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Race Face has been known for making some of the stiffest cranks for years now. Our friend, William, got his hands on some Race Face Atlas cranks and loves the performance and value. Check it out!
I've always been a big fan of aluminum parts, which surprised most of my friends when I had installed a set of RF Next R cranks on my bike a about 8 months ago. I had been looking for something really stiff and decided to go with carbon there. When I built up my new frame, I quickly realized that the slightly longer wheelbase and increased travel would likely put me at risk of striking and damaging said expensive carbon cranks. I decided to once again look at Al cranks.
I've ridden most brand Al cranks including Shimano XT, SRAM x01, e*13 TRSr, Rotor, and Praxxis. All had a decent level of flex that I didn't really care for, especially after the stiffness of the Next cranks. I decided to give the Race Face Atlas a try, as they seemed to have some very good reviews and looked to be very stoutly built while not being overly heavy. A couple days after placing my order with WWC and I had these black beauties in my hands.
Right off the bat, I was impressed. They simply looked amazing with the etched "Atlas" on the face and the nice black finish.
Installation was really simple. The Cinch system is easy to lock the chainring in place and uses an ISIS bottom bracket tool to loosen and tighten. The cranks installed easily through my BB cups. At this point, I do recommend checking the retaining hex bolt on the NON-drive side, as it was not properly torqued from the manufacturer on the Next cranks I had and loosened during a local trail ride. Luckily, the Atlas was properly torqued, so it was on to installing the drive side crank arm and torqueing it down. I would also recommend checking the large removal cap as well to make sure it's properly secured. It takes a 16mm hex. If this isn't properly secured and falls out, you'll have some real fun removing your cranks. Once everything was torqued, it was a couple quick turns on the preload adjuster on the non-drive side and snugged it CAREFULLY (really tiny hex which I'm sure can get boogered up in a hurry if you're ham-fisted with this thing) and I was on my way.
These are very stiff cranks...similar to the Next's they replaced,
but with the durability of aluminum when it comes to pedal strikes. I noticed no flex in the pedals when using these cranks and felt really solid given my roughly 210lb riding weight geared up.
Speaking of strikes, I will mention one thing that seems to be mentioned elsewhere...Race Face doesn't actually case these cranks shorter for the shorter lengths. I didn't realize this until after the first ride. during which I had a pretty good pedal strike (hooray for Aluminum!) and decided to do a little comparing of my 170mm crank arm to the 175mm my friend has on his frame. The arms were the same length, but the holes were 5mm further in. So, it would seem that ordering shorter crank length really is for your pedaling preference on these, and not for clearance.
In any case, these cranks are simply an excellent option for anyone who wants a lightweight yet tank strong crank and doesn't want to chuck up a small fortune on carbon.