I've been using Shimano XTR cranks since my bike was assembled in 2002 (fc-m952?). I've replaced the rings a few times in the past (though not in several years) but it appears that these cranks were crafted in such a way as to preclude the use of off-the-shelf rings. As a result it seems to be rather difficult / impossible to find replacements anymore.

I'm in need of new rings again so it seems I have two choices:

  1. Replace the whole set
  2. Adapt using something like this - and replace with 'standard' rings

I don't know enough about bike parts and availability to make a clear decision.



I should note that the shifters are also XTR of the same era so any replacement rings would need to be compatible

  • 1
    I'd be tempted to go with the option that allows me to think about this once, get the job done, then forget about it. Do both of your approaches offer that? I mean, next time you change the rings, you don't want to have to ask this question again, do you? Also, does cost come into it?
    – PeteH
    Feb 2, 2015 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


The shifters+front derailleur don't care about the type of chain rings you're using (just that they're sized appropriately and you're running a double/triple as you were before).

On the one hand, the adapter you linked is about 75 dollars + the cost of regular rings (which should work fine). On the other hand, replacing the crankset means a new bottom bracket (octalink v1 isn't exactly popular anymore,but its not hard to find replacement octalink v1 bottom brackets) and a new crankset.

I'd probably personally opt for the new crankset and BB, since I don't know about the reliability of these adapters and the price difference is pretty small (maybe 15 dollars). Plus, then, you don't risk someone putting a Octalink v2 BB on there some point and then ruining the crank.

  • From what I've found a new XTR crank will run me > $400. If the shifters don't care then I'll probably try the adapter. If that doesn't work then I'll have to replace everything anyway...
    – ethrbunny
    Feb 3, 2015 at 13:25
  • 1
    You don't have to replace the crank with a new XTR crank -- a modern Deore crank is around 70 dollars and it's likely as good as a ~15 year old XTR crank.
    – Batman
    Feb 3, 2015 at 13:29
  • Double plus 1 for the above answer. You should be able to find a 9spd XT crank with BB for about $150. External bearing make for a lighter crank than even XTR octalink versions. chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/shimano-xt-m770-triple-chainset/… IMHO, unless you've either got deep pockets or are racing at a very high level XTR is not worth the extra cash over XT. Even plain Deore is perfectly servicable these days. Feb 3, 2015 at 22:45

I think your best option is to change the crank. A 2015 Deore or a SLX crank are not only extremely good value for money but they also carry a lot of modern technologies (search the net for reviews, everybody loves them) comparing with your old 2002 product.

A modern 2015 Deore (cheapest, entry level) works much better than a 2002 XTR because 13 years of development really make a big difference.

Good luck and happy riding.

  • What sorts of improvements would one look for?
    – ethrbunny
    Apr 23, 2015 at 1:25
  • Hollow cranks and spindle, external bearings, redesigned cogs with support gears, 3D composite chain rings, overall smarter construction with modern materials. 13 years is a big gap in any product.
    – super
    Apr 23, 2015 at 9:17
  • Yes this - Shimano tech trickles down from current XTR over a few years to the lower end groupsets. Jan 4, 2018 at 22:19

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