The pros are an interesting bunch, always looking for any little edge they can get. Sometimes it’s aero, sometimes it’s nutrition and sometimes it’s just making the parts they’re already using work better. For the latter, CyclingCeramic says half the pro peloton at this year’s Tour de France turned to their bearings for their wheels, bottom brackets and/or derailleur pulley wheels.
Shown above on official partner IAM Cycling’s team bikes, you’d also unofficially find them on at least four more of the largest, most well known teams’ bikes, too.
What makes them special? They start with high quality ceramic balls, then polish them for 45 days to enhance the smoothness and roundness, which minimizes surface contact area. Then, they use a tougher, lighter polyamide carrier to position the bearings between the races. For the bottom brackets, which see higher forces than the other parts, they developed a special hardening process for the races to improve durability, overall smoothness and resistance to corrosion. Lastly, they developed their own seals that maximize the “fluidity” of the balls’ movement inside while keeping contaminants out. It’s all hand assembled in France in their own facility, so they have control over the final product. Roll on for product pics and options…
Founder Yohann Proust says the pulleys are an extremely important part when it comes to reducing friction since they’re rotating many times faster than the wheels or BB. They’re available for 11-speed SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo derailleurs. Weight for the pair is just 23g and retail is €110, including their own oil lube. If you really wanna be mesmerized by their performance, check their video showing the spin down of the pulley.
Bottom bracket bearings include standalone bearings for Look, Campagnolo and BB30, plus cupped units for BB86 and BB90. There’s also a shelled version for threaded BSA frames for use with either 24mm or GXP cranks. Prices range from €112 to €195.
He also sells an wide array of single bearings and balls if you need a specific size – full list on their website.
Shown in the middle, he also sells bearing sets for wheels, including Campagnolo, Corima, DT Swiss, Lightweight, Mavic, Shimano and Zipp. Prices range from €110 to €174, with kits available for many of the popular road wheelsets from those brands.
They should be available through Lalonde Imports in the U.S. starting November 2014.