Two years ago in a bid to expand their low-friction, watt-saving gains beyond bearings, CeramicSpeed debuted their first UFO chains after acquiring the Ultra Fast Optimization waxing process developed by independent testing lab Friction Facts. Since then, they’ve taken their incremental gains a step further, wholly took over the work of Friction Facts, created a lube development lab, and now are back launching a revamped formula that improves their UFO Racing Chains in every way.
The new CeramicSpeed UFO Racing Chains claim a 15% reduction in friction over the already industry-leading ‘world’s fastest‘ last generation, and they are now said to last almost twice as long at that improved performance. Not only does that make their gains even more substantial, but effectively cuts the cost to maintain that top level of performance…
We’ve mentioned before that it was a bit of a shame that the industry lost the independence of Jason Smith of Friction Facts with the CeramicSpeed buyout, but it looks like increasing the R&D funding has made for even more improvements to the clean-wax-treat method he developed to outperform all other stock chains and lubrication methods. CeramicSpeed brought the UFO tech from the US to their Danish HQ and has been tweaking how they start with chains from the big manufacturers, then optimize each one by hand through a multi-step process with a unique wax and special additives to eke out lower friction and improved performance.
The new formula for the optimized chains bumps up the durability to ensure smooth rolling without retreatment for 600 km (370mi) of optimal performance. Previous UFO versions had guaranteed optimal gains for around 320 km, after which power savings slowly dropped off as the lubricant of the chain degraded. (Just to be clear… actual chain life of these UFO chains remains the same as the original untreated KMC or Shimano chains, so depending on conditions somewhere north of a couple thousand kms. This 600km stated life is exclusively for the race-only low friction treatment, after which they will need regular lubrication for the remainder of their lifespan.)
After several months of road & lab testing though, the new wax-based formula is said to last twice as long, before any significant efficiency losses were detected, and in some cases potentially even longer. That new durability starts to bring the UFO chains more into the reach of serious amateur athletes. While not many people could justify a chain that might only last for two races, this newest version could be swapped in by a cyclist looking to improve their performance in 4, 5, or more key events that they target each year. It still is a fair weather treatment, CeramicSpeed says the UFO chains last longest when riding and racing in dry and clean weather conditions.
The new CeramicSpeed UFO Racing Chains will be offered in two different options, based on the what had been show to provided the smoothest running base to start with, and the added benefit that costs remain the same. First optimized KMC SL chains will be made in both 125€ 10 speed and 129€ 11 speed variants to work with the vast majority of modern racing drivetrains from SRAM, Campagnolo, and Shimano. Then a new 135€ optimized Dura-Ace HG901 11 speed chain will be made available, specifically for new Shimano bikes. The chains will still ship with a bottle of the Squirt lube, that can be used to maximize performance after the 600km threshold, and reusable quick links and Shimano connecting pins are also available.