Whilst the new CUES system may well steal the limelight today, Shimano has also quietly released some new hubs.
In something of a departure from what you might expect, some of these hubs use sealed cartridge bearings, axles that are interchangeable between a quick-release and bolt-through, and freehub bodies that you can swap out, meaning it will suit either Shimano standard.
While this isn't the first time Shimano has made sealed hubs, they're normally better known for their cup and cone systems. The modular design of the two higher hubs in this range aims for ease of service, as well as giving the option to take wheels between different frames, and the cartridge bearings should arguably improve sealing.
There will be four tiers: the TC600, TC500/QC500, QC400, and QC300. The top two tiers use the modular axle, and the QC300 is a notable exception because it uses a cup and cone system. The engagement angle of the hubs is 10 and 15 degrees respectively, with the lower two models having 22.5 degrees.
This means that if a rider has a bike with these entry-level hubs, potentially even with CUES, it will mean that upgrading to a 12-speed system will require one less brand new component, and you could just swap the freehub body.
The TC600 uses twin double-row bearings on the drive side to hopefully increase longevity further and will hope to keep up with Linkglide's bold claims on longevity. Along with the TC500/QC500, the hub will use a labyrinth seal as well as the contact seal of the bearing itself to try and keep grit and grime out.
No pricing was given for these hubs but I would expect them to be a common option as an original-equipment part.