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After more than a year of testing and a trial run at the GP Le Samyn, World Tour rider Victor Campenaerts pedaled Classified Cycling’s Powershift hub into the final break away and set up his teammate for the win, marking the first time it was officially used in a World Tour race.
He followed that up at Omloops Het Nieuwsblad with a massive 62-tooth chainring, which showcases another benefit of Classified’s system: You can run a bigger chainring when you don’t have to clear a front derailleur.
Quick background: Classified’s Powershift rear hub houses a wireless, electronically shifting 2x gear system that provides the same range as a double crankset with a front derailleur, but fully self-contained. Read more about it in this post.
While most of us have no desire to push such a large chainring, Campenaerts is a fan of going bigger up front. But standard front derailleur mounts only allow enough adjustment to fit the standard 53-tooth chainrings. There have been a few exceptions, but mostly they limit how big you can go.
With a 1x setup, the only limitation becomes chainstay clearance. Barring that, pros could run as big of a chainring as they want. And they have good reason to do just that.
Out back, their requisite custom cassettes start off a little bigger than some. While Shimano’s road cassettes still start with 11 teeth, SRAM and Campagnolo drop to 10 and even nine teeth, respectively. Classified’s cassettes need to fit over its larger freehub body (because the gearing and electronics have to fit inside it), so it offers five 12-speed cassettes with 11- and 12-tooth small cogs.
Yes, having to use a custom cassette is a bit of a stumbling block for average users, but the larger teeth combined with a larger chainring creates less drag in the drivetrain. It’s why all the aftermarket pulley upgrades use larger wheels — a larger diameter reduces chain friction. And if your job is to win races, then you’re looking for every marginal gain you can get.
Campenaerts’ Ridley was equipped with the 12-31 cassette, giving him a 62/12 gear combo, which Classified says amounts to about a 1% efficiency gain compared to a 52/11. He summed up his decision thusly: “I am riding Classified because it is by far the most efficient and fastest setup for the bike. It allows me to ditch the front derailleur, shift gears under full load, and run a bigger chainring. Bigger is better!”
The other benefit is a straighter chainline since you should be able to position the single chainring at the center of the cassette. And Classified claims you can shift its hub under full load. And, from my limited personal experience on it, those shifts are virtually instantaneous too.