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
Who would ride the SLX cranks?
Non drive side
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
Airing it out in the Air Dome
-68/73mm BB width
-170 and 175mm crank arm lengths
-$325 CDN msrp
-stiff and responsive
-replaceable pedal eyelets
-easy to install
-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