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I've seen that the Shimano LinkGlide range starts to be available in shops. LinkGlide is a new sub-range (flat handle bar, Deore and XT) that emphasizes on durability, meant for e-bikes and commuters. Shimano claims a 3x durability and a 4x wear resistance. It could then be interesting for commuters or people interested in lowering the intervals between chain and cassette replacements.

However, Shimano presents the range as a "package" (shifter, derailleur, cassette, chain and rear hub, one Deore variant 10-speed, 11/43 cassette and one XT variant 11-speed, 11/50 cassette), but doesn't indicate the compatibility with "regular" components. I understood that chain/cassette have been redesigned, which would explain a lack of compatibility with standard chain/cassettes. I also read that pull ratios are different than standard MTB components, so derailleurs and shifters must be used in pair.

But what about replacing only the chain and the cassette? For example, the bikes sold with 10-speed 11/42 cassette (Deore M5120/M6000) seem eligible to 10-speed 11/43 LinkGlide cassettes chain without deviating too much from the specs. The same would apply as well to MTBs with 11-speed 11/5x cassettes (these would rather have an SRAM derailleur though).

Shimano also doesn't indicate compatibility for chainrings. Given the range is presented as 1x, could any narrow-wide chainring work? Could it be used with a 2x?

They also include specific hub, but the text only says that they come with a spacer required for LinkGlide. What about freehub body compatibility then?

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  • Late to the game here, but what's the difference between "duability" and "wear resistance"?
    – Paul H
    Aug 7, 2023 at 17:34
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    @PaulH Good question :) I just quoted Shimano in that case.
    – Rеnаud
    Oct 27, 2023 at 7:36

1 Answer 1

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To answer this question more accurately, based on Shimano's data.

It should be noted that in the meantime, Shimano has announced the CUES range - new range for entry level bikes, that is based on LinkGlide.

LinkGlide uses a standard 11-speed chain designs (even on 10-speed LinkGlide systems and 9 to 11 speed CUES - unlike "traditional" systems, there's only one chain type to be used), and can therefore be used on any non-LinkGlide 11-speed system, even 2x road/gravel groupsets. Unless there's new tech built into the chains, no significant gain durability gain to be expected by using a LG chain on a non LG system, even if they are compatible. That being said, they are the cheapest Shimano 11-speed chains, so may still make economic sense if their lifespan is comparable.

As stated in the previous answer, Linkglide cassette fit on standard Hyperglide freehub bodies (the spacer is then required when used with the road 11-speed variant), but because of the wider pitch between the cogs, there's more overhang over the free-hub body. Shimano mentions a possible interference with the spokes and derailleur when using an 11-speed cassettes with non-boost systems.

For the cassette/derailleur/shifter combo, because the different cogs pitch, they need to be used together.

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    The CUES components are based on the same technology (ie compatibility)
    – Noise
    Aug 7, 2023 at 7:47
  • @Noise Good point, answer edited for further clarity
    – Rеnаud
    Aug 7, 2023 at 7:57

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