Is there more than one Freehub body that fits Shimano 11 Speed XT cassettes?

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Hi,

the wheel builder has the following (attached pictures) freehub bodies on offer.

Is there more than one Freehub body option that works with Shimano XT?
 

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Solution
If there is more than one option which freehub body is compatible with the most 11 cassettes?

Technically, that would be the 11-speed road Shimano Hyperglide.
Though I would buy an "8-910-speed" MTB freehub (if it were me).

There are some caveats, and I'll try to explain, and the buying decision is yours (best I can do is provide all the info, as clearly as possible):

1. The total cassette width vs freehub width​

Cassette width in terms of the width of the total stack of all the sprockets and spacers for the 11-speed MTB, and road cassettes is practically the same (see this section in the cassette compatibility article for more details).

However, road cassettes have smaller largest few sprockets, so...
If there is more than one option which freehub body is compatible with the most 11 cassettes?
I think this is the road version. You can put both road and mtb cassettes.

Such a freehub is installed on my DT Swiss ER1600 wheels.

IMG_20210815_222112-01.jpeg


And a CS-M7000 cassette is installed using a spacer. Everything fits perfectly.
 
Last edited:
If there is more than one option which freehub body is compatible with the most 11 cassettes?

Technically, that would be the 11-speed road Shimano Hyperglide.
Though I would buy an "8-910-speed" MTB freehub (if it were me).

There are some caveats, and I'll try to explain, and the buying decision is yours (best I can do is provide all the info, as clearly as possible):

1. The total cassette width vs freehub width​

Cassette width in terms of the width of the total stack of all the sprockets and spacers for the 11-speed MTB, and road cassettes is practically the same (see this section in the cassette compatibility article for more details).

However, road cassettes have smaller largest few sprockets, so the freehub body needs to be wide enough to accommodate for the entire cassette width.

MTB cassettes, on the other hand, have larger largest few sprockets, so they can "overhang" the hub's right flange and spokes. This allows for a narrower freehub body.

11-speed MTB cassette overhanging the hub's right-hand flange and spokes


How freehub widths differ and how they affect the wheel's strength:


Note:
10-speed cassettes are narrower than the 8 or 9 speed cassettes in terms of their total stack width (sprockets + all the spacers). Shimano used to make special 10-speed-only freehubs that were too narrow for the 8 or 9 speed cassettes. Then, they switched to building the same freehub width for 8, 9, 10, and 11-speed-MTB cassettes (11-speed-road cassettes need a wider body). And it is understood that you would use a 1mm spacer (often came with the cassette) when mounting a 10-speed cassette. A few years later, Shimano started building 10-speed cassettes with a wider spider holding the largest few sprockets, effectivelly making the cassettes come with a built in 1mm spacer.

2. Cassette mounting standards​

Regardless of the number of speeds as in total cassette's sprocket and spacer stack width (and the needed min. freehub width), there are different types of cassette mounts (that require matching cassettes), with Shimano being what most smaller manufacturers comply with:
  • Shimano Uniglide (now obsolete) - 6 to 8 speeds.
  • Shimano Hyperglide (probably by far the most widely used now and over the past few decades) - 7 to 11 speeds.
  • Shimano Hyperglide+ (the cassette mounting interface is called "MicroSpline") - 11 and 12 speeds, the latest & greatest by Shimano.
  • SRAM XD - 10 to 12 speeds.
  • SRAM XDR (for road bikes) - 11 and 12 speeds (not 100% sure about 10).
  • Campagnolo Exa Drive old - 8 and old 9-speed cassettes.
  • Campagnolo Exa Drive new - 8 speed (not 100% sure about 9-speed).
  • Campagnolo Ultra Drive - 9 to 12 speeds.


3. Making sense of it all - hopefully :)

Generally, narrower hyperglide cassettes will easily fit wider freehubs, you just add spacers. However, note that wider freehubs compromise the wheel's strength to a degree (I consider the 11-speed road freehubs to be a nonsense in those terms).

XD cassettes will fit XDR freehubs with spacers, but vice-versa is not possible, of course, as the road cassettes are "wider" (can't overhang the hub's right flange and spoke ends).

Of course, should you desire to ride Shimano's latest&greatest Hyperglide+ systems (the latest & greatest Shimano MTB 1x and 2x systems, like the XTR M9100), you'll need a Hyperglide+ (MicroSpline) freehub (unless they've made a Hyperglide+ cassette with a Hyperglide mount).

Again, the non+ Hyperglide (the "old," "standard" one) is most easily sourced and most widely used. The 11-speed road one will give you the absolutetly largest choice of 11-speed Hyperglide cassettes to mount, but at the cost of the slightly weaker wheel (while the MTB Hyperglide freehubs will fit all but the 11-speed road Hyperglide cassettes, unless you manage to source a 7-speed Hyperglide freehub).

Hope I've explained more than I've confused. :)

Relja
 
Solution
Technically, that would be the 11-speed road Shimano Hyperglide.
Though I would buy an "8-910-speed" MTB freehub (if it were me).

There are some caveats, and I'll try to explain, and the buying decision is yours (best I can do is provide all the info, as clearly as possible):

1. The total cassette width vs freehub width​

Cassette width in terms of the width of the total stack of all the sprockets and spacers for the 11-speed MTB, and road cassettes is practically the same (see this section in the cassette compatibility article for more details).

However, road cassettes have smaller largest few sprockets, so the freehub body needs to be wide enough to accommodate for the entire cassette width.

MTB cassettes, on the other hand, have larger largest few sprockets, so they can "overhang" the hub's right flange and spokes. This allows for a narrower freehub body.

View attachment 150

How freehub widths differ and how they affect the wheel's strength:


Note:
10-speed cassettes are narrower than the 8 or 9 speed cassettes in terms of their total stack width (sprockets + all the spacers). Shimano used to make special 10-speed-only freehubs that were too narrow for the 8 or 9 speed cassettes. Then, they switched to building the same freehub width for 8, 9, 10, and 11-speed-MTB cassettes (11-speed-road cassettes need a wider body). And it is understood that you would use a 1mm spacer (often came with the cassette) when mounting a 10-speed cassette. A few years later, Shimano started building 10-speed cassettes with a wider spider holding the largest few sprockets, effectivelly making the cassettes come with a built in 1mm spacer.

2. Cassette mounting standards​

Regardless of the number of speeds as in total cassette's sprocket and spacer stack width (and the needed min. freehub width), there are different types of cassette mounts (that require matching cassettes), with Shimano being what most smaller manufacturers comply with:
  • Shimano Uniglide (now obsolete) - 6 to 8 speeds.
  • Shimano Hyperglide (probably by far the most widely used now and over the past few decades) - 7 to 11 speeds.
  • Shimano Hyperglide+ (the cassette mounting interface is called "MicroSpline") - 11 and 12 speeds, the latest & greatest by Shimano.
  • SRAM XD - 10 to 12 speeds.
  • SRAM XDR (for road bikes) - 11 and 12 speeds (not 100% sure about 10).
  • Campagnolo Exa Drive old - 8 and old 9-speed cassettes.
  • Campagnolo Exa Drive new - 8 speed (not 100% sure about 9-speed).
  • Campagnolo Ultra Drive - 9 to 12 speeds.


3. Making sense of it all - hopefully :)

Generally, narrower hyperglide cassettes will easily fit wider freehubs, you just add spacers. However, note that wider freehubs compromise the wheel's strength to a degree (I consider the 11-speed road freehubs to be a nonsense in those terms).

XD cassettes will fit XDR freehubs with spacers, but vice-versa is not possible, of course, as the road cassettes are "wider" (can't overhang the hub's right flange and spoke ends).

Of course, should you desire to ride Shimano's latest&greatest Hyperglide+ systems (the latest & greatest Shimano MTB 1x and 2x systems, like the XTR M9100), you'll need a Hyperglide+ (MicroSpline) freehub (unless they've made a Hyperglide+ cassette with a Hyperglide mount).

Again, the non+ Hyperglide (the "old," "standard" one) is most easily sourced and most widely used. The 11-speed road one will give you the absolutetly largest choice of 11-speed Hyperglide cassettes to mount, but at the cost of the slightly weaker wheel (while the MTB Hyperglide freehubs will fit all but the 11-speed road Hyperglide cassettes, unless you manage to source a 7-speed Hyperglide freehub).

Hope I've explained more than I've confused. :)

Relja
Why does an 11 speed road freehub make the wheel weaker?
 
Why does an 11 speed road freehub make the wheel weaker?

It needs the widest freehub, so the right-hand flange needs to be moved closer to the hub’s centre to accommodate for a wider freehub (with a given OLD).

Of course, if a hub is already designed to take an 11-speed road freehub, swapping the freehub itself for an 8-9-10 speed MTB won’t change the hub’s flange spacing and placement. In that case there is no reason to not go with an 11-speed road freehub.

See the video for details.

Relja
 
It needs the widest freehub, so the right-hand flange needs to be moved closer to the hub’s centre to accommodate for a wider freehub (with a given OLD).

Of course, if a hub is already designed to take an 11-speed road freehub, swapping the freehub itself for an 8-9-10 speed MTB won’t change the hub’s flange spacing and placement. In that case there is no reason to not go with an 11-speed road freehub.

See the video for details.

Relja
Hmm 🤔

I have already decided to use this hub: https://www.bitexhubs.com/htm/pd_detail.php?no=BX315R
Does the 10/11 speed Shimano freehub that is visible on the pictures (Bitex link above) look like an 11 speed road freehub body to you? Or is it not possible to tell without measuring?
 
Hmm 🤔

I have already decided to use this hub: https://www.bitexhubs.com/htm/pd_detail.php?no=BX315R
Does the 10/11 speed Shimano freehub that is visible on the pictures (Bitex link above) look like an 11 speed road freehub body to you? Or is it not possible to tell without measuring?

Can’t tell 100% from the picture. But they have no reason to lie (they’d be shooting themselves in the foot by doing so).

That looks like a hub designed to take any of those listed freehubs, so in that case I’d go with the 11-speed road freehub.
 
Can’t tell 100% from the picture. But they have no reason to lie (they’d be shooting themselves in the foot by doing so).

That looks like a hub designed to take any of those listed freehubs, so in that case I’d go with the 11-speed road freehub.
I wasn't sure what category the "Shimano 10/11s" freehub body on the Bitex site falls into. None of the categories listed here fits: https://www.lightbicycle.com/newsletter/Bike-Freehub-Cassette-Compatibility-Manual.html That's why I was confused.

But your answer seems to imply that the other two freehub bodies on display (Shimano 12s and XD 11s / 12s) are as wide (or wider) than a HG 11/12 speed road freehub body. Correct?
 
I wasn't sure what category the "Shimano 10/11s" freehub body on the Bitex site falls into. None of the categories listed here fits: https://www.lightbicycle.com/newsletter/Bike-Freehub-Cassette-Compatibility-Manual.html That's why I was confused.

But your answer seems to imply that the other two freehub bodies on display (Shimano 12s and XD 11s / 12s) are as wide (or wider) than a HG 11/12 speed road freehub body. Correct?

As far as I know, Shimano Hyperglide+ (MicroSpline) MTB 11 & 12 speed and road 11-speed are not wider than their Hyperglide road 11-speed hubs. Hyperglide+ 12 speed road freehub is even wider according to that wabsite (haven't seen those yet).

Though, in this case that's not important in terms of wheel strength, since the hub itself seems to be designed to take any of those freehubs while keeping the same OLD, so the right flange is already moved inwards as much as needed for the widest freehub body that hub can take. That doesn't seem to change depending on the freehub body choice.

Relja
 
.... That doesn't seem to change depending on the freehub body choice.

Relja
... unless the 11s road freehub body is the widest of them all AND the hub can't take such a 11s road freehub body which I thought might be the case because it is not entirely clear that what they call "Shimano 10/11s" is the 11s road freehub body (but it probably is).
 

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