By foregoing the traditional four-bolt chainring interface in favour of a direct-mount model, Race Face’s Cinch line of cranksets allows for a marked increased in versatility and (in the case of 1x models) a decrease in weight. The increasingly-common 30mm aluminium spindle can be removed from one or both arms, making a swap to downhill or fatbike widths feasible while double or triple spiders can be swapped in place of the single should the whole one-ring thing prove to be a fad.
Our 175mm, 30t sample came in at 617g- a mere 55g (10%) heavier than the new Shimano XTR single and right in the neighborhood of SRAM’s carbon X01 single-ring model. The dedicated bottom bracket weighed 89g- just on the light side of average. Packed with Phil Wood grease, that BB is larger on the outside than those designed for 24mm spindles. While this change requires a dedicated tool, the payoff comes in terms of bigger balls and (one hopes) improved service life. The single ring mounts to the back of the self-extracting right crankarm using the existing Octalink/ISIS bottom bracket spline.
When first installed our sample bottom bracket was horribly stiff, with drag so severe it was noticeable through the pedals. A quick chat with RaceFace suggested that this is by design: initially tight seals take a few rides to bed in and to begin spinning freely. Sure enough, after a couple of hours’ pedaling the bottom bracket was as free-running as any non-ceramic external we’ve felt, and has stayed that way for four (largely dry) months.
Race Face’s narrow/wide chainrings run smoothly and have yet to drop the chain, so no complaints there. An early squeak was traced to a loose chainring lockring – once corrected, the issue hasn’t returned. (A double-check during installation wouldn’t go amiss.) Unlike other brands, RaceFace chose a right-hand thread for their self-extracting cap- which can loosen when removing cranks. Once tightened and Loctited, this has stayed in place as well.
The arms themselves have worn well. Unlike with carbon, rock strikes hardly merit a second thought and the laser etched pattern on their face serves to keep heel-worn arms from looking prematurely tired. Stiffness has been just fine, neither noticeably stiff nor flexible. With the loose hardware addressed, the Turbines have all but disappeared- spinning more smoothly and holding the chain every bit as well as anything else we’ve tried.
Overall: The Turbine Cinch could well be the Shimano SLX of single-ring cranks: Durable, functional, reasonably priced, and reasonably light. Near-universal compatibility is an added bonus. Just be sure to Loctite and properly torque all hardware on installation.
|£170 + £55 + £40 = £265
|by Marc B for Four Months