Classified made a few waves when it launched its 'front derailleur killer' two-speed internal hub in the road market. while the front derailleur has been effectively dead in off-road circles for a while now, that doesn't mean the system doesn't offer any advantages to mountain bikers too.
Classified is now turning its attention to the mountain bike market with a new Classified MTB hub which we spotted at Eurobike. So those who reluctantly let go of their double chainsets can now have their cake and eat it.
This isn't the first time we have seen a brand try something like this in mountain biking. Most famously the Truvativ HammerSchmidt was a crank-mounted system that did a similar thing all the way back in 2008, although the increased weight, drag from the planetary gears, and astronomical price point meant it didn't take off. We are very intrigued by the potential of a sealed system that adds a fast and simple dump of gears in order to handle quick changes of gradient or maximize exit speed, something that could add a noticeable advantage in disciplines like cross-country and marathon riding.
The system is simple in terms of Installation. The hub and the corresponding cassette require no proprietary fitment and will work with all current mountain bike 12-speed drivetrains. That means you can have the security and simplicity of a modern narrow-wide one-by drivetrain but with the increased gear range of a two-by system.
The Powershift hub itself offers a direct drive (one to one) or lower 1:0.7 ratio overdrive gear. The system manages to achieve a 530 percent gear range, which is very impressive considering the cassette is only an 11-40t as opposed to the massive 10-52t found on SRAM's Eagle cassettes. Classified claims its system has the biggest gear range offered for mountain bikes whilst maintaining closer gear ratios for slicker shifting and lower weight that come with a smaller cassette.
While we didn't get any official weights, the hub should come in at around 500g. That means it's around 200g heavier than a standard rear hub, although Classified was keen to press on the point that its cassette is lighter than others on the market.
The system will use a ring gear shifter although the design they showed us was not yet in its finished form so we can't share that with you yet. That said, the shifter we saw was very low profile, tucking right against your left-hand grip to avoid any interference with dropper or suspension remotes.
How does Classified's Powershift technology work
The system was first introduced for gravel but the system for the road and mountain biking all function the same. Actuated by a simple electronic shifter that sends a wireless signal from the Smart Handlebar Unit to the Smart Through Axle.
The axle houses the receiver and a battery and uses contactless power transfer to trigger the gear shift within the hub. Wireless communication and power transfer means that Classified says that the hub unit is weatherproof too which should mean the shifting stays slick after many mucky trail miles.
We had a ride of Classifieds display gravel bike which was seat up on a set of rollers and, while it doesn't reflect real world experience, there is no denying the shift is light and quick with almost no interruption in power transfer. Classified says that the hub shifts as fast as 150 milliseconds and can be performed under 1000 watts. We have already heard some good things from our sister site Cyclingnews' review of the Classified Powershift CF G30 gravel wheelset too, which is already available to consumers.
On that note, Classified has also announced its partnering with a number of leading wheel brands including DT Swiss, Enve, Reynolds, Mavic, and more covering gravel, road, and presumably including mountain bike wheels in the future. It will continue to offer its range of two gravel wheelsets and two road wheelsets which all come with carbon rims. The system can also be bought on its own and laced into your own wheel too.
The hubs are apparently in production and while they have been soft launched at Eurobike, Classified are planning to officially announce the MTB hubs at Le Roc d'Azur in September.
To find out more details on this wireless two-speed hub, check out Classified-cycling.cc.