DMR's heritage is steeped in hardcore dirt jump pedals, frames and components, but the Brit's have been veering in a new direction in recent years. Their new path heads towards trail-biking and general thrashing around the woods, as epitomized by the reborn Trailstar frame last year. Similarly, this Axe crankset isn't a pure 3-piece BMX style crank, as you may have expected from the brand, but a tough, alloy setup for all-mountain, enduro or just riding your bike.
The crank arms are chunky, hollow-forged units that sit on a 30mm hollow axle. I was supplied with a matching 36t DMR Blade chainring which uses a SRAM GXP style, direct mount system. A pair of crank arms and axle ker-ching the till at £139.99 / $181.50 USD with various options of bottom bracket and chainrings available separately.
DMR Axe Details
• Intended use: AM / enduro
• ‘Hollowform’ technology
• Sizes: 165, 170, 175mm
• ø30mm axle
• 68/73mm and 83mm axle available
• Weight: 768g (with arms, BB, direct mount Blade 36T and hardware)
• Colors: black,
• MSRP: £139.99 / $181.50 USD (arms only). £240 / $267 USD as tested - includes Praxis BB, BB tool and 36 tooth ring.
Most bottom bracket options are available, including euro BB, PF30, BB30 and BB92. Axle widths are the usual 68-73mm or 83mm and a choice of 165mm, 170mm and 175mm lengths.Installation
Installation was a breeze thanks to the included bottom bracket tool (a proprietary widget from Praxis). I would prefer to see an 8mm hex wrench over the 3/8" socket-wrench drive for the tool, just to keep my toolbox and life as simple as possible. Laser etchings on the cups indicate the correct side and installation direction and there are no fiddly preload washers or rings to adjust. Just put them on, tighten, and go ride. Removal is more than simple too, undo the single self-extracting 8mm crank bolt and voila.
The Sram GXP style direct mount chainrings must be the best way to install a chainring to date. No special tools required or highly torqued lock rings and the need for a vice. Three T25 bolts do the job, which are the same as found on disc rotors if you're hunting through the toolbox for a spare.
The axle on the Axe is fixed on the non-drive side, the opposite of most cranks, including Shimano and SRAM. This means you can quickly remove the drive side crank arm with the 8mm self-extracting bolt to change the chainring without removing the axle from the bottom bracket.On the Trail
The Axe cranks never crossed my mind when riding, like any good crank should, they just get on with the task. They took some incredibly hard rock strikes up in the alpine during the summer and shrugged off all of the blows with ease. The cranks are solid underfoot and have plenty of stiffness.
The hollow forming meant DMR didn't need to externally machine the cranks to save weight. Some cranks like Raceface's Atlas, for example, are machined on the inside of the arm, which can create pockets for mud to collect. The Axe arms are also fairly straight on the outside, and I didn't find excessive pedal rub or any sharp edges bashing my ankles.
The bearings are starting to grind after 14 to 16 long (40-60km) days on the trails, not as good as we'd have hoped or expected, but increasing axle size will take away from bearing depth with current bottom bracket types. Due to the 30mm axle stepping down to 28mm on the drive side, compatibility with other 30mm bottom brackets isn't an option..
I would like to see the inclusion of steel inserts for the pedal threads for added peace of mind, especially for a crankset that feels capable of taking on any kind of abuse, even downhill racing. Pinkbike's Take:
|The Axe crankset is a contender for riders looking for a burly crankset with commendable weight, stiffness, price and simplified function. - Paul Aston|
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