Strengths: Looks good, shifts well, stiff and available for cheap
Weaknesses: Poor BB life and the axle spline/crank arm interface gives out eventually
This crank came standard on my Giant TCR C2 in 2006. BB lasted a year of hard riding in mostly dry conditions. Replaced rings with Shimano two years ago but noticed the drive side was starting to wobble last summer ('12). The thing was tight but it looked like a warped ring when pedalling. LBS diagnosed it as the chromo spline at the end of axle had worn away the aluminum spline inside the drive side crank arm. Bought a new Cadence crankset off Ebay for cheap and this time kept the BB in storage. Bought another Cadence crankset a couple of weeks ago from CBO, fitted it and so far no problems. Will upgrade to a better BB when time comes. One more thing, the plating on the outer chainring went funny, corrosion or something?
Strengths: Light enough, stiff, well designed chainrings.
Weaknesses: Crappy bottom bracket, chainrings on the heavy side.
First of all, as others have said, the bottom bracket is not good. You can get some life out of it in dry conditions, but in the wet plan on replacing it within a few hundred miles, or at least attempt to replace the bearings. I'm just using an inexpensive FSA bottom bracket with no problems.
That said, the crank itself is great. It's stiff, and pretty light for what you pay. The rings shift well, but are not very light, especially the outer one (I have the non-compact version). An FSA 53t aluminum chainring is significantly lighter than the race face, but in my opinion does not shift as smoothly, so pick you poison. The cranks themselves are lighter than, say, FSA gossamers, and though I am neither overly sensitive to flex or weight, they are also way stiffer. I dont use the 53t ring often though since it's a bit large for the cross bike, where I prefer 39-46 or 48.
Also, I have had problems with FSA cranks loosening up if not installed perfectly. No problems with the race face cadence so far. These cranks might not be a good deal for the lmost 200 they retail for, but at around 100 bucks most places they are a great deal, even with the junky bottom bracket.
Strengths: Look good.
Both standard road and compact setups shift well.
Stiff, and not terribly heavy.
Weaknesses: Lousy Bottom Bracket. Relatively sort bearing life, and tend to bind, and not spin smoothly.
Difficult to service.
I've had 2 of these cranksets, standard road, and compact. Both suffered from the same problem of short bearing life. Today, the chainrings almost spun off the spindle during a ride. When the LBS took a look and tried to tighten them, the BB felt gritty, and did not turn well. This bike doesn't get heavy use, and the cassette and chain are still original. Replaced the cranks with Shimano R-700, so I could use a standard BB, without having to hunt for parts.
Strengths: Smooth shifting
Not everyone has them
Weaknesses: Crappy BB
I got this crankset because I was interested in trying out a compact crankset. I've had nothing but good things to say about Race Face mountain cranksets in the past, so I figured that their road cranks would be just as good. The crankset came with Race Face's X-Type bottom bracket. I had my local LBS install the crankset for me. They informed me that the install was a breeze.
When I picked up the bike I was eager to go for a test ride. I took the bike out for a short 25 mile ride after work. The chaninrings shifted on par with my previous crankset chainrings (Dura Ace 7700 and FSA Carbon Pro). The outboard bb gives the cranks a stiff feel. The stiffness of the cranks is also on par with the above mentioned cranksets(they were used with an ocatlink bb). About half way into the ride I noticed that the cranks were not spinning as smooth as they should. When I finished the ride I dismounted to inspect the cranks. I gave the cranks a spin and they would only rotate a quarter turn.
The next day I took the bike back to the shop. They removed the cranks and bb to reveal that the bb's bearings on one side were shot. They replaced the bb with a Dura Ace bb. After replacing the bb, the cranks spun smoothly and all is fine. Since replacing the bb I have had no trouble. Thumbs down to Race Face for producing such a crappy bb.
To me the compact gearing just makes sense. If you're not a pro, why push pro gears? The slightly easier gears on the 50/36 crankset allows you to keep a higher cadence in the big chainring without crossing the chain so much.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a worthy set of cranks. I would put these cranks in the same category as Ultegra 6600, FSA Gossamer, and older FSA Carbon Pro's with octalink bb.