Shimano has overhauled its 8-speed drivetrain range with the new ESSA component system, which is cross-compatible with all current 8-speed Shimano systems. Learn about Shimano ESSA, the new Shimano CUES short-reach shifter and brake lever, and their updated non-series hubs here…

Building on the launch of their CUES 9, 10, and 11-speed component groups last spring, the new Shimano ESSA group cleans up their 8-speed drivetrain system to provide a simplified product line for entry-level bicycles. ESSA is cross-compatible with current 8-speed flat-bar ACERA, ALTUS, and TOURNEY TX systems. Shimano describes ESSA as being suitable for “a wide range of casual sport bikes, including MTB, fitness, and city bikes.” Alongside the launch of ESSA, Shimano has also introduced new short-reach CUES components and a simplified non-series hub lineup.

Shimano ESSA

The ESSA lineup is made up of a rear derailleur, crankset/chainrings, and an 8-speed cassette. The RD-U2000 rear derailleur has a low-profile design to limit contact with trail features and can accommodate a 45T cassette. The FC-U2000-1 crankset is available in 32T or 40T sizes and uses Shimano’s DYNAMIC CHAIN ENGAGEMENT+ tooth profile for better chain retention and smoother pedaling. The CS-HG400-8 cassette is an 8-speed cassette with a 11-45T (11-13-15-18-22-27-35-45T) or 11-40T (11-13-15-18-22-27-33-40T) gear range and Shimano’s HYPERGLIDE tooth profile. It relies on a standard HG freehub and a fully plated construction with a removable 11T sprocket.

Shimano ESSA
  • Shimano ESSA
  • Shimano ESSA
  • Shimano ESSA

Here’s the pricing for a 1×8 Shimano ESSA setup, including the new cassette, crankset, and derailleur, paired with the existing compatible chain and shifter. Prices are provided by Shimano.


  • CS-HG400-8 11-45T Cassette (new): $34.99
  • FC-U2000-1 Crankset, No BB (new): $39.99
  • RD-U2000 Rear Derailleur (new): $43.99
  • CN-HG40 Chain : $12.99
  • SL-M315-8R Right Shifter: $19.99
  • TOTAL: $151.95

Short-Reach Shimano CUES

Last year, Shimano launched CUES, consolidating the brand’s 9, 10, and 11-speed component groups into a single system with standardized compatibility and interchangeable parts. The new Shimano CUES Short Reach improves ergonomics for riders with smaller hands with the introduction of short-reach shifters and brake levers. The new short-reach CUES shifter reduces thumb travel by 11%, is 12mm closer to the rider, and is available in 9, 10, and 11-speed configurations with two thumb-accessible shifter buttons. The short-reach CUES brake lever is 10mm closer to the rider and 20% closer to the handlebar.

  • shimano CUES short reach
  • shimano CUES short reach
shimano CUES short reach

Updated Shimano Non-Series Hubs

As part of the update, Shimano has simplified all non-series hubs across its 11/10/9/8-speed line-up. The TC600 and TC/QC500 series hubs rely on labyrinth and contact seal bearings designed for high-torque riding and aggressive trail riding. The QC400 series will feature contact seal bearings only, while the QC300 series retains the traditional cup and cone bearings. The FH600 and FH500 freehubs with MICROSPLINE are compatible with Shimano LINKGLIDE 11-speed hubs and can be easily upgraded from LINKGLIDE to HYPERGLIDE+ 12-speed.

  • Shimano ESSA
  • Shimano ESSA

Learn more about Shimano ESSA and all of the individual components at

Further Reading

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