Stiff and solid with a sleek finish and modular design boosting impressive versatility and adaptability, the Rotor Vegast is a good upgrade from a cheaper crankset or an interesting option if you're building your own bike.
The Vegast is one of two new modular cranks launched by the Spanish company perhaps best known for its oval chainrings. To remind everyone of its involvement in pro cycling, this crankset is named after three iconic European climbs, the VEleta, GAlibier and STelvio, featured in each of the Grand Tours the company has tasted victory.
It's the most affordable crankset Rotor offers using its new modular design concept first shown on the Aldhu a couple of years ago. The design offers two benefits: customisation and compatibility. The cranks can be fitted to most bottom bracket types (BB30, BB386, BBRight, BSA, ITSA, PF30, PF4130, UBB4630) and you can choose one or two chainrings, allowing you to easily get the correct setup for your needs.
Everything Rotor makes is machined from aluminium at its Spanish facility. The more expensive Aldhu cranks are CNC machined, while to keep the price down the Vegast arms are forged from 6082 aluminium. Despite that difference, they are beautifully made with a certain industrial appearance about them and finished to a very high standard with nicely understated graphics.
To save weight, excess material has been removed from the cranks using the company's Trinity Drilling System – three internal holes from axle to pedal that both reduce weight and increase stiffness. Rotor offers three crank lengths: 170, 172.5 (tested) and 175mm. The q-factor (the distance between the pedals, measured from the outside of the cranks) is 148-153mm depending on the axle you use.
The chainring is made from one piece of aluminium and features narrow/wide teeth profiling to minimise the risk of the chain falling off on rough terrain. There's a range of sizes from 38t at the smallest up to 54t for the biggest; I tested a 42t for road and gravel riding. There are also non-round Q Rings in the same sizes as well, but I prefer my rings round.
Vegast only comes with a 30mm bottom bracket – the more expensive Aldhu can be had with a 24mm axle option. The axle is similarly machined from aluminium and you can get all the necessary spacers you need to fit it to your bike. Rotor will supply a suitable bottom bracket to fit the 30mm axle to a 68mm threaded bottom bracket shell.
Weight on my scales is 369g for the cranks, 88g for the 42t chainring and 85g for the axle. Add the weight for a bottom bracket, an FSA BB386 in my case at an additional 52g, and you're looking at 594g in total.
I opted for a 1x setup for my Fairlight Cycles Secan, with a 42t single ring and that FSA BB386 bottom bracket I had spare to fit the oversize axle to the 68mm external threaded bottom bracket on my frame.
Installation was easy. You assemble the cranks, chainring and bottom bracket axle as per the instructions, fit it to the frame, make fine adjustments with the preload collar on the non-drive side, and off you go. It really couldn't be easier.
The chainring uses a splined interface to connect to the crank, the sort of design that a few other manufacturers are starting to embrace. This provides a modular design that does futureproof the crankset. Should I want to swap the chainring, or even add a second chainring, or upgrade the cranks, it's a straightforward operation and avoids having to buy a completely new crankset.
For the past few months that I've been testing this crankset it's gone about its business without fuss. The chain hasn't dropped once, the cranks haven't come loose, and regular inspection has revealed no need for any adjustment. It really is a case of fit-and-forget, just as it should be.
Stiffness is very good, too. I certainly wasn't able to detect any lack of power transfer when putting out as many watts as I could muster (which isn't many), but testing crank stiffness is very tricky this side of a dedicated testing rig. You're certainly not going to feel shortchanged if upgrading from a cheaper crankset to these and they compared favourably to other cranks from Shimano, SRAM and Praxis that I've been riding during the time I've been spinning the Rotors.
Durability has been fine as well. The crankset has endured a lot of use, mostly of the off-road variety, exploring my local bridleways and byways around the Cotswolds. I've noticed a few scuffs on the matt aluminium finish but they have cleaned out, and since I don't pedal with a heel-in style I've not experienced any permanent scuff wear issues as some riders can.
Priced up, the configuration I tested costs £266 sans bottom bracket. That's quite a lot cheaper than the Aldhu setup at £379, and less than the Praxis Zayante Carbon direct mount chainset tested previously, though you are getting carbon for the extra bling factor.
If you have your heart set on carbon, then SRAM's Force 1 crankset provides carbon cranks with a wide choice of single ring sizes for £248 RRP, but shopping around reveals a price of about 200 notes.
Perhaps the main rival is the crankset you already have fitted to your bike. You're going to buy this if you want to upgrade from a cheaper crankset on your current bike, or you're speccing your own bike and want to choose something a bit different. The wide compatibility and modular adjustment is a big factor to consider and a definite advantage over a Shimano or SRAM crankset.
Fitting is a doddle, and the ability to spec the chainset to suit your exact needs, and have the option to easily change the configuration at some point in the future should your needs change, is a big bonus.
Modular and customisable crankset offers good performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rotor Vegast 1x crankset
Size tested: 42t
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Rotor says, "When dreaming up the new Vegast cranks, we thought it only appropriate to pay tribute to ROTOR's racing heritage, and commemorate our three historic victories of the Grand Tours - Tour de France (2008), Vuelta España (2011) & Giro Italia (2012). Honoring three of the highest climbs of these iconic races, the Vegast is named after the Veleta, Galibier, and Stelvio, with an understanding of the sheer power and stamina needed to take on the steepest climbs of cycling.
"Much like our new Aldhu crankset, the Vegast is designed with a modular system, that allows you to select each crank component based on your unique bike setup and physical characteristics and includes both Road & Track versions. Choose your set-up from ROTOR's one-piece Direct Mount Q RINGS® or Round chainrings, or classic spider with oval or round chainrings.
"Our Direct Mount technology features a proprietary spline interface connecting crank arm, axle and chainring allowing you to easily assemble and disassemble your crankset with only one bolt. Combined with Q rings, OCP mount technology allows you to adjust your Optimal Chainring Position (OCP) to within one degree increments to precisely configure your unique OCP to maximize power output to your distinct pedaling style.
"Crafted using expert CNC processes, Vegast includes our Trinity Drilling System, with three internal holes from axle to pedal, giving the dual benefit of an exceptionally light crank with superior stiffness to take on the most challenging rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weight: 375g (170mm), 655g (170mm, road axle, 50/34DM Q rings)
Lengths Available: 170, 172, 175
Spindle Size: 30mm
Compatible with: BSA, ITA, BB86, BB30, BB30A, PF30, BBRight, BB386 Evo
It's not the cheapest upgrade but nor is it the most expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provides good performance, being stiff and light.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fitting is a doddle and the ability to spec the chainset to suit your exact needs, and have the option to easily change the configuration at some point in the future should your needs change, is a big bonus.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A bit pricier than some rivals.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a little dearer than some; at retail it's a bit more money than a SRAM Force 1 crank with carbon arms.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Smart modular design lets you easily customise the crankset for your needs, it's stiff and light and looks good. Overall, it's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.