Taiwanese drivetrain manufacturers MicroSHIFT have introduced a new 1 x 8 speed group to their MTB line-up – the Acolyte. Aimed primarily at children’s mountain bikes and beginner’s bikes, the Acolyte’s obvious attraction is its price point, simplicity and inferred reliability. Available with an 11-46T cassette or an 11-42T cassette, the MicroSHIFT Acolyte offers a reasonably wide range of gears for the progressing off road rider.

1 x 8 Speed in this day and age?

The recent trend from the big names in MTB drivetrains has been to squeeze an ever increasing number of gears into a finite space. That’s cool because you always have the absolute perfect gear for whatever gradient you happen to be riding. Even if that is the side of a house with SRAM’s new 52T Eagle Cassette.

new mountain bike group 8 speed for children's mountain bikes from microshift

There is a downside, however. With the increase in the number of gears at your disposal, tolerances become obscenely tight. To the point where tiny alterations to cable tension, or slightly too much crud on the cassette can throw things out completely.

Don’t get me wrong, when they work they are nothing short of brilliant. However, for the amateur mountain biker, they can be a pain to fiddle with and ultimately get in the way of the most important thing; riding the bike. 

MicroSHIFT Acolyte 8 Speed Group for MTB

Enter the new MicroSHIFT Acolyte 8 speed group. Four gears short of the current 12 speed trend, but with a decent range for pedaling up and down the hill.

new microshift acolyte 8 speed derailleur group

Like most modern mountain bike derailleurs, the MicroSHIFT Acolyte features a clutch mechanism. They call it the SpringLock chain retention system and it ensures the chain is under sufficient tension even as the bike gets bounced around over rough terrain.

8 speed mountain bike drivetrain for kids bike cube action team

The main purpose of that is to reduce the chances of the chain coming off. It’s a bit of a non-issue these days with the advent of narrow-wide chainrings but, the more chain security the better.

microshift acolyte derailleur features springlock chain retention system clutch

The clutch can be switched on and off with a turn of the engagement bolt on the derailleur – until it clicks. It’s impossible to over-tighten this bolt so it’s ideal for riders a little less familiar with bicycle mechanics. The only time you’d really need to disengage the clutch would be to remove the rear wheel.

8 speed mtb shifter display gear indicatorThe MicroSHIFT Acolyte group shifter features a display that shows the rider which gear they’re in. It should speed up the learning process for beginner riders and reduce the “which gear am I in now?” questions.

12-46T Cassette hg driver compatible

The 12-46T and 12-42T cassettes that the MicroSHIFT Acolyte is built around work with standard HG freehub bodies and standard 8 speed chains.

Pricing & Availability

The MicroSHIFT Acolyte 8 speed group seems to be decent value for money. The derailleur is priced at $35.99 and the shifter at $16.99. The 46T cassettes will set you back $34.99 while the 42T is a little cheaper at $30.99.

cheap 8 speed mtb group kids bike microshift acolyte



  1. The shift window ruins what would be a good product. The window makes it impossible to have the brake lever on the stem side of the shifter. Having the brake lever on the grip side has small hands squeezing the lever in the middle of the lever where very little force is generated.

  2. This is fantastic. Especially with a bike shortage right now and Shimano not having product for OEM spec. For bikes priced at $399.00 to $699.00 this will be very helpful to get bikes into retailers and to customers that want to buy a recreational mountain bike or kids mountain bike.

    Good job Micro Shift.

  3. Kids bikes, due to their short chainstays, have chainline issues with modern 11/12 speed drivetrains. It’s not that they’re hard to adjust – it’s that the chain angle gets too extreme on a bike with <400mm chainstays and the lowest and highest gears just won't work. This is an excellent solution to that problem, and provides a much better range than the garbage 7 speed legacy parts that are on a lot of kids bikes.

  4. The last section is labeled “Pricing and Availability” but where is the availability information??? I have three bikes this drivetrain will be perfect on.

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