In addition to the prototype inverted “high pivot” suspension fork with a wildly angled, reverse offset they showed on ActoFive’s new bike, Intend had another great invention sitting inside Trickstuff’s booth. These prototype Rocksteady Magic cranks add a freewheel to the chainring mount, letting the gears keep spinning while the cranks stay still.
The idea is to keep the drivetrain moving while the bike is moving, even if you’re not pedaling, so that you can shift at any time.
Cruising down the mountain on a really technical section and need to get into an easier gear for that abrupt climb? Or a harder gear for that sprint? No problem, because the cassette, chain and chainring are all turning as though you’re pedaling, so all you have to do is work the shift lever.
They admit that Shimano had something like this in the past, but that was well before single-chainring 1x setups. And it didn’t work so well on double or triple chainrings. But with a 1x and a chainguide, they say it’s flawless.
How does it work?
Intend’s CNC alloy Rocksteady cranksets use a Race Face-compatible splined chainring interface, and that’s what is on these prototypes, too.
The difference is that chainring mount sits on a ratcheting freewheel, essentially the same as what you find in your rear hub. That lets the chainring roll forward while you’re not pedaling, but the ratchets catch when you start pedaling, turning that chainring around and driving the rear wheel.
Otherwise, they’re just like normal crank arms, with a 30mm spindle.
What about the rear hub’s freewheel?
For this to work, the cassette has to be locked into position with the wheel, so that it turns at the same rate as the wheel even when you’re not pedaling. And their solution is about as simple as can be…a zip tie:
Besides simplicity, the benefit to this hack is that if a stick or something got caught up in the chain or it somehow was stopped, the zip tie would just snap and things would go back to normal. You could ride out like a normal bike with your hub’s freewheel once again allowing the cassette to coast.
That cassette, BTW, is a Gabaruk 12-speed CNC’d steel cassette, which comes 48, 50, and 52 max tooth counts for SRAM XD and Shimano Microspline freehub bodies.
We’re waiting to hear back on pricing and production plans, will update when we get more details.