Our top choices
After winning the MBUK' best mountain bike crank for 3 years in a row. This specific dirt jump crank is our best pick.Check Price
Sunday Saker V2
Sunday made this crank for BMX riders but it works brilliantly on dirt jump bikes too. It's strong and well dimensioned.Check Price
A high-quality crank that's been upgraded with all sorts of new features for 2023. Canyon have used this on some of their best bikes.Check Price
Welcome to our article on the best dirt jumper cranks!
As the heart of your bike's drivetrain, cranks are responsible for transferring the power from your legs to the rear wheel. When it comes to dirt jumping, there are various types of cranksets available, ranging from one to three-piece setups. In road biking, compact double cranksets are the most popular, but single-ring chainsets and larger semi-compact or race cranksets are also options.
The best dirt jumper cranks not only need to be strong and stiff to support hard landings, but they should also be lightweight for optimal performance. In this article, we will be highlighting the best MTB cranks that offer a range of features and price points, from all price ranges.
We have included options for a variety of needs, from tough BMX cranks to rugged units suitable for downhill courses.
So if you're in the market for a new dirt jumper crank, be sure to check out our top picks!
Best Dirt Jump Grips
A great list of the best dirt jump grips in 2023. These grips help keep your hands ventilated and at a brilliant temperature.
DMR Axe Dirt Jumper Crankset
Photo by andydd
The Axe is a brilliantly designed mountain biking and dirt jumping crank. This is probably the most DJ-centric crank on this list. DMR has also long been a popular Dirt Jumping-focused brand.
You will find the Axe crank winning MBUK’s best MTB crank for three years in a row. Any type of mountain biker can get use of the DMR Axe. Great strength appeals to DH bikers. The weight is so low it’s perfect for enduro racers and the style fits DJ bikes really well.
The stiffness and strength I mentioned above were achieved through the use of Hollow form arms and a 30mm axle. You won’t find much flex between the crank arms thanks to this 30mm axle.
Through Brendan Fairclough, the cranks have been thoroughly strength tested to achieve their World Cup DH credentials.
I find that you’ll be super comfortable riding these cranks unless you’re on a super long, rough descent. The extreme rigidity needed for large slopestyle jumps can sometimes be too much on other types of rides.
Photo by andydd
- Axle: 30mm
- Sizes: 165, 170 or 175mm. 83mm/165mm DH spec
- BB options: Euro BB, PF30, BB30, BB92, 68-73mm/83mm Threaded
- Q-Factor: 176mm
- SRAM style direct mount compatible
- Weight: 790g
The Unsung Heroes | The DMR AXE Crank | Cape Town, SA.
Sram Truvativ Descendant 6K DUB Crankset
Photo by gtownbmx84
One of the reasons I chose this crankset was due to its feature in my absolute favourite slopestyle bike, the Canyon Stitched 720.
Sram has developed a consistent, strong and innovative product here for all mountain bikers, whether you’re a dirt jumper or downhill rider.
Featuring the SRAM X-SYNC 2 tooth profile chainring, you’ll be able to have complete confidence in your drivetrain. You’ll be able to see that each tooth’s thickness is precisely toleranced and controlled in order to line up to your chains links perfectly.
A new spindle and bottom bracket have been introduced under the SRAM DUB trademark. These have been better engineered to allow for a much better fitment to your bike. A perfect fitment will prevent debris from entering the bottom bracket or bearings, affecting the durability of your bike’s parts.
Photo by gtownbmx84
- Length: 165, 170, 175mm
- Spindle Interface: DUB
- Speeds: 11/12
- Chainring Material: Aluminium, Steel
- Chainring Size: 30T, 32T, 34T
- Weight: 717g
Profile Race BMX Cranks
Photo by profileracing.com
An American bicycle manufacturer, Profile has been making 3-piece bike cranks for over 15 years. They create some of the highest quality dirt jumping products in the world, especially cranks and hubs.
Race cranks are made from 4130 heat-treated Chromoly steel. The 48-spline has been heat treated and gun drilled from either 4130 Chromoly or titanium, which is an impressive upgrade.
In my opinion, Profile makes the strongest, stiffest and most durable crank arms on the market. For a long time, many riders viewest Profile as an out-of-reach cycling brand that only catered to professionals and the rich. Since then they’ve developed many different product options that really make it more accessible to the masses.
Just to persuade you into using Profile cranks, even more, every part of these cranks is available separately, you receive a lifetime warranty and the variations are numerous.
Profile Race DJ cranks can be purchased in several sizes between 140mm and 190mm, making them suitable for riding nearly any BMX or DJ discipline.
- Max Arm Length: 190mm
- Min Arm Length: 140mm
- No. of Pieces: 3
- Material: Steel
Van Homan Reviews Profile Racing Cranks
Hope Evo MTB Cranks
Photo by ashmtnadv
Hope is a British mountain bike manufacturer. They’re a similar type of brand to Profile but in the mountain bike world: rather expensive but insanely high build quality.
The Evo crank is the second generation in this line. The machining is amazing, and the colour choices are varied but the price will put a lot of hobbyists off. I guess that’s what you get with British-made bike parts.
Some riders weren’t completely happy with a few aspects of the first generation of this product. Hope didn’t like that and released this second version that’s far stiffer and still 15% lighter. At only 563g you can’t complain.
Just like Profile, you can choose from a lot of different arm lengths and colours. The company wants to cater to as many mountain biking disciplines as possible. Other options are available through a drive-side spline to mount on the crank arm. This just means you can use a direct mount chainring or a standard spider chainring.
Photo by ashmtnadv
- Weight: 563g
- Self-extracting axle/arm interface for ease of fitting
- Versatile Spline mount for chainring or spiderless chainrings
- Lengths: 155, 165, 170 and 175mm
- Axle: 30mm oversize 7075 aluminium alloy axle
- Colour: black, blue, red, silver, purple and orange
- Material: 7150 series aluminium alloy
Sunday Saker V2 BMX Crankset
Photo by sourcebmx.com
Jim Cielencki founded Sunday Bikes Co. in 2005 to address a lack of innovation in BMX design during the 1980s and 1990s. As a professional BMX rider, Cielencki sought to balance strength and weight in BMX bikes, leading to the creation of Sunday Bikes. Today, Sunday Bikes is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-end BMX bikes and sponsors numerous professional teams and events.
These are tubular Chromoly 3-piece designs, normally used on BMX bikes. Each arm uses a single bolt pinch design to clamp it to the axle. The 19mm spindle uses 8 splines, pretty common for a BMX crank but it can work well on a DJ bike.
You’ll receive 19mm mid-BB spacers for this LHD/RHD compatible crankset. You should investigate the best way to use these on your dirt jumper when purchasing.
- Material: Tubular Chromo
- Lengths: 155, 165, 170 and 175mm
- Drive Side: RHD/LHD
- Spindle Type: 8 spline
- Spindle Size: 19mm
Sunday Saker V2 3pc. Cranks explained and review
BSD Substance BMX Crankset
Denim Cox is a professional BMX rider from Australia. He is known for his technical riding style and has competed in numerous competitions around the world. Cox started riding BMX at a young age and quickly gained a reputation as a talented rider. He has won numerous titles and accolades throughout his career, including the Australian National Championship and the FISE World Series. Cox is also known for his work as a coach, helping to train and mentor young riders. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling and exploring new riding spots.
Denim worked with BSD to create this single bolt, 2.5-piece cranks. Created from 4130 Chromoly in flat raw and flat black finishes. The arms have a rectangular cross-section for increased stiffness, perfect for heavy slopestyle jumps.
BSD has created the Substance cranks in such a way that you can convert the crankset between the left-hand drive and right-hand drive extremely easily.
I love the flat finishes BSD has used here. Just having your calves rub against the pain rubs it off so easily on every crank I’ve ever had. These finishes prevent that from happening, keeping your crankset looking newer for longer.
Again, Cox is great proof why you should buy these cranks. He rides like he doesn’t care about breaking himself or his bike and yet he never breaks his cranks.
- Material: Heat-Treated 4130 Chromoly
- Length: 165, 170, 175mm
- Spindle Diameter: 22mm
- Weight: 1.95lbs
What Size Cranks for Dirt Jumping?
The size of the bike cranks that you should use for dirt jumping depends on a few factors, including your height, riding style, and personal preference.
In general, shorter cranks are preferred for dirt jumping because they allow for more manoeuvrability and a lower centre of gravity, which can help with tricks and jumps. Cranks that are too long can make it more difficult to get your feet on the pedals and can cause you to lose control while in the air.
For most riders, cranks that are around 160-170mm in length are a good choice for dirt jumping. I would recommend 165mm for most DJ riders. If you are shorter or have a more aggressive riding style, you may want to consider cranks that are on the shorter end of this range.
If you are taller or have a more relaxed riding style, you may want to go with cranks that are on the longer end of the range.
It's also worth noting that many dirt jumping bikes come with shorter cranks as standard equipment. If you are unsure of what size cranks to use, it may be a good idea to start with the cranks that came with your bike and see how they feel. If you don't like the feel of the cranks, you can always switch to a different size later.
As you’ll read below, a lot of riders prefer BMX cranks for their dirt jumper. They’re generally shorter and offer better clearance for more intricate tricks.
What is the Best Gear Ratio for Dirt Jumping?
The best gear ratio for a dirt jumping bike will depend on a variety of factors, including the rider's strength and skill level, the terrain being ridden on, and the size of the jumps. In general, a shorter gear ratio (i.e. a larger sprocket in the front and a smaller one in the back) will provide more torque and make it easier to pedal through rough terrain and clear large jumps, but may also make it harder to maintain speed on flatter sections. A longer gear ratio (i.e. a smaller sprocket in the front and a larger one in the back) will provide less torque but may make it easier to maintain speed on flatter sections and make it easier to pedal up hills.
It's a good idea to experiment with different gear ratios to find the one that works best for you and the terrain you're riding on. Many dirt jumpers prefer to use a gear ratio that is somewhere in the middle, as this can provide a good balance of torque and speed. Ultimately, the best gear ratio for a dirt-jumping bike will depend on the individual rider's preferences and needs.
Regular street bikes use a 36/12 ratio to give you speed, a well-sized sprocket and accessible power when you need it. Dirt jumpers need less sprocket clearance but more high-end speed. For this reason, it’s better to use something like 34/16 on these bikes.
Do Longer Cranks Make You Ride Faster?
There is some debate about whether or not longer bike cranks can help a rider go faster. Some people argue that longer cranks allow for more leverage and therefore more power, while others argue that they may be less efficient and cause the rider to use more energy.
One factor to consider is the rider's leg length. If a rider has relatively long legs, they may benefit from longer cranks because they can take advantage of the extra leverage. On the other hand, if a rider has shorter legs, longer cranks may be more difficult to pedal and may cause the rider to use more energy.
Overall, it is unlikely that longer bike cranks will have a significant impact on a rider's speed. Factors such as the rider's strength, technique, and the bike's overall design will have a larger effect on the rider's speed. A rider needs to find a crank length that is comfortable and efficient for them, regardless of whether it is longer or shorter.
To be more detailed, cycling power output is determined by torque multiplied by cadence. Longer cranks inevitably produce more torque, but the cadence is decreased due to the larger turning circle. Shorter cranks have the opposite effect.
BMX Cranks on a Dirt Jump Bike
It’s absolutely possible to use BMX cranks on a dirt jumper. While you should investigate your current bottom bracket and its compatibility with your BMX cranks, you shouldn’t have a problem riding with them.
BMX cranks are often chosen for their durability and ease of use. They’re less flexible and connect BMX sprockets much easier than dirt jumper cranks.
If you’re building a setup with BMX cranks and sprockets then you should think about the gearing ratio. A 26” wheel with a 2.5 ratio will have a very different feel than a 2.5 ratio at 20”. In other words, you may find it a lot easier to pedal when using the same-sized cranks and sprockets on your BMX and dirt jumper.
What are Crank Boots?
Crank boots are a simple and affordable way to protect your bike's cranks from impacts and keep them in good condition. They are designed to absorb the shock of strikes on rocks, roots, and other objects you may encounter on the trail.
Almost all new carbon cranks come with a set of crank boots included, but for those with older cranks or alloy cranks, there are options available to fit almost any model. Different brands offer specific crank boots for their different models, as not all cranks are shaped the same.
In addition to providing protection, crank boots can also be used to add some extra style to your bike. Race Face, for example, offers their crank boots in a variety of colours to match the colour scheme of your bike.
While you may not think you need crank boots, it's important to consider the potential cost of replacing damaged cranks. One good strike could result in hundreds of dollars in replacement costs, and multiple strikes could even leave you stranded on the trail. Investing in crank boots can save you money in the long run and ensure that your bike stays in safe and working condition.Click Here to Check Best Price
Why you Should Trust Our Picks
This list and guide were written in late 2022 by me, Michael Scott. I have extensively researched and interviewed riders to determine the best cranks and cranksets for dirt jumpers.
To collate this list I rode bikes that were fitted with several of the cranks and interviewed mountain bike and dirt jump riders who use the others. They were forthcoming with their opinions on each of the products and their features.
I have been riding BMX and mountain bikes regularly for around 10 years now. I have built, maintained and reviewed dozens of dirt jump bikes for this website and elsewhere. I have broken cranks and bicycle parts so many times I know what to look for when creating a list like this.
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