One of the most buzz worthy trends at Interbike was how companies planned to get around the Micro Spline Road block. Other than DT Swiss, at that point, Shimano hadn’t given any other company the go ahead to create their own freehubs that would be compatible with the new Shimano XTR M9100 12 speed cassette. Today, another company has thrown their pawls into the ring – Industry Nine.

Shimano approves Industry Nine's own Micro Spline compatible freehub bodies Shimano approves Industry Nine's own Micro Spline compatible freehub bodies

Yes, in exciting news for anyone with a current Industry Nine Torch series mountain hub, you’ll soon have a Micro Spline compatible option should you choose to upgrade to the latest XTR group. It’s worth noting that the new group isn’t even available yet, so the fact that Industry Nine’s own Micro Spline freehubs won’t ship until the end of 2018 shouldn’t be a big deal.

Industry Nine states that the new standard will be available as an option on all of their current MTB wheels and hubs, plus as a replacement item for existing Torch hubs. While White Industries seemingly figured out a way around the Shimano patent, Industry Nine will be the first officially licensed North American hub manufacturer to offer Micro Spline.

In the press release, Industry Nine’s VP Jacob McGahey stated, “We are happy to build on our relationship with Shimano and flattered to be one of the few brands offered a license for Micro Spline. This partnership allows our brand to continue offering all major axle and drivetrain specs – which riders have come to expect from Industry Nine.” 

Expect full pricing and availability info by the end of the year.


    • i’d venture a guess that they have to demonstrate they can consistently meet the specs for microspline functionality / compatibility. probably a lot like SRAM requires for XD. given microspline was only announced in the spring, can’t really say i’m surprised more companies haven’t been licensed yet, although it would certainly have been better if more companies were licensed from the get go.

      • It’s based on who has OEM contracts with Shimano, If bike brand X says that they will switch to SRAM if shimano doesn’t give brand X’s OEM wheel supplier a license, shimano will listen.

        Shimano is trying to allow as few brands as possible to have the license so they can force their way back into the hub market. If they want to gain market share they should just make a hub people want to buy.

    • Only companies making soft aluminium alloy freehub body are allowed into the Microspline teritory. Hardened steel is forbidden, It would drop down the sales. Denting of soft aluminium alloys is very welcomed. It is that simple.

  1. It is pretty stupid of shimano to be so frugal with its design. Use the motto of Gillette razors: give the handle away for free so consumers come back for more cartridges. Although there are a lot of DT-swiss hubs out there, there are a lot more other wheels. There is a lot more money out there to be made with the groupo vs a freehub body or a hub.

  2. Except Shimano shows the new XTR at Sea Otter this past April and guess what you still cannot get and it is almost November. Plus if you are shop and need many of the Shimano parts like shifters, brakes, cranks, etc see how long it takes. Lover their stuff but seeing a more and more SRAM because at least you can get it.

  3. I can see why Shimano wants to have and control their own freehub solution. SRAM already broke down that barrier when they introduced their single ring drivetrains which have now become ubiquitous. Time will tell if their design will become as embraced as the SRAM interface.

  4. We already have a freehub that works and it’s spread across the industry. It’s called XD. If Shimano insists on churning out proprietary stuff it’s time to move away from them.

    • Do you suffer from memory loss? The same flippant argument was made when SRAM released XD. Everyone was also freaking out when it was only Shimano and DT who could make Microspline. Now i9 has it, others will have it soon. Just go ride your bike and come back in the springtime, there will be plenty of choices.

      • exactly. sram did essentially the same thing, seems like half the mtb community has forgotten it. more options will become available as microspline gets rolled out to XT, SLX, etc. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t rolled out on the road side.

        • SRAM did it to make 10T cogs possible. Shimano invented MicroSpline because they also wanted 10T cogs, but didn’t want to use a SRAM invention.

                • Cute, but not true.

                  I can completely see Shimano not willing to abide by the part of the XD Driver license that states they need to;
                  (b) mark the Licensed Products and all related
                  packaging, advertising, sales brochures and technical
                  literature, whether in printed or electronic media,
                  with “XD-Compatible” or “XD-R Compatible”
                  but that’s Shimano’s decision, not SRAM’s.

                  The fact that Shimano came out with their own proprietary standard & is tighly controlling licensing to only a select few pretty clearly shows their motives here & it’s not to provide a product that is in some way technically superior to XD.

          • I think it had more to do that SRAM has a patent and it did not want to share it with Shimano, so basically Shimano had no choice than offer something new as well.

          • The problem with XD was always that the cassettes are a one piece design, it’s all or nothing. There is no swapping out worn cogs or adjusting shifting gaps, only replacing the entire cassette.

  5. Shimano still keeps trying to get back in the high end mountain bike market. Sorry, we just aren’t buying it but you just keep falling behind the market trends. They haven’t done anything great with wheels in at least 10 years. Your sylence hub would be great if you could actually get it to us. Keep trying on that dropper post btw. bye felicia

  6. This is just a marketing strategy to fain exclusivity and spark debate. Soon enough it’ll be available for everyone who wants it, and it will be incorporated into the other shimano groupos. #chatter

  7. Does anyone have a link to the patent on the microspline freehub design? I’ve found the one on the silence hub [yes, I know by spelling it correctly I’m wrong], but not the spline design itself. Just curious what people are working around or getting licensed or whatnot.

    • Shimano has refused to produce a patent number on all request. They will also not say what they have patented. They will only say that “micro Spline” must be licensed but they will not say what “Micro Spline” is defined as.

    • Not sure as to what you could possibly patent on a spline pattern. Maybe the licensing agreement gives you the manufacturing tolerances with material and heat treat specs.

      • (Not a lawyer but play one on TV) I would think it would be unlikely to get a utility patent for this. But I wonder if it’s specific enough that one could get a design patent??

  8. Is it White Industries that has gone around the Micro Spline patent by offering a compatible design that lacks one or two of the splines? I bet they understand the limits of the patent.

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