It's a cinch

Faff-free guidance on installing the most versatile of mountain bike chainsets: the RaceFace Cinch chainset.

  • Time taken: 30-45mins
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Tools needed: Allen keys, grease, tape measure, soft rubber mallet, Race Face BB tool, cartridge BB tool

With the ever-developing world of bottom bracket (BB) standards, rear axle spacing and gearing designs, Race Face’s Cinch chainset aims to shift with any trend around the corner. It’s made up of modular components, enabling it to be totally future-proofed and easily adapted should a new chainring or BB standard become available.

The Cinch system relies on tapered splines at both ends of the spindle for the crank arms to bolt to. It’s a reliable method and very simple to install and remove. At 30mm the spindle diameter is bigger than average, providing the same strength and stiffness of steel, while keeping weight as low as possible.

Like most cranks, there are several different BB options to go for when running the Cinch chainset. The one you need is specified by your frame’s requirements so be sure to choose the correct one. In this instance, we are fitting a threaded BSA (English thread) 68/73mm BB to a Nukeproof Mega. If you are fitting a press-fit BB then you will require an installation tool for steps 3-4.

The guide assumes there is no chainset on the bike before starting, so remove your old one if you need to. Finally, the BB threads are very delicate, so ensure they are cleaned thoroughly to prevent any damage when fitting the new parts.

Essential tool: Race Face BB installation tool

Price: £24.95 silverfish-uk.com

The 30mm spindle used by the Cinch chainset means the BB’s external cups have an oversized diameter as well, so you’ll need Race Face’s specific installation tool as no others will fit.

raceface cinch

1. Measure BB width to check whether it is 68mm or 73mm wide. 73mm requires one spacer ring on the drive side, and 68mm must have a further two spacers, one extra on each side.

raceface cinch

Tip: If the threads are contaminated use a BB tapping tool to clean them out, although you may want to get a bike shop to do this as it’s an expensive tool

2. Ensure BB threads are fully cleaned, and then apply grease.

raceface cinch

3. Insert internal sleeve in to one of the BB cups. Hand thread both cups into place, ensuring the correct cup goes in to the relevant side of the frame (stated on the cups themselves).

raceface cinch

Tip: 41Nm is a lot, so you can forego the torque wrench this time and just do it tight!

4. Using the specific Race Face BB installation tool, tighten the cups to 35-41Nm.

raceface cinch

5. Using the cartridge BB tool, check the chainring/spider is tightened to 40Nm on drive side crank arm.

raceface cinch

6. Slide one dust cap ring on to axle with writing facing outwards and check the preload ring is fully unwound by turning clockwise.

raceface cinch

7. Apply grease to the spindle and inner bearing surfaces.

raceface cinch

8.Insert spindle/non-drive side crank arm in to BB.

raceface cinch

9. Fit drive side dust cap ring, and grease the spinle’s tapered end.

raceface cinch

10. Introduce drive side crank arm to the splined taper of the spindle. Ensure cranks are aligned, then tighten inner 8mm hex to 50Nm. Check the non-drive side 8mm hex is also tight to 50Nm.

raceface cinch

11. Using your hand or soft rubber mallet, gently tap chainset on drive side towards non-drive side.

raceface cinch

12. Turn preload adjuster on non-drive side crank anti-clockwise by hand until it contacts the BB.

raceface cinch

13. Tighten preload adjuster bolt just enough to close the gap on the preload ring.

raceface cinch

14. Check cranks turn freely and there is no side-to-side play.