Getting the most possible power out of a mountain bike depends on more than just the brute strength of your legs. One also needs to ensure that all that power is smoothly transmitted to the wheels, and having the best mtb crankset is a big part of getting it done. Not only that. but if you calculate the correct arm length, you may even end up increasing the amount of strength that the chain receives and transforms into speed.

The best mountain bike crankset should blend seamlessly not just with your bike but with your whole style of riding. It is the beating heart of any bike since it sits at the exact meeting point between your legs and the chain, it is where oxygen enters the bloodstream and gives fuel to the organs. With the right crankset mtbs can carry you for miles with little effort, so read on to find out what are the best mtb cranksets that money can buy you today.

How To Choose A MTB Crankset – Buying Guide

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Length

The length indication you find on cranksets refers to the length of the arms, measured in millimeters, which connect the pedals to the chainrings. The longer the arm the greater the leverage they can apply to the chain, but the greater the force that is required to get them moving. These will work best for tall riders with very powerful legs, cycling over mainly flat roads. Shorter cranks are more agile but will require more turns, and therefore more effort, to get the wheels spinning by the same amount. Lighter and smaller riders are likely to appreciate them more, and they are better suited for climbs. Shorter cranks also give you slightly more control over the bike, so it’s up to you to decide, knowing what would fit you the best.

Chainrings

Chainrings are metals circles with teeth that drag the chain along, transferring momentum to the wheels, while cranksets are what connects them to the pedals. Chainrings are defined by the number of teeth that they have, which directly influences the amount of effort that is needed to get a wheel turning, and by their diameter. Cranksets can use one, two or three chainrings, and these connect to the ones in the rear gear box, making for all the gear combinations a bike can dispose of. They can be switched out to change the available gears and better adapt to a particular riding situation.

Teeth

The number of teeth on a chainring are what determines the gear ratio that you will find written on your shifter. On the best cranksets, teeth have different widths so to ensure that the chain doesn’t slide off while they turn. 

Material

Most of the mtb crankset reviews you have read deal with aluminum or steel sets, since these two materials are make up the cranks that the great majority of everyday cyclists have on their bike. They offer a good combination of weight and durability, with steel being the heaviest, and are priced within range for most pockets. For those that want the ultimate performance, however, there are options made out of carbon fiber or titanium. These are even lighter and stronger but also significantly more expensive.

Bottom Bracket

The bottom bracket is what connects the two pedals, and it runs through the frame of the bike. It is often not included in the purchase of a crankset and you also need a frame that is compatible with it, so be sure to double check before you click “buy”. It is composed of an inner cylinder with bearings on each side that allow the pedals to turn. Usually, it is something you will need to buy only once in your bike’s lifetime.

Arms

Mountain bike crank arms range in length between 140mm and 190mm, although the ones you are most likely to encounter on the market will be between 160mm and 175mm. The length of the arm provides leverage when you push on the pedal, which in turn moves the chainring with the chain attached and transfers the motion to the wheels. They crankset arms can be made of aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber on the most expensive models.

FAQs

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Q: Are Carbon MTB Cranks Worth It?

A: 

With carbon cranksets mountain bikes and their riders can enjoy the benefits of having a piece of gear that is significantly lighter than the steel or aluminium options. If what you're after is the best of the best in terms of performance, then carbon cranks are worth it, just be aware that they may come with a significantly heftier price tag.

Q: How Do I Know What Size Crankset To Buy?

A: 

The crank length you end up selecting will depend on your size and riding style. Once you know your inside leg measurement, some charts will tell you what the recommended crank size for you is. Also, if you cycle with long and powerful pushes you will prefer the added leverage of a long crank, while riders that are more agile on the pedals will feel better with a shorter one.

Q: What Is A Crankset On A Mountain Bike?

A: 

A crankset is the beating heart of the mountain bike, because it is the part that physically connects the pedals to the chain that turns the wheels. This is where the power your legs generate by pushing down becomes rotational energy that propels you forwards on the trail. A good crank will have a significant impact on your performance, and your bike computer will confirm it.

Q: How Do I Upgrade My Crankset?

A: 

Upgrading your crankset means replacing some or all of the parts that compose it, that is replacing the arms to have more or less leverage or swapping out the chainrings if you know your ride will require a particular set of gears.

Q: Should I Upgrade My Crankset?

A: 

Before you think about changing your crankset, we would recommend upgrading the wheels and tires first. For the same amount of money this will give you a greater improvement than shelling out cash and buying a new crankset. If it's not broken, it doesn't need fixing.

Globo Surf Overview

A mountain bike crankset is at the core of the bike itself, and has to work smoothly and reliably to transform all of your sweat into energy to turn the wheels. It can make a significant difference in your riding and give you a noticeable boost towards improving your performance. Take your time to consider all the options you have seen in our article, because this could be a piece of gear you buy for life.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!