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Verdict: 
Excellent stiffness from this direct mount chainset which allows you to switch easily from double to single-ring setups
Weight: 
614g

The Praxis Zayante Carbon M30 Direct Mount chainset is a decently priced carbon fibre option available in a range of lengths and chainring sizes, and thanks to its direct mount fitting system you can swap in a 1x setup for a bit of off-road action. Shifting is impressive, as is the stiffness.

  • Pros: Excellent stiffness levels, good range of options including sub-compact
  • Cons: Specific tool for fitting the specific bottom bracket adds to the cost

What differentiates the Zayante to most other chainsets on the market is the fact that the spider – the 'legs' that the chainrings bolt onto – isn't part of the drive side crank setup.

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When you open the box you'll find the drive side crank complete with 28/30mm axle, the non-drive side crank, and a separate spider with two chainrings. The spider – or X-Spider as Praxis calls it – attaches to the back of the crank using three T25 Torx bolts and this is where the Direct Mount part of its name comes from. It means you can also add aftermarket power meters from the likes of SRM or Powerlink to the crank, and Praxis even offers the Zayante Carbon with a 4iiii Precision power meter for £500.

It also means that you can swap between a double setup like you have here to one of Praxis' Direct Mount Wave 1x chainrings (review of the 42t coming soon) without hassle or any bodging. It could be quite handy if you use your gravel bike for weekly commuting on the road but then like to hit the hilly trails at the weekend, for example.

Quick fit

Installing and removing the crankset is quick and easy, so even if swapping the rings over was a common occurrence it wouldn't take you more than 10 minutes.

The Zayante comes in four options, the 48/32 sub-compact I'm testing here, 50/34 compact, 52/36 semi-compact and 53/39 for the racers or those who just need big gears.

> How to get ultra-low gearing for gravel bike adventures

While most compact chainrings use a BCD (bolt circle diameter) of 110mm, with both the inner and outer rings attaching at the same point, Praxis has gone for an outer ring of 160mm BCD and just 104mm for the inner.

If you look at a Shimano Ultegra (or any Shimano) chainset from the rear you'll see how far the mounting bolt is from the teeth of the outer ring, and that's a lot of material. On this 48-tooth Praxis outer ring the bolt sits just below the teeth, which means the ring can be a lot smaller in area, with the 104mm BCD achieving the same for the inner rings. The upshot: less weight and no discernible flex.

Praxis has used the same size BCD throughout all its X-ring options, so all sizes in the range will fit on the X-Spider. It's a shame that the rings don't appear to be able to be purchased separately.

Stiff stuff

In use, I found the Zayante to be very good, with plenty of stiffness through the cold-forged alloy rings and carbon cranks.

Praxis uses various profiled teeth in much the same way as Shimano and others do, so the clean gear changes were nothing unexpected. I never had any missed shifts and the chain would happily drop from the big to small ring under load.

Weight and value

Carbon fibre cranksets are rarely a value for money upgrade that's worth making for anything other than looks. You don't really save a massive amount of weight and the stiffness benefits can be negligible over the very best alloy cranks. The Zayante stacks up pretty well, though, at £300 when you compare it to some of the competition after an albeit brief trawl over the internet.

A carbon crank Campagnolo Chorus is around £319.99 and a SRAM Red about £339. Even an alloy Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 is going to set you back £299.99 and it's just 14g lighter. These are all web prices too, not the rrp; shop around and you can get the Praxis around 40 quid cheaper.

Extras…

As with all chainsets, you'll need to buy a bottom bracket to attach it to your bike and the Praxis M30 model to suit the 30mm spindle is pricier than most at £34.99 (an Ultegra BBR-60 can be had for a bit over £15).

There's a huge selection of bottom brackets to choose from, though: the Zayante will work with BSA, BB86, 386 EVO, BB30, PF30, T47, BBRight and the older Specialized OSBB.

You'll also need to buy the specific M30 fitting tool, which will set you back another £15 so it all adds up.

On the whole, though, the Zayante is a very good chainset in all aspects, especially if you want the option of the sub-compact ring sizes.

Verdict

Excellent stiffness from this direct mount chainset which allows you to switch easily from double to single-ring setups

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Praxis Zayante Carbon M30 Direct Mount chainset

Size tested: 48/32

Tell us what the product is for

Praxis says, "The all new carbon Zayante X road crank delivers the ultimate marriage of lightness, stiffness and versatility with its rigid carbon arms, 30mm spindle and direct mount interface that our new X-Spider or single DM rings mount to. The name Zayante comes from an epic redwood-covered road climb here in Santa Cruz and we know it will help you soar to new heights with its new cold forged X-Ring chainrings (included) and M30 bottom brackets (required and sold separately). The Zayante Carbon installs with our M30 BSA, BB86, 386EVO, BB30, PF30, T47, BBRight or older Specialized OSBB road frame."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Praxis:

Carbon arms | Direct Mount X-Spider 160/104BCD

165 / 170 / 172.5 / 175 lengths

X-Rings 48/32, 50/34, 52/36, 53/39 | DM1X 38T, 40T, 42T

M30 Spindle | Requires Praxis M30 BB

Works with 10/11sp chains

Approximate weight 615 +/- (172.5 with 50/34)

Q-Factor 147mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Easy to install and the shifting is just as good as any of the big brands.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

High levels of stiffness and great shifting.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's a shame that you need another tool to fit the required bottom bracket rather than sticking to existing standards.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

At £300 the Zayante Carbon M30 represents decent value for money against many other carbon chainsets if you are in the market for an upgrade. The Direct Mount design makes it simple and easy to switch from 2x to 1x setups as well, ideal for bikes that do a bit of everything.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

13 comments

Avatar
iso2000 [110 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Still no bottom bracket for a Trek BB90 road though. Is that a licensing/ patent issue or a technical limitation?

Avatar
iso2000 [110 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

-

Avatar
Cowoner [1 post] 3 months ago
0 likes

Is the 4-bolt pattern the standard Shimano style?
And do direct mount chainrings from other manufacturers work on the cranks?
Both Zayante cranks look super interesting but if they try to build a fully self-contained eco-system I definitely won't buy any of them...
Already annoyed enough about the one-off BB and tool, if they force me to buy chainrings exclusively from them it's just a no-go for me, no matter how good the cranks themselves are....

Avatar
clayfit [125 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

 -

Avatar
Stu Kerton [103 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Cowoner wrote:

Is the 4-bolt pattern the standard Shimano style?
And do direct mount chainrings from other manufacturers work on the cranks?

As far as I'm aware all Shimano road chainsets of the four bolt pattern are standardised at 110mm BCD across the range regardless of the number of teeth on the ring so they won't fit.

These Praxis ones uses a BCD of 160mm on the outer ring and 104mm on the inner. 

Avatar
mrml [38 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

"It also means that you can swap between a double setup like you have here to one of Praxis' Direct Mount Wave 1x chainrings (review of the 42t coming soon) without hassle or any bodging. It could be quite handy if you use your gravel bike for weekly commuting on the road but then like to hit the hilly trails at the weekend, for example."

 

I can't get my head around this.  Swapping between a double and 1x at the weekend?  Which one isn't suitable for commuting on?  What do you do with the front mech, cable, and left shifter?

 

 

 

 

Avatar
Ogi [164 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

@mrml

Don't you have a separate gravel bike with 1x setup (shifter, brakes, RD), but no crank? Come on, you need to catch up with the trend. One crank - 5 bike approach. 

Avatar
janusz0 [214 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Stu Kerton wrote:

As far as I'm aware all Shimano road chainsets of the four bolt pattern are standardised at 110mm BCD across the range regardless of the number of teeth on the ring so they won't fit.

These Praxis ones uses a BCD of 160mm on the outer ring and 104mm on the inner. 

TA makes 4 bolt 104 mmm bcd chainrings down to 30 tooth. I have no idea whether they would will fit.

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [339 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
iso2000 wrote:

Still no bottom bracket for a Trek BB90 road though. Is that a licensing/ patent issue or a technical limitation?

BB90 (and BB86) use bearings with an OD of 37 mm, and because of that small bearing size are only suitable for 24 mm spindles.

Avatar
iso2000 [110 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:
iso2000 wrote:

Still no bottom bracket for a Trek BB90 road though. Is that a licensing/ patent issue or a technical limitation?

BB90 (and BB86) use bearings with an OD of 37 mm, and because of that small bearing size are only suitable for 24 mm spindles.

I see, thanks for the reply. If I wanted a sub-compact I think I can fit something from FSA. Do you know if that is correct?

Avatar
John Stevenson [386 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

iso2000 wrote:

If I wanted a sub-compact I think I can fit something from FSA. Do you know if that is correct?

FSA makes a bottom bracket that will put a BB386 crank in a frame that's bored for 86mm Shimano  press-fit:

https://shop.fullspeedahead.com/en/type/bottom-brackets-spares/bb386-cra...

This illustration shows two bearing holders that overlap inside the shell, implying that it might work with BB90 as that would just reduce the overlap by a few millimetres.

Avatar
iso2000 [110 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:
iso2000 wrote:

If I wanted a sub-compact I think I can fit something from FSA. Do you know if that is correct?

FSA makes a bottom bracket that will put a BB386 crank in a frame that's bored for 86mm Shimano  press-fit:

https://shop.fullspeedahead.com/en/type/bottom-brackets-spares/bb386-cra...

This illustration shows two bearing holders that overlap inside the shell, implying that it might work with BB90 as that would just reduce the overlap by a few millimetres.

 

thanks, maybe I should buy another bike.

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [339 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:

implying that it might work with BB90

Ummmm... no. There's no chance of it working. Trek's BB90 has a shell ID of 37 mm, not the 41 mm of Shimano's BB86. Search for "problem solvers bottom bracket standards" to find a nice pdf with diagrams in it.

Personally, I won't buy a Trek because of their nasty proprietary BB90. It's BSA, BB386EVO, or T47 for me.