Tom Boonen about revolutionary shifting system: “Some products need a topper to sell, we don’t need that”

© Jan Van der Perre

Nailed to the ground by double chain problems at the foot of ‘his’ Taaienberg. It happened to Tom Boonen in his very last Tour of Flanders in 2017. A year later, Boonen became acquainted with the revolutionary shifting system of the Belgian-Dutch start-up ‘Classified Cycling’. The former world champion jumped on the bandwagon as an ambassador investor and recently the technology could be admired for the first time in the pro peloton.

Quinten Lafort

Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 03:00 am

The ‘dropper post’ of Matej Mohoric in Milan-Sanremo, the tire pressure system of ‘Scope Cycling’ and soon the Powershift of ‘Classified Cycling’? Or no longer say soon, because riders of the Norwegian formation Uno-X already made use of the revolutionary shifting system during the Tour of Hungary.

Built into the rear wheel hub, the Powershift eliminates the frustrations associated with shifting up front with a classic derailleur. Cyclists – and therefore also cyclists in the professional peloton – cannot pedal with full power while shifting gears. The Powershift changes that and delivers a power gain of one percent. So go to the mouth of the pro peloton.

Professional platoon as a driving lab

“There are a lot of professionals who train with the system and riders themselves are also asking their teams, but we are not just aiming for that segment. We’re going to do it our way. Although the pro peloton remains a driving lab, and we must not forget that,” begins Tom Boonen, who acts as an ambassador investor at Classified.

© Jan Van der Perre

Boonen first became acquainted with the technology four years ago. The interest of the multiple winner of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix was immediately aroused, especially in view of the unfortunate incident in Vlaanderens Mooiste. “I’ve always been a techie, both with cars and bicycles. A good acquaintance of mine is in a kind of think tank in Antwerp. He then called me in the sense of ‘you should go and have a look at that company’. I immediately realized that the project had potential. Certainly in view of my own experience, I realize the more we remove a weak point in this way.”

Not the only ex-pro who invests

In the meantime, things went fast for Classified, which recently moved from Turnhout to Antwerp and went from five employees to 40 people. Ex-riders such as Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel and Anna van der Breggen decided to follow Boonen in the role as ambassador investor.

© Jan Van der Perre

A revolution also beckons for the professional peloton, but that is not the motivation of the Belgian-Dutch start-up. “For me, it’s not about the fact that top people are driving with the technology. Some products need a topper to sell, with us it is so much better that it is not necessary.”

Boonen also has a clear wish for the future. “I hope we get into a scenario where we’ll be mainstream in ten years. This does not mean that we will suddenly supply sets to professional teams on the assembly line, but it does mean that we can put pressure on major players such as Shimano”, concluded the ex-rider.



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