Component maker Phil Wood has been playing around with 13-speed drivetrains for several years. At Interbike 2014, the company showed off a fat bike with a 1x13 drivetrain. For this year’s tradeshow, Phil Wood used a gravel bike with a 13-speed drivetrain to showcase its drivetrain experimentation.
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How Phil Wood's 13-speed drivetrain works
Among the California-based company’s offerings are hubs, headsets and cranksets, but not cassettes.
To build this 13-speed drivetrain, the tinkerers at Phil Wood used an 11-speed Shimano XT cassette with an 11-40t range and stacked OneUp’s 45t and 50t upgrade cogs top of it. The Shimano XTR rear derailleur’s cage was replaced with OneUp’s Shark cage to allow it to reach all the way to the 50t cog.
In addition to the longer cage, they added a custom adapter to the derailleur to allow it to pull enough cable to move the 11-speed derailleur across a 13-speed drivetrain.
Indexed 13-speed shifting isn’t available…yet. So, a Genevalle shifter set to friction mode controls the rear derailleur.
If you’re shaking your head and thinking there’s no way 13 cogs can fit on a standard freehub body, you’re correct. Phil Wood also machined a custom freehub body mated to a 150mm-spaced rear hub.
This custom drivetrain required a custom bike. SyCip supplied a gravel bike with an extra wide rear end to complete the package.
So, will this cobbled together drivetrain make it to production? It’s highly unlikely. More than anything, it seems to be an exercise in creating something just because one can.
But who knows? Maybe this is a sign of things to come.