Shimano's new gears last 300% longer

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Better steel for Shimano's new cassette, which is tough enough for high-output e-bikes (Photo: Shimano)
Better steel for Shimano's new cassette, which is tough enough for high-output e-bikes (Photo: Shimano)
  • Shimano claim the Linkglide cassette will last three times longer than the Hyperglide cassette it replaces
  • Linkglide is a new standard, meaning it’s not compatible with other Shimano drivetrain components
  • With durability at its core Linkglide is perfect for high torque e-bike applications

Shimano has announced a new drivetrain technology, called Linkglide, for their XT and Deore mountain bike groupsets.

Contrary to the trend of trying to make everything lighter, Linkglide prioritises durability and shift performance above all else, even weight. 

In a time when it seems to be fashionable to make components lighter and more complex, it is great to see Shimano use their technological expertise to make components more durable.

Shimano is claiming some incredible durability numbers, stating that their testing revealed Linkglide cassettes to be 300% more durable than prior Hyperglide cassettes. This should mean better shifting throughout the cassette’s lifespan and prevent you requiring a premature replacement. 

mountain bike gears
You will need to buy all the new Linkglide bits, as they don't work with legacy Shimano drivetrains (Photo: Shimano)

You can't blend it with your current Shimano bits

Linkglide technology, which will be introduced in Deore 1x10 or XT 1x11 speed, is not cross-compatible with other Shimano drivetrains. Why? It features different gear pitches.

All compatible Shimano components will feature a logo to differentiate them as Linkglide. The truth? You will have to buy into this new Shimano ‘Linkglide’ system, instead of being to mix-and-match components from its huge product range. 

Shimano’s bold durability claims are a result of some clever engineering. The drivetrain’s teeth are made from plated steel, with a new shape to reduce wear and tear in areas that experience the most degradation over time.

It also features a large and deep chamfer on the reverse side and a shallow chamfer on the drive side. The teeth are taller and stronger towards the tip, which prevents chain skipping and tooth deformation, even as the cassette matures and riding mileages surge.

Shimano mountain bike
Parts of this new Shimano cassette, are replaceable (Photo: Shimano)

Ideal for e-bikes

The 11-, 13- and 15t sprockets, which very often see the most use, are also individually replaceable. This should make the Linkglide cassette cheaper to run.

A new shifting gate design and position on the cassette enables the chain to move smoothly across the sprockets and aims to reduce pedal shock during shifting. This is especially useful on e-bikes, where the chain is always under tension. 

All Linkglide drivetrains use a common chain design, regardless of the number of cogs on the cassette. Existing 11-speed Shimano chains, all of which are e-bike rated, are compatible with Linkglide drivetrains.

Shimano’s Hyperglide+ will remain the lightweight performance option, catering to riders who obsess about grams. 

Linkglide will be targeted at those mountain bikers who value absolute reliability and low ownership cost, over time, even when riding the dustiest or muddiest off-road trails. Perhaps the most sensible application, will be for high-powered e-bikes, where cassettes often wear rapidly.


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