The Classified Manifesto
Classified exists to elevate the cycling experience to the next level. Taking the gearing simplicity of a 1x drivetrain and adding the functionality, control, and range of a 2x system, Classified gives the rider the ultimate cycling experience.
Classified began its journey in 2013. Infuriated with the poorly performing front derailleur, automotive engineer, cyclist, and efficiency obsessive Roëll van Druten began to reimagine the bicycle drivetrain using automotive techniques. Read more about Roëll’s motivation and the origin of Classified’s Powershift Technology.
By removing the front derailleur, and developing the Powershift hub, Classified set out to create a more reliable gear shifting experience without losing the control and functionality needed for an optimal ride. In the process, a more efficient and durable drivetrain solution was created. But not only that, by reimagining the modern drivetrain, Classified also created a new belief system - the Classified Manifesto.
Removal of the front derailleur is the key starting point
Classified believes that the front derailleur should be retired. The days of inconsistent shifting, dropped chains and lack of functionality, especially in the wet and mud, should belong in the past. With a reimagined drivetrain solution, the front derailleur can be consigned to the parts bin.
Classified’s Powershift hub replaces the front derailleur and the smaller chainring of a conventional 2x drivetrain by incorporating a two-speed transmission in the rear hub. The hub transmission consists of a planetary gear set that provides a 0.7 reduction gear and a 1:1 direct connection gear. Riding with the Classified hub means always riding and climbing on a big chainring for maximum efficiency, both in the direct drive (1:1 hub ratio) and when in the virtual ‘small chainring (the 1:0.7 hub ratio).
Learn more about why Victor Campenaerts chooses Classified.
Using the inner ring of 2x set up (or a smaller 1x chainring) costs vital watts
When using a standard 52/36 set up, riding in the small chainring increases the chain forces by up to 45%. Why is that bad, you might ask? Because higher chain force means more friction, which leads to lower watts at your rear wheel. Riding in the small ring also adds higher force (friction) to the crank and hub bearings, which further reduces the overall efficiency. Riding in the small ring is not only inefficient, it also increases wear of your chain, meaning you’ll need to replace your components more often.
This is why professional cyclists avoid riding in the small ring as much as possible, and why we begin to see more and more professional teams adopting a 1x set up in races like the Tour de France and Paris Roubaix.
And whilst the standard 1x drivetrain cannot easily increase the chainring size past 50t without compromising the gear range, using the Classified system means that the rider can increase the chainring size to suit their riding style or terrain. It is only by riding Classified that professional cyclist Victor Campenaerts was able to access even more efficiency gains by using a massive 62 tooth chainring in the 2023 Classics season.
A 1x drivetrain isn’t enough. A wider gear range is still needed for a smooth ride.
When riding a traditional 2x setup, there is a moment where mechanical efficiency has to give way to human efficiency. Even if you’re a pro cyclist. When the hill is just too steep, or the mud too thick. On a traditional 2x set up, the rider can ‘bail out’ into their small chainring to keep momentum, albeit with a lower efficiency than when in the big ring. When riding a 1x set up the rider has to shift multiple times on the rear, desperately searching for a gear that allows them to keep moving. Often not finding it and having to ‘bail out’ in another way.
But when riding with Powershift Technology the rider has the functionality of a front derailleur and the wider gear range of a 2x drivetrain, without any of the drawbacks. By always keeping the chain on the big ring, which is more efficient and more stable, the Classified rider can still shift instantly and under full load into the reduction gear (virtual small chain ring) to access the full range of gears when they need them. Thereby maintaining the perfect cadence to get over the climb or mud section.
Learn more about the pros and cons of 1x and 2x, and understand why Classified is the best of both worlds.
Powershift Technology multiplies 1x gearing, and retains the functionality and control of 2x
By pairing the simplicity of 1x with the functionality of a 2x system, Classified gives the rider ultimate control over their gearing choices by extending the range of a 1x system. Just like with a traditional 2x system, you have one tap for a small shift, and one tap for a big jump in gears, without the fear that such a big jump in gears might cause you to drop your chain.
So you are in full control, able to switch small gear steps with your right hand and very fast big gear steps with your left hand, giving the rider full control.
But then, how is the lower gear ratio achieved?
● In the 1:1 ratio the cassette rotates with the same speed as the wheel, as the internal parts of the hub are locked in place. This means that the hub spins as one, working in exactly the same way as a non-geared hub.
● When the rider shifts into the 0.7 ratio (the Powershift), the internal clutch disengages within the hub, causing the 6 planet gears to rotate around the sun gear. This increases the input speed (cadence) as the cassette rotates faster than the wheel and amplifies the input torque.
Efficiency of the hub is key to the whole equation
Drawing on our experience in the automotive industry, Classified has tested the Powershift hub to the highest standards, using a test rig specifically designed to measure power loss with a maximum error of 0.1%. The results of these tests show that the hub is 99.8% efficient in the 1:1 ratio, the same as a DT Swiss 240 hub (industry standard) measured on the same test-rig, and 99.2% efficient in the 0.7 ratio, making it the most efficient internal geared hub ever created.
The efficiency of the Classified hub depends on the efficiency of the planetary gear. Planetary gear transmissions have long been used in the automotive industry, with tests and computer simulations, routinely recording gear efficiencies of 99% and above. References for this can be found in our white paper. With reliability and durability being the primary benefits for other multi-geared hubs (Rohloff, Sturmey Archer), the efficiency of a multi-speed hub was never a primary development goal. Classified are the first to truly increase the efficiency of an internally geared hub.
At Classified we have used our expertise in automotive transmissions to maximise the efficiency of the planetary gear. We have increased the efficiency of the hub by using a small 0.6 gear tooth module, by using the most efficient planetary gear topology, with the sun fixed to the axle, and by using precision needle bearings and precision-manufactured gears. Unlike other multi-speed hubs, the Powershift hub uses only one set of planetary gears, which maximises the efficiency by design. In this way, Classified can ensure maximum efficiency of Powershift Technology while keeping the weight of the planetary gear system very low.
Learn more about the efficiency of the Classified hub and read our efficiency data.
Learn more about gear ratios for Road, Gravel and MTB here.
1:0.7 is the ultimate ratio for a reduction gear for all types of cycling
In the development of Powershift Technology, the question of what ratio to pick was hotly debated. With the knowledge that Classified would serve all types of cyclist, from road racers like Victor Campenaerts to long distance gravel adventurers like Allan Shaw, the ratio chosen had to be the perfect average gear step for all types of riding and all types of rider.
For this reason, Classified chose the 1:0.7 (referred to as “0.7’) ratio for the reduction gear. This 0.7 ratio mimics the tooth gap in a standard 52/36 set up, which is perfect for the majority of all cycling disciplines. The powershift hub does not have the constraints of a front derailleur, giving the rider a wider choice of chainring size. Victor Campenaerts even went as big as 62T on his road race bike, resulting in a 42T reduction gear for climbing.
And for gravel racing or extreme bike packing Classified athlete Rob Britton won the ultra-distance gravel race Badlands using a 48T chainring, giving him a 33T reduction gear to conquer the steep climbs in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His competitors did not have this luxury, which gave him a distinct advantage over his competitors.
Aero is everything!
Application of Powershift Technology allows for the removal of the front derailleur and the small chainring on the bike, leading to significant aerodynamic benefits. Aerodynamic experts calculate this saving to be between 3 and 6 watts, depending on the test.
Classified carried out wind tunnel tests at the Technical University of Eindhoven which show the removal of the front derailleur and the small chainring from a road bike results in a 1% power saving. This means a saving of 3 watts at 300 watt input power, compared to a conventional 2x drivetrain.
Learn more about Classified’s aero testing and the benefits of Powershift Technology.
These benefits, plus the proven efficiency of the Classified hub, result in an overall more efficient drivetrain
The proven high efficiency of the Powershift hub in reduction mode gives you an advantage when climbing, but also when riding in 1:1 direct drive, there are system level efficiency gains in the drivetrain. Unlike with a traditional 2x drivetrain, the rider can make the shift whilst pedalling under full load. Or when not pedalling at all, when coasting down an off-road descent or standing at a traffic light. The shift will automatically happen when the wheels rotate. You can also keep momentum going uphill on your big chainring and make the downshift under full load when climbing, without having to step down from your bike. Jules de Cock won the Dutch beach race championships with Classified with this being the biggest benefit.
In addition to the aero benefits gained by the absence of a front derailleur, the rider can use even larger chainrings and sprockets. Therefore, using a 60T chainring and a 12T smallest cog setup, instead of 50T/10T (both giving a ratio of 5), adds an approximately further 1% efficiency benefit due to even lower chain forces and less chain articulation. A 12T sprocket is far more efficient than a 10T sprocket and riding in the 12T sprocket also gives you a straighter chainline.
Compared to 1x systems without a Powershift hub, a much larger cassette range is required. For example, an 10-45 TT cassette would be needed on a standard 1x set up to achieve the same range as the 11-34T cassette with the Powershift hub. Off-course the 10T sprocket will not help to gain efficiency due to greater bending angle of the chain around the smaller sprocket.
With the Powershift hub you can use an 11-40 cassette which is smaller and lighter than a 10-45T cassette and which gives you a whopping 530% range!
It has been proven that a 2x system is more efficient than a 1x system due to the losses incurred in a 1x setup lost to the extreme chain lines needed to maintain the perfect cadence. Powershift Technology creates virtual larger sprockets with the Powershift hub, so instead of shifting on the cassette to the bigger sprockets you can shift the hub and keep a straighter chainline.
The weight of the Powershift Technology and Classified wheelset is comparable to that of a mid range 2x groupset, with no noticeable weight gained when compared to the most popular group set on the market, the Shimano Ultegra Di2 2x drivetrain. And if saving further weight is your number one goal, then it is possible to save additional weight by using Powershift Technology with a lightweight set of our partner wheels, or in combination with a super lightweight 1x crankset.
Longer is better - Classified increases the durability of your drivetrain
Classified also believe in extending the life of your components. Thanks to less force being loaded onto the chain, and an overall straighter chain line when riding, Powershift Technology is able to maintain the life of your drivetrain for longer. Classified athlete and Granfondo World Champion Ils van der Moeren, a low power rider, reported riding over 35,000 kilometres on the same chain and cassette using the Classified system. And a high power rider like Victor Campenaerts also reported riding the same chain and cassette for over a year, when normally he would have to change components several times in a season (link to eventual interview with Victor).
The Powershift hub is also a fully contained and sealed unit. This means the hub is waterproof, so the shift will always happen, even in the muddiest of conditions and will continue to do so for many epic kilometres to come!
The hub is hand built in Belgium by our trained assembly team, using the highest quality parts and products. The hub then goes through several rounds of testing and quality control, ensuring that there is no maintenance needed after it leaves our doors.
Innovation is never achieved in a vacuum. Working with the best partners allows for even greater progress
Classified is an ingredient brand, meaning we work within the existing cycling ecosystem to innovate even further. Classified’s Powershift Technology integrates with the best existing drivetrain suppliers, adding huge performance benefits to already great products.
Working with our partners we can help you to create your dream bike. With over 40 bike brands (and counting) now offering Classified as an option, it’s never been easier or more cost effective to get Powershift Technology in your life.
Or you might be upgrading your existing bike with Classified, or building a bespoke dream bike with frame, groupset and wheels of your choice. Thanks to the expertise of our partners and network of worldwide dealers, we can help to add efficiency, performance and durability to your ride.
Discover our list of partners or find your nearest Classified dealer here.
We are immensely proud of our hub, and the hard work that the team has put into it. Countless hours of research, development, testing and more testing have made Classified what it is today. We stand by our manifesto and are thrilled to have inspired and helped the many thousands of cyclists who have already adopted Powershift Technology into their lives. Here’s to the future of cycling!