Belgian brand Ridley has announced an all-new carbon aero gravel bike with a unique gearing arrangement in its flagship spec.
The Kanzo Fast combines standard 1× groupset components with a 2-speed wirelessly-operated internal gear hub from Classified, another Belgium-based brand and one that’s new to the market.
While the Kanzo Fast borrows aero features from the Noah Fast road bike, the Classified system aims to combine the best features of 1× and 2× systems, with the downsides of neither.
The Kanzo Fast will be available this September in Shimano GRX RX800, GRX Di2, and SRAM Rival 1 builds as standard, with the Di2/Classified-equipped model costing €5,999.
Kanzo Fast: the “fastest gravel bike in the world”
The Kanzo Fast borrows various aerodynamic features from the Noah Fast including ‘F-Tubing’ profiles, where channels are used to create an aerodynamic tripwire that delays separation of the airflow, thereby reducing drag.
The bike also features the Noah’s F-Wing fork nubbins, along with fully-internal cabling and a distinctive fork-to-down tube transition.
Ridley claims that, at an unspecified speed, the Kanzo Fast saves 17 watts over an “ordinary gravel bike” and is within 4 watts of the Noah Fast “across all the yaw angles”. The brand calls the Kanzo Fast “the fastest gravel bike in the world”.
The Kanzo Fast shares aero features with the Noah Fast road race bike. Ridley
We’re used to seeing dropped seatstays on the latest bikes, but the Kanzo Fast’s are particularly low, in aid of rear-end comfort according to Ridley product manager Bert Kenens. Compliance is further enhanced by the D-section seatpost, which is intended to allow additional flex.
Because it’s designed to work with the Classified rear hub, the Kanzo Fast’s frame is 1×-only. Despite the bike’s racy intentions, it features mudguard mounts, a welcome bonus.
The Kanzo Fast is described as having “smooth gravel geometry” (we’ve not seen the numbers yet), clearance for 42mm tyres, and it’s matched to a one-piece gravel-specific cockpit with short drop and reach and a 16-degree flare on the drops.
Claimed weight for the frame is 1,190g (for a medium with lacquer), plus 490g for the fork. We’ve weighed a complete size large bike with Shimano GRX Di2 at 8.9kg.
Classified rear hub: a unique front derailleur alternative
Ridley partner Classified reckons its system offers “the same functionality as the front derailleur and way more”.
Its 2-speed rear-hub based system is controlled wirelessly and claims to be able to shift in just 150 milliseconds, and under full load up to 1,000 watts.
It offers ratios of 1:1 and 0.7:1, giving a total gear range of between 358 per cent with an 11-27 cassette and 451 per cent with an 11-34.
Incidentally, there’s no conventional freehub, the Classified hub accepts proprietary cassettes that are machined from solid steel.
The hub itself contains no battery but the “smart wireless thru-axle” does. Shifting is activated by induction coils in the axle, and a single charge is claimed to allow over 10,000 shifts.
Where conventional internal gear hubs are usually fairly heavy, Classified claims combining its system with a 1× drivetrain makes for bikes that are as light or lighter than conventional 2×-equipped bikes.
The brand also believes its system is more efficient overall than a conventional 1× setup because it reduces the amount of cross-chaining. Efficiency is said to be similar to that of a 2× drivetrain, helped by the fact that there’s no smaller chainring up front – smaller rings are inherently less efficient.
Ridley Kanzo Fast pricing and availability
The Kanzo Fast will be available from 1 September. In addition to two standard paintjobs, buyers have the option of going fully bespoke with Ridley’s Customizer programme.
Currently, only the top model in the range features the Classified system, with cheaper models getting conventional drivetrains. Euro pricing and specs are as follows, with pricing in other territories to be confirmed:
Kanzo Fast Shimano GRX Di2 Classified
Groupset: Shimano GRX Di2 with Classified
Wheels: Forza Vardar front / Forza Classified Carbon 45mm
Kanzo Fast Shimano GRX Di2
Groupset: Shimano GRX Di2
Wheels: Forza Levanto db
Kanzo Fast Shimano GRX800
Groupset: Shimano GRX RX800
Wheels: Forza Norte db
Kanzo Fast SRAM Rival 1
Groupset: SRAM Rival 1
Wheels: Forza Norte db