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Yes, and they all weighed about the same, 7.5 ounces (I don't have a digital balance). Actually, when I bought the XT in some shop to replace the stripped Shimano FC-MT700, at first I thought the Shimano was lighter or about the same. The store guy argued that, so he weighed them, and it turned out that I was right, the Shimano was 1 or 2 grams lighter.
So, in my opinion, buying XT is a waste of money if you think they going to be lighter.
 

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Yes, and they all weighed about the same, 7.5 ounces (I don't have a digital balance). Actually, when I bought the XT in some shop to replace the stripped Shimano FC-MT700, at first I thought the Shimano was lighter or about the same. The store guy argued that, so he weighed them, and it turned out that I was right, the Shimano was 1 or 2 grams lighter.
So, in my opinion, buying XT is a waste of money if you think they going to be lighter.
What about the drive side? given that is where most of the material is, i would imagine that is where most of the weight is lost. Plus its not like you buy L&R separately, unless replacing broken stuff
 

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Shimano already makes reasonably light alu cranks. These are all close enough in series number that I wouldn't expect weight to be THAT much different.

That said, other characteristics may be. At least some part of the difference is the finish. Shimano is known to use fancier finishes to match the rest of the parts in a given series. Also, it's unlikely that the inside of these cranks will be identical. That's likely to make some (probably small) difference in stiffness.

Further, you're only looking at the NDS crank arm. There's going to be notably more difference when you compare the DS crank arm, with the spiders. Plus, Shimano definitely installs fancier rings on its more expensive cranksets and that's going to account for some of the differences in overall weight and cost. Have you ever put hands on some XTR rings that are a carbon/ti laminate (IIRC, Shimano has also used this a little bit in the XT line, too)? So the shop guy was probably right in that the M8000 crank SET will be lighter than the MT700.

What does all that mean? Who cares? Buy what you want.
 
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