Race Face Era 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.
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.
Strong and Light: Race Face Era Crank Review
With several key improvements in construction and structure, Race Face's new Era crank aims to put carbon crank durability issues in the rearview mirror.
Vital Review

Carbon cranks have a bit of a spotty track record, at times setting the internet on fire with horror stories and pictures of snapped crankarms. When carbon cranks first appeared in mountain biking, they were by far the lightest options out there, and the early versions probably went too far with the weight savings without having properly validated the longevity and durability of the construction. Riders may also be at least partially to blame for those early durability issues, often seen running the lightest XC cranks they could find in their quest to drop some grams from their enduro or even DH bikes. Race Face has known their fair share of such troubles, and to lay those demons to rest once and for all, they’ve developed the all-new Era cranks. Sporting a number of improvements in the construction, we were keen to see if they would indeed be up for a bit of abuse – read on to find out!



  • Very light
  • Stiff and strong
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Low maintenance
  • Robust
  • Solid lifetime warranty including crash damage
  • So far, not much!

    Race Face Era Crank Highlights

    • Carbon construction with external stainless steel protection plates
    • 52mm Chainline based on a 136mm spindle - can be adjusted to 55mm with Shimano 12-speed Direct Mount Wide ring
    • 165/170/175mm crank lengths with 176mm Q-factor for ideal pedaling ergonomics and maximum power output
    • 30mm spindle diameter
    • Axle material: 7055 aluminum alloy
    • Includes a no-hassle, no-BS Lifetime Warranty - crashes included
    • Weight: 426g (175mm crank arm and spindle, verified)
    • MSRP: $499.99 USD / $649.99 CAD / 489.00 EUR (includes pedal boots, washers and spindle spacers. Bottom bracket and chain ring sold separately)

    Initial Impressions

    When Race Face set out to develop this new crank, they knew they had to improve the integration between the carbon crank arm and the pedal thread inserts. Previous generations of carbon cranks were notorious for failing in this area, so this time around, Race Face went with a much bigger insert that sits much deeper into the carbon. They also took the opportunity to add an external scuff plate, to protect against wear and tear. To liven up your build a bit, there are 7 graphics colors to choose from as well as 8 different colors for the crank arm boots (we went with the low-key silver on black graphics with black boots).


    Pulling the Era from the box, the first thing that struck us was the weight – or the lack thereof. At just 426 grams for the crankarms and spindle, the Era is among the very lightest options out there at the moment. It is however still fully certified for enduro riding, and to really show that they stand behind their product, Race Face is offering a “no-hassle, no-BS lifetime warranty” that actually also covers crash damage. That’s pretty solid, and should help alleviate your concerns if any previous experiences with carbon cranks have left a bad taste in your mouth.


    The Era is built around a standard 30mm spindle, equipped with the usual preload collar to take up any side-to-side play once the crank is installed. The spindle locks onto the crank arms via a splined interface with a self-extracting spindle bolt, making installation and removal a breeze. To install it, just crank down the spindle bolt (pun fully intended), while removing it is a simple matter of unscrewing the spindle bolt (which in turn pushes the crank arm off the spindle). The chain ring interface is Race Face’s standard cinch job, basically a thin lock ring that secures the chain ring to the crank arm.

    ERA-8.jpg?VersionId=SUBLoRJypik2jKxy09WP34 LG

    On The Trail

    Installation of the Era was uneventful, and everything came together as expected. We tested the crank both with Race Face’s own chain ring and an oval ring from absoluteBLACK, with equally good results – they were both easy to install, and they stayed put for the duration of testing. Note that Race Face offers different axle lengths to accommodate all kinds of BB widths, so make sure you pick the right one and also pay attention to the number of spacers specified for your particular build.

    ERA installed-2
    ERA installed-3.jpg?VersionId=c0bOEDdy3aR6wbdwSBD8d7t Zv.Ywa

    The Era feels very solid under the feet, and we also enjoyed the slightly wider Q-factor which gives a little extra stability and provides for a generally quite natural stance. We’ve had the test bike running under two different testers for more than 12 months by now, and although it’s “only” a trail bike, we’ve not gone easy on it. The main tester and author of this review weighs in at around 190 lbs, and while our secondary tester is a bit lighter he rides hard and the bike has seen its fair share of heavy landings and other assorted drama. The only maintenance we've had to do was to grease the chainring interface and tighten up the lockring again - that's it. Still solid, still quiet.

    Nils Hope Riding
    Nils Hjord pulling shapes - and faces!
    nils riding 1.jpg?VersionId=V6l4w1544VIcg6v6b3QnzE0die
    Nils Hjord testing the Era's pop
    nils riding 2.jpg?VersionId=BJ8YS2Db.uPs095Ts7pA5LYXtVuu

    Power transfer is great, the Era never feels the slightest bit spongy or flexy. Stomp on the pedals and the power goes straight to the chain. This is not something unusual, most cranks we test here at Vital do that same job equally well, but it’s worth pointing it out here since the Era is so light in itself.

    Era crank riding 1
    Johan Hjord rocking and rolling
    Era crank riding 2

    Things That Could Be Improved

    We really don’t have anything to point out in this section. Yes, the Era costs $499 USD which is a fair chunk of change to drop on a crank, but it’s fully in line with comparable carbon products on the market – and the Era is one of the lightest, so in terms of grams for your buck, it delivers.

    Long Term Durability

    As described in the riding impressions section above, we’ve had two testers on the same test bike for 6 months, and neither of them go easy on their gear, so that all points to a feather in the durability cap for Race Face. The cranks have seen their fair share of rock strikes and such, which have left a few marks here and there. The stainless scuff plates have a couple of dents in them by now, but they remain solidly in place and have not shown any signs of coming loose or anything like that. The exposed carbon has also taken a couple of hits, with some minor surface chipping now visible. None of this seems to have affected the strength or durability of our test sample as this point.

    on bike 1.jpg?VersionId=VgVbQ.ODMKJIQp2XuFeTl
    on bike 2

    What’s The Bottom Line?

    A crank is one of those parts that should make itself forgotten when you ride. There are plenty of good options to pick from today when decking out your build, at every budget level. However, the crank is also one of those parts where you can still save a somewhat significant amount of weight, albeit at a cost. The new Era from Race Face was designed with an improved interface between the pedal inserts and the carbon arms to offer enduro-rated durability at a very low weight, all backed by a lifetime warranty that also covers crash damage. Based on 12 months of solid testing, we think they’ve pretty much nailed it with this one – so if you’re looking to drop some weight from your rig, this might be as good a place as any to start. You can always treat yourself to one of the many color options while you're at it too.

    More information at: www.raceface.com.

    About The Reviewers

    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.

    Nils Hjord – Age: 19 // Years Riding MTB: 11 // Weight: 176-pounds (80-kg) // Height: 5’9” (1m80)

    Always committed to having fun on his bike, Nils likes to keep his wheels in the air almost as much as on the ground. Although he enjoys going fast and is no stranger to burping his tires off the rim, he has dedicated most of his riding time to mastering manuals and making his tabletops flatter – but that doesn’t mean he can’t put the hurt on his wheels through a high-speed rockgarden too, when needed. Good thing his dad is a full-time Vital staffer with access to lots of bike parts that need testing!

    Photos by Johan Hjord and Tal Rozow


    Post a reply to: Strong and Light: Race Face Era Crank Review

    In reply to by Tjaard_Breeuwer


    Race Face Era Crank
    Riding Type
    Cross Country
    Enduro / All-Mountain
    Arm Material
    Arm Material Details
    Carbon + Stainless Steel Wear plate
    Arm Lengths
    165mm, 170mm, 175mm
    Bolt Pattern
    CINCH Direct Mount
    Ring Options
    BB Shell Widths
    BSA30, Pressfit92 and PF30
    Spindle Interface
    Black, Orange, Green, Blue, Red, Kashmoney, Stealth
    1 lb 1 oz (483 g)
    Available Chainlines
    52mm – 136 Spindle + DM Ring / 55mm – 136 Spindle + DMW Ring

    176mm including Pedal Washers

    Pedal Boots, Washers + Spindle Spacers (Chain Rings + Bottom Brackets sold separately)

    Axle Material
    7055 Aluminum Alloy

    Weight Conditions
    170mm Arms + 136 Spindle + 32t Chainring + Washers + Spacers

    Spare Parts
    Crank Boots - 8 Colors, Preload Collar, Spindle Kit

    More Info
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    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.
    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.

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