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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Excellent stiffness from this direct mount chainset which allows you to switch easily from double to single-ring setups
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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?
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)
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.
About the tester
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.