The HxR Easy Shift allows you to change gear while freewheeling by moving the freewheel to the chainring and fixing the cassette to the rear hub.
This therefore allows the cranks and chainring to move independently.
Have you ever come out of a corner and found yourself unable to accelerate because you’re in the wrong gear? Well then this new concept from HxR may interest you. HxR are a French company from the same hometown as Mavic (there must be something wheely interesting in the water in Annecy).
Tech spec: alloy arms, 165 or 170mm lengths, 94mm BCD compatible, approx €450 (not including a necessary fixed rear hub).
Although it may look weird to have the chainring spinning as you freewheel, it does mean the chain is in constant motion so you can change gears at any time. It reminds us of the old Honda DH with that iconic bike’s frame-mounted-derailleur-in-a-box design.
The product seems to be aimed at the enduro market with racers in mind and if you are conscious about gaining milliseconds then there are some obvious advantages to this. Firstly you no longer have to anticipate the trail so can change gear on-the-fly and secondly the Easy Shift will make the freewheel unsprung weight and, in theory, improve a bike’s handling.
Of course there are drawbacks too. This system will only work with a 1x drivetrain, so if that isn’t your thing then you’re stuck with what you have. Also if the chain drops (although this is unlikely with a chainguide and wide-narrow chainring) your back wheel will grind to a halt with nothing to keep it spinning.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this design with Schwinn proposing a similar concept in the 70s and modern singlespeed trials bikes using it too but this is the first example we’ve seen on a 1×11 drivetrain.
The crankset you buy from HXR will include a crank, a freewheel and everything you need to fit it. HXR believes it will fit almost any bike with a 1x set up. This set weighs 773 grams. You will need to buy your own fixed rear hub and chainguide but HXR does sell specific Easy Shift ones if you want.