Lighter isn’t always better. Shimano is shifting its focus to durability for the new Linkglide XT and Deore drivetrain.
All of Shimano’s high-performance, weight-focused Hyperglide+ drivetrains remain. The new Linkglide options arrive in addition to Shimano’s existing offerings.
What’s different? Well, Shimano says its Linkglide cassettes are a staggering 300 per cent more durable than its own Hyperglide options. That means you can run one cassette for far longer before you have to start worrying about replacement parts.
Linkglide technology – Deore and Deore XT
The new Linkglide is designed to provide an option that focuses more on durability than weight. With different construction and design, Linkglide aims to improve resistance to wear and tear and, in doing so, extend maintenance intervals for its components.
That makes the new group an excellent option for a very wide range of riders. From bikepacking to eMTB, ebikes, commuters and, well, anyone that puts a heavy priority on durability over weight.
The one catch is that Linkglide is currently only available in 10- and 11-speed options. Shimano also says the new components are not compatible with existing Hyperglide+ drivetrains, so you can’t mix and match parts.
Linkglide XT rear mech.
11-speed Linkglide 11-50T cassette
11-speed spider on the 11-50t cassette
Shimano Linkglide 11-speed shifter
Shimano Linkglide 11-speed bar-clamp shifter
Linkglide Deore XT 11-speed
Linkglide XT is the 11-speed option for Shimano’s new components. It comes with a 11-50-tooth cassette, which mounts to a standard HG freehub body, instead of Shimano’s new Mircospline system designed for 12-speed drivetrains. Cassettes are formed from plated steel, with a new tooth shape. The teeth are thicker, and taller also to reduce wear and extend cassette’s life. That mean’s the ramps between cogs are new, too, to ensure smooth shifting with the new tooth shape.
The Linkglide XT 11-speed rear derailleur low-profile rear derailleur uses a Shadow RD+ clutch, just like the latest 12-speed XT parts. Linkglide XT components will be marked with a new LG logo, to differentiate them from the standard Deore XT components, which are not cross-compatible due to differing gear pitches.
Up front, the XT LG shifter comes with either an ISPEC or clamp band mount. It has two way shifting, like standard XT, and the same instant release shift.
Linkglide Deore 10-speed derailleur
10-speed, 11-45T Cassette
Shimano Linkglide 10-speed
10-speed Deore LG comes with an optional optical display
Linkglide Deore 10-speed
For the Deore Linkglide, Shimano’s opted for a 10-speed drivetrain. That means an 11-43T cassette, which uses the same new design, construction and tooth profile as the 11-speed XT parts. The Deore LG rear derailleur also uses a Shadow RD+ cluch mechanism, and low-profile design.
The Linkglide Deore 10-speed shifter comes in a clamp band only, but adds the option for an optical display.
While most components in Shimano’s new line are not cross-compatible with existing options, the new Linkglide chain is an exception. Both the 11-speed XT and 10-speed Deore use the same Linkglide chain design. Further, all existing 11-speed Shimano chains will work with the Linkglide drivetrain. The reverse is also true, with the LG500 price-point chain also working on existing 11-speed Hyperglide drivetrains.
To put it more succinctly, any Shimano 11-speed chain will work with any Shimano 11-speed drivetrain. All Shimano 11-speed chains are already ebike rated, or designed specifically for them.
Pricing and availability
Shimano says riders can expect to start seeing Linkglide components on “bikes for everyday riders who prefer comfort and low maintenance over the quicker shifting and lower weight that Hyperglide+ offers.”
Linkglide components will also be available separately as an aftermarket option. Drivetrains should start arriving in bike shops later on this year. The 11-speed Deore XT groupset comes in at $442.5, while the 10-speed Deore Linkglide drops that price to $260.50. Individual component prices are listed below.
Again, Shimano says Linkglide versions of Deore XT and Deore components are not compatible with existing drivetrains. So if you want to try out Linkglide, you have to go for the full cassette, rear derailleur and shift lever combo.
Shimano Linkglide component pricing
LG500 (10/11-speed): $32.50
Deore 10-speed, 11-43t: $90.00
Deore XT 11-speed, 11-50t: $140.00
Deore 10-speed: $85.00
Deore XT 11-speed: $175.00
Deore 10-speed: $53.00
Deore XT 11-speed: $95.00