EUROBIKE 2019 News

UPDATE 2019: CeramicSpeed Driven – the most efficient road bike drivetrain

The CeramicSpeed Driven drivetrain has the potential to revolutionise the racing world. The innovative concept from the Danish brand gets rid of the front mech, the rear derailleur and the chain. Read on to find out what this is all about and what a 1% drivetrain is.

UPDATE: After presenting their chainless CeramicSpeed Drive drivetrain at last year’s EUROBIKE, the Danes are now following up with a wireless drivetrain prototype. Since one of the prototype’s motors failed during the presentation, we only managed to take a short video in which the crank is operated manually – ghetto style! However, the video also shows how the gear changes should happen. The ball bearing mount is divided into two parts and holds the ball bearings in place, which in turn transfer the force to the cassette. The half that is currently not connected to the cassette, is meant to shift the gears when the drivetrain is in working order. The second half follows suit.

The efficiency of conventional drivetrains is limited and can therefore only be optimised up to a certain point. Loss of power is mainly caused by friction between chain and chainrings, the deflection of the chain by the derailleur jockey wheels and the frictional resistance in the chain links. Because of these factors, the most efficient chain-based drivetrain delivers 98.08% power transmission at 250 W. The benchmark is achieved by the Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain with CeramicSpeed bottom bracket, jockey wheels and UFO Racing chain. Danish company CeramicSpeed has set itself the task of developing the 1% drivetrain. The aim is to achieve an efficiency level of 99% – i.e. only 1% power loss.

Drive shaft instead of chain; sprocket instead of cassette
Rear driveshaft cone and …
..front driveshaft cone
Here ball bearings meet the front chainring – no more chain line issues
Rear sprocket, currently with 13 gears
The in-house bottom bracket is central to the prototype

CeramicSpeed Driven – Concept

The idea of using a drive shaft instead of a chain came to CeramicSpeed engineers nine months ago in one of their “Skunkwork Project Meetings”. At both ends of this carbon shaft, there are cones, comprised of 21 ball bearings each. These ball bearings engage with the gears on the crank and rear wheel. This design replaces the frictional resistance of the chain by the sliding friction of the ball bearings, which should significantly improve the efficiency of the system. Gear changes are possible by shifting the rear cone. A servo motor integrated into the shaft moves the cone forwards or backwards. However, the system in its current state can’t yet shift. However, computer simulations supposedly already confirm the functionality of the shifting process. In theory, the number of gears is limited only by the length of the shaft and the size of the rear wheel gear. The prototype shown has 13 speeds and a gear range of 376%. This ratio is comparable to that of a conventional drivetrain with 53/39 chainrings and an 11-28T cassette.

The first functional model

CeramicSpeed is currently looking for partners who want to make use of its revolutionary drivetrain. According to the company, there are no plans to market the product themselves. Should CeramicSpeed find a partner, the system could be available to consumers within the next one to two years, offering a fascinating alternative not only for road bikes but also for e-bikes and commuters.

Cross-section of the driveshaft: space for servo motor and a battery for wireless shifting

CeramicSpeed Driven – Advantages

At 250 W, the CeramicSpeed Driven drivetrain generates 49% less friction than the standard Shimano Dura-Ace unit. According to CeramicSpeed, this results in an efficiency level of over 99 %. By eliminating the front mech and rear derailleur, Driven also offers potential for weight savings. Furthermore, the integration of the system offers possibilities to further improve the aerodynamics of the bike. The already mentioned gear range can’t only be changed by adding further gears: Replacing the rear driveshaft cone with a larger or smaller version can increase or decrease the overall gear range of the system. Depending on the application or terrain, the drivetrain can thus be adapted to the riding requirements.

The brain behind the concept: Jason Smith and his addiction to friction

CeramicSpeed Driven – Our opinion

With the CeramicSpeed Driven, CeramicSpeed provide a forward-thinking and promising alternative for the drivetrain market. If the company succeeds in finding a partner, we may soon be dropping our chains… Never a dull moment in the world of cycling! We will keep you up to date.

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Art or CNC masterpiece – sometimes the boundaries are blurred

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