emily’s bike stuff
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Shimano CUES Drivetrain Upgrade for Egret

Egret has a new drivetrain! This bike has had inboard chain retention and minor shifting issues. I’ve wondered if a clutched derailleur, narrow-wide chainring, and Linkglide would help. I’ve also wanted to try the new CUES groupset.


  1. Chainring: SM-CRE80 — it turns out the splines are the same as the SM-CRE61 and work on an E6100 system.
  2. Rear Derailleur: RD-U8000 — this is the 1x version that takes up to a 50t cassette.
  3. Shifter: SL-U8000-11R — it would’ve been nice to get the I-Spec version for some better ergonomics with the brake lever but that would require a new brake lever and my current ones are just fine.
  4. Cassette: CS-LG700-11 11-45t
  5. Chain: CN-LG500waxed!

For the weight weenies out there:

A black cassette on a coffee scale reading 582.1g
A derailleur with the faceplate reading 'Shimano Cues' on a coffee scale reading 307.0g

Here’s the motor unit stripped of its old chainring. You can see the witness marks from the chain getting stuck between the motor and the old chainring.

An e-bike mid-drive motor with the spindle and chainring splines empty

I should’ve cleaned it up before putting the new chainring on but it was getting pretty late and I had an edible waiting for me at home.

A new black chainring installed on an e-bike motor unit

I initially thought the derailleur looked kind of ugly. It’s a lot like its prettier Deore counterpart but the faceplate on the parallelogram and B-knuckle area look cheap. Ben and I came around on it once it was on the frame though — it sorta matches.

A section of the rear triangle of a blue e-bike showing the new CUES cassette and derailleur mounted up.

Disappointingly, they don’t offer a silver cassette. This one is black with an interesting finish that catches the light in a fun way — I don’t hate it. The old cassette that came with the bike had dug into my aluminum freehub body splines pretty badly. I should’ve taken a photo. It took about ten minutes to get the cassette off the splines. This CS-LG700 cassette has an aluminum carrier so hopefully I won’t have the same problem. This bike will probably have a steel freehub body in its future.

This chainring bumped the front chainline from 46.5mm to 50mm. It’s pretty extreme for the non-boost 135mm spacing in the rear. Seems to work fine so far but it’s definitely not ideal. Chainline is probably bullshit until it isn’t anyway.

A blue e-bike in front of a forest of eucalyptus trees

The derailleur hanger isn’t perfectly aligned and I didn’t have time to swap housing. I think the old housing is a little short and maybe poorly routed around the motor. This might contribute to some shifting woes. Nonetheless, the shifting is noticeably better than the old drivetrain.


  1. No chain retention issues so far and it has been out in the gravel a couple times. Stoked about this. The narrow-wide ring is so much prettier than the old, cheaper ring with a plastic chainguard.
  2. The clutch on this derailleur is very strong. I might try lightening it up a bit.
  3. Linkglide shifting feels different. It does seem to shift smoother under load than before. It’s not as noticeable as I expected, other than the shifting being more obedient than the previous drivetrain. Although, it does seem more graceful when you don’t get your shift timing right. One day I will get the time to get the derailleur hanger perfectly straight and ensure the housing is sorted out. The chainline might always be a limiting factor in shifting performance but I wanna give this the best shot.
  4. The immediate release feature on this shifter feels weird! I like it, but it’s strange. Upshifts occur right when you press the lever instead of after you press and release it.
  5. Shimano doesn’t have a range than 11-45 for their 11-speed Linkglide cassettes. I thought this would be overkill on this e-bike (coming from the old 11-34) but I’ve ended up appreciating it, especially while riding with others. It probably has some battery benefits, too.

Very excited to see how long I can get out of this waxed chain and Linkglide cassette.