Review: HXR's Easy Shift Crankset Changes Gears Without Pedaling
In Europe, the crankset is available for €449, with the Enduro model for 73mm wide bottom brackets being offered in 170mm or 175mm crank lengths and the DH model for 83mm wide B.B. in a 165mm length.
InstallationFitting the HXR kit was similar to any other crank. I used a threaded BSA 73mm bottom bracket and it came with a tool and a bunch of thin plastic washers to fine tune things. Once the BB was in, place the chainring and 'freewheel' on to the driveside splines and install this side of the crank. Finally, add the non-driveside arm and torque it up.
Performance and ThoughtsDoes the system work? That's obviously the first question and yes, it does. I could change gears at any time the rear wheel was turning, but it took a few rides for me to relearn when to shift so that I could benefit from being in the correct gear. I soon started to shift going into corners and even in them so that I could pedal out on exit, preventing those useless pedal strokes when you're in too low a gear to add any meaningful speed. It was also useful for shifting in preparation for a sudden climb following a rough descent or vice-versa. The overlying fear of mine with the system is what would happen if a stick were to get caught in the wheel? At high-speed, I don't know if I could stop quickly enough to prevent the chain and derailleur from getting ripped off. Also, what would happen if the chain were to jam when riding something technical? The rear wheel would stop turning and could even cause a crash. Even if the narrow wide chainring and chain guide do their job's perfectly, something as simple as tagging the rear mech on a rock and bending the mech hanger could cause a crash. Luckily, none of the above happened, but they were on my mind.I'm not really concerned about the additional weight of the extra freewheel system, although that's certainly going to be a dealbreaker for some riders, but carrying a second freewheel mechanism which is blocked seems to be waste to me. This would happen even if you spent the money on HXR's fixed gear hub, as it is convertible between a fixed gear hub or normal freehub. I would be interested to try the blocking pawls on an eMTB hub, which might be useful for technical hill climbs as you could change gear in time with pedal pauses around or on to obstacles.
|The HXR Easy Shift system is interesting, but its performance isn't groundbreaking enough to prompt me to rush out and put one on every bike I ride.— Paul Aston|