Shimano M761 XT Hollowtech II review£145.00

XT has always been a trail kit benchmark and the current Hollowtech II chainset is no different. Centred around broad, low profile hollow forged 'Hollowtech' crank arms, a lockring attached four bolt spider and an integrated steel axle, it's

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XT has always been a trail kit benchmark and the current Hollowtech II chainset is no different. Centred around broad, low profile hollow forged 'Hollowtech' crank arms, a lockring attached four bolt spider and an integrated steel axle, it's both impressively stiff, reasonably light and structurally tough. They're not quite as hard wearing as other brands though, and the finish of the arms looks tatty quickly.

Longevity of the external bottom bracket bearings has definitely improved since the early days - possibly because manufacturers are 'facing' their frames better - and they now last reasonably well. Those desperate to save another 10g could even upgrade them to XTR when they wear out. The integrated design with twin pinch bolts on the offside axle is an absolute joy to fit or remove compared to conventional or Race Face setups and we've had no loosening or creaking problems in any we've met yet. 170, 175 and 180mm versions are available to suit most leg lengths and the price is reasonable for the slick overall performance you're getting. We also like the fact you get the BB tools you need free, too.

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