I'm looking to build a 1x10 commuter bike.

Want to decide between these two cassettes

XT series:


HG series: http://a.co/j4z8KFn

How do they differ?

I still haven't bought chain and crankset.

  • This is a bit of a shopping question, but its about a consumable item that may crop up in legitimate repairs.
    – Criggie
    Dec 1, 2016 at 3:51
  • HG81 is typically seen as being in the SLX quality of the range (1 down from XT). Difference would be marginal unless 'XT' writing on all your components is important to you.
    – mattnz
    Dec 1, 2016 at 5:51
  • If Shimano didn't put out different models of the same part they'd have to charge everyone the same price. Dec 1, 2016 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


XT is shimano's MTB line - and its second below the XTR line. It weighs a claimed 275 grams, and can be split in the middle to remove a medium cog and add a larger one on the end.

HG is also a MTB line, but ranks somewhere below XT. It weighs more at around 430 grams, and therefore is more solid. It cannot be tweaked, but will be more robust and less prone to breaking.

In 2016, the Shimano MTB group lineup is something like this:

Lowest TOURNEY, ALTUS, Acera, ALIVIO, Deore, Deore LX, Deore XT, XTR Highest

By comparison, the road groups are

Lowest A050, Tourney, Claris, SORA, TIAGRA, 105, Ultegra, DURAACE, Highest

A further breakdown can be found at http://productinfo.shimano.com/#/lc/1.7

To clarify - here's shimano's current line up, according to shimano, from the link above, which is dated 2016 and titled "Product lineup"

enter image description here

Note this is from the PDF linked from that page.

Answer My advice would be to get the cheaper heavier cassette and a new chain at the same time. They are wear items, and should be replaced periodically. Some indication that the light one was perhaps too light for the amount of power some riders were generating.

  • 2
    Models with HG after the CS- or CN- aren't specifically MTB components. They just stick it in the model code of various cassettes and chains that aren't tied to specific groups. Sometimes the boxes for those cassettes and chains have group logos for mountain and road groups simultaneously to denote compatibility. Dec 1, 2016 at 4:25
  • 2
    -1: TOURNEY is not considered a MTB, Deore LX has been obsolete for probably decade. There is also Zee and Saint and SLX. Too much is factually incorrect here.
    – mattnz
    Dec 1, 2016 at 5:49
  • 2
    @mattnz Fair enough. Please have a look at the posted link from Shimano productinfo.shimano.com/#/lc/1.7 which clearly shows two variants of Tourney at the bottom of their MTB column. You're correct that Deore LX is not a current MTB model, but it is current in the "trekking" lineup.
    – Criggie
    Dec 1, 2016 at 6:49
  • 1
    With the reference, I have removed my down vote - I now think in the entire industry, its only the marketing team at Shimano that consider TOURNEY MTB series :)
    – mattnz
    Dec 1, 2016 at 19:10

The previous answers are incorrect.

"XT" is a mtb component level, second from the top XTR level components.

"HG" isn't a component level at all. It stands for "Hyper-glide", which is a system of ramps, pins, and tooth shape profiles on cassettes and chainrings, which allows for faster and smoother shifting. It was introduced by Shimano several decades ago, and they use it throughout their component levels. XTR, XT, SLX, DEORE, etc.. are ALL "HG". So, between the two cassettes specified BOTH use HG technology; one is XT level and the other is SLX level.

How they differ is that the XT cassette will be lighter, with the smallest degree of shift improvement (barely noticeable unless you compare them side-by-side). Realistically, it's weight savings that cause the XT to be more expensive, however the weight savings will be minimal and only really matter if you're saving grams everywhere else on your bike.
If saving a very small amount of weight doesn't concern you, get the SLX and save some money.

  • "HG" isn't a component level at all. It de facto is - they're sold under the "HG" label. Mar 30 at 17:05
  • 3
    So in fact, HG is both a HG level of component AND it is a technology. mtb.shimano.com/us/stories/hyperglide
    – Ted Hohl
    Mar 30 at 18:31
  • 1
    Now they are coming with a new LG=LinkGlide for the CUES. Heavier but more forgiving and more durable. So no more will all Shimano cassettes be HG. There is also UG=UniGlide for some old stock mostly found on e-Bay and similar. Mar 30 at 20:39
  • @VladimirFГероямслава for reference, LinkGlide has been in fact introduced with Deore and XT (M5130/M8130), but they have been very hard to find (I personally bought a bike that was supposed to ship with an XT LinkGlide, but got a "regular XT" instead, presumably for a lack of availability).
    – Renaud
    Mar 31 at 13:40
  • @Renaud That is strange, aren't Deore or surely XT be from the performance lines where weight not so unimportant? Mar 31 at 13:44

As stated in @user69112's answer HG is a system of ramp. As explained in other answers, XT is indeed a product line.

But to complete this answer, HG used both in road and MTB ranges. From what I could see, it is present across almost all Shimano range - including 7-speed systems. The exceptions are in fact on the high end: 12-speed systems, that are "Hyperglide+" (regular HG allows to shift towards easier gears under tension, HG+ in both direction), and LinkGlide (that is designed for durability, and is closer in design to HG+, but enables additional features for automatic transmissions).

But none of the answers seem to address another possible source of confusion: HG is also the name of the spline on which cassettes are mounted. There are currently 5 splines:

  • HG (the most standard, with two variations: the regular one, and road, that is 1.85mm longer).
  • HD(R), from SRAM, to allow 10T speed small sprockets, that are not possible with the HG spline. As for HG, there's a road (HDR) and an MTB variant (HD).
  • MicroSpline: Shimano's answer to HD, but there's no road variant, as Shimano considers that road groups remain better with 11T small sprockets, so they stick with the HG road.

An XT cassette from 2016 will be HG for the ramps and the spline. In 2023, it's a bit more complex:

  • 12 speed XT cassettes are using HG+ ramps, and Microspline splines (M8100 series or M8150-12)
  • 11 speed XT LinkGlide cassettes are using LinkGlide ramps and HG Splines (M8130 series or M8150-11).
  • Ultegra (road equivalent of XT) are using HG+ ramps, and HG road splines.

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