Race Face Next SL crankset issue, help needed- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Race Face Next SL crankset issue, help needed

    Good afternoon. I have a set of RF Next SL cranks I purchased aftermarket a couple years back. I've swapped them back and forth among several bikes and have been pleased overall.

    I am developing an issue over the last several months that I can't wrap my head around. There is a distinct clunk in my drivetrain that I believe is coming from the crankset. You can't hear it, but you can feel it consistently when spinning the cranks. It's almost like the 30mm axle is loose or bent.

    Here's what I've done to troubleshoot down to the crankset: Swapped BB cups to known new cups. Swapped Cinch chainrings. Ran them on a different bike with a different drivetrain. Swapped pedals.

    I feel like I've narrowed it down to the crankset itself. I just removed it again after riding this morning and can't find an issue visually or physically. Pedals are tight and not sloppy. Ring is still tight. The axle itself appears straight and isn't loose that I can feel.

    Thoughts?

    How is the axle attached to the NDS arm? Is it just that massive bolt or is it also pressfit? I do have a spare axle I could swap in.
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  2. #2
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    It wouldn't hurt to try the spare axle. Also remember that the crank bolt needs a lot of torque (50Nm I believe). I had a similar noise for a bit and found that I needed to use my torque wrench and wasn't getting it tight enough guessing by hand.

  3. #3
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    Are you sure it's not one of your pedals?
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  4. #4
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    i would be wondering if the aluminium insert in the carbon arm that is the receiver for the axle has broken loose.
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  5. #5
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    Yes, the axle had loosened on the NDS. Since a 16mm hex is impossible to find, I fashioned a driver out of a grade 8 bolt head and a couple nuts. You couldn't feel the slop by hand, but it was really loose.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  6. #6
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    Yepper, a 16 mm Hex is hard to find, so necessity is the mother of invention

    I have had the non-drive side crank loosen from the spindle only once, but it torqued back up (50 Nm) and has not experienced any more issue.

    I didn't have a 16 mm hex, and found that a 16 mm is not too common (not common enough when you're ready to go ride and you need a quick fix). I called around and couldn't find one locally available.

    Necessity is the mother of invention.

    I went to the big box hardware and looked for a 16 mm headed bolt and a few nuts to fit it. This would be my ghetto 16 mm hex that could be used with a torque wrench.

    I found a grade 8, 7/16-14 x 1-1/4" bolt. The head of the bolt was 16 mm. Two nuts to fit the bolt, tighten them onto the bolt and I used a deep socket to do the deed.

    Race Face Next SL crankset issue, help needed-20170126_202206.jpg Race Face Next SL crankset issue, help needed-20170325_094721.jpg Race Face Next SL crankset issue, help needed-20170325_094657.jpg
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  7. #7
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    Race Face Next SL crankset issue, help needed

    This one has worked well for me:

    MINTCRAFT 3506012013 1/2-Inch Drive Socket Hex Bit, 16mm https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UVRAH0..._inGYudyYTBDdx

  8. #8
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    You can only use aluminum hardware so many times especially with higher torque applications. Moving all that stuff around is not a good idea

  9. #9
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    ^^^^ I guess aircraft and aerospace applications with all of that aluminum and aluminum components are in dire straights huh?
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  10. #10
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    I know from automotive that you can only tear down aluminum cases once or twice. Granted that's not 7000 series alloy but you still are pushing luck with things like cranks that take lots of force.

  11. #11
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    It looks like the drive side can be removed with an 8mm hex, do I still need a 12mm on the other side to remove the cranks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    I have had the non-drive side crank loosen from the spindle only once, but it torqued back up (50 Nm) and has not experienced any more issue.

    I didn't have a 16 mm hex, and found that a 16 mm is not too common (not common enough when you're ready to go ride and you need a quick fix). I called around and couldn't find one locally available.

    Necessity is the mother of invention.

    I went to the big box hardware and looked for a 16 mm headed bolt and a few nuts to fit it. This would be my ghetto 16 mm hex that could be used with a torque wrench.

    I found a grade 8, 7/16-14 x 1-1/4" bolt. The head of the bolt was 16 mm. Two nuts to fit the bolt, tighten them onto the bolt and I used a deep socket to do the deed.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
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    Not if your just trying to remove them from the bottom bracket. Just one 8mm bolt on the drive side, crank arm and chainring slide off, crank and shaft slide out the other side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakeg1999 View Post
    Not if your just trying to remove them from the bottom bracket. Just one 8mm bolt on the drive side, crank arm and chainring slide off, crank and shaft slide out the other side.
    Thanks, got it off, but it took a 2ft long breaker bar....it was on there tight! Added some lube to the RF bottom bracket, but it wasn't easy due to a plastic piece that covered the bearings..I don't recall that on Shimano BB's. I didn't yank too hard, but does that piece come out?

    Also kind of bummed to see that RF uses a different wrench pattern from Shimano for their BB, so my tool wouldn't work to remove. Are the BB's interchangeable aside from the tool needed? I think I heard that RF BB's aren't that great...should I replace with a Shimano when due?

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    They are not all interchangeable, and it took me quite some time to figure out what I needed as well. I had to use a different tool to remove my RF bb and a different one to install my RWC 30mm bb. I'm still a bit new to all this as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    ^^^^ I guess aircraft and aerospace applications with all of that aluminum and aluminum components are in dire straights huh?
    well, as he said, with aircraft you often have to replace hardware, rather than re-use it
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    well, as he said, with aircraft you often have to replace hardware, rather than re-use it
    Negative. Regular scheduled maintenance and inspection requires many components to be removed, serviced and reinstalled on a regular and ongoing basis...over an extended life of the aircraft.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    Negative. Regular scheduled maintenance and inspection requires many components to be removed, serviced and reinstalled on a regular and ongoing basis...over an extended life of the aircraft.
    Yes, but the screws, nuts, washers, etc., more than often in aviation, these are replaced any time the components are removed/installed, rather than re-used, because the quality/tolerances/strength can no longer be certain. This is what we are talking about last time I checked, the hardware, vs. the components.
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  18. #18
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    ^^^^ That's pretty cool. I've never seen that before.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoope View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    ^^^^ That's pretty cool. I've never seen that before.
    So the 16mm piece is only needed for the self extractor cap. Installation/removal of the crank arms should only require an 8mm hex.

    I bought my Turbines aftermarket and they didn't come with the 8-16mm adaptor, but apparently they should have. I wrote RF, and they sent me the tool. But in the meantime, I bought a hex bit set for socket/torque wrenches that included both 8mm and 16mm sizes.

  21. #21
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    Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd add a question here that I think is related. Or maybe not.

    The drive side crank arm on my RF Next SL cranks has a small amount of play/wiggle in it. The 8mm bolt is tight as I can get it by hand with and allen wrench (don't have a torque wrench). The bearing preload ring on the non-drive side is finger tight snug against the bearing.

    Question. Is something coming apart/breaking or do I just need to tighten the 16mm hex bolt folks are talking about here?
    Last edited by KRob; 08-28-2017 at 05:25 PM.
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  22. #22
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    Probably the 16mm.
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  23. #23
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    The non-drive side 16 mm will only tighten the non-drive crank arm to the spindle.

    The drive side 8 mm should be the culprit.

    You can confirm that the crank is loose on the spindle?

    Could be as simple as just removing the drive side components and take a look at the spindle fitting and crank.

    Report back when you discover the issue.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    You can confirm that the crank is loose on the spindle?
    Correct. With everything tight, there's still a small degree of side to side (not forward to back/pedaling) play between the drive side crank arm and the spindle.

    I'll try pulling it apart and checking the interface with the spindle and crank.
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  25. #25
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    Have a very close look where the metal insert meets the carbon.
    I've had both a pedal insert, and the spindle insert, come loose from 2 different arms. Both were eventually warrantied.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Have a very close look where the metal insert meets the carbon.
    I've had both a pedal insert, and the spindle insert, come loose from 2 different arms. Both were eventually warrantied.
    I'll second this. Take a close look at the spindle insert - actually all inserts as Shark mentions. But KRob's issue sounds like it could be the spindle insert based on past experience.

    In finally gave up on RF carbon cranks after having three sets warrantied.

  27. #27
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    It's also worth pointing out that you NEED TO USE A TORQUE WRENCH on that 8mm bolt. A regular allen wrench isn't long enough to get you to 50Nm (torque spec for that bolt).

    It's possible that the insert might be bad, anyway, but these things have to be f*cking tight.

  28. #28
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    Good tips guys. I'll see if I can borrow a torque wrench from my mechanically inclined son with the 60'x60' garage packed with cars and tools (not sure where he came from, lol).

    If getting it to 50 Nm doesn't get rid of the play I'll check the spindle insert. Actually I'd love for it to be warrantied. It's going on two years old now and there's some nicks and wear spots that make me a bit nervous on the cranks.
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  29. #29
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    Definitely the interface between the metal female spline and the carbon crank arm. Torqued everything to spec and still had a little wiggle in the drive side crank arm.

    Sent RF an email. Are they typically fairly responsive to email or should I call? For those who've had theirs warrantied, what was the procedure and how long did it take?

    Leaving on a trip for Moab tomorrow. Is it safe to ride with it like this, or should I swap the SixC cranks from my other bike on for the trip? I'd have to swap bottom bracket cups too so not looking forward to doing a last minute swap.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Leaving on a trip for Moab tomorrow. Is it safe to ride with it like this, or should I...

    If you have to ask, you already know the answer. If only for peace of mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Definitely the interface between the metal female spline and the carbon crank arm. Torqued everything to spec and still had a little wiggle in the drive side crank arm.
    You mention torquing everything....

    Did you remove the crank for inspection?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    You mention torquing everything....

    Did you remove the crank for inspection?
    Yes. Also removed and cleaned the chain ring and re-tightened its lock ring. Tightened the bb cups and the 16mm outer lock rings on both sides for good measure.

    I will say that it was very hard (impossible?) to detect any play between the female spline insert and the carbon crank while disassembled. Do you think that's maybe not where the play is coming from?


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    It sounds as if you covered all of the bases.

    In this case, I think only you can make the determination where the play is coming from. You original assessment sounds valid.
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  34. #34
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    I have this problem drive side crank I can get it to go away for maybe two rides....

    As anyone tried fit up paste the stuff with little tiny balls in it to make up shaft differences to get a tighter fit.

    or maybe carbon fibre assembly paste with the glass chips in it.

  35. #35
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    ^^^ Are we treating the symptom or the problem?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    ^^^ Are we treating the symptom or the problem?
    treating the crank/axle interface

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    And that's working for you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    And that's working for you?
    Yup regrets and torque will fix the creaking for a couple of rides then it is back

    That eliminates all the other possible problems

    The crank/axle interface is the problem.

  39. #39
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    Well, I didn't swap out cranks but I did take my other bike and rode it on both my bigger hit rides (Portal and TWE).

    Much of the play was gone after tightening everything but after 100 Moab miles it seems worse again. I haven't heard anything from Race Face so I'll call them tomorrow. I'll let you know what they say.


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  40. #40
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    Both my warranty claims had to go through a shop...
    And weren't quick, but eventually was taken care of...

  41. #41
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    BUMP

    How did your warranty process go? Ive developed some play in my SixC interface between my chainring and spindle. Tried a brand new chainring and get the same play. Hoping to warranty, anyone else deal with this?

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    I had the same issue with my SL's on my Bronson. I had a popping in the bottom 4 gears recently and pulled the crank. The spindle where the carbon meets was wobbling with a small crack. The crank has not been abused and is in great shape but magically it is 6 months out of warranty and RF won't warranty. They have offered the Next R for $100 plus shipping. Safe to say I'm not happy with the situation. Hopefully the 6C on my Capra has better luck.

  43. #43
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    I have a set of Next SL (not the G4) that had the pedal insert break loose (luckily at the end of the ride) on the drive side crank arm. They came on the bike which I bought from Competitive Cyclist. Had to go through them for the warranty and the next day they emailed and said that RF will cover them and that they will ship out when RF sends it to them. Hoping they send the G4 as a replacement since I heard they are more sturdy.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uly View Post
    Hoping they send the G4 as a replacement since I heard they are more sturdy.
    I had G4s as a warranty replacement and they didn't last long until the pedal inserts loosened. This time they sent Next Rs.
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    Ive been reading about this a lot lately. Makes me think Ill stick to non carbon cranks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Ive been reading about this a lot lately. Makes me think Ill stick to non carbon cranks.
    I have beat my carbon XX1 cranks to hell and back with many DH days, DH races, enduro races, trips across the country to rocky places, etc., this over 4-5 years, they are great. They have plenty of war-scars.

    The RF Nexts on my fatbike didn't make it a full year without the pedal-insert problem destroying one side on otherwise unscathed cranks, but given my experience with SRAM, I'm definitely not thinking that carbon cranks are bad...just that RF sucks at it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Ive been reading about this a lot lately. Makes me think Ill stick to non carbon cranks.
    This is a RF fail issue not a carbon crank issue.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I had G4s as a warranty replacement and they didn't last long until the pedal inserts loosened. This time they sent Next Rs.
    Then I hope they skip all the runaround and send me Next Rs. Did you specifically ask for the R's?

  49. #49
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    I did not, maybe the LBS did or maybe RF decided to since I've had more warranty claims than I can remember.
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  50. #50
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    Following up. Race Face sent me the Next R cranks as a warranty replacement for the Next SL.

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    Hi, others have mentioned that were epoxied or glued, I think that there is not enough surface to make a good repair, isn't? I will try to to get my next SL's warrantied but I am thinking ahead since these were bought second hand, I don't understand how this issue wasn't detected/fixed in a stress test that RF should do to their products as any good brand should

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    Warranty is for original owner only..... Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Warranty is for original owner only..... Good luck.
    Race Face has three year warranty on their Carbon cranks. RaceFace warranty is excellent as long as you have a receipt. My SL arms were replaced with the next R Arms that are on the way. Hopefully the latest from them will hold up, I believe this is the third set that have been warranted. I always call them first to touch base with them and explain my story, every time they were very nice over the phone, so the customer service is excellent!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgw7000 View Post
    Race Face has three year warranty on their Carbon cranks. RaceFace warranty is excellent as long as you have a receipt. My SL arms were replaced with the next R Arms that are on the way. Hopefully the latest from them will hold up, I believe this is the third set that have been warranted. I always call them first to touch base with them and explain my story, every time they were very nice over the phone, so the customer service is excellent!!


    It wasn't my case, they made me take the crank to a bike shop for nothing a week later they offer a 20% discount for a new set, no way. even with the receipt.
    after that experience I won't buy these new even for $100
    I ended buying a XX1 Eagle crankset instead,
    3 times? why you keep buying or replacing such a bad product? I would replaced one time and sell it

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    Quote Originally Posted by egmo87 View Post
    It wasn't my case, they made me take the crank to a bike shop for nothing a week later they offer a 20% discount for a new set, no way. even with the receipt.
    after that experience I won't buy these new even for $100
    I ended buying a XX1 Eagle crankset instead,
    3 times? why you keep buying or replacing such a bad product? I would replaced one time and sell it
    3 Different crank sets that I have, each time they warrantee them no problem. Again to the original owner not buying second hand. Loose pedal inserts on all 3. Yes I wish this didn’t happen but at least they stand behind what they sell 100%

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    The 3rd time I sent them in, they never responded. Screw them. I kind of dropped the ball because I should have gotten a return receipt when I shipped them, so I could make them at least send my broken-azz cranks back to me when they refused to warranty them the 3rd time.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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