Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
I have been testing the Race Face NEXT XC crankset for 3 months now, and it is very lightweight,
highly engineered, very trick looking, and best of all it is extremely stiff.
Happiness is a nice Stiff one
The Race Face NEXT XC crankset system is comprised of the EXI bottom bracket, the drive side arm with bonded CrMo spindle, the non drive side arm, and arm protection end caps. It comes in a very pretty box with everything very nicely laid out.
Race Face has been making carbon cranks for 10 years, and they spent 2 years of extensive R&D to create these 100% carbon cranks. The workmanship, innovation, design, materials analysis and artistry of that allocated time really shows in the quality of this product. The cranks are manufactured in their British Columbia Canada manufacturing facility.
Carbon Fiber 101
The history of carbon fiber starts out in 1958 in the hands of a freshly minted Ph.D. in physics, Roger Bacon. While working at Union Carbide Parma Technical Center located outside of Cleveland, he was doing carbon arc testing using stands of rayon, and he created some deposits, which contained carbon fiber whiskers. Unbeknownst he may have also created the first carbon nanotubes?
Carbon fiber is composed of carbon atoms bonded together to form a long chain of extremely thin fibers about 0.005–0.010 mm in diameter. Thousands of carbon fibers are twisted together to form a yarn, the yarns are used in several processing techniques: the direct uses are for prepregging, filament winding, pultrusion, weaving, braiding etc. It is usually then combined with an epoxy resin to form a composite material. Carbon fiber needs precursors for its creation, and either rayon, PAN or pitch is used. The mostly widely used precursor is polyacrylonitrile (PAN), which was researched by the Japanese in 1961, and then developed by Japanese and the British. Using PAN as a precursor creates much higher strength and higher modulus fibers.
In a nutshell: carbon fiber is a high strength, high stiffness material that when combined with a resin matrix creates a composite with exceptional mechanical properties.