DMR Axe LE Crankset Review


Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Finlay Anderson

DMR transcended their Dirt Jump bike roots to offer a range of trail to downhill mountain bike components a while ago, even dipping their feet into the pool of full suspension mountain bikes for some time. During this period, they released the AXE mountain bike crank, designed as a solid offering for enduro to downhill mountain bikers as an alternative to the common options. We put a set to the test over the first half of the year and came away impressed by their no-nonsense performance at the heart of our test bikes. Read on to find out if they’re a good option for your next mountain bike crankset.


The DMR AXE cranks have been on the market for going on ten years at this point and received an aesthetic update a little while ago with the AXE LE (laser etched) model that retains the same performance as the older model but with a cleaner look. The AXE cranks are manufactured out of an unspecified aluminum alloy using their Hollowform forging technology to remove unnecessary material from within the crankarms without spoiling their smooth outside. They’re designed to be strong and stiff enough to handle the abuse of downhill bikes, without being overly heavy for all mountain and enduro bike setups and are offered in fittings to suit either style of bike.

DMR Axe LE Crankset Review

Connecting the two crankarms together is a hollow 30mm axle, which requires a proprietary AXE BB (made by Praxis) due to its unique 30mm / 28mm bearing sizing on each side. The axle is permanently connected to the non-drive side crank, and fixes to the drive side crank arm with a tapered interface and self-extracting 8mm hex bolt. A wavy washer sits between the non-drive side crankarm, and bottom bracket bearing to preload the bottom bracket bearings and prevent any side-to-side movement in the cranks when riding.

The drive side crankarm features the SRAM direct mount chainring standard to offer a wide range of chainring options, and a spider can be purchased separately if you’re looking to run a 2X setup on an older bike. There’s a fairly typical 176mm Q-factor, and they tip the scales at 635g for the 165mm crankarms and 32t sprocket tested, or 751g including the Praxis BB – quite competitive in the category. There’s a choice of 165mm, 170mm or 175mm crank arm lengths, with all offered in the 68/73mm bb width standard or with a 83mm wide “dh” style spindle offered for the 165mm length. Regardless of your choice between the Polished (tested) or Black “Laser Etched” colorways, the DMR AXE crank arms will run you £180 (appx $250), with bottom brackets from £40 and the Blade chainring for £55.

DMR Axe LE Crankset Review


I love the look of the AXE cranks, with a reassuringly large profile that’s suggestive of great stiffness and strength, and no sharp edges to hurt your ankles or pockets to catch mud. The stout looks carry over to their feel on the trail too, however they don’t pack an absurd weight to accompany it, sitting quite competitively at only a touch heavier than the Shimano SLX benchmark for the system. They mount up easily thanks to the single bolt design, and you can easily pull the drive side crank off for changing a chainring or more easily switching out chainguide spacers, which is a nice touch. Less of a nice touch is the proprietary Praxis BB, which is likely to be much harder to source than a more common standard option and uses a proprietary tool. It certainly pays to be prepared with a spare bottom bracket and the tool if you’re planning on a ride where you’re depending on their performance.

As mentioned, the AXE cranks feel nicely stiff and direct when riding, avoiding flex in a similar manner to the Shimano Saint cranks. This is excellent for harder charging or heavier riders, giving supreme confidence and ensuring there’s no wasted energy when pumping or pedaling the bike hard. The flip side may be some slightly increased fatigue for less aggressive riders, but we’d suggest crank flex is not an honorable pursuit to obtain a comfortable ride.

In terms of durability, though the AXE cranks don’t use a steel pedal thread insert like many, there’s been no damage sustained or notable deterioration of the threads after countless pedal changes, so they’re likely to be in it for the long haul. The Praxis bottom bracket has survived a few months of abuse across a range of conditions including snow and torrential rain without any notions of becoming rough or noisy. It’ll be interesting to see how long this continues, since 30mm bearings typically die before their larger counterparts due to reduced pressure distribution across their balls. The polished face has done an amicable job at taking the shoe rub without looking particularly tatty, whereas an anodized or painted face, or clear protection tape, would be looking considerably worse for wear by now. The AXE cranks did come loose twice for unknown reasons, but once removed, cleaned up, greased and refitted to the correct torque, they have been solid since.

The Wolf’s Last Word

The DMR AXE cranks are unlikely to drastically transform your ride experience, however if you’re in the market for a new set of alloy cranks then they’re a very solid and stout option at a reasonable price point and weight and look great for a long time in the polished colorway too.

Price: £275 (appx $370) for Crankarms, Chainring, Bottom Bracket
Weight: 635g (165mm arms with 32t sprocket)

We Dig

Sturdy feel
Clean looks

We Don’t

Proprietary BB and BB tool


Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.