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Innovation of the year within the bicycle industry comes from Belgium

17 August 2020

Classified revolutionizes bicycle industry

Shimano’s new competitor comes from Belgium. Classified revolutionizes the bicycle industry with the development of a virtual front derailleur. The smart shifting technology – incorporated in the rear wheel hub makes shifting possible in a fraction of a second, without peak load. The new gear system was developed for high-end gravity bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes. The company raised no less than 2,5 million euros in capital last year, and is now moving to commercialization. Ex-world champion Tom Boonen has already invested in the project.

On a bike with a classic front derailleur, there is a big difference in the size of the two sprockets at the front wheel. The chain has to make a big jump each time to shift from the inner to the outer blade or vice versa, with the risk of the chain jumping off or getting stuck. The startup Classified makes shifting from the large to the small plateau on the front derailleur a thing of the past.

The company has developed an ingenious gear system that allows riders to change gears whenever they want, without having to take into account the ground, gradient or power of the pedals. Classified’s high-tech is incorporated into the rear wheel hub. It’s an interplay of around a hundred unique components, controlled wirelessly by electronic shifters on the handlebars. The idea of hub gears has already been applied to city bikes, but the founders of Classified have further developed the technology for the most demanding users.

The technology brings an enormous improvement in shifting comfort, both for the professional cyclist and the recreational cyclist. In addition, one blade in the front is sufficient, but the range of two blades is maintained. The eleven rear gears provide a range of 22 gears. “In a fraction of a second you shift from the large blade to the virtual inner blade and vice versa,” says Mathias Plouvier, CEO and co-founder of Classified. “In addition, the technology is neatly concealed – so there’s no rain or mud on it – and it doesn’t make the bike heavier.”

After seven years of development and fine-tuning the technology, Classified is now moving to commercialization. The first bikes – initially gravel bikes – with ‘Classified inside’ will be available from August. An implementation of the technology in road bikes, mountain bikes and time trial bikes is planned later this year.

Tom Boonen as investment partner

The technique has already been tested and approved by some professional cycling teams. Ex-world champion Tom Boonen even invested in the project. “With this system I might have won in 2017”, he says. “The technology is high-tech and innovative. We expect a definitive breakthrough in 2021, maybe even in the professional peloton.”

For more information about Classified, see https://classified-cycling.cc/