North Shore Billet Talon Crank

Vital Rating:
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Tested: NSB Talon Crank
North Shore Billet joins the crank party.
Vital Review

A crank is a crank is a crank…these days that can be both true and not true. Yes, you can find a perfectly functional crank that is not too heavy and doesn’t cost too much. However, as bland as this particular component may seem, it’s an area where you can also find exotic options to spice up your ride and make it your own. Anything from carbon to titanium goes, with all kinds of designs and colors on offer. North Shore Billet, more commonly known as NSB, threw their hat in the ring earlier this year with a three-piece crank machined from a single billet of aluminum. We’ve been testing one for a few months, read on to find out how we’ve been getting along.



  • Good looking finish available in three colors
  • Aluminum preloader is good for longevity
  • 30 mm spindle compatible with many BB options
  • Race Face Cinch chain ring interface is solid, many chainring options available
  • Available from 155 to 170 mm in length
  • Not forged
  • Slightly on the heavy side
  • Pricey

    NSB Talon Highlights

    • Three-piece design
    • 30 mm spindle diameter
    • Aluminum preloader
    • Available in four lengths: 155mm, 160mm, 165mm, 170mm
    • Machined from 7075 T6 aluminum
    • Cinch chainring mount (Race Face)
    • Weight:
      • 630g - 155mm w/ 73mm spindle
      • 654g - 160mm w/ 73mm spindle
      • 660g - 165mm w/ 73mm spindle
      • 670g - 170mm w/ 73mm spindle
    • Warranty: one-year no questions asked guarantee against manufacturing defects and a lifetime prorated crash replacement program to the original owner for the life of the cranks
    • MSRP: $420 USD

    Initial Impressions

    $420 USD without chainring and BB is a little bit on the pricey side in the world of cranks, but you do get a well finished product for your money. Aside from the packaging, which is distinctly on the cheap side, the Talon has a solid feel to it and the machining gives it that boutique touch that will please CNC fans in general.


    The Talon is a three-piece design, meaning it has two crank arms that bolt onto a spindle. The spindle comes in either 73 or 83 mm versions, and the crank arms can be anything between 155 to 170 mm in 5 mm increments. That’s good news for anybody jumping on the recent trend towards shorter crank arms, and also part of the reason why NSB decided not to forge the Talon but rather just machine it from a single block of aluminum. The company says that forging is cost-prohibitive at lower production volume, and they wanted the flexibility to be able to offer a wide range of crank arm lengths. Forging is known to produce a stronger product, all other things being equal, but NSB gave the Talon dimensions that will allow it to stand up to a lot of abuse. The crank was independently tested at EFBE Pruftechnik in Germany, and it was also ridden for over a year by Yoann Barelli before it was released to the general public. If it’s OK for Yoann it should be OK for the rest of us too!


    For the chain ring interface, NSB opted for the Race Face Cinch standard. This is a smart move as it opens up the door to the Race Face catalog as well as a number of third party manufacturers who also adhere to the standard. The cranks themselves are available in three different finishes, all fairly low-key, so those wanting to spruce up their ride can do so with a colorful chain ring and some pedals perhaps.

    Talon On Bike-2.jpg?VersionId=ut3wvhm241OBL

    On The Trail

    We opted for the pewter colorway, which offers a nice shiny look without being overly bling. Installing the Talon was uneventful with the self-extracting, single bolt design making it easy. Just crank it down to spec then take up any side-to-side play in the spindle with the preload collar. Shoutout to NSB for making the latter out of aluminum, this is a vast improvement over the composite versions often found on cheaper cranks.

    Talon On Bike.jpg?VersionId=N3RxDx
    Talon On Bike-3.jpg?VersionId=CDvVnLQpT WbjM0cY4FR yubRfBR.C
    Talon On Bike-4.jpg?VersionId=3TfRyqItn8eN

    Once on the trail, there is not much left to say. The Talon is very solid underfoot, with absolutely no play or flex detected whatsoever. Stomp on the power and go, in this respect it works just like any good crank would. Set it and forget it. The Race Face chainring we’ve been using has also been solid, keeping our chain on even through the rough stuff. We still think the gold standard in chain retention is SRAM’s own version of narrow-wide, but the Race Face option is definitely “good enough” and doesn’t throw too many chains in our experience (with a decent clutch on the derailleur).

    Talon Riding
    Talon Riding-2

    Things That Could Be Improved

    We don’t want to make a huge deal out of it, but forging the crank before machining it would probably allow NSB to shave a little weight and make an even stronger product. We understand that for a small manufacturer this is harder to do, but there are probably outsourcing options available to eliminate the need to invest in costly machines and tooling. As for the price, it’s on the high side even for a boutique crank. Hope sits at $380 USD with their crank (which is forged), and a Race Face Atlas (which is also forged) is only $189.99 USD with similar specs and weight. Of course, the Talon is a more unique product and those looking for something different probably won’t mind paying the premium.

    Long Term Durability

    We’ve had the Talon running for about 4 months now, and it’s seen its fair share of rockgardens and clumsy landings, with nothing but a couple of scuffs to show for it. At this point we can’t tell for sure but it certainly seems like it should be in it for the long haul. NSB offers a one-year, no-questions-asked warranty against any manufacturing defects, and after that it’s a sliding scale crash replacement program to allow you buy a replacement part at a reduced cost if need be.

    What’s The Bottom Line?

    There is no shortage of quality alloy crank options out there today, at prices starting from less than half of what NSB wants for the Talon. With the Talon you do get a boutique product that is made in smaller quantities with a distinctive look and feel to it, which will no doubt please CNC fans and riders looking to stand out in a crowd alike. Even though the Talon is on the expensive side and heavier than its competition by a couple of tens of grams, it’s still serves up a certain je-ne-sais-quoi for those in search of something a bit special.

    More information at:

    About The Reviewer

    Johan Hjord - Age: 50 // Years Riding MTB: 18 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

    Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

    Photos by Johan Hjord and Nils Hjord


    Post a reply to: Tested: NSB Talon Crank

    In reply to by Ricky_Bonnell

    In reply to by Roots_rider


    North Shore Billet Talon Crank
    Riding Type
    Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
    Enduro / All-Mountain
    Freeride / Bike Park
    Arm Material
    Arm Material Details
    7075 T6 aluminum
    Arm Lengths
    155, 160, 165, 170
    Bolt Pattern
    Ring Options
    BB Shell Widths
    73, 83
    Spindle Interface
    Black, Pewter, Silver
    1 lb 7.6 oz (670 g)
    Weight: 670g - 170mm w/ 73mm spindle
    What do you think?
    Where To Buy
    Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
    International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
    Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
    International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.

    More Products

    The Latest