High-end three-piece cranks
Solid gravity cranks
Carbon twin ring
Smooth shifting cranks
Trail classic with disappointing bottom bracket
Limited edition light yet strong cranks
Easy-off bolts for ISIS cranks
Our chosen representative from the dirt-jumping contingent, this three-piece crank from Gusset is known to be one of the strongest cranks on the market
Tough steel cranks that are well worth the money
A good choice if you want a light crank but don’t like carbon
Carbon has been touted as the next big thing in cranksets for a few years now, but the WMB test team remain to be convinced.
The 7050 alloy is cold forged into smoothly flowing 'I beam' cross section arms and spider with a medium walled hollow steel axle that's fixed permanently into the drive side.
Race Face's mid-range XC cranks are purposeful looking units that'll pimp any bike. The cold forged construction is obvious in the largely rough finish
External bottom brackets are great, but the cranks aren't always tough enough for the abuse that some riders dish out. For DMR, though, making tough stuff is what they do.
For dirt/jumping, there are three-piece cranks and there are Profile three-piece cranks. Since 1979, Profiles have been the benchmark products in this hard-fought category. The arms are made from tapered 4130 chromoly steel, the 48-
Despite the amount of long travel suspension bikes blurring the XC/Freeride boundary, there's surprisingly little tough but not overweight componentry to equip them. Race Face's Atlas cranks are bang on, though.
Shimano has already hinted at significant changes for the chainset in its new 2006 group set (more on this next month), but XTR is still king of the heap in lightweight XC terms. The low profile, Hollowtech Duralumin arms are forged in the
The Atlas crank was one of the first components designed for tough XC 'All Mountain' bikes, and it's still a super tough, premium piece. The stiff 'I Beam' arms are fully CNC machined from 'Optim-Al' alloy with crisp, clean edges giving the unique Race Face look. A medium walled cromo axle is fixed into the offside crank for an impressively stout feel underfoot and we've beaten the crap out of them without any worries. They are a real strain to install/remove though, so have your spinach before any spannering.
Race Face's lightest XC cranks shares the chunky family looks but has all excess weight machined away. The result is light without making you wary of giving them a wallop occasionally. The butted steel axle means they feel stiff and positive through the pedals. The splined fix onto the driveside needs some muscle to fit/remove, but once on, they're de?nitely on and we've never had loosening or creak problems mid-ride. The rings are good, durable and sweet shifting pieces too, with no trace of flex or chain fumble even under maximum power.
Original kit on masses of mid-price bikes, a Firex crank isn't a bad upgrade option either.
Shimano have loaded most of their best new tricks into the LX chainset and the result is unbeatable on up to date value. Their 'so clever it's sorcery' Hollowtech hollow forged crank arm gives serious underfoot stiffness through the integrated axle.
These cranks from German über machinists Tune are a cosmetic kick back to the glory days of Grafton and Cook Bros over a decade ago. They're still damn light, though.