IB17: Phil Wood shows prototype wide range 13-speed road group, plus updated hubs & headsets

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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:

prototype 13-speed phil wood gravel road group drivetrain

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.

prototype 13-speed phil wood gravel road group drivetrain

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.

prototype 13-speed phil wood gravel road group drivetrain

prototype 13-speed phil wood gravel road group drivetrain

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.

prototype 13-speed phil wood gravel road group drivetrain

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.

new phil wood 40-tooth ratchet ring upgrade for hubs

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.

phil wood press-in inch and a half tapered headset

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.

PhilWood.com

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Me
Me
4 years ago

Why?

BigCottonwoodKid
BigCottonwoodKid
4 years ago
Reply to  Me

Because they can. That, and no one wants a front derailleur these days.

Flux
Flux
4 years ago

“No one”

caliente
caliente
4 years ago

Lose a FD, gain a chain guide. Seems like a great solution. Go, bike industry!

mnorris122
4 years ago
Reply to  caliente

It’s a prototype, dingus, obviously it’s far from perfect. However, this s how innovation happens.

caliente
caliente
4 years ago
Reply to  mnorris122

Sorry that I offended you on the internet! (Yes, I own bikes with both 1x and 2x).

Mr. P
4 years ago
Reply to  Me

If your on anything beyond 6 speed, then you answered your own question.

traildog
traildog
4 years ago
Reply to  Me

Because they hate good chainline. I thought Phil positioned themselves as a company who cares.

TIMMI
4 years ago
Reply to  Me

LOL!

Because having 8 out of 11 cogs you almost never used wasn’t enough.

Now that’s progress!

Alexander Beckmann
4 years ago
Reply to  Me

why is there so much hate this is inovation, every one saying oh you dont need 13 speed, why is every one on 11 speed and not 10 speed or 9 speed and sram eagle has every one going batshit crazy, innovation happens let it without being a c*nt. The comments are full with traditional roadies who probably still run 20mm tires and down tube shifters. This is perfect for gravel and fast city bikes. 1x is super simple but doesnt havd the range. 13 speeds you say why not 14 or more! the more gears the better. all the other problems such as chain line and jumps are goin to be taken care of.

literally
literally
4 years ago

so they got 2 cogs from a company that also makes chainguides but they couldn’t get a chainguide in time?

vv
vv
4 years ago

When the largest cog is bigger than the rotor (…and probably sharper) might as well get an IGH. 1×9 works fine for me, or 2×11, or whatever else really.

Peter
Peter
4 years ago
Reply to  vv

Well, this brings up a unique opportunity to make that largest cog work as an actual rotor – thus integrating the rear brake into the thing. Looking forward to that!

James Fryer
4 years ago
Reply to  Peter

Wish we could like, or heart, or thumbs up, or vote up comments. Save me from so much typing.

❤️⬆️

slothracing
slothracing
4 years ago
Reply to  James Fryer

Don’t forget to lube your brake rotors!

blah blah blah
blah blah blah
4 years ago

i think 1x is the iq multiplier of the zero who ride it

Marin
Marin
4 years ago

What nonsense.
Wouldn’t Sram 11s with bigger aftermarket alu cog work better and provide basically the same range and you could have proper indexed shifter with rear force cx1 derailleur.

from the patch.
from the patch.
4 years ago
Reply to  Marin

Yeah but people clicked on this article because they saw 13. Also the awkward tooth jumps between cogs that sram customers are tolerant of is absurd.

Peter Kundrat
4 years ago
Reply to  Marin

Range is only part of the problem. Jumps between gears is another. Roadies are more sensitive to their cadence.

TimE
TimE
4 years ago

Bring it ON! 13 is a Prime number so this will be the bees knees

Collin S
Collin S
4 years ago
Reply to  TimE

11 is a prime number too, so let’s just stop there.

JustSomeGuy
JustSomeGuy
4 years ago
Reply to  Collin S

No love for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7? /*sniff*/

Daniel M
Daniel M
4 years ago
Reply to  JustSomeGuy

1 is neither prime nor composite.

Mac
Mac
4 years ago

So dumb. Why the hell would you bother with all this when you could just use that shifter with eagle parts on a 142 frame? The range would be better too.

Diego
Diego
4 years ago

Make it 11-44 based on a ultegra 11-34 and adding 38 and 44 cogs. It would make much more sense for me to have closer gear ratios with added grany gear. Would be great for many applications and nothing like that exists.

Seraph
Seraph
4 years ago
Reply to  Diego

There is no such thing as an Ultegra 11-34.

G
G
4 years ago
Reply to  Seraph

New R8000

Beat_the_trail
Beat_the_trail
4 years ago
Reply to  Seraph

Wrong, look at the R8000 groupset.

Eggs Benedict a.k.a Darth Baller
Eggs Benedict a.k.a Darth Baller
4 years ago
Reply to  Seraph

And I think the 11-34 will fit on a Shimano 10-speed or MTB hub, no need for a road 11-speed rear hub.

eddiepliers
4 years ago
Reply to  Seraph

Actually, Seraph is right. The 11-34 cassette that is with R8000 is actually a non-ultegra cassette. It is a Shimano Hyperglide cassette that is used for road and mountain groups

Greg
Greg
4 years ago

Kludge

Eggs Benedict a.k.a Darth Baller
Eggs Benedict a.k.a Darth Baller
4 years ago
Reply to  Greg

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw the pictures. What a mess.

Tim
Tim
4 years ago

I like this idea and don’t understand the bile against it. If I were in the market for a new bike, I might even buy it.

Ride n' stuff
Ride n' stuff
4 years ago

Go Phil! Sure 1x may not be for everyone and going beyond 11 may seem crazy but without innovation and crazy ideas we wouldn’t be where we are today in terms of bike technology.

I personally like 1x having a lovely 1×9 hybrid I built up and two 1×1 fixed and single. I wouldn’t give up my front derailleur’d bikes but for certain situations it is nice. Plus having more options for that lovely little red script Phil logo is always nice!

Ride a bike with whatever drivetrain you want, just enjoy the ride!

Threeringcircus
Threeringcircus
4 years ago

And there are complaints that front derailleurs are too complicated?

Tim
Tim
4 years ago

I don’t think this is very complicated. I’d say it’s definitely cobbled together, but not complicated. It has fewer moving parts than a front derailleur setup (it has one shifter, one cable, and one complex parallelogram derailleur less than a traditional setup).

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

Finally we will have a better gearing for those of us that love single rings up front and more choices out back! I gotta say I am really liking the Gevenalle friction shifter!

Noah Behnke
Noah Behnke
4 years ago

Can I set it up with a triple in the front?

caliente
caliente
4 years ago
Reply to  Noah Behnke

Win

Allan
Allan
4 years ago

It’s comforting knowing 1x road will never be more than a niche market for people who can’t figure out a front derailleur, and those who are slave to the latest “cool” trends.

adamrice
adamrice
4 years ago
Reply to  Allan

I’ve got a 2×9 drivetrain that gives me 9 functionally distinct gears. I’d gladly switch to 1×11.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago

it doesn’t even really work. Chainline is such an issue that you WILL pull your chain off without a chain guide. That seems horrible.

Tim
Tim
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

I might be wrong, but I doubt they’ll release it without testing it.

Cryogenii
Cryogenii
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

I know, I know! We need a floating chainring to pick its own chain line!

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

People need to stop entertaining this 1x nonsense just because SRAM couldn’t figure out how to make a front derailleur that works. You know what’s better than shifting through a bunch of gears on a cassette (that weighs a ton) to get to your proper ratio? Shifting a front derailleur once.

skip
skip
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Upvoted!
I was always surprised by the overall “you’re too dumb for a front derailleur” feel the ad campaign had to it.
Not only was no one offended, but in fact, everyone bought it.
And everyone merrily traded doped out stainless carbon laminate chain rings and ft der’s, for aluminum chain rings, and chain catchers that looks exactly like a ft der, but do nothing.
And the whole finalized mess was somehow more expensive.

Cryogenii
Cryogenii
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Hard SRAM 2×10 since 2011. FD works just fine.

Cowtowncyclist
Cowtowncyclist
4 years ago

This takes fugly in a whole new direction. I get the desire to max out the gear range, but from a company that makes such pretty and elegant kit to make this…

Brok
Brok
4 years ago
Reply to  Cowtowncyclist

Still not uglier than a front derailleur.

marissahenry
4 years ago

An option to shimano and SRAM is always good. The amount of “out of the box” engineering and creativity
is refreshing. I mean a smaller company says lets try this. Plus if Phil Wood makes it you know the quality will be very high. Derailleur optimization, cassette spacing, shifter modification… A lot is going on here. Any and all of these can lead to viable products. This is all moving towards “eagle” road, say 550-600% range.

Brad Comis (@BradComis)

Shimano 11-40: 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40. Phil wood road 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40-45-50. With what a 53 up front? So bizarre. Gravel bike or easy/casual road cassette sure, but not for intense or road racing. All this to get rid of a cable and a derailleur doesn’t make sense, but you know what would make sense? A 12 or 13 speed 1x road ELECTRONIC budget groupset. Imagine SRAM wireless with half the electronics and Force level hardware. Now that would be intriguing because it would be affordable and there might actually be some weight savings plus the setup and maintenance would be even easier so you’d really be seeing some serious benefits. Oh, and then combine that with some actual road cassettes. Will road 1x ever cut it in the mountains or in serious racing? I doubt it, but it could be good for casual riders on flatter terrain.

Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
4 years ago

This is such a mess, Phil has been teasing this for a while, it’s a bitter disappointment 11 speed group with 2 massively spaced bail out gears getting 454% range in comparison with the 500% range available from a legitimate product and retaining minimal tightness in gearing ohh and you now have to change axle spacing and ohh let’s not forget you need a chain guide to prevent the chain from dropping’s in the biggest gear. Mock ups like this deserve to be in a collegiate or high school science fare not professional trade shows. Ohh wait this is interbike, disregard the “professional” part.

i
i
4 years ago

If you want an setup that’s one kludge on top of another, that will never shift that well (due to the one up cogs – which don’t shift as well as anything factory even when used as intended; I can’t imagine they’ll work better off-label. Plus friction shifters bringing early ’80 shifting performance), has weird gear jumps, and will probably cost a fortune if it ever makes it to a product you can buy, I’m sure this is just the ticket.

For someone who’s whole business is machining aluminum, I’d think Phil could make some parts that fit together to at least look like something that would work (like, say cogs with spacing that made sense); other than that box with a hole in it to space out the cable anchor.

uzurpator
uzurpator
4 years ago

I like the thinking, but the practical application is pretty weird. 1x road on current cassettes misses top gears, not bottom, and I’d wager that 99% of people would be fine with 11-36 to 11-40 cassette, but with tighter top. So it would make more sense to replace the smallest two cogs on the XT with four cogs from an ultegra or whatever. This way there would be five cogs separated by 1 tooth, which gives the precision, and the whole thing would be much lighter. THe contraption on the picture weighs north of 500grams to be sure…

cole
cole
4 years ago

I just wonder how high the number of gears will get before it dawns on everyone that the logical conclusion to this progression is infinite gears. (Literally the logical conclusion, see mathematical induction).
After riding a NuVinci I can honestly say that a 1 tooth (or otherwise strictly whole numbered) jump is a far cry from ideal; nothing compares to a seamless, instant, silent, arbitrarily sized shift. Gear range, efficiency, and weight will only get better.
It’s only a matter of time before the first frame integrated CVT gearbox arrives, and I can’t wait.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
4 years ago
Reply to  cole

With despicable friction throughout most of the range? No way. And yes, I owned one for a year.

Jon
Jon
4 years ago

I agree with everyone defending front derailleurs- makes riding so much more fun (for me) working both shifters in concert. Still fun to push the envelope- if only to learn along the way.

Tim
Tim
4 years ago

Still waiting on 1×20

ELEVEN_g
4 years ago

Have people become *that* soft…?

Not saying I am anywhere near a*hardman* but I happily accept I need to ride, so that the riding becomes ‘easier’…. not cop out and buy something that is *easy* to ride.

from the patch.
from the patch.
4 years ago
Reply to  ELEVEN_g

Maybe it allows for a larger chainring for a steel gravel grinder. If we used your logic we would all ride brakeless track bikes still. This allows more range, can be easier or harder.

James Fryer
4 years ago
Reply to  ELEVEN_g

Sorry that not all of us are as morally pure as you.

flattire
flattire
4 years ago
Blair O'Malley
Blair O'Malley
4 years ago

It is a prototype.
I’m amazed as wrench on how conservative mechanics are in this industry.
Forward and ahead.
If it works, cool. If it doesn’t, well, that’s cool too. It doesn’t hurt to try.
It’s not like they are trying to make a Ford Pinto into a Ferrarri.
How many of you still use Edison light bulbs?

Jack
Jack
4 years ago

I might be wrong but in the picture the hanger looks bent! On a more serious note, I really think this would create way more problems than it solves. And….. what problem does it solve?

MaraudingWalrus
MaraudingWalrus
4 years ago

What varieties of headset cups; the one in the foreground looks to be zerostack. Do we know if they’re going to be doing ZS lowers also?

Jörg Thomsen
Jörg Thomsen
4 years ago

Please, combine it with THREE chainrings and an XXXL derailleur cage for a whopping 49 gears…
THATS what I need on my “road bike”…

To go up hill on 30% and downhill in a bob track at 150km/h +

Nick
Nick
4 years ago

Doesn’t Shimano have a patent on 13sp drivetrain?

Mint Zebra
Mint Zebra
4 years ago

How is this a Phil Wood product?
They took an existing cassette, added 2 existing aftermarket cogs and turned an existing shifter to friction mode.
And who has a gravel frame with a 150mm rear end? Or even a 148mm rear end?
This is a non product

bikesyuk
bikesyuk
4 years ago

I would love to see this with a triple up front and a straight through 12-25 block

James Fryer
4 years ago

There’s more hate in this thread than on an e-bike post. Is that what defines you as cyclists? The things you hate and how much you hate them?

Mark Rhomberg
4 years ago

I love the clutch derailleur. It has totally changed the “off road” experience. I remember talking to one of the DH guys about the difference it made to him? He said he used to use the chain clatter as a guide for his speed, with the clutch the bike was silent. It took him a while to get used to how quiet his bike was. I feel the same way about the addition of the clutch. It is 1x. It is what makes the whole thing work.

As regards 13 gears I say YES. Would I go out of my way to buy this? Hmmm maybe next bike, since it looks like it needs Boost.

Frippolini
Frippolini
4 years ago

Is this not the same discussion that has taken place every time someone ups the ante in number of gears? Is this not the same complaints we have seen through time going from 6 to 7, 7 to 8, 8 to 9, … etc.?

Stop complaining, it’s useless; let technical innovation and market economics sort it out for you instead. If you are happy with 11, stay with 11. If you prefer 9 or 10, stay with 9 or 10. For as long as you want (and can). Enjoy your ride instead. Be happy that your future bike will be better than the one you have today; but don’t let that take the joy out of your riding, unless of course the bling factor of your bike is more important than your ride and health?!

For anyone searching for a better/nicer/newer product, I say go ahead, 11, 13, etc., take whatever flavor your prefer.

I’m personally on 10 speed. Next bike will probably be more, but until then, no problems. 🙂

id
id
4 years ago

Everybody wants 5 tooth cog jumps when climbing…

Cryogenii
Cryogenii
4 years ago
Reply to  id

Goes by percentages. A 5 tooth jump from, say 46 to 41 is 11% harder to pedal. Going from 13 to 11 is over 15% harder.

Tommy
Tommy
4 years ago

The small adapter on the derailleur’s cable input is the only thing of interest here.

Mikel
Mikel
4 years ago

The whole one-by thing really seems to be taking off, especially with the XDR (road) from SRAM likely to be announced soon. This is cool tech from Phil as well!

John
John
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikel

If SRAM didn’t announce XDR at Interbike it’s not coming next year.

I’m thinking 12-speed 10-46T Di2 XTR might be perfect for 1x gravel, we’ll have to see how long it takes Shimano to ship such a thing…

Jason
Jason
4 years ago

Though an interesting exercise, I have no interest in the product.

Bern
4 years ago

Relax – it’s a concept – not a product (yet).
I’ve a wife who might dig it – big range and no front derailleur.

Disclosure: worked for Phil for almost 20 years (70’s/80’s)

Disclosure the second: I’m riding 5 & 6 speed freewheels for the most part…

Disclosure the third: I really do not care what anyone else thinks.

phillipfogg
phillipfogg
4 years ago

Go for it! Why not? 🙂

ruko
ruko
4 years ago

More gears. Yes! Went from an 8 speed to an 11 and I couldn’t be happier.