Shimano’s new XT and XTR groupsets are getting great reviews, including from us here at CanadianMTB, but there was one sticking point. Switching to the 12-speed group required switching to Microspline, the Japanese brand’s new hub standard. More than just another new standard, Shimano had strictly limited who could sell hubs licensed as Microspline compatible.
That’s all starting to change. Hope Technology and Chris King both announced this week that they will be selling Microspline compatible hubs. Both high-end hub brands will also be offering conversion kits for customers who already own King or Hope hubs and want to switch to Shimano’s 12-speed standard.
Initially, only a small group of manufacturers were granted a Mircrospline license. Shimano offered its own hubs with the launch of XTR. Then DT Swiss was first third party brand to offer Microspline hubs, followed by Industry Nine, Newman and Mavic. The limited range of Microspline sparked some frustration, both from consumers and the industry. In September, Shimano let news drop that it would be loosening the restrictions on the new standard.
The Barnoldswick, U.K.-based brand announced it is offering Microspline freehubs as an option on its hubs starting January 2, 2020. It will also be selling freehub conversion kits separately. These should work with customers existing Hope hubs, like hte popular Pro 4, without any axle modifications.
Chris King also announced a Microspline option for its hubs will arrive in 2020. The standard will be available on ISO B and ISO DH Superboost hubs. The hubs will use a new axle and driveshell bearing design, which Chris King is saying this will be the lighest ISO B and ISO DH Superboosh hubs to date.
If you want a hub, or conversion kit from the Portland, Ore.-based company, you’ll have to wait a few weeks, though. Chis King will open orders for Microspline-equipped hubs on January 15, 2020. Hubs and conversion kits are scheduled to start shipping January 31, 2020.
Conversion kits will also be available. It sounds like converting to Microspline will require a new freehub and axle, though, not just the freehub.