German CNC mountain bike specialists Actofive Cycles slash the price of their beautifully-machined cranks in half with the new Signature X crankset. That’s because the new Signature X takes advantage of a more conventional 1-piece construction for each arm. The change significantly simplifies their CNC-machined construction and improves durability at the same time, while adding just 90g overall.
Plus, check out Actofive’s updated I-Train trail bike, too – now made even more in-house…
Actofive Signature X more affordable CNC-machined MTB crankset
Actofive makes a lot of amazing, intricately-machined aluminum bikes and components. But it isn’t lost on them that all that development, machining& hand-assembly time means the pricing is out of reach of most cyclists. At 800€ for Signature crankset – their “most affordable” component offering until now – founder Simon Metzner says he often has people tell him, “you make beautiful bikes and cranks, but I’m never going to consider buying them.”
So Simon set out to make his Signature cranks more affordable – while still keeping them under a 600g lightweight threshold.
To do that, Actofive machines the Signature X crank arms from a single piece of aluminum. On the outside that looks exactly like the hollow clamshell Signature cranks. And they can share the same slip-on protective crank boots. But by carefully designing, then machining out only the backside, the Signature X cranks require less than half as much machining time and also no need for bonding two halves together.
The end result is that the new cranks are almost as light at just 570g (without a chainring or BB). And since they don’t have two pieces glued together, they are more durable too.
Impact strength was another driver for developing the new cranks. Actofive says that their UCI EDR racing pro Vojta Bláha did manage to actually damage the original Signature cranks, by bashing the end of the arms into rocks at super high speeds. They didn’t break apart like we’ve seen with all the recent Shimano road scare, but needed to be replaced after a few intense World Cups. Now, Bláha has shifted to racing on the new Signature X crankset, reassured by the more durable construction.
The new Actofive Signature X crankarms are entirely CNC-machined in one-piece in Dresden, Germany from “high-strength aluminum”. They feature 168mm Q-factor in the long spindle mountain bike variant or 161.5mm Q-factor in a short spindle version for 1x gravel & cyclocross bikes.
The crankset is 1x specific with a SRAM 3-bolt direct mount chainring interface, and built-in self-extractor. It features a 29MM diameter spindle compatible with SRAM DUB bottom brackets, and includes a CNC-machined BB pre-loader ring.
The new Actofive Signature X cranks are EFBE TRI-TEST certified according to ASTM F2043-13 / EN 17406 CAT 5. That means DH certification, tested for even more gravity abuse than the original Signature cranks. Ride them for gravel, cyclocross, XC, trail, enduro, and DH.
Actofive Signature X cranks – Pricing, options & availability
The new made-in-Germany Actofive Signature X crankset retails for 390€ (including VAT), available with MTB Boost or CX/Gravel spindle lengths. Like everything else from Actofive, the new cranks officially come in limited productions runs. The next run is slated for December 2023 delivery, with pre-orders opening any day now. But since these are much more affordable than the standard Signature cranks, we expect there to be bigger numbers of the Xes. Fingers crossed.
The Signature X comes standard in 170mm lengths and in 4 or 5 stock colors per run. Pick from raw, silver, black, purple & blue for example. More colors are in the works, like a gray that Simon isn’t quite happy with yet. Of note is the raw finish which is actually more shiny than anodized silver. You can’t do the clamshell Signature cranks in raw because of negative effects of oxidation on the bonding. But you can with the new 1-piece Signature X cranks.
Actofive can also make them in custom lengths between 160-180mm if you get in touch. And if you aren’t in a giant hurry.
The Signature Xes include protective crank boots. Matching Signature chainrings add an extra between 119-149€, depending on size.
First Rides on the new Actofive Signature X cranks
We’ve rolled out of the Bespoked show with a Sour Crumble trail hardtail test bike. And it’s kitted out with these new Actofive Signature X cranks. And they already got a bit wet & dirty on my local trails.
So far, I’ve managed to keep from smashing them into any rocks. (And I don’t have the protective boots on my test cranks.) And they certainly look pretty. But even though I don’t plan to bash them into rocks like a pro enduro racer, it’s reassuring that they will likely stand up to any rock gardens I find along the way.
And while not exactly cheap, they seem like a solid value for a premium lightweight alloy crankset built to withstand abuse.
Updated Actofive I-Train CNC-machined trail bike
Since we first caught up with their shorter-travel 4-bar I-Train last spring, Actofive has been looking at ways to make more of the bike in-house. When they started building the bike earlier this year, Simon of Actofive chose to use a welded aluminum rear triangle produced by Nicolai, also made in Germany. That original choice was to help get the I-Train out the door in a timely manner.
But Simon ultimately wanted to machine more of the bike as soon as development and manufacturing capacities would allow.
That time is now.
Going forward, new I-Trains will feature a CNC-machined set of hollow-back seatstays. The update doesn’t impact performance per se. But it creates a more unified aesthetic like the P-Train. Now, with a straight line from the rocker back to the drop out. It also means a more consistent look. The new stays will be the exact same anodized color as the front triangle – something you can’t do with different alloys for machining and welding. That means the still-Nicolai-made chainstays will be a contrasting color.
No change in price or availability. An I-Train frame kit starts at 5450€ with a 12-20 week lead time.