Race Face Next R and e*thirteen guide
Long-Term Review

Race Face Next R Carbon Cranks Reviewed

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Aug 3, 2018

Race Face's Next R cranks fill the aggressive trail/enduro segment of their impressive lineup. Built to take punishment, these are available in a wider than usual variety of sizes, including a spindle width suitable for an 83mm BB. Great news for me because the GeoMetron G16 build that these joined immediately features the a DH width bottom bracket.

Features:

  • Spindle Sizes: 30mmx134 (68/73mm), 30mmx170, 30mmx190
  • Chainring/Spiders: 104/64mm (boost option available), 120/80mm, Cinch Direct Mount
  • Replaceable/upgradeable spindles
  • BSA (Threaded), BB92/BB107 and PF30 bottom bracket to suit 68/73, 83mm and 100mm
  • Weight: claimed 495g w/ 32t direct mount chainring
  • MSRP: 479.99 USD (cranks only)/549.99 USD w/ chainring

If you ask Race Face they make it clear Next R cranks are ready to take what you throw at them but I was apprehensive when the test opportunity presented itself. A couple of issues I've had on different carbon cranks have created a sense of caution. Thankfully I caught these problems before disaster struck but I continue to choose alloy cranks. These experiences led me to stretch this test to six months to ride them hard enough to properly test the durability of crank arms, bottom bracket and fixing pieces.


race-face-next-r-cranks-190718-ajbarlas-8265.jpg

After six months of rocks bouncing off them, the cranks show some typical scuffs, but overall look great. 

race-face-next-r-cranks-190718-ajbarlas-8267.jpg

Rock strikes off the cranks BB interface are a common place for scuffs. They haven't caused any issues since they showed up months ago. 


Race Face crank installation is simple. The spindle is attached to the non-drive side arm but can be removed completely and replaced for a different size if needed, self-extracting arms mean you can throw out your crank puller, and the direct mount ring mounts like a charm.

Ride after ride, the Next R cranks remained solid, providing a firm feel and doing the job without being noticed. They’re without any of the quirky bits and bobs that require constant checking and maintenance and I've never noticed them as a result. Their light weight is the only noticeable thing, but once on the bike, that too was less apparent (unless you’re replacing a heavier crank on the same bike. In this case it was a new build).

When I decided to wrap the review I was very impressed. The cranks had been subjected to lots of proper shitty conditions, great conditions, mellow terrain and the roughest stuff I could find. They’ve been ridden from Pemberton to Santa Cruz and have done everything without the slightest complaint. Not a single creak or squeak. This with zero maintenance since fitting; replacing a chain is the closest service that came their way.

race-face-next-r-cranks-190718-ajbarlas-8270.jpg

Straight out of the bike with no cleaning done. I was shocked how clean everything remained. 

race-face-next-r-cranks-190718-ajbarlas-8285.jpg

The bottom bracket bearings still run perfectly smooth, there's no corrosion, and there's even some relatively clean grease present.


When the time came to finally pull the cranks from the bike everything came apart with ease, much to my surprise. Removing the non-drive side crank and the attached spindle was the biggest revelation. After the kind of use and duration the Next R cranks have endured I often find corrosion where the spindle contacts bearings, but that wasn’t the case here. The bearings remain incredibly smooth and everything is relatively clean in the BB. Needless to say, the Race Face bottom bracket and cranks seal very well.

Unfortunately, not everything was perfect. Once the non-drive side arm was removed, something caught my eye in the shitty light of my overcrowded garage. Running my finger across the area, I confirmed that it wasn’t the light; there was a crack in the back of the arm. Closer inspection of the driveside crank revealed a similar, though less defined crack. Images were sent to Race Face and I awaited feedback. After a discussion with the engineering deparment it was confirmed the cracks surround a plug placed during the finishing process, and while these were cosmetic, Race Face replaces cranks with this issue.

race-face-next-r-cranks-190718-ajbarlas-8275.jpg

The crack found on the non-driveside crank.

race-face-next-r-cranks-190718-ajbarlas-8276.jpg

The driveside had the same crack, though less defined.


We use a plug to cover an access hole in the back of the crankarm that is there as part of our carbon crank manufacturing process. After the plug is installed, decals are applied and a crank gets a final clear coat finish. Under load and flex, which is normal, on occasion this joint between the plug and the crank can appear. This action would cause an appearance of a ‘crack’ on the back of the crank; this is not a structural concern and will not affect the cranks performance in any way. Although a cosmetic issue only, it would be something we would cover under our warranty policy if a rider is not content. We are always working on production and design improvements on these products. Our goal is to lessen and eventually remove the chance of this issue occurring on future Race Face carbon cranks that are proudly produced in our Burnaby, B.C. facility. –Race Face


Discovering cracks was disappointing after being so impressed with the Next R cranks' performance. Race Face is positive the cracks are cosmetic, have no effect on structural integrity, and there is nothing to fear if you keep riding them. They claim testing, which surpasses industry standards for strength and fatigue, is performed without the plug in place. Despite this, if you're not comfortable with the cosmetic cracks, Race Face will replace them. 

Aside from the cracks, the Next R cranks were sensational, all with zero maintenance and lots of hard treatment. The usual scuffs from trail debris are present but they've been problem free. Nevertheless I'll be sticking to alloy cranks after this experience. Peace of mind is important when hammering on your parts and for me that comes with a pair of alloy cranks taking all the hits and stress from regular riding. 

To check out more details on the Next R cranks, head to the Race Face website




Comments

hongeorge
0
hongeorge  - Aug. 3, 2018, 1:36 a.m.

After my experience with SixC cranks, I'd have been thoroughly surprised if these hadn't cracked somehow. Sold my latest warranty set (number 3) and bought some Hopes.  Liked everything about the RaceFace - the styling, the weight, the cinch interface, the easy install/remove (ok, maybe the tiny bolt on the preload collar is a bit of a pain) but I just couldn't trust them.

Reply

MTBrent
0
MTBrent  - Aug. 3, 2018, 5:32 a.m.

Metal, please.  Peace of mind is a wonderful thing.  A slightly heavier wallet helps, too.

On a different note, AJ:  Just curious, do you ever notice pedaling around on a 83mm BB?  Does the wider stance make any difference?

Reply

aj@nsmb.com
0
AJ Barlas  - Aug. 5, 2018, 3:50 p.m.

I can't say it had any perceivable difference when pedalling but when I get on a test bike with a regular 73mm BB I feel like I want my feet on the outside edges of the pedals. I feel a bit more stable in slow tech terrain because I'm able to stand slightly wider, but it also may have something to do with slightly more occasional pedal/foot strikes. Hard to honestly say unless I was able to ride the exact bike with each spacing.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Aug. 3, 2018, 8:20 a.m.

what are the benefits of these over say, Turbine or XT cranks. i gather they are 100 grams lighter or some such? or is it much more? beyond that what other improvements do they offer? i've never had or demo'd a set of carbon cranks.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Aug. 3, 2018, 9:49 a.m.

I like carbon... in the right application.  I'll never run carbon cranks again, big(ish) guy riding hard. The problematic issue of bonding aluminum inserts into carbon in high-torque joints makes me question whether a lighter carbon crank that holds up is even possible.  At this price they need to last at least 3 years of abusive use. 

Turbines for me, thank you.  The right balance of cost, weight, durability.  I just wish they'd round off the sharp edges of the Turbines on the arms, they wear out my Five.Ten's fairly fast due to that severe edge. Shoe Gooing the seam keeps 'em going.

Reply

awesterner
0
awesterner  - Aug. 3, 2018, 9:58 a.m.

App. 80g lighter than a 170 turbine with a 30t give or take.  I can confirm the Turbines can take a hell of a lot of abuse. This is my first set of ALu cranks in a long time, and looking at the deep gouges from a couple stacks this summer...I'll happily continue to use them.  And only about $200CAD retail, hard to beat.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Aug. 3, 2018, 11:46 a.m.

Right.  At -80g (I thought the NextR was about 120g lighter, but whatever), they're only allowed to cost $80-$120 more.  That's the rule, right? $1/gram, unless you also get better durability.

But I'm not the target market. Running a $20 +100g steel RF cinch chainring on a carbon bike because it'll last a lot longer, got tired of 3 alum chainrings a year. Turned into the most expensive wear item on my bike other than tires.

Reply

rndholesqpeg
0
rndholesqpeg  - Aug. 3, 2018, 1:26 p.m.

Completely agree on both points.

The Turbines are great and have taken a bunch of abuse on multiple bikes, I just wish they would round the edges as well.

Reply

grambo
0
grambo  - Aug. 3, 2018, 10:48 a.m.

I rode a pair of SIXC 165mm cranks hard on my DH bike for two summers and I weigh 215lbs, no issues at all despite a few rough touch downs into rock gardens that had sparks flying off my pedals. Hard to say if there's a performance benefit, they felt the same as the Saint cranks on my previous bike. Maybe they are a touch stiffer than the Turbines on my trail bike but maybe that's because those are 175mm.

Reply

DBone95
+1 Skooks
Darryl Chereshkoff  - Aug. 3, 2018, 11:26 a.m.

Cracks in plastic cranks..... who woulda thunk? I guess I'll just stick with my heavy Shimano SLX 7000s and watch them out last me.

Reply

Keen_Doug
0 Cam McRae Darryl Chereshkoff
Keen_Doug  - Aug. 3, 2018, 6:49 p.m.

If you read the article, you will see that the cracks are not actually in the "plastic". But if the M7000s work for you, ride on!

Reply

Timmigrant
+4 Cam McRae grambo JVP Keen_Doug
Tim Coleman  - Aug. 3, 2018, 3:53 p.m.

2,400 km, 100,000+ m vertical, 30+ Whistler Bike Park days and counting on my Next R cranks and they're still running strong. I'm not light or gentle either.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Aug. 3, 2018, 6:52 p.m.

That's good to hear, and 30 Whis days is impressive. Hoping they make this here skeptic eat crow.

Reply

awesterner
0
awesterner  - Aug. 4, 2018, 12:24 p.m.

Yeah but you have Style for Miles :-)

Reply

sleemans12
+1 Keen_Doug
sleemans12  - Aug. 3, 2018, 5 p.m.

So it's not clear to me, you rave about how these arms handle everything you threw at them but are sad that a crack in the clear coating is ruining them for you? Seems like a pretty minor issue if it is cosmetic. How do they compare to other carbon arms?

Reply

skooks
+1 Skyler
Skooks  - Aug. 3, 2018, 6:24 p.m.

Carbon cranks? No thanks! I have seen far too many of them fail, mostly RF brand. I will take  Shimano alloy cranks and pay the small weight penalty any day of the week thank you very much. Has anyone managed to blow up a set of XT or xtr Hollow tech cranks? I sure haven't.

Reply

OldSchool
+1 Bogey
OldSchool  - Aug. 3, 2018, 8:34 p.m.

Recently moved from a 2x10 XT w/ Turbine crank to a 1x12 SRAM w/ NextR crank (same bike) - what surprised me as the most noticeable difference? The NextR’s stiffness and ability to put down power put a much bigger grin on my face than any other aspect of the fresh, crisp new drivetrain. 

The weight savings was noticeable but the difference in stiffness was surprising and stunning... My $0.02, noting I can’t comment on durability yet (noting the Turbines had 5 years on them).

Reply

skooks
0 Darryl Chereshkoff Bogey
Skooks  - Aug. 3, 2018, 8:50 p.m.

I'm glad the RF cranks are working well for you. I have tried them, and honestly couldn't perceive any functional difference between them and my alloy Shimano cranks. I actually never think about them at all, since I know they will never fail. The RF cranks? It was always I'm the back of my mind that they could fall at any time. Not for me thanks.

Reply

bogey
+1 Ken Leggatt
Bogey  - Aug. 3, 2018, 8:55 p.m.

I found exactly the same thing. The sturdiness can be felt immediately in each pedal stroke. 

On my Tallyboy3 I can flex the crankarm and frame enough under power that I can clank an XT or XTR crankarm off of the chainstay. At first I thought the problem was mainly frame flex but with NextR cranks I just can’t do it.  

Very happy with mine so far! 🤞

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Aug. 4, 2018, 8:15 a.m.

I've got 2 sets of Next SL cranks with several years of riding and a new set of Next R cranks with a few months of riding. I'm 200lbs and ride coastal BC trails. No issues so far on any of them.

Reply

Endur-Bro
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
Endur-Bro  - Aug. 4, 2018, 9:02 a.m.

$550 USD w/chainring and they cracked?  Sign me up 🤣

There is a reason I spec'd Canfield Bros cranks on my G16.  One is that I couldn't stomach the cost of carbon cranks again or Hopes.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+2 Darryl Chereshkoff Endur-Bro
Rob Gretchen  - Aug. 4, 2018, 7:07 p.m.

I've destroyed 2 sets of SixC (failed pedal inserts) and a set of Next SL (sheared) cranks and have gone back to good old aluminum Atlas cranks.   No more carbon for me...  maybe the Next R are the ticket, BUT I don't want to be a beta tester for RF anymore... :-)

Reply

LoamtoHome
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
Jerry Willows  - Aug. 4, 2018, 9:16 p.m.

2 warrantied sets of Next cranks and 1 set of SixC in the last couple of years.... NEXT please.

Reply

RAHrider
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
Reed Holden  - Aug. 4, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

According to the Rf website, the next r, sixc and turbines all fall within about 25g of each other. The r is 495 and the turbines are 422. Not very impressive if you ask me. I now feel much better about my turbines. Cosmetic cracks - I don't think so....not for my bike.

Besides, flex in a full suspension frame is probably 10x more significant than any difference in stiffness between my alloy cranks and these carbon wonders.

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Aug. 5, 2018, 8:43 a.m.

I think you’d find that the Turbine weight does not include a chain ring whereas the Next R includes a 32 ring. And RF list the Turbine at 522 not 422.  had a Turbine and Next SL in my hands a while back each with a ring and the weight difference was very noticeable. My Next SL has been on two bikes and is heading into its fourth season with no issues thus far. That said I totally understand why folks would avoid carbon cranks. I’ve seen the broken cranks. I’ve seen aluminum cranks fail too and aluminum pedal threads stripped out. I couldn’t say if aluminum cranks fail less or not. But there is certainly more “comfort” with aluminum being metal and all.

Reply

Chunk68
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
phil knight  - Aug. 5, 2018, 7:05 a.m.

Here's another 200lb hard rider who has destroyed SixC pedal inserts twice. Back to XT for me.

Reply

skooks
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
Skooks  - Aug. 5, 2018, 8:12 p.m.

When I was running RF carbon cranks, I was always wondering when they were going to fail. Now that I am running Shimano cranks I never think about them at all.

Reply

pedalhound
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
pedalhound  - Aug. 5, 2018, 10:56 p.m.

Oh crap, I just noticed those same cracks on my SixC's...guess I'll be chatting with their warranty dept next week.

Reply

FlipSide
0
FlipSide  - Aug. 6, 2018, 6:09 a.m.

No experience with the RaceFace cranks, but I can add that my SRAM XX1 carbon cranks purchased in 2013 have been very reliable for me. I am not light and I ride ~50-70% lift-assisted bike parks.

I also have an OG Reberb from 2012 that has been flawless for 6 years, so I guess YMMV when it comes to bike parts... :)

Reply

decay
+1 Darryl Chereshkoff
decay  - Aug. 6, 2018, 6:59 a.m.

All in all i cracked 3 Next SL last year (pedal insert). I then moved to SixC on my enduro and that one didn't crack, but after a year of use the pedal insert was loose and had play. At the same time on my trailbike the spindle insert on its Next SL was also loose and had some play.

RF gives me new cranks each time, but i'm going back to something else because i'm afraid i could hurt myself badly some time (i'm 6'5" and between 85-90kg).

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.

Trending on NSMB