Excellent value, robust and not too heavy, the RaceFace Aeffect direct-mount crankset is a great choice of replacement crank. It's tough, looks good and is well-priced as an entry-level upgrade, although its heft makes it better for trail and enduro riders than cross-country weight weenies.
The Aeffect (not a typo – or at least, not from us...) is RaceFace's entry-level crankset, but borrows useful tech from the higher-priced Turbine kit. Made from 6066 aluminium with a 24mm spindle (versus 7050 and 30mm), the Aeffect is nevertheless forged using the same technique as the Turbine.
The, uh, effect is the Aeffect cranks are little heavier and less stiff, though not to a degree that was noticeable to me. It would take back-to-back testing to spot the difference, and while I certainly wasn't bemoaning any flex throughout this test time, I'm only 60kg ready to ride – if you're significantly heavier you may benefit from the wider spindle of the pricier version.
The Aeffect uses Race Face's Cinch chainring mounting, which works well. I paired my cranks with a 32T chainring which looks great and lasted very well despite many, many winter test miles.
At 650g including that chain ring (but no bottom bracket), the Aeffect cranks are chunky but not super heavy – they're a good match for the new Shimano M7100 SLX gear, in fact, and at £100 for a set of SLX cranks, the price is competitive too.
The only issue is that to remove the Aeffects you need an extractor to get the driveside off – there's no self-extracting cap. So raid your tool box or buy one when you order the cranks.
As you can see my shoes have rubbed on the cranks quite a lot, exposing the metal, but I've just taken a look at the (more expensive) Shimano XTs from my Cotic Rocket and the wear is similar.
Unlike the Turbine, the Aeffect is available with 165mm arms as well as 170mm and 175mm. It's an interesting option to have. Such stubby arms prevent many pedal strikes, and I feel like I can pedal in more efficient circles. I can also run a slightly longer dropper post and, when descending and cornering, it closes the gap between my feet (albeit minimally) for greater movement in twisting my body into the corner.
The RaceFace Aeffect cranks are a good crankset for various styles of riding, and best-placed on mid-travel trail bikes and long-travel enduro bikes. They don't compromise on stiffness, are robust enough to handle hard riding and are compatible with various chainring sizes from other brands. That said, they won't look out of place on hardcore short-travel bikes either, so long as you're mainly into singletrack – it's only really those keen on banging out cross-country miles who might want for something lighter.
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