Shimano SLX FC-M665 Crank Review

Aug 28, 2009
by Tyler Maine  
Source: Reece Wallace

Weighing in at under one kilogram, extremely stiff with Hollotech II technology, and designed to fit almost any mountain biker's budget, the Shimano SLX series cranks and bottom bracket cannot be beaten.

When my Shimano SLX cranks first arrived in the mail, I opened up the box and thought a mistake had been made. I thought that some cross country cranks had been shipped to me instead of the freeride cranks I was supposed to be reviewing. However, within the first ride it became obvious that Shimano has put a lot of R&D into their new SLX series.Shimano has changed a lot in the last few years to innovate for an entire new genre of cycling - freeriding. Riders are demanding a stiff, affordable, and most importantly, a durable line up of bicycle componentry - SLX has brought a lot to the table. Although XT has become a familiar name in the freeride and downhill industry in the last few years, Shimano's SLX cranks are on their way to making heads turn on their own. Shimano is claiming that the new SLX crank-set is twice as tough as previous XT models and even lighter than the LX lineup. Shimano has also integrated forged aluminum Hollowtech II technology into the design of the new SLX cranks. This means a much more responsive, stiff, lighter and aggressive crank-set, all under one kilogram (2.2 lbs)!


Specs aside, the SLX crank-set is also very aesthetically pleasing when installed on a bike. Shimano has polished their polycarbonate bash guard (similar to the XTR) so it will not look haggard after the first ride. In addition, the already silver crank arms mean that there will no longer be that ugly look of worn off paint on the inside of your shoes.

Installation:

Installing the SLX cranks was a breeze. On the Hollowtech II bottom bracket cups, there is writing for a drive side cup, non-drive side cup and direction on which way to turn each cup; this means no more guessing and stripped bottom bracket threads. After installing the bottom bracket, you simply take the drive side crank arm with attached hollow spindle, grease it and then slide it through the bottom bracket. Once the drive side crank arm is installed, merely line up the spindle splines with the non-drive side crank arm, slide it on, tighten down the Hollowtech II plastic fastening bolt, and tighten the pinch bolts. Although the SLX cranks incorporate an easy installation process that does not require eight millimeter Allen keys or crank-pullers, a Hollowtech fastener wrench is required, a rather uncommon tool. Nevertheless, compared to other mountain bike style cranks, and even BMX style cranks, installation has never been easier.

Drive side set up single speed

Drive side set up single speed

Nice detail

Nice detail

Non drive side

Non drive side


Who would ride the SLX cranks?

Whether you are into aggressive all mountain riding, dirt jumping, or light freeriding, SLX cranks are for you. If you like a stiff, responsive, affordable and aesthetically pleasing crank, chances are you would be impressed with the overall performance of the Shimano SLX cranks. There are two versions of the SLX crankset and they do differ in their focus for an end user. The ones that I am on is the two ring set up and it comes with a beefed up bottom bracket axle and is ready for the abuse that will come to it, where the triple ring set up is more focused on lighter weight and has a standard axle. The end user for the SLX triple set up should be someone that wants the benefit of a lighter and long lasting crankset. Although not as tough as Saint cranks, the SLX cranks make up for it by being a fraction of the cost and much lighter. I have been extremely impressed in the short time I have had my cranks and I look forward to seeing how they hold up by the end of the season. The SLX group set is definitely a sick lineup and a fresh look from Shimano that many people should take a second look at!

At the Whistler DJs

At the Whistler DJs

Airing it out in the Air Dome

Airing it out in the Air Dome


Additional info:
-68/73mm BB width
-170 and 175mm crank arm lengths
-$325 CDN msrp


Pros
-stiff and responsive
-durable
-affordable
-replaceable pedal eyelets
-easy to install

Cons
-torque key installation required for chainrings
-plastic Hollowtech fastener
-plastic Hollowtech fastener tool required

Please check out Shimano Cycling to learn more about the SLX line up and other Shimano products.

Photos by: Shayne Saskoley and Simon Williamson

-Reece Wallace




51 Comments

  • + 13
 I have the same crank. I use it for DH, smash it to rock and whatever comes. It takes all the beating and comes back for more. Durable and light. Easy to install and cheap. What more could one ask for? Also compatible with all chainguides you can find on the market.
  • + 1
 I have had mine for well over 7 months, I here slight creaking but its because of my pedals..other than that, super strong! If using a singlespeed setup and want a 32t ring, use E13 Guidering dh, super strong and light with no flex.
  • + 1
 I have too, and i love this crank ! www.pinkbike.com/photo/3225852 Next one will be xtr Wink
  • + 1
 have it, love it, buy it.
  • + 1
 how much are they?
  • + 0
 $325 Canadian retail -it's in the article. Call your local bikeshop for USA price. Thanks.
  • + 1
 I have run these on my 6.6 all year and I'm am very happy with them. Flawless. The SLX grouppo also has a front derailleur specifically designe for 2 ring all-mountain set ups with a 36-22 set up. That's what sold me on these cranks. they've been awesome value for the money.
  • + 1
 I bought these puppies on my Dh Bike they are a dream and it feels like I lost a pound ove my Hussefelt ones, I know people who bented theirs and I don't know how the mannaged they are super strong. On my demo it was a bit more of a pain to install due to the offset but they run like dream
  • + 1
 I think the msrp is $240 USD
  • + 0
 Wow. Why so much?
  • + 2
 so much? that's cheap these days. where you been living?
  • + 2
 i got mine for 170 usd lmao just check online sites
  • + 4
 Running them on both my DJ and DH bike. Have em since November 2008 and so far no problems (did not go easy on them including +5m drops roadgaps and all). If planning to fit em with a single ring chainguide consider cutting down the mount points for the small (24T) ring. Will kind of ruin your warranty but at 75€ who cares anyway. Last thoughts: SHIMANO could and should produce 165mm versions. BTW they could also stop producing crap like SAINT derraileus that make your bike sound like a garbage can rolling down the hill.
  • + 4
 i havent heard my saint mech during the hollydays.. pretty tight springs imo
  • + 0
 The problem with the SAINT rear mech is that they did not solve the problem they were up to. The bolt that sets the distance btw the casette and the derr is hitting against the golden piece of alluminium when riding through heavy terrain (like rockgardens) and stuff. The rotation at the joint between the actual mech and the golden piece is so intense that it eventually unscrews your mech from the eyelet (regardless of how fast you tighten the screw). Don't want to be rude but it looks to me like you have not ridden much in your hollydays. Shimano makes good cranks. Should stick to that and maybe road cycling components.
  • + 1
 not rude .. but a stupid assumption.. and assumptions are the mother of all fukkups.. Wink
  • + 1
 I had a one pair of these slx cranks.. in about 2 months of DJ and the axle snapped, still think there pretty good cranks, light and pretty stiff.. but.. only for the smooth rider. Avoid flat landings Wink
  • + 2
 Been using them since nov 2008 for all mnt, fr and light dh runs - no problems even though I dodnt ride with the funky shimano fastener and have the drive side with bb mount front der and ISGCS chain device mounted, that set the chain line off to the right, and give the axle assymetrical load. I rode it during winter also, and so far no twaeking, no squeaks. This is a good value product.
  • + 1
 I am another satisfied customer - no complains, it works great for me on my allround bike. Why does it work great, because it's a install and forget, what I cannot say about the old saint that I had previously (quite frankly the old saint is a crap IMAO) Really great to get so much for such a low price especially that I bought mine last december just before "the crisis" so it was 30% less than what it is now.
  • + 1
 I own the saints on my DH bike, XT's on my all mountain bike and just installed the SLX (2-chainring setup) on my free-ride bike. I have to say I'd take the SLX's on all three bikes if I had to do it all over again. These are the best looking cranks from Shimano and they are bomber. I've ridden them hard all summer (chair-lift assist) and not one issue yet.
  • + 1
 My only issues after riding these all summer - The bashgaurd isn't exactly beautiful (kinda clunky and big). Changing out the bashguard is tricky as you need a T40 torq wrench and most bikers only have a T25 (for their brake rotors). But again, minor compared to the upside.
  • + 3
 I bought these instead of spending more on the XT's for my All-Mountain and I don't regret it ! Super Crankset for a super price.
  • + 1
 whatttt ??? how is 325 $$$ on a budget my cranks where 50 and they do the job for dirt and street for me why do i need to spend 325 ??

when will bike companies make a good crank for good money
  • + 1
 these are mint cranks, just got a brand new pair for my racing bmx from this shop, an absolute bargain...http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/mountain-bike-chainsets/slx-double-bash-chainset.html
  • + 1
 I had old Saint 175mm, and a year ago changet it to SLX 170mm! Really SLX are one of the best(in my opinion and for me BEST) cranks! Now i have them on my hardtale too!
  • + 1
 It should be noted that the 2-ring/bashguard setup is a different crank than the 3-ring setup. The 2-ring model features a reinforced spindle and spider.
  • + 1
 It touches upon that a little bit in the article, but good to re-enforce that they are different cranks for different end users.
  • + 1
 Yeah I was just trying to clarify.
  • + 0
 i fancy a pair of these, but ive got a pair of lx cranks and there holding up fine, but i just love the saint graphics, i dont know what i should do :/
  • - 1
 I kept stripping out the threads on the crankset so i called shimano and they told me your not supposed to use the washers they send with them... But other than that they are some crazy awesome cranks!
  • + 1
 What? Then why would they send them with it? What are they for then?
  • + 1
 couldnt tell ya. The people at shimano told me to stop running the spacers
  • + 2
 great crank and easy to install like all shimano crank
  • + 1
 Snapped my drive side crank arm Sunday riding CYB Wales good job it snapped at start and not on fast rocky down hill bit.
  • + 1
 while they stand up well, I still prefer the RF Altas AM for smoothness and similar stiffness
  • + 1
 Also, the SLX 32t middle chainring is 12g heavier than the XTR 32t middle ring.
  • + 1
 I got these bad boys for my absolut like a week ago. So stiff and light, they're AMAZING.
  • + 1
 I ordered some SLX cranks last night and now to find such a positive review a couple hours later............ is it fate Big Grin ?
  • + 1
 those are perfect talking about stiff, weight, quality and price.. i'll get mine soon
  • + 1
 ive got these on my dh bike and they're awesome!
  • + 1
 why isn't there a 83 bb model tooFrown ?????????????
  • + 1
 Jesus Christ, these cranks rule. super smooth, light, and tough.
  • + 1
 just bought these, coming tomorrow Smile
  • + 1
 If Shimano is listening: Make these in 165mm and 83mm!!!! Please!!!
  • + 1
 Can you run these with a 83mm BB???
  • + 1
 No.
  • + 1
 Sold. Thank for the comments guys. Am expecting in the post real soon. Smile
  • + 1
 If only they came in 83mm BB width Frown
  • + 1
 can they be converted to an 83mm bb???
  • + 1
 No.
  • + 2
 Woot Go Reece Go

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