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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.