The new Shimano CUES groupset replaces the entire mid-range of the Shimano brand
Shimano has introduced a new member of the family to simplify and unify its entire mid-range. CUES, as this new groupset has been named, promises to be a smoother, more durable shifter and offer greater compatibility.
Shimano welcomes CUES and retires Alivio, Acera and Altus
The complex range of components and compatibilities that exist today can be overwhelming for both users and strangers. The Japanese firm hopes that the launch of the CUES (Create Unique Experiences) groupset will make life easier for manufacturers, users and retailers.
The main fact highlighted by Shimano is that with the arrival of CUES, the 9, 10 and 11-speed drivetrains are consolidated into a unified set of compatible parts.
From now on, it will be easier to understand how the catalog of a giant like Shimano is organized and, at the same time, it will give some breathing space to workshops and retailers, who will be able to count on a shorter list of products.
With this move, Shimano replaces Alivio, Acera and Altus with the brand new CUES, although the Japanese will continue to have stock. For its part, rumor has it that this new groupset could also absorb the Tiagra, Sora and Claris families, as well as 10- and 11-speed Deore.
Shimano defines CUES as its "most compatible and versatile line of components ever". Undoubtedly, this is one of its main advantages: some components can be interchanged with each other. Brands will be the first to benefit from this innovation, as they will have the option of combining components of higher or lower quality as they see fit. For example, we could see bikes equipped with a rear derailleur of X quality but with cranks of Y quality.
CUES, with LinkGlide technology
Shimano claims that LinkGlide makes shifting smoother, which extends the life of cassettes and chains. This, which applies to both e-bikes and non-electrically assisted bikes, adds to the overall better performance offered by this technology, according to Shimano.
The explanation is that the cassette teeth are taller and thicker. Since there is more material in contact with the chain, it is more difficult for the chain to jump.
The four members of the CUES family
Shimano's new range is divided into four. First we find the U4000, a 9-speed designed for beginners. The U6000 series is divided into the 10-speed and the 11-speed, both cataloged as the "reference" of the brand. And finally the U8000, the top of the range with 11 speeds.
In all cases, 11-speed chains are used to provide the family with greater compatibility than was previously possible.
The cable tension ratio, the distance between the cassette sprockets and the chains are shared components, which means that they are the same regardless of whether they are 9, 10 or 11 speeds.
With this advance, in theory an 11-speed rear derailleur could be used on a 9-speed cassette. In turn, all CUES cranksets are compatible with all speeds.
It is likely that over time Shimano CUES will become the predominant group, although the overtaking will happen gradually as users, manufacturers and retailers incorporate them into their bikes.