2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring first impressions

The 2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with the new CINCH chainring mounting system launched last August as one of the lightest (possibly the lightest mass production) cranksets. We took a peek at how they’re made in our factory tour, then we got a set in for review.

Our test pieces include both the PressFit and threaded bottom brackets, a single and double chainring setup and the 175mm crank arms. Beyond the insanely light weight, the beauty of the system is its modularity. That same crankset will work with all those other parts on standard BSA and oversized pressfit frames. Of course, you’ll have to use their threaded BB, but the point is you can get the crankset without worrying that future bike/frame purchases will render it unusable.

I started with the PressFit BB on a Niner JET9 RDO and the new narrow/wide single chainring. The double will start its test with the threaded BB on a Niner RIP9 RDO this spring.

Crank past the break for actual weights, install notes and first impressions…


2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring and press fit bottom bracket install notes

Everything’s sold separately, letting you pick and choose the exact parts you need.

2014 Race Face crankarms actual weights

175mm crankarms (379g w/ cinch bolt)

2014 Race Face chainrings actual weights

36/22 Turbine double chainrings w/ spider (155g), 34t single narrow/wide chainring (70g) and Rubber crank boots (16g).

2014 Race Face bottom brackets actual weights

PressFit BB (106g), Threaded BB (92g) and PressFit BB spacers (7g).

All in, my initial test set up is just 465g for the single-ring crankset plus 106g for the BB and we’ll say 2g for that small spacer = 573g. Nice!


2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring and press fit bottom bracket install notes

Honestly, this was the easiest PressFit bottom bracket I’ve ever installed. Each cup slid into place straight and easy, but is sitting snug. It’s also the smoothest BB I’ve ever felt. The crankset spins so freely it’s almost embarrassing. I don’t even know why, it just doesn’t seem right how smooth it is. The instructions are also among the best out there. It’s color coded and numbered and makes things all but idiot proof. As long as you can measure your BB shell and have a headset press and a few other tools, you can do it.

2014 Race Face Next SL lightweight carbon fiber mountain bike cranksets

To fit the chainring to the crankarm, you’ll need a standard Shimano/ISIS bottom bracket tool to tighten the lock ring onto the crankarm, sandwiching the chainring on it’s grooved seat. I used the Birzman prosumer tools and it took all of 20 seconds. You do need to remove the crankset from the bike to swap rings, but since the spindle’s on the non-drive arm, this is also a quick, easy affair.

2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring and press fit bottom bracket install notes

The included spacers go between the BB and frame on 68mm shells and aren’t used on 73mm shells. The small spacer goes on the drive side between the BB and the crankarm. Then just slide the crankarm on and tighten the bolt to torque spec. Once it’s tight, use a rubber mallet to gently tap the crankset toward the bike.

2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring and press fit bottom bracket install notes

The tension nut, which is backed out all the way to the crankarm at the beginning of the process, is then hand tightened toward the BB and snugged into place. The entire install, excluding pounding the old BB out, took less than 10 minutes.


2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring first impressions

The chainrings use a now commonplace wide/narrow design with stepped thicker teeth to keep the chain on board. My test set up for the single ring is with XX1 rear derailleur and cassette, but you could run it with 10-speed setups, too. Clutch-equipped rear derailleurs are still a good idea.

2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring first impressions

The machining gives the rings a minimal appearance, even more so than SRAM’s XX1 rings since these lack a spider. Fortunately, the arms are thick enough to prevent flex. I’ve had no chain drops in the couple months they’ve been on the bike, and they run very quiet.

2014 Race Face Next SL cranksets with CINCH single chainring first impressions

The rubber boots protect the ends of the arms from rock bumps without much of a weight penalty. They, along with the single chainrings and crank arm bolts, come in colors.

It’s still early in the test, but so far so good. The crank arms and single ring can be hammered with nary a sign of flex. Not that any major brand high end crankset is flexy these days, but that they can pull it off on such a lightweight piece is all the more impressive. Plus, with so many of the original crew still on at Race Face, there’s a pretty good chance these things will hold up to anything I’m likely to do, even on the RIP9. Stay tuned…



  1. Zach on

    I was told the Q Factory is about 169. Mine should be here in a couple day and I couldn’t be more excited. They are silly light.

  2. Nick on

    Mine (with a 30t direct mount ring) is sitting in the garage, waiting to get installed… just waiting for some small parts. I’ve always had a soft spot for RF cranks, and the versatillity of the Next SL is what I’m loving. Plus, its a beautiful, beautiful crank.

    I do love how the comments here always seem to play out:

    1) Its way to expensive! Why can’t it be cheaper? Greedy company!
    2) Why can’t it be made locally? I’d spend a little more if it was! Greedy company!

  3. Matt Disney on

    Really like the look of these, but a 30mm spindle in a standard BSA BB seems like a bad idea, the bearings must be tiny. Also means you have to use their BB. Wish they’d make a 24mm spindle version, so you could use a Chris King BB or whatever. In my experiences all Shimano, Sram, Raceface etc BB’s die pretty quick in the winter, whereas my King one is coming up three years old and still feels like new…

  4. nsp234 on

    gorgeous! RTeally beautiful. I think the graphics are a bit bold – they should make a sotto voce version like Chris king does. And the rubber booties are probably like those cases for Iphones: necessary, when you want your product to stay beautiful, but such a pity to put it on and have the looks degraded…

  5. drew and not u on

    These cranks are awesome for sure, but if you want something lighter and, surprisingly, cheaper, the S-Works crank arms with a direct mount wolftooth 32t ring tips the scales at just 400 grams and costs just $375 at full retail! The S-Works PF30 bottom bracket should also be a bit lighter than the RF one.

  6. pmurf on

    @MattDisney I’m pretty sure the BSA BB bearings sit outboard the shell, and are probably about as big as the pressfit ones. On a 30mm spindle/BSA shell setup, there’s almost zero clearance from the spindle to the inside of the BB cup but there is enough. The advantage of this multi shell compatibility is only having to make one spindle size, and 24mm spindles HAVE to be Alu – which means weight. FSA has been doing this with their BB386evo standard. And yeah, you’ve got to use RF’s BB’s, but proprietary BB’s are pretty commonplace now – not every system gets a Chris King upgrade, unfortunately.

  7. greg on

    im pretty sure you meant that 24mm spindles have to be steel, not alu. but they dont. campy makes ti ones, shimano used to make their cheaper cranks with aluminum. you are correct that theyre heavier that way, no matter how you make it.
    BSA30 cups are available from quite a few manufacturers, although the cup overall width varies some. bearings in them are identical in size to bb30, pf30, etc.. as mentioned previously, theyre external to the threaded shell. the only one that is compromised is the bb86/92 size like on Giants and others. there the bearings need to fit within a smaller bore, so each side usually gets a pair of smaller bearings.

  8. JasonK on

    Drew, you’re right–but there’s no way to use that S-Works crank with a 73mm BSA bottom bracket, so I’ll be going with the Race Face crank. But your point stands; that S-Works crank is often overlooked.

  9. Brendon on

    I’m wondering if there is any reason the S-Works cranks couldn’t be used with the race face BSA BB? That might be a nice option for using them on a more traditional frame. I’ll have to look into that….

  10. Darell on

    So I year later, I have this crank installed on my new Ripley. The crank is AWESOME. But who’s going to make a DM ring that’s offset enough to actually center the chainline? The center of my 11-speed cassette is a full 9mm inboard of the 52mm chainline of the crank with included ring. Or in other words, a straight chain hits my cassette outside of gear eight instead of on gear six.

    So what’s the big deal, you ask? I mean we have to expect cross-chaining with 1×11, right? But hell…low gear pulls the chain over 28mm! It is so far over that the next tooth ready to grab the chain is OUTSIDE of the chain line until the last moment when it stretches the chain over to poke in. In less than 100 miles of relatively “clean” riding, I have worn the shoulders off the outside of all the chainring teeth. The inside teeth surfaces appear untouched.

    Who has the solution? I need that chainring inset an extra 9 mm to make this line up properly in the center of my cassette. Current rings are about 6mm offset, and I Need a total of 15 mm offset. And yes, 9 more mm of inboard offset will not touch my chainstays.

  11. Leonardo on

    Nice but my Hollowgram SL’s with BB30, spindle, crank bolts, washers, lock ring (complete set) and a 32t ring is @ 466g.

    I have used it for more than 2 seasons now and have no issues with x chain, misshifts etc


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