Race Face has just launched its latest carbon cranks, which they call the ERA. Allegedly their most durable carbon cranks to date, we were intrigued by their updated construction. Still, when we asked about the cranks’ design and updated pedal inserts, Race Face was pretty tight-lipped about what differentiates the ERA from previous carbon models. Eager to find out, we decided to take matters into our own hands.
Designed as Race Face’s cross-country crank, the Super Light (SL) prioritizes weight-conscious construction over gravity-grade strength. Once we had access to the crank’s internals, we could measure the thickness of the carbon fiber.
The sides of the Next SL measured 3.2mm, while the face and backside of the Next SL measured 2.7mm and 2.5mm, respectively. Advertised only for cross-country and light trail riding, we anticipated this crank to be the easiest to break;iIt was.
The Next R has been the long-standing flagship enduro crank of the lineup. Piloted to numerous EWS wins under Jesse Melamed, this crank has shown its worth on the world stage.
The Next R had the thickest construction of any crank of the lineup, measuring 4.5mm wide on the sides. Interestingly, the Next R also features the thinnest wall, with its BB-facing side measuring 2mm. The Next R’s outer face measured 3.2mm.
SixC cranks have been Race Face’s go-to carbon crank for gravity-oriented riding. Dan has personally relied on these cranks for years on his downhill rig. During his time with them, Dan did warranty a set due to a loose pedal insert; this appears to be the main issue the new ERA aims to remedy.
The sides of the cranks were 4.3mm thick, with the front and back sides measuring 2.9mm.
The ERA enters the Race Face carbon crank lineup as the replacement for both the SixC and Next R. Touted as their best carbon crank to date, we were eager to see the new, patent-pending internals.
The sides of the crank arm are 3.3mm thick. At 2.6mm, the front face and back side of the crank are identical in width.
All-New Pedal Insert
Cutting a cross-section in the insert revealed that instead of the circular shape used across the other three models, the ERA insert covers more internal area and is bonded further into the carbon itself.
The new insert occupies the majority of the tip of the crank and has a lip that extends from the insert’s front side. This curved lip creates a channel for carbon to bond securely into and adds more structural integrity to the bottom portion of the crank.
A redesigned insert isn’t the only change Race Face introduced to the ERA. The stainless steel plate prominently displayed on the outer top half of the crank is the most visible difference between the ERA and previous iterations. Designed to eliminate damage caused by foot and heel rub, this is yet another feature to increase the durability of the ERA crank.
Race Face’s comprehensive Lifetime Warranty covers the ERA cranks, including protection against crashes. If any damage occurs to the ERA crank under riding conditions, Race Face will replace it for free. This updated warranty is just as impactful as the cranks’ physical changes.
Race Face wasn’t stretching the truth when they said they had completely redesigned the pedal insert and its interface with the carbon. Instead of the traditional circular insert that relied on its outer studded teeth for a secure fit, the ERA crank utilizes a newly profiled aluminum insert that occupies a much larger internal area of the bottom third of the crank. This updated version appears to be far more robust than previous models.
The new insert was so secure that the ERA crank failed further up the crank arm than the Next SL or Next R. While it wasn’t the true purpose of the test, it is noteworthy that it took significantly more effort to push the all-new ERA cranks to their breaking point. Considering the increased durability paired with Race Face’s Lifetime Warranty, these cranks are poised to be the type of component to transfer from build to build for many seasons.