The Classified PowerShift hub is a really interesting piece of technology that has the power to change road bike design for good. It’s a derailleur killer design that I think will shake things up, especially in the aero bike world, by allowing you to run what is effectively a 2x setup while still benefiting from the 1x. And with more wheel brands on board, it will be even better.
What we have here is a single chainset (1x) with all the advantages of a double (2x) setup, and none of the disadvantages of either.
Inside the rear hub is a two-speed derailleur system that gives you 100 percent of whatever chainring you have fitted, and then a reduction gear for about 70 percent of that chainring, essentially doing the job of your “missing” smaller chainring. So it’s like having your front derailleur hidden in your rear hub.
It has a number of mechanical advantages, not least the fact that you never need to index a front derailleur again. All the important bits are also housed out of the way of rain and corrosive road spray, so you don’t have to clean a thing. And since this is a planetary gear system, switching between the two gears is incredibly fast.
Let’s talk about performance for a moment, although there really isn’t much to say. Press the small toggle button and the system changes in 0.15 seconds. It will do it under power, at any pace, and it has yet to miss a beat. Classified does say that the system can’t be switched when you’re pushing out over 1,000 watts, but I’m not sure that would make sense anyway.
Shifting this thing is addictive for the first few rides, and I spent most of the test period trying to see if I could get it to go wrong. I could not.
Rattling over trails and dirt roads didn’t cause any problems either, and during a summer cyclocross race I was able to save myself in the “small ring” reduction gear in a place that might well have caused my chain to bounce off the bottom bracket if I’d been with a conventional gear system.
Shift key integration
If you use Shimano Di2, the system will be even better. The small shift knob is replaced by the system which integrates into the existing left Shimano Di2 lever. I don’t have it on this Canyon Inflite test bike, but I’ve ridden it and found this way of doing things the best.
My SRAM equipped bike requires the little shifter button to be poked through the bar tape or you can preferably punch a hole in the shifter hood. Since this isn’t my bike, I made the shift knob stick through the bar tape.
I don’t like the SRAM setup half as much and, frankly SRAM, if you’re reading this you need to get on board the system and offer your customers proper integration. Top marks to Shimano for allowing – or not preventing – the integration.
Cassette & gears
The cartridge is a very fine piece of work with a hollow body that really needs to be seen up close to be admired. Shifts over the cassette were also smooth, and I didn’t notice any extra noise from the drivetrain.
Our test system came with an 11-30T cassette, but it comes in four sizes: 11-27, 11-30, 11-32 and 11-34. My bike also had a 42-tooth chainring, and Classified recommends a minimum size of 40T.
> Beginner’s guide: Understanding bike gear
The main advantages of road and dirt bikes is that you don’t need to run a massive cassette with large gaps to get a normal gear range. So on the road you can run a standard 52 or 53T chainring with a standard 11-30 cassette and have all the gears you would normally have with a 2x system.
The wheels use 12×100 and 12x142mm thru-axles, the rear is the one that receives the shift signal and then activates the shift. The axle has a 1-watt motor, which is quite small, but uses the movement of the wheel to actually shift.
You will need to charge the rear axle from time to time, but I’m three months into testing and my single run has yet to drain the battery.
So why am I so sure this is a nailed-on game changer for aero road bikes? (Though I think it will also change the dirt and mountain bike world.) Well, we have to consider what riders and teams are willing to do with their current bikes and the clothes they’ll be wearing to save even a few watts.
Watch any road race, even down to my pitiful level, and you’ll see a lot of flight socks, speedsuits, aero helmets, deep wheels, oversized pulleys and stupidly narrow handlebars. All of these measures only save a few watts each, and we’ve already seen 1x bike designers tout the potential aero savings by removing the front derailleur. And then a quick look around the parking lot at a local time trial will tell you that when it comes to cheating the wind, the front derailleur is not welcome.
> Does the front mech die? Is there a future for the front derailleur on modern road bikes?
Weight may seem like a potential issue, but the hub, at around 475g, is somewhat offset by the removal of the front derailleur, its bracket, internal chainring and the fact that the cassette is super light at just 190g. For example, a Dura-Ace R9200 front derailleur weighs 93g and Classified says that overall bike weight won’t be adversely affected if you’re currently running a 2X Di2 setup with something like a DT Swiss 350 hub.
I personally would take it with a grain of salt as it largely depends on the rear hub you are replacing. If it was a super light design, Powershift can make your bike weigh a little more.
The wheels I had installed were the Classified gravel model. They’re good, with smooth layers and a decent rim shape, but they’re nothing exciting. The good news is that Classified recently announced partnerships with a range of wheelset brands, including DT Swiss, Mavic, Fast Forward, Enve, Reynolds, Boyd Cycling and Spinergy.
It’s a brilliant move on Classified’s part, as it can focus on improving the integration with shifting systems and reducing the weight of the hubs, while leaving the rim and wheel building stuff to the brands that are already doing a good job.
In fact, the only reason I couldn’t give Classified a glowing 5 star review was because of the slightly boring wheels. So if you are going to buy the system in another wheelset and put it in a Di2 groupset you can consider this a perfect review.
The last thing we have to cover is the price. For any of the current Classified wheelsets, which come with everything you need for the system, you’re looking at £2,300. That’s a significant sum for a front derailleur change, but for a carbon wheelset it’s not ridiculous.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed for third-party wheels, but Classified has confirmed that it will soon offer the system as a standalone product to be built onto any rim. It may be the cheapest way to get it.
I am very impressed with the Classified Powershift system. I think it’s about to really shake up the road and dirt bike markets, and with a mountain bike version also coming, this is one to seriously consider.
An excellent system – better shifting than a standard front derailleur, with many more benefits
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Make and model: Classified Powershift Hub
Tell what the product is for and who it is aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
“POWERSHIFT TECHNOLOGY is a wireless shifting technology that allows you to shift instantly and under full load. Its first application is the Powershift hub, which replaces the front derailleur. The Powershift hub offers unmatched shift quality, high shift intervals and small steps in between. gears that combine the advantages of both 1x and 2x.”
Tell us a little more about the technical aspects of the product?
The system included:
A toggle button
System-specific through axis
Rate the product for build quality:
This would be a 10 but for the wheels.
Rate the product for performance:
Wheels aside, it’s exceptional.
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This shifts immediately under load of power and at low cadences. It is so much better than a front derailleur.
Tell us what you liked about the product
The shift is fascinatingly good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The wheelset isn’t great.
How does the price compare to similar products on the market, including those recently tested on road.cc?
Nothing else like it on the market.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your total score
If I were to score this on just the hub system it would be a 10. This is a brilliant idea that has been delivered well. The shift is insanely good. While the wheels are fine, the cost of the wheelset system is high – but with other brands coming in and the system soon to be available to build into existing wheels, this will become less of an issue.
I usually ride: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 My best bike is:
I have ridden for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would classify myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trials, cyclocross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialize in Café riding!
#Classified #Powershift #Kit #Wheelset