For those looking to shed a bit of weight and increase both stiffness and power in their pedal stroke, a carbon crankset upgrade is a logical step to take.
Others may only look for a more efficient pedal stroke without the cost of carbon, and the Race Face DM Oval ring will satisfy that need.
Or, the best of both worlds can be combined for a lighter, stiffer, and more efficient pedaling system.
The Race Face Next R is for anyone in the trail to enduro — or even fat bike — crowd that wants a tough but lightweight crankset.
- Black, available with red, blue, green, orange, and purple accents
- Carbon fiber
- 30mm x 134(68/73mm), 30mm x 170, 30mm x 190 compatible
- 170, 175mm lengths
- 542g (170mm length w/ 30T oval ring)
- $480 MSRP
- 28, 30, 32, and 34T
- Variable width teeth
- SuperBoost compatible
- $65 MSRP
Next R carbon cranks
The Race Face Cinch system is made to adapt to pretty much anything and any type of bottom bracket.
It’ll work with a standard threaded 68/73 BSA, Shimano BB92 press fit, and PF30 press fit, which covers the majority of the market. Race Face doesn’t make specific bottom brackets for BB30, Specialized OSBB, BBright, or BB386, although there are competitor kits to adapt them. The crankset will not work with Trek BB95 at all though, but the current Remedy and Slash use a PF92, so that won’t be a problem.
Race Face utilizes American-sourced carbon in its Canadian factory to make the Next R. A burlier, downhill-rated pedal insert toughens the crankset as well.
Installation follows the easy-made Race Face Cinch procedure. Users need a 2mm and 8mm hex key, and a rubber mallet. Easy enough.
Once the bottom bracket is installed, insert the crank arms, tighten the pre-load adjuster until it sits all the way against the arm. You can find the adjuster, which is a little plastic ring that sits on the non drive side crank arm in between the arm and the bottom bracket. The pre-load adjuster also contains a 2mm hex bolt.
After that, hand press the crank arms together until they feel snug. Then tighten the Cinch bolt, bring the pre-load adjuster back toward the bottom bracket, tighten the adjuster, and it should be good to go. No crazy bottom bracket tools needed.
Instructions for mounting the oval ring are simple: line the crank arm marker on the front side of the ring with the crank arm.
On the trail
I get a little excited when I have a chance to throw a bit of carbon on my aluminum bike for testing. The Next R crankset certainly adds a some class and raciness to any bike.
As for the crankset, I noticed the stiffness, and even a touch of vibration damping through the arms as well.
But, what I noticed more was the oval ring. This was my first time using an oval ring, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I assumed that it would feel awkward, or like one crank arm was longer than the other.
But, the pedal stroke felt even more round than it did before, with a circular chain ring. It’s a bit hard to describe, but it doesn’t feel awkward and the climbing benefits are immediately noticeable, especially on steep, rocky bits where added power is important.
It’s like gaining one-quarter of Nino Schurter’s left quadricep and spreading the power throughout your legs. On my sometimes cumbersome 150mm travel bike, I’ll take all the climbing assistance I can get and the DM Oval ring is a welcome addition.
Back to the Next R crankset. I have yet to hear any creaks or noises escaping the interface with the bottom bracket. This may be because I have a threaded BB, but either way it is assuring to know it’s a solid upgrade.
The cranks have held steady on pedally climbs, jumps, drops, and everything else.
There haven’t been any other issues either. The crank boots are a welcome piece in the kit as well to keep the ends scratch free. The Next R graphics may rub off over time though, since they are just a heavy duty decal.
For a valuable upgrade that will benefit your climbing ability, go for the RaceFace DM Oval ring. The ring costs less than $70, so it’s not asking a lot.
To shave some weight and increase the power potential of your bike, grab a set of Next R cranks. For the best of both worlds, efficiency and stiffness, pair the Next R and DM Oval ring together.
Thanks to Race Face for providing the crank set and oval ring for review.