Could Classified's Powershift hub spell the end of front derailleurs? – GCN Tech Show

The hub was used by Ineos Grenadiers at the Giro d’Italia, but it may not become a regular sight, as Alex Paton and Ollie Bridgewood discuss

Clock19:14, Thursday 16th May 2024

The Giro d’Italia is only 12 days old but it has already sent the tech world into a whir on multiple occasions. These tech intrigues reached a new level during stage 7’s individual time trial when Ineos Grenadiers sported Classified’s Powershift hub on their Pinarello bikes, in what could prove to be a critical moment for front derailleurs.

The Powershift hub is home to a planetary gear system that emulates a 2x set-up while only using a single chainring. It achieves this through two different gear ratios, either 1:1 or 1:0.686. In the 1:1 ratio, the cassette spins at the same speed as the hub shell, as is traditionally the case. However, in the 1:0.686 ratio it rotates faster, creating an easier gear that emulates a smaller chainring.

But what’s the point in emulating a two-by set-up when you can simply use two chainrings? Well, like many things in cycling, it’s down to aerodynamics. A front derailleur causes drag, so removing it leads to some aero savings. We don’t know exactly how many - although Aerocoach has measured it at between one and four watts at 48kph - but even a few watts can make a big difference in professional races where victories can be decided by a matter of seconds.

Considering the aero advantage, could the system lead to the demise of 2x set-ups and front derailleurs? It’s unlikely, as Alex Paton and Ollie Bridgewood discuss in this week’s show.

Firstly the system comes with a weight penalty, plus it has to be paired via Bluetooth to a switch on the handlebars, which isn’t practical for road stages when riders may have to change wheels. Then there are question marks about the system’s efficiency, although Classified attempted to dispel these by publishing a white paper in 2023.

But what do you think? Could Classified Powershift hubs spell the end of front derailleurs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Hot and spicy tech

There’s barely a week that goes by when the cycling world isn’t inundated with new tech, but the last seven days proved to be especially hectic.

Here’s a pick of the best new tech to emerge over the last week.

SRAM officially unveils latest RED AXS groupset

It had become cycling’s worst-kept secret - we got up close with it in the first week of the Giro d’Italia - but SRAM’s updated RED AXS groupset has officially broken cover.

The new groupset is a mix of evolution and revolution, with completely revamped shifters and slight amendment to the derailleurs (the front derailleur survives, proving they’re not going anywhere anytime soon). The result is what SRAM claims is the lightest electronic groupset on the market.

Check out Si Richardson’s first-ride impressions of the new groupset below.

Read more: Brand new SRAM RED AXS claims to be the lightest electronic groupset on the market

Pirelli unveils P Zero Race TLR RS

Like the SRAM Red AXS groupsets, Pirelli’s P Zero Race TLR RS were spotted regularly in the WorldTour peloton at the hands of Lidl-Trek before their official release this week.

The Italian brand says that it’s the "fastest and most performing cycling tyre to date", with reduced rolling resistance and weight, plus better grip - basically everything you’d want in a tyre!

Read more: Prototype Pirelli tyres are revealed as the new P Zero Race TLR RS

Win a set of the new Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR RS tyres

And you could be in with a chance of winning a set of the new Pirelli P Zero Race TLR RS tyres, as we have several sets to give away to a few lucky winners.

All you have to do is answer a simple question (there's a big hint to the answer in this week's show) and submit your contact details for a chance to win.

Enter the Pirelli competition here.

Entries close 10:00 BST Friday 24 May 2024 and winners will be announced in a GCN Show from Tuesday 28 May 2024. For more info see our full terms and conditions.

Japanese Olympic team go off-piste with new track bike

The Japanese team’s track bike for the upcoming Paris Olympics has broken cover, and it’s certainly different to what we’re used to as the drivetrain has been moved to the opposite side of the bike.

This change has predictably been made in the name of aerodynamics and isn’t a completely original idea as Felt tried something similar for Team USA’s bike in 2016. Alex Paton isn’t convinced that it actually leads to an aero advantage, having spoken to Ineos Grenadiers’ aero guru Dan Bigham about the topic in the past.

Read more: Japanese Olympic track cycling team reveals new £101,000 bike with left-sided drivetrain

Bike vault

It’s time for our presenters to put their judging hats on to critique your latest bike submissions. While we think every bike is nice, our judges are strict when it comes to handing out super-nice votes and expect the highest levels of presentation. If you'd like to get involved and share your pride and joy then you can do so via The Uploader.

Orbea Orca Aero

Cervélo S3

Look Blade 795 RS

Specialized Tarmac SL7

For all the latest tech developments make sure to head over to our dedicated tech news section on the GCN website.

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