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They can, but I'm not really sure it's necessary. I mean, is there something so wrong with the aluminum cranks they make now? Shimano has obviously found a way to manufacture aluminum cranks that are light enough, stiff enough and strong enough to compete with all the carbon cranks out there. I think the quality of the crank is way more important than the material itself.
 

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Aluminum cranks can be dinged up and scratched without much consequence. That is a real world advantage compared to CF that often requires crank boots to protect.
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
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shimano xtr hollowtech are unbeatable in the combo of
1) power transfer 2) lightness 3) rock-strike ability

carbon cranks will compromise one or more of those
 

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shimano xtr hollowtech are unbeatable in the combo of
1) power transfer 2) lightness 3) rock-strike ability

carbon cranks will compromise one or more of those
I have personally witnessed a carbon crank failure, from a catching ground on corner.
Ive personally tortured many al cranks without catastrophic failure, have bent a couple.
Im with Shimano on this one.
Note: i do ride a carbon frame with carbon bars and carbon rail saddle.
 

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Shimano cranks we're by far the best, for a long time

These days? Ehhh, it's just a cheap/good option. They're not that light. Carbon is exceptionally strong these days. Srams aluminum is priced similar, but lighter with more ring options.

Shimano new DM cranks will put them up to speed, but I don't think they reign supreme anymore.
 

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When you catch a pedal on a rock, there is a yuuuuuge amount of force going into the crank at the pedal attachment point. With a carbon crank, no matter how much epoxy they put in there, it's going down under that stress. An aluminum may also go down....but then it's just $100 to replace. I use carbon cranks on my road bike.
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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shimano xtr hollowtech are unbeatable in the combo of
1) power transfer 2) lightness 3) rock-strike ability

carbon cranks will compromise one or more of those
Yep. I've got 2 pair of XTR 112 speed cranks I got on a blowout sale a few years ago. They are almost as light as carbon cranks, way cheaper in the short run, and even more so in the long run. Still going strong.

I had a SRAM DH carbon crank come stock on a bike I bought. Killed it in short order. Tore the pedal insert out on a rock/pedal strike.

Pedal strikes are super common where I ride. I probably get at least one bad one per ride.
 
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