Charlotte Head

27 Jan 2023

British wheel brand announces Powershift-equipped wheel range launch alongside R&D partnership

Parcours has joined forces with Classified to become the first brand to bring Powershift hubs built onto third-party rims to the UK market, the brand says.

The Classified hubs will be available on all of the wheels in the Monument range, covering both road and gravel disciplines.

Though other brands have already teamed up with the hub specialists, notably Mavic, Enve and Fast Forward, Parcours is the first to build Powershift-enabled wheels with non-Classified rims that are available to purchase in the UK.

Photo: Parcours

The launch comes alongside a long-term partnership between the two brands and a teaser that more announcements will be coming as the year goes on.

‘There’s more to it than just being a rim provider,’ says Amy Marks, head of marketing and PR. ‘It’s a partnership and we’re going to be doing a lot of exciting research and development with them this year.’

The news follows recent reports that Rapha chairman, Nick Evans, has invested €10 milllion in Classified, joining a host of other big names in the cycling industry such as Tom Boonen and Anna van der Breggen.

About Parcours

Photo: Parcours

Parcours launched in 2016, founded by Dov Tate, aiming to ‘make aerodynamics more accessible’. Parcours is well-known in the triathlon community for its disc wheels and has become more prominent on the road and gravel scene in recent years.

In 2020, the team worked with the Sports Engineering Department at Nottingham Trent University to produce its Strade wheelset.

The design uses a shallower front rim and deeper rear rim to balance handling in real world conditions with aerodynamic performance. Parcours was the first brand to bring the concept of differential rim profiles to lower price points.

About Classified

Photo: Mike Massaro

After seven years of R&D, Classified released the Powershift hub in 2021. It uses a planetary gear system, which is a design used in most modern automotive transmissions.

Planetary gear systems use a central drive gear (the ‘sun’, if a solar system analogy is used), around which multiple gears rotate (the ‘planets’). Both are encircled by an outer ‘ring’ gear.

Photo: Mike Massaro

The Powershift system works by using a wireless shifter situated on the bars to signal a smart thru axle. That actuates the gear system in the rear hub via an induction coil to switch between a 1:1 direct drive gear and 1:0.7 reduced gear.

It’s the 1:0.7 gear that simulates the small chainring and adds 2× gearing to an otherwise conventional 1× drivetrain – you’d get an effective 34t little ring using the Powershift hub and a 50t chainring, for example.

Classified claims that the shifting is almost instant – at 150 milliseconds – and that, unlike a front derailleur, it can shift under full load, up to 1,000 watts.

Photo: Mike Massaro

When we reviewed the Powershift hub, one of the few drawbacks was the lack of wheel availability at the time of writing. The collaboration with Parcours, alongside the other partners announced in 2022, marks a step towards a more readily available and multi-purpose product.

‘At Classified we always want to work with the brands that mirror our desire to push boundaries in all areas of the cycling world, and Parcours are doing that,’ says Mathias Plouvier, co-founder of Classified.

[Read more]