CeramicSpeed continues to push the performance of their award-winning, chain-less Driven drivetrain concept forward. The idea from the start was to create a more efficient drivetrain than a conventional chain & cassette, but aerodynamic efficiency was always lurking in the back of their engineer’s mind. Now with a new cowled design and a partnership with Specialized, CeramicSpeed have taken a Driven-equipped S-Works Venge into the wind tunnel to set a benchmark as the “world’s most aerodynamic drivetrain”…

CeramicSpeed Driven world’s most aero drivetrain

It’s not a huge surprise that by taking a spinning chain, cassette & derailleur out of the wind, CeramicSpeed’s drivetrain could be more aero. But they wanted to quantify just how much drag they could save, so CeramicSpeed partnered with Specialized to use their Win Tunnel for some actual testing.

UPDATE! See how it shifts and their new MTB version IN THIS POST!

CeramicSpeed Driven chain-less bike drivetrain, world's most efficient drivetrain, world's most aerodynamic drivetrain, Specialized Win Tunnel wind tunnel tested CeramicSpeed Driven chain-less bike drivetrain, world's most efficient drivetrain, world's most aerodynamic drivetrain, Specialized Win Tunnel wind tunnel tested CeramicSpeed Driven chain-less bike drivetrain, world's most efficient drivetrain, world's most aerodynamic drivetrain, Specialized Win Tunnel wind tunnel tested

It’s important to note that the Driven drivetrain concept is still just that – a concept. But it’s a concept that seems to have some real potential, both in terms of drivetrain efficiency and aerodynamics. Thanks to 21 CeramicSpeed bearings attached to the end of a pinion-drive shaft, the drivetrain claims to have an “increased optimal efficiency of 99%” compared to a traditional chain driven drivetrain. But the elimination of some moving parts also seems to have a slight effect on aerodynamics with a 3% gain.

CeramicSpeed Driven chain-less bike drivetrain, world's most efficient drivetrain, world's most aerodynamic drivetrain, Specialized Win Tunnel wind tunnel tested

The testing was performed with a current Specialized Venge that was equipped with both a standard drivetrain in 53 x 13 gearing, and the Driven chainless drivetrain. The Driven drivetrain tested faster both with and without the new cover, and the covered Driven drivetrain was more aerodynamic across all yaw angles.

If you’re in search of the fastest road bike period, it seems like there is some promise in the Driven concept. Of course, the drivetrain will also need to be light weight and durable enough to withstand real world abuse. CeramicSpeed claims that they’ve been doing rider load testing at a velodrome where they have reached speeds of 45km/h, and they’re working on a shifting mechanism to go along with it. Is this the future of bicycle drivetrains? Only time will tell…

CeramicSpeed.com

18 COMMENTS

  1. So its not actually a working model just a shaft drive single speed. I can wheel scuff a bike along at a fair speed should we see how aero that is?

  2. I wish the bicycle media would not encourage manufacturers to keep distributing graphs without axis labels by continuing to publish said graphs. Without axis labels values for tick marks on said axes, the graphs are meaningless. It’s doubly meaningless to show error bars without associated values! The lack of labels and values makes me think that Ceramic Speeds data isn’t as great as they’d like people to think.

    • My first job in healthcare my boss would constantly tell doctors to not be distracted by “marketing that’s 10 years ahead of the science” sums up ceramic speed perfectly.

    • I love their claim that they’ve reduced drivetrain friction by 50%. While it’s technically true, once you learn that it means that their drivetrain is 99% efficient (1% friction loss) vs. 98% efficient (2% friction loss) for a standard drivetrain, it’s not so impressive.

  3. For a.segment of the cycling world concerned with being injured by brake rotors, that “cassette” may as well be a running chainsaw

    • OK, at what point is this vaporware that we’re allowed to be disappointed with? We’ve been hearing this drivetrain for the better part of two years now with nothing more than a non functioning prototype. This from a company known for its notoriously stale “innovation”.

    • The problem is that there’s no potential for this to ever work as advertised. The entire concept is seriously flawed and way too fragile to be practical as a multi-speed system. As it is, it cannot handle any significant amount of torque and the unsealed bearings are expose to the elements. Perhaps we may see it in single-speed form on a track bike meant for an hour record attempt, but that’s probably the only realistic application for this design. It’s engineering for engineering’s sake, nothing more than an interesting exercise.

      • That aero cowling eliminates most of the criticism about the unsealed bearings (they’re no longer exposed). I’m looking forward to seeing how this drivetrain develops – bike chains have had a century of development and are still a long way from perfection (they’re highest-maintenance part of a bike).

        • The cowling helps, but the bearings are still unsealed and exposed to the air, and as soon as you get a bit of grit in them, the tiny reduction in friction they’ve achieved goes out the window, not to mention that the life of the bearings will be short. If you put seals on the bearings, you lose the efficiency gain; otherwise they would have used sealed bearings to begin with. So, their main “claim to fame” is an illusion.

          On top of that, the engagement surfaces are thin and fragile, plus the design will cause huge side loads that will flex the “gears” away from the drive shaft, causing skipping. That’s why there are no videos of anyone pedaling this drivetrain while applying any real power to it.

          Granted, it’s a cool experiment, but as an alternative, multi-speed drivetrain design, it’s a joke.

  4. This will never make production. It’s just not a viable method of transferring power. Each time the direction of power is changed, there are major losses, and this changes direction too many times

    There’s a solution much better than the current, but this ain’t it.

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