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Object of Desire: FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

Cyclingnews takes a closer look at FSA's latest work of art - the super-light K-Force Team Edition crankset

What is a hands on review?
FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset resting on concrete floor
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Our Early Verdict

A super-light, beautifully designed crankset aimed at providing riders with the perfect balance between weight and stiffness

For

  • Lightweight
  • Visual allure
  • Self-extracting crank design
  • Four crank length options (165/170/172.5/175mm)
  • Relatively easy installation, granted you've got the correct spacer kit

Against

  • Pricey
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

The crankarms feature a decorative TeXtreme carbon weave, a recipe that is proven to offer better resilience and stiffness than the unidirectional equivalent (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

Further details include a 'brushed aluminium' band that runs along the crankarm and chainring webbing (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

KF-L STE acronym stands for K-Force Light Super Team Edition (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

The self-extracting design makes it easy to fit and remove, and takes the guesswork often involved with fitting a crankset out of the equation (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

It's available in four crankarm lengths - 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

FSA has done a stellar job in terms of creating a balance when it comes to texture, colour, and the play between gloss and matte surfacing (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Full Speed Ahead (FSA) is a pioneer when it comes to cranksets, chainrings and all things bicycle component related. The company has also recently ventured into the highly competitive world of road bike groupsets with its wireless-electronic FSA K-Force WE (disc and rim), but the firm is undoubtedly better known for its cranksets.

As the cycling world panders to what has now become an obsession - stronger, lighter and faster components have become the order of the day - as one of the industry's chief proponents of carbon-fibre development, FSA has naturally obliged and produced its finest cranksets ever, the K-Force Team Edition. As a K-Force-branded item, it's very light but also incredibly stiff and beautifully designed.

What makes the K-Force Team Edition crankset pictured here even more special is the fact that this first-look review represents a world exclusive. Here's what we think so far...

Design and aesthetics

Aesthetically, FSA has done a superb job in terms of creating a balance when it comes to texture, colour, and the play between gloss and matte surfacing. Black is the go-to colour when it comes to cranksets - for obvious reasons - but FSA has dialled in a series of exquisite details to help it stand out from the rabble of its ubiquitous rivals. 

As a result, the crankarms feature a decorative TeXtreme carbon weave, a recipe that is proven to offer better resilience and stiffness than the unidirectional equivalent. Further details include a 'brushed aluminium' band on the crankarm that runs diagonally across the crank-bolt end and lines up with a similar brushed aluminium treatment on the chainring, cleverly bookending the K-Force logo. 

The K-Force branding is only applied to the company's finest products and represents its lightest carbon road cycling components. As expected, FSA has made a big noise about this fact and liberally sprinkled the K-Force moniker across the crankset. Other garnishes include a gloss-black KF-L STE logo (an acronym for K-Force Light Super Team Edition) on the lower section of the crank - a touch that contrasts the matte carbon look of the arm.

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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

Eleven-speed options range from 53/39T, 52/36T, 50/30T to 48/32T, and also includes a super-compact 46/30T combination (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

The modularity of the direct-mount construction means swapping out chainrings is also a relatively simple exercise (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

The crankset sticks with FSA's BB386EVO system, which works with most current bottom bracket standards (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

A closer look at the carbon-fibre crankarm finish (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

According to FSA the BB386EVO system supplies a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio other variations (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Object of Desire series

Specifications

Weighing in at 557g on our scales (crankarms, chainrings and spindle), the K-Force Team Edition is one of the lightest cranksets available. Manufactured from 3k carbon fibre, the hollow construction carbon-fibre crank arms are available in four lengths - 165, 170, 172.5 and 175mm. The wide, flat blueprint of the arms supply good heel clearance which, in turn, should also help prevent unwanted scuff marks. The cranks have also been treated to an anti-scuff/scratch varnish to help keep things looking fresher for longer.

In terms of the bottom bracket, the crankset sticks with FSA's BB386EVO system, which works with most current bottom bracket standards - threaded or press fit. The spindle is 30mm in diameter and machined from AL7050 aluminum. According to FSA, this BB standard supplies a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio thanks to the bearings which are positioned further apart than the BB30 equivalent.

Further helping stave off the lard is its direct-mount design philosophy which foregoes the need for a spider. The self-extracting design makes it easy to fit and remove, and takes the guesswork often involved with fitting a crankset out of the equation. The modularity of the direct-mount construction means swapping out chainrings is also a relatively simple exercise. 

Speaking of chainrings, the K-Force Team Edition can be had in myriad configurations ranging in options from 11- to 12-speed. Eleven-speed options come in sizes from 53/39T, 52/36T, 50/30T to 48/32T, and also includes a super-compact 46/30T combination. For SRAM users, there are four 12-speed combinations - 53/40T, 52/39T, 50/37T as well as a super-compact 46/33T option.

Ceramic bearings and spacer kits are available as optional extras.

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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

The FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset fitted to this writer's Cannondale SuperSlice Disc TT bike (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

Ceramic bearings are an optional extra... (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

...as is spacer kit which is needed to properly align and fit and crankset (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Early verdict

The FSA K-Force Team Edition is incredibly light when compared to its rivals from Japan, Italy and the USA. This fact alone is likely to attract weight weenies and those looking for extra incremental gains in their droves. In terms of real-world field testing, I'll be using the K-Force Team Edition on my Cannondale SuperSlice Disc TT bike - the 53/39T chainring combination together with the low weight and claimed stiffness should help my quest for a sub-20 minute 10-mile time.

It also looks incredible. The level of detail is exquisite - both in terms of the carbon crankarms and machined aluminium chainring webbing - which help distinguish it from its rivals from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo.

The big question, however, hinges around its pricing. At £799.95 / €799, it is an expensive proposition but it is positioned at the upper end of the spectrum. Is it worth the 64g or thereabout weight saving over the Shimano Dura-Ace equivalent? Well, that's always going to be hard to quantify but it certainly feels feathery and looks incredibly well put together. 

We'll be putting this crankset to work in the coming months to bring you the definitive verdict. Like what you see? It's only available for purchase in 2022.

Tech Specs: FSA K-Force Team Edition crankset

  • Price: £799.95 / €799
  • Weight: 557g (actual, crankarms, chainrings and spindle)
  • Material: Carbon fibre
  • Crank length: 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm
  • Chain rings: 53/39T, 52/36T, 50/30T, 48/32T, 46/30T
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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.