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    James Huang, Technical Editor for BikeRadar.com

New crank mounted transmission for commuters

At the other end of the cycling spectrum, FSA will add to its Metropolis range of urban and commuter gear with the addition of a new Metropolis Patterson Transmission crankset.  As the name suggests, the new crank incorporates a two-speed internal drivetrain with 1:1 and 1:1.6 ratios, which will effectively provide a 28/45T range but in a very compact package that’s essentially sealed from the elements.

nternal architecture is fairly conventional with a sun gear and four planetary gears, the latter of which are engaged with a cable-actuated pawl.  FSA’s setup completely pulls the pawl out of the way of the ratchet when it isn’t needed, though, which results in quieter running and reduced drag.

Unlike Truvativ’s somewhat similar HammerSchmidt system, the Metropolis crank will install on any standard frame with a fixed chain stay – no ISCG tabs are required – though as of right now it does require down tube cable routing.  One cool side benefit of FSA’s fully retracted pawl, however, is that it will supposedly work with virtually any shifter.

The Metropolis Patterson Transmission will be fairly reasonably priced at US$299.99 when it becomes available later this year but it’s also heavy at around 1.5kg (3.3lb).  Still, it should prove appealing to commuters who are looking for a low-maintenance system.   A belt drive-compatible model is in the works, too.

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