new model is a lot better. I have never had an issue, or known of anyone personally having issues with Turbines, that is why I bought them again.

XXX_er
0
XXX_er  - July 15, 2017, 6:05 p.m.

I should say I was holding the bike up by the pedal when i gave it a tap with the hammer and it came easy but a  self extracting kit sounds like a good idea so where do you get them ?

Just like derailleurs and derailleur hangers there is no way to quantify how hard you hit something before it broke ... anecdotal

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 16, 2017, 9:44 a.m.

Great point re. anecdotal forces. 

Any RaceFace dealer should be able to easily acquire one for you.

Reply

MikeMc
+1
Mike McArthur  - July 18, 2017, 7:51 a.m.

So PF92 + 30mm spindle = no bueno for bearing size? Haven't read this before. Major's past article mentions the 'standards' have more or less settled out, and for PF bb's its largely BB92. So are the majority of today's mtb frame owners relegated to 24mm cranks? What does this say about the crank+frame mfgr's being at odds?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 8:32 a.m.

There's an editors note (Ed.) saying that in the piece and it's also definitely a reason that Chris @ Pivot gave for the Affect spec: 24mm spindle, easy direct mount Boost and Super Boost compatibility. 

Unlike PF30, which at best doesn't give bike designers any extra space to play with, I understand the engineering reasons behind PF92. For example look at Trek's Stache. The bike couldn't be made as is with a BSA or PF30 BB.

My personal experience with 30mm axles in PF92 frames has been that bearing life is not as good as 24mm axles in PF92 frames which I'd attribute to the smaller bearings. Race Face - and others - have attempted to gain space by building the bearings into their PF92/30mm BBs but I'd still stand by my experience.

Your mileage may vary. There are lots of companies that spec 30mm spindle cranks in frames with PF 92 BB shells and it would be easy & cheap not to spec this arrangement (for example SRAM still offers all their cranks as 30mm or 24/22mm) if they were seeing a lot of complaints. 

All things (carbon materials, engineering, etc) being equal the combo of PF92 and 30mm aluminum spindle is going to build the stiffest and lightest platform so it's easy to understand why it's popular. 

The last time I can think of when bike companies (plural) and part manufacturers truly collaborated on a industry wide standard  was Manitou, Rocky Mountain, Cannondale and Intense working to bring out 1.5" steer tubes as an open standard in what 2003? 

PF92 was originally a Pivot thing (?), Boost was Trek as were Tapered steerers. Cannondale brought 30mm spindles and BB-30 shells and Etc.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 8:42 a.m.

I will say I haven't tried Hope's PF92 BB for 30mm spindles. Based on my experience with their other BBs if I was trying to mount my Turbines on a PF92 frame I would definitely buy theirs.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 9 a.m.

Lastly, I also wrote in the past that we should all swallow the fact that there will eventually be no standards. So any way you look at it I'm probably wrong!

https://nsmb.com/articles/serenely-swallowing-standards/

Reply

MikeMc
0
Mike McArthur  - July 18, 2017, 10:11 a.m.

Thanks for repies here Andrew. Do you think Race Face will sell me a 24mm spindle to upgrade my NextSL cranks?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 18, 2017, 10:34 a.m.

Any time.

The spindles can be swapped for different lengths but they are not interchangeable between 30mm and 24mm. For carbon 24mm cranks you'd have to pick up a set of previous gen SixC or Next cranks (neither are Cinch) or switch to another manufacturer. 

Reply

MikeMc
0
Mike McArthur  - July 18, 2017, 11:48 a.m.

Stiff cranks

Light spiderless cranks

Durable bb.

Pick 2...

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