Race Face Aeffect R NSMB AndrewM 2.JPG
REVIEW

Race Face Aeffect R Cinch Cranks & 170mm Dropper Post

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jan 8, 2020
Reading time

Cost Aeffective'R

With Aeffect R, Race Face has taken a crankset and a dropper post I've previously enjoyed, made them better while keeping them planted in the min-maxed category. These are parts that can cover a range of bike prices. Whether it's the choice to spec. a crankset that may never require replacement, or a reliable 170mm dropper post at a price that usually stops at 150mm, neither product has any particular sex appeal but both have the potential to be loved.

In fact, these are parts I'd be happy to see coming OE on bikes of any price, even on the higher end where they present no perceivable on-trail performance losses over more Gucci options but with savings that can be pumped into tires, brakes, and suspension, where it really counts.

Race Face Aeffect R NSMB AndrewM.JPG

The Aeffect R crankset uses stiffer stronger 7050 aluminum compared to the 6066 of the Aeffect.

Aeffect R Cinch Cranks

On the bike, running a 175mm crankset, the most notable difference between the Aeffect cranks I've tested previously and the new Aeffect R, is stiffness. Both cranksets use Race Face's Cinch chainrings and a steel 24mm axle but the new Aeffect R is using 7050 aluminum over the 6066 of the Aeffect. Hammering out of the saddle on a hardtail, I think I could tell the two apart in a blind test. More importantly, the 7050 arms are going to take a significantly greater beating, whether it's smoking them on rocks or dumping the bike with a rider on top.

The second major change, which doesn't affect the 175mm models, is the size-specific blanks. In order to keep costs down all Aeffect R cranksets start as the same forgings but they are specifically cut for the 165mm, 170mm, and 175mm lengths so there isn't any superfluous material hanging low.

Race Face Aeffect R Cranks NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

The 24mm spindle Aeffect R is the way to go for pressfit frames using PF92 and for anyone who already owns a Chris King bottom bracket.

Race Face Aeffect R NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Same BB tool I've owned for almost 17 years. New Race Face BB experience; this BSA example is still spinning as new.

On my bike, I didn't perceive any difference between my 30mm spindle Race Face Turbine cranks and the 24mm EXI spindle Aeffect R. The Turbine saves a few grams but I can think of a couple of scenarios where the Aeffect R is going to be the winning choice. First of all, anyone with a pressfit frame using the smaller PF92 shell is going to find a much-improved bottom bracket life sticking with 24mm. Secondly, riders who've invested in a Chris King bottom bracket but need a Boost compatible chainline to clear their frame can't beat this setup.

In terms of future-proofing, I love Race Face's simple system of flipping the stock chainring to hit two difference chainlines and the fact that the Cinch system uses a legacy BB-Tool, that has existed almost forever, to swap rings is brilliant.

I'll also note that running the crankset with a BSA setup, this is the best life I've ever had out of a Race Face bottom bracket. That said, with BSA making a roaring comeback, a Chris King BB could be a very worthy upgrade. Race Face makes a whole range of rings, including Shimano 12-Speed and a very affordable steel option, and Cinch is so prevalent now that there are a plethora of aftermarket options including my beloved Wolf Tooth Camo with a stainless steel ring to resist the local conditions year-round.

Race Face Aeffect R Crank NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I have not been nice to this drivetrain at all and the ring shows plenty of evidence of being cycled through grit & grime. Chain retention remains excellent.

Race Face Aeffect R Cranks NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

175mm Aeffect R cranks and the Race Face Cinch chainring. Reversing the ring provides two different chainlines.

Aeffect R 170mm Dropper Post

The Race Face Turbine R* (AKA Fox Transfer) dropper post is one of the smoothest options on the market. It's a glorious post to use, both up and down, and combined with remotes with a sealed cartridge bearing, like the Wolf Tooth ReMote or PNW Loam Lever, I'm pretty sure any rider would be over the moon with the setup.

The Aeffect R dropper is 2/3 as smooth in usage and around 2/3 the price. Put another way, it's about a 100 USD savings to go from the 300 USD Turbine R to the 200 USD Aeffect R. Both posts ship sans remote so by buying one of the aforementioned beauties it's possible to get an identical feel at the actuator.

*Not to be confused with the previous Turbine post based off the 9Point8 system.

Race Face Aeffect R Dropper NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

The actuator still uses a barrel to hold the cable head to the post. This is something I'd simplify personally to match what Crankbrothers, Bontrager, etc are doing.

Race Face Aeffect R Dropper NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

At 200 USD, if there is a less expensive 170mm dropper post I don't think there's a better one. It's not as polished as the Turbine R but it's exceptionally reliable for the investment.

I had an excellent experience with the previous 150mm Aeffect dropper and the good news is that the very reliable internals remain the same as the post that Jeff and I tore down. In addition to adding the 170mm travel option, the Aeffect R post benefits from a larger diameter for the shaft and a new DU bushing in the seal head assembly which combine to increase stiffness and durability.

I'm not a fan of the basic Race Face Aeffect remote, which is sold separately, and after a number of experiences, I'm sticking with levers that pivot on a bearing. I really appreciate that most brands are selling their posts without remotes these days. I've used the Aeffect R with a couple of different options but most the time has been with PNW's Loam Lever.

Race_Face_Aeffect_Dropper_Post_NSMB_AndrewM_2.original.jpg

Race Face sells the Aeffect R sans remote - Thank You! I'm personally not a fan of their basic remote...

Wolftooth_ReMote_NSMB_AndrewM_8_wWjBSkn.original.jpg

...a nice remote, or in this case Wolf Tooth ReMote, can make a budget dropper post feel exceptional...

PNW Bachelor Dropper Post: Teardown

...and I used the PNW Loam Lever for the majority of this test process. It's great.

After a couple of rides I un-threaded the seal head (no tools required) and lubed up the post with Slickoleum, which made the return stroke smoother, but the fact is the Aeffect R isn't a top-end post at a lower price point. There's some notable stiction compressing the post and on the rebound - although that can be overcome by adding a bit of air pressure. If absolute smoothness is a key requirement then the extra C-note will be well spent bumping up to a 170mm Turbine R.

This comes down to expectations and also, how and why I use a dropper post. If it reliably shoots up and telescopes for many hours and brings 170mm of travel to bear then I'm in with two feet. I don't ask for the smoothest or the fanciest, I just want it to work consistently. And every two years or so I need a post with an extra 20mm of travel. I'm really impressed with the Turbine R/Transfer but frankly, with my own treasury, I'd spend the extra hundy on tires and go Aeffect R every day.

Race Face Aeffect R NSMB AndrewM 2.JPG

Aeffect R post, Aeffect R cranks, Kona WahWah2 pedals, Cane Creek CCDB Coil shock, Marin AT7 frame - this thing is a min-maxer's dream.

Min-Maxed

It all comes down to the best experience per dollar and Race Face scores massively with the Aeffect R 170mm Dropper Post and the Aeffect R 7050 aluminum crankset. In both cases you can spend hundreds of dollars more on diminishing returns but looking at what cranks and dropper posts are actually expected to do, short of a few grams of weight savings, I expect I could run either product and never think about upgrading from a performance perspective.

That leaves hundreds of dollars on the table to spend on brakes, tires, or suspension that will have a very discernible effect on the performance of a mountain bike. That's not holding anything against a NEXT crankset and a Turbine R dropper, it's just that personally I'd pick the Aeffect R every day and spend my extra dollars elsewhere. If the Aeffect R crankset and dropper were the only options on the market I don't think that anyone would be poorly served, and that's saying a lot.

Please check out the 200 USD Aeffect R dropper post and the 130 USD 7050 aluminum Aeffect R cranks for more information.

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Comments

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Jan. 7, 2020, 11:56 p.m.

Andrew, Do the cranks have metal pedal inserts?  I'm a serial pedal swapper and have Zees as they have metal pedal inserts.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 8, 2020, 6:02 a.m.

They don’t; do any new cranks? 

I know some frequent pedal swappers swear by using steel washers but I’m a frequent swapper as well and just run them as you see them.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Jan. 8, 2020, 6:41 a.m.

Zee (and probably Saint) do but they ain't light.  I use washers on my Zees as well.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 8, 2020, 7:03 a.m.

Yeah, but what I meant by ‘new cranks’ is that Zee and Saint appear to be dead product lines. 

There used to be a number of cranks on the market with steel inserts but it seems to be they’re all legacy product now. With all their Enduro teams on XT/XTR it’ll be interesting to see what Shimano does in the DH arena.

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heckler
0
heckler  - Jan. 12, 2020, 8:56 a.m.

The best thing to do would be use a torque wrench to install your pedals to prevent over tightening them.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Andrew Major
Agleck7  - Jan. 8, 2020, 4:49 a.m.

Since it’s 24mm spindle can you use a shimano BSA bb?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Agleck7
Andrew Major  - Jan. 8, 2020, 6 a.m.

Absolutely. I stopped buying Shimano BB’s after they introduced the perplexing plastic, but you’re gold.

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oldmanbike
0
OldManBike  - Jan. 8, 2020, 7:08 a.m.

I had such a bad customer-service experience with my old Turbine dropper that I'd never consider buying anything mechanical from Raceface again. (It was the 9point8 clone, not this one, so I'm not commenting on the dropper, only their customer service.) Send the defective dropper to Raceface, receive the defective dropper back from Raceface, rinse and repeat. Never again.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 8, 2020, 7:24 a.m.

That’s a bit bizarre to me. I mean, not that you had issues with the original Turbine - I have nothing nice to say about that post - but I know multiple people who had a responsive customer service experience (or more accurately experiences because - original Turbine) and finally ended up getting warranty upgraded to Turbine R, which they love.

That said, dropper post options are legion. I think PNW and Crankbrothers set the gold standard for customer support so it could be worth a few more bucks to grab a Highline 7 or Bachelor.

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oldmanbike
+1 Andrew Major
OldManBike  - Jan. 8, 2020, 3:27 p.m.

It was bizarre to me too. Only bad customer service experience I've had in the bike industry. The guys on the phone were friendly, but how it got handled was way frustrating.

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DanL
+1 Andrew Major
DanL  - Jan. 8, 2020, 9:23 a.m.

Is it me or is it far easier to find DM cinch chainrings compared to SRAM 6mm offset DM chainrings ?

So cinch compatible, well priced shiny cranks in 165mm that fit my pressfit GXP92 BB ? Sold.

(BTW both links point at the same dropper post url)

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 DanL twk
Andrew Major  - Jan. 8, 2020, 10:20 a.m.

Cheers Dan - links fixed now. 

If you have a Chris King BB then you can buy a spacer kit to go from GXP to Shimano (Race Face, FSA, etc - ~ everyone else's 24mm cranks were the same VS SRAM/Truvativ) but otherwise, you need a Shimano compatible PF92 to 24mm BB.

I've honestly not tried to buy a SRAM DM ring in years. I only come across their cranks on test bikes and if I happened to own one I'd just get a Camo spider for SRAM and keep running my invincible Wolf Tooth stainless ring. 

But yes, actual 165mm cranks (no superfluous material hanging down), 7050 aluminum so they can take a beating, Cinch compatible so there are infinite ring options, and well priced. An easy standard for me to measure other cranks against in terms of value and features.

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twk
+1 Andrew Major
twk  - Jan. 9, 2020, 4:53 a.m.

Not to mention the second-hand market is filled with various Aeffect crank options either taken off completes or well used (but completely functional) for very little money.

Obviously that's a local thing, but given how crank spec is rarely varied by market, I suspect it's worth checking everywhere.

My visually beat up fleet of cranks from minmax-wonderland is ready.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 twk
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 6:53 a.m.

I had a good experience with the original Aeffect cranks but even running 175mm I’d hold out for the improved durability of the R if I was buying used. A new take-off then the 6066 Aeffect is fine.

170mm cranks I’d definitely hold out for the R series. And 165mm is new for R.

Great point though, used cranks go for nothing if they look well worn cosmetically but chances are an Atlas or Aeffect R have tonnes of life no matter how beat they look (I’m sure there are exceptions - for example cranks ridden without being tight enough).

Reply

twk
+1 Andrew Major
twk  - Jan. 9, 2020, 8:14 a.m.

I agree with your sentiment regarding length and durability -- though I haven't had any issues, especially the safety aspect is something to keep in mind with used budget gear.

However, I was surprised how well the EXI spindle interface behaves even when the cranks loosen on a singlespeed. Yes, it makes some bad noises and can kill a BB when not fixed in due time, but the splines themselves are still pretty much mint. Color me impressed.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 9:09 a.m.

That’s my experience with EXI as well. I really am coming at the Aeffect R as a crankset that I can justify upgrading too but a crankset I have a hard time upgrading from, if that makes sense.

I’m a huge fan of the FSA Afterburner cranks - performance vs. price vs. appearance. vs BB quality and they’re stiff as. And, I have zero complaints about the 30mm spindle Atlas cranks I own.

But, blank slate, any bike I was spec’ing from the ground up tomorrow would have these 24mm spindle Aeffect R cranks. I also prefer Cinch of all the DM interfaces.

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goose8
+1 Andrew Major
goose8  - Jan. 9, 2020, 8:02 p.m.

Thanks for the solid review! I just settled on the aeffect, but only because the aeffect r doesn’t come in the spindle length my fatbike needs and, as far as I can tell, the 24mm spindles can’t be swapped out (unlike the models that use 30mm spindles). I prefer the RF direct mount to SRAM because the rings can be flipped... opens up more chainring sizes. What I mean is that my fatbike came with DUB cranks and use a 6mm offset. SRAM only makes these down to a 30t, which is limiting because they’re directional. RF rings, on the other hand, can go down to a 26t and there are more options for ovals. Regardless, it’s good to hear that others are recognizing the potential of this lineup!

LoamtoHome
+1 Andrew Major
Jerry Willows  - Jan. 9, 2020, 9:58 a.m.

Great article as always Andrew...  but there is no way you can feel any kind of stiffness difference between cranks.  There isn't much force on the actual crank when your cranking.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Jerry Willows
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 11:07 a.m.

Hey JW, thanks!

I throw all cranks I test on my #1FG and I definitely notice a difference system to system out of the saddle riding. 

I also notice crank stiffness descending on the hardtail if the arms are really stiff (in a bad way). E13 Carbon cranks for example gave up nothing.

Generally, I’m not chasing more stiffness in any part of my bike (wheels, bar, etc) but apples to apples out of the saddle I’ll stand by the Aeffect R having less swagger then the gen.1 Aeffect. Obviously this isn’t one of those German reviews where stuff gets hooked up to a machine, and there are a lot of variables, so as always a grain of salt is both understood and recommended.

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LoamtoHome
+1 Andrew Major
Jerry Willows  - Jan. 9, 2020, 11:41 a.m.

I don't know...  if you put a 50lb force on your pedals the crank will flex x mm's on 1 crank.  The difference between cranks has to be very little.  The BB is going to flex way more imo.  Kind of like the myth of feeling radial flex on wheels.

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velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - Jan. 9, 2020, 1:46 p.m.

I put an old Octalink XT crankset on a bike for a placeholder ride a while ago. I'm sure the internal BB was a big part of the experience, but man, what a noodle.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+1 Andrew Major
Jerry Willows  - Jan. 9, 2020, 2:23 p.m.

would be fairly easy to test out in a lab... same bb, add weights and see how deflection there actually is between models and/or brands.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Jerry Willows Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 2:39 p.m.

Jerry, I’m not saying one’s better than another - again I find I’m chasing controlled flex these days for handlebars and etc - but I’d bet if I blindfolded you and sent you out for a series of rides on a trail you knew on a set of pre-DUB* SRAM cranks (either spindle size, carbon or aluminum), these Aeffect R cranks, and a pair of E13 carbon cranks you’d crash. 

But if I removed the blindfold and just didn’t let you see the cranks, then I’d guarantee you would rank them the same, according to stiffness, every time. Not claiming you’d prefer one or the other but SRAM would have the most give, then the Aeffect R, then the E13.

It’s a notable difference system to system. If I notice it (admittedly on a hardtail) then there’s no way you wouldn’t notice it. Do note, I notice it standing (up or down) so it is system flex with the bike moving - not just an isolated force pushing straight down on a crank/pedal hard mounted in place. 

*I haven’t ridden enough DUB cranks on a similar platform to comment.

human_touch
+1 Andrew Major
human_touch  - Jan. 15, 2020, 11:37 a.m.

Hi, thanks a lot for detailed review. I'm on the market for a crankset for my new min-maxing:) build and this was really helpful. I also read your linked review of the previous Aeffect cranks version, where you had mentioned the problem with a missing puller cap, which complicates cranks removal. It came to me as a surprise, because my Santa Cruz Bronson v2 S build came with RF Aeffect crankset and had the cap installed.

Question - does the new version come with the cap pre-installed or it still needs to be purchased separately? Cheers, Jan

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BadNudes
+1 Andrew Major
BadNudes  - Feb. 25, 2020, 5:09 p.m.

I just got a set of the Aeffect R cranks, and mine seem to have come with the self-extracting cap  :)

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 25, 2020, 5:26 p.m.

Apologies that I missed this Jan!

Affect R cranks do indeed come with the self extracting cap, as they should.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 27, 2020, 2:43 p.m.

The set I tested are currently doing duty on this beast:

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heathen
+1 Andrew Major
Heathen  - Jan. 16, 2020, 2:19 p.m.

I love Sram GXP cranks for BB92 carbon frames. But with the Sram switching to DUB GXP is dead. These will be my next cranks. Now to get my Next G4 warrantied for the second time....

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human_touch
+1 Andrew Major
human_touch  - Feb. 25, 2020, 11 p.m.

Got mine too now (with the cap:)! Thanks again Andrew..

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