Race Face Cadence chainset £149.95
For the mountain bikers reading this, Race Face is a familiar name, but if you’re wondering who they are, they’re a Canadian manufacturer with a knack of producing high quality and dependable components. In recent years the company has turned its attention to road bike parts and the Cadence range includes handlebars, stems, seat posts and a chainset.
All the road components borrow heavily from the mountain bike stuff, which is no bad thing because those are well designed, thoroughly well produced and reliable. The arms on these Cadence cranks are forged from 6066 aluminium, using a multi-stage process that allows the designers to remove as much excess as possible. And they’re as stiff as you’re going to need this side of having thighs like Chris Hoy.
Race Face has designed its own outboard bearing system, called ‘X-Type’, using outboard bearings. The bearings in question are factory filled with Phil Wood waterproof grease and triple wiper seals and have been successfully keeping out the muck for the past few months.
Shifting is excellent, with the 7075 aluminium CNC machined chainrings on a par with Shimano and Campagnolo rivals. Double and compact variations (RCUK tested a double with 53/39 rings) and crank arm lengths from 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm are available. Unlike Shimano, Race Face mounts its axle to the left-side crank arm. Installation was simple and the supplied instructions easy to follow.
In use the cranks proved a good alternative to the more frequent choices, being plenty stiff enough for hard riding. The look and finish of the cranks add to any bike fitted, and if you’re looking for a departure from the norm they’re worth a butcher’s. However, on price/weight comparison with the rivals you’d likely be considering alongside them, their case begins to fall down. Taking Shimano’s options, the Cadence chainset is about 20g heavier (a claimed 860g) than Ultegra while cost somewhere between Ultegra and Dura-Ace. But then the price does reflect the inclusion of a bottom bracket.