We're not surprised that this was the year for Race Face to bring the steadfast Atlas line into the modular realm, and we're happy to see the time come. Stiffening the already burly model even further with a new forged construction, Race Face ensures the Atlas Cinch Crank Arms now provide DH, trail, and enduro riders with the option to run direct-mount single rings, double chainrings with a spider, or switch between the two. Though the Cinch isn't a new concept for Race Face—which previously released versions of it with the Next SL, SixC and Turbine cranksets—the Atlas fills the modular crankset void for the pedal mashing, crank-shattering DH set. And according to Race Face, it does so while boasting a 12% increase in stiffness compared to the Turbine.
That increase in stiffness comes courtesy of the 3D forged back pocket design of the cranks, which laterally reinforces the crank arms while retaining their hardy silhouette. Much like what happened during your best friend's pivotal summer vacation between middle and high school, the Atlas crank arms came back slimmer as well as stronger this year, with Race Face shaving 33g overall (when the crank arms are paired with a 24t chainring) over the previous version by switching from machined arms to forged. The latest Cinch system also makes swapping the Atlas between your enduro monster and nimble trail bike quick and manageable. It's got a new axle that allows you to switch the crankset between bikes with different bottom bracket spacing without having to empty your wallet on an entirely new crankset.
Even with its newfound versatility, we still feel the Atlas Crank Arms' continued, and even improved, durability is worth a mention. Without weighing your rig down, the Atlas' beefy design gives you the reassurance that you can make the day as big as you want it to be without the fear that you'll snap your crankset in half when you come back to Earth.