Despite the amount of long travel suspension bikes blurring the XC/Freeride boundary, there’s surprisingly little tough but not overweight componentry to equip them.
Race Face’s Atlas cranks are bang on, though. The chunky CNC machined ‘Optim- Al’ arms and medium walled, heat treated cromo steel spindle are tough enough to carry a lifetime warranty and Steve Peat even uses them on his DH race bikes, so strength isn’t an issue. At 100-150g heavier than top XC cranks, they’re still not excessively heavy, though. The thick CNC machined rings shift and last well, and are tough enough to handle the occasional rock without getting crumpled. Longevity of the external bearings seems to have picked up noticeably since their launch too, and they now last well if you’ve got a properly ‘faced’ frame. The only downside is the fitting procedure. Race Face fit the axle permanently to the offside arm, with the drive side bolting onto the splined end. The super tight fit requires maximum muscle to install or remove, and they loosen if you don’t get it exactly right. The machined pedal threads need regular greasing to stop them feeling super tight too, but 170, 175 and 180mm arm options should cover most riders.