Shimano recently introduced its new CUES drivetrain specific to electric commuter bikes. Incorporating all the fancy technology found on its high-end, performance-oriented drive trains, the new CUES drivetrain certainly elevates the performance of city-focused electric bikes—but what about those looking for sheer lightweight and top-of-the-line performance? Well, that’s where Shimano’s new XT Di2 e-bike specific drivetrain comes in.
Avid mountain bikers would certainly be familiar with Shimano’s XT range. Be it in electric or non-electric form, the Deore XT range goes back more than two decades, and slots below the XTR range in Shimano’s performance-oriented mountain bike drivetrains. Now, the newest XT Di2 drivetrain is an e-bike specific setup that incorporates some truly cutting-edge tech. Let’s take a closer look.
Shimano is offering the new XT Di2 drivetrain in both 11 and 12 speed offerings, with the 11-speed version now adopting the brand’s LinkGlide technology. Shimano claims that LinkGlide tech makes the drivetrain up to three times more durable. In Di2 guise, it incorporates electronic shifting, as well. This is all well and good when it comes to e-bikes, as the Di2 system relies on the e-bike’s battery to operate, eliminating the need for individual batteries, resulting in a lighter, more streamlined design. Unfortunately, however, this results in the system being unavailable for non-electric bicycles.
As for the 12-speed system, it makes use of Shimano’s new HyperGlide+ technology, which features a redesigned cassette and chain, offering better engagement, chain retention, and overall smoother pedaling across varying terrain. HyperGlide+ also offers crisp and confidence-inspiring shifting both up and down, allowing riders to increase acceleration as well as reducing shift times while aggressively riding on the trail.
As for the shifters, both 11 and 12-speed configurations make use of Shimano’s new Di2 shifter with a dual-thumb lever setup. Shimano is expected to release the new XT Di2 electric bike-specific drivetrain to the market by 2023, so until then, we’ll have to wait and see how these things perform in the real world.