Electric Vehicles For India Electric Bikes 5DEV Factory Tour + CNC Machined Gravel & MTB Crankset Review!

5DEV Factory Tour + CNC Machined Gravel & MTB Crankset Review!

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Last year, I made a trip down to San Diego to visit the manufacturing facility for 5DEV. Because I’m local to them, they reached out to invite me to their facility to try a prototype of their new gravel cranks… and they said that they were going to cut them on the CNC machine while I waited.

Um… yeah, thanks!

5DEV is the younger bike division of a larger, and more established machining company called 5th Axis. 5th Axis is a leader in the manufacturing of complex components for the aerospace and medical industries.

The co-founders of 5th Axis/5DEV are cyclists that have been mountain biking for over 30 years. With the shortage of parts during the pandemic causing huge wait times to receive new components for their bikes, they decided to start building their own stuff.

All of the products 5DEV offers are designed and manufactured in-house out of aerospace-grade billet aluminum using a patented tooling system using efficient processes while managing the design and construction from the start to the finish.

When I got down to the San Diego area, I met Will Talbot at their facility, and we started the tour.

5DEV chainring blanks
Chainring blanks

The 5DEV Factory Tour

The facility, although neat, clean, and quite organized, initially looked like a typical, albeit, high-end machine shop. As I walked through the 5DEV office area where I got to meet some of the behind-the-scene 5DEV crew, I started seeing bits and parts that I actually recognized… in other words, bike stuff. This was going to be fun.

We walked out of the 5DEV office area, and back into the shop. We wound our way through a maze of (what seemed like) countless CNC machines to get to the one that would be cutting the new cranks.

5DEV Gravel prototype Cranks
My Gravel Crank arms are not entirely done.

5DEV did most of the machining on the pair of crank arms that I was to take home prior to my arrival. Once I got there, they put them back in the machine and let me watch them finish the process.

The crank arms went into their 5th Axis proprietary tooling and they queued up the machine. It was fun watching the CNC machine do what it does, putting the finishing touches on the cranks.

The machine effortlessly cut the final shape of the arms while smoothing all of the edges, and threading the spots for the chainrings and pedals. It really didn’t take long at all.

I got the arms right off of the machine and will be using them on the bike as they are, with the raw aluminum and no finish. They are as pretty as they look in person.

5DEV Cranks On the Bike

The prototype Gravel Cranks us the SRAM 8 bolt pattern to attach the chainring, They didn’t have any chainrings for these cranks when I got the arms, so they sent me home with a set of their Trail/Enduro cranks and their 12% oval chainring for my Surly Krampus (that I brought with me).

But there are two chainrings available on the website now, called Road Gravel Classic Chainrings in 40t and 42t.

5DEV Gravel Cranks weight

Actual Weight

Both the prototype Gravel Cranks and their Trail/Enduro Cranks are made of 7075-7651 billet aluminum. They are built to be both light and strong. The Trail/Enduro cranks weigh in at the claimed weight of 525g (w/ 30mm spindle) with the Gravel Cranks weighing in at 491g with a 29mm spindle.

There aren’t a lot of cosmetic differences between the two different cranks. But, upon closer inspection, you can see the subtle differences between the Trail/Enduro and Gravel cranks.

The Gravel Cranks have slightly more refined corners and extra chamfering on the edge of the arm going further up the arm from the pedal to towards the extraction bolt. Plus a little less material around the base of the arm (at the extraction bolt) on the Gravel Cranks. These few areas of eliminated material are the source of the 34g lighter weight difference on the Gravel Cranks.

They both use Chromoly steel crank bolts with self-extracting hardware. The Trail/Enduro as well as these Gravel cranks come with a 5-year warranty.

5DEV Trail/Enduro Cranks

5DEV Enduro Cranks on the trail against a tree

The Trail/Enduro cranks that I installed on my Krampus were installed without a hitch. I am still using the Race Face bottom bracket that was on my bike already, and with a single 2.5mm spacer on the non-drive side, and the chain line was perfect. I’m running the 175mm crank arm length and their small 12% oval, 28t chainring (old knees and occasional bikepacking loads) with a Shimano XT 11-46 cassette.

Since I’ve installed the Trail/Enduro cranks on the Krampus I’ve put roughly 500 miles on it in the last 6 months. In that time, I’ve not had a single issue. The alloy bearing pre-loader that comes with the cranks, hasn’t loosened up over time, like others that I’ve used in the past.

5DEV Enduro Cranks purple close up

The cranks don’t feel like they have any lateral or “noodly” movement. They feel stiff, while delivering the power on really hard efforts, and feel light when spinning. And they look amazing.

The aesthetics remind me of the aftermarket “blingy” crankset offerings that were in abundance “back in the day”, like the Kookas, Hersheys, and Cook Brothers, except that 5DEV gets it right. Like really, really right.

5DEV Gravel Cranks (prototype)

5DEV Gravel Cranks on Incanto.jpeg

The Gravel Cranks I received to test, were brought home to use on my gravel bike Dream Build. They turned out to be the perfect cranks for the Masi Incanto Ti. They really popped on the build, being a highlight on the finished product.

5DEV Gravel Cranks on the trail

These cranks have a 170mm arm length with an 8-bolt chainring mounting interface which will be on the production cranks. The Trail/Enduro cranks have the more common 3-bolt interface.

5DEV prototype Gravel Cranks on white fence

At the moment, I am using a Wolf Tooth Powertrac Elliptical 38t chainring with it.

5DEV prototype Gravel Cranks muddy
5DEV prototype Gravel Cranks in LA

The build was completed back in early December 2022, and so far I have about 300 miles on these cranks. They’ve really been flawless. The finish on the raw aluminum I received has remained un-scathed even with a 25-mile mud-fest I’ve done under their belt. So far, they seem to be holding up really well.

Retail Price

Trail/Enduro Crank retail: $499 ($349 for 135mm and 140mm)

Trail/Enduro sizes: 135mm, 145mm. 155mm, 160mm, 165mm, 170mm, 175mm

Gravel Cranks: $499

Gravel Crank sizes: Both 170mm, and 172.5mm will be available first, with 167.5mm, and 175mm to follow. More sizes coming Summer of ’23.

Chainrings: $99 (round, 6% oval, 12% oval)

Colors available: Clear Raw Anno, Black

Spindle sizes: 30mm boost or 29mm “DUB” boost

In Conclusion

5DEV prototype Gravel Cranks on bridge

With my having the unique opportunity to ride both cranks in the associated disciplines, I can safely say that I would absolutely recommend either one of these cranks. The 5DEV cranks offer not only great performance but so far, seem to be reliable while adding a wild aesthetic to your current steed, taking the bling level up a notch.

5DEV Cranks is offering made-in-USA, boutique products that appear to be worth the money. The cranks not only offer the look of a boutique handmade product, but deliver on the performance side as well. That’s really what you want in a crank – light, good power transfer, a fit that stays tight, and a kick-ass look that adds to your bike’s swagger. The 5DEV cranks do that in spades.

Check out the other goods that 5DEV has to offer by hitting the link below.



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