Shimano XTR M960 2003 Crankset

3.4/5 (97 Reviews)
Weight : 797 grams


Product Description

New XTR features the Hollowtech II® crankset that integrates the bottom bracket and crankset into a single unit. This design reduces the number of parts, significantly cuts down weight, and increases rigidity. The crank is 80-grams lighter than the M950 series crank and bottom bracket combination. The new Hollowtech II® design allows the bottom bracket bearings to be spaced more widely.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (97 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by cjk133 a Cross Country Rider from state college, PA

Date Reviewed: July 21, 2009

Strengths:    light, pretty, easy in and out for maintenance.

Weaknesses:    lasted less than 2000 miles

Bottom Line:   
After an estimated 500 hours and 2 BB bearing replacements, the crank spindle exploded while pedaling hard. I weigh 170 lbs and I do not have a remarkable history of component breakage. Coupled with the extreme price of chainrings available for these things, these cranks should not be considered as an option: Fortunately they are now discontinued. These cranks are part of one of the worst grouppos shimano has released.

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Favorite Trail:   shingletown

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $250.00

Bike Setup:   Oswald 26" XC with 2003 XTR grouppo

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by navid a Cross Country Rider from Saopaulo Brazil

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2009

Strengths:    Light and strong and look good too. I can't even imagine how those guys at shimano can hollowcast this beautifuly. No a sign of CNC mill anywhere except the screw holes. Is this art?!

Weaknesses:    The replacement chain rings are expensive and I am not sure for how long they will keep manufacturing them just for those few of us who do not want to replace their old XTRs for new ones.

Bottom Line:   
Has a good and positive shift feel with a SRAM chain (990), however not as smooth as that of Shimano I used before. Had the chain rings replaced twice already (at the cost of an arm and a leg). Each time I was tempted to just forget about the rings and buy a XT or a Raceface Evolve or something. But these are the best cranks I have used and are just light enough for you not to regret buying them.
I also think with the SRAM chain, the rings seem to wear a bit faster, But not sure yet.

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Favorite Trail:   Trilha navegante

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Cambriabikes

Similar Products Used:   Race Face Deus, Evolve, and an old, beat up LX.

Bike Setup:   XTR crank with SRAM chain and sprokets. X9 rear and Xt front.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Zachariah a Cross Country Rider from Palm Desert, California USA

Date Reviewed: October 23, 2008

Strengths:    Light, looks very bling, easy to install, high resale value.

Weaknesses:    Finish scratches too easy.

Bottom Line:   
The XTR M960 crankset is almost too easy, to install. They are very stiff, and you will notice that on the very first turn of the cranks.

I got these because I was not able to use Cannondales' uber-light(620 gram + BB) Hollowgram Si BB30 crankset(need BB30-compatible frameset for that = $2,500+!!!). They work absolutely beautiful for light XC trail riding. Once you come across highly-technical obstacles and steep jumps- you will have problems. The all aluminum chainrings are NOT designed for being bashed around at all. The hollow BB spindle will warp, if you huck around 5 foot drops. If you can simply remember that lightweight bike parts are INCOMPATIBLE for Freeride/Dirt Jump/Downhill.....you will never be dissappointed.

I got mine second-hand, and still paid a premium for them! But they are well worth it, if you ride XC and light All-Mountain. You can mash the cranks all you want uphills, and the chainrings will still deliver. Until SRAM comes out with a better competing MTB crankset......I'm afraid Shimano XTR is still the king!

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Favorite Trail:   Hurkey Creek Park(24Hrs/Adrenalin Course)

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Shimano Deore M542 Hollowtech II, Race Face Diabolus.

Bike Setup:   19-pound Cannondale XC hardtail

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by smmcpherron a Cross Country Rider from Sandy, utah, USA

Date Reviewed: June 26, 2008

Strengths:    Light, Strong, Durable. I weigh 205 lbs and I bought this in 2003 when they 1st came out. I have done quite a bit of riding, and they have worked great with no issues. I just had them installed in a new bike, and the bearings are still good, but, I did finally buy a new middle and small chain ring.

Weaknesses:    they are beautiful when new, but, scratch up pretty good.

Bottom Line:   
Strong and light.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Similar Products Used:   Bontrager

Bike Setup:   Ventana El Saltmontes, and now an IBIS MOJO

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by P a Cross Country Rider from Atl

Date Reviewed: February 20, 2008

Strengths:    works real good, easy to install

Weaknesses:    rings are weak and shimano replacements are way too high

Bottom Line:   
The rings wear quickly, at least the middle rings. Other than that, such a nice crankset. I roached two Shimano center rings fairly fast (3 months) on both my cranksets. Been using some Blackspire Super Pro for about 3 months and they seem to be holding up alot better.

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Favorite Trail:   Pinhotti

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $320.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   several

Bike Setup:   XTR 960 on two bikes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason Evans from Anybiketown, USA

Date Reviewed: October 9, 2007

Strengths:    Look great, lightweight, functions perfectly

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
Hands down the best cranks on the market. Worth the extra money (if any). Stiff, look good, lightweight. Function as a $250+ pair of cranks should. You can buy the M960 (older version) for the same price as most of the competitors top of the line models. Do yourself a big favor and do not stray from Shimano or you will be asking for trouble. I replaced a shoddy pair of Race Face Dues cranks with the M960 XTR and could not be happier. The Race Face never worked properly from day one and the Shimano XTR's have worked perfectly from the very beginning.

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Favorite Trail:   The nonwork trail

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $260.00

Purchased At:   Online

Similar Products Used:   Race Face Dues (Junk), Shimano XTR M952, Shimano XT, Truvativ

Bike Setup:   Ellsworth Epiphany, Mavic Crossmax SL, SRAM

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Josh a Racer from Boulder, CO USA

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2007

Strengths:    Weight
Minimal Tinkering Required


Weaknesses:    Outboard Bearings
Chainrings wear quickly


Bottom Line:   
I've had my bike for 14 months, including a brutal winter that saw my bike shelved for several months, and i'm on the third set of chainrings. Those things are not inexpensive to replace.

My outboard bearings were completely shot, too, and had to be replaced.

I really do like this crankset's performance when everything is functioning, but it's turning into a money pit.

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Favorite Trail:   Not Telling

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Part of new bike

Similar Products Used:   Old XT, XTR, Truvativ


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Phantomtracer a Cross Country Rider from Philly, PA

Date Reviewed: June 21, 2007

Strengths:    Weight, Shifting, Design, High Quality

Weaknesses:    None yet

Bottom Line:   
I have put sever hundred miles on this crankset and have not had to adjust it once. It spins as smooth as the first day I put it on. I can't say the same for the Race Face that I used for a few seasons. I'm not sure why these have such a low score. Compared to the Race Face this crankset is AWESOME. I guess they are stiff, I really cannot tell. No complaints, just smiles. 5 chilis for value at the great price I bought them for.

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Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $279.00

Purchased At:   Performance Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   Race Face Next LF

Bike Setup:   Intense Tracer, 100mm travel

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by p a Cross Country Rider from ATL

Date Reviewed: May 17, 2007

Strengths:    light, strong, durable and I think it is much easier to service the external bearing style cranks than the old style.

Weaknesses:    I would complain about the weak finish but its a Mt Bike drive chain part. Your a nut if you expect it to stay perfect.

Bottom Line:   
I was really concerned about installing this crankset, considering what the rest of the folks here had to say. I'm a 6-4, 200lb, agressive trail rider and have trashed many lesser cranks. After thinking it through, I decided to take a chace on the 960 as the 2007 models were too high. So far, so good! I'm careful to clean my bike well, especially the drivechain, after every ride. I will completely tear down the drive chain after muddy rides or every couple of weeks. I never wash my bike with a hose but use multiple sized brushes and damp shop rags instead. I was very mindful of the chain line when setting it up. The combination of these things has allowed almost no sign of visible wear (other than the pewter colored finish of the arm) after 6 months of hard bashing. The BB is still smooth as the 1st day it was installed. For me, propper instillation, regular maintenance and smart cleaning techniques have proven this to be a 1st class crankset.

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Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Bontrager crap, Deor, XT, XTR 950

Bike Setup:   07 El Saltamontes, size XL. Pushed Talas and Float R, X9 shifters and rDr

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:2
Submitted by david a Cross Country Rider from Texas

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2007

Strengths:    rigid, lightweight, flashy

Weaknesses:    pricey

Bottom Line:   
bought these when they first cam out have had zero problems with them, the finish is fine, nothing has ever broken

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   sikeworld-alamoheights

Similar Products Used:   xtr, xt

Bike Setup:   custom litespeed with a bunch of pricey parts hanging off it

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Scott a Weekend Warrior from Knoxville, TN

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2007

Strengths:    This is one light crankset that looks sharp on the bike. Performance is great very stiff and spins like butter. If you have high end XC or All Mtn setup you can get a pretty good deal on these now.

Weaknesses:    Chain rings are made out of tin or something not quite as hard. Mine looked lke they had been through a shredder after about 6 months of mostly singletrack riding. I noticed that the drive train would ghost shift when climbing in a lowere gear. Now granted I am no lightweight but my last bike had XT and zero issues with the chain rings. I also lube my chain at least every other ride and change it twice a year. I also use a park chain cleaner whenever the drive train starts to get dirty... SO bottom line it aint a maintenance issue

Bottom Line:   
Well.... After you trash the stock chain rings which won't take long order you a set of Blackspire chain rings and you will be set. The difference in quality between the Blackspire and stock XTR rings is night and day and the Blackspires are about half the price...

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Favorite Trail:   single track

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   came with bike

Similar Products Used:   XT, FSA Carbon, Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105, Etc

Bike Setup:   Ellsworth Epiphany, Rockshock Pike 454 dual, Fox RP23, Mavic Crossmax UST, SRAM XO w/Twist Grip Shifters, SRAM 990 Cassett w/991 chain, Formula Puro DIsk (200 MM front - 180 rear), Kore IBeam Seat Post/Seat, Maxis UST Tires

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John a Weekend Warrior from Denver

Date Reviewed: December 31, 2006

Strengths:    Durability, smoothness, shift quality, overall performance.

Weaknesses:    Price and shiny finish

Bottom Line:   
This is an update from my August 2004 review.

I've since moved to Denver. The rides have gotten longer and more technical. I have demanded more of my bike and the XTR setup then ever. I'm happy to report that everything still performs admirably. There have been no problems whatsoever with this 2004 XTR setup. The shifts are still smooth and crisp. The crank arms still feel solid and flex-free. XTR has really lived up the hype for me. Solid cranks through and through.

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Favorite Trail:   too many in Denver to count!

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   Previous XTR and XT

Bike Setup:   Full XTR drive train and brakes on 4.5" dual sus mtn bike

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Chris O a Weekend Warrior from Brookline

Date Reviewed: December 7, 2006

Strengths:    stiff, light and pretty

Weaknesses:    none yet, and so far no chainsuck

Bottom Line:   
These are very sharp looking cranks with a really cool design. Oh, yeah, they work great, too; they're very stiff and very responsive. But if you’re trying to decide between these and XT, save your money. My old 952’s were totally worth the premium because they had the bigger chain rings I prefer; I always thought that the micro drive rings spec'ed in the past on everything up to XT were cheesy. Now that XT and XTR have the same gearing and bottom bracket design, the performance difference, whatever it is, probably isn’t worth the price increase. But I love these and have had no problems with them after one season. If you're going to drop the kind of cash these babies require, be sure to get them installed right.

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Favorite Trail:   South Cottonwood Canyon

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   XTR 952, Cook Bros.


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dan a Cross Country Rider from Adelaide, Australia

Date Reviewed: November 18, 2006

Strengths:    Stiff, and of course... **BLING!**

Weaknesses:    chainrings wear out quickly

Bottom Line:   
Nice cranks. The most expensive, coolest and by far the tightest/snappiest I've tried yet. Light too. Pity the chainrings are made of cheese. If I remember correctly, I think the 'dudes' at my LBS said Blackspire make a superior aftermarket replacement, so I'll be looking out for them.

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Favorite Trail:   The Chambers Gully/ Wine Shanty Track/ Horsenell Gully Loop

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   many

Bike Setup:   Heckler, 36's, X.0 (gripshift is back!)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Glen a Weekend Warrior from Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2006

Strengths:    Look superb! Super stiff, shift perfectly everytime! Super light

Weaknesses:    The finish tends to scratch easy, but hey, who cares?

Bottom Line:   
Basicly all the people who have had problems, most likley, haven't spent the time to set these cranks up properly.
First of all you NEED to get your bb shell faced! Also the chain line needs to set up correctly. The bolts need to be tightened to the specified torqe, i tend go a little bit tighter, but only slightly.
I'm a big guy, on the wrong side of 100kgs, and i ride agresivly, and i've had no problems.
yes, the chain rings are expensive, but what do expect when buying XTR?

To sum up, these cranks are brillant. If you can afford them, buy them. But make sure you get a decent mechanic to install them and get the BB faced!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Pylon 29, Cheviet road

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Avanti Plus, Lower Hutt

Similar Products Used:   XT hollowtech II, raceface, saint, fsa, truvativ

Bike Setup:   Avanti Aggressor, full XTR inc wheels, fox vanilla RLC

Reviews 1 - 15 (97 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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