Lofty durability claims, as Shimano reveals a new drivetrain for riders who aren't bothered by grams.

Shimano has revealed a new mountain bike drivetrain for those riders who value durability.

The Linkglide group is centred on a very tough cassette, with several smart engineering features.

Product planners at Shimano did not want to build anything in the calibre of XTR-lightness with the Linkglide cassette. Its entire reason for existence is to provide a mountain bike drivetrain component that resists wear, and shifts with confidence (instead of annoyance) right to the end of its lifecycle.

Read more: the best mountain bike drivetrains 

What makes the Linkglide cassette so interesting? The 300% increased durability claim.

Shimano’s engineers have chosen to machine the Linkglide cassette teeth from plated steel, with a reprofiled shape, which reduces contact wear.

Bigger and stronger chain contact points

In terms of sheer size, the Linkglide teeth are thicker and taller. This should mitigate wear along the tips, delivering a more consistent and smoother shifting response, even as you add hundreds of miles to the drivetrain.

Beyond the more robust steel structure and new profile, the cassette has replaceable sprockets. If you are wearing those 11-, 13- and 15t bits of your cassette quicker, on Shimano’s Linkglide they are individually replaceable, instead of having to buy an entire new cassette.

It sounds like a fantastic deal for those riders who don’t obsess about grams and desire durability. But there is a caveat: these new Shimano cassettes can’t match with most of its legacy drivetrain components.

Linkglide is not cross compatible

If you want the benefit of these rugged new Shimano cassettes, you’ll have to invest in the new Deore 1×10 or XT 1×11 systems. Although the cassette is compatible with a standard HG freehub, it needs the new Linkglide Deore XT and Deore derailleurs, which feature Shimano’s Shadow RD+ low profile design and clutch mechanism for retaining chain tension.

The Linkglide XT cassette has an 11-50t spread of gearing and weighs 780g, with the Deore option’s ratio being 11-43t, at a mass rating of 634.

If you ride a lot of mud, or miles, on an e-bike, Linkglide might be for you.