Home > MTB

Shimano releases short reach shifters and brake levers

Fit added to function plus new Essa groupset brings 8-speed up to date

Photo by: Shimano Essa

While some brands are choosing to exclusively chase the highest-end of cycling gear, Shimano continues to develop and advance technology for all levels of cycling. With its new short reach shifters and brake levers, the brand makes its Cues 11/10/9-speed drivetrain fit better for more riders. Shimano’s also expanding with a new, modern, 8-speed drivetrain called Essa.

Shimano Cues Short Reach

After launching Cues to unify and simplify its 9, 10, and 11-speed drivetrains in 2023, Shimano is making that system more comfortable to use for more riders. New short reach shifters and brake levers are optimized for riders with smaller hands. This is long overdue for more functional drivetrains, though it’s featured for a while on some top-end models. It improves comfort, control and, with that, confidence for riders that don’t fit the standard fit levers.

Cues short reach uses a push/push shifter design, allowing up and down shifting with two, thumb-accessible buttons close to the handlebar. This should let shifting be as intuitive and comfortable as intended.

For braking, Shimano brings the Cues Short Reach brake lever 20 per cent closer to the handlebar. For riders with smaller hands, that means a more natural grip on the bar while braking.

Shimano Essa 8-speed

Shimano is also bringing its eight-speed shifting up to date and, in the process, simplifying it. The new Essa drivetrain brings modern performance and wide-range compatibility to eight-speed bikes. That mean’s a clutch on the rear derailleur, narrow-wide chainrings and wide-range, 1x gearing options are now available for more bikes.

This release unifies several existing lines and, in an excellent move, will be cross-compatible with all existing flat-bar Atlas, Acura and Tourney TX systems. So if you need to update or repair bikes with any of those parts, you can use Essa without having to replace the entire drivetrain.

Shimano intends Essa to cover everything from casual, sport and city bikes to mountain bikes. The narrow-wide tooth profile featured on higher-end drivetrains helps chain retention. The new derailleur brings wide range (11t-45t) shifting to eight-speed with the CS-GH400-8 cassette.

Essa is compatible with current 8-speed Hyperglide systems. Since it is compatible with existing HG systems, Essa-branded components are limited to the crankset and rear derailleur. The wide-range cassette will go by the part number, CS-HG400-8.