Classified has a unique drivetrain system that’s been getting a lot of press in the road and gravel bike worlds, and today the brand is taking the wraps off their MTB group. The new 1X drivetrain pairs a 12-speed cassette with an internally geared, wireless, 2-speed hub that effectively serves the same purpose as a front derailleur. The upshot is a 530% gear range plus smaller steps between gears at a weight that’s comparable to existing and popular 1X systems.
Classified Powerhub and Ringshifter
The Classified Powerhub is internally geared with two gears. That doesn’t sound like much but it gets multiplied by the number of gears available on the cassette (2 x 12 = 24 gears). Internally geared hubs aren’t new; riders are likely already familiar with the Rohloff system.
One of the knocks on geared hubs is that they are heavy. The Classified Powershift hub weighs 485g which is significantly heavier than a traditional mountain bike hub like the Industry 9 Hydra that weighs about 300g.
Classified says the Powerhub can be shifted under full load. It’s also possible to shift the hub without pedaling, which is similar to other internally-geared systems. It’s wirelessly controlled via Ringshifter which can be placed on either side of the bars. Shifts are said to be lightning fast, within 150ms.
The electronic hub is powered by a battery that’s located inside a special thru axle. The hub communicates with the Ringshifter using Bluetooth.
The Classified Powershift drivetrain features a proprietary, 11-40t cassette that’s designed to work with 12-speed SRAM and Shimano drivetrains. The system uses its own cassette that mates with the Powershift hub, and as you can see from the top photo, it eschews a lot of the internal bracing seen on other 12-speed cassettes. This allows Classified to save significant weight on the 248g cassette, bringing the total system weight with the hub to within about 170g of a Shimano XTR or SRAM XX1 cassette plus hub combo.
Because the 12-speed Classified cassette only goes up to a 40t cog, the jumps between gears are much more gradual than on Shimano and SRAM 12-speed cassettes that go as high as 52t. Still, riders will presumably need to do a fair amount of shifting on both the cassette and Ringshifter throughout the ride to take advantage of those smooth transitions. Riders who are comfortable using a front derailleur will likely find the experience to be fairly intuitive.
For now Classified is only offering the 11-42t cassette but if they were to expand the upper end to 50t, riders would be able to access a ridiculous 900%+ gearing range.
Buyers can choose a set of Classified wheels with a Powerhub built in, or purchase the hub separately and build their own rear wheel. Classified partnered with Hunt on a road bike wheelset so it seems likely MTB consumers will have additional pre-built wheel choices as well.
Pricing for a Classified wheelset with a Powershift system is set at €2,699; a Powershift set by itself costs €1,549. Buyers will need to provide their own 12-speed derailleur (Shimano or SRAM), chain, crankset, and mechanical shifter. Powershift purchasing information is available at classified-cycling.cc.