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NAHBS 2015: CeramicSpeed Prints Out Durability with New Hollow Titanium Pulley Wheels

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ceramic speed titanium 3d printed pulleys (2)

To be honest, derailleur pulleys probably won’t be the first place you turn to remove some weight from your bike. In the case of Ceramicspeed, their bearings will probably make more of a difference than lightening the pulley itself, but fortunately, their latest project isn’t just about weight. Often in order to make derailleur pulleys lighter manufacturers look towards lighter material which typically has a shorter life. The pulleys also usually incorporate holes into the design to remove as much weight as possible. As anyone who has ever ridden a bike in muddy conditions can tell you though, getting your pulleys packed up with mud does your drivetrain zero favors.

What if there was a way to make a lighter pulley, but one that was also more durable? A pulley with a solid exterior that prevented mud build up, and allowed the chain to ride more smoothly over the teeth? That was what Ceramic speed hoped to accomplish and like many manufacturers currently, they decided to look into 3D printing to make it happen…

ceramic speed (10)

Ceramic speed pulley

 

The key to the use of additive manufacturing for the pulleys is that it allows a hollow internal structure, but maintains a solid face externally. The result is the lightest pulley they could make out of solid metal. Even without cutouts and the heavier titanium when compared to their aluminum pulleys, the 3D printed titanium pulleys come in about 10% lighter. Creating the design wasn’t as simple as just printing them out however, as Ceramicspeed worked with the Danish Technological Institute for almost 4 years perfecting the concept.

Shown above, top right, Ceramic Speed is also working on an XX1 version of the 3D Printed pulley wheels which will certainly benefit from a lack of holes for mud to accumulate.

ceramic speed (7)

Outfitted with Ceramicspeed’s best ceramic bearings, the 3D printed pulleys will initially be offered in an extremely limited run of just 10 sets that are compatible with Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo in both 10 and 11 speeds. Delivered in an exclusive case and individually numbered, if you want the best you also have to pay for it with retail estimated at $1000 per set. That chunk of change will net you 3 times the life span of a traditional pulley and about 1g less than aluminum per pulley. The “world’s most innovative pulley wheels” are also almost certainly the most expensive.

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Walter
7 years ago

In my experience with X.0-derailleurs, it’s the pulley bearings that wear out first. So I’m not sure how more durable pulley wheels are going to help.

sandballer
sandballer
7 years ago

I’ve got a Schwinn Varsity these would be perfect for.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

Hopefully they won’t sell any at that price.
Stop The Madness that’s taking over this industry!

Peter
Peter
7 years ago

Man, I’ve bought some ridiculously expensive bike components, but $1000 for a set of pulleys is just out of this world. I wonder if they’ll even sell one set at that price.

Andreas
Andreas
7 years ago

CeramicSpeed is the sponsor for Tinkoff Saxo, but I don’t even think they have these on their bikes…

ascar larkinyar
ascar larkinyar
7 years ago

are they funding the price of the 3d printer with these pulleys?

no way that printing can cost that much.

Tony
Tony
7 years ago

1grm/1$ is a good ratio for saving weight.
1grm/2$ is still ok, but a bit expensive.
1grm/3$ is too much, only for Weigh Weenies.

1grm/500$ is just (deleted)

Dude
Dude
7 years ago

They didn’t make these so they could sell loads of them.

Nick
Nick
7 years ago

Only 3x the life? For that price tag, my grandchild should be able to hand these down to their grandchildren.

Peter
Peter
7 years ago

Well, clearly…

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

Stop complaining about the price these things were not made to be sold on mass and I’m certain they will sell all 10 sets . This is a case of engineers being told, “make something neat” so this is what they came up with.

alistair
alistair
7 years ago

that price has to be an error. there is just no way.

Ventruck
Ventruck
7 years ago

this was on BikeRadar like a week ago. I think it’s flying by everyone’s heads that these are serialized and faintly implied to just stay on the shelf: 10 sets only, cased up and serialized…that’d be quite a throwaway even if they’re supposed to perform really well. That being said, I don’t blame people for questioning who in their right mind “collects” pulleys. This isn’t even like a DA or Record anniversary group.

Key word also overlooked is that they’re “initially” on a limited run. Who knows how the price dips if they go into larger volume production.

just 3 times?
just 3 times?
7 years ago

JUST 3 TIMES lifespan for 1000USD?
I cannot find one “typical” for $333 tho..

andre
andre
7 years ago

I don’t think 3d printing is a ‘madness’ for the industry. Like it or not, it will be a game changer… regardless. I bet you there are a lot of companies out there cooking some projects using this tech looking closely at this post… kinda like; who is taking the seat fist! 3d printing is the answer to many questions and limitations of traditional manufacturing. Eventually it will need to be embraced or…be left behind.

David
David
7 years ago

Pretty sure the “madness” is the crazy prices,not the 3-D printing.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

“Cheap” $200 pulleys already have close to ZERO drag. $1000 is “maybe” insanely acceptable if this included larger pulleys(stays smoother when dirty and less friction for the chain) an aero cage to fit said larger pulleys and a very very good warranty that covers basically anyything

Rico
Rico
7 years ago

It would make a sort of cool gift at races or fancy events. I mean, I don’t wear watches so I’d probably like this sort of trinket on my fancy desk if I was a fat cat.

Andrew
Andrew
7 years ago

This part is sintered. Thats why it looks grainy on the inside. They had to leave the holes where the bearing goes, so the left over power could be removed. This is a fairly obvious solution using additive manufacturing. How about pushing the limits a bit more and actually use the technology in a way that is quite extreme and the opposite of traditional manufacturing techniques??

thebaldbikebuilder
thebaldbikebuilder
7 years ago

They obviously rushed them to market. If they had spent 5 years in research rather than just 4 I’m sure they could have saved more weight and given them 4 times the life of other jockey wheels. Slapdash at best.

Jami
Jami
7 years ago

pre-ordered. Shut up and take my money!

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
7 years ago

Obviously with a such a small batch being made and sold, Ceramic Speed’s intent was not only to corner the market but also force the price of pulley wheels skyward as part of a pulley wheel arms race. This is obviously the perfect thing to be upset about as its impact on the cycling goods market is going to be so huge. Nothing like this has ever happened in any other product markets. No way.

carbonfodder
carbonfodder
7 years ago

(sarcasm intended)
do they last 1/3 as long if you put them in backwards?

madm3chanic
madm3chanic
7 years ago

sweet, i love companies like this…in about 6-12 months we will start to see chinese knock-offs appearing on ebay for $50, and then we all get nice mud-shedding hollow ti pulley wheels without having to go to a loanshark. yay!

John
John
7 years ago

As an scientist who has studied bearings for bicycle applications extensively, this product boggles the mind. It won’t yield much in the way of tangible performance gains but still this company continues to sell questionable products at exorbitant prices to an apparently unsuspecting few who will inevitably plunk down the cash expecting something magical. Sadly, Ceramicspeed has been selling hybrid ceramic bearing equipped pulleys that really don’t offer much in the way of performance gains but they seem to be selling them. In a nutshell, ceramic bearing performance has much more to do with seal drag and grease viscosity than it has to do with whether the ball material is steel with a G25 sphericity or a ceramic one with a G3 grade. Now, if you are using full ceramics, then you can benefit from the hardness of both materials to forego grease and seal drag for a slight performance gain. The only problem with full ceramics is that the material whether it is Silicon Nitride or Zirconium Oxide is that it is brittle and it’s ability to deal with shock loading may be suspect.

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