What’s the difference between the Race Face Next SL and SixC components? Mostly the intended use and the weight, but if you split that difference, you might come up with something like the new Next R group. Positioned in the middle of the Next SL and SixC families, Next R is a little more burly than SL, yet a little lighter than SixC. And if you take Race Face’s word on it, Next R is ready to rally…
Calling it enduro strength at an XC weight, the new Next R crankset is another evolution of the popular Cinch design. Borrowing the pedal insert from the SixC crank and the spindle interface of the Next SL along with a thicker spindle, Race Face says the crank should be good for everything short of DH riding. The arms use a unique shape that is burlier than Next SL, yet is shaped to offer better shoe clearance than SixC which combined with a 3M protective sticker and crank boots, makes the Next Rs very pedal friendly.
Made in Canada from U.S. sourced carbon fiber, the arms are available in 170 and 175mm lengths, and work with all Cinch chainrings and spindles. Claimed weight is 495g with a 32t chainring and no bb.
Cinch MTB Powermeter
That also includes the new Cinch power meter which is the same as the one Easton is using for their road cranks. The mountain bike version uses a 134mm length spindle with a 30mm diameter to work with standard trail and all mountain Cinch cranks. Rechargeable with a micro USB port, the battery and strain gauges are all housed inside the spindle with a low profile water proof cap on the non-drive side of the crank. Claiming to add just 65g to the crank weight, the power meter is built with a special algorithm that can differentiate between impacts and actual pedaling which Race Face says was one of the most difficult facets of the design. Available in June, the power meter will run $600 for the spindle and power meter alone, or $1149.99 for the entire crankset.
Next R Carbon Bar, plus Turbine R bar and Stem
Next R also includes a new handlebar which increases the width over Next SL with a lower weight than SixC. Built around the 35mm clamp standard, the bars measure 800mm wide with cut marks to shorten them, 8º back and 5º up sweep, and 10, 20, and 35mm rises.
Race Face was also showing off the new Turbine R bar and Turbine R stem which are for similar use, only in aluminum. Since there is no Next R carbon stem, it will usually be paired with the Turbine R which is a fully CNC machined stem with their Overbite face plate design that is available down to 32mm lengths.
The biggest news may be the introduction of the new Next R carbon wheels which build on the Vault hub design recently introduced with the Turbine R wheels. Using a carbon rim with a 30mm internal width and 24mm depth, the rim is tuned to offer plenty of performance while still maintaining a ride quality that isn’t overly stiff.
Like the Turbine Rs, the Next Rs use the new Vault hub which boasts a massive hub shell for better torque transfer. In order to make it as light as possible, the hub is built in a two piece design with the keyed havles bonded together to allow for the machining process to remove as much material from the inside of the hub shell as possible.
Inside there are a lot of tech features chosen to make the wheel build and the hub as durable and high performing as possible, which are definitely more clear now after seeing the exploded parts and hearing the story fist hand. Using a 4.5mm offset spoke bed on the rim, the front wheel is able to offer equal spoke tension on both sides, while the rear is nearly equal. The design also allows for one single spoke length for the entire wheel set.
Up front, the larger diameter bearings allow the hubs to work with 110 x 20mm thru axles, as well as 110 x 15mm Boost, 15mm Boost Torque Cap, and even QR Boost. Interestingly, the end caps are the exact same for either the Boost or non Boost wheelset for fewer part numbers.
Out back, in order to make the bearing stance as wide as possible, Race Face went wider with the free hub body to allow for more parts to fit in the same space. At 70.4mm the stance is wider than much of the competition. The free hub itself is a custom design that places the 60t drive ring on the free hub body itself with the 6 pawls located on the hub shell. Placed so they engage 3 x 3, the hub offers 3º of engagement. To further durability and eliminate failure points, the drive ring is splined to mate with the free hub rather than threaded. This eliminates the ability of the drive ring to migrate and crack the hub shell.
Race Face also placed special emphasis on the sealing, opting for pricer silicone seals which are more durable. Each end cap has a face seal which directly seals against the bearing, and the free hub has a labyrinth seal which is hidden under a flange on the free hub body for even further protection against pressurized water.
Even the bearings were chosen for durability with 6902 chosen for the rear wheel due to increased ball size. Race Face says some bearings include more ball bearings, but in their testing, the larger diameter balls proved to be more durable. Those bearings spin on a beefier axle for increased stiffness with end caps that can be installed and removed by hand, but won’t fall out when you’re changing wheels.
All of that effort results in very light hubs for their size that should be good for the long haul. We’ll see how the hold up, but in some wet conditions for their first ride, they were quiet and still spin very smoothly.
Laced up with 28 2.0/1.5 straight pull spokes in a 3x pattern, Next R wheels are available in 27.5 and 29″ sizes with claimed weights of 1680g and 1765g.
Lastly, Race Face has added some important updates to the Turbine Dropper post. It still uses the same mechanical brake technology licensed from 9:point:8, but the tweaks should improve the inconsistencies some have experienced with the post. A lot the of the issues appear to be from the design of the lever itself. Originally designed so that if you pushed the lever all the way to the stop, it would engage the brake reset function. If engaged accidentally, the reset could cause the brake to not lock in place properly allowing the post to slip. Obviously, that’s no good so now the levers have been redesigned to prevent it from happening. Now to engage the brake reset, you have to add cable tension with the barrel adjuster, then press the lever to the stop, reset the brake, then remove the cable tension at the lever and you’re ready to go.
Why do you need a brake reset feature? Race Face says mostly during large temperature swings, the fluid in side the brake can expand and contract. If you don’t equalizes the fluid, it can prevent the brake from working properly. It’s important to note that Race Face specifies that the lever should have just a touch of play when properly set up – this ensures that there is no tension on the cable and brake is fully engaged.
These changes are in addition to additional QC checks at the factory and improved lubrication which all add up to better performance and durability. Race Face is also including a new “slackifier” tool that makes it much more easy to properly set the cable tension for the actuator under the post. Basically just slip in the yellow plastic piece around the cable and use the spacer to position the cable clamp, tighten, then cut off the excess cable within 2mm of the top.
For the product itself, Race Face has added a new 175mm travel dropper option and is now selling the posts and levers separately so you don’t have to buy another lever when one already ships with the post if you want the 1x version.
Next R Crank – $549.99 USD
Next R Wheelset (Front + Rear, 27.5 or 29) – $1499.99 USD
Next R Bar – $169.99 USD
Turbine R Bar – $79.99 USD
Turbine Dropper – $379.99 USD
1x Turbine Remote Lever – $59.99 USD
Modular options for CINCH Power Meter:
CINCH Power Meter Spindle 134 AM (w/o cranks) – $599.99 USD
CINCH Power Meter with Next R Crank Arms – $1149.99 USD
Due to all of the water California has been getting lately, we had to ride a bit of an abbreviated option for the launch of the Next R, but it was still enough to get a solid first impression. Everything performed well as you would expect from components at this price, but it was more what they didn’t do that was more impressive. In spite of the the 35mm diameter of the Next R bar, the ride never felt jarring or overly stiff at the grips. The same could be said for the wheels which seem to have a great ride feel that is certainly less abusive than some competitors. The crankset is a crankset, but I will say that shoe clearance seems to be excellent especially with the mud we had to ride through on occasion.
The seat post might be the biggest stand out since I’ve had issues with my current Turbine like many. First ride on this newly updated post was flawless, and I’m hoping that it stays that way. Overall, the Next R group is a good looking set of components built with a little more burliness which would be a great addition to your rally machine.
Stay tuned for a look inside the Easton/Race Face office in Scotts Valley including all the testing which helped Race Face develop the Next R line.