Race Face SixC Cinch Crank - Review

Aug 13, 2014
by Mike Kazimer  
Race Face SixC Cinch review

Race Face SixC Cinch Cranks

Keen observers may have spotted updated versions of Race Face's SixC carbon cranks on Santa Cruz's new Nomad earlier this summer, but this week marks their official debut at Crankworx Whistler. What's different about the new version of these made-in-BC cranks? The addition of the Cinch System is the biggest news, bringing a greater level of versatility by allowing riders to choose from either a direct mount chainring, a spider mounted single ring, or a 2x setup with a bashguard. The spindle is interchangeable as well, meaning that with the purchase of a second spindle the same cranks can work with either a 83mm or 68/73mm bottom bracket. The crank arms themselves are completely hollow, constructed from carbon fiber that's sourced from the United States before being laid up in Race Face's Burnaby, British Columbia facility. According to Race Face, the layup and actual shape of the arms has been altered slightly from previous versions to boost their overall strength, and the pedal inserts are now constructed from the same alloy as their Atlas DH cranks.

Details
• Intended use: DH / AM / Enduro
• Carbon fiber arms, aluminum 30mm spindle available in 68/73mm and 83mm
• Removable spider
• Sizes: 165, 170, 175mm
• BB options: BSA30 (68/73 & 83), BB92/BB107 press-fit, PF30/PF30-83
• Ring options: Direct mount N/W single ring, 2x with bash, 2x no bash
• Weight as tested: 539g (175mm cranks, 68/73mm spindle with 32t direct mount ring)
• MSRP: $499.99 USD (cranks w/DM ring, no BB)
The carbon arms attach to a 30mm splined aluminum spindle, and bottom brackets are available for all existing frame configurations – BB30, BB92, and BSA30. Rubber crank arm boots are included to help protect the ends from getting scuffed and scraped by rocks, and a protective sticker is also in place on each arm to prevent premature wear from shoe rub. For a crank that's designed for DH and all-mountain riding the SixC's weight is remarkably light, at only 539 grams for 175mm cranks with a 32t direct mount ring and no bottom bracket. There's only a gram of difference when the cranks are set up the way they would be on most downhill rigs; 165mm crank arms with an 83mm spindle and a 36t direct mount ring weigh in at 540 grams. Of course, the words 'carbon fiber' and 'inexpensive' don't usually go together, and the SixC cranks are no exception, with a retail price of $499 USD for the cranks and a direct mount ring. The Cinch 30 bottom bracket is $59.99. www.raceface.com

Race Face SixC Cinch review

Race Face's Cinch system allows the SixC cranks to be set up in nearly every configuration imaginable, and even the spindle can be changed to accommodate different bottom bracket sizes.


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesInstallation of the SixC cranks was trouble free, which is what we've come to expect from Race Face's latest Cinch System offerings.The threaded external bottom bracket we used with our test pair does require the use of a BSA30 tool for installation, which is different than what a standard external bottom bracket uses, but it's common enough that most shops should have one. We have noticed that the larger extractor bolt on the driveside crankarm could use a torque check and a drop of Loctite to prevent it from backing itself off, but that should only take a minute or two.

Crank arm stiffness isn't something that you typically think about during a ride, and the difference between two cranksets can often be muted by six inches of suspension and wide tires, but from the very first pedal strokes it was immediately apparent that the SixC cranks were much stiffer than the mid-range aluminum cranks that they replaced. After putting hundreds of miles and plenty of air time on them, these cranks have proven to be rock solid, without any flexing during hard pedalling efforts or when landing large drops and jumps. We haven't had to touch them other than to make a few preload adjustments on the first couple of rides - since then they've steadfastly done their job without even a creak of complaint. They've shrugged of a fair number of solid hits against rocks as well, suffering only a few surface scuffs where we expected to see much worse results. It's easy to see this becoming the crank of choice for enduro and DH racers looking to shave some grams without sacrificing strength, and while this level of quality doesn't come cheap, in this case you get what you pay for - a set of versatile, downhill worthy cranks at an incredibly light weight.
- Mike Kazimer





67 Comments

  • 27 0
 "Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler."

Elegant too
  • 72 2
 I'm throwing my money at the screen but nothing is happening.
  • 5 1
 Haha Moe! Make it rain.
  • 17 10
 I'm really into RaceFace products, no doubt about that. But it's just too obvious that pinkbike authors love their BC stuff a little too much.
- "The BSA30 tool needed for installation is different than what a standard external bottom bracket uses, but it's common enough that most shops should have one." Ok, I've just read that Rotor and Zipp, 2 companies that provide road bike stuff, also use this "standard". But why not use the perrfectly working standard Shimano, Truvativ, Straitline, ChrisKing, Hope, Acros, etc. use for X-Type bottom brackets? I don't carry a BottomBracket tool with me on multiday tour in the alps. And I seriously doubt that most bikeshop you come across have the tool necessary for RaceFace. Congrats. That seems just plain stupid to be, cause there is very little chance you get the necessary 30lbs from some ghetto improvised tool in case you need it. Also, I'm not keen to buy another tool for home repair, too.
- "We have noticed that the larger extractor bolt on the driveside crankarm could use a torque check and a drop of Loctite to prevent it from backing itself off, but that should only take a minute or two." The most charming way of saying "The driveside crankarm loosened, a thing that actually should not happen following correct installation."

Other than that, it really sounds like a sweet crank.
  • 13 0
 @MatthewCarpenter- I take your point about the tool not being widely available, but with more 30mm systems coming on to the market, it will be increasingly common for bike shops to have one. Most LBSs who do a decent amount of road stuff probably already have one.
As for why you can't just use a standard tool- have you seen the size of the Cinch BBs? That's the size they need to be to accommodate a 30mm axle, so a standard x-type tool simply wouldn't fit.

I'm not sure what your point is about not carrying a BB tool while on multi-day trips in the alps. Nobody else does, because it's very unlikely that you'll need one (providing you installed your BB/Crank correctly in the first place)

Regarding the bit about the extractor bolt- I think you've read that wrong. An extractor bolt is simply that- an extractor bolt, used for removing the crank. Anyone who knows anything about RF cranks could tell you that this bolt does not hold the crank in place, and you can even take it out completely if you want. It's not ideal that it backed off slightly, but not the end of the world...

I say well done to Raceface for doing something different with their cranks, and pushing the boundaries of strength to weight ratios.
  • 8 2
 thanks for the detailed reply!
  • 3 1
 If you don't have the tool, a scroll saw, piece of 1x4 and a pencil works fine for me at least. I got my e*13 bb30 on tighter than 40nm that way.
  • 16 1
 Direct mounts are looking sexier and sexier these days...
  • 67 2
 You mean sixcier and sixier these days...
  • 10 1
 Touché
  • 1 0
 And throw in a kiwi accdng while you're at it. Chur bro.
  • 5 2
 race face has certainly cranked it up a notch with their new products
  • 7 0
 The 16mm extractor bolt is for removal of the entire self-extracting assembly. The crankarm itself is installed and removed with a standard 8mm. I've had a set of these for about 6 weeks, and no need to fuss with the larger external bolt.
  • 6 1
 The only time you need a 16mm or 5/8" allen key is if you need to swap spindles. So, worst case scenario, you're out $7.50 for an allen key that lets you use your cranks on damn near any bike.
  • 3 0
 I have the Next SL's and wanted to change chainrings which was halted by the extractor bolt coming loose and backing itself out along with the crankarm bolt. Luckily enough I have said 16mm allen key, but not everyone has this, nor does every shop have this size of tool. And that allen key is more than $7.50 which is more than a person wants to spend for a tool that should not be necessary.
The correct torque and some red loc-tite should do the trick before leaving the factory.
  • 2 2
 The 16mm Allen key comes with the spindle, if you purchase it separately. I swapped mine out from a fat bike and it came with the tool (small nut that uses a "normal" size Allen key to work it).

I agree the BB tool is a mistake - it's almost identicle to a regular shimano bb tool, but there's one more or one less tooth. It's not a different size. Now I have two BB tools in my bag - awesome.

Lastly, the threaded bb needs a lot of care to prevent squeaking. Re-greasing and cleaning. More than normal and is definitely annoying. I didn't have the issue with a press fit set up, likely because the diameter is so much larger.
  • 3 0
 You have to grease the BB on installation, the orange paste you see is an anti-vibration paste. having to use a large allen key is the price you pay for light weight, a bigger allen key = less material on the cap = less weight, and isn't that what it's all about?
  • 5 0
 Plus you can't really argue about spending $7.50 for an extra allen key if you have $600 for cranks..

@terrafire finally, so excited these are here! Haha
  • 6 2
 Tryin to decide on.the ultimate cranks for your dream build? Seems like an arduous decision... But it's really just a cinch. Wink

Seriously though, these cranks look incredible! Unbelievably light too!
  • 2 0
 Just wanted to add this about the BB tool. They couldn't fit the bigger 30mm axle in a regular bb. The cinch bb cups are bigger to accomodate a larger bearing with a 30mm id. No other way around if you want to use standard bearings.
  • 1 0
 What's the difference between these and the next SL?
Love my next, have been brilliant. Cinch bolt could be a little tougher tho mine rounded very easy. The race face bb is still running sweet jet washes and all. Would love to get some more for my other bikes.
  • 4 0
 Beefier spindle, beefier aluminum inserts, stronger carbon layup.
  • 2 1
 Mark i had the same issue. I bought some Torx screws to replace it... MILES better, no idea why RF didn't supply with them in the first place. hit me up if you want me to post one to you.
  • 3 3
 "and a drop of Loctite to prevent it from backing itself off"

no matter how much loctite i put on my threaded driveside bolt it always backs itself out. Have to tighten it at least once a day in the park. And the tangle of allen keys on the stands in front of Longhorn/bike and bean are a friggin nightmare to use!
  • 1 0
 I'd buy that for a dollar.. Man the 2 big S's wearing mud on there face.. left wondering why didn't we come up with that?. Finally products that are "smart", modular.. dig it .. welcome to "Cranktopia" gentlemen..
  • 1 0
 These bad boys look sick!! I have already use the old sixc cranks and I love them so these new ones will be on my bike for sure Big Grin
  • 1 0
 I'm a bit confused why these are apparently more expensive than the Next SL that is lighter... usually it's the other way around.
  • 2 0
 My guess is because of the new BB, replaceable spindle, and more layers of carbon in the layup.
  • 2 1
 Gah, I wish the alloy cinch-compatible cranks looked as cool. I'm just too crappy a rider to pay for, & not destroy carbon cranks.
  • 2 1
 so they have ditched the carbon spider? my sixc suffered a catastrophic failure. total disaster. i would not trust race face again.
  • 4 4
 I'll take x0's at a little over half the price thanks. They look nice though.
  • 4 2
 Have fun with your broken cranks then...
  • 1 1
 Been running them for 8 months and still running great. Superstition be damned.
  • 1 0
 how much weight do i save?
  • 1 0
 if u use x0 now,u will save nearly 100g
  • 1 0
 Which reminds me the video called 'how to be a MTBer' haha.
  • 2 4
 I still love my RUKTION! heheheh Big Grin
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