Best XC Mountain Bike Crankset for Racing Review

If you want to win XC mountain bike races, begin with your direct connection to your cross country mountain bicycle.  This is where the human meets the machine, at your XC mountain bike cranks.

Here are the factors to take into consideration in determining the winning crankset:

  1. Weight
  2. Construction
  3. Crank Arm Length
  4. Chain Rings
  5. Reliability
  6. Price

XC Mountain Bike Crankset Weight

Generally weight is the most common reason for upgrading, unless of course you broke the XC mountain bike crankset itself.  Perhaps your XC mountain bike came with Shimano Deore cranks, which weigh a ton, 900+ grams.  Or worse, a cheaper lower quality brand that surely weighs even more.

You could shave at 200-450 grams wby upgrading your XC mountain bike crankset.  This is huge, especially for the small investment. Spending only $250-$400 to drop this much weight is a great value.

Plus, its all about rotational weight.  If you dropped this much weight off a non rotating area, it will never feel as good.  The weight loss ratio is always much greater for rotating weight vs. non rotating weight.

Your XC mountain racing bike will accelerate much faster, you will experience less fatigue and your overall handling improves as well.

XC Mountain Bike Crankset Construction

Your smartest options are:

  1. Aluminum
  2. Carbon
  3. Titanium

Aluminum XC Mountain Bike Cranksets

Aluminum is going to be your best value for the weight. I am very fond of the Shimano XTR crankset, a true proven performer and at this price, pull the trigger.  Bear in mind the Shimano XTR crankset can be a blend of materials and can vary across the models., including carbon and titanium, but it is mostly aluminum.

Carbon XC Mountain Bike Cranksets

Carbon XC mountain bike cranksets are top notch, but if you are the crasher type or like to knock crank arms a lot on tight rocks and trees, perhaps you might be better off with an aluminum set.

For those of you who aren’t afraid of wielding the flaming carbon sword, and want the absolute best money can buy, look no further than these sick deals on XC mountain bike carbon SRAM, HOPE and Race Face cranksets.

Titanium XC Mountain Bike Cranksets

Titanium is another serious contender, but the quality has to be top notch from a reliable brand.  Chinese Ti will cost half the price, and probably break on you in 1-2 years as opposed to to the premium stuff that could last a lifetime of pedaling.

XC Mountain Bike Crankset Crank Arm Length

Selecting the correct XC mountain bike crank arm length is important.  This controls the amount of leverage you can produce, longer arms can mean more leverage.

However, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Rider height (especially leg inseam)
  2. Frame Size / Bottom Bracket Height
  3. Riding Terrain / Conditions

Typically smaller bikes / riders will run a 170mm (XS-S frame) / (5’1-5’6″) and riders larger than this will run a 175mm crank arm length.  Riders even smaller, or children on XXS sizes often run a 165mm crank arm.

This isn’t set in stone since some riders are in between bike frame sizes.  Some riders may have longer legs, and very short torsos, while others ride on very rocky / rooted terrain with a low bottom bracket and choose a slightly shorter crank arm to avoid constant pedal strike.

XC Mountain Bike Crankset Chainrings

There are many different options to choose from.  if you are upgrading, you may want to simply consider running the same combo / sizes.

If you have multiple rings in the front, here is a chance to switch to a smaller granny gear, if your current one is too big.  if you are switching to a 1x setup (click here for more info), generally 32 – 34 teeth is popular.  The bigger the front ring, the faster you can hit DH, but climbing takes more leg strength, as it gets harder to pedal uphill as the chain ring increases in teeth.

XC Mountain Bike Crankset Reliability

The market is flooded with lots of junk these days, so spend your money wisely and go with a trusted brand, that stands behind their warranty.

You can’t go wrong with:

  1. Shimano – Mountain Bike Crankset
  2. Truvativ / SRAM – Mountain Bike Crankset
  3. Race Face – Mountain Bike Crankset
  4. HOPE – Mountain Bike Crankset

XC Mountain Bike Crankset Pricing

As always, we try to find the best deals we can on XC mountain bike gear,and do our best to provide useful advice.  Check out these sale price on XC mountain bike crankset, from Shimano, SRAM, Race Face, Truvativ, HOPE and more”

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