RaceFace Atlas FR


At Distilled we feel pretty lucky to have received some great products from some excellent companies since we started a couple of years ago. Every time a package comes through the door, it’s a scramble to see what piece of bike candy we have been sent this time, and every time is as much fun as the very first. Even with all the great stuff we’ve been generously given, the latest DHL express delivery really blew me away. I have always had a thing for RaceFace cranks since my first pair of Turbine LP’s way back in 98 or 99 outlasted every other component on my bike. Back when bike components really weren’t up to the kind of abuse downhillers were subjecting them to, and I was using a 4-inch travel Sunn way outside the recommended usage instructions in the owner’s manual, it was trip to the ATM after literally every ride. Broken rims, broken derailleurs, and of course punctures on any trail with rocks bigger than your average piece of gravel made the mountainbiking experience an expensive and frustrating pursuit at times. However, even with the now laughable square-taper bottom bracket system, the Turbines were indestructible, flex-free (the rest of the bike flexed around them if anything) and the pedal threads never stripped out. After the third replacement swingarm sent over from France snapped on a horrible high-speed flat landing, it was time to hang up the Sunn but the Turbines lived on and were swapped to another bike. Now that I think about it, the RaceFace XY seatpost that came stock with the bike was also a revelation, as I honestly never had to tighten it once in the three years that I used it.


So, already biased in their favor, I opened the box and took a look at a shiny orange pair of Atlas FR cranks. Like the Turbines I always loved only lighter, with a real bottom bracket featuring a heat-treated cromo spindle, and some seriously nice yet understated graphics resembling topography lines on a map. No pedal inserts due to the use of an aluminum with that they claim is 20 per cent stronger than traditional 7050 alloy adds to the aesthetic appeal of these cranks, and the weight is feathery for what should be a bomb-proof crank in terms of strength. Manufactured in Canada, the CNC’ing process makes for a very dirrerent looking product than the current crop of forged cranks, which tend to be more rounded and organic in shape, but I have always loved the lines that only a CNC machine can produce. It was a toss-up between mounting these things on the office wall for decoration or putting them on the bike, but Jon at RaceFace might not be too impressed with a review on how well the Orange anodization goes with my furniture, so onto the Boot’r they go for a full east coast test. Check back later in the season for more details on what should prove to be one of the best products of the year.




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