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I-spec A/B/II, matchmaker, how to identify compatible components?

The hunting of the superfluous gram is always on your mind, but when it comes to removing a hose clamp, it isn't always easy to find your way amongst the jungle of different standards.

Here is a short guide describing the main standards of hose clamps on the market and their specificities.

The case of Shimano

How to differentiate them?

  • I-Spec A: First generation, it's distinguished by a fixation system with screws and bolts accompanied by a small hook.
  • I-Spec B: This is a shorter screw-on fixation system without a hook, unlike the first version. The hook tended to break on the i-spec A. (Photo 1)
  • I-Spec II: Completely different from the other two, it's recognizable thanks to a semicircle that can be inserted between the clamp of the brake and the handlebar. (Photo 2 and 3)

What are their compatibilities?

A brake compatible with an I-Spec A will accommodate an I-Spec A and B shifter; however, an I-Spec B brake will only be compatible with an I-Spec B shifter. The I-Spec II is specific and only works with an I-Spec II compatible brake and shifter (11-speed groups).

The case of Sram

Following in the same vein as its main competitor Shimano, the Matchmaker X technology is the Sram standard that allows to mount all the controls on a single hose clamp. Sram is part of the same group as Rockshox. The engineers of both brands have done things properly by developing hydraulic system controls (forks, saddles, shock absorbers) wich are matchmaker compatible. (Photo 1)

This is what gives an advantage to this system which makes it possible to house 3 controls in a single hose clamp, further reducing the weight of the bike.

Here, there is more than one standard: there is the Matchmaker standard (Photo 2) which takes the form of a half shell (Photo 5) replacing that of the brake control to accommodate the transmission shifting.

And the Matchmaker X (Photo 3) is a complete clamp allowing to squeeze together the brake control and to accommodate the speed control. There are different versions of this system, including hydraulic system controls. (Photo 4)

What are their compatibilities?

All Sram transmission shifting without clamp are compatible with both standards. The difference lies in the brake lever: the Matchmaker X will be compatible with the Sram XX and XO brake levers, and the Avid brake levers without a clamp like the Ultimate Guide. On the other hand, the Matchmaker standard will be compatible with all Avid or Sram brakes with a two-part clamp like the very latest Level T.



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