For 2007, Shimano has finally woken up and taken some notice of their LX groupset. With arch rivals SRAM turning up the heat with its mid-line Truvativ Firex and Stylo cranks, Shimano has now made LX a fully fledged, big-hitting group, and one area which has improved is the crank.
Shimano have got the hollow alloy crank thing sewn up tight with their superb Hollowtech 2 process, which allows them to control the wall thicknesses in the hollow arms. The outer profile of the cranks has been tweaked from '06; they certainly look nicer, and the LX crank is stiff enough that only a very big legged, very sensitive rider would feel a difference.
We've always liked the no-nonsense look of Shimano cranks, they're stiff as they need to be but without the hype of other brands. Plus, we've used them on XC, all mountain, freeride and even DH bikes. They'll also work for singlespeeding if that's your weakness. The only significant downside is the softer alloy chain rings that we've chewed through quicker than others, especially in wet, gritty conditions. Switch to either TA or Stronglight ones for better wear. Overall, though, the Shimano LX is a crank that will make your bike a better ride. The 175mm crank, rings (22/32/44) and BB bearings weigh in at 927g.
The rather workmanlike LX is the crank you buy when you're less concerned about creation of some 'Pro' image and material buzzwords, and more bothered about not having to think the word 'crank' again for at least another five years.