How to Service a Shimano XT Crank

Written by jason hinkley
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How to Service a Shimano XT Crank
Clean and well-cared-for parts get you where you want to go. (mountain bike image by JCVStock from

Shimano XT cranksets are a mountain biking standard, used by professional racers and serious amateurs alike. Lightweight, reliable and smooth, they will provide years of service. They are also very expensive to replace and should be taken care of accordingly. They should be serviced at least once a year, more if you ride regularly in muddy conditions or neglect to clean your drive train. XT cranks have an easy to remove, two-piece design, consisting of a left crank arm and a right spindle/crank combination that spans the bottom bracket shaft. It's a design that makes servicing a breeze.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Allen, or hex-head key set
  • Shimano Hollowtech Cap Tool
  • Degreaser
  • Rags
  • Bicycle grease

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  1. 1

    Loosen the bolts on the end of the left crank arm with an Allen key.

  2. 2

    Remove the cap on the left crank arm with the Shimano Cap tool.

  3. 3

    Remove the crankset. Slide the left crank arm off. Pull the right crank arm/spindle off. If it does not come off easily, tap it gently with a mallet. Watch for shims as you remove the crank, making a note of how they come off for reassembly.

  1. 1

    Cover the chain rings, spindle, and crank arms with degreaser. Wipe off the degreaser with the rag. Repeat until all the old grease and dirt have been removed from the parts.

  2. 2

    Apply degreaser to the rag and run it through the inside of the shaft that the spindle came out of. Clean the bearings on the outside of the shaft with the rag.

  3. 3

    Apply new grease to the entire length of the spindle. Apply new grease to the inside of the left crank arm.

  1. 1

    Slide the spindle/right crank arm into the shaft. Wipe away any excess grease that forms on the outside of the shaft.

  2. 2

    Place the shims back onto the spindle in the same order that they came off. Slide the left crank arm onto the spindle. Keep the crank arms pointing 180 degrees from each other.

  3. 3

    Put the crank arm cap back onto the left crank and tighten it hand-tight with the Shimano Cap tool. Tighten the crank arm bolts with the Allen key.

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