Shimano Micro Spline boosts hub development

Shimano Micro Spline spurs hubs development
Shimano's 1x12 hub standard has forced hub makers, like Chris King, to evolve their designs (Image credit: Chris King)

If you ride Shimano 2020 is going to a happy year for drivetrain upgrades.

The Japanese component powerhouse has finally broadened approval for its Micro Spline rear hub technology and that means more options for your rear hub selection.

Mountain bikers were thrilled when Shimano finally announced its first 1x12 drivetrain in 2018, but some of that enthusiasm was diluted by the caveat of a new freehub standard.

Successful packaging of the 12-speed cassette required a redesigned rear freehub standard and Shimano’s solution was its Micro Spline system.

Featuring an increased spline count (up from 13 to 23) the new freehub standard was initially only supported by DT Swiss, who committed to an early licencing agreement with Shimano.

Market diversity has finally been embraced with the coming of a new year, as more hub brands are now releasing Micro Spline freehubs. Mountain bikers who prefer Shimano drivetrain components, now have a much broader choice of Micro Spline compatible rear hubs than in 2019.

Two of the most significant new Shimano Micro Spline certified hubs are from Chris King and Hope, both merited mountain bike component manufacturers, popular with riders in all regions.  

Shimano has been strict about licencing third-party hub builders to produce Micro Spline freehubs, but customer demand is so high that many of these brands (such as Chris King and Hope) have justified the investment in new prototyping and production costs.

Chris King’s first Micro Spline design has seen it produce hubs which are lighter than ever before. This is consistent with Shimano’s rationale for changing from steel to aluminium for its splines.

By increasing the number of splines from 13 to 23, the improved load distribution has allowed a martial change from steel to aluminium, reducing overall freehub mass. Chris King has also delivered a new bearing and axle design as part of its product evolution to Micro Spline technology.  

For those riders who prize the backwards compatibility and mud-proof design of Hope hubs, the British brand has not disappointed its fans.

After a dedicated design period, Hope’s Micro Spline compatible hubs are now ready for market. Best of all, riders with the slightly older Hope Pro 2 EVO hubs, will be able to convert to the new standard.

Follow Bike Perfect on Facebook and Twitter.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.