Shimano’s SLX Mid-Level range components gained their reputation thanks to a good ratio of price to quality. And the 2011 Shimano SLX M660 crankset is no exception.
Why am I saying this? First of all, the new Shimano SLX simply breathes quality, so it is enough to look at it once. Finishes are very well done and the two tones of color used for the hollow-forged arms will simply make it look sporty on any bike. The polished (silver) sides of the arm will perfectly hide all those scratches coming from pedaling on muddy trails. Then, there is also a two chainrings option with an integrated bash guard, offering protection from hits coming beneath the bike.
I pedaled with a triple chainring which benefits from the same Hollowtech II technology used for Deore, XT or XTR cranksets. It is very easy to install it with the right tools, and the empty bottom bracket shell contributes to the small weight. Chainrings can be removed by using a Torx 20 key, and if you don’t want to use the outer chainring you can remove it in less than 3 minutes. The inner and the middle chainrings design also contributes to the small weight of this crank and let’s not forget that the middle chainring is nylon reinforced, same as more expensive products. The whole crankset weighs only 902 grams, including the S-BB70 Bottom Bracket, which is only 50 grams more than Shimano XT.
The 2011 model was designed to be compatible with a HG-X chain, which asks for a greater budget when having to replace it, but it offers very smooth shifting, while this chain is also lighter than a regular one. And if you’re using a same range front derailleur, then you’ll get even better performance.
Perhaps the most interesting detail is the wide area of applications offered by this crank. Same as for Shimano XT, which can bee seen on all kinds of bikes, from Enduro to Trial, SLX is ready to suit all styles of riding, including more extreme ones. Besides its durability, low weight also recommends SLX.
The price of approximately 130 euro is more than decent compared to all that this crank has to offer. For sure, it will make you think twice when going to buy a Shimano XT crank, as it mainly offers the same advantages with the high-end product, but for a mid-level price.
Weight: 902 grams (including Bottom Bracket)
Use: XC, All Mountain