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Oh, Shimano series vs. non-series components have fascinated me for years - I remember trying to get a tech rep to explain the difference between a 'Shimano 105 Crankset' and a 'Shimano 105 Level Crankset' much to the full-nerd joy of everyone present but him.
It could be the finish, the chainrings could be slightly different, and it could be a production delay on XTR cranks that requires some XTR-coloured XT cranks with XTR rings to deliver OE builds.
I have ZERO inside information here, but my guess is that in the future there will be series-LinkGlide cassettes to complement the non-series LG models at least for XT and 105 (I am also assuming 105 will be the highest level cable actuated drivetrain and will use LinkGlide as e-road becomes ever more popular) and on these, they'll shave significant weight using a (replaceable) section of 2-3 aluminum cogs for the low range.
The reason not to go live with such a cassette system now is it will negate some of the longevity advantages of LinkGlide, which currently constitute the real push behind the system, in favour of shaving a few grams and muddying the waters between LG and HG+.
Once enough people have ridden Deore (M5130) and XT (M8130) LinkGlide and report back that longevity aside the shifting is roughly equal while also feeling much more solid, and Shimano sees if the average rider gives two shakes about 11-speed versus 12-speed I'd expect to see a M8130 cassette.
Or maybe I'm well off the trail hiking through a fresh cut block and the non-series cassettes are meant to invoke the interchangeability of LinkGlide. But I doubt it.
"_Interesting. I didn’t know about the interference risk between 12speed and 142 hubs. I see an asterisk on the LG compatibility chart for non-boost now that I look as well. I will definitely check out a 9speed LG cassette in person (when I can) to get to the bottom of this._"
It's hub dependent, but I've seen 142 setups where there isn't sufficient clearance between the drive side hub flange/spokes and a 12-spd cassette. In my experience and YMMV, it's easy enough to pull one cog (I like to pull the 15t) if that's the case.
If an 11-speed LG cassette requires roughly the same real estate as a 12-speed HG+ cassette because of the thicker cogs and wider spacing, then I'd expect a 10-speed LG cassette to roughly equal and 11-speed HG and so on for a 9-speed LG.
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