First shown at Eurobike 2018, the CeramicSpeed Driven drivetrain concept replaces the chain with a carbon fiber driveshaft being turned by a toothed cog. At the back is a pie-platter sized disc with rows of teeth timed to a series of small bearings that engage to turn the rear wheel. You can read all about the design and tech here.

ceramicspeed driven prototype chainless road bike drivetrain uses a carbon driveshaft

The project is still in the works, with three modified Cervelo P5 bikes in their Colorado offices. The latest update is that they’re “almost” able to shift under power. They’re rideable, but only in one gear.

UPDATE! Watch how it shifts and see the prototype mountain bike version in this post!

More recently, they introduced the offroad OSPW system. Word is it’s the first of more gravel, cyclocross and mountain bike systems to come, likely with their adjustable spring rate. That feature lets you set a lighter cage return tension to (slightly) reduce friction when you won’t be on super rough terrain.

One thing they glossed over in the introduction of the off-road OSPW parts was the revised narrow-wide tooth profile on the pulleys. As with anything they do, the design is optimized for performance, in this case to keep the chain on board even when you’re running lower return spring tension. But this particular design came about after reviewing other’s designs and the need to stay on the other side of some big brands’ patents.

Stay tuned for more news from them this year, and we’ll be setting up a call with their team to discuss friction and efficiency on the Bikerumor Podcast…so, got questions? Leave them in the comments here and we’ll be sure to ask!

CeramicSpeed.com

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

33 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
B
B
3 years ago

If these OSPW are so great how come the big three aren’t providing them on their products?

dkrenik
dkrenik
3 years ago
Reply to  B

Bandwagon fallacy

JBikes
JBikes
3 years ago
Reply to  dkrenik

There is also healthy skepticism.

Do you feel its “bandwagon fallacy” that no major carmaker produces a car that runs purely on water or that it doesn’t exist because its not feasible given any known chemistry or thermodynamic law?

I’m not saying this is as fraudulent. Its probably feasible, but there are so many technical hurdles for this project to be viable that is kinda screams marketing stunt.

dkrenik
dkrenik
3 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Merely noting the fault in “B’s” logic.

JBikes
JBikes
3 years ago
Reply to  dkrenik

I agree that just because the big 3 aren’t doing, doesn’t make it a bad idea so you have me there.

Alex V
Alex V
3 years ago
Reply to  B

Same conspiracy that’s stopping nuclear fusion.

wako29
wako29
3 years ago
Reply to  B

SRAM and Shimano don’t like other company’s pulley wheels or gears on their products, and they have more pull with the Big 3 than CeramicSpeed.
Oh, and because it’s very expensive, and the average consumer doesn’t see the value of it. But if you really wanted to spend an extra ~$500 on a more efficient pulley system, then I’m sure it’s something that your bike shop will gladly help you out with.

El Pataron
El Pataron
3 years ago
Reply to  wako29

Well, sort of, but not really. Bikes often top $10,000. (deleted)

DRC
DRC
3 years ago
Reply to  wako29

Sram Red already has ceramic bearings in the RD pulleys, it would cost sram like 10 cents more to make the pulleys a larger diameter. If they thought it was worth it and still shift perfectly, they’d do it.

Honestly, I think the OSPW look dumb and I’d bet that’s why the big 3 aren’t putting the effort into it. Everything on bikes is starting to look lower profile and simple, like shifters and derailleurs shrinking, getting closer to the frame, and blending in better. Cables are getting hidden everywhere so you can’t see them at all. Then you have these giant pulleys sticking out of a very svelte RD, it ruins the look of a bike IMO.

Trybo Bike Tech
Trybo Bike Tech
3 years ago
Reply to  B

Because OSPW will give you marginally marginal gains. something like .1 to .2 of a watt of total savings. It is literally worthless.

TobinRacesBikes (@TobinHatesYou)
Reply to  B

Cost vs benefit is why you don’t see larger pulleys on OEM RDs.

hleogr
3 years ago

This is going to be fail big time. Maybe the knowlegde from research can be used in other space but road cycling … I don’t think this will fly and revolutionize they way power is transmitted to the wheels

JBikes
JBikes
3 years ago

Interested to see how they solve the problem of shifting under power.

JBikes
JBikes
3 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

And by interested, I’m basically saying I will be amazed.
There are so many other issues. That said, its a great marketing tool, relatively cheap overall and gets plenty of press which can be applied to their otherwise mundane (but big/pricey) pulleys.

Damon
3 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Full power upshifts have been possible on racecars for over a decade, and the same principle could be used for CeramicSpeed’s gears: you engage the higher gear, and use it to unload the lower gear, which now pops out easily.

JBikes
JBikes
3 years ago
Reply to  Damon

Technically there is no such thing as a full power shift (sans CVT, but those have high parasitic losses). There are still very short interuptions in torque in modern racing transmissions.

Regardless, all those transmission have the benefit of larger packaging and weight limits and high power motors. Bicycles are severely limited in that respect. I could see them running two bearing wheels with a ring synchronizer, but that only works if you shift down then up (or vice versa). If you try to keep shifting in one direction, that doesn’t work. Maybe a few ramped teeth timed to the shift mechanism (you ask for a shift electronically, when the timing mark aligns, it slides along the ramp and engages…it would have to be electronic and would not be “fast”)

Again, it can be done, but there are major hurdles given the constraints (and going against amazing shifting conventional drivetrains)

typevertigo
typevertigo
3 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Likewise.

Methinks they should just scrap the shaft drive shifting and just have it transfer power. Let an internal gear hub or Pinion gearbox do the shifting instead. That seems way more viable, although I admit either option (IGH or Pinion ‘box) also has downsides of its own.

Cheese
Cheese
3 years ago
Reply to  typevertigo

Adding a geartrain will completely wipe out the purported efficiency benefit. Chains are inherently quite efficient already.

Velo Kitty
Velo Kitty
3 years ago

CeramicSpeed’s whole business model is based upon ultra dubiuos claims.

shafty
shafty
3 years ago
Reply to  Velo Kitty

For real though. It’s telling that they don’t say how it ruins your shifting. On aero bikes that already have trouble achieving optimal results, it seems like bad idea.

Tom
Tom
3 years ago

The spreading torque reacting against the dropout and cluster are SIGNIFICANT in this application. Ripe for failure unless both of these components are VERY Stiff and heavy. Not a win from an overall point of view

jasonmiles31
3 years ago

I find it hilarious that any brand would be willing to show a drivetrain that is “almost” able to shift. Maybe I should start selling tires that almost hold air.

Velo Kitty
Velo Kitty
3 years ago
Reply to  jasonmiles31

Their $500 pulleys “almost” save you a Watt.

Technician
3 years ago

“Almost shifts” is the exact opposite to “she’s almost pregnant”.

Trybo Bike Tech
Trybo Bike Tech
3 years ago

Ceramicspeed pulleys are literally a pointless product. Total “savings” are within a margin of error and their marketing multiplies them by a factor of ~10 or more. Here I elaborate why:

Brian Nystrom
Brian Nystrom
3 years ago

While I agree that the CS cages and pulleys are a ridiculous and perhaps pointless extravagance, there’s an important incorrect assumption in this video. The reduction of friction with the larger pulleys is NOT limited to bearing friction. The larger diameter pulleys reduce friction in the CHAIN by reducing the amount of bending required to go around the pulleys. This is in line with testing that demonstrates that larger cogs and chainrings reduce friction in the chain.

Perhaps the energy saved with the pulleys is still insignificant, but considering that the bulk of the friction in the drivetrain comes from the chain, the potential is there to save the 1-3 watts that CS claims.

Cheese
Cheese
3 years ago

How do they plan to keep the pie plate sized Driven freewheel from ringing like a bell?

Brian Nystrom
Brian Nystrom
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheese

More importantly, how are they going to keep it from flexing toward the spokes under pedaling pressure? Who cares if they can shift it if you can’t apply any significant power to it without it flexing and skipping?

Travis
Travis
3 years ago

Regular ass derailleurs. Change my mind.

JBikes
JBikes
3 years ago

How in the world does a chain come off a pulley and require narrow-wide profiling?

Dylan
Dylan
3 years ago

Surely any benefit of increased efficiency from the larger pulley wheel is more than wiped out by the extra friction of the ‘wide’ teeth on the chain?

GK
GK
3 years ago

Why? Specifically, why make the shaft drive shift at all, just put it on a track bike, which seems like the best use case anyway, someone doing an hour record…

voodoobike
3 years ago

Bike Rumor continues to enable this particular marketing stunt. Yet if one notices, they are primarily cheerleaders and don’t ever offer any criticism. Fine. I love their effort to find what is new, no matter if it’s vaporware or what. Yet it would be nice of they could offer at least some objectivity and perspective perhaps.