By James Bracey
Hub specialists Classified's latest hi-tech project puts the front derailleur into the rear hub to offer riders moving to a single ring setup the gear ratios normally associated with a two ring/front derailleur set up.
The Belgian brand has produced a unique take on the rear hub that offers a two-speed internal hub gear, actuated by a wireless electronic shifting mechanism. And if that sounds pretty hi-tech, it also manages this without needing any additional batteries at the hub - instead, it relies on contactless energy transfer via a tiny, USB rechargeable battery in the Smart Thru Axle.
Another of the Classified hub's unique features is the ability to separate the hubshell from the important internal 'Power Shift' gear mechanism. This allows for the use of 'multiple wheelsets' in combination with a single Power Shift hub. Classified says that this is an advantage as you can then run the same internals (we're guessing this is the expensive part) on your road bike, gravel bike and even mountain bike - you'd just need three hubshells built onto appropriate rims.
Shifting between ratios takes a claimed 150 microseconds and takes just 1 watt of power with a clever clockwork mechanism taking care of the shift actuation. Classified claim that shifting both up and down can be completed under a full load (up to 1000 watts) so no matter the situation you can either bail yourself out on a steep climb or aid your sprint without fail.
The hub is designed to work in conjunction with Classified's own cassette options.
The one-piece machined steel cassettes have a durable coating and Classified claim that due to the larger driver interface of the hub negates the need for a strengthening spider, making the cassettes super light. Available in 11-27, 11-30, 11-32 and 11-34 options, currently the cassettes are 11 speed compatible only. Accompanied with the 2-speed hub the cassette options provide 358%, 398%, 424% and 451% gear ranges.
Taking care of shifting is a discrete handlebar-mounted wireless transmitter. Details are vague currently but it looks to take the place of a bar end and then attaches to a small satellite shift button to engage the hub gear. Battery life is claimed to be a year and can be replaced easily.
Currently in the final stages before full production, Classified's website is a little vague on other details such as weight and price.
But, when it is finally released, we could be seeing an answer to the 1x curious rider's main issue: gear ratio.
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