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Shimano says RIP to cup-and-cone bearings with new hubs

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Mar 02,2023


New non-series hubs use cartridge bearings

Shimano has announced a new range of hubs that, in a first for the brand, do away with classic cup-and-cone bearings in favour of cartridge bearings.

The brand has long been a proponent of cup-and-cone hubs and, while we expect it will stick with them for its premium products, this could mark the start of a significant change of direction at the more affordable end of its range.

The hubs are being released alongside the launch of Shimano Cues, which replaces the brand’s Altus, Acera and Alivio mountain bike groupsets, as well as its 10- and 11-speed variants of Deore, unifying them under a new ecosystem of components.

Shimano has been a staunch supporter of cup-and-cone hubs, even using them on its flagship Dura-Ace R9270 road bike wheels.

Cup-and-cone hubs utilise loose ball bearings and require careful adjustment for the hub to spin freely.

They are easy to service because you can simply replace the ball bearings (providing the axle cone or bearing cup isn’t pitted) or make fine adjustments to play in the hub.

Cartridge bearing hubs see all-in-one sealed bearings pressed into the hub shell using a bearing press. It typically isn’t possible to adjust the preload of a cartridge bearing (although there are some exceptions) and when it wears out, the cartridge typically requires replacement.

The majority of wheel manufacturers use sealed bearings in their hubs, with Shimano being the major hold-out and advocate of cup-and-cone hubs.

Campagnolo also uses them on some of its wheelsets, such as the Shamal, although it used cartridge bearings on some of its other products.

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