Shimano XT 8000 crankset review£150.00

Structurally great, cosmetically disappointing

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Shimano’s latest single-ring option has outstanding rings and super tough arms. But continued skinny-axle-only limitations and terrible cosmetic durability let it down.

Shimano’s extensively evolved hollow forged arm designs have been a benchmark for structural toughness for years now and XT is no different. Compared with other 24mm axle cranks they’re very stiff too, but that edge is lost when you stamp on them alongside 30mm axle opposition. That’s more of an issue now due to the fact you can fit 30mm axles into pretty much any frame you want if you use a convertor BB.

While the spider has bolt holes for an inner ring to make it triple- and twin-ring back-compatible, it adds needless weight to a solo setup. It’s permanently fixed too, so there’s no direct-mount option.

The single chainring is a stunning piece of innovative, ultra-durable design. The low-scooped DCE tooth profile consistently refuses to let go of the chain however clumsily we ride.

The use of a steel-tooth ring in a composite sandwich means fantastic chainring durability (and longer chainring life) as well as retaining stiffness all the way to the outer edge. But despite continual complaints about scuff damage starting immediately on previous generation Shimano cranks, the latest XT are worse than ever – and there’s no longer a silver option to disguise it better either.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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