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Spotted: Prototype CeramicSpeed OSPW Update for Road & Cross Teased at CX Worlds

Prototype updated CeramicSpeed OSPW for Shimano Di2, up close at CX Worlds
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Over the weekend at CX Worlds in Tábor, we spotted a small CeramicSpeed crew meeting with several different teams to talk ceramic bearings and low-friction lubrication AND showing off a next-gen prototype OSPW system. Designed for both road & cyclocross, this new version of their Shimano oversized pulley wheel system upgrade gets solid pulleys and ADR tech inherited from MTB for smoother, longer running…

Prototype updated CeramicSpeed OSPW for Shimano Di2

We’re always psyched to find prototypes in the pro pits. Whether hidden in plain view like the new Campy power meter. Or slightly more incognito like this classic black tape covered derailleur cage. Here, fitted to a Cube Cross Race bike from Team Charles Liégeois, the cyclocross racing offshoot of Intermarché–Wanty. And CeramicSpeed was roaming the pits checking in with mechanics from several top riders. We later caught up with the CeramicSpeed crew. And they said they were checking-in with existing sponsored riders, meeting with potential new partners, and even quietly handing over some product to unsponsored teams who use CeramicSpeed gear without sharing that publicly.

So, what’s new in the OSPW department?

The CeramicSpeed prototype that we spotted is an updated version of their long-running Over-Sized Pulley Wheel (OSPW) upgrade for Shimano rear derailleurs. In fact looking back, it’s been almost a decade since we first spotting the CeramicSpeed OSPW solution for Shimano. And outside of a few changes in pulley teeth numbers, that core curvy carbon cage upgrade hasn’t changed much since.

Now, that appears set to change with a new angular design.

CeramicSpeed suggests that their next-gen OSPW gets more angular aesthetics. That better fits with the shaping of modern road bike groupsets. Even under a strip of black electrical tape, this prototype certainly looks like a better fit with the latest Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleur, compared to the existing curvy CeramicSpeed cage.

A closer look reveals that both upper and lower pulleys are solid on this prototype. Just like those Alpha pulleys of the recently introduced OSPW X for SRAM MTB Transmissions. We’re not sure. But it looks like the same composite teeth combined to a smooth alloy disc, like on the new MTB system.

This lower pulley is also marked ADR. It features that mountain bike cage’s same Active Debris Remover shaping at the central cover over the bearing. As it’s been described to us, this tangential groove shaping is a patent-pending design that pulls dust, dirt & grit away from the bearing cover as the pulley spins. A self-cleaning solution that promises even longer bearing life

Unlike the mountain bike’s X system with narrow wide teeth, this road OSPW prototype stick with a 19T lower pulley. And appears to keep 13T for the upper pulley.

How else does it differ from the current road OSPW?

Besides the more angular recent mountain bike OSPW cage with solid pulleys & ADR tech, CeramicSpeed’s latest OSPW innovation had been their fully-enclosed Aero cage. Interestingly, that one also broke cover on an Intermarché-Wanty pro’s Cube race bike.

The new road prototypes are also more angular and feature solid pulleys. We’d have to expect that the new design will be heavier – it surely has more material in the pulleys. But time will tell if that is balanced by decreased aero drag, reduced drivetrain friction, or longer bearing life.

We’ll have to wait and see what CeramicSpeed has to say once they make the new design official.

Were there actually CeramicSpeed OSPW-equipped bikes racing in the mud?

To be honest, not many.

No one actually raced this prototype here in the mud, as far as we saw. The team mounted this one to the bike of a rider who wasn’t even at Worlds, I believe. Perhaps as a backup if one of his teammates had any major bike problems.

It may have been just here to tease all the other pro riders about the new tech coming soon. But to be fair, it was so muddy out there, it’s possible that I simply missed it.

With very muddy conditions on the Tábor World Championship course, I can’t imagine there were too many friction-reducing gains to be had in a set of oversized pulleys. At least, those not offset by more real estate to collect mud on. But you know that incremental gains are always there, relative to the baseline standard. And theoretically ceramic bearings should operate more smoothly relatively – the worse conditions get and the more team mechanics clean the bikes with pressure washers.

Anyway, the U23 development team riders of Intermarché–Wanty’s CX team Charles Liégeois were sporting existing OSPW setups.

We also noticed one or two other riders on CeramicSpeed OSPW X. Like this nice SRAM AXS mullet setup. With an X01 MTB derailleur paired to an otherwise Force 1x for the easier gearing to tackle deep mud.

What else do they have up their CeramicSpeed sleeves?

Everywhere they went – ducking in and out of pro team buses – CeramicSpeed was also carrying a small black case full of pulley cages, ceramic bearings, and who knows what else.

Probably some of their UFO Drip wax lube that is quite prevalent in top-tier racing.

We only officially see CeramicSpeed logo stickers on a few pro road and a couple pro XC mountain bike teams. But, we’ve definitely seen OSPW cages on a number of other ‘non-sponsored’ bikes. And against the high cost and focus on aero gains of most pro bikes these days, it seems like a relatively small leap for more pro riders to see if CeramicSpeed can deliver on their promises of incremental gains. Rumor in the peloton – both on- and off-road – suggests that CeramicSpeed supplies a LOT of additional teams. And all the times we saw CeramicSpeed crew pop up all over the CX Worlds pits backs that up.

CeramicSpeed.com

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mig
mig
5 months ago

I wonder what pros buy from them?

Bill Abol
Bill Abol
5 months ago
Reply to  mig

nothing 🙂

Mig
Mig
5 months ago
Reply to  Bill Abol

So the pros just use stock wheel bearing and 30euro bb’s?

Oliver
Oliver
5 months ago
Reply to  Mig

All the pro teams who aren’t obligated to use whichever brand’s ceramic snake oil use high quality steel bearings. And CS BBs are crap, quite apart from the bearings themselves.

Mig
Mig
5 months ago
Reply to  Oliver

Actually, majority of the top riders in the world do run these hybrid bearings. (Dont listen to hambini on this one)
Cheap ceramics are awful, its true,( i used to feel the same way working in a shop servicing early gen fsa stuff, until I saw CeramicSpeed on a world champ dh racers bike.. I have had the same ceramicspeed bb on my last 2 cross bikes since, i just clean it + re grease and good to go,,I would of went thought 10 cheap bb’s by now.
Good quality steel is great as well though for sure. ✌️

Mike
Mike
5 months ago
Reply to  Oliver

Most of the top XC racers in the world actually do use CeramicSpeed (removing their sponsor correct BB’s)

I switched over (after bing a sceptic with cheap FSA Ceramics in the late 2000’s) to Ceramicspeed BB’s in my cross bikes and have been running the same ones now through a few frames… just clean and re grease.

JoeS
JoeS
4 months ago
Reply to  Mig

Pros ride what they are paid to ride. And if they aren’t being paid to ride SCAMamicSpeed bearings guaranteed they are not running them. It’s amazing how gullible some consumers are thinking what a pro is literally being paid big dollars to ride equates to a high quality product. But you can go pay the nosebleed moronic price for them and convince yourself you knocked it out of the park. Sane people laugh at easy marks like you. LOL

Mig
Mig
2 months ago
Reply to  JoeS

Sorry Joe, your guarantee does not hold up, and the reality is actually quite the opposite. CeramicSpeed cannot promote thier customers who include world and Olympic champions. CeramicSpeed bearings are the number 1 purchased bearings amongst the pro peloton but high paying contracts from Sram and Shimano mean they cannot promote this. (customers also include Aerospace, motorsports and other industry applications)

Hamjam
Hamjam
5 months ago

This thing works like a charm.

nooner
nooner
5 months ago

If I can’t stand on it this is dead to me.

tertius_decimus
tertius_decimus
5 months ago
Reply to  nooner

Yes, SRAM has set quite a bar with their latest derailleur. Competition can’t even.

Ashok Captain
Ashok Captain
5 months ago

With the marginal gains mantra,the inner and outer armchair tech-nerd in me says cut-away components look da biz but create marginal eddy currents. (Yo/ Yaw, Eddy) and collect mud (non-aero weight gains) in muddy conditions.
So the full disc shaped pulleys do make sense in muddy conditions.

Also early fossil (me) records recollect aftermarket Bullseye (probably made in the US) sealed bearing pulleys way back in the late 70s / early 80s. Around 1985ish, SunTour had a sealed bearing pulley set (or aftermarket?) for their Superbe [SIC] rear mech. I still own a working pair. Peace!

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