Classified’s two-speed internally geared Powershift hub brings 2x drivetrains back to mountain bikes with one new 12-speed MTB hub that works for both Shimano & SRAM drivetrains, plus new Boost-spaced hubs and a tiny wireless thumb shifter. That’s right, with wireless electronic shifting and just one 11-40T Classified cassette, Powershift will bump up your MTB gearing range to 530% whether you are riding a Shimano 12sp or SRAM Eagle 1x drivetrain…
Classified Powershift 2x internal gear MTB hub for Shimano & SRAM
Much like we’ve seen on road and gravel, the wireless Powershift hub brings lightning-fast virtual front shifts back to modern 1x bikes with all the chainline and chain retention benefits of a single chainring setup, yet with the smaller gearing steps and wider overall gearing of a traditional 2x drivetrain. And you can shift under load while pedaling, to effectively drop or increase your gearing instantaneously like you would in 2 or 3 regular rear derailleur shifts. That’s especially helpful on the mountain bike when you will be coming out of a technical corner or hitting a steep technical climb, and can hit that instant gear shift…
Inside, the Classified Powershift MTB hub is effectively unchanged. Sure, Classified assures that the internals, axle, bearings & seals have all been upgraded to handle the harder life of a mountain bike, but the functional bits are the same concept: a 1:0.68 ratio planetary reduction gear, a wireless electronic controller in the end of the Smart axle that doesn’t need to be recharged, and a wireless remote shifter that you can neatly integrate into your existing cockpit setup.
The most obvious new bit is Classified’s new proprietary one-piece machined steel 11-40T cassette that works with both Shimano 12sp and SRAM Eagle 12sp derailleurs and chains. Classified says it is a happy medium between the two drivetrains, and while it takes a little bit more finetuning for its initial setup, once tuned they say it shifts great with either drivetrain. Pairing the 11-40T cassette with the internal reduction gear allows mountain bikers to size up their chainring by about 10-15% while getting both easier AND harder gears thanks to the system’s broad 530% gearing range.
Important to note: the new 10-40T cassette is also compatible with the original 12x142mm Classified Powershift hub bringing bigger 12sp gravel gearing options to existing users, too.
The other big new thing is the tiny Ringshifter remote… not so unlike the Zirbel twist shifter in practice – just spin the paddle with your thumb to shift. But the Classified Ringshifter remote is completely self-contained and wireless – and rechargeable with a proprietary USB dongle after 10k shifts – making it incredibly quick to install in between your grip and brakes.
Also new but pretty obvious, the new MTB system is Boost spaced, which means it isn’t a direct swap with other Powershift internals. But you do get wider rear hub & 12x148mm axle spacing, wider bearing spacing, and compatibility with almost all modern mountain bikes.
Classified says Powershift MTB 12sp delivers 16 unique gears (after factoring out duplicate ratios) with a bit of a combination of derailleur & hub shifting. That’s with the ‘new’ gears effectively in the middle of the cassette block for better chainline, and larger cogs/chainrings overall (more teeth) for improved drivetrain rolling efficiency. They say those bigger cogs and the fact that the cassette is machined steel also mean longer drivetrain durability.
Weights for the system are claimed at 485g for the Powershift Boost MTB internal gear hub, 72g for the Smart axle, 125g for the 28-hole straight-pull centerlock disc brake hub shell OR 165g for the 32h j-bend 6-bolt disc shell, 24g for the Bluetooth Ringshifter, and 248g for the 12-speed 11-40T cassette. The Shimano AND SRAM compatible cassette includes the following gear steps: 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-22-25-29-34-40.
Interestingly weight-wise, Classified compares their complete Powershift setup with their own wheelset (including internally geared hub, cassette, shifter & all installation hardware) at 2151g as quite comparable to a Shimano XT (2053g) or SRAM GX (2035g) setup with a light DT Swiss XRC 1501 carbon wheelset and the stock cassettes with more limited gearing. (That does not include the Classified Smart axle relative to a standard thru-axle which likely adds around 50g extra.)
Classified Powershift MTB – Pricing, options & availability
Like the road & gravel Classified Powershift, the new MTB version will be available in several different ways.
You can get a pre-built carbon XC wheelset from Classified for 2700€ with the complete Powershift MTB setup, or you can buy a Classified Powershift-ready wheelset from other wheelbuilders and then add on the 1450€ Powershift hub, cassette & shifter kit, or for 1550€ you can buy the complete kit including the Powershift-ready hubshell itself so your local wheelbuilder can lace it into a custom wheel ready to add in the Classified tech.
So when can you actually get it?
Officially, Classified Powershift MTB launches today at the start of April, but real component availability is expected in about six weeks’ time, starting from May 23rd, 2023.