Go ahead and count ’em, Phil Wood has crammed 13 cogs into a gravel road bike. Sure, it’s a custom frame, but they’ve managed to do it with only a few hacks and mostly off-the-shelf 11-speed drivetrain parts from Shimano and OneUp Components. Here’s how:
Their 13-speed prototype setup based on a standard 11-40 Shimano cassette plus OneUp 45- and 50-tooth cogs tacked on behind it. They made it happen by having SyCip build them a custom gravel bike with a 150mm downhill standard axle spacing. The hub has a custom freehub body that Phil Wood machined, but flange spacing is normal, hence the wider axle.
Other than the custom hub parts, the thing that makes it work is this small adapter on the rear derailleur’s cable input. It moves the contact point upwards by more than a centimeter, giving the rear derailleur enough movement to span 13 cogs. This one’s a simply block of metal, but they’ll be refining it at the shop once home from Interbike. They say a Saint derailleur works better, but wanted XTR for the show.
As shown here, it needs a chainguide to hit the 13th (largest) cog, but they didn’t get a guide in in time for the show. Or, it could work with taller chainring teeth. As is, it wants to pull the chain off the teeth once on the largest cog, almost like it was being shifted inboard. That said, they’d probably use a different chainring because this one’s pretty expensive. They machined down one of their track bike chainrings’ teeth so they were narrow enough to fit an 11-speed chain. They want to make the whole thing work with 11-speed parts, and hopefully with Boost 148mm rear axle spacing. Word is they’re almost there.
The shifter is a Gevenalle friction shifter, which eliminates the worry about making a 13-step indexed shifter. Originally they thought they could machine new internals for the shooter to add two more index points, but turns out there’s exactly enough room for 12.5 indices, not 13. So, small hurdle, but they’re working on it.
Eventually, they hope to sell it all as a hop-up kit so you can make your own. Or maybe they won’t. Depends on interest. Let ’em know in the comments.
On their hubs, they have a new 40-tooth ratchet ring that replaces the 25-tooth version. This is possible because last year they went to a new 5-pawl design with inidividual springs, which are user serviceable since each is held in place with a set screw. All new hubs come with this design, and older hubs can be sent in for the 40-tooth part upgrade for $45.
Lastly, they’ve also added a new press-in threadless 1.125-to1.5 tapered headset. It’s shown in the foreground, but will be available in all the colors seen in the background.