Race Face's Next R components debuted last spring, a new product line intended to split the difference between the Canadian company's lightweight, XC-oriented Next components and the burlier, DH-oriented SixC components.
The Next R cranks are handmade in Canada from US-sourced carbon, and are attached to a 7050-alloy aluminum spindle that measures 30mm in diameter. Not surprisingly, the cranks use Race Face's Cinch interface, which allows for an enormous possibility of chainring and spindle combinations.
Race Face Next R Crank Details
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro
• UD carbon fiber arms, 7050 aluminum spindle
• Weight: 486 grams (with 32-tooth direct mount ring)
• Lengths: 170, 175mm
• Made in Canada
• MSRP: $479.99 (cranks only) / $549.99 with chainring
Because the spindle is bolted, rather than bonded, to each crank arm, it can easily be swapped out, whether that's for the extra width required by a fat bike, or for some magical new future standard. Along with the more commonly seen direct mount option, it's also possible to mount a spider that will accept multiple chainrings.
One of the reasons for the 65 gram weight difference between these cranks and the Next SL G4 is the use of a burlier pedal insert, the same one that's used on the SixC cranks. Pedal spindles concentrate a lot of force into a relatively small area, especially during hard landings, which is why Race Face sought to add some extra strength in order to ensure those inserts stay securely in place.
With a 32-tooth direct mount ring, our test set of cranks weighed in at 486 grams. MSRP for the crank arms alone is $479.99, or $549.99 USD with the direct mount ring.
Chainrings can easily be swapped out with a bottom bracket tool.
The carbon arms are attached to 30mm aluminum spindle.
Installation was a quick and easy process – press the BB92 bearings in, slide the spindle through, and then snug it all down with an 8mm hex wrench. The final step is adjusting the bearing preload ring to take out any play, then securing it in place by tightening a 2mm hex screw. I've said it before, but I still wish that little screw was larger, or at the very least had a torx head. Yes, I know it only needs to be finger tight, but it's still too easy to accidentally round it out.
The BB92 bearings' steel inner race left a rust colored stain on the aluminum spindle, although it's nothing a little steel wool won't fix, and the bearings themselves are all spinning smoothly.
It'd still be nice to see torx head or a larger screw on the preload ring bolt, but the current configuration didn't cause any issues.
The Next R cranks withstood plenty of bike park shenanigans, along with numerous long days of pedaling without any unwanted flexing, no matter how rough the landing or how hard I was mashing on the pedals. While stiffness can be difficult to gauge when you add suspension and big tires to the mix, I doubt that even the biggest riders would have any complaints about the ride feel these cranks deliver.
As far as durability goes, there are a couple small scuffs in the clear coat from rock strikes, but none of them are deep enough to be concerned about. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that both bottom bracket bearings are still spinning smoothly; at the very least, I'd been expecting to need to give them an end-of-season repacking.
A creak did start emanating from the chainring / crank interface after a couple months of dusty riding - some cleaning and a fresh film of grease kept everything to keep quiet for the remainder of the test period. On the topic of chainrings, I used Race Face's direct mount ring with SRAM's Eagle 12-speed drivetrain and didn't experience any dropped chains, despite the fact that I wasn't running a chainguide. Of course, SRAM would much rather see riders use their Eagle chainrings with Eagle drivetrains, but I didn't run into any problems with compatibility.