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Bridford (UK) funds innovative bike gear tech from Flanders

Nothing says Flanders like cycling. The region is a mecca for bike fanatics from near and far. Each year, the Tour of Flanders – one of six legendary cycling classics – is celebrated like a public holiday. It’s no surprise that Classified Cycling, a start-up from Turnhout (Flanders), is attracting big investors for its pioneering bike gear system. The firm raised EUR 5 million to accelerate its expansion.

Lucky number seven

Tom Boonen is one of Flanders’ most legendary road racing cyclists, having won one race after the other in his heyday. Today, he is one of the shareholders of Classified Cycling, a cycling start-up that spent seven years engineering an innovative new technology that could change the face of cycling as we know it. After its launch in the summer of 2020, the company is now eager to conquer the market. CEO Mathias Plouvier is confident that their technology will give market leader Shimano a run for its money:

This capital injection is a game changer. We expect to market thousands of gear shifting systems in 2021.

Mathias Plouvier
CEO at Classified Cycling

Shifting up to top gear

Classified Cycling's system is a kind of virtual gearbox that is incorporated into the hub of the rear wheel. It’s an ingenious combination of gears and rings that is controlled wirelessly by electronic switches on the handlebars. The technology was already being used in city bikes but Classified Cycling finetuned it for professional racers. The company supplies its technology to bicycle manufacturers – like Flanders-based Ridley – who integrate it into their bikes.

To finance Classified Cycling’s rapid growth, Mathias Plouvier recently raised EUR 5 million. It’s their second big capital round, after collecting almost EUR 3 million from LRM and Tom Boonen, among others. The new investor is UK-based Bridford Investments, which also invested in Northvolt, a producer of batteries for electric cars. The fresh money will be used to scale up production and expand research. Even a move to electric bicycles is in the pipeline.

Firmly in the saddle

According to Mathias Plouvier, Classified Cycling does not lack ambition. While production is still done manually today, the plan is to automate the process and increase the current volumes. For this purpose, Barend Braaksma, the former operations director and interim CEO of gearbox manufacturer Punch Powertrain, has already been recruited.

Classified Cycling is located at the Open Manufacturing Campus (OMC) in Turnhout, Flanders, an incubator for innovative businesses. About 20 companies have set up bases there, including Ergotrics, Luxexcel and Leclanché. It currently employs about 15 people but is determined to double that number by the end of 2021.

More info

Classified Cycling
Reported by
newspaper De Tijd
12 February 2021

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