Tested: Race Face Deus crank

WHAT: Race Face Deus crankset
WHERE: raceface.com
HOW MUCH: $349

It's shiny, it's light, and after a summer, fall, and little bit of winter hammering, it spins like it's brand new. Race Face's Deus Crank, a trimmed down version of its original Turbine LP, at 815grams (which includes triple rings and BB) is the lightest crank Race Face has ever made.

Part of its X-Type series, and designed specifically for XC racing, the Deus is far from a delicate crankset however. While it is incredibly light, its features are designed for functionality, longevity and an incredible strength to weight ratio. If you're a light rider you could probably use this crankset in application much more rugged that just cross-country riding.

One of the more noticeable features of the Deus is its use of an external bottom bracket system that has the bearing on the outside of the BB shell. The design Race Face claims allows for the use of a much larger bearing than most other cranksets. Joined with "full ball" construction, which has a cartridge look and feel, the bearings on the Deus are designed to double load carrying capacity and lifespan. A claim the crankset has so far delivered on. After at least 50 rides, the bb runs as smooth as the day I put it on my bike.

Synonomous with what Race Face has become known for--that being components forged to deal the muck and grime that comes with riding behind their factory in Vancouver, BC--the Deus also features a unyielding sealing system. Each bottom bracket contains ten independent seals to keep contaminants at bay, a design Race Face claims could keep the bearings running smooth and maintenance free for years.

The cranks themselves, as well as the chain rings, are manufactured using Optim-Al Alloy, a new material now used on all of Race Face's X-Type cranks. The company claims the aerospace aluminum is over 20% stronger than forged 7050, allowing them to use less material to reach similar strength requirements. The cranks themselves, which feature a CNC machined I-Beam profile, do have the look and feel of a component whose application could extend beyond cross-country, and maybe into light freeriding I do dare say. They feel--and look--burly for a cross-country crankset.

Available in 170, 175, and 180mm sizes, two unique and fairly cool features of the Deus are its adjustable chainline and its crank/bb interface. The adjustable chainline allows the rider to position the chainline in three different positions, from 48-50mm. Having played around with this adjustment myself, I found the option great for fine tuning shifting, as well as switching the cranks between bikes with little difficulty.

The crank/bb interface uses Race Face's patented X-Type interface featuring a zero-degree torque angle for power transfer, stiff, heat-treated chromoly steel spindle end, and an 8-millimeter tightening bolt that automatically centers the crank on the spindle.

For the XC racer super bent on weight, but unwilling to sacrifice durability and performance, the Deus could be your baby. By comparison? XTR's crankset with bottom bracket and chain rings weighs in at 797 grams, just a fraction lighter than the Deus. However, while there isn't much difference in weight, there sure is in price. The Dues goes for $349.00 while new XTR will set you back considerably more. Something to think about.