You have had a good fitting and your riding position is dialed in, you utilize a power meter (and the valuable information from your coach to maximize your power and watts efficiency on the bike), you got lighter and more aero wheels and you put in countless hours of training. However, you are still looking for an edge. For those looking for every advantage you can get, CeramicSpeed products might be your answer.
Danish Attention to Detail
There are a lot of ceramic based products and bearings on the market today. They are not all equal though; a cheap ceramic bearing is often much lower performance than a high quality steel bearing. CeramicSpeed makes high quality ceramic products; to many, they are the pinnacle. CeramicSpeed products are from Denmark. If any of you have experienced Danish culture, nothing is done with compromise. Everything is executed to the perfect detail and CeramicSpeed is a by-product of Danish perfection in everything that they do. When it comes to bearings, ceramic bearings that is, the Danes have been able to achieve and maintain producing a high standard of quality ceramic bearings that provide performance, durability and longevity.
Ceramic vs. Steel Bearings
Really high quality ceramic bearings and races are harder and smoother than even their best steel counterparts. This enables the bearings to glide better between each other providing less friction and more speed. They are also not prone to contamination; affected by dirt, grease and oxidation like steel bearings. Properly maintained, this means that they can have a longer lifespan. For more information on bearing quality and grades, read this article. For more Q&A on bearings, read this article.
Components and the Approach = Watts Saved
CeramicSpeed makes wheel bearings, bottom brackets, rear derailleur pulleys, their OSPW system – Oversized Pulley Wheel System, and UFO chains. Their products are available for road, triathlon, track and mountain bike applications. Each individual component has watt savings benefits and the idea is to use all the components of the system if you want to maximize your watt savings or combine a few together to get a meaningful improvement.
CeramicSpeed R&D claims that the potential watts savings for the complete system is between 10 – 16 watts. You heard that right, 10 – 16 watts! There is independent study that indicates that this is possible, even when replacing other high quality components.
Investing in a complete CeramicSpeed system usually runs a bit north of $1000. Maintained properly, this investment can get you a few key benefits beyond watts. When maintained properly, CeramicSpeed products can have a longer lifespan than more basic components. In addition, with the exception of the UFO chain, CeramicSpeed stands behind their products and provides a four year warranty. Considering the majority of alternative products offer a one year warranty, you can rest assured that part of your investment is paying upfront so that you don’t need to buy things again anytime soon. When the math is done, you’ll pretty much spend the same amount over four years or longer in parts and maintenance for standard steel bearings and you get better performance out of a unit like a CeramicSpeed.
CeramicSpeed Upgrade Options
Option 1: A complete CeramicSpeed upgrade consists of wheel bearings, bottom bracket, OSPW system – Oversized Pulley Wheel System – and UFO chain. It is suggested to use the chain for race day application only as the special coating works optimally in the first 150 miles of use. This gets you 10-16 watts compared to most systems.
Option 2: Standard CeramicSpeed upgrade – Wheel hub bearings, rear derailleur pulley system and bottom bracket. This gets you 6 – 9 watts.
Option 3: Individual CeramicSpeed components.
The CeramicSpeed UFO Chain will buy you 2 – 5 watts. The UFO chain’s R&D was developed by Friction Facts and acquired by CeramicSpeed. The chain is basically stripped of it’s factory lubrication in an ultrasonic tank and the UFO – Ultra Fast Optimized chain coating is applied. The chains performance is mainly beneficial in dry conditions and lifespan can be up to 325 miles, but is at its best in the first couple hundred miles. It is worth noting that this wattage benefit can be less if you are already using a low friction chain with a high performance lubricant like Rock n’Roll Red.
OSPW System: Approximate 2.4 watts (compared to Dura Ace ceramic pulleys) – The oversized pulley’s, 17 teeth to be exact, are housed in a carbon cage that assists with the lowest friction possible. The pulley system is designed to reduce friction in two key areas. The first area of friction reduction is placing the rear derailleur spring tension in one of three tension settings – high, medium, or low. High and medium are the most common settings as shifting performance decreases with lesser spring tension. The second area of friction reduction is with the large 17 teeth pulley size. The greater surface area and decreased angles of chain movement through the rear derailleur slows the chain down, thus reducing friction.
CeramicSpeed Product Compatibility
CeramicSpeed bottom brackets are available in over 150 types of frames and crankset pairings. They offer complete kits for most leading wheel brands and the pulleys/OSPW systems are readily available for mechanical and electronic rear derailleurs of Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM. UFO chains are also available in 10 and 11 speed as well as track specific applications in a number of chain brands and formats (in general, the Shimano and KMC versions have the lowest friction numbers to date).
If you’re looking for that next edge or have inquiries about how CeramicSpeed may benefit you, please contact us and let us know how we can assist you.