Since spring, we’ve been subject to a barrage of ambiguous ads and various clandestine activity from the folks at Truvativ all in the name of Hammerschmidt. Thankfully the veil of secrecy has been officially lifted and Truvativ is publicly revealing its secret product.

Hammerschmidt is a crank and bottom bracket combination with an integrated planetary drive mechanism. It's essentially a two-speed crankset. It gives the reliability of a single-ring system with chainguide and the gear range of a two-ring system, plus improved shifting. At first glance it looks shockingly small, with just a single 22 or 24-tooth ring.

Such a small front ring yields incredible ground clearance and, when combined with the 1.6x multiplication factor of the planetary mechanism inside, you get an approximate 36 or 38 tooth high gear. These 22×36 or 24×38 gear combinations are already standard on many all-mountain and freeride bikes so these numbers should be familiar to riders.

Truvativ developed two Hammerschmidt models. One is an all-mountain build comparable to Stylo cranks while the other freeride build uses cranks along the lines of the venerable Holzfeller. An included shifter looks remarkably similar to a SRAM X.0 model, but has only two positions.

There are several advantages to a single-ring, planetary-drive crankset. Riders can shift gears under incredible torque loads, while the cranks are stationary, or while pedaling backward. During the official unveiling, SRAM spokesman Greg Herbold was quick to point out that he could even shift while airborne. And shifting is more instantaneous than conventional derailleur systems--the gear mechanism uses a set of pawls to quickly engage a ramped gear, and they do it faster and more reliably than a conventional chain with a row of lifting ramps.

Watch an introduction to Hammerschmidt video HERE.

What do you think of the Hammerschmidt? Leave a comment below.