Race Face SIXC Crankset Review

Components Pro Reviews

Installation steps:
1) Lube the threads of each bottom bracket cup, insert the drive side BB cup and tighten it to 47 N-m, insert the non drive BB cup and tighten it to 47 N-m.
2) Lube the race on the crank arm spindle, insert the spindle with its nifty guide cap into the BB, give it a few taps so that it lays flush against the bottom bracket, remove the spindles guide cap.
3) Lube the spindles spline and the non drive side crank arm threads, put on the non drive side crank arm 180 degrees to the drive side crank arm, tighten it down with a torque wrench with a 8mm socket to a monstrous and manly 61 N-m (it takes a lot of turning to get it there).
4) Done!

sixc_back

Impressions
The shifting was fine, perhaps not quite XTR, but pretty darn close. The gear changing between 22 to 32 to 22 was fairly short, and it made the jumps quickly, even under extreme loads. I felt no flex in the system, so it was as stiff as I could discern. The simple subdued graphics were a welcome change from the usual advertisement patterns of some bike products, and the cranks had an understated and functional look to themselves. They came with their innovative ‘Pedal End Boots’ (two colors), which go over the end of the carbon crank arms to protect them, like bashing hard into rocks, which is common, especially in All Mountain terrain. They are such useful units, that I have used them on other cranks, even non carbon ones, and at only 16 grams a pair, they are light, and offer extra cushioning when banging into things. I have slammed the cranks down hard on the bashguard, and it shows minimal damage, and certainly helped protect the more fragile teeth of the chainring.

The SIXC cranks are stiff, offered instant power access, were highly efficient, with no noticeable slop. I do a lot of slow speed hard torque moves on technical terrain, which puts incredible amounts of stress into the drivetrain system, and these cranks were superb in that realm. They offered fast acceleration, and provided a snappier feel while cranking and mashing on the pedals. These cranks are currently in a category by themselves, since no one offers an All Mountain carbon crankset.

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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

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