So I’ve been sporting SRAM’s Truvativ Hammerschmit for about 8 months now. I love it. It’s been living on the bike I do the vast majority of my riding on and I even raced it at a couple Super D’s this year (including Downieville). When I first heard about this 2 speed internal crank/transmission that needs no front derailleur and has a built in chainguide I was of course extremely intrigued. Sounds perfect for what I do day in and day out.
As most of my rides consist of climbing as long as my legs are good and then turning down hill and riding my bike like a DH sled I’ve always been resentful of the need for a double or triple with front derailleur to get to the top, and of course nothing chunders your focus and attitude like dropping your chain along every bumpy section of trail on the way back down. A rider can always go the single front chainring route which looks way cleaner, is way cleaner, and looks way more manly too boot. All those things are good if you’re in the heart of the DH/XC/ Enduro season, but sometimes I just don’t feel that manly and mostly I ride by myself and whats the point of trying to impress yourself anyway. Enter the Hammerschmit, which from here on out will be abbreviated as HS for obvious reasons.
My first rides on HS proved the things I’d heard were absolutely true. Shifts happen instantly! No matter what the situation. Coasting into a switchback (one of my favs). Dragging a foot through a turn. Pedaling with all the ponies your legs can bring to the party. Backpedaling,….at some point you just start wondering if there is a scenario where it won’t shift perfectly and you start trying to mess it up. You can’t. I haven’t missed a shift in 8 months.
I’d also heard it’s a bit of a porker. It is. No one ever said it was the newest XC race weaponry out there. That’s the new XX stuff. It will add weight to your bike but I can’t think of a better place to put it than nice & low at the BB. It’s not the kind of weight you feel when you’re riding the bike either, just the kind you feel when you pick it up at the trailhead (which only matters in your head so get over it). If you still are leery of the weight why not go the extra poundage and get rid of your suspension, disc brakes, nice tires, height adjustable seatpost,….that’ll turn those riser bars upside down in a hurry.
It changes how your bike pedals. Well yeah it might a little. It also changes where you pedal your bike and let’s you sit and pedal up stuff you’d usually have to walk up. When it comes down to it if you have a bike that already pedals efficiently it still will, but it may feel just a little more bouncy in steep out of the saddle ragged stabs at the pedals type stuff. But I haven’t ridden a full squish bike yet that does that stuff well.
You don’t need a chainguide anymore. True. I haven’t dropped my chain once in 8 months of aggressive riding…Knock on wood. And you’ve got the ground clearance of a granny ring too.
Frames gotta be compatible. ISCG tabs are a must.
I’ve gotten so used to the perfect shifts every time and the very use-able gear ratios that I’ve become a little addicted to HS. I often use it while riding downhill knowing that I can make a huge gearing reduction ( equivalent to around 5 or 6 gears at the cassette ) with one instantaneous click. I use it when I mess up a corner and need a way easier gear. It’s modified the way I ride high speed downhill switchbacks. Now I just charge into them heedless of the gear I’m in knowing that I will simply downshift the HS while coasting into the corner and have the perfect gear for exit speed & acceleration. No more stalling out on surprise terrain changes.
My opinion; If you ride a ton of roadie style XC races ( or just identify with that type ) HS is not for you. You stopped reading when I said it would add weight to your bike anyway so by by for now. I’ll be writing about XX sometime this spring. If you’re trying to win your category DH race it’s probably not for you. But if you’re just into riding a lot and you want to be able to climb to the top of the mountain and then be able to shred the descent all the way home with never a dropped chain and never a missed shift then I think you should try it out for yourself. You could become Hammerschmitten too.