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Old 10-15-11, 10:48 AM   #1
hybridbkrdr
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Difference between Alivio crankset and XT crankset?

Can you really tell the difference? I think perhaps the bottom bracket would make a larger difference. I'm talking for those who don't do 12 foot drops. But for people who would do some touring, would an XT crankset really make a difference?
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Old 10-15-11, 11:02 AM   #2
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shift performance, stiffer rings, stiffer crank. weight. whether it matters to you there is a difference
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Old 10-15-11, 01:37 PM   #3
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OK, fair enough. I'm not sure if weight and stiffness is crucial for me. But, has anyone seen any comments/reviews on shifting performance between Shimano, FSA, Truvativ and Sugino cranksets?... or even Suntour?
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Old 10-15-11, 01:47 PM   #4
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low end cranks are low end cranks. sr suntour stuff i see is cheap OE stuff with riveted rings. waste of money. FSA is ok and definitely a price point crank, they have gotten better recently. shimano shifts the best IMO, shimano stuff in general just plain works for the most part. truvativ is on par with fsa but higher end sram/truvativ is nice. no real exp with sugino. in the end you get what you pay for
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Old 10-15-11, 02:27 PM   #5
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If your looking for low end, Alivio isn't it, it's only one step below Deore, and can be found on mid range bikes, Specialized Carve for example (tho not the crank).

Using 12 foot drops is a bad example of judging cranks, as XT's arn't really designd for this, you want to be looking at Saint or Hone for heavy duty work, for touring, would be more interested in the T count on the chainrings than the weight, but would expect Alivio be heavier & to wear out quicker than XT.

For the Bottom Bracket making a difference, as Alivio and XT are only available with HT2 type BB's this is a moot point, as the BB is basically the same for the purposes of everyday use.
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Old 10-15-11, 02:51 PM   #6
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As stated, difference is weight, maybe stiffness, but you won't notice the latter, and the finish is better on the XT. The bb bracket has to match the crank axle opening. A front crank isn't all that important to the average rider. And the front derailleur is not as important as the rear derailleur because it doesn't get shifted as much. I know you didn't ask.
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Old 10-15-11, 03:34 PM   #7
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How could the XT cranksets last longer than the Alivio? I thought Alivio chainrings were steel, although I read only the larger chainring on the Deore etc cranksets are aluminium.
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Old 10-15-11, 05:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
Can you really tell the difference? I think perhaps the bottom bracket would make a larger difference. I'm talking for those who don't do 12 foot drops. But for people who would do some touring, would an XT crankset really make a difference?
They'll be equal to the touring task.

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Old 10-15-11, 05:08 PM   #9
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Save some money, get the Alivio cranks. When you wear them out, try XT.
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Old 10-15-11, 06:24 PM   #10
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Save some money, get the Alivio cranks. When you wear them out, try XT.
Well, I was trying to determine how I want to view crankset quality.

On second thought, I know I've seen touring bikes on manufacturer's websites with Tiagra or Deore LX. So there must be a reason for it. But I remember reading a message from someone saying he did not agree on the pricing of Shimano cranksets so...
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Old 10-15-11, 11:56 PM   #11
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For me it's a simple breakdown:

Any crank with non-removable (riveted chainrings) is "junk" and any forged crank with removeable chainrings is "good." Beyond that you can get into the high end stuff with external bearing BBs and the newer 2 piece cranksets, but for touring any "good" crankset will be just fine. I think only a racer or someone heavy putting hard miles on the bike would notice the added stiffness of the fancy stuff.
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Old 10-16-11, 12:08 AM   #12
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Aside from riveted/spotwelded chainrings, pretty sure (maybe) Alivio is investment cast, XT is cold forged. I've seen an Alivio crank arm break off at pedal hole, after grazing a rock. Seen XT's so beat up you could no longer tell they were Shimano.
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Old 10-16-11, 04:47 AM   #13
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I'm not a fan of the Alivio. They have a strange chainring design where the middle ring flares out slightly and the outer is designed to compensate. The problem comes when trying to put a bash guard in place of the outer ring--the crankset design doesn't allow enough spacing to keep the chain from catching on the bashguard during upshifts. This problem isn't present in Deore LX or XT cranksets. Personally, I like the LX level--I wouldn't spend the extra money for XT.
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Old 10-16-11, 08:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
Well, I was trying to determine how I want to view crankset quality.

On second thought, I know I've seen touring bikes on manufacturer's websites with Tiagra or Deore LX. So there must be a reason for it. But I remember reading a message from someone saying he did not agree on the pricing of Shimano cranksets so...
You are making this more complicated than it needs to be. First and most important, base your crankset choice on the gearing you need (or anticipate needing) for your cycling. Buying any crankset and ignoring this key point is just plain dumb. Alivio, Deore LX, and XT are all MTB cranksets which typically will have 42/32/22 chainrings or sometimes 48/38/28 (plus or minus 2 teeth). Tiagra is a road crankset and on a touring bike will likely be a 50/39/30. There is a huge difference between a 42/32/22 and 50/39/30 in use. If you've never experienced the difference, go play with Sheldon's gear calculator and look at what speeds you get at a certain cadence in those different chainrings. Try out different cassettes with each crankset. Do those speeds suit you or not?

Second and far less important, base your crankset choice on a balance of your budget and weight goals for the bike. XT will be lighter than Deore or Alivio. It might perform ever so slightly better as well. It might not last as long if the Alivio has steel rings as XT will definitely have aluminum chainrings. They'll last a long time for sure but not as long as steel. Cranksets generally aren't great as a bang for the buck in weight reduction. But if you want a really light bike, you need to shave weight everywhere to see a big difference. You also need to be prepared to pay up.
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Old 10-16-11, 03:45 PM   #15
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Holy crap, lol. I just checked a crankset that I bought from Niagaracycle and it's riveted. It's the Sugino Impel 150x 42/34/24T 170mm. http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=405881

Oh well, it's not the end of the world. This is for a "second" project in a way. Because I ended up buying two parts for almost everything on a bicycle, I decided I'll build one touring bike, sell it then use the money to complete my "real" dream bike. So the other bike will get this crankset with the MKS GR-9 pedals that I find too narrow. I also bought a Deore LX derailleur and decided at the last minute I wanted a low-normal rear derailleur. So, the "dream" bike will have the low-normal rear derailleur. And I'll also put the Origin 8 headset and seatpost clamp on it with bright orange color on the second bike. I know my original idea was to have something visible, but once I saw the seatpost clamp on the frame, I nearly crapped my pants. The color sticks out too much. Oh well, I'm rambling for nothing. Once the first project is complete, I'll probably write a very long message about the build people won't believe. The story is too odd to believe. Trying to build one bicycle and ending up with two. Besides, the "freak" bike will get my 54cm frameset. I also decided at the last minute I'd rather go with a 52cm frameset.
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Old 10-16-11, 06:02 PM   #16
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Alivio, Deore LX, and XT are all MTB cranksets
Not quite correct, LX hasn't been an MTB groupset for several years now, SLX took over that position, and LX was re-designated a trekking groupset. LX has the options of 42/32/22 and 48/36/26, the latter which is a good setup for touring
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Old 10-16-11, 07:24 PM   #17
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Some of the notable differences between XT and Alivio:

1. XT arms are hollow-forged, undoubtedly part of the reason for their cost. Alivio is solid.

2. XT is external-bearing. Alivio is Octalink (with square-taper still available as well).

3. XT uses a composite carbon/steel middle ring on the version that uses a 32T middle (as opposed to the trekking setup with a 26-36-48). The outer ring is 7075 aluminum, quite thick and beefy. On Alivio, all rings are stamped steel.

4. Current-generation XT is made for 10-speed, current-gen Alivio is 8-speed.

5. XT uses aluminum for the male part of the outer chainring bolts.

If you're attracted to some of the XT features, but don't want to spend that much, SLX is a great alternative and can be obtained with trekking rings if you hunt around. If you'd be OK with Alivio in most areas but want external bearings instead of Octalink, grab a Deore crankset, or LX if you can find it.
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Old 10-16-11, 07:51 PM   #18
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From what I know, M430 is 9 speed Alivio and M410 is 8 speed Alivio. And oddly enough, from a quick read on niagaracycle, it looks like M410 cranksets have riveted chainrings (EDIT: this may not be true) while the M430 have removable chainrings. However, friction shifting is a little more difficult with a more narrow 9 speed chain. I found some R443 cranksets which were apparently non-series components that were 48/36/26 with a chainguard, nice combination but they were 9 speed. Those non-series components make me laugh sometimes because I wonder if they're spec'd by manufacturers who'd rather keep the quality levels secret from their customers or competitors. I'm not sure what the case is there.

I read someone took the time to measure the difference between the width of the chainrings on 9 speed cranksets and 8 speed cranksets and also the space between the chainrings. They were the same except the ramp, pins were spaced differently. This means an 8 speed chain could work apparently well enough on a 9 speed crankset although not perfectly. The only thing is deciding if I'd be willing to sacrifice the perfect shifting on the 8 speed to get the 9 speed for the advantage of the chainguard and the 48/36/26 chainrings.

Does anyone know by chance if the "Supershift" chainrings on the Sugino Impel 150x are comparable to the shifting on the Shimano models?

EDIT: Here's a weird question. Do any of you think it would ever be worth it to try to take out and replace the chainrings on a riveted chainring crankset if they were ever worn out? I mean what kind of tool/technique would you use to grind or drill the chainrings out of there?

Last edited by hybridbkrdr; 10-17-11 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 10-16-11, 08:02 PM   #19
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There are actually 3 different Alivios for sale as far as I can tell.

Square taper 7/8 speed, Octalink 7/8 speed and Octalink 9-speed. Often you can run an 8-speed chain on 9-speed chainrings OK, haven't tried it on ten-speed.

Chain Reaction in the UK lists both 410s and the 430 having replaceable chainrings.

For touring I think I'd want an old-school MTB crankset or a road triple personally. A 48T big ring would be nice.
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Old 10-16-11, 08:08 PM   #20
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EDIT: Here's a weird question. Do any of you think it would ever be worth it to try to take out and replace the chainrings on a riveted chainring crankset if they were ever worn out? I mean what kind of tool/technique would you use to grind or drill the chainrings out of there?
It might be worth it if I found some replacement chainrings for $5 apiece. Otherwise it seems like it would be cheaper and easier just to plop down $40 for an Alivio crankset.

Oooh, I see Niagara has an Alivio with 28-38-48. I might have to get on that for a build this winter.
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Old 10-17-11, 01:33 PM   #21
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Is the ability to buy new new chainrings all its cracked up to be? When i wanted to buy new rings, i found that the price was comparable to buying a replacement chainset of the same quality!
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Old 10-17-11, 01:40 PM   #22
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Is the ability to buy new new chainrings all its cracked up to be? When i wanted to buy new rings, i found that the price was comparable to buying a replacement chainset of the same quality!
You've answered your own question. On lower end cranksets, it's not much of an advantage. About all it buys you is the ability to swap out the granny ring to customized the gearing a bit. If you need to swap the middle or outer it can often be cheaper to buy a new crankset. On a long tour it *might* come in handy as well if you damaged a ring and somehow had a source for just a replacement ring and not a full crank, or happened to be carrying one (I'm really grasping at straws here). On more expensive cranksets, you can easily justify the cost of replacement chainrings. I certainly wouldn't scrap either of my Stronglight cranks even if I had to replace all three rings.
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Old 10-17-11, 01:44 PM   #23
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Can you really tell the difference? I think perhaps the bottom bracket would make a larger difference. I'm talking for those who don't do 12 foot drops. But for people who would do some touring, would an XT crankset really make a difference?
Can't comment on XT. However I went from Alivio Crank+Derailleur to Deore LX Crank+Derailleur. Shifting is a thousand times better. I never miss a shift. With the Alivio it wouldn't even shift into the granny gear half the time (and yes I tried adjusting it, it just didn't work many times).

Deore LX, I've only adjusted it twice. Once when I first got it, and once when I swapped shifters, been perfect for every shift after each adjustment.
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Old 10-17-11, 01:46 PM   #24
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Just for fun I did a quick check for fancy cranksets. It was about $500 more than I expected! Eleven hundred something for Campy's fanciest!
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Old 10-17-11, 02:01 PM   #25
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Steel chainrings last a very long time, expensive 7075t6 alloy gets close
but at a high cost.

Alvivio often is spec'd to meet a price point.

NB there are several additional price points of components between
Alvivio and XT.

and additional makers besides Shimano.

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