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“Bigger is better!” Victor Campenaerts’ Ridley Noah with 62T chainring + Classified Powershift hub

If you fancy a big chainring, this bike at bedtime will sure please you

Victor Campenaerts' meaty Ridley Noah has been in the headlines for a week now, since the Belgian professional cyclist took it to the Spring Classics with a rather eye-catching setup. Let's have a closer look at the bike... 

Last weekend, the Lotto DSTNY rider rocked up to the start line of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with a whopping 62-tooth chainring. Yes, just the one. We love to use the phrase “business in the front, party at the back” to describe different bike setups, and never has it been more true than here, as all you could see was this dinner plate-sized ring at the front and a very moderate cassette at the back.

Considering that the Belgian was about to tackle the famous Muur - a cobblestone climb that ramps up to nearly 20 per cent gradient, making even the strongest of cyclists clip off and push their bikes - it didn't seem to make sense until you looked at the rear hub...

Victor Campenaert Classified riding OHN

The secret, concealed party weapon that Campenaerts’ Ridley Noah debuted to the pro peloton was none other than the Classified Powershift hub. This rear hub, which has been designed by a Belgian company Classified, in essence, removes the need for a front derailleur with the use of internal gears. Hence, it's also known as the “the front derailleur killer”. 

In essence, the Powershift hub hides a two-speed gear system that gives you 100 per cent of whatever chainring you have fitted, and then a reduction gear of around 70 per cent of that chainring, essentially doing the job of your 'missing' smaller chainring. So it's like having your front derailleur hidden away in your rear hub. We've reviewed the whole system, if you want to read how it works in more detail. 

Victor Campenaert Classified

Campenaerts is already known for trying larger chainring sizes, and could up his big-ring-endeavour due to the single chainring setup the Classified system utilises. The pro rider had already been riding the Classified system for more than a year in training, so he was well familiar with it before taking it to the Classics. 

> Which chainset is right for you? Should you choose a standard, a compact or something else?

“I am riding Classified because it is by far the most efficient and fastest setup for the bike. It allows me to ditch the front derailleur, shift gears under full load and run a bigger chainring. Bigger is better!” Campenaerts commented on his choice of gear. 

Classified CTO and inventor of the Powershift hub, Roëll van Druten, goes even further praising the system: “We at Classified have long believed that the traditional 2x drivetrain system, i.e. 2 chainrings and a front derailleur, is not efficient enough. Victor Campenaerts use of the Classified system at a major UCI race proves our claims, that a larger single chainring used with larger sprockets in the rear, with the ultimate gear range of the Powershift hub, is the most efficient drivetrain system in the world. And now in the pro peloton!"

Since the debut at Omloop, there has been an announcement of a partnership between Classified, DT Swiss and Ridley - meaning that we'll see Campenaerts racing the rest of the classics with the system, as well. 

Victor Campenaert Classified 2

With the Classified Powershift hub taking the spotlight, the rest of Campenaerts' Ridley Noah is definitely much more traditional and basic. The bike was equipped with Vittoria Corsa Pro road tyres - 30mm front and 32mm rear tyre - wrapped on DT Swiss wheels, and at the cockpit, there's a narrow Deda handlebar with turned-in hoods. 

Lotto DSTNY is sponsored by Shimano, so the rest of the groupset around the Classified system is Shimano Dura-Ace and the saddle is Selle Italia. 

Victor Campenaerts, walking up the Muur at 2023 Omloop Het Niuewsblad (GCN)

And you might be interested, did Campenaerts tackle the Muur without clipping out? Nope, he did not. Even the most effective drivetrain setup, paired with a very pro rider was not enough to tackle that wall of a climb on the bike - and in the end, Campenaerts finished 62nd. 

What do you think of the appearance of the Classified system in the pro peloton? Do you think we are going to see it on more pro bikes? 

As always, remember to check out our other Bike at Bedtime features for some inspiration, too... 

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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Global Nomad | 1 year ago

did he really finish 62nd with a 62 tooth chanring.?..ha ha

I've seen elewhere that keeping the chainline the straightest with the gear you will use most in the rear in the centre of the cassette is the way to the most efficient driveline...intersting to also note his  standard size jockey wheel 

joules1975 replied to Global Nomad | 1 year ago
1 like

Global Nomad wrote:

intersting to also note his  standard size jockey wheel 

I believe the amount the chain articulates matters more when the chain is under high tension, thus the articulation as it wraps on the chainring and unwraps off the cassette.

While the logic behind oversized jockey wheels is sound, the watts saving has never been described as anything but extremely marginal, whereas the savings are as I understand it much more with larger chainrings and cassette sprockets, despite the princlple being the same, due to the much high chain tension.

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