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The Race Face Turbine crankset may be one of the most iconic mountain bike components since its inception some 15 years ago. For 2015 the crankset receives a complete redesign, incorporating many features seen in the carbon Next SL offering. How does the new Turbine fair when compared to other mid- to high-end cranksets? We spent the better part of a month trying to bend, break and generally abuse them.

Turbine Crank Highlights

  • Intended for XC/Trail/All-Mountain/Enduro use
  • Completely redesigned for 2015 to incorporate the Cinch system
  • Crank arms are deep pocket forged and CNC machined to optimize stiffness
  • 170, 175, 180mm crank arm lengths
  • Black, Blue and Red crank color options
  • Protective ‘crank boots’ available
  • Removable spider offers the ability to convert between 1, 2, and 3X chainring standards
  • 1X Narrow/Wide options: 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 and 36T
  • 2X 64/104 BCD options: 22/36, 24/36, 24/38T
  • 2X 80/120 BCD options: 26/38, 28/40T
  • 3X options: 22/32/42, 24/32/42T
  • Industry standard 30mm spline interface CNC machined from 7050 alloy
  • BB92, 68/73 BSA, 100mm BSA, and PF30 bottom bracket options
  • MSRP $199.99 to $299.99, depending on chainring configuration

Installation & Initial Impressions

Comparing the premium Next SL cranks to the new Turbines side by side, it seemed clear the Turbine was more or less an aluminum version of the carbon Next SL. They share the same splined spindle, same Cinch chainring system, same crank extraction system, and same locknut. A few differences were obvious too - metal vs alloy, 184 grams, and about 50% in cost.

Setup was easy and exactly as described in our Next SL review. Any slop in the system is taken out using the threaded preload collar on the spindle that you then lock in place with a 2mm allen. No micro shims, no wavy washers, and no headaches with this system. Just a simple solid setup.

My only gripe is that it required a new Race Face specific bottom bracket tool (for those using non press-fit options). That said, don’t throw away your old school internally splined ISIS bottom bracket tool as it is required to fasten the chainring to the crank arm. Overall it’s an extremely easy system to setup properly - something both home mechanics and shop rats will rejoice over.

The crankset features Race Face’s proprietary Cinch chainring/spider system. This system is essentially a splined interface on the driveside crank arm that allows the rider a huge number of driveline setups. From the ego-deflating 26-tooth single ring option to a traditional 3X spider system and basically everything in between, the Cinch System is clean, easy to use, and versatile without adding additional expense. All things that make us tip our cap of engineer ingenuity.

Our scales clocked the crankset at 632 grams with a 34-tooth narrow/wide ring, which is slightly less than most of the competition within the $199.99-299.99 price point. The most popular model, which we tested, is the Direct Mount option at $269.99.

On The Trail

Cranksets are sort of like referees. You only notice them if they are screwing up or making unnecessary noises. After about a month of use, the crankset is actually unnoticeable, which is to say it has done its job extremely well. The system delivers power without undue flex, remains quiet and the bottom bracket bearings are still smooth.

The Turbine crankset has endured a few hard rock/pedal strikes, as one would expect when a sub 13.5-inch bottom bracket is paired with a “I want to pedal through everything” rider. To date they are straight and true. Aesthetically they are holding up, however, the black anodization on both arms is wearing off from shoe rub, something that has occurred on every single crankset I’ve ever owned and hardly a point of concern.

Overall, on trail performance has been superb. I pedal and my bike goes forward. No creaks, no weird noises, and no notable flex… they just work and work well. The Narrow/Wide chainring has performed very well, too, with no chain drops or premature wear.

Long Term Durability

There was a time not too long ago that’d I’d go through a crankset every few months. Those days are now far in the rearview mirror thanks to cranksets like the Turbines, which I expect to last for seasons. Thus far, they show no signs of premature wear or concern.

Things That Could Be Improved

At the $199.99-299.99 price point, depending on configuration, it's hard to fault this crankset. The only two quibbles I have include necessitating the home mechanics among us to purchase yet another proprietary bottom bracket tool, as well as having the crank arm auto-extractor cap unthread itself once on the trail. Both of these are pretty minor at the end of the day with the latter easily being fixed with a bit of locktite. Overall, it is hard to improve a product that performed so well.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Dollar for dollar, this is one of the best cranksets you can buy. With the popularity of 1X setups and evolution of larger wheeled trail bikes, it's nice to have a set of cranks that allows the rider to quickly adjust their setup to match the environment they are faced with. In the Italian Alps? No problem, run that 28-tooth single ring. Heading to a bike park? Cool, throw on a 36-tooth. Doing a 100 mile race? That 2X or 3X setup isn’t hard to add either. This variability combined with flawless performance and very respectable weight makes for a winner.

It's seems Race Face just broke the old adage: priced well, lightweight and strong… well done.

Visit www.raceface.com for more details.

To read this review in full in it's original location visit VitalMTB

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Silverfish UK Ltd. (Registration No. 4075057).

Technical specifications are for guidance only and cannot be guaranteed accurate. All offers are subject to availability and while stocks last. Errors and omissions excepted. Silverfish UK Limited acts as a credit intermediary and only offers credit products for Close Brothers Retail Finance. Its registered office is: Close Brothers Group plc, 10 Crown Place, London EC2A 4FT. Credit is subject to application and status.

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