Best Mountain Bike Cranksets – Tests & Buying Guide

Mountain biking is a popular sport that’s growing in popularity worldwide. Choosing the best mountain bike cranksets for those who enjoy mountain biking is essential for getting the most out of your ride. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best mountain bike cranksets on the market and testing them to see which is the best for you.

Race Face CK16AA170BLU Cranksets

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Race Face’s Atlas Cinch Crank Arms are built to handle even the rowdiest rides. The forged back pocket design delivers an impenetrable construction developed to withstand the most aggressive D.H. and freeride pounding. Chainring mounting options with the Cinch crank arm mean you can run a direct mount single ring, a spider, or switch between the two. A new axle system gives you the versatility to use the crank arms with a wide range of bottom bracket sizes.

Features

  • Infinite Range of Adjustment for Chainring and Bottom Bracket Compatibility
  • New Axle: Enables Double Chainring & Single Chainring
  • 12% Stiffer than the Turbine with the Same Weight
  • New 3D Forged Back Pocket Design
  • Lateral Stiffness Without Sacrificing Hard Charging Looks
  • Swap Chainring
  • Bottom Bracket Compatibility Without Having to Replace Crankset

Pros

  • Quality build
  • high performance
  • elegant

Cons

  • quite heavy

SHIMANO Altus FC-M311 3×7/8 Crankset

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With Shimano’s Altus FC-M311 crank on your bike, you can take on your cycling goals-whatever they are! The fast-spinning, 7/8-speed chainrings are crafted from aluminum, while their steel construction adds excellent durability. The crank’s aluminum arms feature a plastic chainguard to shield your pant legs from chain slap. The crank’s bottom bracket is not included, but it’s designed with a 9/16-inch pedal spindle for compatibility with most pedals.

Features

  • Designed for 7/8 speed
  • Aluminum crank arms with steel axle
  • Lock ring for crank arm security
  • Chainguard

Pros

  • integrated chain guard design
  • good price
  • compatibility

Cons

  • does not come with the crankset

SRAM Crank Xx1 Eagle Boost

SRAM Crank X01 Eagle Boost 148 34t X-sync 2 Chainring X01 Eagle is the next generation 1x drivetrain from SRAM. The X-SYNC 2 chainring features a more secure chain attachment method. The X-HORIZON rear derailleur’s shorter cage and Shadow+ technology give a 12-speed performance. Both the X-SYNC 2 chainring and the X-HORIZON rear derailleur are compatible with all SRAM 1×11 drivetrains and SRAM RED front and rear derailleurs.

Features

  • High-quality dual-sided ring
  • 7075-T6 aluminum
  • Weight reduction cut-out design
  • Hard coating
  • Externally accessible carbon

Pros

  • high-end performance
  • incredibly light
  • quality construction

Cons

  • pretty expensive

SHIMANO M361 Hybrid Crankset

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SHIMANO M361 Hybrid Crank Sets are the perfect solution for the recreational rider looking for an affordable and quality crankset. The Square bottom bracket design reduces weight maximizes stiffness and improves acceleration. Easily adjust the chain ring position. The Shimano Acera crankset is suited for use with 8 or 9-speed derailleurs. They feature replaceable chainring and shifting guide

Features

  • Versatile Crank Set
  • Alloy Construction
  • Quiet, Long-Lasting Performance
  • 8-Speed Compatible
  • Includes Two Bolt-In Chainrings
  • One Set of Bolts to Mount Chainrings
  • Uses Standard “P” Type Bottom Bracket
  • Compatible with 8 or 9 Speed Cassette
  • Comes with Chain Guard
  • Includes Shimano 418 Bottom Bracket

Pros

  • sustainable construction
  • easy to install
  • light
  • maximum power transfer

Cons

  • pretty expensive

SHIMANO Tourney FC-TY501 Crankset

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Shimano is renowned for quality products that offer the best performance at an affordable price. The Shimano Tourney FC-TY501 Crankset is no exception to this rule. This crank is for 6/7/8-speed bikes and is constructed with aluminum alloy. The crank also features a plastic chainguard to protect the rider’s legs, and the bottom bracket is a JIS Square taper type.

Features

  • High-quality Shimano crank.
  • Crank length 170mm
  • chainring size is 44t.
  • 6/7/8-speed Square Cranksets
  • Comes with a bottom bracket
  • 9/16″ Pedal Spindle Interface
  • 3 x 6/7/8-Speed

Pros

  • affordable
  • high-end performance
  • durable

Cons

  • weight

How To Choose The Best Mountain Bike Crankset?

Choosing the best mountain bike crankset can be overwhelming, but a few key factors can help narrow down your options. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Compatibility: The first thing to consider is compatibility with your bike’s drivetrain. Ensure the crankset you’re considering is compatible with your bike’s bottom bracket and chainring size.

2. Material: Most cranksets are made from either aluminium or carbon fibre. Aluminium is more affordable and durable, while carbon fibre is lighter and provides a more responsive feel. Choose the material that best fits your budget and riding style.

3. Length: The length of the crank arms can impact your pedalling efficiency and comfort. Longer crank arms provide more leverage and are best suited for taller riders, while shorter crank arms are better for faster riders and those who prefer a more efficient pedalling stroke.

4. Number of chainrings: Most mountain bike cranksets have one, two, or three chainrings. A single chainring (1x) setup is becoming increasingly popular as it simplifies the drivetrain and reduces weight. In contrast, a double (2x) or triple (3x) setup provides a wider range of gears for climbing and descending.

5. Chainring size: The size of the chainring(s) can also affect your pedalling efficiency and the terrain you can ride. Larger chainrings provide a higher gear ratio and are better suited for faster, flatter terrain. In comparison, smaller chainrings provide a lower gear ratio and are better for climbing and technical terrain.

6. Brand and price: Consider the brand reputation and price point. Look for reputable brands that offer quality components and warranties, and choose a price point that fits your budget.

Here are some additional tips for choosing a mountain bike crankset:

  • If you are a beginner, choosing a one-piece crankset is a good idea. One-piece cranksets are more durable and can withstand the rigours of off-road riding.
  • If you are an experienced rider, consider a three-piece crankset. Three-piece cranksets are less expensive and can be easily upgraded if you change the chainring size or the bottom bracket.
  • Consider a carbon fibre crankset if you are looking for a lightweight crankset. Carbon fibre cranksets are more expensive than aluminium cranksets but are also much lighter.
  • If you want a crankset good for climbing hills, choose a crankset with a smaller chainring. A smaller chainring will provide a lower gear range, making it easier to pedal uphill.
  • Choose one with a larger chainring if you want a crankset good for going fast. A larger chainring will provide a higher gear range, making it easier to go fast.

Following these tips, you can choose the best mountain bike crankset.

Construction Materials

-All mountain bike cranksets use an alloy steel chain wheel and sprocket. Most alloy cranksets use 4130 or 4140 Chromoly for the chain wheel.

The most popular mountain bike crankset is the Shimano XT M8000. This crank uses a 48-tooth sprocket and a 10-speed chain. It is made from an alloy steel chain wheel and sprocket with a brass bolt that helps to keep the gears quiet. This crank also uses a standard 52-tooth chainring to be used with most mountain bike chains. The XT M8000 also has a long Life because of its durability and lightweight design.

Another popular mountain bike crank is the SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-speed. This crank uses a 42-tooth sprocket and a 12-speed chain. It is made from an alloy steel chain wheel and sprocket with a forged aluminium head that makes it durable and lightweight. The XO1 Eagle also uses an 11-tooth power ring, which gives it great range and speed. It is perfect for racing or aggressive riding on technical trails.

If you are looking for something more versatile than just an

Mountain Bike Crank Length

There’s no one definitive answer to this question as it depends on a rider’s weight, height, and riding style. However, we’ve compiled a list of the best mountain bike crank lengths based on our testers’ experiences.

If you’re a beginner or an intermediate rider, choosing a crankset shorter than standard will give you more maneuverability when cycling uphill or around tight corners. On the other hand, if you’re heavier or taller, a longer crank will provide you with more power when pedaling. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your weight and riding style.

To help make your decision easier, we’ve included the lengths of several famous mountain bike cranksets below:

  • – Shimano Deore M6000 6-Speed Mountain Bike Crank Set: 170mm 
  • – SRAM X0 1 x 11 9 Speed Mountain Bike Crank Set: 175mm 
  • – MTBXCRANK 175MM Forged Alloy Mountain Bike Crank (Black) 
  • – Trek Fuel EX 8.9 Performance M.T.B. Crank w/170mm Length

Chainrings and Gear Ratio

When it comes to mountain biking, there are a few things that you need to consider. One of those things is the gear ratio. A gear ratio is the many teeth on your chainring compared to the number of teeth on your cassette. It is essential because it affects how fast your bike can go. There are a few different gear ratios that you will encounter when mountain biking, so make sure that you have the right one for your riding style.

One of the most common gear ratios when mountain biking is 1:1. It means that your chainrings have equal numbers of teeth, and your cassette has only one ring. It is perfect for cruising around town or on easy trails, but it isn’t speedy. For faster rides, you want to look for a gear ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. These ratios allow your bike to go much quicker without pedaling as hard. However, be careful not to go too far above 3:1, or you might start to experience difficulty pedaling.

Another thing to consider when choosing a mountain bike crankset is the size of your bike. If you have a small frame, then a smaller gear ratio will work better than if you.

Rings

The trays usually use 1, 2, or even 3 rings, depending on the intended use:

  • single ring

It is designed for downhill racers. These are the riders who don’t need a wide range of gears. However, to make them even better, most brands have widened their gear ratio, and now you can do a lot with just one ring, including cross-country and enduro.

  • double ring

Still used by most cyclists; however, their gear ranges have been compared to the vast ratio achieved with 11 and 12-speed cassettes used in the single-ring crankset. Although they are pretty heavy, most mountain bikers still prefer them because they are inexpensive and can be an excellent saving.

  • triple ring

The creation of massive cassettes also led to the design of triple-ring cranks. Triple rings are quickly becoming obsolete on mountain bikes, and you will find them on entry-level bikes.

Mountain Bike Crankset Sustainability

When shopping for a mountain bike crankset, you have to consider not only the performance of the product but also its environmental impact. Sustainability is an essential factor to consider when purchasing a product that has the potential to damage the environment.

To help you decide when selecting a mountain bike crankset, we’ve put together a list of the best cranksets available on the market today. Each was tested and ranked according to its performance, value, and sustainability.

Without further ado, let’s look at our top five picks for the best mountain bike cranksets!

Energy Meter

Best mountain bike cranksets – Tests

When shopping for a mountain bike crankset, it’s essential to consider the riding you plan on doing and the energy you’re willing to expend.

Choosing the right crankset can make a difference when climbing or descending steep hills. For those primarily riding leisurely trails or commuting, a standard cassette may be just fine. But if you’re looking to do some serious riding, opt for something with more power.

To test out various cranksets, we enlisted the help of a Schwinn Airdyne e-bike. This electric machine provides ample power and range to simulate multiple riding conditions.

We tested three standard mountain bike cassettes: Shimano’s Deore M6000 10-speed, SRAM’s Eagle 12-speed, and Race Face’s A.C.R. 12-speed.

Each cassette provided good range and power for up hills, but they were no match for the Airdyne’s power output. The Deore M6000 was especially weak in this department; it could only provide about half the power of the other two cassettes.

Reputable Brands

It cannot be stressed enough; with cheap cranks from a little-known Company now found on almost every corner and low prices, you may be tempted to buy them. It could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Only take cranksets with reputable brands like Shimano and SRAM. You’ll have to dig into your pocket for their bottom bracket design, but it’s worth it. They are high quality and do what the Company says they do.

How to maintain your crankset

Here are some tips on how to maintain your bike crankset:

  • Clean your crankset regularly. It will help to prevent dirt and grime from building up and causing problems. You can use a mild soap and water solution to clean your crankset. Be sure to dry it thoroughly after cleaning.
  • Lubricate your crankset regularly. It will help keep the moving parts working smoothly and prevent rusting. You can use light oil or grease to lubricate your crankset.
  • Check the crankset for play. If the crankset is loose, it can cause problems with the chain and the pedals. To check for space, grab the crankarm and try to move it back and forth. If there is any movement, the crankset needs to be tightened.
  • Replace worn crankset components. If the crankset is damaged or worn, it should be replaced. It is crucial if the crankset is made of metal. Metal cranksets can rust and corrode, which can cause problems.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your bike crankset in good condition and extend its lifespan.

Here are some additional tips for maintaining your bike crankset:

  • If you live in an area with a lot of salt, you should clean and lubricate your crankset more often. Salt can corrode metal, so keeping it off your bike is essential.
  • If you ride in wet or muddy conditions, you should often clean your crankset. Dirt and grime can build up on your crankset and cause problems.
  • If you notice any problems with your crankset, such as play or damage, you should have it repaired or replaced immediately. Ignoring issues with your crankset can lead to more severe problems.

How do you know there is a problem with your crankset?

Several signs can indicate a problem with your crankset, including:

  1. Noisy or rough pedalling: If you notice that your pedalling has become noisy or rough, it could be a sign of a worn or damaged crankset.
  2. Chain dropping or skipping: If your chain is dropping off your chainring or missing under load, it could be a sign of worn or damaged teeth on your chainring or crank arms.
  3. Excessive play or movement: If you notice excessive sport or activity in your crank arms, it could be a sign that your bottom bracket is worn or damaged.
  4. Difficulty shifting gears: If you’re having trouble shifting gears smoothly, it could be a sign that your chainring or front derailleur is worn or damaged.
  5. Visual signs of damage: You should also visually inspect your crankset regularly for any signs of damage, such as cracks or bent components.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to have your crankset inspected by a professional bike mechanic. Continuing to ride with a damaged crankset can cause further damage to your bike and potentially lead to a dangerous failure while depending.

Conclusion

As a cyclist, you know that having the right crankset is key to powering your ride. But which one should you choose? In this article, we’ve looked at some of the best mountain bike cranksets on the market and tested them. From Shimano to SRAM, we have found various options that will suit just about any rider. So whether you’re new to cycling or an experienced cyclist looking for an upgrade, check out our selection of mountain bike cranksets.

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