When you compare the HammerSchmidt setup to any typical double or tripple crankset, the HammerSchmidt system offers significantly more clearance in just about every direction. You get more clearance to the small ring which makes getting over logs and obstacles much easier.
If a frame were designed around a HammerSchmidt, it could prove beneficial by offering more flexibility on pivot locations, less front derailleur tubing variations / tweaks, beefier tubing options, additional tire clearnace, and much more.
In addition to the crankset area gaining more clearnace, the rear derailleur also can benefit as you can run a short cage derailleur which will improve clearance there as well without any loss of gearing.
Lastly, when you pick up the bike you won’t get the grease marks on your legs or clothes as the system is encapsulated quite nicely due to the smaller HammerSchmidt footprint.
All in one system
The HammerSchmidt is a system and as such was designed to work as one unit. To get a comparable setup is a lot harder as all parts are not designed to work perfectly with every single part. By designing the HammerSchmidt to include all these in one package was a smart idea. The HammerSchmidt takes either a 22t or 24t main gear and uses either a 22t or a 24t HammerSchmidt upper guide that is included. There are multiple positions for the upper guide to be mounted that helps it fit a wide variety of bikes. The durability of the HammerSchmidt seems right where it needs to be and the synergy of the system worked well.
The HammerSchmidt system shifts under load, while backpedaling, or standing still. It is very quick and effortless. Compared to a front derailleur system, this system blows it away in how easy it is to shift in the last second without fail or chain griding.
The system is smooth and is a vast improvement in terms of having reliable shifts no matter what the scenario is. With a typical front derailleur setup, you have to pedal to shift, the HammerSchmidt does not. This helps improve shifting as it is much quicker and easier to get out of rough situations with a quick push of the shifter.
While you can’t visually look down and see what gear you’re in, it is very easy to determine with a push of the shifter. The system shifts effortlessly and last minute shifts proved to be no problem for the HammerSchmidt.
A big part of what the HammerSchmidt can do is manage the chain much better. It doesn’t have a lower roller to quiet the chain exiting the crankset, but it does have an upper guide that keeps the chain on the ring safely.
The chain is also able to be cut much shorter so you get a tighter drivetrain that has less chainslap as well. A short cage derailleur can be used in this setup much easier without fear of cross stretching the chain or going beyond the rear derailleur’s capacity. In a typical 18 or 27 speed drivetrain, often there are gears that are shunned against using. With the HammerSchmidt system, the chain line is improved over a front derailleur system, and all gears are encouraged to be used.
Improved chain line
The chainline of the HammerSchmidt is an impressive benefit. There was no rub on the system in any of the gears and it allows the rear derailleur to do its job easier. During the test rides there wasn’t any mis-shifts and the rear derailleur tracked impressively well without fail.
Essentially what I found was that the HammerSchmidt encompassed a lot of single chain ring benefits and dual ring benefits into one clean rub free package.