Shimano has recently launched the CUES groupset. This amalgamates 9, 10 and 11-speed options for flat bar bikes. There are rumours this will move to drop bar (ie road/gravel bikes) in the near future.
Some technical details from their press release include.
- Hubs with 6000 series (cartridge) bearings
- LinkGlide Cassettes
- Uniform 11-speed chain compatibility
- 1:1 Pull to Rear Mech Movement Ratio (Pull Ratio)
- 1x and 2x transmission
- STEPS integration with DI2
- Riveted Cranksets
- MTB Style Preload Collars
6000 series Bearing hubs
Shimano has long been a proponent of cup and cone bearings which are technically unconstrained angular contact bearings. Some of the new hubs associated with CUES have 6000 series deep groove radial bearings installed. This is a feature that is likely to propagate up through the Shimano product line. Cup and Cone bearings have the inner and outer raceways integrated into some of the assembly of the hub. Once these wear out, the hub will usually require replacement. This is costly.
Linkglide is a system that is compatible with hyperglide. It uses much thicker stamped rings. It appears they have standardised don’t this to allow for the increased torque of E-bike systems.
9/10/11 Speed Intercompatibility and Pull Ratio
All of the cassettes use the same 11-speed chain. Consequently, the sprocket spacing between 9, 10 and 11 speeds is identical. This allows any combination of shifters and cassettes to be used, but dependent on the combination, 1 or 2 speeds may be unavailable.
The constant sprocket spacing results in a uniform pull ratio of all of the levers, which is 1:1. This does mean that some compatibility is lost to legacy Shimano products.
Watch On YouTube
The first part of this video from Mapdec Cycles covers some elements of CUES
Transition to Road
The Shimano groupset hierarchy for road is as follows:
- Dura-Ace: This is Shimano’s top-of-the-line groupset and is used by professional cyclists. It offers the highest level of performance and is designed for racing.
- Ultegra: This groupset is one level below Dura-Ace in terms of performance and price. It is still a high-end groupset that offers excellent shifting and braking performance.
- 105: This is Shimano’s mid-range groupset and is designed for serious cyclists who want high performance without the high price tag. It offers excellent value for money and is a popular choice for road bikes.
- Tiagra: This groupset is designed for entry-level road bikes and offers reliable performance at an affordable price.
- Sora: This is Shimano’s basic groupset for road bikes and is designed for recreational cyclists who want a reliable and affordable groupset.
Each of these groupsets includes components such as shifters, derailleurs, brakes, and cranks and were originally available in both mechanical and electronic versions. In modern times, higher-end groupsets have been made available in electronic only. Shimano also offers groupsets for other types of bicycles, such as mountain bikes and urban bikes.
It is likely that everything below Tiagra will be replaced by a CUES-based system.