Race Face SIXC Crankset Review

Components Pro Reviews

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Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

I have been testing a set of the Race Face SIXC (silent C) cranks for almost 2 months now, and they have proven to be stiff, durable, have been good shifting, and are made of uber bling carbon fiber. The SIXC cranks are made with their Optimized Carbon Technology program, and have been created for All Mountain biking, so they are slightly overbuilt in comparison to the usual carbon cranks. They are strong enough for mellow freeride, but light enough to appease a weight weenie (like me) or a cross country rider.

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!

Race Face SIXC Cranks
The crankset has an external bottom bracket, aluminum chainrings, carbon arms, and a CNC CrMo spindle, which is molded onto the drive side arm, and includes their spline “EXI” interface for the non drive arm. The SIXC all carbon composite arms are engineered and manufactured in their British Columbia factory, and are hollowed out, with the unneeded material removed from the core, and offer exceptional strength to weight ratio. I tested a 175 mm set in the 22/32/bashguard version (they come in double and triple configurations), and it weighed in at 752.1 grams, including the arm end covers (pedal boots).

Measured Specs (175mm):
Bottom bracket – 94.9 grams
Spacers – 1.3 grams (each)
Drive arm, spindle, chainrings – 457.7 grams
Non drive arm – 179.6 grams
Pedal washers – 2.5 grams
Pedal boot covers – 16.1 grams
Total – 752.1 grams

The EXI interface external bottom bracket system is easy to install or remove with standard tools, and has a fully adjustable chainline. There are multiple spacers to adjust for different bottom bracket widths and front derailer types, with micro spacers for exact fine tuning of the chainline if required. The bearing cups are triple wiper sealed, and the bearings are filled with Phil Wood grease. Installation was very straight forward, put on the bottom bracket, slide the drive side arm with its spindle into the BB, mesh the other arm on and tighten down with the 8mm bolt.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Disco says:

    Wow, same weight and similar design to XT for double the price.

  • dave says:

    >> Wow, same weight and similar design to XT for double the price. <<

    And less durable too, what a deal!

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Disco:
    Weight: No, not the same weight, 100g less
    Design similarity: SIXC are carbon, both are hollow, slightly different designs
    Price: like I stated, pricey

    Dave:
    Durable: Not sure how you have judged their durability? How long have you used them?

  • Disco says:

    Did not see the weight of the BB was included, so 90 grams for triple the price. “Progress” like this is why some dudes still run Square taper, still at least they are from this continent but still heavier and more expensive than Cannondale’s BB30 crank. Hopefully race face figured out durable bearings.

  • dave says:

    >> Durable: Not sure how you have judged their durability? How long have you used them? <<

    Race Face has a history of reliability issues with its carbon cranksets…a recent example:
    http://www.bikefix.net/2010/06/bikefix-initial-review-raceface-next_28.html

    I have no doubt that this model will continue the Race Face tradition.

    Shimano XT is as reliable a crank as you will ever find.

  • Race Face says:

    Our Deus crank is the same weight and strength as XT. The SIXC crank is 100 grams lighter and 35% stronger in testing than our Deus crank (and hence XT). No one can currently match the strength to weight ratio of this crank. Deus and XT are XC/Trail cranks. The SIXC is AM to light freeride (6 inch bikes/6 foot drops).

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Dave:
    I have used the Next cranks for almost 1.5 years, and never had the spider crack issue, and the bottom bracket has lasted as long (or longer) than my Shimano versions. I had a Shimano M-960 XTR that had pinch bolt and crank arm fixing bolt issues (broke the latter twice). The SIXC are ultra beefy in the spider section, they are not some weight weenie crank (though they are light), they are a AM crank.

  • Vanguy says:

    XT is a nice crank, but durablility is in question. I pulled the pedal threads out of 2 sets before going to Deus. The Deus have been problem free for a year now (I was told Deus uses a stronger aluminum for their arms). Every company can have quality issues from time to time. XT is hardly the end all be all. I found them weak….
    A fried of mine also has the Next cranks and thay have been trouble free for well over a year (and he’s got them on his AM bike). Very strong and lighter than XTR..Dismissing a brand because of one or two bad reviews is crazy…There are plenty of bad Shimano reviews out there as well…

  • Simon says:

    BTW, the Double, 24-36-Bash that I have is 720g without the BB, BB is 111g MORE. So the weight is SAME as XTR.

  • riley says:

    the more accurate comparison would be crank and bb weight without chainrings. as you can see, they weighed with double and bash, and a bash ring weighs a lot more than a 42/44 tooth chainring, so its not comparable with a triple set up. and at the end of the day, its an all mountain crank compared to an xc race crank. yes it is expensive, but when you are already spending $3-4000 on a bike it really isnt that much more

  • Rich DIllon says:

    Raceface, is the sixc cranks compatible with a chris king bottom bracket or will I need to use the BB that comes with the cranks?

    • Mtbr says:

      Rich,
      We shot a note off to Wendy Tewnion at Race face and she responded thusly:

      If they are speaking about the new Cinch Sixc cranks (with the 30mm spindle) then there are a couple different things that could happen. If they have a 30m Press Fit 30 Chris King bb then that could be used with the Cinch spindle but would require getting a spacer kit from RF ( Part # F10010). If they have a standard threaded 24mm Chris King BB then it would only work if they had the previous SIXC crank (with the 24mm diameter spindle) or if they have the Sixc Cinch crank, they would need to use a Cinch BB –
      http://raceface.com/components/bottom-brackets/cinch-bb/ .

      http://www.raceface.com/comp/inst/BBchart-x2.pdf

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