Introduced as an alternative to HYPERGLIDE+ drivetrains, LINKGLIDE is made for longer-lasting performance. LINKGLIDE technology available on DEORE XT 1x11 and DEORE 1x10 speed drivetrains.
As e-biking and other mountain biking styles continue to grow, so too does wear and tear on drivetrains. To solve this issue, SHIMANO is introducing LINKGLIDE technology, designed and engineered with increased drivetrain durability, whilst still delivering the seamless shifting that SHIMANO is renowned for.
LINKGLIDE technology will be introduced initially at DEORE XT (1x11 speed) and DEORE (1x10 speed) level and is intended for use on a wide variety of bikes and different riding styles, although it is especially suited to e-trekking bikes and e-MTBs ridden under high-torque.
Shimano testing shows that LINKGLIDE cassettes are three times more durable than its HYPERGLIDE cassettes in muddy conditions. Three times less degradation to the cassette means less chain skips, less loss of performance, more mileage before repairs or replacement, and more smooth and high-performance two-way shifting.
New components include DEORE XT 1x11 and DEORE 1x10-speed shifters, rear derailleurs, chains and cassettes. Each of the components will feature a LINKGLIDE logo to differentiate them from regular DEORE XT and DEORE components, which are not cross-compatible due to different gear pitches.
The teeth of LINKGLIDE cassettes have been honed with a new shape to reduce wear and tear in high torque situations. Thicker and more robust teeth bases feature, to counter the area that sees most degradation, whilst a new top shape profile is also used.
The other area of development was in the shifting gate design and position which enables the chain to move smoothly up and down across the sprockets. These gates reduce pedal shock or jumps during shifting which can affect pedaling fluidity, giving smoother pedaling performance.
DEORE XT 1x11 cassettes (CS-LG600-11) weigh 780 g and are offered in 11-50T ratios whereas DEORE 1x10-speed cassettes (CS-LG600-10) weigh 634 g are offered in 11-43T.
To accommodate the new LINKGLIDE cassettes, new DEORE XT (RD-M8130-SGS) 1x11-speed and DEORE (RD-M5130-SGS) 1x10-speed derailleurs will be available, offering the same smooth shifting performance, SHIMANO SHADOW RD+ low profile design and chain stabilizing switch for reduced chain slap that can be found on other DEORE XT and DEORE derailleurs.
New shift levers also form part of the LINKGLIDE drivetrain system. The DEORE XT 11-speed version comes with an I-SPEC EV (SL-M8130-IR) or clamp band (SL-M8130-R) option, whereas the DEORE 10-speed version (SL-M5130-R) comes in a clamp band-only design with an optical gear display. All shift levers offer Shimano’s 2-Way Release and Rapidfire Plus functions and the DEORE XT version also offers Instant Release for faster shifting.
The new LINKGLIDE (CN-LG500) 11/10-speed chain comes as an ‘e-bike rated’ product, providing a more affordable option to Shimano’s other CN-HG601-11/701-11/901-11 e-bike rated chains. These chains, plus the ‘e-bike designed’ CN-E8000-11 chain are all compatible with LINKGLIDE.
Filip Scholliers, Shimano MTB product planner: “When we develop a drivetrain our goal is always to bring seamless shifting performance but the question of how to maintain sports performance and extra durability for new riding styles posed an interesting puzzle.
"We noticed that less experienced cyclists ride in the same gear, sometimes under excessive torque, for long periods of time, which puts strain on their drivetrain. As well as that, riders who shift under torque also cause excess wear and tear and ultimately a loss of drivetrain performance.
“In the end the answer was simple, offer customers the best of both. Our aim with LINKGLIDE was to create a drivetrain system that would deliver smooth and seamless shifting yet be more durable. That’s why most of our design and engineering focus was on making the cassette more robust.
“HYPERGLIDE+ technology still offers competitive cyclists a lightweight drivetrain with our quickest shifting, whereas LINKGLIDE is an extra option for increased durability. Or to put it another way, HYPERGLIDE+ is made for fast and LINKGLIDE is made to last.”
LINKGLIDE is for newcomers and everyday riders who prefer comfort and low maintenance over the quicker shifting and lower weight that HYPERGLIDE+ offers. As well as being available on bikes, LINKGLIDE components will also be available as aftermarket products in bike stores.
DEORE XT and DEORE components with LINKGLIDE technology are not compatible with other SHIMANO drivetrains so any consumers looking to upgrade their 11- or 10-speed drivetrain will need to purchase a LINKGLIDE cassette, rear derailleur, shift lever and (optional) chain.
Expect to find LINKGLIDE technology on e-bikes, leisure MTBs, commuter bikes, all-terrain bikes and bike-packing/adventure bikes from summer 2021.