On your left.
Need 180mm cranks - is XTR 960 good?
Jenson has the XTR 960 crankset at $300 - available in 180mm length. It is difficult to find 180mm cranks. I currently use Turbines and am considering those again or Deus, but other than that there are very few options. FSA - no, Truvativ - no. Other options, like XT and Middleburn are too heavy or too expensive.
Now that there are several aftermarket rings available for the 960's they are at the top of my list, but are they worth $300?
Tech geek and racerboy
They are, but know that you will pay through the teeth for chainrings when they need replacement. Blackspire makes some aftermarket ones which are less expensive, but still not cheap. They also have a weak finish that looks pretty ratty after just a few rides. However, they are otherwise outstanding. I ran mine for two years, replaced the middle ring once, then all three (after 24hrs of Moab last year) before moving on to the 970's. For $300, they're really good. Just know that the rings ain't cheap.
check out chain reaction in the UK, xtr 970 for around $380 + shipping, fast service too
the 970 uses standard ring sizes so if your cheap you can use xt, also regular bash guards work, not on the 960. I think the 970 has improved the rings also, only the middle is carbon/ti