Shimano XTR 9020 crankset review£370.00

Lightweight, ultra-durable performance

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Shimano makes two versions of its flagship XTR crank: the fractionally lighter 9000 XC crank and the 9020 crank here. Both are very user-friendly and ultra-durable too, although not as light as the latest carbon competition and not much cheaper either.

The difference between the two XTR versions is in the way the hollow alloy crank arms are created. 9000 cranks are bonded together while the 9020 arms and spider are forged in one piece.

Threaded inner chainring mounts mean it can be set up in a double- or even triple-ring configuration. It also comes in the widest selection of arm lengths, from 165 through to 180mm.

A plastic preload cap and two opposing 5mm clamp bolts on the offside arm create a deceptively simple yet secure connection. However, the steel axle only comes in a standard skinny 24mm version, and together with the multi-chainring spider and big spider syncing blocks the chainring bolts screw into, these alloy cranks are over 100g heavier than the lightest carbon competition.

They feel solid under power though and they’re seriously tough in terms of crash and rock-scrape-resilience. The translucent anodised finish also scuffs more slowly than XT items.

The low-scoop DCE chainrings are very secure and smooth-running too. The use of a ring of titanium teeth sandwiched into a composite carrier ring means our sample is barely showing any wear after a year of use.

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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