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New Shimano Hubs Ditch Cup & Cone for Affordable, Modular, Sealed Bearing Design

Shimano HB-TC500-15Photo c. Shimano
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This is a pretty big launch day for Shimano, the bicycle component giant not only released its new mid-level product line, CUES … but it’s launching its new mid-level hubs today as well. More than just a new hub, this marks a radical departure for Shimano from its tried-and-true cup and cone bearing system to sealed cartridge bearings.

Shimano FH-TC600-HM
The TC600-HM hub with HG freehub body; photo c. Shimano

These new hubs mark quite a departure from Shimano’s previous hubs at this level. Shimano says these hubs were designed to be reliable like its earlier offerings, but also much more versatile.

These new mid-range hubs come with modular and removable end caps so you can run either quick-release or thru-axle-type axles. The freehub body on these new hubs is also modular, allowing for easy swapping of an HG cassette body to a Micro Spline cassette body, or vice versa.

Shimano Hub Bearing chart

The use of cartridge bearings is also new for this hub line (and Shimano in general). The top-of-the-tier TC600 hub uses as many as six cartridge bearings with four (twin double-row) in the freehub body. The cartridge bearings are also used in conjunction with Shimano’s Labyrinth & Contact seals, providing what Shimano calls a “double-sealed hub” — not just relying on the sealing of the bearings themselves.

The tiers of the new hub line look like this:

  • TC600: twin double-row bearings and quick engagement, built for aggressive trail riding and high torque, Labyrinth & Contact seal bearings
  • TC500/QC500: Labyrinth & Contact seal bearings
  • QC400: Contact seal bearings provide a better seal than traditional cone and cup bearings
  • QC300: traditional cone and cup bearings

The TC500 and QC500 are also using a mix of cartridges — four actually — with two in the hub body and Labyrinth & Contact seals. The QC400 is utilizing two cartridge bearings on the outside of the freehub body, with Shimano’s Contact seal, while the QC300 is left to use Shimano’s traditional cup and cone bearings.

New Hub Nomenclature

Shimano FH-QC500-MS
The Shimano FH-QC500-MS-B

The new line of hubs has a pretty easy way to tell what you’re getting or how to choose the hub you want by looking at the “coding” of the product.

Shimano Hub nomenclature
Learn how to pick your next hub.

For example, the hub pictured above is the “FH-QC500-MS.” The “FH” at the front is the Free Hub. The next in the sequence is the “Q,” which, in this case, means “quick release axle,” while the next one, “C,” stands for “Center Lock” for the rotor mount. Moving to the “500,” that’s the level of the hub, and the “MS” stands for what the free hub is compatible with; in this case, it’s Micro Spline. And lastly, the “B” stands for the Over Locknut Dimension, more commonly known as O.L.D. — in this case, the spacing is “Boost.” This should match the spacing between your rear dropouts.

One of Shimano’s goals when developing this line of hubs was to simplify the serviceability of its hubs, in turn giving the bike shops what they’ve been asking for.

Check out more details by hitting the link below.

Bike.Shimano.com

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17 Comments
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Fake Namerton
Fake Namerton
1 year ago

Cup and cone is superior in terms of drag, durability, and serviceability. This is a major L from Shimano. Cartridge bearings are here just to reduce cost of goods sold.

Champs
Champs
1 year ago
Reply to  Fake Namerton

The dozens of people like me who have serviced a Shimano hub for themselves or had it done for them may need to stock up or look into another brand. Will anybody else even notice the difference? I doubt it.

David
David
1 year ago
Reply to  Fake Namerton

Absolutely agree. However I think on these inexpensive products that’s actually a good thing.

Jaap
Jaap
1 year ago
Reply to  Fake Namerton

Apart from the Shimano CUES parts, all hubs will still be cup cone.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
11 months ago
Reply to  Fake Namerton

Never seen a single independent test in the last 15yrs proving cup and cone had superior drag. Serviceability is certainly easier but you also have to do it more often.

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

We need an mp3

Tim
Tim
1 year ago

It looks like it’s a matter of time before Shimano does the regrettable and starts using cartridge bearings on SLX, XT, XTR and maybe even road groups.
I also wonder when they will finally ditch MTB front derailleurs entirely- keeping them has been largely a face-saving measure since nemesis SRAM was the one invented front derailleurlessness.

Tim
Tim
1 year ago

Also wondering what “fast engagement” on the best hub means. 36poe?

Milessio
Milessio
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

Points Of Engagement i.e. 10°?

Tim
Tim
1 year ago
Reply to  Milessio

Yes

Larry Falk
Larry Falk
1 year ago

If done well, cartridge bearings work well for bike hubs (my Phil Touring hubs have 15,000 miles). I imagine these hubs are designed and manufactured well enough and will lower the costs, so for the kind of use they will get, I imagine this is a good new direction for Shimano.

Seraph
Seraph
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Falk

It’s more about the quality of the bearing on cartridge hubs though. Phils last forever because they use superior bearing tech designed and manufactured in-house.

SuperDave
SuperDave
1 year ago
Reply to  Seraph

so wear out the stock Shimano bearings and buy a lifetime product like Enduro to drop in the hubs. Seems simple, no?

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
11 months ago
Reply to  SuperDave

Enduro makes very middle of the road bearings.

Tim
Tim
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry Falk

Looks like Phil doesn’t make Boost hubs, which is a shame.

korey
korey
1 year ago

Shimano can’t even get parts out, why are they releasing new parts?

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
11 months ago
Reply to  korey

It’s not like they’re not making anything at all. This is just going to replace the stuff they were having trouble meeting demand with. They’ll get those orders in, then discontinue them and move on.

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