Race Face introduced its Cinch system on the new Next SL cranks, which are possibly the lightest cranks on the market. We've put the Next SL cranks through the ringer over the past several months, and we've been impressed with the durability of the featherweights and the Cinch interface.
Today Race Face announces the release of a redesigned SixC crank, using similar construction techniques as the Next SL, but with a bit more material for more aggressive all-mountain and downhill race applications. Like the Next SL, the SixC crank arms are completely hollow. There's no aluminum spine or foam core in these crankarms. As of now, Race Face is the only brand that can make this claim, which is why they're so damn light. In addition, they're made in Canada, out of U.S.-sourced carbon.
The Cinch interface is really smart. The idea of having a removable spider is nothing new, but they definitely get props for employing it well. The splined interface is simple and uses a commonly available bottom bracket tool-fitting to secure the spider or direct mount rings. The system makes it possible to run pretty much any chainring setup you'd like. The SixC options include direct mount single rings, spider mounted single rings and double ring options, with or without bash rings. Throughout all our testing, we haven't seen the Cinch system come loose or let out even the slightest creak. Most of our testing has been on direct mount single rings.
To add even more flexibility to the system, when used with their bottom bracket the SixC cranks are compatible with almost every bottom bracket style or width. I say “almost” because Trek has its own proprietary bottom bracket that the 30-millimeter aluminum spindle on the SixC won't work with.
Race Face narrow wide single ring setups provide good chain security without the need for a guide. Even in some less than ideal conditions I haven't dropped the chain once. We've been on a set of SixC cranks for a month now, and haven't had any problems whatsoever with the cranks themselves or direct mount chainring. I typically use a 32-tooth ring paired with SRAM 1×11 drivetrain, which works perfect for me.
The SixC cranks are incredibly light, especially for the abuse they're designed to take. Not only that, but with the direct mount ring they might just be the best looking cranks on the market.
My only complaint is that the right hand bearing on the threaded bottom bracket has worn out in only a few months of riding. The diameter of the threaded bottom bracket shell versus that of the 30-millimeter crank spindle means that the bearings must be quite thin, and therefore less durable. Granted, we rode in all kinds of hellish conditions, including winter in the Pacific Northwest, but you'd think that a British Columbia brand would put much more priority on bearing life. The upside is, however, that the simple fact that it's possible to install the 30-millimeter spindle onto a threaded bottom bracket bike. Compatibility trumps durability in some cases. Luckily this isn't the case with the SixC crank itself, which has been working flawlessly.
The SixC will be offered in the following configurations:
Crank Arms only – $460
Direct mount N/W Single Ring (26/28/30/32/34/36) – $500
2x with Bash – 22/36/Bash, 24/36/bash – $600
2x no bash – 22/36, 24/36, 24/38 – $600
Cinch 30 BB – $59.99
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