FSA SL-K Light BB30 compact road crankset £379.99

New spin on bottom bracket standard

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

FSA’S K-Force may be at the top of its crankset tree, but this £180 cheaper sibling looks set to be popular if you can shoulder the extra 40g of heft – to total 692g for the compact version.

Not much has changed, bar that the hollow crank arms do away with their external ‘vanity’ layer and instead bare their unidirectional carbon composite fibres.

Machined FSA chainrings made from relatively hard wearing 7075 aluminium alloy are well proven, so it’s hardly a blow that FSA hasn’t decided to change them.

You’re not short of options either – the K Light BB30 is available in 170, 172.5 and 175mm lengths as well as compact, standard or triple chainring variants.

The main point of interest, though, is that this crankset uses the BB30 standard. BB30 has been used on Cannondale bikes for a while now, but a lot of manufacturers have only recently begun to adopt it. So, is it any better than the older bottom bracket (BB) system and can you feel a difference?

Well, for starters, BB30 uses a larger shell and a 30mm axle, so it’s much stiffer than a standard style bottom bracket.

BB30 also does away with bearing cups, using pressed-in bearings that are wider in diameter, which can carry higher loads and are more efficient in terms of friction under pressure.

Do these factors make the system feel any better to ride? The answer is quite simple – yes, they do.

The bike we tested this crankset on was closely related to a bike we often use for testing duties and had nearly the same geometry as well. When ridden back-to-back, the bike fitted with the BB30 crankset had a noticeably different feel. It was more connected, stiffer, smoother and, well, better.

Finally, servicing a BB30 system is relatively simple, although we do have to stress that it’s important to use the right tools (available from FSA in either consumer or professional versions). It’s also quicker and easier to service the bearings than on a standard BB system.

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