What's Cool In Road Cycling

Praxis Zayante Carbon Cranks, X Spider and Chainrings

Praxis Zayante Carbon Cranks give you 1x and 2x from micro-compact to 53/39 compatibility in a single crank. Lighter arms than Dura Ace (and less expensive) and excellent M30BB’s compatible with 90+% of all frames manufactured today. This is your CX-Gravel-Climbing-TT crankset…

As I was installing Praxis latest Zyante Carbon Cranks, my mind drifted back several years to my first experience with Praxis… I was on the phone with Jason Woznick at Fairwheel Bikes, and complaining that the front shifting on a new project bike was just not good enough. Knowing I’m not the best mechanic in the world (or probably within 100 yards of my house for that matter) he politely asked, “are you sure the install instructions are good?”. My answer was “yes, and I’ve tried reinstalling and adjusting it 5 times, all the parts are from the same group manufacturer and the frame is in tolerance, so even I would have gotten it right at least once by accident! The shifting never gets any better than mediocre and it’s not good enough under load.”

Neither of us were really put at ease given my mechanical skills but at that point Jason suggested “There’s a new company called Praxis and you should try their Forged Rings”… I did try them and the much-stiffer forged rings simply worked so much better that I wound up swapping from new stock rings to Praxis rings on 3 more bikes in the house at the time.

Fast Forward @10 years and today we’re working with the latest Zayante Carbon Cranks, X- Spider and Levatime Rings, spinning on the BSA-M30 BB.

So Praxis make some very good stuff.

Those early rings fixed my problem and outperformed a LOT of even the top-level stock rings available. Praxis understood that Forging (basically smashing metal with so much force that it flows into a different shape) would compress and change the actual structure and grain of the metal to produce chainrings that were not just harder and more durable, but stiffer under load than the non-forged product available (and non-forged is the bulk of the chainring market).

Today, Praxis are still knocking out fantastic rings in multiple ratios and several of those ratios are all available and interchangeable on the same set of Zayante Cranks, with Praxis’ own X Spider Direct mount system.

The 4-arm “X” spider has separate ring bolts for both small and big rings (160-104BCD). This moves the bolts out toward the edge / closer to the teeth of the rings (helping chain ring stiffness) and also allows enough room to mount different sized rings on the same crank.

Ring sizes? Let’s just say this one crank does the job of 2-3 different cranks.

The Zayante Carbon will take rings from 48×32 through to 53×39. In the case that’s not enough flexibility for you, this crank will also run as a 1X.

The Direct mount spider / ring carrier is very easy to mount. It’s a snug, plug and play system with three bolts positioned so that the carrier will only go on in the correct position.

Add to the mix of variables, this crank will also accept Power2Max and SRM spiders directly.

The cranks arms and SRM combined weigh just 536 grams in 172.5…

And especially in the case of Power2max, the value is pretty fantastic for a quality carbon crank and power meter set up.

Installation as well as swapping rings is pretty simple.
With a good ratcheting torque wrench like Effetto Mariposa’s Guista Forza II, I could drop in a new gear ratio in 10 minutes if I have a separate spider and rings ready to go. A few more minutes is all it would take if I’m pulling the ring bolts and changing the rings on the existing spider.

Frame compatibility??
Praxis have designed and manufactured a host of BB solutions for the huge range of both Road and MTB BB standards. Their conversion BB’s for putting loads of assorted manufacturers cranks into BB30/PF30 frames are especially good. In the case of the Zayante Carbon Crank, Praxis make a host of M30 BB’s to work with multiple standards.

The range of BB’s is so large that damn near everything on the road is covered. Its easier to tell you what’s not covered… M30 BB’s will handle most everything except Italian threaded frames, Trek’s Slip fit 90 and Cannondale’s Asymmetrical PF30.

In my case, Sarto’s Veneto SL (reviewed here) is a pretty straight forward BSA affair and for this review, the Zayante Carbon cranks mated with Praxis BSA BB for an installation that took less than 20 minutes, including the removal, cleaning and storage of an existing set of cranks and BB already installed on the bike (in this case an excellent set of Campagnolo’s Potenza cranks and BSA BB which were functioning flawlessly btw).

Praxis BSA BB is a clean design and the fit with the Zayante cranks is an ode to close tolerances. Praxis precision with their parts is confidence inspiring.

The crank arms themselves are a pretty conservative affair.

They’re very clean in design with a dark grey on black color and a simple light grey graphic that blends into the design rather than screaming out at you.

But…. Something’s different about the superfine details of the crank… and I don’t mean just overt aesthetics. When I looked closely at the crank, I didn’t see some of the production details that I normally see with carbon cranks; no flash seam lines, no weave waver, no machining marks at the hardware points, the shape is subtly complex, there are more surface angles than a lot traditionally molded carbon cranks have.

So I called Praxis and spoke to Adam Haverstock, Praxis’ Director of S&M, and asked how they were making the cranks and what the material was, because something just seemed different with the Zayante Carbon.

It turned out that Adam had been sitting at his desk and working on an answer to my question for the past few days and was still working on it when I called. The Praxis team are trying to figure out how to tell people they have a new manufacturing process, without giving away too much of the detail about what it is.

What could Adam tell me?:
• This new process is 100% within the walls of Praxis manufacturing.
• This new process is extremely clean relative to traditional Carbon Lay up as there is almost no mold flash or clean up sanding required.
• This new process is nearly hands free versus the multi-layer traditional carbon fiber mold process.

In fact, this process doesn’t use traditional Prepreg fiber material (which is why he couldn’t answer the typical question of what type/modulus fiber are you using).

So there you have it… Not much info from Praxis about how they’re making these except that this isn’t the typical Prepreg carbon layering process or material used in pretty much all other carbon cranks.

If I had to guess, given Praxis understanding of material flow and pressure in forging, I would guess this is a short or medium length fiber and resin mix forced under high pressure into molds and then compressed to direct the fiber in the same fashion that forging rearranges the grain in metal. This kind of process is used for some other very hard parts (carbon dropouts etc) but those parts are typically compact rather than long with thin wall thickness (like a crank arm). BUT… That’s just a guess from an unqualified hack of a parts reviewer, so wait to hear from Praxis what is really going on.

While I wish I knew how the cranks were made, a few hundred miles of riding have given me a pretty good impression of the net outcome in terms of performance and value.

Along those lines, the Zayante Carbon crank is both lighter and less expensive than Dura Ace at 615 grams (172.5-50/34) and $325.

The value for the consumer runs higher still when you consider that these are compatible with 10 and 11 speed and also 12 speed 1x. Add to this the available Gear ratios from Micro Compact 48-32 up to 53-39 in the same crank and value increases even more. That’s one crank that can go from the steepest mountain roads to the flattest flats and then swap over to running the latest must-have 1xs for Gravel and CX season…

My use isn’t so exotic as all that… Just plain old 53/39’s will handle pretty much everything that the roads of Phoenix will toss as a bike especially with the larger ratio cassettes like Campagnolo Potenza’s 11-32.

The value for shops is also excellent… It’s not like shops have a bunch of spare dollars sitting around for added inventory, and with the compatibility of 90+% of modern frames and the fact that one crank can run all the gear ratios, shops can reasonably keep these on hand and cover a LOT of bases.

That value extends to several bike manufacturers who are using this platform as an easy cross over spec for everything from Gravel to CX to road. Speaking to a couple of companies that spec these as OE though, it’s not just the value but the function they speak of first… They feel like Praxis offer a VERY good Bottom Bracket that simply gives them less installation hassle, more consistent performance and lower chance for long-term warranty issues.

Operationally, the cranks perform very well.

The arms are stout, the rings are among the best available in all of cycling, the weight is competitive with products costing quite a bit more and the look is conservative enough that these should be an easy visual match with most existing group sets.

The big winner here for me is the Crank and BB interface. BSA isn’t too tough, but this crank and BB set up is better than a lot of what’s available in other BB standards especially in anything press fit. The design of the BB’s and the tight tolerance of the cranks to match the various form factors means this set of parts will plug in with relative ease and spin for days with very little fear of hunting down creaking and squeaking in the future.

In the case you’re building new or wanting to run a different ratio on an existing bike, the options available here allow you to cover a lot of bases and do it at a reasonable weight and price point. Even in the case your priority is about performance and durability rather than saving a buck Praxis Zayante Carbon should make the list.

Praxis Zayante Carbon cranks are available now for an SRP of $325.(165-170-172.5-175 Length)
Praxis multiple M30 BB options are available with SRP’s ranging from @$45 to $160 depending on fit and Ceramic options.

You can take a look at all of Praxis kit at: PraxisCycles.com

You can find the fantastic Veneto SL at SartoAntonio.com
Campagnolo’s excellent and affordable Potenza Group set is at Campagnolo.com
Quick shout out to FSE’s wheels at FSE.BIKE
Have Fun,

Charles Manantan
[email protected]

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PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products you see here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper / safe use, handling, maintenance and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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