While chains are widely recognized as the weakest link in bicycle drivetrain design, they aren’t going away anytime soon. With the exception of the Rohloff rear hub and a few other quirky, but unusable designs, the standard front and rear derailleur setup has been around for years will little real changes over time. Yeah, you’ve gotten carbon fiber and different actuation ratios, but the principle has always been the same.
Now, step back for a second and think about the last time you lost your chain or mis-shifted and it dropped right off your granny gear just before a killer climb. Or, even worse… when you had a killer case of chain suck and it took you and three of your buddies just to pry the chain out from in between the granny gear and the bottom bracket shell.
I would venture to say that the front derailleur and chainrings are the weakest link in current mountain bike drivetrains and are prone to the most problems overall. I’m also a proponent of two chainrings up front because you don’t really need that large chainring unless you ride on the road–and who wants to do that? Not only that, but there are many frame designs that don’t lend themselves well to a proper front derailleur alignment and give me more headaches than smiles as I try to get them dialed in.
Introducing Truvativ HammerSchmidt
Well, the boys at Truvativ and SRAM have come up with a solution… the Truvativ HammerSchmidt integrated cranks and front transmission. This design eliminates the front derailleur from the mix and drops you down to a single chainring while still providing all the benefits of a 22/36 or 24/38 chainring duo.
Built inside the Truvativ HammerSchmidt transmission is a standard 1:1 ratio and a 1:1.6 ratio gearing system called OverDrive, which can be shifted on-the-fly at any time. No more slowing your cadence to shift… no more chain suck… no more losing your chain–just clean, crisp shifts every time and any time you want.
Truvativ HammerSchmidt is available in two flavors: All-mountain (based on Stylo cranksets) and Freeride (based on Holzfeller cranksets). MSRP for the HammerSchmidt AM system with X.9 shifter starts at $700 and HammerSchmidt FR starts at $762. Add about $60 for a X.0 shifter.
I’m looking forward to getting to know HammerSchmidt over the coming months. The only catch is that you must have a bike with ISCG (International-standard Chain Guide) 03 or 05 tabs. Most long-travel trail bikes and freeride bikes all come with ISCG tabs, but it’s still going to be the biggest limitation here for starters. I know I don’t currently have a single bike with ISCG tabs, but now I want one.
Going into Interbike, this will be on my shortlist, so look for more details in the coming months.
More Info: Visit MagicMechanics.com