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Crankworx Whistler 2023: Booth Finds from Racer, 5 DEV, and Cascade Components

Racer Alpha Plastron body armour, front
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Within a bevy of booths, there’s always some cool new stuff to find at Crankworx Whistler. While this didn’t seem like the biggest year for expo booths, I sniffed out several new or recently released items including protective gear from Racer, updated cranks from 5DEV and a prototype Cascade Components link kit for the Orbea Rise eMTB.

Racer Protective Gear:

Racer Alpha Plastron body armour, back

Racer’s Alpha Plastron body armor has been available in Europe for a while, but just recently made it to North America. The Alpha Plastron comes with D30 chest and back protectors, but it includes a set of straps that allow the option to use the back protector only. This piece provides CE Level 1 protection and is suitable for men or women.

The flexible and cut-out D30 padding with a lightweight but abrasion-resistant mesh cover ensures minimal weight and optimal breathability. Racer has included a few semi-rigid panels on the chest for additional protection, and there is a small zippered pocket on the lower back to carry ID’s, credit cards or other small items. The Alpha Plastron is available in S/M/L sizes and comes in black only. MSRP is $219 USD.


For female riders, Racer offers the Motion Top Women’s. This piece just became available in North America as of June. The Motion Top is similar in construction to the Alpha Plastron, with D30 pads held in place by a lightweight, durable mesh, but it offers complete upper body protection with chest, back, elbow and shoulder pads. The upper chest area features additional EVA padding to protect the pectoral area, and the chest and back protectors have elastic reinforcements to ensure a solid fit. This garment offers CE Level 1 protection.

The Motion Top provides several options; the sleeves can be zipped off if not needed, and all the padding can be used or removed as desired (for washing or riding). The top also comes with an ATR anti-odor and anti-microbial treatment applied.

Racer Motion Top Womens, back

The Motion Top Women’s has three zippered storage pockets (two on the front, one on the back), and if you’re looking to haul some hydration without adding a pack, the back protector’s sleeve can carry a water bladder up to 3L in size. The Motion Top Women’s sells for $229. Sizes S/M/L are available in black only.

Racer Motion 2 Kneepad

Racer also had their new Motion 2 Knees on display, as they were just released in North America on June 21st. Providing Level 1 protection, these pads have a good-sized D30 pad over the knee, and additional padding on the outside of the knee area. Racer says these knees are suitable for everything from trail riding to DH/bike park use. A side zipper makes the Motion 2 knees easy to put on without removing your shoes, and silicone grippers plus Velcro straps at the top and bottom hems should keep them fitting securely for the long haul. I currently have a set of the Motion 2 Kneepads in testing (along with Racer’s Factory gloves), so keep an eye on Bikerumor for my review!

5DEV R-SPEC Cranks:

5DEV R-Spec Cranks

Well known for their unique crank arm design, 5DEV had their new R-SPEC cranks on display. These cranks may look similar to existing models but the R-SPECS have switched from 7050 to 7075 Billet Aluminum.

R-SPEC MTB cranks are available in lengths from 155-175mm, in every 5mm increment. Boost-spaced MTB models can be purchased with either 30mm or 29mm SRAM DUB Boost spindles (SuperBoost options are also available in select sizes). The MTB cranks are compatible with SRAM’s 3-bolt direct mount chainring interface. 5DEV’s website currently shows Matte Raw or Matte Black color options, but there was also a purple set on display at Crankworx, so perhaps we’ll see more options come along.

The R-SPEC eCrank versions for eMTBs will be available for Shimano SP8, Bosch, Brose, and TQ drive systems (although at press time only the EP8 and Brose versions are showing online). The eMTB cranks are offered in 155mm or 160mm options, and current color options are Black or Raw. Prices vary for different models, so check out 5DEV’s website for more info.

Cascade Components’ Orbea Rise Replacement Link:

Cascade Components, prototype link for Orbea Rise eMTB

Fresh from the CNC machine, Cascade Components had a new link to show this year. Finished just days before Crankworx, this is a prototype version of a new link kit they’re producing for the Orbea Rise eMTB.

This link will add 10mm of travel bringing the Rise up to 150mm, and increase shock progression to somewhere in the high 20% range (the exact amount hasn’t been determined). Cascade is also working on hardware for this link kit that includes two outer washers which will be bolted in place to prevent any potential migration of the links.

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