Review: Shimano XT Linkglide - Here For a Good Time AND a Long Time

Nov 24, 2023 at 12:00
by Henry Quinney  

It has been a busy couple of years for the bicycle industry. A few years ago, like so many outdoor pursuits, it was ticking along in happy near anonymity then 2020 rolled around the corner, and... well, you know the rest.

The push and pull of demand certainly hasn't only been felt within the cycle industry even if it is an area that feels like it's been hit very hard. However, as we moved forward into 2023 SRAM and Shimano, the biggest two premium drivetrain manufacturers by far were both busy readying the frontier for the new battle lines being drawn. SRAM received most of the plaudits for their T-Type drivetrains, but that's not to say Shimano hasn't been busy.

Linkglide XT Details
• 11-speed, 11-50 tooth cassette
• Makes use of derailleur hanger
• Focus on durability & smoothness
• Linkglide runs through the whole Cues group
• Steel cassette
• Price: $343 USD
bike.shimano.com

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T-Type is wonderful, but it's currently only available on very high-end bikes. While GX plugged the gap and sits below X0 and XX, I would still consider it costly, even if the performance is very good.

While much of the mountain bike world's attention was focused on SRAM's wireless efforts, Shimano delivered something arguably just as important - their LinkGlide-equipped drivetrains. All these drivetrains, which build up from their entry-level Cues groups all the way through to the XT drivetrain in question in this review, use technology that's all about interchangeability, streamlined product codes, durability, smoothness, and (not inconsequentially) improving the chances that your local bike workshop actually stocks the parts you need.

To do this they've moved all of the LinkGlide drivetrain parts onto linear pull 11-speed spacing. This means that with some clever use of limit screws or phantom clicks before sinching the cable most capable mechanics will be able to make any one part work in conjunction with another—providing flexible upgrade paths for less expensive bikes. It also means they've been able to invest in the technology that will see the most amount of return because it will feature in so many products, and that technology is LinkGlide.

LinkGlide utilizes taller teeth that are thicker at the base on a heavier steel cassette. The cassette, which does without the race-performance quick-shift of Hyperglide+, aims to offer the smoothest shift Shimano has ever made, even if not the fastest. This is valuable for several reasons. Firstly, it pairs up very well with Di2 Autoshift on e-bikes. Secondly, the focus on durability and robustness plays very well into the goals of Shimano's budget-friendly Cues drivetrains. And thirdly, although it's pure speculation, surely this lays the groundwork for the new Shimano Saint. I would be surprised, and quite frankly a little disappointed if it didn't.

There is a Di2 version of the group, but that is currently only available on e-bikes. It's the LinkGlide technology that laid the necessary foundations for Shimano's FreeShift and Autoshift. Having ridden it, I was genuinely impressed by the performance. Normal bikes will have to make do with mechanical shifting, for now at least.

Linkglide XT Details

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The Cassette Holds the Tech

All too often you will see a new bike that has a fancy derailleur, a mid-tier shifter, and a bog-standard cassette. We've come to associate shift quality being something achieved thanks to great rear-mechs, but often the most eye-catching part of the drivetrain isn't the most important. This is definitely the case with LinkGlide. Most the novel technology is packed in the cassette.

The 11-speed 11-50T cassette that I tested weighs 624 grams and features 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 26, 30, 36, 43 and 50T cogs. Initially, upon the release of LinkGlide XT there was some criticism of the weight of the cassette. That initial model weighed over 700 grams. Since then, Shimano has shaved around 160 grams off. That 160 grams also represents the weight difference when comparing the slimmed down cassette to a Hyperglide+ 12-speed 10-51T, cassette which weighs 470 grams.

Not only is Hyperglide+ lighter but it also does so while featuring an additional cog. The range offered with Hyperglide+ is also larger (510% versus Linglide's 455%). All of this points to Hyperglide being the performance, premium option and it seems Shimano are very comfortable with that. Hyperglide+ is the technology that will give you a faster shift, greater range and lower weight.

LinkGlide isn't about outperforming Hyperglide+ as an option for racers, but rather about catering to the needs of entry-level riders, e-bikers and riders who want a durable cassette that is smooth under power. In some ways, all three of these groups have a common enemy: delicate componentry that can't handle being treated poorly. Whether that's somebody on their first mountain bike who perhaps hasn't quite yet honed their shifting technique, e-bikers whose motors overpower drivetrains on their way through the gears, or core-mountain bikers who don't care much for race performance as such, but want something that will prove both of decent quality and cost-effective.

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How Have They Done This?

LinkGlide uses a standard HG freehub body with 11-speed spacing, rather than the Microspline driver used on Shimano's Hyperglide+ drivetrains. While this does limit the size of the 11T (you cannot go any smaller due to the diameter of the body itself) it means that anyone that has a bike with CUES or just a bike with this style of freehub body now has the chance to incrementally upgrade their parts as they break or wear to a product line with quite a high ceiling in terms of performance.

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The teeth are thicker at the base and taller. The tooth profile also has a different profile compared to HyperGlide at their edge. This again is thicker and looks to have a large angled edge. Shimano's aim is to provide the chain with the "smoothest" path possible as it crosses between two cogs. They hope to remove "shifting shock", which is what they refer to the rider generating and then picking up chain slack when changing gears, and can sometimes be felt as a jolt through the feet. This is going to be very useful for e-bikes, where drivetrains can sometimes be put under a huge amount of strain under shifts. Shimano claims that this shift is 3 times smoother when featured in their internal comparisons.

The cassette is also purported to be three times more durable. This is an impressive figure but it should be noted that these aren't independently verified, and goes off Shimano's data. That said, even if was merely twice as durable it would still be worth the weight trade-off and a slight reduction in range in my opinion.

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Chain

Shimano claims that their chains aren't laden with the new technology like the cassette is, and are instead a much more conventional affair. Naturally, they say the system is optimized for a LinkGlide XT chain, but that it isn't strictly necessary. Oftentimes, the profile of the chain links can be similar or even interchangeable as you go to more expensive chains but the treatment or material changes.

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Derailleur & Shifter

LinkGlide XT uses a shifter that differs from their other high-end offerings in only one meaningful way - you can only grab one upshift at a time. They clearly expect this system to get specced on a lot of e-bikes, but some will miss the double shift option. Apart from that, they're very similar. It's ergonomic with ribbed panels for more grip. It's available in I-spec or with a simple band that is tightened with a 4mm Allen bolt. Ours weighed 119 grams.

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The derailleur does see some small changes that will keep riders happy, while also including the features that people have come to expect from a Shimano Shadow mech - the relatively low profile, sealed bearings and a somewhat adjustable clutch that can be turned off with the flick of a lever. The smallest and largest cogs that this cassette is rated to work with are the 11 and 50T ones of the Linkglide cassette. It has a weight of 307 grams. There is a small amount of rubber protection on the underside of the mech body. Although this probably not going to save your mech if you hit something particularly hard, it should stop any chain-to-mech rattling. The mech uses a standard mech-hanger fitting.


Performance

I have found the shifting performance to be excellent. The slower shift isn't something you really notice, and it blends in with your riding. If I were picky, I would say it seems a shade slower going down the cassette into the smaller cogs rather than moving into the lower, bigger gears. It's very slight though. I think if you're somebody that pedals a reasonable cadence you probably won't notice it much at all. However, when on tech-climbs and trying to make a high-gear work I was thankful for the ability of the cassette to undertake unsympathetic shifts, if only because in those moments patience isn't always at the forefront of your mind.

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Speaking of which, while the shift might not be the fastest or the quietest, it is very robust. You really can just do what you want and it never misses a beat. Over the past year, I moved away from the XT chain I started with and went onto Deore 11 speed and the cheapest chain in my local bike shop, which happened to be a KMC. Again, the shifting remained very good.

I did sometimes miss the double-click Multi Release you may well associate Shimano shifters with but you quickly adapt. The shifter is the one area that does feel that little less refined or premium compared to XT Hyperglide+. It's nothing huge, but there's just something about the ergonomics which feels that bit cheaper.

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Durability

I've ridden this drivetrain. A lot. Climbing-wise about 100,000 meters of elevation gained over the summer. Whether it's been endless bike park laps over the summer or big days in Squamish, the durability has been excellent and it shifts just as well now as it did on the first day. I've changed the cable once, but it's been very solid. No bushing play or binding in the mech has crept in over time, nor has it developed any noise or slapping when descending. All in all, it has been excellent in this regard. During testing I used the SM-CRM85 12 Speed chainring, and it worked very well. Again, this uses steel teeth and looks to have stood up very well to use.

Weight & Price

I think this group set represents a great trade of between weight, durability, price, and performance. It may not be the best in any one category but for riders who want a compromise between all four this is a great option. It isn't as sleek as SRAM's Transmission but it's also vastly cheaper. Theoretically, you could get this cassette to last a very very long time indeed and just replace cables and chains as needed. If you paired this up to a steel chainring that could also be one less part to wear.

All in all, the groupset costs around $350 USD. This isn't cheap but I do think it offers good value for something that has been so consistently impressive for nearly a year, never mind the fact it should theoretically offer that level of performance for a long time yet.

SL-M8130 DEORE XT Linkglide Shifter - $66.99
RD-M8130 DEORE XT Linkglide Rear Derailleur, - $121.99
CS-LG700-11 Linkglide Cassette - 11SPD - $130.99
CN-LG500 Linkglide Chain - $22.99



Pros

+ Offers a smooth shift that requires little sympathy
+ Durable
+ Easy upgrade path
+ Fair pricing when considering durability

Cons

- Not as much range as Hyperglide+ or Eagle
- Heavier than other options
- Slower at shifting



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesFor riders who feel slightly disenchanted with groupsets running into thousands of dollars with gizmos and gadgets sprouting out in every avenue, LinkGlide XT might just be the tonic. It's simple, effective and performs admirably.

While it's not cheap, it's also not meant to be an entry-level setup. Rather, this sits atop the family of durability-focused parts. It's a premium level that offers excellent performance and should do for quite some time. While I wouldn't be itching to put it on an XC or lightweight trail bike, in some ways it seems tailor-made for enduro riders who want to get to the top, shred down, hose their bike down and throw it in the shed. I've loved how I've been able to wholly rely on it, and in the best part of a year, it's been nothing other than a reliable and consistent performer and is what I would recommend for people who just want to get on with riding and who have little interest in counting grams or chasing their fastest ever climb.
Henry Quinney


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
312 articles

284 Comments
  • 276 3
 I would much rather this than any NX SX garbage on an entry level bike..
  • 88 13
 Sram should just give up on low end. Even gx level… full xt bikes same price. Just go produce transmission and stop the low end. I panic bought a bike as they switched from xt/slx with a dt hub to gx eagle and a entry hub for the new year. I use to be a big sram fan but as bikes got more expensive i will not go down to sx or nx… shimano deore and slx 13 is just too good. And Shimanos entry level brakes blow the doors off entry level sram too.
  • 6 1
 13*
  • 85 0
 Holy hell? Does my 2 now work on my keyboard?!? 12 speed*
  • 31 56
flag jeremy3220 (Dec 7, 2023 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 NX is fine. I keep asking my wife who's been on NX for the last 4 years if she wants to upgrade to a lighter cassette and smoother shifter (X01) but she says no. She hasn't had a single issue beyond the normal setup and straightening the hanger once or twice.
  • 47 1
 @bikehard11 i think with "garbage" you've managed to capture exactly how SX and NX feel like. I work as a bike mech and can't remember how many I've sent back to sram (especially SX). They're so bad, I'd rather ride a single speed up the hill
  • 39 3
 100% and cannot be said enough. SX/NX are hot garbage
  • 9 0
 This is likely to be the drivetrain that replaced my very excellent 10Zee.
  • 5 0
 @fartymarty: I use Zee brakes and cranks, had wished for years the durable/cheaper Saint concept could be applied to full range cassettes. Linkglide appears to be that!
  • 19 0
 @psyfi: I'm running a 10 speed 11-42 deore cassette, Zee mech, XT shifter, Wolftooth stainless ring and HG95 chain with Hope stainless steel HG freehub and it's bombproof.

I hope Shimano develop something similar with a short cage mech that will do a reasonable spread that is linkglide.
  • 26 5
 @solarplex: NOt sure what youre issue is with GX,
I've been on GX for a couple years now, and its been bulletproof, its my spec of choice for sure.
I have a bike with XT, and GX and prefer the lighter action of the GX, but theres very little between them. A full GX group with crank can be had brand new for a little over $600 on sale at TBS.
  • 2 0
 [nevermind - misread the article]
  • 6 19
flag thenotoriousmic (Dec 7, 2023 at 10:45) (Below Threshold)
 @onawalk: Yep it just last forever. My old GX 11 speed groupset from 2018 is still going strong on my kids hardtail. It doesn’t die. Yet I’ve got almost three complete Deore / SLX 12 speed groupsets in my parts bin that are all less than 12 months old. Anything below GX / XT should be avoided and the extra it costs to get GX / XT pays for itself in the long run.
  • 12 1
 I don't know why you are mentioning entry level bikes here. This is for all level bikes for folks who just want to ride and give a sh*t bout maintenance. If you have so much money that you can smoke weed in 100USD bills, I can understand the idea of SRAM Transmission, your butler can also charge it for you. But if you need to save for it, you are simply out of your mind, sorry.
  • 6 6
 @thenotoriousmic: agreed, the GX cassette might be one of the best (if boring) MTB products I’ve owned. Light(ish), last forever, relatively inexpensive, win.
  • 13 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I'm very doubtful that there's durability differences between XT and SLX. Can you point to any build differences that might explain your experience?
  • 12 0
 I would also prefer this over any wireless drivetrain stuff. Consistent performance with all the durability (and cheaper than an AXS cassette).
  • 1 13
flag thenotoriousmic (Dec 7, 2023 at 14:33) (Below Threshold)
 @plyawn: it’s made from better materials to a higher standard that doesn’t just fall to bits or develop a loads of play after a few months. The biggest difference being the brakes that don’t seem to develop the leaky piston issue and have a much stiffer more robust lever. My XT levers are all scared up but still straight where Deore levers just fold and SLX aren’t much tougher. SLX and Deore mechs are a disgrace and the dumb parts like cranks and cassette are functionally fine just inexcusably heavy. SLX cranks are good though for the money you can buy them for, it’s the chainring that sucks so just buy the crank arms and buy a decent aftermarket chainring and you’ve got a super light super cheap crankset. These are all parts I’ve got in my broken parts bin. Five SLX callipers, three Deore levers.
  • 3 0
 @fartymarty: I like your thinking. Just wish they could drop the 11th gear to save some weight and shorten the cage a little.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: how do you get this to work? I run 11-36T and only have a couple of links spare in the big cog at full compression and it's nearly slack when in 11T no compression.
  • 5 5
 @jeremy3220: Exactly. If you're part of the 95% of mountain bikers that don't read Pinkbike, you'll be just fine on NX. It's not that bad, still far better than cheap SRAM and Shimano from years ago.
  • 4 1
 @fartymarty: There is M5130 short cage.

The 5130 derailleur is supposed to be good up to 48T (43T officially) seen the 5130 derailleur running 48t on a YouTube video.

Should be possible to run:
5130 10s Derailleur
8130 Shifter (5130 shifter has a display)
LG400-10 11-48T
  • 1 0
 @solarplex: its almost like sram has done exactly that or something
  • 1 0
 @solarplex: agreed. It’s been this way for at least 15 years with SRAM, high end stuff is great, a thing lower than two levels from top…not so much.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: They already do! Deore 5130 uses a GS mech paired with the same cassette minus the 50t cog (so 10speed 11-43) … I believe you can still use the XT level shifter as well.
  • 2 0
 @S3rv3d: Yep! Except it’s an 11-43 cassette. I’m fairly sure it’s actually the same cassette as the LG700 minus the 50t cog.
  • 4 0
 Forget NX / SX, i'd rather have this than XX.
  • 3 0
 @solarplex: I have done more than 5000km with gx divertain in the last 3 years. I have never touched it, and still working fine. I wouldn't rate it as an entry level divertain, but I agree nx and sx are far behind shimano's deore and slx
  • 2 0
 @solarplex: I refer to the lower end as Scam
  • 2 0
 @basic-ti-hardtail: bike.shimano.com/en-EU/product/component/ep6-ep600/CS-LG400-10.html

This Cues/LG cassette is Available 11-39T / 11-43T / 11-48T

From the EP6 Range instead of the 8130/5130 groups.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: true, I have had same experience, not sure why u r getting down voted...
  • 2 0
 @Bosschap1836r: I upset them with the truth. Like I said these are all parts that I have in my parts bin usually more than one. Well they’ve been warned, if they want to waste their money on that crap then that’s probably the only way they’ll learn for themselves.
  • 1 0
 @rojo-1: I run the chain two links short so if I bottom in lowest gear it will rip the mech off. My logic is that I shouldn't ever be bottoming out in the lowest gear - usually reserved for steep climbs.

And if I do it's my own fault for not remembering.

Chain length is key. Ditto b tension - with a longer b screw.
  • 1 0
 @S3rv3d: thanks, this could be good. Do you know what the pulley centres are?
  • 1 0
 @tsipet: Good work. I see you're also a NSMB reader....
  • 1 0
 @solarplex: have you had trouble with GX? I haven't had a single issue or complaint about my GX Eagle in over 2000 miles. I would avoid NX/SX like the plague though.
  • 3 3
 @solarplex: bro an entry level shimano brake blows the doors off top sec sram brakes!
  • 2 1
 @englertracing: and then someone spits out this nonsense and gets upvoted for it. Welcome to the upside down world of Pinkbike where everything is the exact opposite of the real world.
  • 1 2
 @thenotoriousmic: dude they are soft, levers have a bit of friction, and the pad compounds blow.... welcome to reality, the result is a brake that should be illegal to spec on an e bike.
  • 2 3
 @englertracing: actually no the German magazines have tested it and unless a trickstuff brake pad both Shimano and Sram pads outperform nearly all aftermarket pads. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. You pull the brake on a deore lever and the whole thing flexes they’re that weak. Parts added to my parts bin since I last bled my codes. Three SLX callipers and one lever, One deore calliper and two levers and one XT lever and when the pistons wasn’t leaking on my pads they didn’t perform anywhere near the standard of my RSC brakes. My XT brakes are much better and they’re nowhere near as good as RSC level brakes.
  • 2 1
 @thenotoriousmic: ohhh my apologies, a sram ultimate barley beats out a deore
enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mtb-disc-brake-can-buy

Ps I know your used to sram where you need a stout 4 finger pull you don't really need to pull on the shimano like that..... so the Mc doesn't really flex as much as you'd think
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: They're soft if you don't know how to bleed brakes. I've found you can get good deals from people who don't know how to bleed brakes selling their OE Codes. I had a bike shop press in new bearings a few days ago and when I picked up my bike the sales guy was like "wow your Codes feel really nice"... apparently brake bleeding is a lost art.
  • 1 2
 @jeremy3220: only on friends bikes.... always disgusted
Worse than greased budget v brakes.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: Ah, didn't realize you're just being silly.
  • 2 0
 @jeremy3220: I'm not if I for some reason had a bike with srams I'd cut the lines off and yank em out like I'm trying to start a lawn mower, and slam em in the trash before even riding the bike... that's how I feel about the lever feel of a sram.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: just send them to me and I’ll return the favour with Shimanos. Absolutely hate the lever feel of Shimano.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Sorry I’m not sure. Just something I was looking into when I move from 12s XT
  • 79 3
 Shimano, please make a microspline LinkGlide cassette...
  • 7 0
 @ripbro i subscribe
  • 13 4
 @Dani-P: Lol seriously. I would eventually like to start swapping my 12s shimano stuff to this as it wears out...but I really don't want to swap my hubs to microspline.

Microspline is a miss TBH. Should have just used xD, or stuck with HG. I already run my Norco Optic with 12s Sunrace cassette on HG driver. Nice, cheaper solution than swapping the freehub: sunrace.com/product/csmz90-wa5. Works fine.

Maybe Sunrace will eventually do 11s on Microspline as well.
  • 3 0
 @robotdave: they do! or did, i have a 11-50 sunrace 11spd HG cassette that replaced my 11-46 xt cassette. i think it might be hyperglide though.
  • 6 2
 I will buy a LinkGlide group for my emtb the day they release a Microspline LinkGlide cassette. Til then, not so much.
  • 15 2
 They aleady do. It's called Deore. All steel and lasts a looong time. Couple it with an XTR chain and a steel front ring for a lifetime drivetrain. Maybe two XTR chains and swap them out every 6/12 months...

Definitely an XT shifer for the dual release.
  • 6 0
 yes and use that cheap labour so it doesnt cost a lot
  • 3 0
 @MegaStoke: just put on a HG freehub body,and if you can't, grab the opportunity to put on a proper rearhub
  • 3 0
 @robotdave: why not both options?
Alu HG freehub bodies cut through too easy
  • 3 0
 Before that shimano, just make some linkglide parts so they are in stock and can be bought.
  • 57 2
 I'm so happy you've done this review. It's exactly what i try explaining my customers. All those electronic stuff are cool to play with but I'll NEVER put one on my bike. And i prefer the Shimano feel anyway. On top of that Shimano has Instant Release on XT, XTR and Saint which i find a cooler feature than being electronically actuated. Where i live people pedal a lot up the hill, so a drive-train like this is just perfect. Cheers
  • 19 0
 I’m waiting for drivetrain reviews to start listing ‘no batteries to charge’ under PROS

I’m right there with you on preferring the feel of shimano - mechanical but refined.
I have pedaled around on Transmission, and it works really really well… but there’s no real connection and I miss that.
  • 60 29
 I wonder if Pinkbike is going to cover the Telegraph article about Shimano using modern slave labour in Malaysia.

www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/shimano-cycling-parts-made-by-modern-slaves-in-malaysia
  • 37 18
 "Underpaid" is different than slavery. Slavery does exist and drives one of the largest economies in the world. It's very real and very sad.

www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/02/01/1152893248/red-cobalt-congo-drc-mining-siddharth-kara
  • 22 9
 Yeah, just saw this elsewhere in my feed. I like Shimano products, but those kind of findings are quite concerning.
  • 14 11
 And harm their advertiser relations?! Outside would never.
  • 28 6
 @stravaismyracecourse: Workers at Shimano’s Malaysian supplier, Kwang Li Industry, say they have been subject to physical abuse and threats, unlawful salary deductions and recruitment fees, and unpaid suspension.

Where do you read just underpaid?
  • 36 2
 @stravaismyracecourse: it's not just underpaying:

"Workers at Shimano’s Malaysian supplier, Kwang Li Industry, say they have been subject to physical abuse and threats, unlawful salary deductions and recruitment fees, and unpaid suspension.

Due to the salary deductions, those working at the company earned less than Malaysia’s monthly minimum wage, leaving them unable to pay off expensive recruitment costs – equivalent to seven months of salary – tied to their employment."

So they are indebted to the company and unable to pay it off, that's slavery
  • 11 6
 Wow, seems like there are lots of Shimano reps on Pinkbike downvoting my very mild commentary...
  • 9 28
flag Tcolbert (Dec 7, 2023 at 8:53) (Below Threshold)
 @stravaismyracecourse: The only thing that works harder and performs better than the labor is the product it's self. I won't disgrace my ride with another Sram product. Shimano works.....period!
  • 9 2
 Let’s see what Shimano does about it. It certainly doesn’t look good. ☹️
  • 88 1
 @vinceboothe of course. Those reports are serious, and as an organization PB/Outside is digging into them. I just got off the phone with Stephen Frothingham from Bicycle Retailer, who will be leading our coverage of this.
  • 40 4
 If you want to go down that road, if you own a phone, computer, tablet, ebike or any other mass produced consumable good, raw materials to final assembly can be traced down to coming from extremely poor working conditions. That is the reality when 1st world leadership wants their goods cheap and fast and the work and suffering is done by someone else and not me.
  • 1 11
flag scrawnydog (Dec 7, 2023 at 9:56) (Below Threshold)
 The bike industry will never cover this type of stuff. Sad.
  • 5 5
 @MTB-Colada: People in the PB comments aren't diggin' the truth of late.
  • 9 5
 @NuckaMan: facts. However, most folks in modern day society live in bubbles and primarily have focused "outrage" with blinders on
  • 17 1
 I suspect the Telegraph did this more as an extension of their anti-cyclist campaining rather than giving a crap about the workers. This kind of sh*t is pretty common in all sorts of supply chains.

Shimano should sort themselves out in any case.

(And this is just another reason to always buy secondhand if possible).
  • 17 3
 the telegraph is considered to align with the tory political party they dont call it the torygraph for nuthin, the tories love putting people into poverty and expect people to work for sweet fuck all im surprised it wasnt pitched as a this is how the other half live you stupid british people be thankfull for your wages .
  • 5 0
 @stravaismyracecourse:
Cobalt -I get mined by slaves.
Choclate -Hold my beer.

foodispower.org/human-labor-slavery/slavery-chocolate
  • 5 4
 @bman33: whilst eating their avocados
  • 2 0
 @BenLow2019: Thank you for the link. Perspective is key.
  • 6 0
 @stravaismyracecourse: These workers are in debt bondage and stripped of their passports when they come to Malaysia.

That is literally the definition of slavery.
  • 8 0
 @mashrv1: And their passports are confiscated so they cannot leave—which is one of the most egregious facts. This situation is far from simply "underpaid."
  • 3 0
 @stravaismyracecourse: it's actual slavery what they are accused of. They are just doing it in a modern way that makes it easier for them to get away with it in a modern time.
The "employees" had to pay a recruitment cost back. That gets deducted from their wage leaving them without a paycheck because they are paying their employer to work. They cannot leave because they are under contract to pay that back. They also get other stuff deducted from their pay which keeps them there longer.
On top of that they are beaten.
  • 3 1
 @NuckaMan: That doesn't mean we should ignore it where we DO find it!
  • 2 0
 @pnyberg: almost every product you can buy have some amount of child/slave labor in it. Even rubber in our tires most probably was cultivated with forced child labor: www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods-print
  • 1 2
 @G-Sport: Ok, got any suggestions? I got one, let's start with something we all use, cyclists or otherwise. Let's start with batteries. Go ahead, unplug that computer, turn off your phone, quit using it out of principle and let the OEM's know that you demand cobalt to be mined without the use of child labor or pregnant women in the most horrific conditions possible in Africa.
  • 2 0
 @NuckaMan: buy less; buy second hand; share stories like this with your friends and tell then to do the same
  • 1 3
 I’d like to say something but I have a sneaky suspicion I’d be doing it on a device made from conflict minerals from Africa or somewhere and made in a factory with suicide nets by people in adult diapers.
  • 5 1
 @NuckaMan: What? On the off-chance? It is one thing to buy a product without knowing IF it has conflict minerals or slave labour in it, but to take the position that that many things MIGHT have them in it therefore its "fine" to carry on buying things once you KNOW they are involved is on a whole other level.
Australia is one of the largest producers of Cobalt so not ALL NMC batteries support the DRC situation. Also, while we are at it, it is probably worth a reminder that fossil fuel refining is a far bigger consumer of Cobalt than the battery industry...
  • 31 0
 Sounds like a groupset I'd actually buy! But unfortunately, my current XT just refuses to wear out.
  • 21 0
 The double shift is a feature that I dont think I could move away from now.
  • 2 0
 @thustlewhumber: Same, my Saint shifter paired with a wide range Deore cassette is just too good to give up.
  • 23 1
 Note to pinkbike. If you want to keep your audience that consumes content while they are supposed to be working, preventing videos autoplaying and making that obvious in an office would help.
  • 16 1
 This is what Shimano should have released the entire time instead of their 12s offering. I still love their 12s for the cost, but I've gone through too many derailleurs to count. Luckily the performance/cost of SLX derailleur is fantastic.
  • 2 0
 For me durability is part of performance. Ever since I've gone 12s I spend tons of time adjusting something. Slx is nice when it works, but has been way to easy to knock out of adjustment. Most of the time I dont even know what I did to it to case an issue.
  • 3 9
flag thenotoriousmic (Dec 7, 2023 at 10:50) (Below Threshold)
 It’s because they’re absolutely crap. Go grab and SLX or Deore mech by the bottom jockey wheel and give it a little wobble and look at how much play their is through all of the pivots and that’s got to be precise enough to handle a 12 speed cassette. They’re also made from cheese so don’t stay straight throw in terrible pivot tolerances and they’re simply not fit for purpose. I’ve got two Deore and one SLX 12 speed mechs in my parts bin, first parts of the groupset to die.
  • 3 0
 What is failing on the derailleurs?

I’ve repaired a few XT clutch mechanisms. It’s a pretty simple job and requires maybe $10 in parts.
The gasket seal on the clutch doesn’t seem to keep moisture out effectively, and over time this causes the lower cage to bind up. If you pop the cover off from time to time to check for moisture that can go a long ways.

Beyond that I’ve had great luck with 12 speed Xt. It’s almost as reliable as 11 speed XT.

I use XT cables and housing, and replace yearly or when I notice issues. I also notice alignment issues faster w/ 12 speed, but that’s true for SRAM as well.
  • 1 0
 I agree with you. I ride in south of france which is verry rough and full of flying stones. SLX derailler can be found at 50$ in Europe, which means you can still replace it if shifting goes wrong, or when it begins to make noise. I have been disapointed by how XT and GX 12 speed deraillers wear over time. SLX looks to me to be the best compromise
  • 2 1
 @basic-ti-hardtail: my issues are more with 12 speed, not shimano or sram or any particular models. I had the cage get bent the very first time I had the most minor crash, the kind of crash that you dont even bother checking your bike after usually.

I'm 2 full seasons on mine without any actual wear issues, but I am used to going for a test ride before hitting the trail to make sure none of my gears are ticking and that I can shift through all 12.
  • 1 2
 @RonSauce: yep it’s the 12 speed derailleurs that are a problem. They don’t stay straight and develop loads of play at the pivots which might not be such an issue on ten speed but won’t work with 12. Next thing you know your drivetrain is ticking and crunching. One of my Deore 12 speed mechs twisted a full 180 degree when the chain caught from the mech flapping around. Well I tried to warm them, the easiest way is they learn by wasting their own money.
  • 13 0
 I put this on my ebike 1k mi ago, I'm about to go on the second chain. The cassette loos like the day I bought it, never had shifting issues, never felt like I needed more gears. I'm never going back to non steel cassettes again, AL is good but not for gears unless you wanna spend 3x the dough or you're riding on a road
  • 2 0
 Most road cassettes are steel anyway.
  • 2 0
 Well..most of the expensive cassetes are CNC milled steel masterpieces with only the largest cog out of alloy. Heck The XTR 12speed is Titanium, steel and alloy
  • 4 0
 Yep. Aluminum has no business on drivetrain components covered in grinding compound. We can even have fancy steel components that are nearly as light, or composite parts with a thin layer of steel at the interface, just quit with the aluminum on mainstream* mountain bike drivetrains.


* Totally acceptable to have 200 g aluminum cassettes from niche manufacturers for people with foam grips and bare carbon saddles.
  • 13 0
 Linkglide is the peoples champion! Working at the Malaysian manufacturing facility...not so much
  • 11 2
 This sounds great, but what I really want is a durable, wide range 11 speed drivetrain that *also* doesn't triple the unsprung weight on my bike.
  • 2 0
 For this and other reasons, my next full sus will have a gearbox.
  • 4 0
 You still have the old shimano 11speed and if you really need 50 tooth cassete they exist and longer cage derailleur will work with them. It is also cheaper and lighter than linkglide.
  • 5 3
 @malca: £200 260g X0 11 speed or a £150 700g XT cassette? I know where my moneys going.
  • 1 0
 Absolutely. This is a LOT of extra weight, comparing it to the next heaviest option it comes off badly, comparing it to some of the lighter options it is horrendous. As someone who likes to try to keep the weight of the bike down, my rule of thumb is that 1g saved is worth spending £1 (as long as there is no performance or durability hit).
If it's rotating or unsprung weight then that's worth another £1.
Carbon rims typically don't make the cut on this equation. Even though it's maybe £3 per gram as both rotating and unsprung mass the weight saving doesn't make up the price difference.
This anchor of a cassette makes no sense for me.
  • 14 7
 Dumb question but why aren't drivetrains and suspension built around 28t or less chainrings? This would reduce the requirement for 50t down to 40/45t and save some weight. Is everyone else spinning out 32 x 11?
  • 22 7
 Yes. Some of us ride bikes to ride bikes, leaving more trailhead parking spaces for your Tacoma. 32/11 always spun out on the road, 30/10 always spins out on the road.
  • 6 0
 huh??
  • 4 11
flag dan23dan23 (Dec 7, 2023 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 @johnny2shoes Smaller chainrings create so much torque that it would cause suspensions to bob like crazy. Remember the Truvativ HammerSchmidt crank, it had a 22 or 24 tooth ring. It would cause the bikes suspension to bob like crazy. So, most bikes don't want smaller than 28.,
  • 5 1
 @dan23dan23: By no means an engineer...but would it be possible to design suspension around these smaller chainrings so they don't bob as much? Or is the torque from the smaller rings just more difficult to engineer to pedal well?

In other words, isn't it possible to design a frame around something like the HammerSchmidt crank so it wouldn't bob like crazy?

Imagine a modern HammerSchmidt paired with a small cassette and short cage derailleur (7speed DH stuff). Direct drive would be lower/climbing gear for no lost gearbox efficiency where it really matters (for most people).
  • 2 0
 @dan23dan23: I suppose if 28T was an industry standard, suspension could be designed around it just fine, but as 32 is the norm, you're spot on.
  • 1 0
 @robotdave: yes it is possible but companies don't do it because no one runs it
  • 3 1
 There are some high speed trails with gap jumps where if I'm not pushing my 32x10 with a certain cadence, I know I'm not going to make the gap. 28 just would work for me at all.
  • 1 1
 @robotdave: you could just put on shorter cranks, which would lower torque.
  • 9 0
 @nickfranko: the torque is not a problem it's about where in relation to the pivots the chain is when it is at the top of the chainring.
  • 4 1
 Yes I would spin out of 32/11....I have 34t on my bikes and it is perfect. And I'm not a flat lander.
  • 1 0
 @browner: exactly. I guess that's why my comment was down voted, as I only mentioned torque, not the relationship of the chainring to pivot points.
  • 1 0
 @dan23dan23: exactly. Can't do it on full suspension because dynamics designed for about 32t. Hardtails guess you could. Torque is surely the same?

Well done to all those spinning out 32x11 all the time!
  • 2 0
 @robotdave: Exactly. Half of the issue with Hammerschidt was that bikes at that point were designed around a 32T middle ring, then they'd bob more with the smaller climbing gear when you wanted a firmer platform, plus firming up when in the 44T big ring when you'd want high speed active suspension.

Modern suspension is tuned around a 30-32T chainring. 1x has helped make suspension designs perform far better.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: Yup the gearbox cranks/chainring and short cage derailleur/small cassette really seems like the best of both worlds. Won't ever happen since it likely wouldn't work with ebikes.

As it stands, my non-engineer brain still can't wrap my head around GIANT cassettes with huge derailleurs. Sure beats it beats a front derailleur and it's all 10x better than stuff years ago (at least from a range...not durability perspective), but overall feels like optimizing a dumb solution.
  • 4 0
 They aren't ? I always run 28t chainrings. But still need the 51t gear.

(and for those ready to scoff, come out to the PNW and I'll show you why)
  • 1 0
 ha, I just put a 28T front ring on tonight. Decided to stick with 10-42 rear 11 speed, and with the 28, I have about the useful range of my 12 speed eagle. this is for my race fat bike. I've had a 32T on the bike for years, and just thought I'd give it a try with 28T and removed 2 links from the chain. It's actually great. Aside from supposed additional wear on a 28T, of which I don't care as I don't ride the bike that much...the extra climbing gears with the 28T are welcome for me.
  • 1 0
 I've been asking this exact same question for years. Not a dumb question.

If a bike is meant for gnarly, steep descents, it means it is climbing steep hills to get there. 28t is a winner. It saves weight on the cassette as well.

If it is a 160/170 travel bike, it is not meant for slaying XC KOM's, again, the 28t is just fine.

On the downhills, I'm almost never pedalling anyways.

26T/11T will allow you to ride comfortably at 30km/h.
If you're spinning out your AM or Enduro bike, you need to find some steeper terrain, or get a trail bike built around a 32t front ring.
I think some PNW manufacturers will hop on board with this soon enough on their longer travel bikes. (Looking at you, Kona and Rocky)
  • 1 0
 My hard tail experiences 0% additional suspension bob using a 26t ring.
This is where lockout comes into play, IMO, on FS; it allows you to spin up the hills with the 26t.
  • 6 0
 I've become a huge believer in 11 spd XT M8000 derailleur with SRAM XG-1150 all steel XD driver casette. Shifter/derailleur/casette and KMC x11 chain all together is less than $200 US. It's light too, really light. Like same weight as 12spd XTR light. I've got about 3000 miles on the mtb with this setup and over 10000 on the gravel bike with grx600 11 speed shifter/XTm8000 mech/tanpan/XG-1150 casette. It's incredibly durable
  • 2 0
 I'm running the same mech/cassette/shifter, but running the xx1 11sp chain and 12s Shimano front ring as it's steel. I've been very impressed with the longevity of it. Probably the best compromise of durability and weight. The xx1 chain has lasted notably longer than other 11s I've tried over previous years on this setup.
  • 1 0
 This sounds like an awesome set up.
  • 1 0
 What size chainring do you pair it with?
I still prefer m8000 11-46 with a 30t chainring to any 12s groupset I've tried, because I wear them out too quickly. Your setup sounds better than what I'm running.
  • 2 0
 @AccidentalDishing what size front ring do you use with those setups?
  • 8 2
 It just frigging works. Switched to XT Link Glide after having issues with Transmission on my boutique-y ebike frame and holy sh!tballs is it a relief. Going from analog to AXS was sweet but coming back to analog from Transmission was even sweeter. If you are on an ebike ditch AXS and get this right away. Your ebike will eat that dainty chain/cassette in a heartbeat and the weight just does not matter with the motor. And its basically free in comparison.
  • 3 0
 Agree with you 100% on this. Also, having ridden Transmission and owning Linkglide, I find that Linkgide shifts just as fast as Transmission. It maybe slower than Hyperglide+, but it's still just as fast or faster than anything else.
  • 7 0
 The 10 speed deore linkglide cassettes are 1/2 the price of the 11 speed. The m5130 mech works with a cues 48 tooth cassette when Shimano say max 43. Ideal for ebikes.
  • 2 0
 The 9 speed also goes to 46t.
  • 1 0
 @thustlewhumber: yes I never looked into 9 speed cassettes with 10 being so cheap. I did try the cues U range of mech and shifters though but they are low tier junk. Linkglide deore or xt only.
  • 4 0
 @ThatEbikeGuy: www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=114989

Full 9 speed drivetrain 11-46t for only $160! Looks like the 10 speed is only $40 more ($200) if you wanted the 48t option. Nuts.
  • 5 0
 IM a big fan of less is more philosophy. The 12spd stuff is not necessary
  • 3 0
 @thustlewhumber: I'm pretty sure the cues u4000 tier didn't have a clutch on the mech, so probably not the best for mountainbiking.
  • 2 0
 @ThatEbikeGuy: Been running the Sram EX1 wide range 8spd on my SX for couple years and love it.
  • 1 0
 @ATXZJ: they never really took off, mainly due to cost I expect. Have you seen the price of a replacement cassette!? You can buy x9 10 speed linkglide cassettes for the price of one ex1 cassette.
  • 1 0
 @ThatEbikeGuy: I got mine for $299 USD. Cassette is lighter than XX1 eagle but can hold up to e-bike applications. That's never cheap.

Can further mix things up and run an X01 or XX1 derailleur with it .
  • 7 1
 So how durable is it? At what mileage did the chain measure 0.5 on a gauge?
  • 6 0
 Like is stated in the review, the chain isn't much different. The biggest difference is that the cassette, derailleur, and shifter can last for more chains, not necessarily that chains last longer.
  • 2 0
 @SeanDRC: Theoretically, if the shifts really are smoother (less jerky engagement on the new cog), it might also slow down wear on the chain. Given the price of 11sp chains, that's really not all that important.
  • 3 0
 Linkglide is a great idea but until people stop asking "how much does this XXX weigh" it will be a hard sell. Hopefully as it makes it's way into the OEM world and people stop pretending like the weight of their bike matters it will take hold.

It seems we may be headed that way, as the current round of heavier than previous tires are starting to become "acceptable".

It would be nice to see a GX cassette that lasts more than 3-4 chains. A 10 chain cassette is the dream.
  • 1 0
 The weight will stop a lot of people buying it, but I would certainly tolerate an extra 140g on the cassette for 3x the longevity.
Currently getting through 3 chains for each cassette, so if Shimano's claims are accurate then this would be 9 chains, but I'm sure you could squeak 10 out of it Big Grin
  • 1 0
 as someone who has more than 1 kg of gear strapped into the frame do people seriously care about a few extra grams that much?
  • 1 0
 “It would be nice to see a GX cassette that lasts more than 3-4 chains. A 10 chain cassette is the dream.”

I’m new to the mid tier drivetrain world but is ~3,000-5,000 miles the expected lifespan of a GX Eagle cassette? I’m mostly a weekend rider now but if I can get 2-3 years out of my $180 cassette, thats very acceptable to me.
  • 1 0
 Linkglide will sell really well, just not on bikes. It’s meant for the ebike market , where weight doesn’t matter as much.

Just like Srams new transmission line, it’s made for motors and not bikes…
  • 3 0
 This group set is amazing. I put it on my E bike in July and have over 1800 miles and ~200,000+ ft gain and it shifts so well under power. I replaced the chain around 1200 miles and I like how inexpensive parts are for the group set. And I like the smallest cogs of the cassette can be purchased separate.
  • 3 0
 Great take on this drivetrain perspective - the 300% more brake squealy remark was quite funny! I'm on board with the Linkglide concept. While was recently at a drivetrain crossroads (should I upgrade to 12 speed now?), I decided to stay with 11-speed. Why? I don't need the expanded gear range, I'm fine with having a lower top speed while riding to trails (what is the rush, anyways?!!?), and parts are a LOT less expensive than the 12 speed ecosystem. I kinda made my own faux-linkglide system using the super durable Sunrace 11-46 mx8 cassette, kmc chain (I swap out with two chains every month or two to wear em in slower), and absolute black oval chainring all worked thru SLX shifter pod. Simple, reliable, durable.....and frankly, it shifts fine. And I saved so much over more expensive kit, that I now have a dedicated winter drivetrain and a dedicated summer drivetrain - so there's even more long range durability there as well. You don't need to throw money at a problem to make it go away, just throw it smartly, and Shimano is on the right track with Linkglide.
  • 5 0
 Recently went Microshift after being a years-long Shimano fanboy and I'll never look back.
  • 2 0
 Brah it's sooo good
  • 1 0
 I put Microshift on my bike and never got a long with it. Biggest issue was the shifting dropping down 1 or 2 cogs over rough terrain. Just built up a new bike with XT 12 speed and its sooo much better.
  • 1 0
 @tim-from-pa: Yeah, everyone will have different experiences with different stuff. Gotta go with what works. I went through two XT cassettes in one year (and that was with good maintenance), and after swapping out an entire drive train with all new Shimano stuff I could not get it to work right. Swapped out everything again for an Advent X set up and it works like a charm and half the cost.
  • 2 0
 When 12 speed Shimano came out, I thought "why can't they just ditch that stupid 10t cog that rarely is used and continue with the HG freehub but give us one easier gear?" Not that I'm going back to 11 speed but I would have loved to see the same 11 speed stuff updated to work well with a 50t cog.
  • 5 0
 "If you purchased a car and the transmission lasted a fifth of the life of the car..."

This hits hard for Nissan owners.
  • 2 0
 Previous generation (11) XT was the best group set I ever ran. It was utterly bulletproof.

Current 12 speed works well, but it’s a lot more finicky-I’ve finally caved and bought a derailleur alignment tool-eyeballing. The alignment doesn’t work on 12 speed (SRAM or Shimano) but I can get 11 speed shifting perfectly that way.

XT Linkglide seems like what most of us should be running-but I do LOVE multi-upshift.

I’ll be curious to see if this gets a decent amount of spec-looks like the best “mid-priced” option.
  • 3 0
 If the title of this is in reference to Keith Bontrager's "Strong, Light, Cheap, Pick Two" mantra, then it doesn't make sense. Durability and reliability are the same thing in this comparison.
  • 2 0
 Why TF are they only offering one cassette sizing that I can see. I hate the jumps in the cassette that are really large. I ran an SLX 11-46 for a month or so, I spun out climbing so often I gave it away, I want my shifts incremental, not exponential. They have made 2 large jumps instead of 1, which is worse. For me, if I need an easier gear, I will go to a 30t in the front, instead of the 32t front. My climbing is either fire road, technical, or steep tech. I have to say, I love my old XT 11 speed stuff, options in cassette, the derailleur works great and is serviceable and KMC X-Series chains work fantastic at a good value. Shimano will OBSOLETE my XT 11 speed, without replacement options, none of this is cross compatible if I read their charts correctly.
  • 4 0
 Sunrace fixed the 11-46 gearing steps
  • 1 0
 @jsobrie: Yes, there are a few that have, but the Shimano Cassette works better. I will go to Sunrace when Shimano makes my XT stuff obsolete, they seem to be the best of the bunch. Not that I need the 46, the 42 is fine for me, but we know Shimano will get rid of cassettes that will work with XT 11spd Mtn
  • 1 0
 I have a pretty bombproof and well-performing setup using the Shimano medium cage derailleurs and 45t cassettes. Or sometimes I grind off the big cog on a 51t cassette and have an 11-speed 45t cassette. If you do that to an SLX 51t cassette, you're left with just steel cogs and hyperglide+ shifting with a shorter derailleur that won't get smacked nearly as often.
  • 5 1
 1/3 the price, 3x the lifespan. 1/9th the cost vs transmission is worth it to me.
  • 1 0
 Now if Shimano can keep parts in stock. And get the major bike wholesalers to carry a reasonable inventory of their stuff again. And offer enough margin for it to make sense for dealers to stock parts even if a non-shimano option exists.
  • 2 1
 "...it means that anyone that has a bike with CUES or just a bike with this style of freehub body now has the chance to incrementally upgrade their parts as they break or wear to a product line with quite a high ceiling in terms of performance."

If the bike is CUES, yes it can be incrementally upgraded to Linkglide XT. In the latter case cited of being any bike with an HG FHB, "incrementally" is exactly the wrong word to use here. The shifter, RD, and cassette would all need changing at once. What exactly are you proposing are the increments?
  • 1 0
 Why does the cassette look so much more worn than the derailleur. 100,000 meters of climbing has got to be at least 1000 km of riding, and that mech looks almost new, nary a scratch to be seen, not like something with that kind of mileage on it.
  • 1 0
 I have a 11s xt linkglide on my ebike because of the durability .I was concern when saw a 0,5% wear on a m6100 12s chain with 300-400km allways clean and lubricated.
My linkglide M8139 shifter have double upshift .All of its said in the review its right.but one thing needs to be highlighted: the ergonomic of the shifters levers are bad,horrible .Special the up shifter that is very close of the handlebar and many times we push the shifter with the tip of the thumb .The 12s shifter is much better in ergonomics ,the M8130 should be the same.
They changed what was good for worse
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see more different drivetrains reviewed ! Trp Evo, microshift Avant x, box one. Until recently I haven't looked at anything other than what SRAM shouts about (they are the loudest) and I bought 2 spare x01 cassettes and chains very cheap so no reason for me to think about changing anything for quite some time. But when I do run out of my SRAM spares I would definitely consider something different especially if SRAM stop supporting mechanical actuated drivetrains, focusing only on axs. Call me a ludite.

Fixing up a bike for a local lad I discovered the incredible value and quality of microshift and would definitely consider it for myself. And whilst 12 speed is great it is finicky and a wide range 11 speed is great, smallest cog not being 10t is fine, I'm not racing and I bet your not either. The future developments in bikes are definitely going to have to be focused on sustainability, not only environmentally but longevity for the user and repairability.

Its been great hearing about what Shimano is up to, higher quality mid range drivetrains are the future!
  • 3 0
 I'm running an M8130/M8530 set up with a 10s 11-43 Linkglide cassette - it's been absolutely fantastic.
  • 3 0
 Does anybody know if the Linkglide 11 speed cassette has the same spacing as normal 11 speed?
  • 3 0
 I measured mine at approx 4.2mm, so no.
  • 1 0
 Was wondering the same thing. I never needed 12 speed, loved the close tight spacing of 11 speed with a smaller chainring.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, definitely not the same spacing. However, the CUES 9/10/11 speeds all have the exact same spacing. Theoretically you could use an 11 speed shifter, a 10 speed derailleur, and a 9 speed cassette and it would all work the same (albeit, you would have to use the limit screws..)
  • 1 0
 @cogsci: there's 10-46T 12spd cassettes from Shimano IIRC. Originally made for XC/twin chainrings.
  • 3 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Should be 11-spd Shimano HG compatible unless Shimano came out with a wider chain specifically for Linkglide. Great thing with Shimano's drivetrain is that they're pretty much cross-compatible with it's own speed groupsets.
  • 2 1
 @thustlewhumber: No, 9-spd spacing is the same as those on 7 and 8 speeds - center to center. Teeth on the cassette will be narrower. 10 speeds are more narrow than previous 3. 11 even more narrow. 11 and 12 speeds are likely the same given that the microspline free hub is longer to accommodate all the cog rings. You cannot use a 10-speed derailleur on a 11 speed or any other speeds previous because of the cog ramping of the cassette. 11 and 12 speed are compatible with each other. So, you can move from a 12-speed cassette to 11-speed using the same derailleur and vice versa because the ramping on both are the same. 7-8-9 speed cassettes all have the same spacing and ramping. So, you can use whatever derailleur that fits through that range. The Shimano HG 10-spd drivetrain is the only oddball one.
  • 1 0
 I was thinking the same thing - I'm still on 11sp so can I just switch these cassettes in?
I waded through a particularly turgid NSMB piece about Linkglide to find that one of their writers tried it, and says it does work but it's a bit too rough.
Really interested to hear from anyone else who's given it a go though.
  • 4 0
 No double up shift? Hmmmm…
  • 1 0
 Can’t you just use a different shifter with the cassette and go about your merry business?
  • 2 0
 @Vaclav: shifter options are limited because the spacing on link glide is different. On "XT" level people have grown to expect a double up shift.
  • 1 0
 I have this groupset and I love it, but I do miss the double shift… I am hoping they upgrade the lever at some point.
  • 1 0
 @grldm3: Oh damn, so I couldn’t just replace my old cassette and run the same XT 11 speed derailleur and shifter that are on my bike?

I’m in the market to replace an ethirteen cassette. This seems like a good option, but not if I have to get a new shifter and derailleur AND lose the double shift.
  • 1 0
 @Vaclav: from what I've heard the only compatible traditional Shimano 11 speed component is the chain. The spacing is different on the cassette which requires a different pull.
Someone on reddit compared the derailleurs between "old 11" (for lack of a better term) and link glide and said the pull ratio seems the same for the derailleur end which would make the difference in the shifter, but I don't know if anybody has confirmed it. Either way it's kind of a bummer because idk if there would be any way to keep double shift.
  • 3 1
 SRAM GX 11 speed - fraction of the weight and price but all steel cassette durability. Maybe not quite the longevity of CUES but the price/performance ratio is far superior.
  • 1 0
 Don't you have to take in account the longevity as part of the price? If it lasts 2x, then effective price is half? Then price/performance grows even higher.
  • 3 0
 @ryan77777: Of course...what I'm saying is a GX all steel drivetrain will give you maybe 80-90% of the longevity at a significant weight reduction and cost savings
  • 2 0
 Can you still buy that stuff new?
  • 1 0
 @Canadmos: All 11s components still available. Both SRAM and Shimano do a decent job of continuing to support for at least 5 years past when they created the next best must have widget.
  • 1 0
 @tcmtnbikr: That's good at least, I guess I haven't really looked. I know looking for the original 50 tooth cassette and derailleur for Eagle has been a problem though - perhaps some online shops just choose not to list anything but the latest?
  • 1 0
 If only they fixed heir cranks. I've broken a Shimano SLX and a XT 12S cranks in two seasons, the pedal axle tread just strips out. Talked to fellow mechanics, according to them it's a common and known problem.
  • 2 0
 Turbine or AeffectR cranks on a WheelsMfg or Chris King BB, for the true best-value Shimano groupset experience.
  • 1 0
 Reliable and durable are the same thing. The trifecta of biking is cheap, reliable and *light* - usually you only get two. 11 speed might truly be a hack where you get all three. But c’mon PB, get it right!
  • 2 0
 I have link glide on my 2023 specialized kenevo comp. It's crazy, I don't see it on many ebikes so far, not sure why. So far it's been fantastic!
  • 1 0
 I love the concept of linkglide, but I wonder how the it wears compared to my current setup with Sunrace steel 11-46 cassette. I've found those, and the NX steel cassettes last a VERY long time.
  • 2 0
 " when on tech-climbs and trying to make a high-gear work "

@henryquinney, don't you mean 'low gear'? High gears are the smaller ones...
  • 2 1
 I suppose what I'm trying to explain is when you're making it work in the middle of the block and putting down some power and trying to grab shifts, even if you should perhaps be in something slightly easier/lower. Maybe HIGHER would give a better depiction.
  • 2 0
 This is good news, my Sentinel is running XT 11 speed and it's great, the option for a 50T on the rear really justifies 11 speed for me.
  • 2 0
 its such a rad and durable group, love mine. Wear and tear is a lot less than regular drive-trains, especially for ebikes a must have.
  • 1 1
 I've been lucky enough to ride both Sram and Shimano over the past few seasons. While the Shimano shifts amazingly, I've always personally thought that the Shimano drivetrains look and feel worn out so quickly compared to Sram*

*XX/XO Sram
  • 1 0
 Shimano loves their customers, damn! So happy I limped along on shimano 11 (xtr shifter) for so long and never paid for a Microspline freehub for my Chris King ($490?!). Will my 11/12 compatible xtr shifter work with this???
  • 2 0
 Probably the best drivetrain I have is Saint 10s shifter, Sunrace 11-46 10s cassette and XT 8000 GS derailleur. SRAM x01 and above 11s chains are really good for longevity.
  • 1 0
 @tsipet: yep, this article used to confirm that 11 speed PCXX1 was extremely durable. I successfully run this on 10 speed, it's really good.

cyclingtips.com/2019/12/the-best-bicycle-chain-durability-and-efficiency-tested
  • 2 1
 A certain irony that just a few days after the tech video explaining that HG driver is old news to be replaced by microspline and XD, this confirms that HG is now the latest and greatest.
  • 1 0
 I'd buy into this tomorrow if Shimano ever offers a lighter cassette upgrade for another hundred bucks.

The suspended rear wheel/hub is just a terrible place for extra unsprung weight.
  • 1 0
 Henry, if you ever break away from PB to do bike reviews and F1 coverage, please let us know.
Unless you’re already out there..
Make it a pay site, keep out all the ne’er-do-wells..
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney for those of us peasants who are still hanging onto an original 11 speed XT shifter, is the pull ratio the same on linkglide? Solves the lack of 2 gear pull issue you mentioned.
  • 1 0
 My understanding is that Link Glide uses a different pull ratio, so shifters and derailleurs aren't compatible with OG 11 speed. I don't think the cassettes are compatible either.
  • 2 0
 Henry, please don't stand with your bike sideways in the middle of the trail! You might get run over.
  • 1 1
 Linkglide makes huge sense for E-MTB's where weight is not a factor. Man, 600+ grams for a cassette is a lot of dead weight! I can see Linkglide being a go-to cassette for DH uses, especially for a 7-spd cassette.
  • 3 0
 Unless you're XC racing (and even then) I doubt you're gonna notice 100-150g of weight centralized near your hub. It adds a bit of unsprung mass but when you calculate that as a % of rear unsprung, it's not a whole lot.
  • 2 1
 @ryan77777: You can actually feel the difference in weight going from a lightweight cassette and then putting on a heavier one, just like you would feel the difference going from a light XC tire that weighs 600-700g to a thicker casing tire that's around 1000g or more. Going downhill, not an issue. But pedaling uphill over a long stretch - it's like carrying more water on your back. 1/3 - 1/5 a pound might not seem much but your legs will feel it on steep long climbs.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: For a hoop, it's Inertia = MR^2 so the radius really matters. While 50t cassettes are getting pretty huge, the outer radius is relatively small to the rim/tire. It's far too late in day for math but i'd wager a 100g cassete is same as 15g of tire. And that's just for accelerating, steady state is gonna be less. Still gotta carry the weight up the hill but the math on this stuff shows it's negligible unless you're racing for money.

Would be cool to see some blind tests with weights of tire inserts/cassettes or whatever. I bet cassette weight is imperceptible.
  • 3 0
 @CSharp: Okay I did the ballpark math. 50t is about same as my 203mm rotor. 29er is 622mm. Half of diameter is radius. Plug in numbers and outer ring of cassette has about 10% of effect at inner radius of rim. So 100g on outer edge of cassette is like 10g on rim for inertia. No way you can feel that Razz
  • 2 0
 @ryan77777: 100g is probably about 5%, pretty significant, however this isn't 100g heavier really, its more like 200g heavier even over just something like GX, so 10%, gets even more significant as you compare with lighter options.
  • 1 0
 @ryan77777: LOL, go test it out with a heavy cassette and let me know how your legs feel after 12.5 miles or ~20km with an elevation gain of at least 800m or 2625 ft with the climb being an average grade of 13%. I'm talking about the whole mass of the rear end, not just the mass of the cassette by itself. That weight won't be perceived. You'll actually feel it. And I'm sure if you work out the math for this, you'll be burning more calories pushing more weight up. I think your perception is wrong on this matter.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp:

Btw I'm just doing this because I think it's interesting to calculate if my intuitions are correct (they often are not) and not just to provoke argument with you. I used calculators for your 800m on 20km ride with 75KG rider on 15kg bike vs 16kg bike. Lets say they do it in 1 hour which is achievable by regular non elite athletes. Difference is 3 watts for the duration or 9 kcal total.

Calories: 1,073 vs 1084 (via climbbybike)
Watts: 259w vs 262w (via arizona edu calc)

I don't want to ride a heavy bike either but calculations like this should guide most peoples purchasing decisions and save their money.
  • 2 0
 @ryan77777: These are made up numbers! Put you derivations down Mike Levy
  • 1 0
 I Prefer the feel of SRAM Group sets, however their SX/NX is utter garbage,IMHO all entry level bikes should come with this group set Smile
  • 1 0
 I have been on Shimano for 30 years and I am sure this is good, but really ... 780 grams for a cassette? This is only good for an e-BIke!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 It's about 620g, approximately the same as SRAM NX
  • 1 0
 You can't beat Shimano mech performance. Period.

That being said, Shimano owes us a lot on the MTB high end; SRAM is killing dolphins in an enclosed bay, so to speak.
  • 1 0
 Looks like nice drivetrain, but there's already Deore M5100, 11 speed, clutch, 11-51 cassette... I've put it on my sons' Jeffsy Primuses to replace the stock SX garbage.
  • 8 7
 Fourth paragraph, first sentence is why Pinkbike needs someone to proofread stuff before publishing
  • 7 12
flag nskerb (Dec 7, 2023 at 8:23) (Below Threshold)
 Idk man I usually read pb to see bike stuff and don't really care about the art of English language.
  • 7 0
 "while having a chain that can have its chain measured for wear" got me
  • 2 0
 I thinks it's great that pinkbike supports ESL.
  • 2 0
 @nskerb: well Henry clearly cares about the art of the English language or why else would he try to write unnecessarily wordy sentences like that
  • 2 1
 This should be all over the cycling press right now. I'm a long time shimano fan boy. But it doesn't matter how good the product is, at the end of the day it's just a bike and if that's how it's coming to be it's not worth it. Pinkbikes silence so far on this says a lot.
  • 3 0
 @grldm3: Hi, You can find the story on the homepage also if that helps. Thanks to those that brought it to our attention. Cheers
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: Hey Henry, that article isn't showing up on my homepage, even if I scroll down far enough to see articles from mid-November. I only find it if I search for "Shimano", and its just a single link on an article with zero comments. It feels like this should be a really big deal, no?
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: oh that’s strange. I’ll forward this to the powers that be as it’s probably something with how it’s formatted as it’s a syndicated piece. Thanks for the heads up.
  • 1 0
 Microshift Advent X is still $143 cheaper. And you can shift across multiple gears in the climbing direction.
  • 1 0
 Wait does low maintenance mean I don't have to oil my chain? Not that I do anyway but still
  • 1 0
 I need a new SRAM cassette, I could replace the whole system for the same $ with xt!
  • 2 0
 this could very well be the best product released after a long time
  • 1 0
 This article could have just been titled "Some OK reasons to use Shimano's ebike drivetrain on a regular bike."
  • 1 0
 Thanks @henryquinney, after reading this review, this will be my next drivetrain for my enduro.
  • 1 0
 What about an XTR linkglide. 11-45t. Titanium and steel. 11speed. 370g. Microspline. THE DREAM!
  • 1 0
 Where is your right brake lever?
  • 1 1
 If your vehicle's transmission only lasted 1/5 as long as the other components, you'd be driving a Dodge Ram...
  • 1 0
 Heavier Would be a pro if anything.
  • 1 4
 CON: derailleur only works with Linkglide cassette, no 3rd parties unlike regular HG. This is an ebike groupset, doesn't belong on regular bikes.
  • 1 3
 Meh, Linkglide is heavier and for more entry-level riders. I'll stick to lighter HyperGlide +.
  • 2 1
 its for ebikes
  • 1 0
 What about an XTR linkglide. 11-45t. Titanium and steel. 11speed. 370g. Microspline. THE DREAM!
  • 1 0
 @rjmogul: Not necessarily. It is mostly on non-ebikes. The picture is on a non-ebike. Wink
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: Shimano is very good, but I still prefer SRAM.
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