With the never-ending evolution of mountain bikes and e-bikes Shimano has noticed that these new demands are putting more stress on drivetrains than ever before. To solve this, Shimano has introduced LinkGlide which is designed to increase drivetrain durability whilst offering seamless shifting.
LinkGlide has been introduced by Shimano as an alternative to the brand's HyperGlide+ drivetrains to offer longer-lasting performance. It's aimed at everyday riders and newcomers who prefer comfort and low maintenance over the quicker shifting and lighter weight of HyperGlide+.
Shimano has started kitting the new LinkGlide tech to the 11-speed Deore XT and 10-speed Deore drivetrains. It's especially intended towards e-trekking bikes and e-mtbs but that doesn't mean that it can't be used on your acoustic mountain bike or any other bike for that matter.
The brand says that testing has shown LinkGlide cassettes to be three times more durable than their HyperGlide+ counterparts which mean fewer chain skips and more mileage before having to replace it with fresh kit.
The cassette has been the main focus for the brand's engineers with an aim to make it more robust. As such, the LinkGlide cassettes get a refined tooth shape that Shimano says reduces wear in high torque situations. On the cassette, you'll find that the teeth have thicker bases and a new top shape profile all to battle the dreaded wear.
The shifting gates on the cassette have also seen a redesign and reposition to help the chain move smoothly through the gears. This will also reduce pedal shock or jumps while shifting, says the brand.
The derailleurs have also seen a redesign in order to accommodate the new cassettes due to the new gear pitch. However, the 1x11 speed Deore XT and 1x10 speed Deore mechs get the same Shimano Shadow RD+ low profile design and chain stabilizing switch that can be found on existing Deore XT and Deore derailleurs.
Of course, with the new gear pitch, the shifter has to offer a matching ratio so the XT and Deore Linkglide shifters have seen a bit of a redesign.
. The XT shifter gets I-Spec EV or clamp band options whereas the Deore only gets a clamp band with an optical gear display. Both shifters however get Shimano's classic 2-Way Release and Rapidfire Plus functions. The XT version also offers Instant Release for even quicker shifting.
Finally, the new LinkGlide 11/10-speed chain comes as an e-bike rated product which offers a more affordable option to Shimano's other e-bike rated chains. These chains plus the pre-existing e-bike designed chains are all compatible with LinkGlide.
Something important to note is that LinkGlide components are not compatible with other Shimano drivetrains, so if you're looking to make the move you'll have to get a whole new drivetrain.
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