Ever wished you could have dumped a few gears before you reach that quick little riser? Or maybe you just want to be able to shift whenever you feel like it, without having to worry about when or where?
That is the idea behind the new HxR Easy Shift Crank. While the idea itself isn’t new (trials bikes, old Schwinns, etc. have used a similar concept for years), HxR seems to be one of the first to apply the concept to a 1×11 enduro drivetrain. Built to hold up to the abuse of today’s trail and enduro rigs, the Easy Shift crank is a product of France based HxR components and is finally ready to hit the trail…
The key to the HxR system is the inclusion of a fixed rear hub. This keeps the chain turning at all times and when combined with a freewheel built into the crank, still allows you to coast. Since the chain is always turning on the cassette, that means you can shift the rear derailleur whenever you want. We’re assuming the best practices of shifting still apply and you shouldn’t shift under full load when climbing, but when coasting you’ll be able to get in what ever shifts you want which could be helpful in technical situations.
For the system to work properly, you have to use a fixed hub (freewheel hubs would still work, but would negate the system’s benefits). There aren’t many out there meant for enduro bikes, so HxR sells their own in 135mm QR, 142×12, and with Shimano 10/11 or SRAM XD drivers. If you’re the type to want matching hubs, they also supply a front 15×100 6 bolt hub to complete the set. Kits are sold in three levels – the first with just the crank and bottom bracket kit, the second adds a narrow wide chainring and bolts, and the third includes everything – front and rear hubs, chain guide, and chainring for €995. The Kit-1 is available for €449.
HxR indicates that the system is only compatible with narrow wide single chainrings, and you must use a chainguide with and upper guide and lower impact protection like their own HxR guide shown above. We’re assuming a freewheel equipped chainring won’t be able to take much of an impact, and with the chain constantly moving that upper guide will come in handy. The crankset is equipped with a 94mm BCD spider and is compatible with other 94mm BCD chainrings down to 28t.
Listed as BSA, PF30, and BB92 compatible, each kit includes spacers for all three standards. Claimed weight is 773g for the crank and freewheel assembly, without BB or chainring. Also included in each kit is a small bottle of Squirt chainlube and clear crank skins from HxR.
Available now for preorder, cranksets will ship in February.