Are All Shimano Cranksets Interchangeable? (Answered!)


Shimano makes excellent products such as cranksets that are popular among cyclists around the world. But even if you know your way around Shimano’s cranksets, there’s one question that has been plaguing cyclists for years. Are all Shimano cranksets interchangeable?

Not all cranksets by Shimano are not interchangeable because they have different purposes with regard to both gearing systems and the type of drive cycle. In addition, most Shimano cranksets are not interchangeable because of the difference in their gearing systems.

Two Shimano Cranksets - Are all Shimano cranksets intercgangeable?

Could you be in a hurry? Here are some of the best Shimano cranksets.

5 Best Shimano Cranksets Available On Amazon

  1. SHIMANO 105 FC-R7000 Crankset – Best quality for road bike
  2. SHIMANO Ultegra R8000 Standard Crankset – Best value for money
  3. SHIMANO- FC-MT210-3 9-Speed Crankset– Best for mountain bike
  4. SHIMANO Deore 12 FC-M6130 Crankset – Best for BMX
  5. SHIMANO Tourney Bicycle Crankset – Best for cruiser bikes

What Are Shimano Cranksets?

Shimano cranksets are a bicycle component of bicycle chainsets made by the Shimano Company. Cranksets are used to transfer the power that cyclists generate to the rear hub.

Shimano is one of the leading cycling brands that manufactures cyclists’ bikes and cycling components that it manufactures for use by all levels of cyclists throughout the world.

These cranksets are designed to deliver all the power that cyclists produce efficiently to the rear wheel to enable riders to climb hills and accelerate.

Notably, Shimano cranksets are most often made of steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber. They can be found on any mountain bike, road bike, touring bicycle, fixed-gear bicycle, and many other bikes types.

As a result, you will find most beginners asking about Shimano crankset compatibility.

SHIMANO M361 Hybrid Crankset (Black)

What Are Shimano Crankset Parts?

a) Crankarms 

 This is a part of a crankset that transmits power from a cyclist’s pedaling force to the bicycle.

b) Chainring  

This is a circular part of a crankset that’s fastened to the crank arm and has teeth that engage with the chain in order to drive the bike forward when pedaling.

Chainrings can be found in various sizes, depending on their use. Larger ones are used for mountain bikes, while smaller ones are ideal for racing bikes.

Are Shimano Cranks Interchangeable? 

The Shimano cranksets are not all interchangeable.  There are a few different standards that Shimano uses for their cranks, which can make interchangeability difficult. 

The Hollowtech II standard is the most common one that Shimano uses. This standard uses two crank arms and a spider to attach them to the drive side of the bike. The four-bolt pattern is also used on this standard. The FC-R7000 crankset (View on Amazon) is an example of this standard.

The Octalink standard is another standard that Shimano uses. This standard has a smaller axle and is not as common as the Hollowtech II standard. The FC-M311  (View on Amazon) is an example of this standard.

Are all Shimano Cranks Interchangeable?

How Do I Know If My Bike Has A Shimano Crankset?

There are a few key features that might help you determine if your bike has a Shimano crankset, such as SR (Shimano Rear derailleur) and FD (Front Derailleur).

However, your best bet is to take off the left pedal of the bicycle and look at the model information found on the pedal’s backside behind the pedal spindle.

For example, for a Shimano Ultegra, you will find FC-6700/6750.

A Shimano-brand spindle should say “DC” or “FV”. The right pedal should also say “RS”.

In addition to the Shimano model number, you will also find the crank length indicated on the crank arms. Mostly, crank lengths range between 165mm and 180mm.

If one does not say these things, you don’t have a Shimano crankset.

What Are The Different Types Of Shimano Cranksets

There are 5 major types of Shimano cranksets, each with different features. They are:

1. Road Cranksets (such as the Shimano 105)

2. Mountain Bike (MTB) Cranksets

3. Track and Single Speed Cranksets (for track cycling/racing, such as the Sugino 75)

4. BMX Cranksets (these cranks are shorter than most others)

5. Cruiser Cranksets (for bikes meant to cruise around with relaxed cycling speeds, such as the Shimano DX)

Road cranks are ideal for use on road racing bicycles or time trial bicycles where the rider will be riding in a flex-neutral position. The crank length is determined by measuring from the center of the pedal axle to the center of the bottom bracket axle. 

MTB cranksets are suitable for off-road riding on mountain bikes. The MTB crank length is often longer than road cranks.

Track and single-speed cranksets are designed for track racing and are shorter than other cranksets. They are typically 176mm long. 

BMX cranksets are for BMX racing and shorter than other cranksets, often 165mm long. Cruiser cranksets are excellent for relaxed cycling speeds and are often the same length as MTB cranksets.

The three most popular types of Shimano Cranksets are the Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace. These cranksets vary in price and features.

Shimano Altus FC-M311 Bicycle Crankset - 170 x 42-32-22 Square Tapered

a) Shimano 105 Crankset

 This crankset features hollow outer chainrings, which reduce weight since they use less material to form the rings and spindle. It also has a wide range of gearing to accommodate most terrain and is available in both double and triple chainring configurations.

b) Shimano Ultegra  

This crankset is very similar to the 105, but it has a more durable construction. It also uses hollow outer chainrings and a wide range of gearing.

Shimano Dura-Ace 

This is the lightest and most expensive of Shimano’s cranksets. Professional cyclists use it in time trial racing, where every gram counts.

Whichever Shimano crankset you choose, it is crucial to ensure that your bottom bracket is also compatible.

 Bottom brackets come in various sizes and shapes, so matching the correct one with your crankset is important.

Shimano has a handy compatibility chart on their website, which can help you determine which crankset you will need.

SHIMANO Ultegra R8000 Standard Crank Set - 53x39T

Do All Shimano Cranksets Have Interchangeable Parts

Shimano Crankset Parts are not interchangeable, but they are compatible.

Shimano makes many types of cranksets geared for different cyclists. All Shimano Chainsets are not the same. Notably, they vary in crank arm length, pedal diameter, etc. 

Shimano has standardized on a common external dimension that ensures compatibility to make these parts work with each other. This is called the External Diameter Standard (EDS). 

That way, KMC pedals can be used on Shimano Pedals even though there is no EDS. 

Shimano Interchangeable Parts are only compatible with Interchangeable Parts of the same kind with matching EDs dimensions, so you cannot put FSA or KMC Pedals on a Shimano Crankset or vice versa. There are many different types of Shimano Cranksets, and they each have their own unique EDS dimensions.

Shimano provides the following general compatibility guidelines.

 “The overall compatibility is good but, in some cases, there are minor inconveniences or incompatibilities.”

What Is The Difference Between Dura-Ace And Ultegra

While the crankset materials are basically the same, there are some significant differences between Ultegra and Dura-Ace. Dura-Ace is made from a combination of SLR aluminum (The non-drive side crank arm) and carbon fiber (the drive side crank arm). Ultegra is made from a combination of SLR aluminum and steel.

The crank arms on a Dura-Ace crankset are also more tapered than Ultegra. This makes the arms stiffer and lighter.

Dura-Ace uses an internal bearing design, while Ultegra uses an external bearing design. This makes the Dura-Ace crankset a little bit stiffer and lighter.

The most significant difference between the two cranksets is weight. A Dura-Ace crankset weighs 668 grams, while an Ultegra crankset weighs 792 grams. If you are trying to save every possible ounce on your bike, Dura-Ace is a clear choice.

On the other hand, if the price is a major consideration, then Ultegra offers better value for your dollar. The Ultegra crankset is about $200 cheaper than the Dura-Ace model.

Which One Is Right For You?

1. Shimano Dura-Ace Crankset

Dura-Ace is Shimano’s top-of-the-line road racing crankset. It is made for the most demanding riders and is considerably lighter and stiffer than Ultegra.

It is made for the most demanding riders and is considerably lighter and stiffer.

2. Shimano Ultegra Crankset

Ultegra is Shimano’s second tier crankset. It was designed to be more durable and affordable than Dura-Ace without sacrificing too much performance.

It was designed to be more durable and affordable than Dura-Ace without sacrificing too much performance.

If you are looking for the best possible performance, go with Dura-Ace. If you are looking for a good value, Ultegra is a better option.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Cranksets Interchangeable?

Cranksets are generally not interchangeable from one brand or model to another. Different makes have different bolt circle diameters for their bottom bracket bearings. Also, they may have varying gear ratios.

2. How Do I Identify A Shimano Crank?

All Shimano cranksets have their model information engraved on the backside of the pedal threads. This information is critical when identifying the crank.

3. Is Crankset Worth Upgrading?

A crankset is worth upgrading for improved performance. All the same, if you like the quality of your ride, there is no need to change or replace your bike’s chainset.

4. How Do I Know What Size Crankset To Buy?

The best way to get the right crankset size is to use the old one as a reference. The easiest way is to check the back of the pedal axle threads, and you will find the size information printed.

5. What Is Shimano Hollowtech?

Shimano Hollowtech refers to hollow ultra-light cranks made by Shimano. They are made from a lightweight aluminum alloy, which makes them strong yet still relatively light.

Also read: Mountain Bike Vs Road Bike Crankset Compared.

Final Take – Are All Shimano Cranksets Interchangeable?

The Shimano cranksets are not all interchangeable. This is because they have different gearing systems, which makes them incompatible with each other in most cases.

 If you need to replace a component that came on your bike originally, it’s essential to know the system the original parts were designed for before purchasing replacements.

For example, if your old chainset is a Shimano and has 104 teeth upfront, then it can’t be replaced with an Ultegra 6800 113 tooth chainset from Shimano. Something has got to give!

Bike Finest Team

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