Cues Shimano groupset
The new Shimano Cues groupset was introduced recently with the aim of simplifying the range of components. We had the opportunity to speak with Julian Trasher, the head of training at Madison and a Shimano expert. Julian provides valuable insights into the Shimano Cues features. He explains why they are important for cyclists who are seeking a reliable and efficient gear-shifting system. As an expert in the field, Julian sheds light on some of the key components of this new groupset. This includes the LinkGlide technology, the Dynamic Chain Engagement, and the single-chain skew system. Read on to discover how these features can benefit your cycling experience.
About the newest Shimano groupset
Hi Julian. Can you tell us what is a Cues Shimano groupset?
Yeah, sure. Cues is an innovative new series of mid-level components that promises to revolutionize the market. It replaces Shimano’s current Altus, Alivio, and Acera groupsets, offering a durable solution for riders at three different speeds: 9, 10, and 11.
This user-friendly approach is an exciting development for the market, as Shimano typically focuses on high-end products.
Shimano is known for its hierarchical approach to bike components, ranging from the top-of-the-line XTR for mountain bikes to Dura-Ace for road bikes, all the way down to Tourney for entry-level riders. With Cues, however, the focus is on providing a streamlined and easy-to-understand system that eliminates the need for complex naming structures.
Shimano’s existing 12-speed mountain bike components stay unchanged, including the popular Deore groupset. Meanwhile, the 11 and 10-speed Deore, as well as Alivio, Acera, and Altus, have all been replaced with Cues.
This shift in the market is significant, with Shimano predicting that one in every five bikes will soon feature Cues components.
The end consumer of Cues Shimano groupset
Is Shimano Cues designed for entry-level cyclists or experienced riders?
Shimano’s newest groupsets are designed with novice riders in mind, who may not be familiar with terms like Alivio, Acera, or Altus. The decision to choose Cues will be based on speed, rather than a specific naming structure. This will allow riders to easily select the number of gears and the right components for their needs.
There are different tiers within the Cues range, including the U8000 which is the top-tier Cues, the 6000 which is perfect for entry-level mountain bikes, and the 4000 which is the basic level of Cues.
Are these components for drop bar bikes or flat bar bikes?
The Shimano Cues groupset is designed for use with flat bar bikes, which typically include mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and urban bikes. The groupset includes a range of components that are optimised for off-road and city riding. However, in the future, Shimano Cues might transfer across to drop bars.
Can you tell me something about the LinkGlide technology?
The Shimano Cues groupset introduces several new technologies, including LinkGlide, which offers a more durable series of components.
The technology uses a reinforced tooth profile which helps to improve the overall durability and longevity of the drivetrain components. And the way that “LinkGlide” is designed is to be able to pick up the chain and drop the chain effectively around the timing of the cassette. It doesn’t do the shifting for you, although we do have a STEPS groupset that will do that, but what it does do, it reduces the shock of the chain falling onto the next sprocket below. This means that riders can enjoy a more consistent and reliable performance over a longer period of time, with less need for frequent maintenance or replacement of parts.
As a 16-year-old kid who loved riding with friends on the off-road tracks, I recall the challenges of affording high-end products and the importance of having components that could withstand regular use. Parents of young riders may also appreciate having a bike with components that last, as kids can be hard on their equipment.
Dynamic Chain Engagement technology
What other technology should we expect to see?
From a mechanical perspective, many of the features found in the Shimano Cues groupset will be familiar to experienced riders. For instance, the 1x Cues chainrings include “Dynamic Chain Engagement,” a technology that has been used on mountain bikes for some time now.
When riding a mountain bike over rough terrain, it’s important to have a mechanism that keeps the chain securely on the chainring, even when changing gears. Shimano has already developed this technology, which has now been incorporated into the Cues groupset.
One single chain for all 9, 10, and 11-speed Shimano groupsets.
Can you tell us about the new CN-LG500 chain?
Yes, sure. One of the biggest features of the Shimano Cues groupset is the use of a single chain across all of its systems. This represents a major step forward in terms of sustainability, which is a key message of the Cues line.
By using an 11-speed chain across all of its systems, including 9, 10, and 11-speed versions, Shimano has been able to simplify the range of components needed for the groupset. This means that retailers and bike brands can more easily spec and stock the Cues components. This makes it easier for riders to access them.
To support this approach, Shimano has developed a specific LG 500 chain. A single chain that covers all speeds. However, riders can also use existing 11-speed chains on 9 and 10-speed systems. This is similar to the shift from six, seven, and eight-speed chains to the current 9, 10, and 11-speed standards.
Consistent pull ratio
What about the pul ratio?
A consistent pull ratio and gear pitch across all of the Shimano Cues systems is another fantastic key feature. This means that riders can easily switch between different speeds or even transition to a 2x system with minimal hassle.
If a rider wants to change to a 2x system, they will need to replace their shifter accordingly. However, that’s something they could do with minimum hassle. For the shop, it would be an absolute minimum hassle as well.
Compatibility between the new Cues Shimano groupset and older components
If I have an older Acera mech and it’s broken and I see that there’s a Cues one at my local retailer can I get that and put that with an old Acera system?
No, there is no backwards compatibility between the existing Shimano Altus, Acera, and Alivio systems and the new Cues groupset. So if you need to replace an older Acera mech, you cannot simply replace it with a Cues component.
However, for customers who already have Altus, Acera, or Alivio on their bikes, Shimano has plan to continue supporting those products for a number of years. As Cues is gradually rolled out in the market, eventually, Alivio, Altus, and Acera bikes will become non-supported. Cues-supported bikes will take over.
Cues Shimano groupset – more details
Where to find more information about Cues Shimano groupset?
So si.shimano.com is your one-stop place for all of your Shimano Cues information. Absolutely loads on that, thoroughly recommend that people visit there and learn more about the Cues system.
Would you like to learn all about Shimano unique part numbers? Find out what all those letters and numbers mean in our article here.
Watch the full interview with Julian here:
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