Bicycles

Powershift replaces a bike's front derailleur with a 2-speed hub

Powershift replaces a bike's f...
The Powershift hub won a Gold award at Eurobike 2021
The Powershift hub won a Gold award at Eurobike 2021
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An exploded view of the Powershift hub
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An exploded view of the Powershift hub
Classified Cycling is currently offering the Powershift hub already built into three of its house-brand wheelsets
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Classified Cycling is currently offering the Powershift hub already built into three of its house-brand wheelsets
The Powershift hub won a Gold award at Eurobike 2021
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The Powershift hub won a Gold award at Eurobike 2021
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The elimination of the front derailleur on many bikes has made cycling simpler, but reduced the number of available gear ratios. That's where the Powershift hub comes in, as it essentially replaces the front derailleur, allowing for more gears on 1x (single-derailleur) drivetrains.

Manufactured by Belgium's Classified Cycling, the Powershift was first announced last year, but gained new attention when it recently won a Gold award at the Eurobike 2021 trade show. It consists of four main parts: a handlebar-mounted remote, a "smart" electronic thru-axle, the 2-speed hub itself, and a system-specific 11-sprocket cassette.

In the setup's direct-drive mode, the bike's existing single chainring plays the role of the big chainring on a 2x (two-chainring), front-derailleur-equipped drivetrain. This means that all of the gear ratios are relatively high.

However, pressing a button on the remote wirelessly activates the thru-axle, which in turn triggers a clockwork mechanism inside the hub. That mechanism reduces the drive ratio, essentially turning the existing chainring into what the company describes as a "virtual small chainring." As a result, all of the gear ratios – still utilizing the same chainring and cassette as before – are now lower.

An exploded view of the Powershift hub
An exploded view of the Powershift hub

While most 1x drivetrains already offer a fairly wide gear range, the idea behind the Powershift is that it will add a choice of more gears within that range … without the hassle of shifting the chain back and forth between two physical chainrings. Additionally, the shifts take place within 150 milliseconds, plus they can be made while the drivetrain is under full load.

The whole system is reportedly weatherproof, weighs no more than a Shimano Di2 electronic 2x setup, and should be good for over 10,000 shifts per USB charge of the thru-axle's battery.

Classified Cycling is currently offering the Powershift hub already built into three of its house-brand wheelsets, which are respectively aimed at road, gravel/road and aerodynamic road riding. They're all priced at €2,399 (about US$2,774).

Source: Classified Cycling

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11 comments
11 comments
akarp
"virtual small chainring." huh? Its pretty funny when marketing people try to take a buzzword concept from another industry ('virtual machine' from databases) and apply to another industry with in a true display of imcompetance.

Idea is good, but the price point...wow.
Chase
I'm going to have to keep an eye out for this in case they make a MTB version.
John Parker
I had this idea years ago. But why stop at a 2 speed hub? Why not a 4 speed with fewer rear sprockets? Too many rear sprockets and your chain rides the gear tooth at too high of an angle and causes unnecessary wear and tear. Oh, by the way, I came up with the seat post shock absorber over 45 years ago.
paul314
Does it have to be electronic? Seems like manual control would be more reliable here.
highlandboy
Sturmey Archer made a 3 speed internal hub with a simple twist grip in the 1960s. (Current price AU$186.99). And while you had to take pressure off the chain to allow it to shift, it was near instantaneous. They now have 5 speed internals. Seems like a no brainer for everyone other than racers to use this with a rear derailleur. I suppose if you have enough money to consider the Powershift....
Intellcity
New Concept? Back in the mid '60s I found a threaded driver for a Sturmey Archer 3-speed, stuck it in a 5-speed hub, added 2 extra sprockets to a 5-speed freewheel, extended the axle, and stuck it all together with a 30/42/52/60 tooth 4 chain-ring front crank. I attached a front chain guide to a Campy Valentino rear derailleur and mounted it to the seat tube to handle the width of the four front chain rings. Low was so low that I could barely spin fast enough to maintain balance. Hi gear could not be used on flat ground. It was my daily commuter. With all the extra equipment installed for all year, all weather city riding it weighed over 50 lbs. Good exercise. I shifted the chain based on wind direction. I used the 3-speed side of the hub when starting from a stop.
Eddy
I had a 4 speed hub geared bike with a double chain wheel years ago in UK and later added a derailleur set as my area was very hilly. Got a bit complicated with 3 gear levers and this new idea seems a big step forward.
Grunchy
May as well delete the rear derailleur too and go to 10x2 planetary, such as Shimano Nexus. Then put a hub brake in there, too (backwards pedaling), then you can add sissy bar and banana seat!
I will also want a front basket and handgrip tassels, please. Thanks.
Glen Aldridge
Seems like an extremely expensive solution for extending your gear range plus electronics that eventually give headaches. Why not simply add an Efneo GTRO 28-40-50 front gear or Schlumpf Drive & keep $2000. in your bank account?
BlueOak
An award? For a US$2,800 electronic Rube Goldberg solution? Nothing impressive, elegant or efficient about that.

Would be far more impressive to accomplish the same gear doubling task with a less complex, more reliable hub design for say, less than $200, even better, less than $100.
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