Best value winner
The Truvativ Descendant Carbon is a great first step on the carbon crank ladder; factor in £80 worth of chainring and, it’s actually more of a bargain.
Like the other cranks on test, SRAM sells the Descendent Carbon crankarms separately and then you add a bottom bracket, which costs £39.99. The good news is there’s no special fitting tool and it all goes together really easily.
Although the arms on the Descendent have a meaty profile, the key difference is in the spindle diameter, which is 24mm rather than 30mm elsewhere. This means you can run a standard GXP bottom bracket but overall the overall rigidity is a lot less, and since this spindle is also steel rather than aluminium, this crankset is also heavier. Factor in the bottom bracket and you’re looking at over 130g difference.
The arms are made using a proprietary Truvativ process where alloy inserts are placed at the pedal and BB interfaces and elastomer foam inside the arms to up the impact strength. To add further protection the crank comes with slip-on rubber boots and clear tape on each face to reduce heel rub.
On the back of the drive-side crank is SRAM standard three-bolt fitting for chainrings mounting and the Descendent comes with the latest X-sync 2 chainring. This was developed as part of SRAM’s 12-speed Eagle drivetrain but it’s backwards compatible with 11-speed and is offered in 30-38t sizes.
The X-sync 2 ring is easily the best thing about this crankset. It’s only when we back-to-backed the cranks that we noticed how much smoother it was compared to the Race Face and Praxis rings. Even with the chain at an extreme angle, there was less chain noise and it seemed to peal off with bottom of the ring much easier, which really helps when riding in wet and sticky conditions. Yes it’s £30 more expensive but the performance is on a different level.
The only real issue we’ve had with this crankset is the bottom bracket. This is the exact same model SRAM uses throughout its range and while it’s better sealed than the Praxis it isn’t quite as durable as a Race Face unit.
With its smaller diameter spindle the Descendent was always going to struggle against the 30mm cranks but the odd thing about this is Truvativ actually makes a Descendent carbon crank with a 30mm spindle for use with a PF30/BB30 frames and we reckon it’d be relatively simple to produce a standard spaced bottom bracket with oversized bearings (like Race Face and Praxis Works BB) and plug it straight in. That way you’d have a crank that would be similar in stiffness but still undercut the competition by on price.
The Truvativ Descendent is a great first step on the carbon crank ladder; it’s close to half the price of the other cranksets here and, when you figure you’re getting £80 worth of chainring included, it’s actually more of a bargain.