Cranks – XT vs Zee plus running single ring

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  • Cranks – XT vs Zee plus running single ring
  • Premier Icon colournoise

    Eyeing up cranks for my forthcoming Rocket build. Want to run a single ring and probably a taco style chain device.

    Zee looks good on price and comes with a single ring. XT a bit pricier and only come as double or triple yes?

    If I wanted to run XT as a single, would I need to convert from the double or triple?

    What’s Zee like on weight and strength?

    Any other crank options for this type of set up I should look at around the XT price point?

    Premier Icon colournoise
    Premier Icon Clobber

    I thought the zee was meant to be good but monster heavy…

    Premier Icon mattjg

    For the XT, get a triple and use the middle position with either a set of shorter chainring bolts (as you’ll have no outside ring) or a bashguard in place of the big ring. Also get a “singlespeed” style ring, ie one designed to retain the chain, not with ramps intended to throw it off.

    Don’t know nuffink about ‘Zee’.


    Zee crank arms weight 750g (the same as Saints), XT 600g. Strength between them is debatable. I went for the Zees on price; £80 including BB and chainring is hard to pass up. Be aware that Zees can’t take a granny ring if you decide to go back to 2×10.

    Zee arms aren’t hollow, they’re indented at the back – cheaper construction than the XT. Strength/stiffness is up for debate.



    The weight difference between XT and SLX M670 cranks is tiny if you remove the standard chainrings and will be about £35 cheaper. They were £92 for a 175mm triple at Merlin last week. In the longer term I also think they look better.


    Oh an XT double you can’t fit a 32t ring in the 104pcd position as the chain will foul the tabs

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    Thanks everyone so far.

    lornholio – after 12 years running 1 x whatever don’t think I’m going to worry about the ability to run a granny.

    remoterob – looked at SLX, but I’m really shallow and want black cranks – guess I’ll need some heli tape…

    steve_b77 – any idea whether a 34T would run on there OK?

    Premier Icon powerofra

    “Oh an XT double you can’t fit a 32t ring in the 104pcd position as the chain will foul the tabs”

    Oh bollocks, does a 34t work?


    Oh an XT double you can’t fit a 32t ring in the 104pcd position as the chain will foul the tabs

    Mine was fine.

    I’d like to know about chainring compatibility too.

    If I got a new style XT triple chainset, I’d surely be able to replace the 3 rings with a 32t single and full bash ring? Right?

    I’m also averse to silver SLX on account of being a tart…


    ive got a 32T on my XT double (its a hope chainring tho if that makes any difference)

    I had a 32T on my XT double & it did foul very slightly, but seemed to run ok.

    Currently running a 34T, which doesn’t foul at all.

    32t will be fine in the middle position of the triple XT

    Neither Zee nor black XT will stay black very long, finish disappears really fast with heel rub

    Premier Icon simonjj

    As honourablegeorge has said, the finish doesn’t last too long, i’ve got the Saints and as you can see after a few hundred miles the black starts to wear off:
    I’m also running a 34T Renthal ring up front.

    I now have Zee cranks on my Soul – I was offended by the price I’d be paying for an unused BB and chain rings with other Shimano choices so thought I’d give them a go. From what I can see they’re basically Deore arms with a stiffer stronger axle and 1x only. They are far stiffer than the Truvativ Stylo I had before (originally off my Boardman HT Pro 2010), to a shocking degree. I didn’t expect to notice any difference, especially on a relatively skinny steel frame, but it was blindingly obvious just sprinting up and down my road, and again on the trails last night (again, on the sprinty bits).

    I don’t know how heavy they are but my gnarlified Soul is now up to 26.8lbs, from 26.5lbs, and since then it’s also gained a steel 10mm thru-axle, a UST rear tyre and the transmission’s gone Saint/Zee with Works XXI-style 34t and XT cassette from X9 with Hope 32t and SLX cassette.


    The Zee are pretty much Deore but with reinforced pedal inserts, no holes for the granny ring and a much more expensive looking finish (and possibly shot peened for better fatigue).

    Unless you know you need the extra strength I’d be tempted to buy a set of 10 speed Deore cranks from Rose and sell the rings (as they are the same as 10 speed SLX) and buy a new middle ring.

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