The innovative Belgian shifting company Classified has teamed up with Belgian Cycling Factory to create a new gravel racing outfit, the Classified x Ridley Factory Team.
The brand is also using Belgium's Velofollies international bike show to launch three new wheelsets, which are compatible with the Classified Powershift drivetrain system - the R36, R50, and G42.
The Powershift system doesn't use a front derailleur, instead employing an internal two speed integrated rear hub that acts much like a two-ring front crankset does. It has been used in WorldTour road racing and gravel events alike.
The new professional gravel team, which will use the Powershift system, is said to be the first pro "factory team" to be on the gravel scene. Classified went into the world of gravel last year, sponsoring Dutchman Piotr Havik, but has now added four more riders to an actual team, along with Ridley: British riders Toby Perry, Annabel Fisher, and Freya Rawlins, and the Belgian Daan Grosemans.
Perry won the UCI Gravel World Series race in Millau, France, last year, while Annabel Fisher won the final classification of the Gravel Earth Series last year. The UCI Gravel World Championships in Leuven, Belgium, is one of the big aims of the team, seeing as it is on home soil.
"Some big sponsors wanted to contribute their share to the Classified Factory Team, so we can now strengthen our one-man team and move up a gear with Classified-Ridley," Classified ambassador, investor, and former multiple-Monument winner Tom Boonen said in the press release. "We are at the beginning of a very nice story. We strongly believe in the gravel scene and will continue to support it in the long term."
Classified's other investors include former pro cyclists Tom Boonen, Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel, Philippe Gilbert and Anna van der Breggen, so it's not short of star power.
The gravel team will use Classified's new gravel wheels, the G42, for their 2024 season. While being aerodynamic, the wheels can accommodate tyres from 30mm to 55mm and have a claimed weight of just 1,350 grams. However, it is worth noting that this weight is given "including front hub, excluding Powershift rear hub" - so the actual weight of the wheelset will come in proportionally higher. The marketing from the brand says: "From winning gravel races to mastering multi-day bikepacking trips, this wheel can do it all and has proven it in 2023 testing."
Meanwhile, Classified has also launched the R36 and R50 wheelset, a climbing and aerodynamic pair respectively.
The R36 weighs just 1,315 grams - again, not including the Powershift rear hub - and is designed for climbing but could also mix it in the Classics, according to Classified, while the the R50 is the "perfect allrounder". It comes in at 1,415 grams (excluding Powershift hub) and has been optimised to be fastest with 30mm tyres.
According to the Belgian brand, "Classified Cycling's R50 wheelset outperformed market-leading wheelsets from major brands", but this is currently unverifiable, obviously.
All three sets of wheels hit the market post Velofollies, and are priced at €1,500 each.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1